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BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard Review
7 Oct 2018

BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard | Credit Card Review

Running a business means paying careful attention to your cash flow as you go, and having a dedicated business credit card can be a great way to ease some of that financial pressure. The BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard can make this happen for you and will let you build up Air Miles points for great rewards while you do it.

Earn 1 Air Mile for every $10 charged to this card, with an extra bonus when you buy fuel at Shell stations.

 

General Information

You Are Interested If You are a small business owner in need of a dependable line of credit that will bring you a few fun rewards on the side.
Brief Description The BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard is a standard middle-grade commercial credit card with decent rates and lots of extras to help you better run your business.
Main Requirements You must own a business with some significant revenue and be willing to spend $120 per year on the annual fee. Beyond that, requirement vary based on your individual case.

Card Details

Network Mastercard.
Provider BMO.
Card Type This is an Air Miles card, focused primarily on travel rewards but with a few other reward options as well.

Fees and Interest

Purchase Interest Rate Normal purchases on this card will be charged 19.99% interest per year.
Cash Advance To get access to some extra cash, you’ll need to pay 22.99% annual interest on it.
Balance Transfer Does not apply.

Eligibility

Income Requirements There is no firm income requirement for this card, but the stipulations required to receive the welcome bonus indicate that for the most part, BMO expects applicants to routinely be charging thousands of dollars a month to their account. From this, we can extrapolate that a fairly high level of revenue is needed.
Household Income Requirements Since this is a business card, there is no household income requirement.
Annual Fee This card costs $120 per year.

Rewards

Welcome Bonus New applicants can get 3,000 bonus Air Miles points if they spend at least $5,000 in the first 3 months, as well as a Companion Flight rebate and a year of service without the annual fee.
How To Earn Points When using this card, you’ll earn 1 Air Mile for every $10 you spend. You’ll also receive 1.25X as many Air Miles when purchasing gas at participating Shell stations on up to $2,500 of charges per billing period.
Benefits The BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard comes with many supplemental benefits including purchase protection, a whole host of different travel insurance protections, extensive customer support and zero liability for unauthorized purchases made with your card. You can read more about all the things that are offered here.

About BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard

Main Features

The BMO AIR MILES MasterCard is a good option for smaller Canadian businesses in need of a little credit flexibility. The interest rates it offers are reasonable, even if they are very close to what individual consumers can get – you won’t be getting a discount just for running a business here. That said, small businesses in particular won’t need too much in terms of credit and shouldn’t be adversely impacted by this sort of thing if they use the card carefully.

Like most credit cards, the BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard card does offer rewards, but the exact nature of them may be unsatisfying to some prospective applicants; as the name suggests, it rewards you in the form of Air Miles reward points. For a card that is explicitly intended for business purposes, this is not the ideal system to have. Unlike a card for an individual who is only concerned with their own personal finances and has the freedom to purchase personal items or plan a trip, a business owner usually has different concerns. Although there is nothing stopping you from keeping credit card rewards for personal use (in other words, it’s not illegal), it may be preferable to get rewards that can be easily reinvested into the business itself. In most cases, this means cash back rewards will be far more desirable than any other kind. The closest thing you can do to approximate this kind of reward with Air Miles is to funnel them into the Cash Rewards program in your Air Miles account, allowing you to use them to buy gas that you can put into company vehicles. This is better than nothing, but it isn’t optimal.

It should be noted, though, that there are plenty of other uses for these Air Miles points if you just think outside the box. They can be used to help cover necessary travel to meet clients, attend conferences and training or check on projects if that sort of thing is common in the industry. Most businesses will have some need for travel at one point or another, so it’s nice to have the points in your back pocket, ready to be used when that time comes. If you really don’t think they’ll be useful to you in that way, though, you can always spend on them on some of the merchandise Air Miles has made available through their reward catalogue. Some of it could make good additions to an office’s break room, for example, or be a prize to raffle off at a holiday party to increase morale. You could even let your employees keep the points they earned on the purchases they made on behalf of your company. This would be a small sacrifice for you, since you may not have much use for them anyway, but would be considered a perk for your employees and might increase their job satisfaction and levels of loyalty. The uses for the BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard reward system are not as direct as they could be, but the Air Miles points you’ll get will be far from worthless.

