BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* Review

Annual Fee
first year free
$120
Sign Up Cash Value
$260
Max Earnings Rate
5%
Recommended Credit Score
740 850 670 739 580 669 0 579
Good-Excellent
Min Personal Income Required
$80,000
Supplementary Cards
$50
Welcome offer: Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months (up to $260 cash back) and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year*

The BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* offers a very lucrative sign-up bonus, a market-leading cash back rate of 5% on groceries*, an impressive roadside assistance package, and the best extended warranty and purchase protection terms offered by any Canadian credit card.* But some of its fine-print spending limitations put a damper on what would otherwise be our highly enthusiastic endorsement of the card.

Ultimately it’s a great fit for high-income ($80,000+) singles, who can maximize the card’s cash back rates without chaffing under its strict spending caps. But it’s far less suited to couples or families, who have more to gain from competing cards with higher spend ceilings.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Valuable sign-up bonus
  • High 5% cash back rate on groceries*

  • Free roadside assistance*
  • Excellent extended warranty and purchase protection terms*

Cons

  • Restrictive spending limits for most cash back categories
  • Sign-up bonus structure is head-scratchingly complicated

  • High minimum income requirements

Welcome Bonus

With up to $260 in cash back for new applicants, the BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard® has one of the best sign-up bonuses in Canada, albeit with an unnecessarily complicated structure. New cardholders who apply by December 6, 2022 can get an annual fee rebate for the primary cardholder ($120 value), plus 10% cash back for their first three months, on up to $2,600 in spending.*

Unfortunately that 10% isn’t a ‘flat’ rate, i.e., it doesn’t apply to all your eligible spending. Instead, the rate only applies up to certain spending maximums in the following purchase categories:

  • Up to $500 spent on groceries ($50 cash back)
  • Up to $500 spent on recurring bills ($50 cash back)
  • Up to $300 spent on gas and electric vehicle charging ($30 cash back)
  • Up to $300 spent on ground transit ($30 cash back)
  • Up to $1,000 spent on everything else ($100 cash back)

Overall it’s a good sign-up bonus for those with diverse spending habits, who, given the offer’s annoying restrictions, have the best chance to max out the available cash back.

Earning Cash Back

The card earns at the following rates after the 3-month welcome period ends:

  • Groceries: 5% cash back up to $500 spent per month ($25 in cash back)*
  • Transit: 4% cash back up to $300 spent per month ($12 in cash back)*
  • Gas: 3% cash back up to $300 spent per month ($9 in cash back)*
  • Recurring Bills: 2% cash back up to $500 spent per month ($10 in cash back)*
  • Everything Else: 1% cash back, unlimited*

If you exceed a monthly spending limit on groceries, transit, gas, or recurring bills, the enhanced cash back rate for that category will drop to 1% for the remainder of the month. When a new month starts you’ll earn again at the enhanced rate.

The 5% earn rate on grocery purchases* is technically the highest among cash back cards in Canada, but that eye-popping rate is severely hampered by the $500 monthly spending limit in that category. While singles might come in at or around $500 spent per month on groceries, even small families will surpass that limit by a long way. And keep in mind that the limit applies to all the credit card spending across the account. So if you get your partner a supplementary card for $50, you won’t suddenly have a $1,000 combined monthly spending limit for groceries. You’ll still earn at 5% on only the first $500 in grocery spending for both cards combined.

Given this restriction, couples and small families are advised to instead check out other credit cards for saving on groceries, most of which have higher spending caps.

Statement based on a comparison of the non-promotional grocery rewards earn rate on Canadian cash back credit cards as of June 1, 2022

Redeeming Cash Back

Cash back you accumulate can be redeemed as a credit against the card’s statement, or it can be deposited into a BMO chequing account, savings account, or InvestorLine account. The redemption policy is particularly flexible, as cash back can be redeemed at any time, with only a $1 minimum redemption amount. This is better than a number of competing cash back cards, which might allow for redemptions only once a month or even once a year, and which sometimes have higher minimums required for redemption.

Roadside Assistance

BMO is one of the few Canadian credit cards that include a roadside assistance package at no extra cost.* Cardholders get a free membership in the Dominion Automobile Association (DAA), which is valued at $69 annually.

Tow truck assistance is provided within Canada and the mainland U.S. (not including Hawaii and overseas territories), and includes up to four service calls per year. Provided services include the following:

  • Battery boosts
  • Changing flat tires
  • Lockout service
  • Up to one hour of winch service for vehicles stuck in mud, a ditch, or snow
  • Emergency delivery of up to 10 litres of gas (the cardholder has to pay for the gas)
  • Towing of up to 10 km to the nearest repair facility

For a point of reference, comparable plans from Canadian Tire and CAA cost $69.95 and $92 respectively, so the complimentary membership that comes with the BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard® is quite valuable, particularly for urban commuters. The 10 km towing limit is less relevant for rural drivers.

