Capital One Canada Discontinues Aspire Travel World MasterCard

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Last updated on August 2, 2021 Comments: 32

* This news article was published on February 16, 2015, and the details of the products it refers to may no longer be up to date. Those who are interested in travel rewards cards similar to the Capital One Aspire cards are advised to check out the below articles instead:

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.

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Article comments

32 comments
Karen Poole says:

I too, am looking to replace my Aspire Travel World Elite, hoping for not only points to dollar spent but more importantly, travel insurance. Especially now… Not thrilled with going Amex because it is not widely accepted. And Costco does not accept Amex (or Visa), I believe… We use our cc for basically everything in order to collect points 😉

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Karen,
The closest card to the Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard is the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard where you can get the same earn rate at 2 points per $1. You can book travel at a full 2% earn rate redeeming 5,000 points per $50, which is the same as the Aspire. For cash back, the rate drops slightly to 1.67%, but it sounds like you care more about travel. Still, I would look into it because most cards are eligible to collect travel points or cash back points, not both. Also, the MBNA Rewards World Elite will be accepted at more retailers.

Jill Williams says:

I am looking to cancel my Aspire Travel World Elite in the new year and hoping to replace it with a card with travel insurance and maybe cash back for 65+ any suggestions?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Jill,
The cards I would go with (or at least look into) are the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard (same earn rate as the Aspire) or the Westjet RBC World Elite Mastercard which earns at 1.5% or 2% on Westjet purchases. If you fly Westjet a lot, this is the card. There’s the Amex Cobalt Card which is the top-rated travel rewards card in Canada, but Amex is still not accepted universally. How about Scotiabank Gold Amex Card which also earns big on travel?

Paul says:

I was notified that the rewards rate would be cut from 2 points to 1.5 point per dollar spent, as well as losing the annual renewal bonus of 10,000 points.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Paul,
Yes. That is indeed the case as of August 2020. No problem though, there are comparable alternatives such as the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard or the HSBC World Elite Mastercard, which beats the card handily in terms of points per dollar. You should look into both of these.

Joe says:

I received a letter from captial one today saying they are taking my 10,000 anaul bonus and reducing my rewards from 2% to .1.5%…….anyone know of a better card now?

Aaron Broverman says:

Yeah there are several alternatives Joe. If you want the same rewards rate as the Capital One Aspire, check out the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard. If you’re looking to beat it, try the BMO World Elite Mastercard for 3 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases or 6 points per dollar on eligible travel purchases from the HSBC World Elite Mastercard.

Dan says:

I think this article might have it somewhat backwards? I got a letter saying the my 10,000 reward miles annual bonus will be DIScontinued (not continued). And instead of the usual 2 rewards miles per $1 spent, it will now be 1.5 reward miles.
It’s too bad as I’ve enjoyed these perks for more than 5 years now. But looking around for a new card, I can’t find anything that beats even this reduction in CapitalOne’s rewards. Any tips for a new travel card with good insurances? thanks!

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Dan,
Comparable cards are out there. Try the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard for a comparable 2 points per dollar rewards rate that the Capital One Aspire used to boast. The MBNA Rewards World Elite doesn’t have comparable travel insurance though. For that try the HSBC World Elite Mastercard which gives you a whole suite of insurances, including baggage delay, trip cancellation/interruption and emergency medical. Plus, you get 6 points per dollar on eligible travel, dining and entertainment expenses and 3 points per dollar everywhere else. The $149 annual fee is cancelled out in the first year by a rebate and points bonuses world up to $300, but you can also try the BMO World Elite Mastercard, which gives you 3 points per dollar on travel, dining and entertainment and 2 points per dollar everywhere else.All of these cards match or beat the Capital One Aspire before it was devalued.

Patti says:

This post is outdated now. July 2020 received letter that no longer grandfathering annual bonus and points reduced from 2 to 1.5

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Patti,
Thanks for the update. We’re well aware of the devaluing. The good news is there are many alternative cards out there that exceed or match the Capital One Aspire’s former rewards rate of 2 points per dollar, including the Brim World Elite Mastercard, The BMO World Elite Mastercard, The MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard and, the best one, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard.

Candy says:

An update:there is no more anniversary bonus and collect rate is reduced as well.
I got the mail in July 2020

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Candy,
Yep. we have since updated the article and if you’re looking for comparable credit cards check out the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard, The BMO World Elite Mastercard, The Brim World Elite Mastercard and the HSBC World Elite Mastercard.

Trent says:

The article / info is not exactly accurate. I have the letter in front of me as I am a Aspire Travel World MasterCard holder.
‘As of August 05 2020 you will earn 1.5 reward miles per $1 spent, rather than 2 reward miles per $1 spent. Your Annual anniversary bonus of 10,000 reward miles will also be discontinued.’

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Trent,
As you know by now, the article has since been updated. There are many alternatives to this card listed and detailed in the comments here.

Anjli Acharya says:

Just got a letter that says that the rewards on the Aspire Travel card have been reduced to 1.5 for each dollar spent from 2$. It also states that the annual reward of 10,000 will be discontinued as of August 5, 2020

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Anjili,
Yep, we are well aware of the devaluing and have updated the article to reflect that. Look in the comments of this article for various recommendations for alternative credit cards that match or exceed the old value of the Capital One Aspire.

Paul says:

Update: They just cancelled the annual bonus and reduced the points from 2 per dollar to 1.5 per dollar. Not worth the annual fee anymore.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Paul,
We’re well aware and the article has been updated. If you’re looking for a new card with comparable reward rates. Try the BMO World Elite Mastercard, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard, the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard and the Brim Financial World Elite Mastercard.

Mike W says:

I signed up years ago for the Aspire card. I just received a letter saying they are discontinuing the 10,000 annual miles and reducing our rewards from 2 miles per dollar to 1.5 miles per dollar. So disappointed. Anything I can do about this?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Mike W.,
You could always apply for another card with comparable rewards and insurance. try the HSBC World Elite Mastercard if you want a reward rate that beats it handily but also a suite of comprehensive travel insurance coverage. Other equivalent reward rates of 2 points per $1 include the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard or the BMO World Elite Mastercard.

Tyler says:

I was wondering if there is anyway to confirm that I will still receive my 10,000 bonus points in November when I pay my annual fee? Should I phone and ask? I have the aspire world elite card and have had it for almost three years.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Tyler,

Great question—thanks for bringing it to us! Apparently, cardholders with a Capital One Aspire card that was entitled to the annual 10,000-mile bonus will still receive it. You can phone and ask, but we’re willing to bet that Capital One already emailed and also snail-mailed you a letter with the exact details. Other readers have reported that existing cardholders have been “grandfathered in”, meaning that since they got the card when the annual bonus was active (and with the indication that it wouldn’t one day be discontinued), then Capital One is going to fulfill their side of the deal. This happens often with credit card promotions that run for a while and then suddenly change.

We even have an example of the letter you probably received, with a section describing the idea: “You’ll also continue to receive an anniversary bonus of 10,000 reward miles on your account – and you’ll still have access to other great benefits that come with your card, like Travel Emergency Medical insurance and Trip Cancellation insurance.” Confirm with Capital One and let us know!

GreedyRates

Investor says:

I received a letter from Capital One that previously grandfathered anniversary bonus has been discontinued on Aspire Travel. In addition, points are now earned at 1.5x for every $, effective August 5, 2020. I’m in the market for a new card as the anniversary bonus discontinuation is a deal-breaker for me.

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks Investor,
As you’re probably aware of now, we’ve updated the article and if you’re looking for similar reward rates, credit card alternatives are served up from me in the 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!

GreedyRates

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.