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BMO World Elite MasterCard Review
1 Oct 2018

BMO World Elite MasterCard | Credit Card Review

If you’re a high earner in Canada, you’re probably in the market for a credit card that will allow you to leverage your significant spending power into rewards for you. The BMO World Elite MasterCard might be just what you’re looking for.

Apply now for a credit card that gives you the high-status treatment you want.

 

General Information

You Are Interested If You’re a liberal spender and want a credit card that will give you access to plenty of diverse rewards.
Brief Description This is a solid credit card with good rates and rewards aimed primarily at travellers.
Main Requirements You’ll need a high income ($80,000 and up) to get your hands on this card.

Card Details

Network Mastercard.
Provider BMO.
Card Type BMO’s partnership with Air Miles makes this primarily a travel card, but they also offer some other general rewards for customers who prefer to stay home.

Fees and Interest

Purchase Interest Rate You’ll pay 19.99% interest on any purchases you make with this card.
Cash Advance If you need to receive a little cash up-front, be ready to pay 22.99% interest on it.
Balance Transfer Balance transfers from other BMO MasterCard accounts get a special promotional 3.99% (Preferred Rate accounts) or 1.99% interest rate (everything else) for the first 9 months your account is open. After that, the standard fees (as described above) will apply.

Eligibility

Income Requirements Applicants must make at least $80,000 per year to be approved.
Household Income Requirements Alternatively, you can also qualify if you make more than $150,000 yearly as a household.
Annual Fee $150 per year.

Rewards

Welcome Bonus Right now, BMO is offering 35,000 welcome points for spending $3,000 within the first three months of you holding your new BMO World Elite MasterCard. They will also waive the full annual fee on your card for the first year. This specific offer is only available until March 31, 2019.
How To Earn Points You’ll get 3 reward points for each dollar you spend on travel, dining and entertainment purchases and 2 reward points per dollar for everything else. On top of this, you can earn even more points by signing up additional cardholders for your account.
Benefits This card comes with a full set of extra products and services you get just for being a member, from fairly standard things like purchase protection and extended warranties on products to great extras like travel insurance coverage and membership in the luxury MasterCard Airport Experiences VIP program that complement their reward point offerings. You can read the about the entire suite of offerings on BMO’s website.

About BMO World Elite MasterCard

Main Features

From beginning to end, the BMO World Elite MasterCard profile is a remarkably attractive one. Let’s begin with the interest rates. While certainly not inexpensive by any means, a purchase interest rate just shy of 20% is more generous than what most cards with less exclusivity can offer. The cash advance rate is similarly reasonable in comparison with other cards. This keeps the cost of using this card relatively low, even factoring in the somewhat high annual fee required to keep it active.

Of course, interest rates and other costs are rarely a primary influencing factor in credit card choice for the income bracket that the BMO World Elite MasterCard is targeting. For people who can get this card, cash flow is rarely a real issue. Whatever they charge to the card can easily be paid back in a short time frame, making it much less likely for a large balance to accumulate and minimizing the interest fees due. Instead, when they pick out a particular card, they are usually most interested in the types of rewards they can get. This is where this credit card really shines.

This is a product meant for big spenders who make frequent purchases with their card – the rather steep requirements for the 2018 welcome bonus make that much clear. BMO’s expected consumers are those who buy almost everything on credit and can be counted on to make many large transactions relatively frequently. The good news is that if this applies to you, this behaviour will benefit you as well. The BMO Elite World MasterCard provides a base rate of 2 reward points for every dollar spent on any purchase whatsoever, regardless of retailer or product category. That’s not all, though – bonus reward points are available for every dollar you spend on dining, travel and entertainment purchases, bringing your point ratio up to 3 points per dollar spent in these specific categories. These are common purchase categories for people with plenty of discretionary spending room, as most people who qualify for this card will probably have; for many, their expenses for these things will be higher than their expenses for the necessities (like gas and groceries) that many lower-rung card options offer bonus points for.

Curious as to how fast this could add up? Let’s look at an example scenario to illustrate the potential here. Say you eat out for lunch during every work day and spend $20 to do it. That’s $100 a week already. Add in a date night twice a week and you easily add another $100 to that, likely more. Then add a special monthly trip with the kids to the zoo, amusement park, or whatever they feel like doing; you can count on spending about another $100 on admission and maybe $50 for food before or afterward too. Add these three small splurges together, and you reach an estimated total of $950 per month. At triple points, even this relatively modest lifestyle will net you a whopping 30,000 points per year through discretionary spending alone. These are also conservative estimates that can vary a lot depending on where you are located in Canada – doing these things might cost you significantly more, but it would also provide a much greater reward.