Related: The Difference Between Free vs. Paid Roadside Assistance in Canada

Insurance

Though its travel insurance is middling, the real highlights of this card’s insurance package are the very generous purchase coverages. Most credit cards, even those that are expensive and high end, offer only an extra one year of extended warranty and 90 days of purchase protection. This card doubles those standard terms, which gives it the best purchase coverage of any credit card in Canada. The card’s insurance suite is summarized in the table below:

BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*: What's Covered?
Travel Emergency Medical:* Up to 8 days of consecutive coverage for those under age 65. Covers up to $2,000,000.
Delayed and Lost Baggage:* Up to $750 per person, to a maximum of $2,000 per trip for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage. Up to $200 for baggage delay of over 12 hours.
Unexpected Return Home Benefits:* Reimbursement for transit home in the event of the death of an immediate family member. Up to $2,000 reimbursement per person/$10,000 per trip.
Flight Delay:* Up to $500 to cover reasonable accommodation and travelling expenses when a flight is delayed 6+ hours.
Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage:* Up to 48 days of consecutive coverage, limited to vehicles up to $65,000 in value. Also covers theft or damage to personal effects up to a maximum of $1,000 per person, per occurrence.
Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance:* Up to $500,000 per insured person.
Purchase Protection:* Covers theft of or damage to items within 180 days of purchase with the card.
Extended Warranty:* Extends a purchased item's original manufacturer's warranty by up to two years.

While you can’t predict if something you purchased will unexpectedly stop working or if it will be stolen, having a lengthy purchase protection and extended warranty period increases your chances of getting reimbursed if those unfortunate circumstances do eventuate.

Other Notable Perks

  • Free access to over 1M Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots*
  • Additional cash back with partner brands like Apple, Nike, and Marriott via the Mastercard Travel Rewards program
  • Up to 25% off rentals at participating National Car Rental®# and Alamo Rent A Car®#† at participating locations
  • 24-hour concierge access
  • Airport lounge access via Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey* ($32 USD per entrance)

Interest Rates and Fees

  • Annual Fee: $120 for primary card; $50 per supplementary card
  • Purchase Interest Rate: 20.99%
  • Cash Advances and Balance Transfers: 23.99% interest (21.99% for Quebecers) + 1% fee (minimum $5)
  • Foreign Transaction: 2.5% charge per foreign transaction
  • Missed Payment/Late Payment: Purchase interest rate and cash advance/balance transfer rates increase to 25.99% and 28.99% respectively if you have two late payments in any consecutive 12-month period

Note that unlike a number of other upper-tier credit cards from the Big Five banks like Scotia or RBC, BMO doesn’t incentivize bundling the card with, say, a BMO chequing account. It appears that after the first year’s annual fee rebate comes and goes, cardholders are stuck paying the annual fee for subsequent years, even if they’re a BMO chequing or investing customer.

Related Articles: The Benefits of Bundling Products from the Same Bank

Eligibility Requirements

BMO generally approves applicants who have a good credit score (at least 700+), and who meet one of the below income requirements:

  • Make at least $80,000 in annual income personally

Applicants must also be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and at least the age of majority in their province or territory of residence. Those who have declared bankruptcy in the past seven years are ineligible.

How Does It Compare to the Competition?

 BMO CashBack® World® Elite MastercardScotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* CardSimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express
Annual Fee$120$120$99*
Welcome Offer10% cash back for three months (max $260 cash back) + annual fee rebate for primary cardholder*10% cash back for 3 months (max $200 cash back) + first year annual fee waivers for primary and each supplementary card10% cash back for four months (max $400 cash back), terms and conditions apply
Cash Back Rate(s)5% groceries; 4% ground transit; 3% gas/electric vehicle charging; 2% recurring bills; 1% everything else*4% groceries and recurring bills; 2% gas and transit; 1% everything else2% on each eligible purchase
Cash Back Redemption PolicyAny time (minimum $1 cash back)Once annually each NovemberOnce annually each September

There are a number of other cash back cards that reward grocery spending, such as the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card. It offers only 4% cash back on groceries compared to the 5% offered by the BMO credit card, but its maximum spending limit for earning at that rate is $25,000, compared to the $6,000 annual maximum spend that the BMO card allows for its 5% rate. So if your grocery expenditures are less than $500 per month/$6K per year, you’ll earn more back with the BMO card. But if you spend, say, $1,000 per month on groceries, you’d earn $480 in cash back annually from the Scotia card compared to only $360 from the BMO card.

