Bank of America’s flagship cash back cards are like two peas in a pod. One pea offers the same cash back amount for all eligible purchases, while the other provides tiered rewards that you can control. Aside from how these cards distribute cash back, there are no differences between them.


For Bank of America customers who prefer cash back over points, both cards are excellent choices. In fact, they have broad appeal that can attract customers who bank elsewhere.

1. Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card Offers Fixed Rewards for Every Purchase

The Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card provides the same cash reward rate for all eligible purchases. Rewards are unlimited and never expire as long as the account remains open.

The rewards rate is almost standard in the industry, though some competitors offer 2% cash back. This card is suitable for everyday shopping as it doesn’t favor any merchant category.

Like its customized counterpart, the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card is also a Visa Signature card. It automatically offers all available Signature card benefits, along with a minimum starting credit limit of $5,000.

2. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card Offers Tiered Rewards You Control

If you want some control over your cash back rewards, consider the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card.

This card’s top reward rate of 3% applies to your choice of merchant categories: gas (default), online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, or home improvement/furnishings. You can change the category once each calendar month on the Bank of America website or mobile app.

You earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, but this excludes supermarkets and small stores that sell groceries and other products (like drugstores and convenience stores).

Rewards are capped at $2,500 in combined net purchases each calendar quarter. All other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back.

3. Both Visa Signature Cards Have Mostly the Same Features

These two Bank of America cash back cards share the following features:

Credit Requirements: You need good to excellent personal credit scores to qualify, with a minimum FICO score of 670.

Credit Limit: Both cards have a minimum credit limit of $5,000. Based on your financial situation and credit history, you might qualify for higher limits. Online forums mention a maximum credit limit of $99,900 for Bank of America credit cards.

Sign-Up Bonus: These cards usually offer sign-up bonuses, typically as cash back rewards for spending a certain amount within the introductory period (usually 90 days).

Introductory 0% APR: Both cards offer 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for new cardholders. Balance transfers must be made within 60 days of account opening to qualify for the 0% offer.

Regular APR: Your APR depends on your creditworthiness at account opening. The APR range is specified in the card’s terms and conditions and is based on market rates.

No Annual Fee: Neither card charges an annual fee.

Other Fees: Both cards have fees for balance transfers, cash advances, foreign transactions, and late payments. The first late payment fee is lower than subsequent ones within six billing cycles. Fees won’t exceed the total minimum payment due, and if your balance is $100 or less, the bank won’t charge a late fee.

Rewards Redemption: Cash rewards can be redeemed as statement credits, checks, or deposits into Bank of America checking or savings accounts. Rewards can also be deposited into Merrill Lynch cash management accounts or 529 accounts. Some redemptions may have minimum amounts, such as $25.

Preferred Rewards: Cardholders can earn 25% to 75% more rewards through the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, based on their average daily balance in eligible Bank of America and Merrill Lynch accounts over three months. The tiers are:

  • Gold ($20K to <$50K): 25% rewards bonus
  • Platinum ($50K to <$100K): 50% rewards bonus
  • Platinum Honors ($100K to <$1M): 75% rewards bonus
  • Diamond ($1M+): 75% rewards bonus with no international transaction/ATM fees

Participants also get better rates on savings, mortgages, loans, and other financial products. However, the top rewards require maintaining $100,000 or more in Bank of America or Merrill accounts, which may be unattainable for many.

Bank of America Benefits: Cardholders get benefits such as:

  • Technology: Contactless cards for fast, secure payments, and integration with digital wallets.
  • Alerts: Free text and email alerts for balances and due dates.
  • Free FICO Score: Monthly FICO scores with insights into factors affecting them.
  • Overdraft Protection: Optional Balance Connect® overdraft protection.
  • Museum Access: Free general admission to over 225 museums and cultural centers in the U.S. on the first weekend of each month.
  • Paperless Billing: Secure, eco-friendly online statements.

Visa Signature Benefits: These cards might offer additional perks like:

  • Car Rental Benefits: Collision damage waiver, rental discounts, and free upgrades.
  • Concierge Services: 24/7 personal assistance for travel, dining, tickets, and more.
  • Roadside Dispatch: Pay-per-use roadside assistance.
  • Zero Liability Guarantee: Protection against fraudulent transactions.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Coverage for checked and carry-on luggage.
  • Trip Delay/Cancellation Reimbursement: Compensation for trip interruptions.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance: 24/7 access to a multilingual call center for medical, legal, and travel help.
  • Extended Warranty Protection: Doubles the manufacturer’s warranty up to one year for warranties of three years or less.

4. Deciding Which Card Pays You More

Assume you travel frequently and set the 3% custom reward to travel. You charge $5,000 in eligible purchases this quarter on the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card:

  • Travel: $2,000
  • Groceries/Wholesale Clubs: $1,000
  • Miscellaneous: $2,000

Your rewards would be ($2,000 x 3%) + ($500 x 2%) + ($2,500 x 1%) = $95.

With the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card, you’d earn $5,000 x 1.5% = $75.

The Customized card seems better, but if you didn’t travel this quarter and spent $2,000 on miscellaneous purchases instead, the rewards would be $60, assuming you didn’t maximize your preferred category.

The best cash back card depends on your actual spending each quarter and how often you change your preferred merchant category.

Bottom Line

Choosing between the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards and Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit cards depends on your cash reward preferences. If you want a uniform reward rate for all eligible purchases, the Unlimited card is for you.

The Customized card suits those who want tiered rewards they can control. Both are great choices for Bank of America customers. If you’re one of them, explore the Preferred Rewards program to maximize your credit card benefits.

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