Full Review of Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard
Earn unlimited points with no spending caps
Easily earned, if modest, bonus
Rewards boost with a high-balance bank or investment account
Limited options for getting the best return on rewards
No premium travel benefits
- Earn Unlimited Points with No Spending Caps: Some business rewards cards limit the amount of spending every year that is eligible for rewards, especially at the highest earnings rates. The Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard credit card offers unlimited points on purchases, with no limits. You earn 3 points for every dollar spent at the Bank of America Travel Center and 1.5 points on all other purchases.
- Easily Earned, if Modest, Bonus: Plenty of cards, even those with no annual fee, offer a richer bonus than the 30,000-point offer with the Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard, which is worth $300 if the points are used for travel. The spending requirement to earn the bonus on this card is in line with other business rewards cards in the market.
- Rewards Boost With a High-Balance Bank or Investment Account: You may be able to increase your rewards rates if you hold a business bank account with Bank of America or a business investment account with Merrill. However, you need to have a substantial account balance to qualify. The minimum balance is $20,000, which earns a 25% points bonus. Those with a balance of $50,000–$99,999 earn a 50% bonus and customers with a balance of $100,000 or more earn the maximum bonus of 75%.
- Limited Options for Getting the Best Return on Rewards: While this card earns rewards as points, you needn’t master a complex program in order to make the most of those earnings when they’re redeemed. Instead, points are simply converted to dollars. However, to receive the highest value of a cent per point customarily requires using points for travel, either as a credit against travel expenses on your statement or through booking travel directly with the Bank of America Travel Center. You get only $0.006 per point when you redeem them for cash back, which means a 2,500-point redemption would earn you only $15. Gift-card rates vary by the vendor.
- No Premium Travel Benefits: If you're looking for travel perks, such as complimentary lounge access, fee credits for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, or free checked bags, you're out of luck with this card. As is often the case for a no-annual-fee business card, travel benefits are basic and limited to pluses like travel-accident insurance and lost-luggage reimbursement.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Flies often for business or leisure
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
This card is best suited to frequent travelers who hold a five-figure balance in a Bank of America business account or a business investment account with Merrill. By qualifying the business as a Preferred Rewards for Business account, such a balance will increase the points earned with the card by up to 75%, for earnings as high as 4.12 points per dollar spent.
The Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard might also be a decent fit for a business that seeks a card to which all travel expenses are charged, and the resulting rewards used to buy more travel—since that’s the most lucrative use of the card's points.
The business might then consider opting for other cards that offer better rewards for other spending, and a wider range of rewarding redemption options.
Helping this case is the ease by which the card's 30,000-point introductory bonus, worth $300 when used for travel, can be earned, with just $3,000 in spending over the first 90 days.
Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard Bonus
This card offers a modest introductory bonus that's readily earned.You receive 30,000 points if you make $3,000 in net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening—which is in line with other business cards in this category.
Since points earned with the card are worth a cent each when used for travel, that makes this bonus worth $300 when applied as a statement credit against travel purchases or booked directly through the Bank of America Travel Center.
Rewards Earning Details
The rewards structure with this card is fairly simple. When you book travel, including airfare, hotels and rental cars, through the Bank of America Travel Center you earn unlimited 3 points per dollar. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar.
The only exception to these earnings are for businesses that are members of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards for Business program. Here are the stipulations for the three levels of the program, expressed as the size of balance required in either a Bank of America business bank account or a Merrill business investment account.
- Gold ($20,000 to $49,999): 25% points bonus
- Platinum ($50,000 to $99,999): 50% points bonus
- Platinum Honors ($100,000 to $250,000): 75% points bonus
The bonuses apply to both travel expenses and of all other purchases made with the card. In terms of how much you'd earn with this card if you qualify for the bonus, at the Platinum Honors level you'd earn 5.25 points per dollar on travel bought from Bank of America. All other purchases made with the card increase from a 1.5 points-per-dollar-spent rate to one of 2.63 points.
Rewards Redemption Details
Bank of America makes redeeming rewards simple, if limited. Your options for rewards redemption are:
- Statement credit against travel purchases
- Using points to buy travel through the issuer’s Travel Center
- Cash back
- Gift cards
When using points for travel statement credit, they're worth 1 cent each. The same value applies for purchases through the Bank of America Travel Center, which also allows you to avoid the blackout dates or other restrictions that can accompany loyalty programs from airlines, hotels, and more.
