Posted by William Charles on January 11, 2019
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Published on January 11th, 2019 | by William Charles

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Bank Of America Cash Rewards Card Now Lets You Choose Your 3% Category [Now Live]

Update 1/11/2019: Looks like the ability to choose your own category is now live. This is being slowly rolled out, so you might not see the option yet. Hat tip to reader SCJ

 

Bank of America has announced that on January 14th cash rewards cardholders will be able to choose one of six categories to earn 3% cash back in. The categories are as follows: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishings. Cardholders will continue to earn 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% back on all other purchase. Previously cardholders automatically earned 3% cash back on gas stations with no option to choose. On January 14th the initial category will be set to gas but cardholders will have the opportunity to change that to one of the list categories above.

This card becomes particularly interesting when you remember that the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program applies, meaning you can get a further 25-75% points on points earning. This means that 3x category becomes 5.25x at the highest level. The downside is that the 3x & 2x category are limited to $2,500 per quarter, after spending $2,500 those categories earn 1x points instead. It’s currently possible to get a sign up bonus of $200 on the personal version of this card.  Bank of America also announced a similar change will becoming to the Business Advantage Cash Rewards card ‘sometime in 2019’ with the 3x options being: business consulting services, computer services, gas stations, office supply stores, travel and TV, telecom and wireless.

 



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NinjaX
NinjaX

i see BofA is slow but steady…

Abey

Lol

Jeremy
Jeremy

BoA has done a huge turn around since the Financial Meltdown. I used to avoid them like the plague. I now find their service to be on-par with Chase. If they had some transfer partners, they could make some noise.

Zac
Zac

No minimum redemption. That’s great!

Dom
Dom

2500

Steve

According to the press release, “no minimum requirement when making a one-time redemption into an eligible Bank of America account”.

Hari
Hari

Thats the Earn limit. Zac is talking about redeeming the cash back which has no minimum.

Explore
Explore

Online shopping at 5.25% and wholesale clubs at 3.5% would be my usual setup. (100k combined assets) The ability to choose a high earning category every month is an extremely useful benefit.

PS I wish they would eliminate the 3% foreign-transaction fee.

fST
fST

Do we know it can be changed monthly? Are you sure it’s not quarterly?

Max
Max

yes, it can be changed on the first of the month according to BOFA’s terms and conditions

York
York

Online Shopping is an interesting category. Wonder if it’s going to apply to Amazon, eBay, and gift card sites

Zac
Zac

Also wonder online purchases via Paypal?

sdsearch
sdsearch

I hope it’s more reliable than the Online Shopping that gives 3x for the Citi AT&T Access More and 2x for the AT&T Access (no AF version). There”s a giant list of websites known to either work directly, work only via PayPal (not directly), or not work at all for those cards (in the wiki of the AT&T Access More thread in the Citi forum on FlyerTalk). For example, the big photo equipment stores (like Adorama and B&H) apparently only give 2x/3x at Citi when using PayPal, not when paying directly. What’s up with that, is buying photo equipment online not “online shopping”???

bob
bob

I asked this on Twitter. Paypal may work, may not, but things like Utilities, Hospital/medical charges, etc will not code as “shopping’.

I think it’s going to be some trial & error, b/c it’s gotta code as “Retail” or whatever. I’m going to choose Drug Stores for the first quarter, if only b/c i know that’ll work.

51hh
51hh

Online shopping and online payment are unfortunately too far apart. Or else, it could be a 5.25% card for most charges.

I am a frequent visitor for restaurants. Thus great benefits after the 5% Citi student card. I have two BofA 1-2-3 cards, setting the other card to gasoline for now, pending exploring the online shopping loopholes.

Josho
Josho

Adding a DP to this thread that giftcardmall counts towards online shopping category. Purchased roughly $2700 in VGCs from GCM which resulted in just under 3% cashback (since over the $2500 quarterly limit).

Denis
Denis

Good news.
Ability to change 3% category monthly not so bad as well

cowsareverywhere
cowsareverywhere

Does BofA allow product changes?

Abey
Max
Max

Product changed from the Merrill+ to Premium Rewards, so it’s definitely possible to product change…I believe the card has to be open for at least 12 months though

cowsareverywhere
cowsareverywhere

Hmm thanks, P2’s first card ever was a 0% BankAmeriCard that has no rewards and she doesn’t use that card at all. Gonna have to call in and see.

