Comparing AIR MILES Credit Cards: BMO Vs. American Express. Which Is Best?

Last updated on May 22, 2018 Views: 2696 Comments: 0

Canadian credit card issuers are in a frenzy trying to keep and capture market-share from one another. We’re seeing higher sign-up bonuses, annual fee waivers, low interest promotional rates and other juicy enticements. AIR MILES and its two credit card issuers, BMO and American Express, are no exception. In fact, American Express and BMO are going head to head in an unprecedented aggressive marketing push.

Canadians now have the opportunity to milk the battle and benefit from the largest AIR MILES credit card sign-up bonuses EVER. That’s correct – ever.

Compare BMO vs American Express Air Miles Credit Cards

Air Miles Credit CardWelcome BonusAnnual FeeMin Income 
BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard3000 Miles (limited time offer, conditions apply)
$120$80KApply Now
American Express Air Miles Reserve2,400 Miles$299$20K
American Express Platinum Air Miles CardUp to 2000 Miles, conditions apply
$65$15KApply Now
BMO Air Miles Mastercard500 Miles (limited time offer, conditions apply)
$0$15KApply Now
American Express Air Miles Credit CardUp to 500 Miles,
conditions apply
$0$15KApply Now
BMO Sobeys Air Miles Mastercard500 Miles (limited time offer, conditions apply)
$0$15KApply Now
BMO SPC Air Miles Mastercard500 Miles (limited time offer, conditions apply)
$0$0KApply Now

From that perspective, we think there’s a nice opportunity for you to apply for a trio of no annual fee credit cards each coming with a 500 Air Miles welcome bonus, specifically the BMO Air Miles Mastercard (no fee, no minimum spend required), the American Express Air Miles credit card (no fee, $500 minimum spend) and the easiest way to accumulate additional Air Miles is by signing-up for new credit cards with Air Miles welcome bonuses. Why spend $10,000 on your credit card to earn 500 Air Miles, or $60,000 to earn 3,000 when you can simply apply for a no annual fee credit card and get 3000 Air Miles – completely free? That’s right! BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard now comes with a 3,000 Air Miles welcome bonus: get 1,000 Miles after making your first purchase and another 2000 miles for charging at least $3000 to the card in your first three months. Plus get a $120 annual fee waiver for the 1st year (limited time offer).

BMO vs Amex Air Miles - No Annual Fee

The BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard also gets kudos for its fantastic earning power of 1 Air Miles reward for every $10 in spend, a 15% discount on North American flight redemptions, 2 free lounge passes per year and of course a roster of free travel coverages that would make your insurance broker blush.

American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit CardIf you’re willing to pay an annual fee, we think BMO and Amex have hit it out of the park with their huge limited time offer sign-up bonuses. The Amex’s Platinum Air Miles card  currently offers  a 2,000 Air Miles sign-up bonus (enough for a free flight!), and comes with a very reasonable $65 annual fee – that said, we’re not fans of the $1,500 minimum spend requirement to get the bonus.

Some cards certainly offer additional value worth considering. The American Express Reserve Card notably offers a free companion ticket every year, 4 free passes to lounges annually, and access to AIR MILES Flex Fly, which provides you with more airline flexibility and the ability to pay for taxes and fees with points.

BMO Sobeys Air Miles MasterCardThe BMO Sobeys AIR MILES Mastercard comes in with a 500 AIR MILES sign-up bonus offer and no annual fee. If you shop at Sobeys you’ll get 2 AIR MILES per $20 spent, which is the fastest way to earn AIR MILES at Sobeys of any AIR MILES credit card in the country. With no annual fee, if you shop at Sobeys, you should get the card for your Sobeys shopping regardless. Combine the credit card with your AIR MILES collector card when shopping at Sobeys and you’ll be double dipping.

Below is a comprehensive comparison of the welcome bonus, annual fee, mile accumulation opportunities and insurance coverages offered for each AIR MILES credit card available in the Canadian marketplace today. Don’t miss out. With a host of no annual fee cards with AIR MILES welcome bonus offers, there’s no risk and tons of rewards – a bank beating strategy:

Credit CardBMO AIR MILES World Elite MastercardBMO SPC Student AIR MILES MastercardThe American Express AIR MILES Credit Card
BMO No-Fee AIR MILES MastercardBMO Sobeys AIR MILES MastercardThe American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit CardThe American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card
Annual Fee$120$0$0$0$0$65$299
Supplementary Card$50$n/a$$0$n/a$n/a$$0$50
Sign-Up Bonus AIR MILES3,000 (offer valid until April 30th, 2018)5005005005002,0002,400
Interest Rate19.99%19.99%19.99%19.99%19.99%19.99%19.99%
Base Earn Rate 1 mile : $101 mile : $201 mile : $201 mile : $201 mile :$201 mile : $151 mile : $15
Earn Rate at AIR MILES PARTNERS1 mile : $10
(all AIR MILES Partners)
1 mile : $15
(all AIR MILES Partners)
2 Miles: $202 Miles : $20 @ Sobeys and Air Miles partners1 mile : $10
(all AIR MILES Partners)
1 mile : $10 (all AIR MILES Partners)
Perks & Bonuses!2 Free airport lounge passes
15% discount on AIR MILES flights in North America
10%-15% Student discounts at hundreds of storesN/ACar rental discountsN/A1 mile : $10
(grocery, gas, drugstore)
Free companion flight ticket!
4 Free airport lounge access passes
FlexFly Redemptions
Redeem for flight taxes & fees
AIR Miles flight admin fees are waived
InsuranceTravel Accident
Car Rental
Emergency Medical
Flight Delay
Lost or stolen Baggage
Baggage Delay
Trip Cancellation
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Trip Interruption
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Travel Accident Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Travel Accident
Car Rental
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Travel Accident
Car Rental
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Travel Accident
Car Rental
Emergency Medical
Flight Delay
Lost or stolen baggage
Baggage Delay
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection

All in all, we think BMO and Amex have hit home runs with their roster of Air Miles credit card welcome bonuses. Now it’s up to you to decide which gives you the best sign-up bonus offer, lowest annual fee and highest earning potential and best insurance coverage. Frankly, if you collect AIR MILES, we’d recommend sign-up for multiple offers, spaced out over time to maximize your AIR MILES earnings. Especially with no fee offers, what’s the risk?

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