Best BMO Credit Cards

Best BMO Credit Cards

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Last updated on July 25, 2021 Comments: 4

Bank of Montreal is a highly respected institution among Canadians, and offers many beneficial financial products including loans, mortgages, investments and of course—credit cards. Established in the early 19th century, it’s now one of the ‘Big Five’ banks in Canada. The bank provides credit cards to suit the lifestyles of nearly every cardholder profile, including different spending habits, income and credit levels, and reward types. Explore the very best that BMO offers below, where we’ve organized a list of credit cards based on their primary utility and what kind of person they’re ideally suited to.

Best BMO Credit Cards Compared

Credit CardBest ForAnnual FeeCard Review
BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*No Annual Fee$0
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BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®*Travel Rewards$150
Waived in the first year*
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BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*Cash Back
$120
first year free
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BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®*Air Miles$120Read More
BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*Balance Transfer$0Read More
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®*Low Interest$20
Waived in the first year*
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BMO Sobeys AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*Groceries$0Read More

Best BMO No Annual Fee Credit Card

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®*

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Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Credit Score: Fair-Good
– Minimum Income: $15000
– Age: Age of majority in province/territory
– Residency: Canadian resident

The BMO CashBack® MasterCard®* is another handy wallet companion that doesn’t charge an annual fee and still provides high value. Cardholders are welcomed with a competitive 5% cashback bonus rate that lasts for their first 3 months (up to $2,500 in spending for max $125 back), which returns to the rate of 0.5-3% on all their purchases depending on category after the promotional period. Cash back can be deposited directly into a chequing or savings account, credited to one’s monthly card statement, or invested via the BMO Investorline account.As a standard BMO perk, the BMO CashBack® MasterCard®* extends protection against theft and damage to one’s new purchases made with the card. It will also grant longer warranties on expensive items like electronics (those that already have a manufacturer’s guarantee), which is highly appreciated when something breaks unexpectedly. All in all, the sum of these benefits makes the card a savvy addition to anyone’s wallet.Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* review.

Best BMO Travel Rewards Credit Card

BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®*

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Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Credit Score: Good/Excellent
– Minimum Income: $80,000 individual or $150,000 household
– Age: Age of majority in your province or territory.
– Other Requirements: No bankruptcies in the last seven years

The World Elite label means that a credit card is accompanied by extra benefits like total travel and medical protection. Though the AIR MILES World Elite Card (see below) is a great card for Air Miles devotees, not all Canadians love that rewards program. The BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®* is a good alternative, with cardholders able to earn up to $567 between all its lucrative introductory bonuses, plus steady BMO points for their everyday spending – which are redeemable on any number of great travel rewards. BMO offers new applicants up to 40000 welcome points (Conditions apply, available exclusively via our link) and will waive their first year’s $150 annual fee. Cardholders will earn 3 points for every $1 they spend on travel, dining, and entertainment purchases, and then 2 points per $1 spent on anything else. Since it’s a World Elite card, cardholders will also receive 4 free passes for worldwide VIP airport lounges every year—a $140 value. When added to the 40000-point bonus (worth up to $267) and $150 annual fee waiver, the card’s fast value to new members is up to $567. A best-in-class promotional package. BMO travel protection features include out-of-country or province medical coverage up to $2 million, plus insurance for rental car collisions as well. Add in extended warranties and protection for damage and theft on items purchased with the car, and it’s no wonder that applicants will need to show $80,000 or $150,000 in personal or household annual income, respectively, in order to qualify.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO® World Elite™* Mastercard®* review.

Best BMO Cash Back Credit Card

BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Credit Score: Good/Excellent
– Minimum Income: $80,000 individual or $150,000 household
– Age: Age of majority in your province or territory.
– Other Requirements: No bankruptcies in the last seven years

Combining high cashback rates with all the valuable benefits of the World Elite label, the BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* is one of the bank’s best. The card has an annual fee of $120 (first year free), but the rates at which you can amass cash back outweigh the annual fee by a significant margin. New cardholders start off with a generous welcome bonus of up to 10% cash back on all eligible purchases for the first 3 months, up to $2,600 spent ($260 in cash back). After that the regular cash back earn rates are as follows:

