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Bank of America Cash Rewards - 3% category qualifying options

Bank of America Cash Rewards - 3% category qualifying options

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Old Feb 16, 19, 6:06 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: rasheed
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BofA has officially refreshed the Bank of America Cash Rewards card. It does not appear any aspect of the rewards program will be getting worse (only new positive options).

BofA has published a comprehensive document indicating the MCC for each bonus category.
BofA has published a pre-release article about the program for customers.
BofA has published a website detailing the 3% categories.

On a calendar monthly basis, a customer can choose a category from a pre-determined list to receive 3% cash rewards. If you do not change the category in a given calendar month, it will stay with what you picked the previous calendar month (or gas if none was ever chosen). You must make the change before the purchase happens (the term "future purchases" is used) because bonus rewards are calculated immediately when transactions post (unlike AmEx, but similar to Chase and Barclays). It seems possible that you could split the month among two categories if you leave the previous calendar month category and then change it later in the new month.

Category selection happens on mobile app or Online Banking website (not by phone call or chat).

Currently, that list is:

Gas (this will be the default if a choice is not selected)
-Pay at the pump (automated fuel dispensers including Costco Gas, Sam's Club and gas stations at grocery stores that categorize as fuel dispensers)
-Pay inside (when the convenience store is categorized as a service station)
-5172 Petroleum and Petroleum Products (*unique to BofA*)
-5541 Service Stations (includes many 7-11s for example)
-5542 Automated Fuel Dispensers (almost all pay at the pump classifies as this one regardless of brand or retailer)
-5983 Fuel Dealers (*unique to BofA*)
This is confirmed from the 3% category choice explanation website.

Gas and fuel merchants include merchants whose primary line of business is the sale of automotive gasoline that can be purchased inside the service station or at the automated fuel pump and gasoline purchased at boat marinas, as well as fuel dealers whose primary line of business is the sale of heating oil, propane and other fuels, such as kerosene.
Online Shopping
This category is actually the most restrictive of all the new choices. In general, a purchase made "online" via website or mobile should count. However, if the merchant is categorized as a service, it will likely not count. Paypal DOES pass along the MCC of the underlying merchant seller. If you are buying physical goods, it should be okay, but if you are buying any virtual item (gift cards, etc.), be aware that it probably will not count.

It appears that BofA did a NOT to include for this category and selected as many services that will not count (including tuition, taxes, healthcare bills, insurance, memberships). It also appears that BofA did NOT exclude any travel merchants where you make the purchase online (OTA/direct airlines/prepaid hotels?). So, it is an overlap of Travel.

MCCs that have confirmed to work (with Online Transaction flag as Y):
-4722 Travel Agencies and Tour Operators
-5300 Wholesale Clubs
-5399 General Merchandise/Misc
-5732 Electronics Stores
-5912 Drug Stores and Pharmacies
-5992 Florists
-8675 Automobile Associations

Paypal okay via online transaction if underlying merchant is in an allowed category.

Dining
Includes:
-5812 Eating Places and Restaurants
-5813 Drinking Places/Bars
-5814 Fast Food Restaurants
Not likely:
-5462 Bakeries (this is a fixed 2% category with grocery stores noted below )
-5811 Caterers

This is confirmed from the 3% category choice explanation website.

From another BofA card reference:
Travel and Dining Category: Dining includes Restaurants, including Fast Food, and Drinking Establishments, such as Bars or Taverns. [..]
Travel
BofA went further than all other BofA cards with travel categories for this card:
Airlines, Air Carriers, Airports, Airport Terminals, Flying Fields Amusement Parks, Carnivals, Circuses, Fortune Tellers Aquariums, Dolphinariums, Zoos and Seaquariums Art Dealers and Galleries Boat Leases and Boat Rentals Bus Lines Campgrounds and Trailer Parks Car Rental Agencies Cruise Lines Direct Marketing — Travel-Related Arrangements Services Hotels, Motels, Resorts Motor Home and Recreational Vehicle Rental Package Tour Operators (for use in Germany only) Parking Lots and Garages Real Estate Agents and Managers (Rentals) Recreation Services (not elsewhere classified) Suburban and Local Commuter Passenger Travel, including Ferries Taxicabs and Limousines Timeshares Truck and Trailer Utility Rentals Passenger Railways Toll and Bridge Fees Tourist Attractions and Exhibits Transportation Services (not elsewhere classified) Travel Agencies and Tour Operators
Note, it includes many, but not all Entertainment categories found in other cards such as Savor or Marvel. Some of the key ones excluded are Movies Theater-related. This card does include theme park tickets (at the ticket booth), but not retail stores or dining in theme parks. This card also has some unusual ones such as airports and art galleries.

