MBNA Rewards: Everything You Need To Know

December 12, 2019
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At Yore Oyster, we strive to help you make wise financial decisions. We're committed to giving you the most relevant, actionable advice anywhere.

One single bank with personalized cards to be customized to your preferences. Be it cash back, $0 annual fee, travel perks or secured cards – MBNA has a wide range of rewards to cater to your specific needs. Read on for our review of the top 6 benefits this bank has to offer, and decide if MBNA offers what you are looking for.

MBNA Rewards: What You Need To Know

Maryland Bank, National Association (MBNA) has a wide range of cards that enthusiastically seems to cater to as many demographics as possible. The key idea is to offer each customer a card that is personalized to best suit their preferences.

As diverse as the MBNA card range is, all MBNA cards somehow linked to the MBNA Rewards loyalty program, of which we provide our review in the following post. 

In this review, you will find:

MBNA Rewards 

The MBNA rewards program, which allowed travel redemptions, was fairly decent in the past. However, ever since Toronto-Dominion (TD) Bank Group acquired MBNA Credit Card, the redemption valuation dropped significantly. Regardless of this, MBNA Rewards still offers good value to its members.

Here is a breakdown of the top-six benefits the MBNA Rewards program offers:

Benefit #1: MBNA Rewards Travel Cards

The best options reap travel rewards with MBNA cards are to sign up to the following 5 cards:

  1. MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
  2. MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®
  3. Alaska Airlines® Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
  4. Alaska Airlines® World Elite® Mastercard®
  5. Best Western® Rewards Mastercard®

It’s important to note here that part of MBNA’s effort to personalize their cards is to allocate specific loyalty terms to their respective cards. For instance, MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard and MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard earn and redeem ‘MBNA Rewards points’. The Alaska Airlines Mastercards, on the other hand, earn and redeem ‘bonus miles’. Likewise, Best Western Rewards Mastercard earns and redeems ‘Best Western Rewards points’.

The following table summarizes the key features of these five MBNA cards


MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard® Alaska Airlines® Platinum Plus® Mastercard® Alaska Airlines® World Elite® Mastercard® Best Western® Rewards Mastercard®
Annual Fee $0 $120 $75 $99 $0
Interest Rate (purchases) 19.99% 19.99% 19.99% 19.99% 19.99%
Interest Rate (balance transfers & access cheques) 22.99% 22.99% 22.99% 22.99% 22.99%
Interest Rate (cash advances) 24.99% 24.99% 22.99% 22.99% 22.99%
Welcome Offer Earn 4X points per $1 on gas, groceries & restaurants purchases for the first 90 days. Earn 10,000 bonus points Earn up to 30,000 bonus MBNA Rewards Points for travel, cash back and more. Earn  20,000 bonus miles Earn 30,000 bonus miles Earn 20,000 Best Western Rewards points
How To Qualify for the Welcome OfferWithin the first 90 days,

5000 points if $500 in eligible purchases is made

5000 points by requesting for paperless statements via mbna.ca
Within the first 90 days,

20,000 points if $2000 in eligible purchases is made

10,000 points  by requesting for paperless statements via mbna.ca

Spend $1,000 or more on eligible purchases in the first 90 days

Spend $1,000 or more on eligible purchases in the first 90 days 

Make a one night’s stay purchase minimum on your card. 
Point/Mile Earn Rates
for specific categories
Earn 2x points per $1 for eligible gas, groceries & restaurants after the first 90 days.   Subject to annual cap of $5000  for each category
N/A
Earn 3 Miles per $1 you spend on tickets, vacation packages, and cargo services from Alaska Airlines Earn 3 Miles per $1 you spend on tickets, vacation packages, and cargo services from Alaska Airlines Earn 5 points for every dollar spent on eligible purchases at a Best Western Property
Point/Mile Earn Rates
for all other eligible purchases
Earn 1x point per $1 Earn 2 points per $1 Earn 1 Mile per $1 Earn 1 Mile per $1 Earn 1 point per $1
Travel Redemption 100 points per $1   including any of the taxes or other costs for which you are responsible 100 points per $1   including any of the taxes or other costs for which you are responsibleBuy one round trip and get Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $121 USD ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22) each year on the anniversary of the account openingBuy one round trip and get Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $121 USD ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22) each year on the anniversary of the account opening Use your Best Western Rewards points in many ways — hotel stays dining, gift cards and more.
Purchase Assurance Yes. Up to $60,000. Yes. Up to $60,000. Yes. Up to $60,000. Yes. Up to $60,000. Yes. Up to $60,000.
Extended Warranty Benefits Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Price Protection No Yes. Up to $500. No Yes. Up to $500. No
Qualification to Apply Open to Canadian residents.  
No minimum personal or household income required
Open to Canadian residents.
Personal annual income must be greater than $80,000, or your household annual income must be $150,000 or greater
Open to Canadian residents.  
No minimum personal or household income required
Open to Canadian residents.
Personal annual income must be greater than $80,000, or your household annual income must be $150,000 or greater
Open to Canadian residents.
No minimum personal or household income required

