BMO World Elite Mastercard Review: a New Breed of Canadian Travel Card
The BMO World Elite Mastercard accrues up to 3 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases and grants cardholders a welcome bonus of 35,000 points, far higher than the welcome bonuses offered by competing travel rewards cards like the American Express Gold Rewards or Scotiabank Gold American Express. The 35,000-point welcome bonus is granted to cardholders after they charge $3000 to the card in their first 3 months of use—and the bonus is enough to cover a flight from Toronto to Montreal and back.
Scotiabank Gold does have a higher accelerated earn rate than the BMO World Elite, and it has more types of purchases eligible for the accelerated rate. However, its base rate is only 1 point per $1 while with BMO World Elite you can earn 2 points per $1 no matter where you use the card. American Express Gold has a similar base earn rate of 2 points per $1, but the range of eligible purchases for the extra point per $1 is much smaller than those for BMO World Elite.
BMO World Elite also brings cardholders a host of other benefits including excellent travel insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty, and complimentary access to travel lounges.
Basic Rewards Structure
BMO World Elite Mastercard users can earn a base rate of 2 BMO Rewards points for every $1 that they spend on any transaction.
Accelerated Rewards Structure
If you use your BMO World Elite Mastercard on purchases at eligible travel, dining, and entertainment merchants, you can earn 3 BMO Rewards Point for every $1 you spend. There is, however, a maximum amount of spend for accruing at this accelerated rate: $50,000 per year.
About BMO Rewards
Since BMO’s regrettable revaluation of BMO Rewards points, 1 BMO Rewards point is now worth about $0.007 when redeeming for travel, including flights, car rentals, hotel rooms and vacation packages. Other redemption options include:
- Investing BMO Rewards points in a BMO Investment Account
- Cashing in points toward paying down the card balance
- Redeeming points for products from diverse merchants like Le Creuset, Dell and Rayban
Cardholders should be aware that the value they get for their points varies from one redemption path to the next. See the below table for details.
|Redeem for Travel||Redeem for Cash Back||Redeem for Investment||Redeem for Charitable Donations||Redeem for Merchandise|
|Single Point Value||$0.007||$0.003||$0.007||Currently suspended||$0.005-$0.008|
|Permitted Redemption Amount||No minimum||15,000-point increments||15,000-point increments||Currently suspended||N/A|
You can learn more about the BMO Rewards program in our Loyalty Card Bible.
One of the most enticing benefits for BMO World Elite Mastercard cardholders is the included emergency medical coverage travel insurance. Below is a breakdown of the insurance package that comes with the card:
- The cardholder, his/her spouse, and dependent children are covered
- Coverage is automatic for cardholders under 65 years of age
- Cardholders between the ages of 65 to 74 can request to add the coverage by paying the appropriate premium
- Automatic coverage is for 21 days with the option to extend coverage to 31 days
- Emergency medical coverage is up to $2 million
In contrast, the American Express Gold Rewards card only offers out of province/out of country emergency medical insurance for up to 15 days, with no option to extend it to cardholders aged over 65, and the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card offers only $1 million of coverage, though it includes cardholders aged over 65. The combination of a high amount of coverage and the unusual option to extend it to older cardholders is rare in Canada.
BMO World Elite Mastercard’s travel insurance also includes:
- Car rental collision damage waiver
- Car rental accidental death or dismemberment insurance
- Car rental theft or damage to personal items
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Trip interruption or delay and flight delay benefits
- Coverage for lost, damaged, or stolen luggage
Other Card Perks
Along with BMO reward points and a top-notch travel insurance program, BMO World Elite Mastercard cardholders can also enjoy:
- 4 free airport lounge passes per year
- Purchase protection for theft, damage, or loss of items for up to 90 days from the date of purchase
- Extended warranty for up to 1 year for eligible items
Who’s the Card For?
If you’re looking for a high earn rate combined with excellent travel insurance, and you don’t mind redeeming your points for travel through BMO’s travel agents, the BMO World Elite Mastercard will suit you very well.
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