  • Groceries: 5% cash back, up to $500 spent per month ($25 cash back), and then 1% after that
  • Transit: 4% cash back, up to $300 spent per month ($12 cash back), and then 1% after that
  • Gas and Electric Vehicle Charging: 3% cash back, up to $300 spent per month ($9 cash back), and then 1% after that
  • Recurring Bills: 2% cash back, up to $500 spent per month ($10 cash back), and then 1% after that
  • Everything Else: 1% cash back (unlimited)

However, as a World Elite card, the benefits don’t end there. BMO provides 8 days of out-of-province and country medical insurance coverage for up to $2 million, plus damage and collision coverage for rental cars. Purchases made with the card are protected from damage and theft through the first 180 days after purchase, and any item that has an original manufacturer’s warranty can get it extended by up to two additional years—this is among the best purchase protection and extended warranty coverage in Canada.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* review.

Best BMO AIR MILES Credit Card

BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®*

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Credit Score: Good/Excellent
– Minimum Income: $80,000 individual or $150,000 household
– Age: Age of majority in your province or territory.
– Other Requirements: No bankruptcies in the last seven years

BMO has an excellent relationship with the Air Miles program and can therefore offer some of the best Air Miles cards in Canada. They demonstrate this handily with their BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®*, which gives new cardholders who spend $3,000 in the first 3 months a bonus of 2000-Air Miles and a $120 annual fee waiver in the first year. Cardholders earn Air Miles at a fast rate of 1 per $12 spent, which can be redeemed on excellent travel rewards and airfare anywhere in the world. Spending at Air Miles partner stores will earn at an even faster rate of 3 Miles per $1 spent. Those who spend $4,000 per month on the card will earn at least 6,000 Air Miles in their first year. That’s already enough for a flight from Montreal all the way to Paris.Another notable perk of the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* is that it includes complimentary LoungeKey membership, which allows cardholders to enter LoungeKey airport lounges worldwide for US$32 per entrance. The card’s advantages also include comprehensive travel and medical insurance, with 15 consecutive days of out-of-province coverage for up to $2 million. A standard BMO benefit is the addition of purchase protection and extended warranties on items purchased with the AIR MILES World Elite card.Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* review.

Best BMO Balance Transfer Card

BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Credit Score: Fair-Good
– Minimum Income: $15,000
– Age: Age of majority in your province or territory
– Residency: Resident of Canada

Though it isn’t primarily known as a balance transfer card, the BMO AIR MILES®† MasterCard®* does provide this option to new cardholders who want to consolidate their credit card debt, pay it off, and earn Air Miles on their everyday purchases. Those who transfer an outstanding balance from another credit card or bank (outside of BMO) will pay just 1.99% interest on this amount for 9 months (1% fee applies to balance amount transferred). Few strategies are as effective for reducing compounding interest charges.The card helps those who want to earn Air Miles quickly and reduce their travel expenses. As a special welcome offer, get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (when you spend $1,000 within the first three months). That’s enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash*. At Air Miles sponsors like Sobeys and Rexall, cardholders will earn 3 Air Miles for every $25 they spend, and 1 Air Mile per $25 elsewhere. With $0 spent on annual fee, if you manage to spend just $1,000 per month on the card, you’ll earn up to 1,280 Air Miles in the first year when you include the Welcome Offer bonus. This is the equivalent value of a round-trip flight from Montreal to Toronto. Finally, it’s easy and free to sign up supplementary cardholders. Extend them the benefits above, but also up to 25.00% off at Alamo and National rental car locations alongside purchase protections including extended warranties and damage coverage.Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®* review.

Best BMO Low Interest Credit Card

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* 

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Who’s Eligible?
– Recommended Credit Score: N/A
– Minimum Income: $15,000
– Age: You must be the age of majority in your home province
– Residency: Canadian

For people who routinely carry part of their outstanding balance from month to month, interest charges are a constant concern. Saving money is more about reducing interest, in this case, than it is earning cash back or rewards. BMO offers a pertinent solution with their BMO Preferred Rate MasterCard®*, which can immediately help applicants transfer their balances and then pay interest of 3.99% for 9 months (1% transfer fee). With most cards charging interest at 20% or more, this alone can put money right back into your pocket.