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard and MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard are general travel cards that allow you to redeem travel perks at 100 points per $1 via the MBNA Rewards section. The upside is the points can be used for different major Canadian airlines and the points have no expiry date. The downside to the MBNA Rewards program is that the points aren’t transferable to other loyalty programs and you will need to use at least 10,000 MBNA Rewards points at the MBNA Rewards site to avoid getting charged with a booking fee of $29. 

With the Alaska Airline cards, let’s assume you spend $1,000 on any other eligible purchases. Along with your welcome offer, you can redeem:

If you are a regular at Best Western hotels and lodgings, then the Best Western Rewards Mastercard would be an amazing choice to use, especially considering it comes with no annual fee.

Benefit #2: MBNA Rewards Sports Credit Cards

Are you an avid sports enthusiast? MBNA has 7 credit cards that reward you as a sports fan. Here is the list of sports cards you can apply for:

MBNA sports credit cards

What are the perks of applying to these cards?

  • $0 Annual Fee 
  • Earn up to 5,000 bonus points 
    • 2,500 bonus points after your first eligible purchase within the first 90 days of account opening
    • 2,500 bonus points once enrolled for e-statements within the first 90 days of account opening
  • Redeem points for travel, brand-name merchandise, gift cards from participating retailers, cashback, and charitable donations
  • Standard Annual Interest Rates of 
    • 19.99% on eligible purchases
    • 22.99% on balance transfers & access cheques
    • 24.99% on cash advances

Actual scenarios have shown cardholders receiving sweet sports merchandise. For example, a Toronto Maple Leaf MBNA Rewards Mastercard holder received season tickets. There are terms and conditions that apply. All you need to be is a Canadian resident of age and you might just get yourself a credit card of your favorite sports team. What’s more, with no annual fee imposed. There’s nothing to lose!

Benefit #3: Many MBNA Cards Come With A $0 Annual Fee

Looking for more credit cards with $0 annual fees? MBNA does have a variety of options for you to choose from: 

MBNA Rewards offers many no fee credit cards
Card Name Interest Rate (purchases) Interest Rate (balance transfers & access cheques) Interest Rate (cash advances)
MBNA True Line®  Mastercard® 12.99% 12.99% 24.99%
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® 19.99% 22.99% 24.99%
MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus® Mastercard® 19.99% 22.99% 24.99%
Best Western® Rewards Mastercard® 19.99% 22.99% 22.99%
Harley-Davidson® Mastercard® 19.99% 22.99% 22.99%
Amazon.ca Rewards Mastercard 19.99% 22.99% 22.99%
Nordstorm Rewards Visa 19.99% 22.99% 22.99%
Melaleuca Mastercard® 19.99% 22.99% 22.99%
The Royal Canadian Legion® MBNA Rewards Mastercard® 19.99% 22.99% 24.99%

The top rated cards would be the MBNA True Line Mastercard with its low interest rates

MBNA True Line Mastercard

and the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard with its high point earn rate at 4x for gas and groceries during the first 90 days followed by 2x thereafter. 

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

For more details on each card, you can click on the links on each card name in the table above.

Benefit #4: MBNA CashBack Rewards

MBNA has two credit cards that are exclusively for cashback benefits which are the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard and the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard
MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard

Here is a summary of the differences between both cards:


MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus® Mastercard® MBNA Smart Cash World® Mastercard®
Annual Fee $0 $39
Interest Rate (purchases) 19.99% 19.99%
Interest Rate (balance transfers & access cheques) 22.99% 22.99%
Interest Rate (cash advances) 24.99% 24.99%
Welcome Offer Earn 5% cashback on gas and groceries for the first 6 months
Cap limit — until total spending reaches $500 monthly
Earn 5% cashback on gas and groceries for the first 6 months
Cap limit — until total spending reaches $500 monthly
Cashback for gas and groceries Earn 2% cashback on gas and groceries after the first 6 months

