Ever since the credit crunch of ’08, the use of debit cards (over credit cards) has skyrocketed. Unfortunately most of them don’t give rewards, but the Bank of America US Airways debit card is one exception. But is it worth it? Let’s find out…
Update for 2013: Unfortunately BofA has cancelled the debit card..
The below information is about the debit program. It is no longer available but I will leave it here for reference purposes.
Here are the basics about the card:
- The card operates over the Visa payment network
- You receive 1 mile per $2 spent on the card
- On purchases from US Airways (i.e. airfare, etc) you get 1 mile per $1 spent
- There are no miles given on ATM transactions, cash-back at the register, or for tax payments made with the card
- You are charged a $30.00 annual fee
- I have seen a signup bonus advertised for the US Airways debit card for quite some time where they give 3,000. However if you value each mile at 1 cent that equals out to be a $30 value (the same as the annual fee). So basically I just look at it as a wash.
The idea of getting rewards on your debit card is a great concept, unfortunately there are none on the market that give decent rewards. If you review what the US Airways debit card actually gives you and compare that to credit cards, you will see that you would only be earning a fraction of that. Even the most basic credit cards these days seem to give you at least 1 mile per dollar spent. With this BOA debit card you are only getting 1/2 a Dividend mile per dollar on normal spending. Then when you take into account that there’s an annual fee, it’s really hard to find any logic in getting the Bank of America US Airways debit card.
A better option?
There are credit cards on the market which give up to 2 miles per dollar spent and those rewards can be applied towards the purchase of a ticket on any airline. Going this route (and paying your balance in full each month so there is no interest charged) is really the best way to rake up free travel. CreditCardForum maintains a sponsored listing of travel credit card rewards which is constantly updated with the best signup offers. Check it out.