Bank of America World Points Redemption: The Best & Worst

Posted by CreditCardGuru

You should exercise caution when redeeming points with the World Points redemption center, otherwise you might get taken for a ride.

Bank of America a.k.a. FIA Card Services have over 48 million cards in circulation. Aside from their own cards, they also issue and manage cards for many small/midsize banks, too. Most of these cards participate in World Points, which is BofA/FIA’s credit card rewards program.

If you are a current cardholder or plan to apply for a Bank of America Visa or MasterCard in the near future please make sure you review and understand the best and worst options for redeeming points.

The Worst?

Unfortunately the “worst” list is going to be quite long, since this is perhaps one of the worst rewards program in 2014.

  • Merchandise: As is true with most point-based reward programs, the merchandise fails to offer a very good point value. For example, the World Points redemption center charges you 14,950 points for a Keurig B31 single-cup coffeemaker. Conversely, you can go on Amazon, Target, Walmart and other websites which all sell it for $100 or less. That means your World Points are only worth about $0.67 each, as where they should be worth a full penny. Not every product has that exact same conversion, but many are still disappointingly inflated in terms of redemption value. I have yet to come across any merchandise which appear to offer a full 1 cent per point value. Even though it can be fun to go on a shopping spree with accumulated points you should resist the temptation and find the best deal through an online retailer. Points get more value from things like airline tickets, hotel nights and gift cards (usually, anyway).
  • World Points cash valueCash rebates under $250: As you can see with the chart on the right, the cash rewards are a lousy deal for smaller increments. The 2,500 points required for the $12.50 check means your points are only worth a 1/2 penny each! This is really a bad deal.
  • Charity donations under $250: I cringe having to put anything involving charity under the “worst” category, but unfortunately the redemption tiers for charitable donations are the same as they are with cash rebate. I’m very disappointed to see Bank of America giving charity such a short shrift.

  • Most partner gift cards under $250: With a lot of credit card reward programs, 10,000 points = $100 partner gift card (1 cent value per point). And with some programs like the new Discover “it” card and the Freedom from Chase, you can even get a full 1 cent per point value for $25 and $50 gift cards. Unfortunately, the Bank of America World Points operate on a somewhat similar scale as their cash rebates (see examples to right). Even the $500 MasterCard/Visa gift cards only give you 0.80 of a cent value. Gift cards should always equate to a penny a point. Most issuers won’t dilute the value of these since the conversion value is so apparent.

World Points gift card examples

The Best?

  • Cash rebates $250 and up: As you saw on the above table, once you hit $250 and above you will be getting a full 1:1 conversion on your World Points redemption.
  • Charity donations $250 and up: Like the cash rebates, once you hit this threshold you will be getting a 1:1 value. I just wish there were more charities available. Last year the only one available on my account was a Red Cross Tsunami Relief Fund. Obviously a noble cause, but that catastrophe was a while back and right now – as a personal preference – I feel more compelled to help areas of the world that have fewer resources, yet are facing urgent calamities, such as the millions whose lives are at risk due to the famine in the horn of Africa. So if you read this Bank of America, let’s get some organizations like World Vision on the list.
  • Most partner gift cards $250 and up: Once you hit $250 most (but not all) of the gift cards give you a penny per point. BP, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Cabelas, Hyatt, Macy’s, Home Depot, Sears, and Walmart are some of the $250 gift cards available for 25,000 points. However a $250 prepaid Apple Vacations MasterCard will set you back 30,000 points, so not all in the $250 and up tier are top value.
  • Some travel redemption options: Because most of the World Points travel rewards are package deals, it’s not always easy to decipher their exact dollar value. However from what I can gather many appear to offer a respectable value. A particular standout is the option of getting a domestic airline ticket of $400 or less for 25,000 points. In theory, that gives up to 1.6 cents per point if your ticket was exactly $400. But the caveat here is that you will get the “lowest coach class fare available” through the Bank of America World Points redemption center, which may or may not be a flight that you like… could be layovers, leaving at an undesirable time of day, etc.
  • Jack Nicklaus rewards plaqueSome “Ultimate Access” options: This is a newer option from BofA – it appears they are trying to replicate what the Chase Sapphire and Citi Thank You Premier is offering. Bank of America describes it as “Experience a whole new level of rewards. Browse our online catalog of once-in-a-lifetime adventures, limited edition memorabilia and never before available access to events and attractions.” Some of the things are quite unique, such as a 16×20 plaque commemorating the 1986 Masters signed by Jack Nicklaus himself (total of 50 available, pictured at right). For 40,000 to 50,000 points each, that’s a cost of $400 to $500 which I would say is fair, considering that you can be confident you are getting the real deal (vs. buying someplace like eBay).

