BOA Card Downgrade for Easy $100-$120 a Year

Bank of America has travel credit cards with partners including Alaska Airlines and Virgin Atlantic that can be tough sells to keep through annual fees, considering their liberal approval of new accounts. Many Alaska Airlines cardholders are happy to pay the annual fee for its companion pass. Not useful to me.

So I was closing out an Alaska and Virgin Atlantic card yesterday when the CRS ran through the typical no annual fee downgrade options of the Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards. Both cards have their uses, which can increase with large banking relationship with BOA. I am not interested in spending on the cards so asked about any other options.

“Well, how about the Better Balance Rewards card? I have it and love it. It pays you $25 a quarter for making your minimum payments.”

BOA Better Balance Rewards

How about that indeed?

Here are the marketing bullets:

  • Earn $25 per quarter to pay down your balance faster when you pay more than the monthly minimum on time each month–that can be up to $100 each year
  • Get more rewards for the banking you already do – an additional $5 bonus per quarter if you have a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • Cash back is automatically credited to your card balance
  • Pay down your balance faster with a low Intro APR offer
  • No annual fee

I looked through the Terms and Conditions which seems on the up and up:

BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards™ Program Information. You will earn a $25 cash reward for each calendar quarter in which all of your monthly payments are received on or before the due date and are more than the minimum payment due. Your account must remain open and you must have a payment due in each of the monthly cycles of the calendar quarter to be eligible for the quarterly cash reward; a zero balance or a credit balance does not qualify. If either the primary or co-applicant for this card has at least one checking, savings or individual retirement account with Bank of America N.A., a Cash Management Account®, Merrill Edge® or any other account with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated or U.S. Trust, the card account will receive a customer bonus of $5 for each quarter you qualify, for a total of $30 per quarter. If you qualify, the cash reward will be issued within 30 days following the end of each quarter. Your cash rewards will be automatically issued in the form of a statement credit to your card account, unless you indicate otherwise. You may choose instead to have your cash rewards deposited directly into a Bank of America® checking account or savings account or a Merrill Lynch Cash Management Account®. Other significant terms apply. Program subject to change. For more information, visit Details accompany new card account materials.

Translation: set up a small auto-charge and auto-payment each month and get a statement credit of $25 and the end of each quarter. An extra $5 for having checking, savings or IRA with them.

The one catch I see is that in the months you get the $25 credit, you need to spend over $25 in order to have a payment due in the following month, otherwise the next quarter will be disrupted.

Nothing explicitly prohibiting multiple accounts so in all I converted the Alaska, Virgin, and two old Cash Rewards from prior downgrades. These should be in place in September so in time to start the new quarter. I also am opening a checking account for the extra $5 per card per quarter since was thinking to get one at some point anyway.

Cash for minimal effort and no new credit inquiry. I like.

Disclaimer: I do not receive any compensation for this card, and do not have any financial relationship with Bank of America outside my personal accounts.

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