The point is that spending as little as a few thousand dollars a year on things like eating out and going to the movies can potentially net you a large reward every few years as long as you charge them to the card, and if you pay off your balance immediately when you receive your monthly statement, you won’t notice the difference from what you usually do. Just be sure to only spend as much as you would have spent otherwise! Many customers will be able to recoup the annual fee and get a little extra out of this card too without making significant changes to their purchasing habits. This, along with all the other benefits available, makes it hard to pass this card up.

As far as what you can do with these points, the BMO World Elite MasterCard gives you plenty of options. Since they’ve partnered with Air Miles, their main reward focus is on air travel and accommodations. You can purchase flights to and from specific places with your points, or opt for a more all-inclusive trip package. Different merchandise, such as home appliances and luxury personal items, are also available in their reward catalogue alongside an array of gift cards. You can turn your reward points into investments by funneling them into your BMO Investment Account, letting them grow in value over time and freeing up that currency to let you purchase whatever you want later. You can even opt to put your reward points toward paying off your card balance, a great option for people who have trouble deciding what to do with all the points they accumulate over time. No matter what you like to see in your rewards programs, you’ll find something here that suits your tastes.

Finally, holders of this card are also eligible for some tempting extras, perhaps most notably some rather impressive travel insurance. It covers trip cancellations, personal belongings and even medical costs, so it can be very helpful when you’re adventuring across the country or overseas. This pairs nicely with the travel rewards that BMO promotes most heavily. Other perks include roadside assistance, 4 annual passes to a VIP airline lounge, and your usual additional security protections.

Conclusions

The BMO World Elite MasterCard offers a great mix of good rates, useful perks and a particularly noteworthy reward system. Consumers who want to get the most out of their card in terms of rewards will be pleased with both the amount of points they can earn and the range of products, services and even currency that those points can buy them. Few other cards provide so many possibilities for point redemption, and because this one provides multiple avenues to essentially turn your points into cash, it ensures that you’ll never have to settle for a prize you don’t really want. It’s almost as good as a cashback option but comes with far fewer limitations in terms of point accrual.

However, there is one significant caveat to all this. The income requirement is extremely high – slightly higher than the median household income across the country for a single applicant and more than double that for a household. As great as this card is, it may prove out of reach for many people who would like to have it. This is especially true in the case of younger prospective applicants who are unlikely to have accumulated the experience necessary to command such a high salary yet. If you fall just short of the $80,000 requirement yourself, you’ll need an equally high-earning partner to make up the difference – even if you’re just a few thousand dollars away, you’re out of luck. There’s no easy way to significantly boost your salary, either, so if you don’t qualify, you can expect things to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, if the BMO World Elite Mastercard isn’t already an option for you, you probably need to eliminate it from your consideration.

About BMO

BMO, or the Bank of Montreal, is an undisputed powerhouse in the Canadian banking industry. Not only are they the fourth largest bank in Canada, but they also rank among the top ten in all of North America. Since they first started up in late 1817, they have provided service to millions of Canadians and have built up a reputation for being extremely dependable. Their dividend payment history is exceptionally consistent, having remained stable throughout even major crises like the Great Depression. They are also members of many professional organizations including the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Canadian Bankers Association.

Over the years, they have acquired nearly a dozen other banking institutions and cemented their place in the Canadian economy. They have also sponsored countless community arts and sports events across the country, and perhaps most notably, provided significant funding for the Toronto Maple Leafs for several years. They are a Canadian institution through and through, and their commitment to serving this country well has earned them the goodwill of many local customers.

What We Think

The BMO World Elite MasterCard sounds enticing right from the start, and we’re happy to say that it generally lives up to those high expectations. Its stellar set of reward offerings makes it worth a look all on its own, but that’s not all it has to offer. All the extras things you get access to, like travel insurance and VIP flight lounges, are great bonuses too. This card also has good prospects in terms of customer support, should you require that at some point while using it. BMO is an extremely reputable financial institution that can generally be counted on to answer any questions you have or resolve any disputes that might come up. Further, the perks they offer are also secured by that good reputation, so you can count on those complimentary additions being fairly comprehensive and worthwhile.

Overall, we don’t hesitate to recommend this card to those who can get it. We’re confident that most customers (especially those who travel frequently for work, leisure or family reasons) will love it, and there are few drawbacks to it in terms of cost as well. If you make enough to qualify for it and spend enough to start racking up rewards at a decent pace, the BMO World Elite MasterCard is excellent in pretty much every way possible.