Verdict?

The FIA/Bank of America credit card World Points rewards can give you a decent value, but more often than not it will require you to redeem a high amount of points. If you are only earning 1 point per dollar, I wouldn’t recommend this program. You would be better off earning up to 6% cash back with something like the Blue Cash American Express card or up to 5% cash back with the Chase Freedom rewards.

Written or last updated August 7, 2014


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Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

30 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. Cat December 10, 2014 at 5:19PM

    What a scam. I just redeemed my points for travel and went through the process of making flight reservations with my BOA card. I saw the amount in pending status on my credit card, but never got flight confirmation from anyone. Called and the BOA rep said, “Oh, it must have been a hiccup because it didn’t go through.” What!? He said go back and resubmit it. Wouldn’t you know, the price went up $100 for the same flight! He said call the airline; the airline said it was BOA’s fault. Let the blame game begin. Wow, unbelievable.

  2. Gloria Dallafior October 27, 2014 at 5:01PM

    I called Bank of America Credit Card and they told me to go online to find out what I cam eligible for with my points. Where are they?????

    • Cat December 10, 2014 at 5:21PM

      Gloria, if you click on your credit card account. On the page that comes up, it will say “View my Rewards.” Click on that. On that next page it will show you your Total Available Points. Then go to Redeem or Transfer Points.

  3. Fred Harvey September 1, 2014 at 6:04AM

    Come on folks. Let’s stop bitching about B of A. You all know that they are only in business to fleece the customer. You know that big blob of black granite in front of the B of A building in San Francisco? They don’t call it “A Bankers Heart” for nothing!!!

  4. Jeff Dukis July 15, 2014 at 11:24PM

    I’m going to redeem my points half in Ebay vouchers and half in cash. 2500 points shouldn’t go to waste!!!!!!!!!!
    I’m so glad for this site, I was always curious how the credit card works now I can finally get B of A points for my Subway sandwiches I buy my coworkers! lol :)

  5. Angelo Santarsiero February 5, 2014 at 9:18PM

    I received a notification that I have 25,000 bonus points that are about to expire and I don’t know what the points are used for or how to redeem them.
    Appreciate some help.

    Thank you

    • charles thompson March 22, 2014 at 12:49PM

      Received notification I have 77,079 points available that may soon expire. How do I redeem them?

  6. Marilyn Gebhardt January 9, 2014 at 6:42PM

    I have an NEA members benefits master card (Bank of America) card and want to cash in my 23,030 points;please tell what is available and how to go about getting them. Thank you.

    • Judy May 10, 2014 at 1:29PM

      I am in the same boat as Marilyn. What is available for me with my 24,000 points?

  7. Ella November 24, 2013 at 10:20AM

    The B of A worldpoints stinks ! I saved points for 5 yrs waiting to get my merchandise then they did away with the program . Cashing in and dumping BofA !

  8. BOALoser September 27, 2013 at 12:30PM

    Yes, BOA will not be redeeming points for Merch after Sep 30, so I’m going to plow into their website and try to redeem about 20K points for some crappy stuff I can imagine. I’m just wondering if the merch will arrive. I’ll probably lose all my points and they’ll say it was processed post-deadline

  9. Mssbosse September 5, 2013 at 8:14AM

    I have been a Bank of America card member since 2004 and because I consolidated my debt I was informed that all of my points were lost. Unfortunately the customer service worker that assisted me originally failed to give me that information. Another lost consumer BOA.

  10. Steve Horvath July 20, 2013 at 1:20PM

    I had a “World Points” Mastercard. They sent me a new “Rewards” MasterCharge card with the same number and a letter telling me to destroy the old card and use the new one. I was considering turning in 25,000 points for cash ($250.00 ?). I talked to Christian in customer service and he advised me that my 25,000 points was now only worth $25.00. I guess the bank needed to boost their profits so they decided to cheat the card holders.

    I have found the Chase Bank card to be very satisfactory. It’s a pain to contact them every 3 months to get the bonus points (5 per dollar spent), but even if you don’t, you get the same value ($0.01) as with the “world Points”.