Scott
Scott

I product changed my BankAmericard to a Cash Rewards. Honestly, I called about 10 CSRs while trying to product change. All of them refused to make it happen for me. A few of them just transferred me around to other CSRs which was annoying. Finally received a product change offer to the Cash Rewards by snail mail a few weeks later. Seems like the calls triggered the mail but hard to say. No clue why they would not product change me at first but then allow me to just weeks later…

Max
Max

I was able to change from an ancient Power Rewards I got in college to the Cash Rewards earlier this year. No hassle, except it took about a month to receive the new card. I was working on a MSR and didn’t spend on the outgoing card so I don’t know if it ever earned at the new rates ahead of time.

grrizzly
grrizzly

I had a product change from an Alaska card to Cash Rewards. It was easy around June 2017.

Robert
Robert

Interesting. In June of 2018 I was not allowed to do a product change from a Alaska card to anything else. However, I only spoke with 1 Customer Service Rep.

Bill
Bill

I just did this. It took a while, but they put it through. What was really strange is that it looks like because it’s PC’d from that, it’s a Visa Signature card instead of a Mastercard.

With any luck, that will also give me no FTF, which is handy for buying stuff online internationally, but hard to say since it’s only just changed in the website and I haven’t received any new paperwork.

bob
bob

interesting. So “Drug stores” seems like the easy-to-max category. But $5.95 (or is it $6.95) on every $500, plus (for me) $2.00 per $500 Money Order at the grocer. That’s a little more than 1.5% in fees.

But: a pure ~1.4% profit. Let the cashback accrue for a while, hope that BoA offers a bonus to open a new checking acct, and grab that extra 10%

I wonder what Online shopping constitutes? If it’s “Buy Simon Cards online” or “pay your gardener via Paypal”, then it’s even higher profit.

Abey

Good point.

Skippy
Skippy

You can also get the extra 10% in a savings account. Keeping $300 in the account avoids any fees.

Max
Max

As of last year, it’s now $500 for the savings. $300 was for the old “Regular Savings” product that no longer exists

EastsideBK
EastsideBK

Skippy, I didn’t think you got the 10% savings bonus if you already got the 75% Preferred Rewards bonus (for at least 100k in assets)? Can anyone confirm that its one bonus or the other, not both?

Lrdx
Lrdx

Preferred rewards bonus replaces the 10% customer bonus, it’s not in addition.

Jay
Jay

I believe you are correct–I have the 75% preferred rewards bump and do not get an extra 10% for my checking account

Francesco
Francesco

Do you get the extra 75% on each CC statement or at the time you redeem cash rewards? Wondering if becoming a Preferred Rewards would get me the bump on cash rewards that I have already earned but not redeemed yet.

Y
Y

You get the extra 75% when you redeem. Getting a Preferred Rewards status would add 75% to the cash rewards earned but not yet redeemed. I think it may even apply to the $200 sign-up bonus as well.

Denis
Denis

With a Cash Rewards Card, you get Preferred Rewards bonus when you redeem, but for the Premium Rewards card the bonus is added when a transaction is posted.

Skippy
Skippy

I see others have answered already. I don’t have Preferred Rewards status, so for me the savings account is a way to get a small boost on my rewards.

Denis
Denis

I can confirm it too, that 10% bonus is considered as a lowest tier for just having a saving account. Preferred Rewards bonus replaces it. But what is not so obvious, your Preferred Rewards status is set for your membership year. I mean if you qualify for a certain tier and then move all your money from BofA to somewhere else your status will remain the same until your membership year end + 2 months.

Denis
Denis

Let me clarify how these tiers work. Let’s say you enrolled into Preferred Rewards program in August 2018 and in October you qualified for a Platinum tier. If you transfer all your money from BofA after that to another bank you are still on a Platinum tier. In August 2019 you’ll receive a snail mail from BofA saying that you have time until November 30 2019 to restore your status. If you don’t do anything on around December 05 2019 your status changes according to your average balances in Sept – Nov 2019.

Superman
Superman

And is homedepot.com considered online shopping, home improvement and furnishings, or both?

Jeremy
Jeremy

Plastiq would be nice.

Rocky
Rocky

Will convert my useless Travel Card to Cash card again, if Plastiq works it would be the 7th wonder , .5% back on rent is good enough.

toddo
toddo

What category would plastiq fall under?

Mr. PTM

Using my Upromise as a proxy (diff. bank, same MC network), it shows as “Utilities – Gas, Water, Sanitary, Electric” (this was for a student loan payment).

Keith
Keith

Can we get multiple Bank Of America Cash Rewards Cards??

Abey

There is no hard limit on the amount of credit cards you can have with them. They are more concerned about the total credit limit that they extend you. Sometimes they will automatically reallocate credit limits from existing cards to approve you. Some people are being limited to four cards.

