Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card overview
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a solid cash-back credit card, offering a customizable rewards structure that is great for anyone whose spending habits change throughout the year. The card can become especially lucrative for anyone with significant banking or investing relationships with Bank of America. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Although Bank of America’s credit card lineup may not be as flashy as the travel cards offered by issuers like Chase or Amex, that doesn’t mean you should count them out when considering your rewards strategy.
Some of these cards have a lot to offer — especially if you’re an existing Bank of America customer. In particular, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers a unique choose-your-bonus-spending-category rewards structure and sign-up bonus for no annual fee, meaning it might earn it a place in your wallet. Note that approved cardholders generally have a credit score of 670 or higher.
Let’s dig into the card details to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Customized Cash Rewards Card welcome bonus
The Customized Cash Rewards Card currently offers a $200 cash back bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. It’s certainly not the most competitive bonus, but it’s easy to earn and on par with other no-annual-fee credit card bonuses.
If you’re interested in travel, specifically, a $200 bonus isn’t going to get you a round-trip ticket internationally. Still, you can find some domestic fares for under $200, depending on where you live. Plus, $200 is a nice discount on a more expensive plane ticket. You can also use the bonus cash back to cover general expenses, which may be preferable for those not traveling soon.
Customized Cash Rewards Card benefits
The Customized Cash Rewards Card charges no annual fee, so don’t expect premium benefits like lounge access or travel credits.
The card’s main asset is its rewards structure, which we’ll dig into below. Otherwise, the card offers standard credit card protections and benefits, including account alerts, a way to check your FICO score for free and fraud protection.
Earning cash back on the Customized Cash Rewards Card
Cardholders earn 3% cash back on one of the following categories: gas and EV charging stations, online shopping (including cable, streaming, internet, and phone services), dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement/furnishings. You’ll also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Note that there’s a $2,500 cap on combined 3% and 2% cash back purchases each quarter. Beyond that, you’ll earn 1% cash back.
Bank of America allows you to change your selected 3% cash back category each month, so you can easily customize this rewards structure to fit your needs. Are you going on a trip in the winter? Select travel as your bonus category for the month you book your trip. Plan on replacing some of the plumbing in your bathroom in the fall? Pick home services that month to earn bonus rewards on the service.
Maximizing cash back with Preferred Rewards
If you are eligible to enroll in Bank of America Preferred Rewards, this card could earn even more cash back. To enroll, you’ll need an eligible Bank of America personal checking account and a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more in a Bank of America or Merrill investment account. You can fall into three tiers based on your three-month average account balance, and you earn a cash back bonus of 25%-75%, depending on your tier. Here’s how it all adds up.
|Tier 1 — Gold ($20,000 — $49,999)
|Tier 2 — Platinum ($50,000 — $99,999)
|Tier 3 — Platinum Honors ($100,000 – $1M)
|Tier 4 – Diamond ($1M – $10M)
|3% bonus category
|3% cash back
|3.75% cash back
|4.5% cash back
|5.25% cash back
|5.25% cash back
|2% bonus categories
|2% cash back
|2.5% cash back
|3% cash back
|3.5% cash back
|3.5% cash back
|1% cash back
|1.25% cash back
|1.5% cash back
|1.75% cash back
|1.75% cash back
The Preferred Rewards program also offers an interest-rate booster for eligible savings accounts, among other banking and investment perks.
If you qualify for Platinum Honors or higher, you can earn up to $131.25 in bonus cash each quarter. That’s $525 every year for only $10,000 in annual bonus-category spending. Remember that this card doesn’t charge an annual fee, so for those who already qualify for the Preferred Rewards program, you’re essentially getting up to $525 in free bonus cash back annually.
Redeeming cash back on the Customized Cash Rewards Card
Unfortunately, the redemption options for the Customized Cash Rewards Card are limited. You currently have four options:
- Redeem your cash back as a statement credit.
- Deposit your cash back into an eligible Bank of America checking or savings account or Merrill account.
- Redeem as a contribution to a qualifying 529 plan with Merrill.
- Redeem for a check.
Note that you can redeem your rewards for a statement credit with no minimum, but there is a minimum of $25 per redemption with any of the other three options.
If you are an existing Bank of America or Merrill customer, you can easily use your cash back to contribute to your accounts. However, if you’re hoping to find added value by redeeming for travel, this card isn’t the best fit.
You’ll get a fixed-rate value of 1 cent per dollar regardless of how you redeem your rewards. Although savvy travelers might find cash back lackluster as a rewards option, beginner travelers or those just looking to save on everyday expenses will enjoy the simplicity of the rewards program. You don’t have to worry about reward valuations shifting or subpar redemption options. No matter how you plan on redeeming, you’re getting the same value out of cash back.
For instance, TPG credit card writer Emily Thompson uses cash-back cards in her credit card strategy because of their versatility to cover anything from travel expenses to unexpected home repairs.
Which cards compete with the Customized Cash Rewards Card?
- If you want to earn travel rewards: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers unlimited 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases and does not charge an annual fee. For more details, see our full review of the BofA Travel Rewards card.
- If you want to earn flat-rate cash-back: The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and carries no annual fee. For more details, see our full review of the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card.
- If you aren’t an existing Bank of America customer: The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card earns 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose, plus 2% cash back on one everyday category, like gas stations/electric vehicle charging stations, grocery stores or restaurants. The card comes with no annual fee. For more details, see our full review of the U.S. Bank Cash+.
The information for the U.S. Bank Cash+® has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Is the Customized Cash Rewards Card worth it?
With no annual fee and a high earning potential for cardholders who qualify for Bank of America Preferred Rewards®, this card is great for busy families or those whose spending habits fluctuate throughout the year. However, the card limits its bonus categories to $2,500 in combined spending each quarter, so those who spend more than that might find more value with another card.
If you qualify for Preferred Rewards through Bank of America, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card has the potential to offer lucrative rewards for smaller budgets. However, those who don’t bank with Bank of America will probably get more value from one of our other favorite credit cards.