  11. Faith Willson Heim July 6, 2013 at 6:29PM

    I am taking a cruise on NCL. I have the B of A MC NCL card.I will be redeeming 25000 points for $250. onboard credit. I am trying to hit 30,000 so I can get $300 onboard credit.I then realized that if I had 25000 in miles on my airline card I could book a first class ticket if I do it at the right time. I always plan my trips a year ahead but cant book till 9 months out.This will be the last time I use this card for these rewards.I like flying 1st class across county.

  12. Alice Considine June 16, 2013 at 5:35AM

    Let’s face it. They want to SAY they offer rewards but don’t want to issue them at all. I have literally been trying to redeem my points for days. They lock me out of the site and then waste my time trying to get me in. Once I am in, the session “expires” within seconds and then I am locked out again. This is getting old. My account is up to date. There is no reason to treat me so miserably, but truth be told, this bank has mistreated me and my immediate family pretty miserably for the past few years. The bank currently has a poor reputation, and with good reason. Maybe those of us who are disgruntled should organize and get a good class action lawyer.

  13. Ken Miesner May 13, 2013 at 5:08AM

    I just want a rewards catalog. I have called, gotten transferred, been hung on,put on hold for 25 minutes. I want a physical catalog in front of me, that way I can compare to see what I want with my 50,000 points.

    • Wonderland September 11, 2013 at 4:06PM

      I’ve had the same experience with BofA. They make it so hard to even get a catalog on the computer. They are not going to let you get merchandise after Oct. 2013, so then what???

    • patte farrantine January 1, 2014 at 11:31PM

      what is the status of my world points and can i use it to get a discount on rooms a the beacon hotel in nyc ny

    • marjorie brous March 14, 2014 at 5:31PM

      I want a rewards catalog delivered to me thru the mail. I have not gotten one in over 2 years and I don’t want my points to expire!!!

  14. NayNay January 23, 2013 at 3:33AM

    They are not even offering this card to new customers any more.

  15. John H Binns November 13, 2012 at 12:39PM

    How do I redeem my world points?

    • Ruth Neumann December 13, 2012 at 11:25AM

      I would like to redeem my reward points for cash.

    • yvonne johnson September 6, 2013 at 7:02PM

      How do I redeem my bank of America world points?

  16. TK October 8, 2012 at 12:30AM

    TRULY ONE OF THE WORST CREDIT CARDS EVER!!!!! No matter how tempting it is to apply for the BOA AMEX with World Points, don’t do it! i have it, and i seriously regret it. I’ve been with World Points before, and they are just terrible in redemptions. If I had known beforehand I would have NEVER applied for the card. You get 1.25 points/per dollar, but if you know how to do math, you aren’t getting your full worth, to get 25 dollars, you have to spend $2,600, IT’S OUTRAGEOUS! I have to agree with the Michael, if you need an AMEX, just get one straight from American Express. FYI points expire every five years with BOA AMEX/World Points.

  17. RR September 27, 2012 at 9:37PM

    Thanks for the inside info, been sitting a mass of World Points BA & finally found out they will expire next year so your site told me what I needed to know…am redeeming cash. Not an awesome deal but it beats anything else they have to offer. Don’t have the BA card for the points benefit, have it @ a very low interest rate because they got caught trying to foreclose our home 8 years ago with NO cause & the negotiation was for a high $$$ card with low interest & to date they have honored their end of the bargain.

  18. Francis February 15, 2012 at 12:29AM

    This is the Achilles heal of Bank of America cards. Thanks for addressing it!

  19. Mitch January 16, 2012 at 12:47PM

    Thank you so much for sharing. I was wondering why my point value was so low during redemption. Now I know what to watch out for!

  20. alan December 9, 2011 at 5:38AM

    Best Buy redeems yr. rewards points off the purchase AFTER paying tax on the full value of the item. Therefore, you are not getting 100% of the redemption.

  21. Diane November 26, 2011 at 6:10PM

    I have a Beaches VISA that i just received. I applied for it b/c we are going to Beaches Resort in Turks and Cacios in April 2012. Can I redeem any gift certificates prior to going with any points for services at the resort? Maybe spa services? Room upgrade? Any suggestions?

    • CreditCardGuru November 27, 2011 at 9:01PM

      The BofA Beaches Visa does offer options for using your WorldPoints at their resort. For the spa services you mentioned, 10,000 points will get you a $100 spa credit. This is a better value than the 10,000 point offers for other WorldPoint credit cards.

      There is a limit of how many WorldPoint redemptions you can do with your Beaches Visa for some of the options (some only 1 or 2 per trip) so read the fine print and make sure you don’t redeem more resort credit than you can use on this vacation.

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