Summary of the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa Signature

Last Reviewed: 1/10/2013

Note: the “5% offer” no longer appears to be available.

There are at least several offers available on the web for the Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa credit card. We’ve reviewed two of these offers below (and if you come across any others, please let us know and we can add to this post).

One of the offers provides 2% cashback on groceries, and 3% cashback on gas—we refer to this offer as the “standard” offer, as it is easily found right on the Bank of America website. The second offer we refer to as the “5% offer”, since you get 5% cashback on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases (albeit for only 6 months).

The bottom line is that neither of these offers really shine in the scheme of things, though they also aren’t complete dogs. If collecting sign-up bonuses is your game, you can certainly do a lot better than the $50 and $100 bonuses offered here. The 3% cash back on gas on the standard offer is decent, but you can get 5% cashback on gas with the PenFed Visa Platinum Card. The 5% cash back on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases on the alternate offer runs out after only 6 months, sort of like when the Avatar exits the Avatar state (forget the lousy motion picture, I’m talking about the Nickelodeon animated version, which really rocks.)

If for some reason you feel compelled to apply for BofA’s Cash Rewards Visa, then, broadly speaking, you should get the 5% offer if you plan to keep the card only a few years; if you plan to hold Cash Rewards for the long term (say, 5 years or more), then the standard offer will likely be the better choice (but you should verify this yourself using our PIQ Ranking Engine, since each person has a unique spending profile which impacts the rate at which you earn rewards).

Side-by-side comparison of Two BankAmericard Cash Rewards Offers
Cash Rewards (“Standard Offer”) Cash Rewards (“5% Offer”)
Earning Rewards
Base Rewards 1% cashback on all purchases 1% cashback on all purchases.
Bonus Rewards 2% cashback on groceries; 3% cashback on gas. 5% cashback on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases for 1st 6 months after account activation.
Spend Target Bonus $50 cash bonus if you spend $100 within 60 days of account opening. $100 cash bonus if you spend $500 within 90 days of account opening.
Redemption Bonus 10% bonus when you redeem into a BofA checking or savings account. 25% redemption bonus if you redeem in amounts of $300 or more.
Cash Back Caps Bonus rewards earned only on fist $1,500 of combined spend per quarter on groceries and gas (after that, you earn just 1%). None
Fees
Annual Fee $0 $0
Foreign Transaction Fee 3% after conversion to USD 3% after conversion to USD.
Balance Transfer Fee $10 or 4%, whichever is greater. $10 or 4%, whichever is greater.

Earning Cashback

While both BankAmericard Cash Rewards offers provide 1% cash back on all purchases, the standard offer provides 2% cashback on groceries and 3% cashback on gas. That might seem like a pretty good deal, but there’s a catch: you are limited to $1,500 of spend per quarter (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, etc) in the bonus categories, after which you just earn 1% even on those. So, assuming you could max out the $1,500 of spend in the gas category (where you earn the most bonus points), you’d only earn an additional $30 (2% * 1,500) above and beyond the base 1% cashback. If you split your spend 50-50 between supermarkets and gas stations, you’d only earn an additional $22.50 (1% *$750 + 2%*$750) per quarter. This type of cap can really reduce the performance of the card if you often exceed the $1,500 spend limit.

So, if we turn our attention to the 5% offer, we see that you earn a whopping 5% cashback on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases—but this time the catch is that this bonus comes crashing back to Earth (e.g. 1% cashback) after 6 months.

So Which Offer is Better?

Well, firstly, neither offer gets us excited here at PIQ. But we did run the PIQ ranking engine with the default spend profile. Of course, I’m sure no individual has this exact profile, so please go ahead and use the ranking engine yourself to validate.

As the table below shows, the standard offer lags the 5% offer during years 1-3, but then begins to overtake the 5% offer in years 4 and beyond. This should be expected, since the 5% offer runs out after 6 months and also benefits from a higher initial sign-up bonus ($100 versus $50) which gets washed out over time.

