In the world of rewards points credit cards, there are winners, losers and those best left forgotten – and Bank of America’s World Points Program is one of the latter. Of course, if you’re interested in understanding the difference between a good rewards program and a bad one then it might be worth talking about the ones you would normally ignore.
So why do we ignore Bank of America World Points ? Because even a credit card that offers a decent earning structure isn’t very useful if the points its offers have little value. But it’s worthwhile to understand why this card isn’t a great choice for most people. It’ll help you to know what to avoid when you’re shopping for a rewards schedule that merits paying into. But don’t be too ready to dismiss this card, because it does have an upside to it, which we will discuss.
While B of A’s World Points rewards program is mediocre in a lot of ways- it also appears to be specially crafted to be used in ways that your ordinary camper would be too squeamish to do. That is to say, if you’re adventurous, the World Points program does have a certain appeal.
Bank of America World Points Program: Pros & Cons
It would be hard to imagine why such a card would even exist if there was no upside. Here are the positives–
• The value cap can make points worth as much as 1.88 cents each when they are redeemed for flights.
• WorldPoints are easy to earn.
• The program works with four major American payment networks, giving you additional flexibility.
• Straight cash value is fair (1 point = one cent). So it’s possible to use as a cash back program.
Like any proprietary rewards points program, Bank of America World Points has its virtues and its drawbacks. Here are the drawbacks:
• Its points transfer partner, Aeroplan, discontinued their relationship with the program in 2013.
• There is a fixed maximum value of points earned.
• It has no shopping portal. It was discontinued in 2015.
• Too few bonus categories.
• Sign-up bonuses are small, making spending the primary method to earn bonuses.
• Points expire after five years.
Bank of America World Points Program: Comparison & Tips for Use
This can be a fairly powerful program if you know how to use it strategically. One program that’s quite similar is US Bank’s FlexPerks. At the basic level, they both give a 1 cent minimum per point in credit/deposits statements. Points expire after five years in both programs. Both offer a $400 (max) round-trip flight in the 48 contiguous states for 20,000 points on FlexPerks) or 25,000 for World Points.
Premium cards from US Bank’s frequently offer 20,000 points once you meet the minimum spending requirements. World Points offers the most, but the offers are limited. A standard offer is 10,000 points after minimum spending. So, if you’re only looking for a sign-up bonus, FlexPerks might be the best choice. If you’re into manufacture spending, World Points is probably better suited for you.
Tips for Creative Use–
• Buy only from stores. These rely on referrals to drum up business – so they offer larger than usual incentives.
• View your bonuses without signing in. If you only want to check out the specials, You’ll get full access to World Points Mall without needing to have a B of A card.
• Look for limited time offers. Limited time offers always come with the best deals. This will make your points go further.
• Check the seasonal deals. Take advantage of World Points increased rewards rates at stores that have seasonal specials.
Using World Points
As we’ve already mentioned, you can redeem points for cash or credit, with some restrictions depending on the card you’re using. But that’s not the most interesting way to use this unique program. To get the most bang for your buck, redeem your points with airlines. Most people who are aware of the points for flights angle will try to put you off the idea by telling you the following:
• Only round-trip flights with the same carrier are redeemable
• You’ll have to be booked 21 days in advance
• You have to choose the cheapest flight available at booking
• You have to make a Saturday stay
• You’ll get stuck in economy class
• You don’t get to redeem for stopovers 4 hours or longer
However, what these naysayers and most other people researching these kinds of deals on the Internet don’t realize is- different cards come with different reward schedules for flights. For example, an American Express or MasterCard card will give you different redemption rates than a Visa card would for the same flight.
Why this is the case, no one really seems to know. It may have something to do with processing fees or some other network related peculiarity.
The drawback is that you can’t max out the value you get back each and every time you book a flight, and the flights you do maximize have a value cap of $470. Plus, there’s a $30 fee to book WorldPoints flights, reducing the value of each point you earn down to a meager $0.0176. On top of that, there is a $10 fee to book over the phone- but this is rarely enforced- so you might risk it if you’re feeling froggy.
You may assume that you’re out of luck if you haven’t got massive cash deposit with BofA in order to get the bonus on your Travel Rewards card, but there’s a feasible workaround to this; WorldPoints can be transferred between cards. That means, if you don’t have a large enough deposit to get the bonus for Preferred Rewards using a Travel Rewards card, you can still get points using the Fidelity Amex card and then move those points over to your Fidelity Visa when you’re ready to redeem.
Bank of America World Points Program Review: Conclusion
For any spending that’s not based on bonus points, you could make a strong argument that Bank of America World Points is for spenders with a mind for strategy, timing, and research. If you use a Travel rewards card combined with platinum honors you could get as much as 4.936% back when redeeming for flights- that is, as long as you remember to transfer the points to your Fidelity Visa.
All in all, if you’re willing to do some extra work, and don’t get easily mixed up moving points around from one card to another- you can pull off some pretty neat tricks with the WorldPoints program. If, on the other hand, you’re just looking for a rewards card that works quietly in the background- reliably earning you a few points here and there- WorldPoints might be a bit out of your depth.