What do you think when you hear the words ‘credit card rewards’? Do you imagine getting a bunch of free things like jewelry, lawn equipment and electronics? Do you hope for concert and museum tickets instead? Maybe you’d rather donate your rewards to a worthy charity, or even redeem them as actual cash with no strings attached? No matter which of these visions most appeals to you, the BMO rewards program can make it happen for you. You have several card options for collecting these reward points, too, making it even easier to take advantage of what this great system has to offer. In this article, we’ll explain the system itself in greater detail as well as go over the different cards you could use to actually earn the points. By the end, you should have no trouble deciding if you’d like to further explore the possibility of applying for one of these versatile cards.
Earning Points, One Transaction At a Time
The initial version of the BMO Rewards Mastercard is as basic as can be – not that that’s a bad thing. Using it gets you 1 BMO rewards point for every dollar you spend, and that’s a flat amount that does not change based on your spending category. The setup leaves you with few opportunities to boost your points earning capacity but also ensures that you earn consistently and that your reward yield will never dip unless your spending does too. It’s also free to use and easy to get, available to almost anyone regardless of a low income or an undeveloped credit score (although you can’t have an outright bad one and hope to be accepted). That’s all you can really ask for when you’re sticking to the bottom rung of cards like this. However, if you want to do a little better, you’ll have to go all the way and get the premium World Elite version to do it; unfortunately, there is no middle-tier option available to you as a compromise between the high and low cards.
If you are ready to look at the BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard, though, you’ll find another worthy card to consider. This upgraded version gets you 3 BMO rewards points for every dollar spent on travel, entertainment or dining purchases, making it particularly well-suited to those who enjoy frequent trips or time on the town. You’ll get extra points for the other things you buy, too, at 2 points per dollar for every other purchase. It’s clearly the superior card if you can get it, but that’s where the restrictions come in. It will cost you $150 a year to have it, though, plus an $50 extra per year for additional cards if you decide you want any of those. On top of that, qualifying for it in the first place is quite tough; it takes $80,000 a year in personal individual income or $150,000 a year in household income to be considered at all, as well as a good credit score. This is a high bar that will be impossible for many to reach, particularly those who live in rural communities where the cost of living is much lower and wages are also lowered to compensate for that. On the other hand, those who live in large metropolitan areas will have an easier time as a consequence. Regardless of where you live, the requirements stay the same, though, so don’t expect flexibility based on that.
So Many Exciting Possibilities Await
There is so much you can potentially do with these BMO rewards points once you’ve earned tham that you might not realize at first. We’ve talked about a few of them above, but let’s go into greater detail on them now.
Most programs that have ‘rewards’ in the name like this are mostly based around redeeming for merchandise and similar goodies, and the BMO rewards program is no exception. With enough points, this program could get you some free:
- Gift cards.
- Household wares.
- Perfumes and cosmetics.
- Museum passes.
These things are just a few of the merchandise options listed in the catalogue, too, so if you would prefer something else you might still be in luck.
Aside from that, your points can also be put towards flights and vacation packages through BMO’s specialized booking tool, letting you travel as much as you’d like for free (or nearly free) as long as you have the points for it. Domestic flights cost fewer points than longer flights, but you can book either type at your discretion pretty much whenever you’d like.
For the most practical among us who simply want cold hard cash, there is also an option to redeem points for cash credit on your next statement at a rate of 15,000 points for every $50 redeemed. This option offers particularly poor value in comparison to most others you could take, but there is a way to increase its potential considerably. If you choose to invest your cash back in a BMO investment vehicle instead, you could get $100 in value for the same points amount. This is a nice way to save for your future and make your points go a little further.
Don’t Forget Your Extra Benefits, Too
The rewards aren’t the only things to like about these cards, though; there are also some ancillary benefits that come with them, even the simple BMO Rewards Mastercard. This basic card will get you the chance to get a discount of up to 25% on National or Alamo Rent A Car purchases, as well as double the number of BMO rewards points you would usually receive for a purchase of the amount you end up paying. While better than nothing, this isn’t exactly a package worth celebrating – but since it’s attached to a free card, it’s hard to complain that it isn’t generous enough as it is. You can also purchase some additional travel benefits and credit protection for your card if you really want it and are prepared to pay those additional costs, so if that’s something that really matters to you, you can definitely tailor your card to those needs.
