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BMO SPC AIR MILES Mastercard Card Review
13 Dec 2018

BMO SPC AIR MILES Mastercard | Credit Card Review

What if there was a credit card that not only allowed you to earn Air Miles rewards for spending money, but also get membership in the extremely helpful SPC program? Read on to learn more about this credit card and what it can do for you in this BMO SPC AIR MILES MasterCard review.

Earn Air Miles by shopping at all your favourite stores – and get yourself a lower price with the SPC discount.

 

General Information

You Are Interested If You are a student who would like to try an Air Miles card out for yourself while also scoring hefty discounts at many of the places where you shop.
Brief Description The BMO SPC AIR MILES MasterCard pairs a basic Air Miles reward program with a free SPC membership for a winning combination.
Main Requirements You won’t need very much income to get this card (and it also doesn’t have to be from a job), but you will need to be able to prove you have money coming in somehow. You must also be a current secondary or post-secondary student, but you don’t necessarily need to fall within the typical student age range.

Card Details

Network Mastercard.
Provider BMO.
Card Type This is an Air Miles reward card geared specifically toward students and their needs.

Fees and Interest

Purchase Interest Rate The interest rate for purchases on this card is 19.99%.
Cash Advance The cash advance interest rate is slightly higher at 22.99%.
Balance Transfer Balance transfers also fall under the 22.99% interest rate.

Eligibility

Income Requirements Since it’s for students, income requirements for this card are very lax – even the money you get to live on from a student loan will probably be enough to qualify.
Household Income Requirements Only an individual applicant’s income will be considered.
Annual Fee This card charges no annual fee.

Rewards

Welcome Bonus New holders of this card will get 400 Air Miles for making their first purchase with it and another 400 if they spend at least $1,000 in their first 3 months.
How To Earn Points You can get 1 Air Mile per $20 in spending in most stores and 2 Air Miles per $20 in spending at specifically designated partner retailers.
Benefits This card comes with the same purchase protection and extended warranties that virtually every card does, but the main benefit here is the free SPC membership.

About BMO SPC AIR MILES MasterCard

Main Features

To start off our BMO SPC AIR MILES MasterCard review, we need to mention an important caveat: if you aren’t currently studying at any Canadian educational institution, you won’t be eligible for this card. There are plenty more out there for regular consumers, but this is a student-only card due to the SPC tie-in benefit.

With that out of the way, a brief glance at this card’s interest rates is in order. Like most Canadian credit cards, you stand to pay 19.99% interest on any balance left on this card at the end of each month. You could also pay 21.99% in interest on charges pertaining to a cash advance you requested, or on any balances you chose to have transferred from other cards. As a student, you probably don’t have money to throw around, so try not to carry a balance!

Reward-wise, this card is extremely similar to the BMO Shell AIR MILES MasterCard, offering the same type of rewards and even the same earning rates. The retailers at which your purchases are eligible for the double rate also carry over between the two cards, since the list is taken directly from Air Miles’ own program documentation. You’ll earn 1 Air Mile for every increment of $20 charged to this card regardless of where you were shopping. If you choose to shop at an Air Miles partner retailer, however, you’ll instead get 2 Air Miles points for that same amount of money.

While the amount of spending you do as a student will usually be fairly limited, part of this BMO SPC AIR MILES MasterCard review should show you that you can still earn a fair number of points over the course of a year by charging purchases to this card. You may have trouble meeting the $1,000 spending threshold in the first 3 months to qualify for the full 800-point welcome bonus, but you can at least count on getting the first 400 Air Miles for sure. If you’ve been saving up for a bigger purchase, you might want to wait until you have this card to buy it so you can reach that benchmark without hurting yourself financially.

Either way, the more important thing to cover in this BMO SPC AIR MILES MasterCard review is how many points you’ll be getting outside of bonus offers. You’ll need to be consistent about using this card to make as many of your usual purchases as possible in order to maximize your Air Miles yield. If you spend just $300 a month at Air Miles partner locations, you could get 30 Miles a month just from that. With another $200 in spending at other places, you’ll get another 10. That’s 40 Miles per month or 480 Miles per year, an estimated $48 in value. These can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, or travel rewards – whatever you prefer.

Now it’s time to talk about the extra perks available to holders of this card. The main differentiating factor between this card and the standard Shell one is the free SPC membership that comes with it, so we figure it’s worth devoting a bit of this BMO SPC AIR MILES MasterCard review to covering the SPC program itself. SPC stands for Student Price Card, and as you might expect from that name, owning one gives you access to discounts and promotions at dozens of Canada’s most popular retailers in almost every product category. If you use it often enough, the savings it gets you could easily add up to hundreds of dollars each year.

Value-wise, this inclusion isn’t that big of a deal – it would only cost you $10 to get an SPC card on your own. However, there are other benefits to having your membership tied to your credit card like this. Even if you have an SPC card, you might sometimes forget to use it at every opportunity. Because this card bears the SPC name on the front of it, it serves as a perfect reminder to inquire about any SPC benefits you might be entitled to every time you use it to make a purchase.

It’s not just for 17- to 22-year-olds, either; you can get this card and all of its benefits even if you are a full-fledged adult going back to school later in life. Many people in this position wouldn’t necessarily think to get an SPC card, but they actually stand to benefit the most from it. A mature student is usually has more finances at their disposal than a teenager or young adult would, so they also have much greater spending power. The more you spend with this kind of card, the more useful it is to you. That’s why it’s great to have it bundled together with this credit card.

Conclusions

As you can easily conclude from the rest of our BMO SPC AIR MILES MasterCard review, this card combines all the great things about the SPC program and the Air Miles program into one great product. The reward rates aren’t exceptional and some students may prefer to stick with a low-interest instead to keep themselves out of trouble, but for being a basic free card, it’s quite impressive. The fact that it is restricted to students is a bit disappointing, but obviously understandable given the goals of the SPC program.

About BMO

BMO stands for the Bank of Montreal. This institution is one of the Big Five banks in Canada and boast an incredible $550 billion in total assets to match. Although their headquarters are located in Montreal, they do have branches located in major cities all around the world – including many in beautiful historic buildings. They also provide sponsorships for several sports teams (formerly including the Toronto Maple Leafs) and also help provide funding for the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre.

What We Think

The BMO SPC AIR MILES MasterCard is an excellent credit card option, but its very nature as a student-only card keeps us from giving it a blanket recommendation. Only a select few people reading this will even be eligible to apply for this card, automatically limiting its appeal a little. However, if you can qualify for it, it’s likely that the only instance where you might want another card over this one is if you really had your sights set on a cash back card. Otherwise, the bottom line in this BMO SPC AIR MILES MasterCard review is that this card will give you credit functionality, a couple of rewards, and membership in a great discount overall discount program.