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MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard Review
19 Oct 2018

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard | Credit Card Review

Although consumer demand has made rewards cards increasingly common in Canadian credit card companies, it can sometimes be hard to find one that is affordable and that has everything you’re looking for in its rewards catalog. The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard is a highly accessible Canadian rewards card that most people are sure to enjoy.

Receive 2 reward points for every dollar you spend on groceries, gas and restaurants all year long.

 

General Information

You Are Interested If You need an inexpensive rewards card that offers lots of points and a variety of ways to spend them.
Brief Description The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard is a credit card with no annual fee, many opportunities to earn points, and plenty of selection when it comes time to redeem them.
Main Requirements You’ll need some kind of consistent income and fairly good credit to get this card, but nothing incredible for either criteria. Most Canadians should have no trouble getting one.

Card Details

Network Mastercard.
Provider MBNA.
Card Type This is a rewards card with extensive bonus coverage and a wide range of possibilities for point redemption.

Fees and Interest

Purchase Interest Rate Interest on regular purchases accrues at a rate of 19.99% per year.
Cash Advance Cash advance balances are charged 24.99% interest instead.
Balance Transfer Transferring some debt from another card will cost you 22.99% in interest fees.

Eligibility

Income Requirements There is no set income requirement for the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard.
Household Income Requirements See above.
Annual Fee This card is free in terms of annual fees.

Rewards

Welcome Bonus New applicants can get 5,000 bonus points in total (2,500 for making their first purchase with their card in the first 3 months and another 2,500 for signing up for paperless billing in that same time frame.
How To Earn Points Cardholders receive 1 reward point for every dollar spent on any purchase made with their card. You’ll also get an additional point (2 points total) for each dollar of all gas, grocery and restaurant purchases up to a maximum of $5,000 in one year for each category.
Benefits Included with the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard are several forms of travel insurance, including coverage for an unexpected return home in case of a death in the family and personal effects insurance. Some rental vehicle coverage is also available.

About MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard

Main Features

Credit cards are primarily a means of accessing credit quickly and conveniently, but over time, they’ve come to take on other uses as well. Many people now use them strictly or mostly as a form of payment rather than as a means to borrow, and won’t be carrying a balance that accrues interest each month. Low interest rates aren’t as effective a selling point for this population as they used to be, so some credit card companies have turned to using reward programs to appeal to this segment of potential customers.  Rewards cards favour people who can afford to pay off everything they charge to a credit card each month, or at least most of it. Doing so means that they can get away with paying little to nothing for using their card and can get the rewards they want completely for free. The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard offers users access to one of those programs.

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard’s interest rates are similar to other rewards cards at this level, although slightly higher than some – however, this shouldn’t matter much for people who opt for a rewards card. If you’ve chosen to earn points over saving on your interest rates, you probably won’t be carrying a balance for very long (if at all). Just be aware that it’s important not to become lax with this policy in order to ensure that you don’t run into trouble with this card; even if the interest rates on it aren’t anything crazy, they’ll still take a hefty chunk of cash out of your pocket if you let a balance ride for too long.

As noted, though, you’re probably not worried about interest rates if you’re shopping for a rewards card, so let’s take a closer look at the reward system this card uses. The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard reward structure is fairly simple but also quite permissive toward cardholders. Every dollar you spend on this card will get you at least 1 reward point, no matter what it is. If you want to make your money go a little further, you can aim to use your card for purchases in the bonus categories: you’ll get 2 reward points for every dollar spent on groceries, gas and restaurant visits (usually including takeout). That’s a 100% increase in points, so be sure to take advantage of that opportunity whenever possible. If you stay on top of that, you can collect twice as many points for the same amount of spending.

These are great categories to get extra bonus points with since almost everyone spends a good chunk of their income on these things. Notably, this set of three purchase types covers both necessities (gas and groceries) and luxuries (restaurants), so all types of spenders will have a good number of chances to accrue bonus points no matter what their usual lifestyle. Other credit cards will usually separate their card offerings to cater to each type of consumption individually, but MBNA has chosen to bundle the two together here. This broadens the appeal of this card considerably as it is much easier to fit it into almost anyone’s lifestyle without compromising the number of opportunities you’ll have to earn points. Most people will have no trouble amassing a good number of them relatively quickly without having to go out of their way to do so – aside from remembering to use their MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus card often, of course.

