Capital One Canada Discontinues its Aspire Cash Back World Credit Card

Capital One Canada Discontinues Aspire Travel World MasterCard

Last updated on June 29, 2018 Views: 2123 Comments: 6

Capital One Canada has discontinued its Aspire Travel World MasterCard, previously one of the richest travel rewards cards in the Canadian Marketplace. Capital One Canada has recently sent out letters to cardholders indicating that existing cardholders will continue to receive the same rewards rate and anniversary bonuses as they enjoy today.

Capital One Canada has replaced the Aspire Travel World MasterCard with the Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard. For new cardholders, the new World Elite MasterCard offers a much smaller sign-up bonus, of only $100, compared to $350 for the old card, and no longer offers an anniversary bonus of $100 per year. Moreover, by replacing the World card with a World Elite card, cardholders will now have to either have a personal income of $70,000 or household income of $120,000.

After Visa and MasterCard voluntarily committed to reduce their interchange rates to an average of 1.5% in November for 5 years, it was widely believed that credit card rewards programs, which rely on interchange to fund their rewards, would need to be weakened by the banks to maintain profitability. Capital One Canada’s dramatic weakening of the Aspire Travel value proposition can be seen in that context. If so, it will be interesting to see which other credit cards will follow suit. Aimia, the parent company of Aeroplan, lost 18.5% of its stock value after the November announcement by Visa and MasterCard.

However, the de-valuing can also be seen in the context of Capital One Canada’s recent signing of the Costco Canada deal. Many have observed that the Aspire Travel World MasterCard offered more value at Costco for Costco members, than the Capital One Costco MasterCard itself, even with the annual fee difference. That was, in large part, a result of the fact that the annual fee of $120 was off-set by the $100 anniversary bonus and the $350 sign-up bonus of the old Aspire card. Regardless, Capital One will still face competition within Costco from high earning stallwarts such as the BMO World Elite Mastercard, which gives 2% back on spend at Costco now as well.

To add further strain to Capital One, while the Aspire World MasterCard offered a 2% earn rate, many assume that issuers are collecting less than 1% interchange at Costco, further exacerbating Capital One Canada’s problems (and other MasterCard issuers as well). In effect, they were losing more than 1% for every Aspire Travel World MasterCard dollar spent at Costco.

For Canadians, it may be a sign of a potential de-valuing of credit card rewards programs or it may just be an isolated Capital One issue. If the former, Canadians should take advantage of as many of the sizeable welcome bonus credit card offers in the marketplace today as they can.

Article comments

Steve says:

Anyone have any issue redeeming their Capital One Aspire points? Mine shows no travel options to redeem against in the last 3 months and I know I have used vendors that were previously considered travel in that time? And it seems i can no longer go back further than 3 month to redeem which I was pretty sure I had done previously? Maybe a sign of further program changes? Have to say the only issue I have had since becoming a card member 4or 5 years ago is that they do not support Apple Pay 🙂

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Steve,

Thanks for the comment. If you’re having trouble redeeming your Capital One Aspire points, then we’d suggest calling their customer service line and asking what the deal is. It would help if you go through your receipts or your statement and make a short list of the merchants you purchased from that you consider ‘travel’ vendors so that you can be more specific. You can use this opportunity to ask about your redemption limits as well, and how far back you can go in your statements to apply cash back. Three months is actually a long time, considering, with other banks that we’ve dealt with putting the redemption limit at purchases made on the current month’s statement. Let us know how the call goes!


Ankur Chaudhary says:

ASPIRE TRAVEL WORLD ELITE MASTERCARD® provides one-time bonus of 40,000 miles – equal to $400 in travel – once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months

All says:

I liked my Aspire world travel card, I spend other 50k annually, but if they force me to pay 120 per year for it, too bad they will lose a customer

Mike says:

The 10,000 annual bonus will be grandfathered for those who previously held an Aspire Travel card.

Jake says:

How can you tell the difference between the new “World Elite” card vs. the old “World” card?

I got my replacement card on my original “World” card and they both seem to look identical. I just want to ensure I get my 10,000 annual bonus.