Another BofA card that defines travel purchases indicates the following categories

This information needs to be verified (likely through card experience):
a) Airlines, Air Carriers (MCC Codes 3000-3299, 4511); (b) Lodging-Hotels, Motels, Resorts (MCC codes 3501-3999, 7011); (c) Car Rental Agencies (MCC codes 3351-3441, 7512, 4121); (d) Cruise Lines (MCC code 4411); Travel Agencies and Tour Operators (MCC codes 4722, 4416, 4417); (e) Passenger Railways (MCC code 4112); (f) Transportation-Suburban and Local Commuter Passenger, including Ferries (MCC Code 4111); (g) Bus Lines (MCC codes 4131, 4722); (h) Transportation Services-not elsewhere classified (MCC code 4789); (i) Real Estate Agents and Managers-Rentals (MCC code 6513); (j) Timeshares (MCC code 7012); (k) Campgrounds and Trailer Parks (MCC Code 7033); (l) Motor Home and Recreational Vehicle Rental (MCC Code 7519); (m) Tourist Attractions and Exhibits (MCC Code 7991, 5971); (n) Amusement Parks, Carnivals, Circuses, Fortune Tellers (MCC Code 7996); (o) Aquariums, Dolphinariums, Zoos, and Seaquariums (MCC Code 7998); (p) Boat Leases and Boat Rentals (MCC Code 4457); or (q) Recreation Services-not elsewhere classified (MCC Code 7999)

Another list for a different program indicates (looks like it overlaps with the above list):
How Your Travel Credit Works: A travel credit is applied as a statement credit to your account to offset travel purchases from qualifying merchants in these travel-related categories: airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, trailer parks, motor home and recreational vehicle rentals, campgrounds, car rental agencies, truck and trailer rental, cruise lines, travel agencies, tour operators and real estate agents, operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, boat rentals, parking lots and garages, tolls and bridge fees, tourist attractions and exhibits like art galleries, amusement parks, carnivals, circuses, aquariums, zoos and the like. Purchases from some merchants that provide travel-related goods and services will not be eligible for a travel credit, like in-flight goods and services, and duty-free airport purchases.
Drug Stores
-5912 (Drug Stores and Pharmacies)
-5122 (Drug Proprietors and Drug Sundries) (*unique to BofA*)
This is confirmed from the 3% category choice explanation website.

Home Improvement/Furnishings
Very broad list of MCCs.
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Repair Shops Antique Shops for Sales, Repairs and Restoration Services Architectural, Engineering and Surveying Services Building Materials, Lumber Stores, Carpentry Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Contractors, Concrete Crystal and Glassware Stores Drapery, Upholstery and Window Coverings Stores Electrical Contractors Electrical Parts and Equipment Equipment, Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores (except Appliances) Equipment, Tool, Furniture and Appliance Rental and Leasing Fireplace, Fireplace Screens and Accessories Stores Floor Covering Stores Florist Suppliers, Nursery Stock and Flowers Furniture Reupholstering, Repair and Refinishing General Contractor/Residential Building Glass, Paint, Wallpaper Stores Hardware Equipment and Supplies Hardware Stores Heating, Plumbing, Air Conditioning Contractors Home Supply Warehouse Stores Household Appliance Stores Landscaping and Horticultural Services Lawn and Garden Supply Stores Masonry, Stonework, Tile Setting, Plastering, Insulation Contractors Miscellaneous House Furnishing Specialty Shops Office and Commercial Furniture Paints, Varnishes and Supplies Plumbing and Heating Equipment and Supplies Roof, Siding and Sheet Metal Work Contractors Special Trade Contractor (not elsewhere classified)
This is confirmed from the 3% category choice explanation website.

Fixed 2% grocery stores and wholesales clubs
Purchases made at eligible grocery store merchants and wholesale clubs, which include supermarkets, freezer/meat lockers, candy, nut or confection stores, dairy product stores, and bakeries. Excluded from this Bonus Category are superstores and smaller stores (like drug stores and convenience stores) that sell groceries and other products.
BofA's 2% grocery stores category is broader than AmEx's US supermarket category.

BofA does list the relevant matching description of the merchant for the MCC on the website transactions, but does not expose the actual MCC code.

The card will continue to earn 1% elsewhere and that is not included in the $2500 per quarter spend limit.

