The Bank of Montreal World Elite Credit Card is quickly becoming a top card in the Canadian marketplace. As of this writing, I would put this card as a strong competitor for the 2nd spot in my wallet, which I would use for my non-category spending.
This card offers a great rewards earning potential of exactly 2% on all spending (redeemed towards the cost of travel). This card also has some great benefits, including a best in class travel insurance offering and a few airport lounge passes included in the annual fee.
This card is great for people in one of the following categories:
- Spend more than $1500 / month in categories other than gas, grocery, restaurant
- You want a few lounge passes each year for your travel
- You want to buy up to 31 days of travel medical coverage for a very small fee
The fee is a hefty $150. If you value the lounge access or the travel medical insurance, then this could be a great card for you.
Bank of Montreal World Elite Credit Card
|Rewards:||2% cash back as statement credit each month|
|Sign-up Bonus:||30,000 pts
& 1st year free* if applied by May 31, 2015
|Point Value:||1 pt = $0.01toward travel (no restrictions)|
The new version of the Bank Of Montreal World Elite Mastercard is quickly becoming my favorite card for non-category spending in Canada. It has a simple rewards structure, and it’s benefits are great for a card of this level. It is a Mastercard, so there is wide acceptance in the Canadian marketplace.
There are 3 types of credit cards:
- Cards that you get for putting everyday spending on them
- Cards that you get for a great signup bonus
- Cards that you get for the additional benefits, such as insurance or elite benefits
The Bank Of Montreal World Elite card is the triple threat of credit cards, as it is competitive on all 3 of these.
I think this is a good card to consider for people who have a significant amount of spending in categories other than gas, grocery and restaurants.
Also, this is a great card for retirees who might need travel medical insurance or a few lounge passes each year. For many people who might be buying travel medical insurance out of pocket, the annual fee on this card will help reduce the costs of travel medical insurance.
This is a very simple credit card rewards program in the marketplace. Every purchase earns the same return and rewards are deposited to your Bank of Montreal Rewards Account. When you are ready to, you can redeem your points travel purchases.
The earning structure is very simple. You earn 2 BMO points for every dollar spent. These BMO points sit in your rewards bank until you are ready to redeem them.
Rewards points will be earned at the end of the month in which they are earned, upon the closing of the statement cycle.
There are a few ways to redeem your rewards. The way that you will extract the most value from your points is to redeem your points for travel purchases. This will yield the best return. You can also redeem your points for cash, but these will earn you a lower rate of return.
Travel rewards will be redeemed at a rate of 1 pt = $0.01 towards the cost of a ticket. A $500 ticket will cost you 50,000 points, yielding a 2% return (you earn 2 pts / dollar spent)
To redeem your points, simply log in to the website at www.bmorewards.com. You are presented with a few options, including Travel. From there, you can book your travel using points. The great thing about this is that you can use up all of your points for a charge and if you are short rewards points, you can charge the difference to your card. There is no need to wait until you have enough points for a full ticket, before you can redeem.
The problem with this structure is that you have to plan for your trip when you want to redeem. I really like the redeeming structure of other programs, like the Scotia Rewards card, where you can make your charges to your card, and then redeem your points for statement credits after the fact. You are limited to buying tickets from BMO’s reward site, so they are clearly not as valuable as points that can be redeemed for statement credits. Scotia’s redeeming structure makes it much more flexible as you can redeem your points for a statement credit against any charge coming from an airline, including taxes and fees on an award redemption, or a bus ticket, for example.
If you are redeeming your rewards for non-travel merchandise or cash, this is not a very good card for you. You should get a card such as the Capital One Aspire Cash card which yields 1.25% cash back.
Non travel rewards, such as merchandise will likely be very poor value. Cash and statement credits will cost you double the amount of points, making this card yield 1% return. Most merchandise redeemed through the Bank of Montreal site will yield less than 1% likely.
Whenever I do rewards comparisons, I use this card as my basis for comparison. In this case, there are a few other cards that might be comparable to this one. I see this card as a cash-back-esque card with some great benefits. The points have an exact value which makes it very similar to a cash-back card. Also, I would use this card as a main spender for non-category purchases (things other than gas, grocery, restaurants).
MBNA Rewards World Elite
The MBNA Rewards World Elite and the BMO World Elite card are so similar that they even share the same name. The MBNA card earns 2 pts / dollar spent on all purchases and those points can be redeemed for statement credits against previously purchased travel. In this fashion, both the MBNA Rewards World Elite card and the BMO World Elite card have a very similar earnings. They only differ in how you can redeem your points. My personal preference is the MBNA method. The annual fee on the MBNA is slightly lower at $89, but I think there is value in paying the additional $60 to Bank Of Montreal for many people.
