The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is simple: The card earns 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases, redeemable as a credit card statement credit or a deposit into an eligible Bank of America account, with no minimum redemption amount, no limit on the amount of rewards and no annual fee.
In an age where several banks offer no-annual-fee cards that reward customers with 2% cash back on all purchases or cards offering 1.5% cash back on general purchases accompanied by bonus categories and generous consumer protection benefits, a basic credit card that earns 1.5% back isn’t terribly exciting.
However, this card starts to shine for customers who can achieve Platinum or Platinum Honors status in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards Program. This program is meant to encourage customers to bring more of their banking business to Bank of America through offering parks like additional interest on deposit accounts, loan rate reductions and additional rewards on credit cards.
Customers who achieve Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors status in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program have their cash-back earnings boosted, making the Bank of America Unlimited Rewards card more than simply a 1.5% cash back card:
Achieving status in the Preferred Rewards program requires maintaining deposit balances in Bank of America checking or savings accounts or holding investment assets with Merrill. Gold status requires a minimum of $20,000 in assets, Platinum requires $50,000 and Platinum Honors requires $100,000. If it makes sense to hold some investments at Merrill or move some assets to Merrill, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card can be a best-in-class everyday cash back-card.
At a Glance
- No annual fee
- Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases
- Cash-back redemptions as a statement credit, deposit into an eligible Bank of America deposit account or contribution to an eligible Merrill investment account
- Eligible for 25% to 75% rewards bonus for Bank of America Preferred Rewards members
Bank Of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card Rewards
The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card’s rewards earning rate is straightforward: The card earns 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases.
Customers that have an additional banking relationship with Bank of America and can qualify for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program earn increased rewards based on their tier in the Preferred Rewards program. Bank of America grants Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors tiers to customers holding a minimum amount of assets across Bank of America deposit accounts and Merrill investing accounts.
Redeeming rewards is as straightforward as earning them. Cardmembers can redeem their cash back for any amount, at any time for either statement credits or deposits into a Bank of America checking or savings account or for a credit into an eligible account with Merrill. Bank of America even offers an auto-redemption option that allows cash back to automatically be applied as a statement credit or bank deposit every month. However, know that while most redemption options have no minimum, there’s a $25 minimum redemption if you want to make a contribution toward a 529 account with Merrill or for automatic deposits into a bank account.
Using data from various government agencies, Forbes Advisor has developed estimates for how much a family in the 70th percentile of income spends annually in various categories. We base our assumptions on a sole proprietor in this income range. The 70th percentile of wage-earning households brings in $107,908 annually and has $32,072 in expenses that can be charged to credit cards. These figures are used to estimate the potential rewards from this credit card.
If our family charged all of their $32,072 of expenses to their Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card, they would earn 1.5% cash back on them, which would equal $481.08 in cash-back rewards annually.
Accounts that qualify for the rewards bonus multiplier granted by the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program would earn additional cash back, based on the rewards earning multiplier:
|Effective Cash Back
This card offers a 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days of account opening, followed by a 16.24% – 26.24% variable APR. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
Bank Of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card Benefits
- Visa Signature Benefits: As a Visa Signature card you’ll get benefits including ID theft protection, access to the Visa Signature Hotel Collection and other discounts and perks.
- $0 Liability Guarantee: You are not liable for fraudulent transactions charged to your account.
- Online Access: Manage your account online through Bank of America’s website.
- Mobile Banking: Manage your account on the go through Bank of America’s mobile banking app.
- Overdraft Protection: If you link your Bank of America credit card to your Bank of America deposit account, Bank of America can automatically transfer funds from your credit card to cover overdrafts.
- Regular APR: 16.24% – 26.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
- Purchase Intro APR: 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases
- Balance Transfer Intro APR: 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
- Annual Fee: $0
- Balance Transfer Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
- Cash Advance: See Terms
- Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 3%
How the Bank Of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card Stacks Up
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card vs. Citi® Double Cash Card
Since Citi launched its Double Cash card, 2% no-hassle cash-back rewards has been the standard by which all other cash-back cards are compared. Anyone looking for a simple cash- back card to use for everyday spending should seriously consider the Citi® Double Cash Card.
The card has no annual fee and earns 2% cash back on all purchases—1% when purchases are made and another 1% when they’re paid off.
You’ll earn rewards in the form of Citi ThankYou points. Redemption options include deposits into a bank account, statement credits to your card and gift cards from a variety of merchants. If you have an eligible Citi travel credit card, you also have the option of transferring those points to participating airline and hotel partners for the opportunity to get outsized value in award redemptions.
Ultimately, if you are looking for a no-annual-fee credit card with simple rewards, the Citi® Double Cash Card is going to provide more value for you than the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card if you are not a Bank of America Preferred Rewards Platinum or Platinum Honors client.
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Another option worth a look if you are wanting a no-annual-fee credit card earning generous cash back is the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The Freedom Unlimited matches the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Card’s 1.5% cash-back earnings, but then goes further with additional earnings in bonus categories.
In addition to earning 1.5% back on general purchases, the Freedom Unlimited awards 3% on purchases at drugstores and restaurants. Those cardmembers booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards will be further rewarded with a generous 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase.
Finally, the card includes several consumer protection benefits, including extended warranty protection, auto rental collision damage waiver and trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
If you spend heavily at restaurants, order takeout frequently, find 3% cash back at drugstores appealing or are intrigued by the addition of the consumer protection benefits, take a look at the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card.
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card vs. Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Prior to launching the Unlimited Cash Rewards card, Bank of America offered another credit card that earned at least 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases: The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card. Points can be redeemed for cash back as a statement credit or deposit into a Bank of America account, making the Premium Rewards card effectively a card that earns at least 1.5% cash back. The Premium Rewards card carries a $95 annual fee.
Similar to the Unlimited Cash Rewards card, the Premium Rewards Card earns 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases.
The $95 annual fee of the Bank of America Premium Rewards card can be justified by a $100 annual airline incidental statement credit. Cardmembers can also receive a credit of up to $100 toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fees every four years. The card also comes with travel insurance protections including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and emergency evacuation and transportation assistance.
Preferred Rewards Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors members receive bonus multipliers of 25% to 75% more points with the Premium Rewards Card. That means you could earn up to 3.5 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and up to 2.62 points per dollar spent on other purchases.
If you can achieve Preferred Rewards Platinum or Platinum Honors status, spend enough in airline incidentals to cover the annual fee and can take advantage of the increased earnings on travel, dining and grocery stores, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card is worth a look.
Is the Bank Of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card for You?
If you are looking for a single, no-annual-fee credit card to charge all of your purchases, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards isn’t your best option. The Citi® Double Cash Card card earns a simple 2% cash back on all purchases—1% when purchases are made and another 1% when they’re paid off and can unlock more value through the ThankYou Points program. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on eligible dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases. Both of these cards are likely better options.
However, if you can qualify for Bank of America Preferred Rewards at either the Platinum or Platinum Preferred levels, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card becomes a best-in-class cash-back card. For Platinum Honors customers, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card earns 2.62% back on every purchase.