There does not appear to be any limitation on location of merchants worldwide to earn rewards as long as the merchant is properly categorized (unlike AmEx). Those customers who had the old Schwab 2% Invest First Visa issued by a BofA affiliate that did not otherwise cancel or proactively change the card when it was discontinued may have received a BofA Cash Rewards card thats does not have an added FTF (beyond Visa's embedded FTF rate) which is different than the card currently offered to customers. This version of the card offers international reward benefits for those customers.

There is a limit of $2500 in 2% or 3% category spending per quarter that will receive the bonus rate. Rewards can be redeemed at face value for any amount at any time. As long as account is in good standing, rewards do not expire. The only reason to hold rewards would be if you plan to qualify for Preferred Rewards and wish to get the relationship bonus rate for older spending when you do redeem the balance.

BofA customer bonuses:
All BofA deposit customers can receive at least a 10% bonus when they earn their reward if their total banking relationship indicates that they have a BofA checking or savings account. This is usually associated by having a BofA online account which has both the deposit and Cash Rewards card on the same login. The 10% program is still scheduled to continue in 2019, but may eventually be replaced by only the Preferred Rewards program.
Customers who have signed up for Preferred Rewards that requires a deposit relationship balance can currently receive a 25% to 75% redemption bonus. This can tremendously increase the value of the 3% and 2% categories when compared to other cards.
Information on the thresholds for that program are located here: https://www.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/
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Old Jul 8, 19, 12:58 pm
  #106  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: LAX
Programs: AAdvantage EXPLAT, Hilton Diamond, SPG/Marriott Gold, IHG Platinum, Citi Exec MC, Amex Plat
Posts: 1,429
Originally Posted by trikotret View Post


how you end up with 3? Do they allow you to earn on 3 cards if they are all on the same BofA online
Easy, had a travel rewards, premium rewards, and a cash rewards card. Product changed the other two to cash rewards. Now I have three.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 1:01 pm
  #107  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: BAY AREA
Posts: 620
Originally Posted by matrixwalker2012 View Post


Easy, had a travel rewards, premium rewards, and a cash rewards card. Product changed the other two to cash rewards. Now I have three.
That's tight. So you can rotate between all the categories? You can earn on each card?
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Old Jul 25, 19, 12:01 pm
  #108  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 186
Originally Posted by matrixwalker2012 View Post
I somehow ended up with three of these cards, so I essentially get to have 3 simultaneous categories. Plus, I also use these cards as my Costco shopping cards. Beats the 2% return of the Costco Citi card as I get my rewards monthly while that thing only returns annually.
Do you mean you selected the online shopping category to purchase Costco cash cards, and the transaction codes as online thus earning the 3%?

Costco doesn't allow Mastercard in store.
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Old Jul 25, 19, 12:33 pm
  #109  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: BAY AREA
Posts: 620
Originally Posted by cashcow View Post
Do you mean you selected the online shopping category to purchase Costco cash cards, and the transaction codes as online thus earning the 3%?

Costco doesn't allow Mastercard in store.
If he has 3 of these cards, I'm sure he has a Visa version.
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Old Jul 26, 19, 1:32 pm
  #110  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: LAX
Programs: AAdvantage EXPLAT, Hilton Diamond, SPG/Marriott Gold, IHG Platinum, Citi Exec MC, Amex Plat
Posts: 1,429
Originally Posted by trikotret View Post


That's tight. So you can rotate between all the categories? You can earn on each card?
Yup, I pretty much get to have 3 categories each month or triple up on one category if I anticipate maxing out the $2500 caps.
Originally Posted by cashcow View Post
Do you mean you selected the online shopping category to purchase Costco cash cards, and the transaction codes as online thus earning the 3%?

Costco doesn't allow Mastercard in store.
I have the Visa version for all 3.
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Old Aug 2, 19, 8:49 am
  #111  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: BAY AREA
Posts: 620
Apparently I’m over my limit category. I received 1.75% back on a $600 restaurant bill. I made a home improvement charge on June 30 and posted on July 2. I got the 5.25% for that. I guess that went towards this quarter. Then i selected restaurant category for July. I assumed the categories are based on transactions and not post date. At least that’s how chase does it. That really sucks.

Update: just spoke to BofA rep and she said it goes by posting date and not transaction date. Chase is the opposite. 🙄
akr1970akr likes this.

Last edited by trikotret; Aug 3, 19 at 1:22 pm
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Old Aug 4, 19, 7:26 am
  #112  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 92
2 questions - can I product change to this?
most important, do meal delivery lot services count as online? I do lots of purple carrot and played and am trying to figure out the best way to get points for these.
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Old Aug 4, 19, 7:39 pm
  #113  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 25
Is PC the only way to obtain more than one cash rewards card? I believe otherwise I cannot outright apply a second one while holding one?