Another cash back card to consider is the SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express. It earns a flat 2% cash back rate on all your purchases, its annual fee is $21 lower than either the Scotia or BMO credit card, and it has no spending limits of any kind. The only real drawbacks with the SimplyCashTM Preferred Card are that it doesn’t waive the first year’s annual fee, so you can’t really try it out risk free, and because it’s an Amex it won’t be accepted by as many merchants as either a Mastercard or Visa. So if you’re considering that card you should first check to see if your favourite retailers are on our list of Canadian merchants that accept Amex.

Should You Apply for the BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*?

The BMO CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* makes sense for high-income singles who check off at least one or two of the below boxes:

  1. Groceries are one of your top three monthly expenses
  2. You’re an urban driver
  3. You’re about to make a major purchase for which long extended warranty and purchase protection periods would be a boon (e.g., a computer, a major appliance, etc.)

But if you don’t have a car, you can’t take advantage of some of the card’s auto-related selling points (roadside assistance, good cash back for gas, etc.). And if you’re buying groceries for a family of any size, you’ll easily pass the maximum monthly spending limit to earn at the card’s highest cash back earn rate, and you should instead consider another of Canada’s best cash back cards in order to maximize your savings.

Related Articles:

*Terms and conditions apply

BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.

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 [email protected] and we’ll gladly give you some free tips.

Article comments

16 comments
Ryan says:

I got this card because of all the great features it includes and the added benefit of the cashback, but the longer I hold this card and utilize the features, the more dissatisfied I become.
Just recently I attempted to use the roadside assistance program and was hugely disappointed with the services. I stupidly locked my keys in my car and thought instead of walking back home to grab the spare, getting lockout services would be way faster. I was very wrong.. It took about 30 minutes of being on hold to get a representative on the line. Once I finally got a representative on the line I was told about 45 minutes for the tow truck driver to arrive. I thought that was a bit steep for timing, living and being stranded in Vancouver BC. On any given day you can see 10 tow trucks reaping the illegally parked vehicles in any given area. Anyways, I went along with the timing but after an hour of waiting I decided to call the tow company Road Side Assistance had notified me would be coming. It took another 20 minutes to get the tow company on the phone only to be told that they weren’t contacted by Roadside Assistance. Luckily the guy on the phone was nice enough to send a driver right away and get a hold of Road Side so I didn’t have to pay on top of what I was already covered for. The $120 annual fee is not worth the crap services featured on this card. I’ll be deactivating the card promptly and moving to a higher rated competitor.

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Ryan,
What an incredibly frustrating experience, especially since you could have just walked home to pick up your spare keys. Thanks for sharing your experience here. Did you get a chance to share this with customer service? Given that you’re ready to move on to the competition, consider leveraging the rage to work in your favour? Given your circumstance, perhaps customer service might be willing to waive your annual fee or provide some other source of compensation for your experience. You never know unless you ask. Good luck, even if it is with a new card.

guest says:

how does the free roadside DAA work?
1) do u have to register on the DAA site?
2) or u just show the tow truck driver your BMO we card?
3)does it cover ANY car u drive?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi there,
BMO’s Roadside assistance coverage covers card holders 24/7 in Canada and the mainland US whether they are renting, borrowing or owning certain models of cars once they call 1-866-731-4999. It covers you for battery boost, emergency gas delivery (cardholder pays for the gas) flat tire change, spare tire inflation, lockout service, wenching from snow, mud or a ditch and a tow to the nearest mechanical repair place within 10 kns. No need to register on the DAA site. Your membership card comes with the manual that comes with your credit card that explains the terms of what is covered and what is restricted and can be cut out and put in your wallet. It has the road side assistance telephone number right on it. As soon as you call the number and provide your credit card number, you don’t need to show further proof. Not all vehicles or circumstances are covered. You are not covered if you are stuck in an area that is not well-traveled or you are driving an RV, altered or loaded vehicle, off-road vehicle, motorcycle, taxi, limousine, commercial vehicle or unlicensed and/or unattendend vehicle. You also won’t be covered if you are in Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico.

Sue says:

My Mastercard Elite received 58 charges from the same vendor in a total of 22 days, no one contacted me to let me know that something may be happening that I was unaware of, so I could possibly put a stop to it, and I am now stuck with $2000+ in charges ! Thanks Mastercard for that great security that you are always pushing on consumers.

