My Unpopular Bank of America Strategy – The Three Cards I’m Pursuing
I’ve recently (and surprisingly) found myself eligible for new credit card welcome offers with Bank of America. This was more unintentional than a planned strategy. With Bank of America’s welcome offer rules, it’s not overly difficult to become eligible fairly quickly. Bank of America has 3/12 and 7/12 rules for new credit card accounts. Especially with a Bank of America bank account, one can easily fall under the 7/12 without much, or any, effort. Consequently, I’ve formed a new Bank of America strategy, albeit one that not many (if any) may pursue. Here it is!
#1. Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard
As a longtime fan of Amtrak travel, I’ve held this no fee card several times. But recently, BOA closed my account due to inactivity! I should’ve known better, but I ended up taking this card for granted given my other priorities. Indeed, I want to get back on the Amtrak train, figuratively and literally. The card earns 2x points on Amtrak spend and 1x on everything else, but what does that mean? Amtrak point value is impressive – I have reliably obtained 2.9 cents per point on all long-haul travel and 2.5 cents per point on Acela bookings. Importantly, I can still find these valuations online currently. Given I focus on long-haul sleeper car travel on Amtrak, I could easily deplete my pot of Amtrak points quickly.
Since I largely avoid paying for travel, the no fee Platinum Mastercard is a no-brainer for me. Those who spend substantially may want to consider the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard, which earns 3x on Amtrak, 2x on travel, and 1x spend everywhere else. This $79 annual fee card comes with many other perks, like a companion coupon, an upgrade, a lounge pass, and the option to spend to help achieve elite status. I may go after this one again as my #4 card with BOA.
#2. Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard
I’ve never held a Virgin Atlantic card, so I chalk some of my interest up to that curiosity. The 65k point welcome offer is solid but has been better in the past; I can hold my nose with its $90 annual fee – for the first year, at least. I’m also trying to be more open-minded about earning with foreign carriers and their credit cards. I like the 1.5 points everywhere earning; since I won’t be paying for flights, the card’s 3x earning for Virgin Atlantic spend are inconsequential. Likewise, the companion reward and tier point earning are nice but not huge to me. So, why am I including this card, other than the 1.5 points everywhere earning?
A few more reasons. I like Virgin Atlantic’s access to Delta awards, particularly domestically. I can easily book one-way tickets from 12,500 miles. The catch is flights are priced per segment, so sticking to nonstop flights is the key here. I’m also a fan of their reasonable economy rates to the UK. Mark has shared how to book Delta with Virgin Atlantic points, and Ryan S has described other great Virgin sweet spots. Also, in a pinch, I can transfer to Hilton, if necessary, but the transfer rate is 2 Virgin: 3 Hilton. Transfer to IHG is also an option, but at an even worse 1:1 ratio. Nonetheless, I like this escape plan for Virgin points.
#3. Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card
I also have never held an Alaska credit card – I’m long overdue. One major reason is I’ve mostly considered the Alaska credit cards an exercise in buying miles. Indeed, many have taken this process to the extreme in the past. But now, I’m finally planning to pull the trigger on an Alaska card application. Why?
The 40k welcome offer for the Alaska Business card currently comes with a $200 statement credit. The buy miles exercise has become a miles and free money exercise! Taking into account the $75 annual fee, that’s $125 in free money plus 40k miles with $2k spend in the first 90 days. I’m also in a position where I might take advantage of Alaska’s companion fare in the foreseeable future. Beyond the clear first year value, though, it’ll be a quick closure once year two begins.
What I’m NOT Pursuing
I’m not interested in any cards dealing with Bank of America’s program, including the Premium Rewards, Travel Rewards, or Cash Rewards cards. Why? Primarily because I have no interest in participating in BOA’s Preferred Rewards program. Sure, these cards provide solid rewards without Preferred Rewards status, but I can do better with cards elsewhere. Of course, many love Preferred Rewards and gain substantial rewards, but it’s not the optimal move for my situation.
Bank of America Strategy – Conclusion
That’s my near-term plan for pursuing Bank of America cards. Of course, based on fluctuating welcome offers and other factors, the order may change. Since I’ve unexpectedly pursued less welcome offers in the past year, I was pleasantly surprised when BOA became an option again! This example was a nice reminder that my changing behavior, sometimes unintentional, can lead to new opportunities. That’s why it’s wise to come up for air periodically in this hobby. Have you obtained any new Bank of America cards recently? Which ones and why?