Why Accelerated? - The Bank of America Accelerated Rewards™ American Express® Card one of two rewards card presently issued by BOA. Previously, they had lots of reward cards that were nearly identical, but they have now consolidated all of them. I guess the main reason that this card is called "accelerated" rewards is because you get to earn 1.25 points rather than 1 point. The reward program is based on BOA's WorldPoints reward program. In this review, we'll see how this stacks up against other reward cards.
Extra Rewards - As I mentioned earlier, you can earn 1.25 points per dollar that you spend on the card. This is more than the usual one point for most other cards. You can earn unlimited points, which are valid for 5 years. New cardholders will get a $50 statement credit after their first purchase.
Fees - There is no annual fee for this card. This is also one of the few card that give you 25 days of grace period (versus 20 days for most other cards). Right now, there is a 0% deal for both purchases and balance transfer for 12 months. The BT fee is the minimum of $10 or 4% of the amount transferred.
Concierge Service and Other Perks - Cardholders will have access to concierge service to book difficult to get tickets, restaurant reservations and other stuff. You can also use more than 2,200 American Express Travel Services at more than 140 countries. You will also get benefits like extended warranty, roadside assistance, emergency assistance etc.
How Does the Accelerated Rewards Compare With Other No Annual Fee Rewards Card?
Most other credit card issuer have their own version of a no annual fee credit card. So any comparison will actually be a comparison of reward program more than anything else. But we also have to compare it BOA's other reward card, the Power Rewards Card.
BOA Accelerated Rewards vs BOA Power Rewards - Both of these cards are really almost identical. The main difference is that the Power Rewards allows you to earn "only" one point for every dollar that you spend on the card. The Power Rewards also lets you earn triple points on gasoline, grocery and drugstore spending for six months. After that, you are back to the usual one point per dollar formula. The other main difference is that the Accelerated Rewards is an American Express (as in the network), while the Power Rewards is a Visa.
BOA Accelerated Rewards vs Citi ThankYou Preferred - The main difference between these two cards are it's reward program. But the BOA is also slightly better in terms of earning rewards. You can earn 1.25 points for this card versus the usual one point for Citi ThankYou. In terms of reward programs, both the WorldPoints and Citi ThankYou offer similar types of rewards (travel, merchandise and gift cards etc). The real difference in the travel rewards is that for WorldPoints, you can book your airline tickets in two ways. Firstly, they have the Flex Air system whereby one hundred points gets you one dollar in ticket value. This is the way Citi ThankYou works as well. But WorldPoints also has another way of redeeming points for air travel. For a fixed number of points, you can redeem for airline tickets to certain regions in the world (up to a certain ticket value). For some people, this may save some points versus the conventional way of redeeming points. But overall, I would say these two cards are really similar except for the fact that BOA has the slight edge in terms of the number of points you earn.
BAO Accelerated Rewards vs Chase Sapphire - The Chase Sapphire is allows you to earn double points on travel and dining and one point for every other purchases. So from this perspective, they are slightly different. The Chase Ultimate Rewards has a slightly more flexible travel rewards system than BOA. Firstly, you can use their travel portal. Or you can use your own travel agents and use your points to get a statement credit.I also find that their overall reward program is better than WorldPoints (I have both Chase and BOA cards). At the margin, I would give the Chase Sapphire the slight edge.
So Is the Accelerated Rewards Card Good? - I would conclude this review by saying that the Bank of America Accelerated Rewards™ American Express® Card is a competitive card in the very crowded "no annual fee rewards" space. There are several very positives things about this card. You can earn unlimited points. You get extra perks like concierge services and access to American Express Travel Services. But I have personally found the WorldPoints to be slightly inferior to other reward programs like the Chase Ultimate Rewards. The other thing you have to be aware of is that this card is an Amex (but issued by American Express but processed through their merchant network). That means it may not be accepted with places that do not take Amex. The WorldPoints points that you earn are valid for only 5 years whereas other programs have points that do not expire. If you are looking at a no annual fee reward card, I would also consider the alternatives as well.