Performance of BankAmericard Cash Rewards “Standard Offer” Versus “5% Offer”
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Standard Offer $288 $528 $766 $1,005 $1,244
5% Offer $401 $598 $794 $990 $1,186
$ Difference -$113 -$70 -$28 +$15 +$58

Redeeming BankAmericard Cash Rewards

Both cards can redeem for straight cash back. The interesting twist is that the standard Bank Americard Cash Rewards Visa offer gives you a 10% bump up in the value of your redemptions if you deposit the rewards directly into a BofA checking or savings account (easy enough!).

However, the 5% offer gives you a much more robust 25% redemption bonus if you redeem in chunks of $300 or more (in years 2 and beyond, that translates to spending at least $30K on the card before redeeming—you’ll need to be patient like Buddha).

By the way, the PIQ Ranking engine automatically assumes that for the standard offer you will deposit into a BofA account (thus earning the 10% bonus), and that for the 5% offer you will redeem in chunks of $30K.

PlasticIQ’s Final Analysis of 2 BofA Cash Rewards Visa Offers

Well, as we mentioned up-front, there’s nothing really “wow” about the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa (either offer). When we ran the PIQ ranking engine just a few minutes ago (using the default spend settings), the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earned about 70% more rewards—so you may want to check that card out as well.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa (“Standard Offer”)
Apply for the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa (“Standard Offer”)

Tags: ,

  • NP

    Are you guys sure that BankAmericard’s bonus rewards only apply for the first six months? I just checked their website and it only said that there’s a $1500 limit for both categories combined per each quarter, not that these rewards expire after six months never to be seen again.

  • k-yo

    Bank of America is running a newer promotion than is outlined in this article. The new promotion is an ongoing 3% on gas, 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else. It does not appear that the 25% bonus for redeeming rewards of $300 or more is in effect with the new promotion, though. The new promotion offers a 10% bonus for redeeming into a Bank of America account. There is no $300 redemption minimum to obtain the 10% bonus, but you have to have an account with Bank of America. Not everyone has one or wants one. ;-)

  • admin

    k-yo, thanks for your comment. You are correct, the offer has changed. I have gone ahead and updated the post, and I have also added another offer (which is still live) which does give you the 25% bonus (as well as a higher sign-up bonus), although its 5% bonus categories run out after 6 months.

  • Clint

    Is there a listing of merchants who participate in the 3% cash back offer, I have heard not all do (groceries and gas)

  • admin

    Typically it’s hard to get those lists; when I call up the banks, they say that the network (visa, mc, amex, etc) provide the merchant codes. In this case, I would expect all “normal” gas stations to be valid, but that’s just my assumption, it really depends on how each gas station classifies itself.

  • philip

    major drawback – bonus only payable in $25 increments I have $15 balance on my b of a rewards card and now hav cap one card that pays me 2% only way I will ever see that $15 is to spend another $1000 on my b of a card which I should not have to do I am not aware of other programs that require such increments

  • Marc

    Philip, yes it’s not entirely unusual for rewards programs to put a $25 or $50 increment requirement, although I hear you about it being frustrating!

  • abc

    no use ..CHASE FREEDOM IS THE BEST

  • Chase

    Am I reading this wrong or is the calculation for how much can be earned per quarter on the standard offer card off by 1%?

    As of now, the author had calculated the rewards on gas and groceries to be 2% and 1% respectively.

    Should it not be 3% and 2%, meaning if you were to spend the $1,500 cap on gas you could get $45 ($1,500 X .03) in cash rewards per quarter.

    Or, upon further review, the offer could have intended to display such rewards using the 1% on all other purchases as a base.

  • Marc

    Thanks for the question! Your second interpretation is accurate. Allow me to clarify..you wrote:

    Should it not be 3% and 2%, meaning if you were to spend the $1,500 cap on gas you could get $45 ($1,500 X .03) in cash rewards per quarter.