Last edited by Dream of Flying; Aug 15, 19 at 10:01 pm
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Old Aug 15, 19, 9:31 am
  #114  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 9
Just want to share my list of purchases for the BOA 3% online shopping (I think we should create a wiki of everything. Even though they say some things shouldn't trigger 3% bonus, they do):

Yes
  • Groupon.com
  • Walmart Pay (in store)
  • Amazon.com
  • Lyft App
  • American Airlines (aa.com) bag purchase
  • Delta Airlines (delta.com) bag purchase
  • Peloton App
  • MutualPaySM Property Pay (for paying HoA dues)
  • Online payment for my exterminator

No
  • Verizon FiOS bill
  • Water bill pay (I'm fighting this one because MutualPay was coded as utilities and went through as 3%)
  • Copa Airlines (I'm also fighting this because Delta and American went through as 3%)
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Old Aug 15, 19, 3:17 pm
  #115  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 45
Originally Posted by Tokar View Post
I'm fighting this one…
Three things have to happen for you to be credited properly for 3x ONLINE transactions: (1) In the Activity tab the Online Transaction flag must read Y; (2) the MCC of the transaction mustn't be listed in the Online Exclusions table of the helpful pdf located up top in the wiki; and (3) the purchase must not exceed the $2,500 maximum bonus spend rule per calendar quarter.

Utilities are expressly excluded in that document (as well as insurance, education, organizations, government, and non-retail services), so you have no case to make—other than for the CSR to invalidate the improperly earned 3x of your other utilities purchase. As for Copa, I'd check the online transaction flag just out of curiosity. I doubt that you will have much luck there either, but knock yourself out if you want to try.
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Old Aug 15, 19, 9:40 pm
  #116  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 9
Originally Posted by holyPockets View Post
Three things have to happen for you to be credited properly for 3x ONLINE transactions: (1) In the Activity tab the Online Transaction flag must read Y; (2) the MCC of the transaction mustn't be listed in the Online Exclusions table of the helpful pdf located up top in the wiki; and (3) the purchase must not exceed the $2,500 maximum bonus spend rule per calendar quarter.

Utilities are expressly excluded in that document (as well as insurance, education, organizations, government, and non-retail services), so you have no case to make—other than for the CSR to invalidate the improperly earned 3x of your other utilities purchase. As for Copa, I'd check the online transaction flag just out of curiosity. I doubt that you will have much luck there either, but knock yourself out if you want to try.
The Copa ones were not coded as online. So...that was the big issue. I didnt fight Verizon because I know those are straight up utilities. Two straight months at 1%.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 9:59 am
  #117  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: BAY AREA
Posts: 620
Since my wife has bofa cash card, I got another one but under MLB to take advantage of the categories. Only thing I noticed that the card is very low quality compared to other bofa cards.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 10:22 am
  #118  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 45
Originally Posted by Tokar View Post
…Two straight months at 1%.
The Cash Rewards online category can be a little wonky, but I've found that I've had more improperly earned 3x purchases than proper ones that have failed to earn 3x. The main cause of failures has generally been that pesky Y/N flag being set to N for whatever reason. If you care to do your banking with BofA and achieve a Preferred Rewards status, it would make those 1x failures worth 1.25% (Gold), 1.5% (Platinum), or 1.87% 1.75% (Platinum Honors) instead of 1%. Also, getting a 2nd CR card set to a different 3x category sounds like an interesting idea to me.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how BofA has buffed this card.

Last edited by holyPockets; Aug 16, 19 at 2:12 pm Reason: bad arithmetic
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Old Aug 16, 19, 10:26 am
  #119  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 45
Originally Posted by trikotret View Post
Since my wife has bofa cash card, I got another one but under MLB to take advantage of the categories. Only thing I noticed that the card is very low quality compared to other bofa cards.
I don't like how the new ones are issued as Mastercards. I think one can still request(?) the Visa variant so it can be used at Costco.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 11:55 am
  #120  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Boston
Posts: 172
Originally Posted by holyPockets View Post
The Cash Rewards online category can be a little wonky, but I've found that I've had more improperly earned 3x purchases than proper ones that have failed to earn 3x. The main cause of failures has generally been that pesky Y/N flag being set to N for whatever reason. If you care to do your banking with BofA and achieve a Preferred Rewards status, it would make those 1x failures worth 1.25% (Gold), 1.5% (Platinum), or 1.87% (Platinum Honors) instead of 1%. Also, getting a 2nd CR card set to a different 3x category sounds like an interesting idea to me.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how BofA has buffed this card.
Isn't it 1.75% for Platinum Honors, not 1.87%??
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