The BMO World Elite Mastercard

April 8, 2020
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A great option for those who find themselves constantly traveling overseas, the BMO World Elite Mastercard offers flexibility when redeeming rewards, a very good travel insurance package and access to hundreds of lounges around the world, among other perks.

Though its high-income eligibility requirements put it outside the range of most Canadians, this credit card certainly is worth its salt, thanks to its easy to use BMO Rewards system, along with its welcome bonus of 35,000 points and the fact that the annual fee is waived for the first year.

Between the welcome bonus points (equivalent to $250), plus the waived annual fee ($150) and the four free lounge visits per year (worth $140), BMO gives newcomers to its most expensive card a warm welcome.

Overall, this is a good card for anyone who likes to travel.

Welcome Bonus5
Rewards Program6
Earn Rates7
Travel Benefits8
Annual Benefits vs. Annual Fee10
Referral Program1
Travel Insurance10
Purchase Coverage10
Foreign Transaction Fees4
Customer Service & Online Experience5
We recommend the BMO World Elite Mastercard if:
  • You’re looking for a strong travel card with a big welcome bonus.
  • You want to get into BMO rewards.
  • You want access to travel perks like concierge service and lounge access.

  • We don’t recommend this card if:
  • You don’t like paying a high annual fee.
  • You don’t travel a lot during the year.
  • You're not looking for a card focused on rewards.

  • Features & Benefits of the BMO World Elite Mastercard

    Welcome Bonus Points35,000 BMO points
    Earn Rate on Food & Entertainment 3 BMO points per $1
    Earn Rate on Everything Else 2 BMO points per $1
    Hotel BenefitsYes
    Concierge ServiceYes
    Comprehensive Travel Insurance Yes
    Foreign Transaction Fee2.5%
    Annual Fee$150

    #1 Welcome Bonus

    When you get the BMO World Elite Mastercard you’ll obtain 35,000 BMO Rewards points (equivalent to $250) after spending $3,000 with the card during the first three months. And, you don’t have to pay the annual fee ($150) for the first year. Each point is worth around $0,007, or 0.7 cents per point.

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Welcome Bonus Score: 5/10

    #2 Rewards Program

    What you have to know about the BMO rewards system is that individual points are valued at a decent rate, but the key thing is that you can rack them up pretty fast thanks to the BMO World Elite’s great earn rate.

    When you use your BMO World Elite Mastercard on designated dining, meals and entertainment purchases you’ll get 3 points for each dollar spent. For everything else you buy, you get 2 points per dollar. You can accumulate points in this way up to a maximum of $50,000 annually.

    You can either redeem points online through the BMO website or by calling the BMO Rewards Centre. We recommend you redeem them through the site unless you want to pay their $30 phone booking fee.

    When redeeming your points, there are five categories you can choose from:

    1. Travel: Book flights, hotel stays, cruises, rental cars and more.
    2. Experience: Go to exclusive events and get some R&R. From a luxury spa to wine-and-dine tours.
    3. Shop: Use your points to buy designated merchandise and gift cards.
    4. Contribute: Make a contribution to a BMO investment account.
    5. Points for Cash: Use your points for cash back or even to pay off your credit card balance.

    One thing we like is that BMO points never expire, which lets you gather them at your own pace while planning the best way to treat yourself or a loved one. The system is also pretty flexible which is nice, there is no shortage of options to spend your well-earned points. Although as you’ll see, not every category is made equal when redeeming points.

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Rewards Program Score: 6/10

    #3 Earn Rates

    Spending CategoryPoints Earned Per Dollar Spent
    Food & Drinks3
    Gas & Groceries2

    You're not going to make a killing by purchasing gas and groceries, that's for sure. However, we're pleased that this card's point earn rate is always at least 2 BMO points per dollar spent.

    Travel, and food and drinks, are where this card thrives, naturally.

    It's what the card is meant for and it does the job relatively well. If you're going to be out and about, you'll need this card at your side to keep earning while you spend.

    The Value Of BMO Points

    Here’s a quick list of BMO points’ value, arranged from highest to lowest:

    Category Point value
    Travel $0,007
    Experiences $0,0065
    Shop (Merchandise) $0,0065 *
    Contribute (Investment) $0,006
    Shop (Gift cards) $0,0056
    Cash Back $0,0033

    *(this is on average, but it depends on the specific purchase)

    As you can see, the best way to spend BMO points is by redeeming them for travel. When used in this way each point is worth around $0,007, or 0.7 cents per point.

    Cash back redemptions, on the other hand, offer the worst return. They can only be redeemed in increments of 15,000 points (equivalent to $50), and are applied against your credit card balance. On the other hand, to redeem for an investment the minimum is also 15,000 points, but the value is double that of cash backs ($100). Do take note that this contribution can only be made to a BMO investment account.

    All In All…

    As stated above, the best choice is clearly redeeming for travel, but it comes with a caveat, you can only book your travel through a BMO Rewards travel agent. However, they do at least price match, so be sure to do a good search and get the best possible price before you call them to book a trip.

    Another advantage of booking travel through BMO Rewards is that they don’t have blackout periods, meaning that you will have no trouble flying during any time of the year, even during peak season. As a matter of fact, you can book as late as 2 days before your departure.

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Earn Rates Score: 7/10

    #4 Travel Benefits

    The BMO World Elite Mastercard has certainly earned its reputation as a top travel credit card, in no small part thanks to the travel benefits it offers to its cardholders. It offers travelers both lounge access and concierge service, two of the most coveted perks frequent fliers look for in their credit cards.

