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Bank of America Application and Bonus Rules

By: Jeff Brownson

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For many years, Bank of America didn’t have any set rules to restrict approvals and sign-up bonuses. As long as you had a reasonable application, you would be approved more often than not.

However, in 2017, Bank of America implemented some more defined restrictions that go beyond any of the standard reasons for denials—poor credit score, too much new credit, etc.

Does this mean that you won’t be able to get approved for a new card from Bank of America?

Absolutely not!

It just means that there are a few rules that you need to know so you don’t waste your time applying when you have no chance of an approval.

Like most banks, not all of these rules are written down and easy to find. Some of them are based on countless data points.

Once people report the same kind of answers enough times, it becomes sort of an unwritten rule. They don’t specifically state it in the terms, but it’s best for you to know when applying.

Now that you have an idea of what to expect, let’s take a look at the rules that you need to know, both written and unwritten, before applying for a new credit card from Bank of America.

The 2/3/4 Rule

Taking cues from other banks, Bank of America has instituted a few limitations on the approval of personal credit card application based on the number of new credit cards you have received within certain timeframes.

You are eligible to open:

  • 2 new cards within 2 months
  • 3 new cards within 12 months
  • 4 new cards within 24 months

At first glance, this looks like a very restrictive rule, but It’s not as bad as it looks.

For these limits, Bank of America only counts credit cards that they issue. Cards from other banks are not taken into account when determining your eligibility for a new card.

That’s way better than Chase’s 5/24 Rule, which looks at all new personal credit cards from any bank—and business cards from Capital One and Discover.

These are also rolling limitations, so that makes things a bit easier. As an example, if you apply for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines card on April 12th and the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card on May 16th, you will be eligible to open a new card 2 months from April 12th. That means you are good to go for application #3 on June 13th.

There have been some reports of a manual override of these rules by Bank of America representatives, so if you mistakenly apply for a card that doesn’t qualify under these time limits, if may be worth asking for an exception—though they probably won’t acknowledge that this rule exists.

90 Day Rule

With Bank of America, you can only apply for and receive the sign-up bonus for the same card once within 90 days. Any applications for the same card within this 90-day timeframe will be canceled.

4 Card Maximum

This is more of a guideline than a rule.

For some people, Bank of America seems to have limited them to having 4 total personal credit cards at any given time.

This limit of 4 seems to have some flexibility, but it is something to consider. You might be able to talk your way into a 5th or 6th card if you are lucky, but you shouldn’t count on approval if you already have 4 Bank of America credit cards when you apply.

To take this a bit further, there have been a few reports of Bank of America canceling existing credit cards if they determine a person has too many when they apply for a new one.

Bottom Line

While Bank of America has instituted these rules recently, they are pretty reasonable rules that shouldn’t cause you much trouble.

For the number of new cards you can get in a certain timeframe, they have pretty clear rules that are easy to understand. In addition, they only count credit cards that they issue, not cards from all of the other banks which is much more reasonable than Chase.

Overall, their rules are fairly simple to follow. All of them can be summed up in one brief statement.

Don’t try to get too many Bank of America credit cards too quickly.

As long as you follow the rules we have explained in this post, you should be all set to get a new credit card and a great sign-up bonus from Bank of America.

Whether you want some more Alaska miles to take advantage of their great award charts, you need a few Amtrak points for a quick train ride up to New York City, or you want to get into some more complicated redemptions for award flights with Asiana miles, Bank of America has a number of interesting credit card options.

Here’s hoping for an instant approval on your next application.

Adventure Awaits!

Jeff the Wanderer

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