Don’t Sleep on Bank of America – Here’s Why I’m Not This Year

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Recent Successes with Bank of America, A Year In the Making

Bank of America Cards

Bank of America has never been a high priority for me.  I’m not interested in the bank’s loyalty program, the card lineup isn’t hugely attractive, welcome offers aren’t often noteworthy, and bank rules can get in the way.  But ever since opening a few cards earlier last year, I’ve checked in on Bank of America cards periodically.  While some banks bore me more than others, I know I can miss out on easy rewards if I completely ignore them.  Here’s where I currently stand with Bank of America cards and my plans for 2022.

RELATED: My Simple Bank Of America Fraud Call Ended With A 2 Hour Visit To A Branch

A Quick Refresher

Bank of America Application Rules

My wife and I opened Bank of America checking accounts prior to applying for credit cards, and that greatly assisted in restarting our BOA credit card relationships last year.  Bank of America has two variations of the same application rule, what many refer to as 3/12 and 7/12:

  • If you do not have a deposit account with Bank of America, your credit card application will be denied if you have obtained three or more new cards in the past 12 months.
  • If you have a deposit account with Bank of America, your credit card application will be denied if you have obtained seven or more new cards in the past 12 months.

In addition, Bank of America limits personal cards to two every two months, three every 12 months, and four every 24 months.  Also, as Ryan S recently reminded me, some banks don’t consider business accounts which aren’t listed on a personal credit report.  Many active hobbyists may be eligible for new cards earlier than they think.

RELATED: A Breakdown Of Application Rules For Every Bank

Our Bank of America Cards

My wife and I opened the following Bank of America cards over the past year:

  • Amtrak Platinum Mastercard (2)
  • Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard (2)
  • Sonesta World Mastercard

Bank of America Cards We’re Keeping

My wife and I are each keeping our Amtrak Platinum Mastercard accounts open.  While the card only earns 1x on most spend, we’ve historically found value with Amtrak redemptions of almost 3 cents per point with a bit of flexibility.  Another perk of this card is that we receive a 5% rebate on Amtrak redemptions, essentially making the points worth a bit more.  We also avoid point expiration simply by keeping the accounts open.  Interestingly, it’s not currently possible to apply for an Amtrak card with Bank of America.  Keeping these cards open is a no-brainer decision for us.

We enjoyed receiving generous welcome offers on our Air France KLM World Elite Mastercards last year.  While the $89 annual fee will kick in during the second year, we receive 5k miles at account anniversary by simply spending $50 on the card over the last year.  I enjoy the card’s 1.5x everywhere earning and easily avoiding miles expiration with periodic purchases.  Domestic sweet spots exist for using these miles, and I have more work to do there.  We’ll try for retention offers and keep the cards, regardless.

Bank of America Cards

We’re Closing This

Sayonara, Sonesta.  Mark (and many others) have laughed at me ever since I obtained this card last year.  While I plan to close the card, I’m not admitting a mistake.  In terms of which BOA card to select, it was the best decision for me at the time.  But since applying, other banks have incentivized spend on other cards so much that I haven’t bothered with the Sonesta card even to meet the big spend bonus.  I can’t justify paying the $75 annual fee which kicks in this year, and I’d like to keep a relatively slim portfolio of Bank of America cards.  A retention offer probably won’t keep me around, either.  Remember, Bank of America supposedly has a five personal credit card account limit.

Bank of America Cards

Bank of America Cards We’re Pursuing

Of course, we’d like to focus our applications on cards providing elevated welcome offers.  Right now, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card is in that category.  Bank of America is offering 60k miles plus a $100 statement credit for $3k spend within three months of account opening.  The card also comes with the “famous” Companion Fare.  This offer interests us even without taking that perk into account.  The welcome offer on this card has been slightly higher in the past but required much more spend ($8k versus $3k).  The wife applied for this one recently and was approved.  I will probably do so, as well, but one matter may change my mind.

Bank of America Cards

If the Virgin Atlantic World Mastercard welcome offer improves, we may go after that card, instead.  Currently, the card’s welcome offer is only 30k miles for the first cardmember year.  One can earn more miles, but that requires additional account holders or keeping the card into the second cardmember year.  And the $90 annual fee starts the first year.

Those are the only two cards on our list currently.  That works out fine for us, because I’ve hit the application velocity limit, anyway, and my wife will with one more approved application.  Again, we’re self-selecting out of all flagship Bank of America cards and many of the cobranded ones.  We have zero interest in Bank of America’s cruise or discount airline cards.

Conclusion

Bank of America is doing just enough to keep our attention, primarily due to the elevated Alaska card offer.  The uncertainty related to the Amtrak cards is huge for us.  We’ve held each of those cards multiple times and repeatedly obtained points from welcome offers.  We had planned to do so again with the annual fee card version, but that’s one less option for us now.  Our relationship with Bank of America may be starting to wind down, at least with new cards.  But Bank of America still remains a substantial player in our hobby, albeit a secondary one.  What have you been up to with Bank of America lately?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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10 COMMENTS

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10 COMMENTS

  1. FYI Bank of America is a services for cards like Alaska, Virgin etc, it’s not the banks own cards. So those companies set the rules. So unless you have an actual Bank of America card, the others are simply serviced by the bank…

    • DjG,
      I recall my welcome offer was 50k miles plus $100 statement credit. I don’t recall seeing a better offer.

  2. BOA Spirit MC is strong, if like us you are near a Spirit hub or have key routes nearby, and have some extra spend to put somewhere, it’s an easy reach to Spirit status in 2022.

  3. My wife and I killed it on BOA over the past 14 months since we’ve exhausted many other credit card options. Here was our take:
    Alaska personal 60K + $100 (2)
    Flying Blue 50K (5)
    Virgin Atlantic 65K (1)
    Alaska business 60K (2)

        • Yes, 5 Flying Blue cards (3 for my wife, 2 for me). Once we got the Alaska personal we can’t get that again for 24 months after closing it, so then we focused on Flying Blue cards in accordance with BOA’s 2/3/4 rule (since Flying Blue doesn’t have the 24 months restriction like Alaska personal card). I did get one VA card when that bonus went up to 65K, but otherwise the FB cards were the best bonus. So my wife and I got 4 BOA personal cards each over 14 months and 1 business card.

          • Do they issue the cards in exactly same name, address, SSN? Or something else? The only time I’ve received a duplicate card, it was a BOA Spirit card, on a flight I /s/ up for the bonus and the only thing I did differently was used my shortened name vs. my full first name. Is that even necessary? TIA!

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