AwardWallet receives compensation from advertising partners for links on the blog. Terms Apply to the offers listed on this page. The opinions expressed here are our own and have not been reviewed, provided, or approved by any bank advertiser. Here's our complete list of Advertisers.
Offers for Bank of America cards mentioned in this post have been updated as of 09/28/2023
Getting an outsized return on a no-annual-fee card is one of the best moves you can make with your credit card portfolio. An excellent option to consider adding to your arsenal is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, which has valuable bonus categories that earn 3% cash back on up to $2500 in spending per quarter.
It takes a little work to unlock the full potential of this card, however. But taking these steps can yield a credit card that earns as high as 5.25% in a category of your choosing without charging an annual fee. The most important hoop to jump through is a simple one: Remember to select your bonus category. Let us show you how.
Bank of America Customized Cash Card Earning Rates
The Bank of America Customized Cash Card gives you options to earn bonus cash back where you spend the most. This versatility can be very useful to fill in gaps in your overall bonus earnings. The card earns 3% cash back in a category of your choice and 2% back on grocery and wholesale club purchases, though these bonus earnings are limited to a maximum of $2500 in combined purchases in these two categories each quarter. You'll earn 1% cash back on other eligible purchases and purchases in the bonus categories that exceed the $2,500 quarterly threshold.
You can pick from the following bonus categories for earning 3% cash back:
- Online shopping (such as Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc.)
- Gas & EV charging
- Home improvement and furnishings
Interestingly, some of these categories are broader than you'd expect. For instance, online shopping also includes streaming services, internet, phone plans, and cable. The full list of eligible categories and associated purchase types can be found here.
Changing your category will be effective the same day based on Central time. If you make a change to your 3% choice category and have already reached the spend cap for the quarter, you’ll earn 1% on your choice category until the next quarter starts.
How To Select Your Bank of America Customized Cash Card 3% Bonus Category
As we mentioned, the most important thing to remember is that you must actually select a category to earn your bonus cash back. This is a simple but sometimes overlooked detail. If you don't select a category, the default will be gas and EV charging.
To select your bonus category, log in to your Bank of America account, select your Bank of America Customized Cash Card, and look for the “3% choice” description. Under this, you'll see “View/Redeem.” Click on that.
On the next screen, click on “Change 3% Category.”
The next page will show a list of options for the 3% category.
This is where you will select your 3% cash back category for the Bank of America Customized Cash Card. In this photo, online shopping is the currently selected category. Select “Make this my 3%” on whichever category you want to use. After that, select “OK,” and you are good to go.
You can change your category just once per month. Near the top of this page, you can see the date you last changed your category, and the amount you have spent in each category is listed separately. For each quarter, you get a total of $2500 in bonus category spending, regardless of how many times you change the category. After passing the $2,500 limit (which is shared by your 3% and 2% categories), you'll earn 1% cash back until the next quarter.
Supercharge Earnings to 5.25% With Preferred Rewards
As we've previously discussed, the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program rewards customers with various bonuses and discounts, based on the amount of money they keep in Bank of America or Merrill Lynch accounts. The most useful of the Preferred Rewards benefits are the bonus multipliers on all eligible Bank of America credit cards, multiplying your earnings each time you use your credit card.
If you have earned Platinum Honors status (achieved by holding $100,000 or more in funds and assets deposited with Bank of America and Merrill), your Bank of America Customized Cash Card will get 75% extra earnings. That equates to a supercharged earning rate of 5.25% cash back on purchases in your selected bonus category. This is one of the best returns you will find for a no-annual-fee card.
If you aren't able to achieve Platinum Honors, it's important to note that Gold and Platinum status will also increase bonus earnings to 3.75% and 4.5% in the bonus categories, respectively. Gold status is earned by holding $20,000 with Bank of America and Merrill accounts.
For another hoop to jump through, you must also enroll in the Preferred Rewards program once you have the required assets in order for these boosted rates to take effect.
And Preferred Rewards applies to more than just the Bank of America Customized Cash Card. In fact, Preferred Rewards could help you earn 2.625% cash back on all purchases on a card with no annual fee.
The key to unlocking the Bank of America Customized Cash Card is doing the little things. Make sure you choose your bonus category, and ensure it's active before you start spending. Additionally, make sure to track your spending on this card so you are maximizing your $2,500 of quarterly spending in the bonus categories. You may want to change which card you're using for purchases after passing this threshold.
If you are able, consider moving your assets to Bank of America and Merrill to get the Preferred Rewards bonus. If you qualify, this program could change your bonus category from 3% cash back to 5.25% cash back.
Some people don't like needing to remember little things like this. This isn't the right card for those people. But, if you don't mind a little extra work for a significant reward, then you can do very well with the Bank of America Customized Cash Card in your portfolio.
- 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings*
- 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs*
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
* Newly expanded 3% categories for Gas (to now include Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) Stations) and Online Shopping (to now include Cable, Streaming, Internet and Phone Services).
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.