Background: Survivor of BOA's Card Consolidation - The Bank Americard Power Rewards® Visa® Signature Card is one of two survivors of their credit card consolidation. Prior to the financial crisis, they had a few more cards which were really similar, but just with different names (like Miles Edge, BOA WorldPoints Visa Signature and a MasterCard version). I feel the consolidation is a good thing for consumers because it reduces confusion and also because most of the previous cards were really the same anyway. But how good this card is compared to the market really boils down to how good is the WorldPoints Reward program. So let's start the investigation.
How Do You Earn WorldPoints - Let us begin with how you earn WorldPoints. This card is actually pretty standard in the way you earn your points - one point for every dollar that you spend. But for six months, you can earn triple points on gasoline, grocery and drugstore spending. I wish the triple points would be a permanent feature and not just a teaser feature for six months.
A Brief Summary of WorldPoints - Next, I would like to take some time to talk about the WorldPoints program. Like most other reward programs, you can redeem your points for a variety of travel, merchandise, gift cards and also cash rewards. There are two methods of redeeming your points for travel. The first method is the old traditional method where you need a fixed number of points to redeem flights to a certain region. For example, you need 25,000 points for a domestic roundtrip flight (up to $400 in value). But you are subject to blackout dates, Saturday night stays and 21 days advanced booking. Or you could simply use WorldPoints portal and use point to book your flights (one hundred points gets you one dollar in value).
We have gone through the merchandise and gift card rewards of WorldPoints and for the most parts, you get less than 1% value back on our rewards. Hence, we are not too impressed by the progam.
Annual Fee and APR - Like most cards these days, there is no annual fee. The apr ranges between 12.99% and 20.99%. You get an introductory 0% Intro APR* on purchases only for 12 months. The Power Rewards Visa uses the average daily balance method (including new purchases) to compute your monthly balance.
Does the Power Rewards Stand Out Among Its' Competition?
Let's look at how this card stacks up among other similar cards before we come to that conclusion. The first card that we should really compare with is BOA's own Accelerated Rewards Card, which is their other rewards card. The reward program is the same. The difference is that the Accelerated Rewards allow you to earn 1.25 points per dollar spent. Over the long run, you will likely rack up more points with the Accelerated Rewards than the Power Rewards. It also has a nicer "black card design". However, the Accelerated Rewards is an Amex whereas card is a Visa. Therefore, I some folks may prefer this card because it will be accepted in more places.
Power Rewards versus Citi ThankYou Preferred - The Citi ThankYou Preferred is Citi's no annual fee version of their rewards card. It is very much like the Power Rewards in that you earn one point for every dollar you spend on the card. The main difference is the reward program. When I look at the reward program, I give the ThankYou a very slight edge because their merchandise rewards require less points to redeem and their travel site is pretty competitive as well. But these two cards are really close in terms of features.
Power Rewards versus Capital One VentureOne Rewards - The VentureOne is more similar to the Accelerated Rewards in that you can earn 1.25 points per dollar spent on the card. It is also a Visa and has no foreign transaction fees. From these perspective, it is better than the Power Rewards. There isn't really much difference in the reward program. So I would give the VentureOne a slight edge.
Power Rewards vs Chase Sapphire and Chase Freedom - Both the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire have the same Ultimate Rewards program. The Ultimate Rewards program has a few ways for you to redeem points for travel. Firstly, you can booking flights with their online travel portal. You could also book any travel with any other agent (online or off line) and use your points for a statement credit. Their gift card and merchandise rewards are also superior to the WorldPoints program.
In terms of earning points, Chase Freedom has 5% rotating categories which allow you to earn 5% rebates (or points). The Chase Sapphire allows you to earn double points for travel and restaurant spending. So in terms of reward program and points earning capacity, both Chase cards are superior to the Power Rewards.
Is the BOA Power Rewards Worth Getting? - The BankAmericard Power Rewards® Visa® Signature is a pretty decent card offering from Bank of America. It operates in a very crowded space because every card issuer has a no annual fee rewards card. While it is a respectable card, there are other cards (notably from Chase) which will allow you to earn more points and has a better reward program. Their own Accelerate Rewards and Venture One also allows you to earn more points in the long run. If you are considering this card, we would suggest you check out the other card mentioned in this review before making a decision.