You get only $0.006 per point when you redeem for cash back, which means a 2,500-point redemption would earn you only $15. Gift-card rates vary by the vendor.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Earning the most you can with the Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard credit card begins with ensuring you earn its $300 introductory bonus. Doing so should be manageable for almost any business, since it requires spending only a minimum of $1,000 for each of your first three months with the card.
After that, you should make all your travel purchases using the card, and do so through the Bank of America Travel Center, which is the only option for earning 3 points per dollar spent, the card's highest rewards rate. Then, you should charge future travel expenses to the card, so you can apply the value of your points as a statement credit to cover or at least offset their cost. Here are two examples of how this process might work.
Let's assume that your business spending leans more toward everyday purchases than travel. You charge $5,000 per year in flights for business trips, say, along with $15,000 in other purchases, such as advertising, office supplies and utilities.
That spending pattern would yield 15,000 points annually on travel, if it’s purchased through the Bank of America Travel and so earns 3 points per dollar for the $5,000 spent. All other purchases would earn 22,500 points on all other purchases. Earning 37,500 in points per year would earn your business $375 in statement credit to be applied to future travel expenses.
Now, let's assume both that travel is a more frequent component of your business operations, and that you have a larger budget for all other spending, too. You charge $10,000 in travel each year and an additional $20,000 in other expenses. Let’s further assume your business banks with Bank of America and holds a balance of $150,000. That arrangement would entitle you to Platinum status in the Preferred Rewards for Business program, which yields a 75% bonus in points rewards.
Using those numbers, your annual base earnings would be 60,000 points—30,000 points for travel (for $10,000 times 3 points per dollar spent), along with 30,000 points for all other purchases ($20,000 spent at 1.5 points earned per dollar). The points bonus for Platinum status in the Preferred Rewards program would boost those earnings by 75%, to 105,000 points. Those points could then be used to buy or offset $1,050 in future travel spending charged to the card.
- Cash flow management tools
- Travel and emergency services
- Overdraft protection
- Fraud monitoring
- $0 liability protection
Bank of America ranked third out of eight national card issuers in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The bank received a score that was higher than average.
The bank offers 24/7 customer service, which is common among major financial institutions. There’s also a live chat option on the website, and it’s available even if you’re not a customer of the company who is logged into your account—a level of accessibility that isn't offered by the customer service portals of all card issuers.
This card comes with the security features that are typical of other business credit cards. Those features include:
- Chip protection
- $0 fraud liability protection
- Fraud monitoring
- Overdraft protection
- Paperless statements
You can also set up security alerts and notifications when you log in to your online account. That can make it easier to monitor account activity, such as purchases or wire transfer requests, to help you detect and avoid fraud.
Fees to Watch Out For
This card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee, which is great if you're looking to avoid high fees with a rewards card. One thing to note is that while purchases enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 9 billing cycles after which the rate becomes 12.24% to 22.24% depending on creditworthiness, there's no promotional APR for balance transfers. That could make it a less than ideal choice if you have a balance to transfer.
The Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard is indeed travel-centric. Its most generous rewards are for travel purchases booked through Bank Of America’s Travel Center, and its best redemption options are to convert points into a statement credit to offset travel purchases or to use points directly to buy more travel from the Travel Center.
The card offers no premium travel benefits. Unlike some cards that impose a charge of 3% or so on purchases made outside the country, though, it has no foreign transaction fee—which makes it helpful for both business travel abroad and when ordering from international suppliers.
The 0% APR offer with the Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard doesn't extend to balance transfers, but its 9-plus-month break on paying interest on new purchases could be a boon for your business’s cash flow.
This card's appeal diminishes, though, when it comes to its rewards and redemption options. Points must be used for travel for the best redemption value, and can’t be transferred to other programs. Unless you book through the Bank of America Travel Center, you'll earn a modest 1.5 points per dollar on travel, rather than 3 points, with the same 1.5-point rewards on everything else you buy. Businesses that have at least $20,000 in a Bank of America or Merrill business account can boost those earnings by between 25% and 75%, but such a balance may be beyond the financial means of many small businesses.