It’s possible to churn Bank of America cards. In the past there hasn’t been any waiting period (even possible to get multiples of the same card in the same day), but it now seems like they are more strict on this. Also keep in mind what we mentioned above about them sometimes offering inferior versions of the same card.

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/things-everybody-should-know-about-bank-of-america/

Abey

Time to scrub off the muld of this card (its actually my first and oldest card at 10.5 years)
Drug stores / online shopping are good options.

86
86

+1

Mateo
Mateo

Note that gas is already a 3 percent reward category, so by choosing another category, you cannot still get 3 percent on gas. I also wonder whether “online shopping” will encompass online purchases of travel. If so, then this would be a monster category, especially for premium rewards clients who will get 5.25 percent on this. I wish they’d add groceries under the 3 percent category.

Max
Max

I believe it will cover all Apple Pay purchases, so if you pay for your groceries with Apple Pay, you would get 5.25% back

Lrdx
Lrdx

I have my doubts if Apple Pay would be considered as online shopping..

Jeremy
Jeremy

I doubt mobile wallets will count as online transactions, but it’d be a huge win if it did or was a category.

Bill
Bill

There are other cards that offer 4-5% back on gas, so this is a positive announcement.

Bill
Bill

But gas is generally 5% category at Chase and Discover at least once and sometimes twice a year. I am happy to give up the .25% extra I’d get with this card to be able to get 5% on something entirely different. Plus the 5% is worth more than that at Discover if you cash out to gift cards, and the Freedom 5% is worth more if you have a CSR or CSP.

calwatch
calwatch

I rarely use gas now that gas GC are available at most groceries, Best Buy, etc. (good for the categories).

Bill
Bill

Perhaps, but I try to buy gas at Costco and if I buy Costco gift cards, I only get 3.5% back, unless I buy when wholesale clubs are a 5% category.

t
t

Then maybe you should buy vgc/mcgc at a 5% category place and buy Costco cashcard with it since you can pay Costco gas with Cash card.

Fork
Fork

wow this is fantastic news for those of us with multiple CR cards that can bag the 75% bonus. Much easier to MS at drug stores vs gas stations.

Fred
Fred

Some people have multiple unbranded Cash Rewards cards; other people have a Cash Rewards card and an MLB card or a NEA card, which have the same rewards system. So the question is, will BofA let me choose 3% gas on my MLB Cash Rewards card and 3% travel on my unbranded Cash Rewards card?

Tom
Tom

I was wondering the same thing. We’ll probably just have to wait and see.

Max
Max

As far as I can tell, yes

Rabbmd
Rabbmd

I wonder if Plastiq will count as online shopping specifically on the mlb mastercard version? Getting 5.25% cash back with the fee free dollars I have saved from the last promo on $2500 per quarter would be sweet.

Tom
Tom

Indeed it would, my friend, indeed it would.

Mateo
Mateo

Yeah. That would be amazing if Platiq would count as “online shopping”. Then every payment on Plastiq would yield the a payer who is a BOA Premium Rewards client 5.25 percent minus Plastiq’s 2.5 percent fee = 2.75 percent.

By the way, is it possible to set up Plastiq do do automatic monthly payments, such as for a mortgage, so
that one does not have to practically make a payment each month to pay off a monthly mortgage?

Jeremy
Jeremy

Yes, it’s pretty easier to setup recurring payments with Plastiq. If you go to make a payment, there’s a check-box that asks if it’s recurring. I have my auto loan (at 0%) paid via Plastiq automatically. It even warns me 3 days before it charges my card.

Troll
Troll

What card are you currently using for Plastiq?

Abey

I use Amex business blue plus, 2x MR on every purchase up to 50K. This is imo the best card for a non category spend plus no AF.

yelzin
yelzin

any news?

Sam
Sam

Someone on reddit figures it is per account holder, not per card.

Max
Max

Bank of America’s system is not that advanced, it’ll be per card. They may shut down multiple cards that overabuse, but it will not be per account holder.

Steve

BofA does have some things that are per accountholder, not per card, such as BankAmeriDeals.

Mike Advantage
Mike Advantage

I actually have 4 of these cards where I can select my own category. Did we ever find out for sure if we’re able to choose a different category for each one and do $2,500 + $2,500 + $2,500 + $2,500 per year?

Todd
Todd

Is this true that one account can select different categories on separate cards?

Fred
Fred

Yes. I have multiple cash rewards (each of them is branded differently although I doubt that makes a difference) and have selected different categories. Also, I have separate caps.