The difference between these 2 cards is in the benefits. Again, the BMO World Elite card really shines as those travel insurance benefits and lounge passes are not available with the MBNA card. For those who don’t value either of these things, I think the MBNA card is actually a better fit.
Capital One Aspire World
The other comparable card would be the Capital One Aspire World Mastercard. This card CAN get you 2% cash back in the form of travel, if you are willing to put in some effort when structuring your travel purchases. The annual fee on this card is $120, but you receive 10K points, which can be worth up to $100. If you redeem it right, then the annual fee can be considered to be as low as $20. The problem with this card is the slight annoyance in terms of the redemption of rewards. You might be able to get 2%, but in all likelihood, you will earn slightly less than that.
The additional benefits of the Capital One card, such as the travel medical insurance and lounge access benefits are not quite as good as the BMO World Elite card. The travel medical insurance covers you for up to 22 days if you are under 65, and up to 8 days if you are over 65. The Capital One card also does not come with lounge access.
Scotiabank Gold American Express
The Scotiabank Gold American Express card is one of my favorites. This card gets you a high return in gas, groceries and restaurant categories. I don’t put these against each other, and actually would say these 2 cards complement each other very well. In my suggested 2 card wallet, I would put these 2 cards as my preferred cards for many people. Put category spending (gas, groceries and restaurant) on the Scotiabank American Express, and everything else on BMO card to maximize your return.
If you have enough spending (say $1500 / month) in non-category spending, the World Elite is great. Also, the lounge access that comes with the Scotiabank card is to access the Priority Pass program for $65 / year and an additional $27 / visit. If you are interested in taking advantage of the Scotia program for lounge access in any way, the BMO card is well worth it.
The annual fee on this card is $150. The first year fee is waived if you apply by May 31, 2015
Also, there is no fee for an additional cardholder.
There is a signup bonus of 30,000 points after the first purchase. This can immediately be put towards a ticket worth $300 or more.
This card comes with some extraordinary benefits, namely the travel medical insurance and the 4 lounge passes each year.
The BMO World Eilte Mastercard comes with the following insurance coverages:
Travel Medical Insurance (up to $2M)
Travel Medical Insurance is a pretty big deal for this card. Most cards will offer medical coverage for up to 21 days out of the province if you are under 65, and sometimes up to 5 or 10 if you are under 65. The great thing about this card is that you can buy up to 31 days of coverage for a reasonable rate. To buy up to 31 days of travel medical coverage, the rates are:
If you are over 65, travel medical insurance tends to be very expensive so getting access to this coverage, with no medical questionnaire is a great benefit that is not offered by many other cards.
The coverage is also capped at $2M, while many other cards cap it at $1M.
Airport Lounge Access
Some cards offer a discount on Priority Pass, which will give you the ability to pay to get into the lounges. The BMO World Elite will pay for your membership fee each year (worth at least $65). Each time you access the lounge with Priority Pass, it will cost you $27. With the BMO World Elite card, you get 4 of these passes each year.
Other Insurance Coverage
- Trip Interruption & Cancellation Insurance (up to $2500 / person)
- Flight Delay ($500 per person for delays of 6 hours)
- Delayed & Lost Luggage Insurance (up to $500/ item)
- Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance (up to $500,000)
- Rental Car Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
- Purchase Security & Extended Warranty Insurance (Additional 1 year on manufacturer warranty and 90 days against theft, damage)
The BMO World Elite card gives you access to double points for charges from National Car Rental. I don’t think this is too significant but it can add up if you rent from National Car a lot.
If you are interested in getting a credit card that has a high earning on all purchases, not just in specific categories, then the BMO World Elite is one that is certainly worth considering. This is an elite level card (alongside Gold and Infinite level cards), and is a best in class among those types of cards.
You can earn exactly 2% back on all your purchases, which will be redeemed against travel purchases with no restrictions.
- Great earning rate for all purchases at 2%
- Great sign up bonus of $300
- Mastercard has wide acceptance
- 4 Airport Lounge Passes included each year
- Travel Medical insurance for people wanting up to 31 days of coverage at a time
- Relatively high annual fee of $150
- Rewards are not issued as statement credit, but must be used to buy your ticket from BMO