The World Elite set of benefits is much more expansive, though: fittingly, since it also comes with a much higher cost and more demanding set of requirements. It has got many different kinds of travel insurance bundled into it: policies that can help you out if you experience such unpleasant developements as a cancelled or delayed trip. The big draw, however, is the 21 days of emergency travel medical insurance that could cover you for up to $2 million in medical expenses incurred while you were away. Since we are all only a car accident or unfortunate fall away from needing medical attention at any time, this is always a good idea to have if you can manage it and literally no one should be unhappy about its inclusion here.
This benefits package is closer to what you would expect to see on a travel card than on a general card like this, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As was previously discussed, travel rewards are just one of the many things that you can get with these cards, and the World Elite version will get you slightly more points for the same spending than the base version would. You’re also more likely to have a higher threshold of monthly spending if you hold that card, simply because it takes so much more yearly income to even qualify for it. Both of these things mean that you’re fairly likely to get a decent amount of reward points over the course of a year or so, possibly enough for a substantial travel redemption amount. If you’ve been wanting to see a little more of the world and would appreciate having an extremely thorough and generous insurance package on hand to back you up while you do it, you’ll appreciate that things just happened to work out that way for you. If you’ve never had any inclinations toward that kind of thing, though, it can still be nice to have that insurance in your back pocket. You never know when you might have to be away from home for a bit and need it.
Some Slight Downsides To Be Aware Of
As many good things as can be said about the BMO rewards system, there are still some less positive points that deserve a bit of exploration here too. These points are versatile, yes, and that’s great for people who can’t make up their mind about which type of reward they ultimately want or would like to be able to choose between a mix of different types. The downside to that freedom is that it forces those reward points to leave behind the extra value that specialization can bring. No matter what you use these points on in the end, it will always take more of them to get a particular reward than it would if you had used a system focused around that particular type of reward from the start.
People who do want to do that instead have plenty of options to choose from. If you were more interested in travel as a primary reward focus, you’d generally be better off going with something like an Aeroplan card (although the BMO rewards points’ travel redemption options are among the best for value anyway). Those who would prefer cash should opt for a proper cash back card – BMO even has their own line of those if you’d prefer not to stray too far from your original choice of provider. These cards are out there and waiting for if you want them, so don’t feel as if you have to settle for a halfway measure just to get what you really want here.
However, there’s nothing wrong with just deciding that you don’t really mind sacrificing efficiency in order to be able to use one of these cards. This type of concession is just something you need to accept when you opt to use these kinds of generalized programs, and it’s nothing that you won’t find with other similar ones. You just need to be sure that you’re comfortable with that trade-off if you’re going to commit to one of these cards, because earning enough points on it to be useful to you will probably require you to use it as your primary card for most of the time. You won’t be getting many other rewards, so it’s important that you really enjoy and make the most of the ones you do get, without regrets.
Is a BMO Rewards Credit Card For You?
No matter if you’re rich or poor, have excellent credit or none at all, you might be able to benefit from having one of the BMO rewards cards for your own. You’ll be happiest with this choice if having many different redemption options available at all times is something that really appeals to you. They’re also great if you wanted a high-tier card for the insurance that comes with it, because the BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard comes with an excellent assortment of travel insurance goodies. Aside from the lack of efficiency that we mentioned before, the only real downside here is that there is no viable mid-range option available here – it would be nice to be able to score a small boost in benefits or points earning potential in exchange for a small annual fee.
Aside from that, though, there’s a lot to like about these cards and no reason not to consider them if you like them in concept. They’re very flexible and crowd-pleasing cards that could make just about anyone happy with the right mindset, so you’re not likely to regret your choice if you’ve made it while being fully informed of what it means. As long as you know you want to prioritize having options open to you, it won’t hurt to apply for one of the BMO Rewards cards and see what BMO has to say to you.
Here are some other interesting articles from out website:
Unlock Dozens of Possibilities With the BMO Rewards Mastercard
An Introduction to BMO Rewards
Let the BMO Rewards Mastercard Introduce You To Credit Card Rewards