Charlie
Charlie

Without groceries as an eligible category, this offer is ho hum.

Lrdx
Lrdx

Groceries is a fixed 2% category.

Charlie
Charlie

That’s my point. 2% is no better than the flat rate cash back cards such as Citi Double Cash, Fidelity, PenFed Power Cash, PayPal, etc. The option of selecting groceries for the 3% would make the BoA card a winner.

Jeremy
Jeremy

If you have preferred rewards, you can get an extra 25-75% on top of the 2%, so you’d get 2.5 – 3.5%, but BoA does count the 2 and 3% categories towards the total $2500/quarter. This is actually the best card to use at Costco if you have the top tier. Not even the Costco card gives 3.5% back at Costco/Wholesale Clubs.

Roger
Roger

FYI: US Bank Altitude via Google Pay is much better option at costco ( 3 x 1.5 = 4.5% cashback) and no limit.

Jeremy
Jeremy

It’s an annual fee vs. none for an extra 1% you must use on travel vs. cash with BoA.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

Yep. I use Samsung Pay with the Altitude card and get 4.5% on all my billions in purchases from Costco. 😀

Using the points on travel is no problem for me, but might be an issue for those who don’t really travel a lot.

John
John

Yep. That’s what I do too. I use Altitude to buy Costco gift cards so I can get 4.5% online and at the gas station.

TomTX
TomTX

Though it is a bit harder to cash out points from the Altitude.

RD
RD

Except BofA issues Mastercards to some people (CSR tells me it’s based on state?), and Costco only accepts Visas.

Jeremy
Jeremy

Can you request it be changed to Visa?

Etreju
Etreju

Check out the co-branded cards. WWF etc. are listed as VISA.

John
John

You can buy Costco gift cards at Costco.com with any credit card.

Lrdx
Lrdx

For all my BofA cards I applied for in branch (don’t ask why), I got asked if I wanted it as Visa or MC.

Lrdx
Lrdx

Time to apply for 6 different cash rewards cards, and get 5.25% on.. everything!

Sam
Sam

Someone on reddit figures it is per account holder, not per card.

Lrdx
Lrdx

Phew, I got worried for BofA for a second. (lol no.)

With P2, it’s still at least 2x categories.

Rabbmd
Rabbmd

I currently have two cash rewards and can personally attest that the $2500 cap per quarter is Currently $2500 per card. They could change that of course going forward.

Bill
Bill

I’m sure you’re just joking, but how liberal is BofA on approving extra accounts? I currently have a PR, TR, and 2 Cash Rewards cards — one regular and one MLB. I was thinking of applying for another one but don’t want to get rejected. Amusingly, when I checked for offers on their website, they list the normal CR card as an option. I figure I could apply for different variations so I don’t have 2 of any single card.

I figure I won’t have to worry about using gas as the 5% category for the first 6 months of the year since it’s the quarterly category for Chase and Discover.

johnny
johnny

I would avoid too many BofA cards. They randomly shut down people previously with a bunch of BBR cards. I had 6 BBR, Travel, and Merill+. They randomly shut down travel and 1x BBR card and said I had too many CCs opened with them.. So I haven’t opened a BofA card since I want to keep hold of my BBR.

JB
JB

You could do that, but with BoAs new churning rules, it may take you a few years to accumulate that number of cards.

P
P

Got too excited there for second. Still useless to me as groceries is not one of the categories.

Flea
Flea

Conversely, anything’s better than gas to me, as I live in NYC and don’t drive 🙂

P
P

I live in Hawaii. Gas is expensive and you have to use a car to get to a lot of places but hardly any of the gas station selln gift cards except their own. And our costco gas is 70-80+ cents cheaper usually than regular gas station. So gas is also not very usefully category for me.

PT
PT

Keep in mind that the Cash Rewards gives 3% at Costco gas pumps, at least for me.

I’m amazed at the 70-80c spread though, since I’ve seen it as little as 3c between Costco & Arco (both Top Tier gas).

P
P

Yep. $2.89 at Costco and the cheapest in my area is $3.72

Jeremy
Jeremy

Costco gas has always coded as gas for me. I get the 3% at Costco Gasoline + Preferred Rewards bonus.

Gino
Gino

How are you guys able to pay with a mastercard at Costco? Mine only accepts visa.

RD
RD

Older BofA cash reward cards (and current branded ones, like MLB) were Visas.

Jeremy
Jeremy

You can always call and request it be changed to Visa

Gino
Gino

Had no idea that’s even an option, thanks!!! Just called – will be getting a Visa in 2-4 weeks!

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