Even without the promotional balance transfer rate, BMO keeps interest on purchases and cash advances at a competitive 12.99%. Standard among BMO cards is complimentary damage and theft protection for new items bought with the Preferred Rate card, plus extended manufacturers’ warranties by up to one more year. These benefits are all available to cardholders for the low annual fee of $20 (Waived in the first year)*.

Click here to apply for the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* .

Best BMO Credit Card for Groceries

BMO Sobeys AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Recommended Credit Score: Fair-Good
– Minimum Income: $15,000
– Age: You must be the age of majority in your home province
– Residency: Canadian

For cardholders who spend a lot on groceries and love travelling inexpensively, BMO offers the BMO Sobeys AIR MILES®† MasterCard®*. You’ll receive 800 Air Miles when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Earning Air Miles on the most common purchases is where the card’s strengths lie, especially for Sobeys and Foodland shoppers. At these staple Canadian grocery stores, cardholders earn 3 Miles for every $25 they spend. Accordingly, weekly grocery purchases for the family will therefore help pay for their summer vacation at the same time.

Even for non-grocery purchases, cardholders earn 1 Mile for every $25 they spend. Double Miles are earned at participating Air Miles program partners—places like Shell gas stations, Ace Hardware, Rexall pharmacies, and National Car Rental. These perks are made even more valuable given the absence of an annual fee.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO Sobeys AIR MILES®† Mastercard®* review.

Quebecers might instead opt for the BMO IGA AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*, which has virtually identical features to the Sobeys card, but earns 3 Miles for every $25 spent at IGA* rather than Sobeys or Foodland.

Author Bio

GreedyRates is Canada’s go-to resource for all things personal finance. Our expert articles and videos cover every topic under the financial sun, including credit cards, credit scores, loans, bank accounts, budgeting, investing, RSPs, TFSAs, GICs, taxes, and more. Want our advice on a personal finance issue? Send us an email at info@greedyrates.ca and we’ll gladly give you some free tips.

Article comments

4 comments
susan says:

Hello, Never held a BMO card before. Do you know if they ask for income verification, etc, or just require pickup in branch . Most likely would be for the Airmiles world elite . Carry Amex, RBC and TD & MBNA on a reg. basis

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Susan,

Generally, any card that has a minimum income requirement will also need to you verify your income to get approved for it. The BMO Air Miles World Elite card is no exception, as one of the best and most prestigious travel cards around. Your income should be $80,000, or $150,000 household combined income to get approved, and though some applicants can evade these requirements by having stellar credit or many assets (creditworthiness has many variables), the bank will absolutely want to check your income in any case.

You have a better chance at skirting income requirements when you want a card from a bank that you’re already a member of. As a known entity, the bank’s familiarity with you is a boon and will result in a better chance at being approved for upper-tier cards, so if you’re very short of the income requirement then try to find a similar card from your current bank(s) like MBNA or RBC.

GreedyRates

Fran friel says:

Is the elite point card or elite air miles better. I have the point card thinking it was a air mile card. Please advise ,thank you, regards Fran friel

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Fran,

Thanks for coming to us with questions about the differences between BMO’s Rewards World Elite card and its Air Miles World Elite card. If you applied for the Rewards card thinking that it was an Air Miles card, and now want to know what your options are, we’ll help you out. If you’re an Air Miles fan and desire miles exclusively, then your primary option is to call BMO and ask them to switch your card (we’re not sure if this will work). Considering that eligibility requirements for both are identical, the bank might just take mercy and swap your card for the one you want. Or, you can simply cancel it and reapply for the correct card.

However, keep in mind that in terms of the sum value delivered by their introductory bonuses, perks, and everyday earnings rates, the cards are nearly indistinguishable. The BMO Rewards points you earn at a rate of 2 per $1 spent is the equivalent of around 1.40% when redeeming on travel (airfare included, though it’s through BMO’s travel booking portal and not Air Miles), which is similar to the Air Miles card’s 1 mile per $10 spent. They also have identical access to VIP airport lounges. Basically, you can use the BMO World Elite card as a travel card, but if you love Air Miles, then it won’t live up to your standards. Let us know if you have any other questions—thanks!

GreedyRates Staff