Bank Of Montreal | BMO Rewards Programs Review

BMO is one of the most well-known banks out there, but how do its credit card rewards stack up against those of other banks? Very well, as it turns out – this company offers one of the best reward programs available at any Canadian bank due to its sheer versatility. We’ll be using this post to dive deeper into the BMO rewards system and what it can do for you.

bank of montreal rewards programs review

About BMO

BMO is the commonly-used business name for the Bank of Montreal, a financial institution that was originally created in 1817, making it Canada’s oldest bank. While it remains a primarily Canadian company, it also operates a U.S. division under the name BMO Harris Bank. Nowadays, it serves millions of customers across dozens of branches, currently ranks number 131 on the Forbes Global 2000 list and has a strong public presence on both the New York and Toronto stock exchanges.

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BMO Rewards Program Details

The BMO rewards system is unarguably one of the very best around on the basis of redemption possibilities alone. The company has really gone the extra mile to make sure that anyone who wants to use one of their rewards cards will be able to do so without having to settle for anything they don’t want.

BMO rewards card frequently rank high in lists of the best travel cards in Canada, and for good reason. The points you get through this program can be used to cover any travel expenses, from a plane trip to a boat ride, with no restrictions or blackout dates whatsoever – however, this travel expense must be booked with BMO’s travel service in order to allow you to use your rewards on it. This is an inconvenient restriction that some people might not like very much, but BMO does price match their travel items and packages, so you won’t be stuck overpaying just to use your reward points.

However, not everyone finds travel rewards very easy to use since they rarely cover very much of the total cost of a trip; people with lower incomes and more financial obligations often find that they cannot spare the actual money they would need to put up in order to have an occasion to use them. If that’s the case for you, you might prefer to shop for gift cards or merchandise with your points instead. The BMO rewards catalogue carries a wide range of items including jewellery, small appliances, perfume, electronics and more. As for gift cards, you can get credit toward purchases at all kinds of popular retailers like Starbucks, Cineplex, Home Hardware, Hudson’s Bay and The Keg. No matter what you like to shop for or what brands you prefer, there’s probably an option you could happily make use of.

Finally (and perhaps most importantly for some), BMO rewards points can also be converted to pseudo-cash options if you aren’t happy with any of the actual rewards being offered. Increments of 15,000 reward points can be traded for a $50 credit to be applied to your next credit card bill. It’s not exactly money in hand, but it effectively functions in the exact same way. Those same 15,000 points could also be used to obtain a $100 investment boost in your BMO investment account. Either option can useful to literally anyone, since the money can then be used to buy whatever they want or need.

How To Earn BMO Rewards

Like most credit card reward programs, earning BMO rewards is as easy as charging purchases to your card. If you’re aiming for the highest number of points you can get, your best bet is the BMO World Elite Mastercard; with it, you’ll get 3 points per dollar spent on bonus categories and 2 points for every other dollar charged. Even if you can’t get that card, though, you’ll never be earning less than 1 point per dollar even on the absolute lowest-tier card options. At an estimated value of 140 points per dollar equivalent, this means you’ll be spending at most $140 for each $1 in rewards. This may not sound like much, but given the level of spending required to get by in today’s world, it can add up fast.

Best Rewards Strategies

As far as how to get the best use of your BMO rewards, the best approach will depend on what you hoped to get out of this program when you first signed up for one of these cards. Most people will already have their hearts set on using it for travel purposes, and a few may want to use the reward catalogue to easily and cheaply acquire things like holidays gifts. The travel system’s lack of blackout dates makes it easy to use it for things like going back home for Christmas, which is one popular way to use these points. The merchandise catalogue doesn’t necessarily offer the best value, but it’s fun to pick out a prize and there are plenty of enticing options.

Many people sign up for BMO rewards cards not knowing that the cash and investment options exist, but among those that are aware of them, they are an incredibly popular choice. Not only is it quite novel to have that option at all in a non-cashback rewards program, but it also allows you to use your points on quite literally anything you want. Even if you were after a particular item that turned out not be in the reward catalogue after all, the cash conversion option ensures that you can still use your points to get it – if only in a roundabout way.

What We Think

BMO rewards points may not come as quickly as points for other rewards programs might, but they have much greater value than those of other programs thanks to the wide range of options you have when redeeming them. No matter how your tastes or financial situation change over the years, this rewards program will always be able to provide you with something you will enjoy. That’s a rare thing in the world of credit card rewards, and it may be worth sacrificing a little point-earning potential for it.

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