Nate Siegel says:

Hey Sue,

Don’t pay towards this “debt” if it’s not yours. Dispute it through the credit card by calling and demanding to have it removed. If you pay anything towards these charges, even in response to a much smaller settlement payment offered by the company, you may become liable for the entire debt. You should be able to prove that you aren’t the one who made these rapid charges, anyway, so give BMO a call and an agent will help you figure out what next to do. Best of luck!

GreedyRates

JohnT says:

My wife and I are totally involved with BMO (InLine Banking, Investorline, etc..) We have also made BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard our only card but we are really disappointed with the age limitation of the “out of province / out of country travel medical insurance ($2 million coverage)” clause. We are in our 70’s and in very good health and we still enjoy two or three day junkets to the US and winter trips to Mexico. We expect that there should be some consideration for us and other senior citizens. After all, we are still paying the full premium cost.

J and B

GreedyRates says:

Hi John,

That’s certainly a good point to raise. You can see our travel insurance review of Canadian credit cards here for some alternatives. There are certainly alternatives with TD, Scotia, RBC, CIBC and National Bank. Just make sure to read the insurance terms and exclusions, so you don’t get dissapointed.

GreedyRates Staff

Bob says:

In the terms and conditions of the BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard, I came across this limitation: *Conditions: CashBack World MasterCard: With the BMO CashBack World MasterCard card, you will only earn CashBack rewards on your account up to a maximum monthly spend of $7,000.

Some months I spend a few thousand dollars but other months I may be spending over the $7000 limit. I expect that others would be in the same position. The card us advertised as no limits

GreedyRates says:

Hi Bob, the BMO CashBack World Elite card does not have any caps. The Terms and conditions you are referring to are contained in the BMO CashBack World Card, not the World Elite. Easy to see how the two can be confused. Hopefully that helps you with your monthly spend volumes!

Best,

GreedyStaff

John says:

All makes sense! And cashback does attract a certain segment of the population. I guess I just feel the points cards provide travel benefits (if used properly) that far outweigh cashback.

Again – everyone is different and so this meets certain objectives. The best strategy is to have a few different cards (unless your goal is cashback then this one is great…but then the Scotia Momentum offers 4%!) and use each to maximise the points.

FYI – we use the Scotia Amex for the 4% back merchants only. We then use the BMO World Elite for other spend. And also got the TD Infinite just for the sign-up points (and then cancelled).

John says:

Not sure I agree….The % from a points programme like ScotiaAmex (upto 4%) or BMO (2%) can provide a better deal. The Amex Membership Rewards can be worth more if you’re smart about how to use the airline or hotel points (for example for Business Class or luxury hotels).

The issue with this card is that the cashback is once a year…so you don’t get the benefit immediately…and can’t use the “savings” for a trip you may want to take before the cashback.

Of course everyone is different and has different views…cashback is also easy in that you don’t need to do anything – with points, you do have to do some work.

GreedyRates says:

Hi John,

Obviously the Scotia Amex Gold card provides more value on gas, grocery and dining spend. That said, it only offers the equivalent of 1% on all other categories. The big advantage of the BMO CashBack World Elite card, is that it provides 1.75% on all spend, in every category, with no caps, and you get it redeemed back in cash (granted it’s once a year). For those who don’t travel, or who would prefer booking their own travel and getting cash back value, a cash back card offers a great alternative.

We love the BMO Rewards World Elite card as well, which offers 2% in value. However, there are those who would prefer not redeeming for travel, and/or would prefer not being tied to BMO’s travel rewards redemtpion site when booking their travel, or having to deal with booking fees, unused points or the like. For those individuals, a cash back card is a great alternative and the BMO CashBack World Elite card gives high spenders the best value of any cash back card in Canada.

In the end, it seems Canadians are increasingly looking for the transparency, simplicity and value offered by cash back cards.

Make sense?

GreedyStaff

Yecai says:

I use Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa for Gas and Groceries, BMO cashback World Elite MC is a wonderful card for other purchases!

Choobi says:

Hello,

This article states that BMO cash back world elite offers 1.5% on all transactions but when you visit their website it says 1.75% cash back on all purchases.

Thank you,

GreedyRates says:

Hi Choobi,

Thank you for drawing our attention to that, but BMO have stated on their website that “Effective the first day after your September 2017 statement date, the cash back rewards earn rate on all eligible BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* card purchases will change from 1.75% to 1.5%.” This message pops up in after following the “Click here to learn more” link under the card’s description.

GreeedyRates Staff