    As noted in the post, the focus of the calculation in the “Earning cashback” section is on the incremental cash earned from the bonus categories. You will always earn 1% cashback on gas, so it’s more enlightening for readers to understand what the incremental 2% bonus could be worth to them (for a total of 3%). In your example, the truly incremental bonus is $1,500 * 0.02 (assuming all bonus purchases are in the gas category). That works out to an incremental $30 of cash per quarter. The other $15 earned on these purchases has nothing to do with the bonus and would always be earned. Hope that makes sense.

  • Barbara Robinson

    How do I receive my awards?

  • Fred.

    Does the definition of a purchase also apply to mortgage or property tax payments?u00a0 Is there a benefit in using the card to pay for those?

  • sab

    I have the BofA Cash Rewards card.u00a0 I could have sworn that when I signed up for the card a couple/few years ago, the “bonus offer” was an extra 25% if you waited until you had $300 or an extra 50% if you waited until you had $500.u00a0 I now have over $500 and cannot find anything in writing that says the original offer was a 50% bonus, and the BofA phone reps are of no help.u00a0 I see your original review of this card was in the Fall of 2010, but that review has been replaced with an updated version as of 11/15/2011.u00a0 Do you still have the original review, and/or do know or remember anything about the tiered rewards program I have described?u00a0 I’m virtually positive it was as I described as I can’t believe I would have such a specific recollection of something that never existed.u00a0 Thank you.

  • Meleber

    I am really ticked off.u00a0 I joined believing the 1,2,3 % rule, it didnt limitto to total of 1500 dollars of spending per quarter. Unless I go to the browser, this is nowhere to be found. B ofu00a0 A and Visa nreally hide this ripoff.u00a0 We have spent over 5000 dollars in th last 4 months and in turns out it isnmostly 1% even though most was on 2% groceries nd 3% gas. Not good pr folks!

  • http://www.maxloh.com/ max loh

    bank of america is slimy. they changed their keep the change program to give you the benefits only once per day as opposed to once per transaction. There is also no record of this change, and of course if you google “keep the change change” on google you won’t get any relevant results since the word “change” is already IN the name of the program itself… haha

  • Popklein38

    What is the fee ?

  • Bill

    This might be why…nn7. We may, at any time, for any reason (a) modify, delete or terminate the Program, Program Rules, benefits or features, in whole or in part; (b) discontinue or replace any method of redemption for Cash Rewards with a similar one of lesser, equal or greater value; or (c) terminate a Cardholder’s participation in the Card Program.u00a0

  • Fidelity

    u00a0Get the Fidelity Amex 2% card. No monkey business, no caps.

  • Santarbox

    how do I get to my cash rewards to see how much I have and what to do with it

  • http://www.plasticiq.com/ Marc Davis

    Not sure I fully understand your question. If you mean, how do you check to see how many points you have, you can see that just by logging into your online BofA account, clicking on that credit card, and then looking at the “Account Summary” rewards section.

  • Sir Henry Havelock

    I’ve had the 2% for groceries and 3% for gas version of the BofA Cash Rewards card since October 2011. I’ve found that they consistently underpay the bonus. I spend between $600 and $1000 per month on gas (at stations that have gas merchant codes). I know the limit is $1500 combined gas & groceries per quarter for the purposes of the bonus (which would be a $30 bonus limit per quarter if calculated on all gas: 2% x $1500), but I never even been close to getting $30 in bonus in a quarter. u00a0It appears to me that BofA has their system coded to max out the quarterly $1500 on the lower paying grocery bonus before it applies any of the $1500 to gas. u00a0Typical banker move. u00a0No way am I going to open a BofA savings account to try to get 10% more rewards when they’re busy trying to keep from paying me the max bonus rewards. u00a0I’m looking for a new card now.

  • http://www.plasticiq.com/ Marc Davis

    Hmm, sorry to hear that BofA seems to be taking the low road here (though, as you point out, historically this has been par for the course for credit card issuers). nnIn general, I don’t think that BofA credit cards are very competitive, versus specific offerings from Citi, Chase, Amex, and Cap1.nnFor example, if groceries are your game, check out our review of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card.