The good news is that you can get these points very easily, particularly if your business does any sort of pickups or deliveries on a regular basis. If you do, you’ll likely be spending a lot on gas, and you’ll frequently have the chance to take advantage of the 1.25X bonus on purchases at Shell. While there is a $2,500 monthly limit on this offer, this is a generous ceiling that will still allow you to accumulate 312.5 miles per month in this purchase category alone. In combination with everything else that you might charge to your card, you could easily accumulate several thousand points each year. This is enough for some larger rewards including flights and some appliances, so you can look forward to a fairly big payoff each year.

Beyond the rewards, there are plenty of other perks and advantages that come with the BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard. You can use it to make purchases at Costco, a common destination for business owners who tend to use more than enough of some products to justify buying them in bulk. You’ll also get access to some forms of insurance including rental car insurance and a collision damage waiver. This can be extremely helpful if your business involves any regular travel whatsoever, as any accidents that happen while on the road for a job may involve significant liabilities that could cripple even a thriving business. This insurance probably won’t be enough to absorb the entire financial blow in severe cases, but having a little extra protection never hurt and may help bring you peace of mind as a business owner. Finally, things like extended warranties on all purchases and an extended interest-free grace period for each billing cycle help to round out all the great but less obvious things this can bring you.

As a designated business card, the BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard does require some additional paperwork to apply for. This means providing copies of a business license or trade name registration for sole proprietorships, partnership agreements if the business is a partnership, articles of association for associated businesses, and any number of other documents for an actual corporation. It also goes without saying that you cannot get this card if you do not actually represent a business, so many Canadians need not even consider it. This is standard for all credit cards that are designed with business needs in mind, but you should still keep it in mind when shopping around for your card.

Conclusions

Ultimately, even though the BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard will accomplish the basics of what a credit card needs to do, it doesn’t necessarily look like the most attractive option on the surface. That said, the ease of access to this card should outweigh the perceived drawbacks. Air Miles rewards are not always the kind that business owners want most, but they still have their uses in the hands of a creative leader. At the end of the day, any rewards are better than none at all, and these should be a secondary concern for most applicants anyway.

What you really want this card for is the utility it will give you. Any credit card will help cushion your business from the impact of unexpected expenses, and this card will certainly do that. Further, the BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard’s purchase protections, extra security, and ability to grant employees access to the card will open up a lot of possibilities for your business, simplifying your day-to-day tasks and opening up avenues for you to increase your revenue if handled well. The liability protections will keep you safe from any irresponsible or malevolent employees misusing your card, insulating you from some of the riskiest parts of having a business credit card. The fact that they also offer constant customer support (evenings and weekends and even holidays included) in multiple language options only adds to the appeal.

About BMO

BMO (the Bank of Montreal) is one of Canada’s leading financial institutions handling everyday banking and credit for millions of citizens each year. Their first branch was actually the very first bank ever to be opened in Canada, and while they’re no longer the only option out there, they remain one of the best. They now boast a global presence with many subsidiaries operating all around the world and a robust presence on both the Toronto and New York stock exchanges. They have branches in many historic buildings in several of Canada’s cities, most prominently in Montreal where their original 1847 headquarters are located. Over more than a century and a half of service to Canadians, they have built up an unshakable reputation for dependability in the financial world. If you’re looking for an established lender with history, you couldn’t ask for a better one.

What We Think

The BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard is a bit of a compromise, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There are business cards out there with better rates or with cash back rewards that many business owners will prefer, but because they are more desirable, they are often also harder to get. If you insist on having one of those or nothing, you’ll be missing out on a lot of the flexibility that having a line of credit for business can bring to your operations.

This card is a good option for smaller businesses with less clout and fewer resources – it can still address most of your daily credit needs and get you some great rewards for doing so, and you won’t be stuck paying exorbitant amounts to do this either. You may want to upgrade to some of the higher-tier options on the market after you’ve had a few years to grow, but in the meantime, the BMO AIR MILES Business MasterCard will serve you well.