Getting the points may be easy, but you may also be wondering just how many of them you stand to collect by the end of each month. This of course depends on your lifestyle and budget, but just as an example, let’s assume you spend $300 a month on groceries, $200 on gas, $100 to eat out and $100 on other miscellaneous purchases and activities. If you were to use your MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard for all of those transactions, you would reach $600 in spending in the bonus categories and $100 in spending outside of them. This would net you 1200 reward points for the first group and 100 for the second for a total of 1300 points in one month. Over a year, that will add up to 15,600 points. While this won’t get you much on its own, this amount can be saved up for a few years to get something special like a couples’ getaway or a nice purse. This is also a lower points estimate than many people will be able to reach, potentially allowing you to access the more desirable rewards even faster.

Points redemption is mostly done through a convenient online catalogue that provides transparent pricing and a hassle-free process. You have an extremely wide array of potential options to spend your points on, encompassing everything from the usual travel and merchandise rewards to charitable donations and even pure cash. This gives you the chance to travel for free with enough points (every 100 points are worth about 1$ in this reward category, so even just a few tens of thousands of them may be able to buy you something fairly substantial), or to get yourself some small creature comforts like fancy blenders or high-end backpacks. If none of these things interest you, you can choose a charity to benefit from your points or just take those points as liquid cash yourself. There’s no need to ever waste points or use them on something that you know you don’t really want; you’ll always have plenty of options to choose from with the MBNA Reward Platinum Plus MasterCard.

While the point-to-value ratio is higher for the conventional rewards than the donations or the pseudo-cashback option, the fact that you can even get rewards like this at all is something the MBNA cards have over most other points programs. If their competitors offer these things at all, they are usually restricted to higher-tier cards and are not available through rewards programs on less exclusive cards like this. Making this available to all their reward card clients helps the company ensure that there is something for everyone in their reward offerings, and that in turn makes it easy for anyone to choose this card over others like it. Dedicated cash back or travel cards might still have an edge over this one in terms of points value, though, so consider that if you have a strong preference for one particular type of reward.

Conclusions

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard is a typical entry-level credit card in terms of interest rates, but its rewards program is where it really packs a punch. Not only does it provide many more opportunities to collect points at an accelerated rate than is typical of lower-end cards, but those points can also be used on just about anything from plane trips to cash. With an additional slew of complimentary insurance bonuses and the backing of a major credit card company that has no problem providing extensive and comprehensive customer support coverage, there is little reason not to love this card. While budget-conscious consumers should still be sure to consider what is really best for them and not opt for this card for the rewards alone, it can be a solid choice for anyone with sufficient financial flexibility.

About MBNA

MBNA is a large credit card company owned by the Toronto-Dominion (or TD) Bank. The company has been around since 1982 in US markets, but only made the expansion into Canadian ones in 1998. Since then, MBNA’s Canadian division has gone from an independent entity to being part of Bank of America before once again changing hands and landing under the control of TD Canada. Today, they are responsible for serving millions of Canadians in partnership with both MasterCard and Visa.

As part of their commitment to always doing the best they can for their clients, MBNA provides 24/7 customer service and 1-hour credit line increase decisions for all their credit card options, as well as swift card replacement services and an extensive network of ATMs for easy cash withdrawal no matter where you are. Their size and reputation mean that if you choose them for your credit card needs, you know you’ll be getting some of the best support possible.

What We Think

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard may not be the best credit card even just in terms of MBNA’s set of offerings, but it’s still very good. It’s hard to go wrong with a card that charges no annual fee, keeps its interest rates in check, allows you to accumulate rewards quite quickly and very easily, and has an incredible range of points redemption options on top of it all. It’s an incredibly flexible and versatile card that still manages not to disappoint in any one area. There are more tailored options available for people with very specific spending patterns or preferred reward categories, but even these specialty options don’t surpass this one by much.

Reward cards aren’t for everyone, but as long as you’re going to choose that type of card anyway and don’t want to splurge on an upgraded version right away, this particular offering will almost always be a great pick for you. You’ll have no trouble earning points or using them for things you actually want, two of the biggest areas of concern for rewards cards. As long as you stay vigilant about paying off your balance, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard is definitely one of the best rewards cards you can get.