A few years ago Bank of America gave re-birth to the nostalgic BankAmericard name – the original name of their first credit card from 1958.
One of which is the BankAmericard Power Rewards Visa Signature card (or the Visa Platinum Plus for those with lower credit scores). I’ve been peddled the card before at my branch, how about you? Before you bite the bait read this review of how the “Power Rewards” really work.
The value of points vs. cash back?
You need to know how these points work! When it comes to credit cards, many people assume 1 point is the same as 1 cent. Unfortunately it’s not always so straightforward.
You see with the Bank of America WorldPoints rewards, you can get a 1 cent per point. But in order to get that, more often than not you will have to cash out a large quantity of points. Examples:
When converted to cash back it will take 25,000 points to get 1 cent each. If you only redeem 5,000 points, instead of getting the expected $50 you will only get $25.
When converted to partner gift cards, the same usually holds true: a $250 or higher gift card to get full point value.
When converted to merchandise, I have done a number of price comparisons (# of points vs. price if I bought the same item elsewhere) and from my experience, the point value is around 2/3 of a cent.
Conclusion? The Power Rewards credit card points are best for big spenders. Light to moderate spenders will have difficulty getting a good deal with this BankAmericard since it will take them so long to save up enough points. If that’s you, stick with one of these top cash rewards credit cards instead.
How many points do you earn?
The above system would be more acceptable if you were earning more than 1 point per dollar. However the Power Rewards Visa only gives 1 point per dollar.
Bank of America has been running a promotion for quite some time that gives 3x on grocery, drugstores, and gas but that’s only for the first 6 months. After that those categories revert back to 1x points like all other purchases.
So at the end of the day, this is a run of the mill 1 point per dollar credit card. Not very exciting, huh?
Is there anything else?
The Platinum Plus BankAmeriCard Power Rewards offers the following:
- Up to $100k in common carrier travel accident insurance
- Auto rental collision damage waiver (secondary coverage – read this is you aren’t familiar).
- Purchase replacement provides covers eligible items that are lost/stolen/damaged within the first 3 months. A max of $500 per claim.
- Purchase guard, which is an extended warranty of up to 1 additional year on qualifying items
The Visa Signature version (for excellent credit scores) offers the above benefits plus the following:
- Concierge service through Visa Signature
- No preset spending limit. However this isn’t always a good thing and here’s why. But just as long as all of your cards aren’t no preset limits, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Note: One person emailed me saying they have a BankAmericard Power Rewards World MasterCard. That’s extremely uncommon, but the World MasterCard benefits are comparable to Visa Signature. However whether you are one of those or the Platinum Plus, note that the info above could change without notice, so don’t rely on it – check with BofA to confirm the benefits on your account.
As far as interest rates are concerned, they’re fairly middle of the road – not low, but not high either.
It’s not that the Power Rewards card is “bad” but rather just plain vanilla. With the low rewards and the requirement of needing a lot of points to get the best value… I see little reason to get the card. If you want one of the best cash back credit card deals on the market then go for the Blue from American Express or one of these…