    Companion Tickets 
    Hotel Status 
    Hotel Benefits/Upgrades
    Annual Travel Credit
    Airport Lounge Access  
    Airport VIP 
    Other Travel Benefits 

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Lounge Access

    First off, thanks to its partnership with Lounge Key, this card lets you have 4 free lounge visits per year, which you can use for yourself or a traveling companion. Those 4 passes alone are worth $140. At the same time, Mastercard Airport Experiences provides cardholders access to over a 1,000 lounges worldwide. If you’re a frequent traveler, this can be quite useful when in between flights.

    BMO World Elite Concierge

    Aside from the R&R, the cardholder gets ‘round the clock Concierge services to help make plans, reservations or shop anywhere in Canada. Maybe you want to book your stay in another country but don’t have the time? Or perhaps you want to arrange a pickup for a family member while you’re at work? Don’t worry there is a dedicated staff available 24 hours a day to help make your life easier.

    With this card, you can also get discounts of up to 25% at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-a-Car locations around the world.

    Other concierge services like the Amex Concierge also provide international assistance, which comes for example, with the Amex Platinum.

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Travel Benefits Score: 8/10

    #5 Annual Benefits vs. Annual Fee

    The BMO World Elite Mastercard will cost you $150 a year. To be honest, the high annual fee does detract from its value, but it's still an overall good card.

    With access to a VIP lounge and concierge, among other benefits, you stand to reap benefits worth around $600. That's more than enough to offset the annual fee. Which makes this card a nice choice if you're someone that would take advantage of everything it offers.

    Although this card's benefits more than compensate its annual fees, other similar travel cards like the American Express Cobalt Card ($120 annually) or the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite ($139 annually) offer great travel benefits at lower fees.

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Annual Benefits vs. Annual Fee Score: 10/10

    #6 Referral Program

    The BMO World Elite Mastercard doesn't have a referral program, but we're hoping they'll introduce one sooner or later.

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Referral Program Score: 1/10

    #7 Travel Insurance

    Emergency Medical Insurance (Out of province/country)$2,000,000
    Travel Accident Insurance$500,000
    Trip Cancelation Insurance$2,500 per person / $5,000 per trip  
    Trip Interruption Insurance$2,000 per person  
    Baggage Delay & Flight Delay Insurance$200 (Kicks in after a 12+ hours delay)
    Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance$750 per person / $2,000 per trip
    Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance N/A
    Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance$65,000

    The BMO World Elite Mastercard offers one of the best credit card travel insurance in Canada. Like most other travel cards, it automatically covers the cardholder + spouse and dependent children, when under 65 years of age. However, unlike most of its direct competitors, if older than 65, you can request coverage by paying a premium. This is important when you take into account that not all card travel insurances cover seniors, even as an added coverage, making this an exceptional value.

    The duration of the coverage is pretty good too, sitting at 21 days, in unlimited trips per year, and it can be extended up to 31 days. The emergency medical coverage is double what most other cards offer. The range of situations and amounts covered is also great, although it doesn’t include hotel burglary, for some reason.

    If you do the math and compare insurance prices, the travel insurance alone is enough to cover the annual fee after only one or two trips with your family. The question is, will you let this opportunity pass you by?

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Travel Insurance Score: 10/10

    Related: If you’re interested to learn more about travel insurance, check out our article on the best travel insurance options for Canadians.

    #8 Purchase Coverage

    The BMO World Elite Mastercard has great coverage to protect you from bad purchases or replace lost items.

    It extends the manufacturer's warranty for a maximum of a year. For each account, you're eligible for reimbursement of a maximum of $60,000. This card also protects you against theft for 90 days.

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Purchase Coverage Score: 10/10

    #9 Foreign Transaction Fees

    When it comes to foreign transaction fees, the BMO World Elite isn't anything out of the ordinary.

    It has a 2.50% foreign transaction fee, and the same can be said for many competing cards.

    As for the foreign cash advance fee, you'll be charged $5 per transaction.

    If foreign transactions are highly important for you, we'd suggest that you check out our list of top credit cards that don't have foreign transaction fees.

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Foreign Transaction Fees Score: 4/10

    #10 Customer Service & Online Experience

    The BMO World Elite doesn't have the worst customer service on earth, but for a card that charges users $150 a year, we'd expect more.

    You'll have access to a representative to help you out with your issues over the phone. This process might roll over smoothly, or you might have to wait a while – depending on your luck. Your second course of action would be to write the company an email. which is an even slower path.

    There aren't any options for live chat, and the company's Twitter account isn't all that helpful either.

    BMO World Elite Mastercard Customer Service & Online Experience Score: 5/10

    Also Worth Mentioning

    The benefits we’ve seen so far are pretty sweet, but that’s not all this card has to offer. Here are some other perks you may like:

    • BMO points can be used to cover taxes and fees.
    • Purchase protection for theft, damage, or loss of items for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.
    • Extended warranty for up to 1 year for eligible items.
    • 15% off Cirque du Soleil shows in Canada and 20% off main shows in Las Vegas.
    • Optional credit card balance protection.

    Who Should Get The BMO World Elite Mastercard?

    As the priciest member of the BMO credit card family, the BMO World Elite Mastercard pulls its weight and delivers its intended purpose by providing exceptional travel benefits and insurance, as well as a nice reward system to boot.

    As with every credit card, the key factor in taking advantage of its reward system is not accumulating the points, but knowing how to spend them. However, even if you’re not a conscientious money optimizer, the travel benefits along with the insurance and welcome bonus can be worth the hassle of getting the BMO World Elite.

    This card is clearly not for everyone, but the rewards and perks it offers more than makeup for its high eligibility requirements. If you find yourself traveling a lot, like a robust rewards system and don’t mind booking trips through BMO’s travel agents, then this is the credit card for you.

    What do you think of the BMO World Elite Mastercard? Write us in the comments and let us know

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