Friday, 20 September 2019

Get More Flexibility, Better Rewards with New Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card Changes

Get More Flexibility, Better Rewards with New Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card Changes
14 Dec
5:39

Earning higher rewards in more spending categories and the chance to switch them monthly instead of quarterly are two new welcome benefits offered with the new Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card. The card’s new rewards program, announced Dec. 10, will be available on Jan. 14, 2019. Those currently holding the card will be automatically converted to the new program. We’ll look at the pros and cons of this card and review the Huntington Voice Credit Card® as a possible alternative.

What we like

The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card will give customers 3% cash back when they spend in six categories: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores and home improvement and furnishings. It covers popular categories you’d expect, but also includes online shopping, drug stores and home improvement, which usually aren’t targeted for higher rewards. Cardmembers still receive 2% cash back for spending at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% for everything else.

This card allows cardmembers to switch higher cashback categories once a month instead of quarterly, like other competing credit cards. But if you forget or don’t wish the category to change, it will stay on the last category chosen. In January, the card will automatically be set to gas for higher cash back, although you can change it.

The flexibility to change spending categories every month allows you to better plan your credit card spending. For example, if you’re working on home renovations one month, setting your cash back to the home improvement category could be a great benefit.

Cardholders can earn even more cash back if they are a Bank of America customer who also belongs to the Preferred Rewards program. Members get a 25% to 75% rewards bonus every time they use the card, depending on their program status — gold, platinum or platinum honors. Terms may apply.

Rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit, a check, an electronic deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account or an eligible Cash Management Account® with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management® or Merrill Edge®. This card will also allow you to redeem cash back into an eligible 529 college savings plan account.

What we don’t like

There are aspects about the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card that may not be as appealing to potential cardholders, as there are cashback cards that offer more points per dollar spent, both with and without quarterly spending caps.

While it’s nice to earn more cash back in those six categories, the maximum on spending remains at $2,500 per quarter for those higher rewards. Once you hit that maximum amount, the rewards drop to 1% cash back per dollar spent.

If you’re looking for travel and purchase perks, you won’t find them with this card. Instead, you’ll only receive a free FICO® credit score monthly. Other cards in the rotating cashback card category offer perks such as travel and car rental insurance, extended warranty and access to a concierge.

Card alternative: Huntington Voice Credit Card®

Huntington Voice Credit Card®

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on Huntington National Bank’s secure website

Huntington Voice Credit Card®

Regular Purchase APR
13.99% – 27.99% Variable
Intro BT APR
0.00% Introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles following account opening on any balance transfer made within the first 90 days following account opening.
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.
Balance Transfer Fee
The greater of $10.00 or 3% of the amount of each Balance Transfer.

If you want a card that offers rewards in more categories than the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card, you may want to consider the Huntington Voice Credit Card®.

The card offers 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points. Earn those higher points in the following 10 categories: gas stations; travel and entertainment; restaurants; discount and warehouse stores; grocery stores; utilities and office supply stores; electronics, computer and camera stores; department, apparel and sporting goods stores; auto parts and service stores; and home improvement stores.

Although the Huntington Voice Credit Card® offers more categories where you earn higher cash back, you can only make cashback category changes once a quarter, rather than monthly like the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card. Plus the cap for earning higher rewards is $500 lower — at $2,000 — with the Huntington Voice Credit Card®. After hitting that cap, it drops to the lowest points per $1 spent, also does the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card.

The Huntington Voice Credit Card® does offer more options when it comes time to redeem your rewards. You can use them for cash, gift cards, retail merchandise or travel, which is much more flexible than the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card.

Final thoughts

Bank of America should be lauded for changing the game when it comes to rotating cashback category credit cards and expanding its higher cashback categories.

Thanks to the monthly schedule, cardholders who plan properly can get the best cash back every month as they strategize their spending. Plus, they still earn higher cash back for spending at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and earn bonus rewards as a Bank of America Preferred Rewards customer.

Still, there are other cashback cards that offer more points per dollar spent in more categories, even with quarterly-only changes. There are also cards that give you more options when it comes time to redeem your rewards. And if you’re looking for travel and purchase perks, the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card is not the one to choose.

The Huntington Voice Credit Card® offers more categories and similar rewards to the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card — but you’ll only earn them for spending up to $2,000 a quarter, which isn’t as generous as the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card.

The Huntington Voice Credit Card® doesn’t allow you to earn bonus points like the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card, but you do have more ways to redeem your rewards. And like the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card, the Huntington Voice Credit Card® doesn’t offer travel or purchase protection perks.

How do you decide between the two cards? Look at the categories for higher rewards and ways to redeem the points you earn. Choose the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card if you want more choices on rotating categories with higher rewards and the ability to change them monthly. Go with the Huntington Voice Credit Card® if you want more categories that not only lets you earn higher rewards, but gives you more ways to redeem them.

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Benét J. Wilson

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Source: https://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/credit-cards-2/b-of-a-cash-rewards-credit-card-changes/

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