New BOA anti-churning 24-month language on some cards (AS, TR, PR, CR)

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Bank of America has added some specific anti-churning language to a number of their credit cards. The exact terms vary a bit, but generally you will now be limited by a 24-month rule (read on for the different iterations). Note that as of the time of publication, this language is only appearing on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature (personal, not business), Premium Rewards, Travel Rewards, and Cash Rewards card. Interestingly, the language varies a bit from one card to another. See below for more.

New BOA limits

The changes, first reported today by Doctor of Credit, are clearly aimed at reducing the ability to continually receive new welcome bonuses on these popular cards.

Interestingly, the restrictions vary a bit from one card to another, for example, here are the restrictions from the Alaska Airlines personal Visa.

From the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card terms:

This card will not be available to you if you currently have or have had the card in the preceding 24 month period. This does not apply to the business credit card product.

In other words, you will need to wait 24 months from the date you cancel or product change in order to get the Alaska Visa Signature card again. You will not be able to have two Alaska Airlines Visa signature cards open simultaneously, which is a huge change from three or four years ago when some people had five or six open at a time. It is also notable that they explicitly note that the restriction does not apply to the business card.

The same restriction appears to apply to the Premium Rewards card.

From the Bank of America Premium Rewards card terms:

This Premium Rewards card will not be available to you if you currently have or have had a Premium Rewards card in the preceding 24 month period

However, the Travel Rewards card and Cash Rewards card have slightly different terms:

From the Bank of America Travel Rewards card terms:

This Travel Rewards card will not be available to you if you currently have a Travel Rewards card unless you have had that Travel Rewards card for at least 24 months

From the Bank of America Cash Rewards card terms:

This Cash Rewards card will not be available to you if you currently have a Cash Rewards card unless you have had that Cash Rewards card for at least 24 months

Based on those terms, it seems that you can have more than one Travel Rewards or Cash Rewards card, provided you have had card #1 open for at least 24 months.

Bottom line

These changes in terms are certainly a disappointing development for those who have previously been accustomed to earning the welcome bonus again on a card they have had before. It’s particularly a bummer for those who currently have the Alaska or Premium Rewards cards as they would have to cancel or product change and then wait 24 months to get one of those cards again — making the effective lock-out from a new bonus even longer than 24 months. Assuming you open one of those cards and keep it a year (to presumably get as much value as you can out of the year you’ve paid for), you’ll essentially be preventing yourself from repeating the bonus for about 3 years. Oddly enough, it seems like that will encourage people to open a card, earn the bonus, and then close as soon as possible thereafter in order to be eligible for the bonus again in the future (of course subject to the BOA 2/3/4 rule). That surely can’t be the behavior that BOA is trying to encourage here, but it’s a shame that they didn’t instead just apply the Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards restrictions to the Alaska and Premium Rewards cards.

H/T: Doctor of Credit

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