Cap limit — until total spending reaches $500 monthly
Earn 2% cashback on gas and groceries after the first 6 months

Cap limit — until total spending reaches $500 monthly
Cashback for all other purchases Earn 0.5% cashback on all other eligible Purchases Earn 1% on all other eligible Purchases
Purchase Assurance Yes.
Covers against theft of or damage to covered personal property items purchased by you. If such an item is stolen or damaged, it will be repaired, replaced or you will be reimbursed the purchase price (not including taxes)
Yes.
Covers against theft of or damage to covered personal property items purchased by you. If such an item is stolen or damaged, it will be repaired, replaced or you will be reimbursed the purchase price (not including taxes)
Extended Warranty Benefits Yes.
Includes extended product warranty on eligible Purchases for an additional year
Yes.
Includes extended product warranty on eligible Purchases for an additional year
Car Rental Vehicle Benefits No Yes
Accidental Death & Dismemberment Benefits No Yes
Car Rental Vehicle Collision Damage Waiver Benefits No Yes

The distinct difference between Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard and Smart Cash World Mastercard is as per below:

  • Annual fee ($0 vs. $39)
  • Cashback earned on any purchases excl. gas & groceries (0.5% vs 1%)
  • Car rental benefits
  • Insurance coverage 

Let’s do the math to assess if it’s better to consider the Smart Cash Platinum Plus with $0 annual fee or Smart Cash World Mastercard with $39 annual fee. 

If you are a new cardholder, you will be eligible for the welcome bonus that gives you 5% cashback for gas and grocery purchases for 6 months. The spending cap per month to enjoy the 5% cashback is $500. After the $500 spending limit for gas and groceries is reached in one month, you will enjoy 2% cashback until the next month begins. 

As for other types of purchases, you will enjoy 0.5% cashback as a MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard holder and 1% cashback as a MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard holder. 

Purchase Type Total spent in a month via the card Cashback earned on MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus MasterCard Cashback earned on MBNA Smart Cash World MasterCard
Gas and Groceries $500 $25 $25
Gas and Groceries (after the max cap of $500 reached) $100 $0.50 $1
All other purchases  $250 $1.25 $2.50
Total $850 $28.25 $29.50

Within a month of purchases, you will enjoy an average of $29.50 cashback if you spend $850 on your MBNA Smart Cash World MasterCard.  This means your net spending is $820.50 giving you savings of 3.47% per month. Your annual fee is just $39. You would make your money back within the first two months. 

Let’s take a look at your savings with the regular 2% cashback on gas and groceries. The cashback rate on all other purchases is still the same. 

Purchase Type Total spent in a month via the card Cashback earned on MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus MasterCard Cashback earned on MBNA Smart Cash World MasterCard
Gas and Groceries $500 $10 $10
Gas and Groceries (after the max cap of $500 reached) $100 $0.50 $1
All other purchases  $250 $1.25 $2.50
Total $850 $13.25 $14.50

You would be taking back an average of $14.50 cash back if you spend the same $850 with the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard. With the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard, you would be getting an average or $13.25. 

Based on both scenarios (with and without the welcome offer), the cashback justifies the $39 annual fee. However, in comparison between both MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard and MBNA Smart Cash World MasterCard, the difference in cashback is not a huge gap. It’s a matter of $1.50-$2.00. 

As such, it is a better idea to just make do with the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard and enjoy the $0 annual fee. Take note that this is true as long as you are not in any particular need of insurance coverage. If you are, then the MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard is a better option, since it does come with a more elaborate insurance and security coverage for your purchases. 

Benefit #5: MBNA Rewards’ Balance Transfer Offer

The MBNA True Line Mastercard range is your go-to card for low balance transfer interest rates. The ongoing welcome promo gives you 0% annual interest rate on any balance transferred, in accordance with your approved credit limit, for a period that depends on the card you choose to apply for. 

MBNA Rewards 0% interest balance transfer offer

Here is a breakdown on both the MBNA True Line Mastercard and the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard:


MBNA True Line®  Mastercard® MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard®
Annual Fee $0 $39
Interest Rate (purchases) 12.99% 8.99%
Interest Rate (balance transfers & access cheques) 12.99% 8.99%
Interest Rate (cash advances) 24.99% 24.99%
Welcome Offer Save on interest with a 0% promotional annual interest rate on balance transfers for the first 12 months, for transfers completed within 90 days of account opening
3% balance transfer fee applies (minimum fee of $7.50)
Save on interest with a 0% promotional annual interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months, for transfers completed within 90 days of account opening
3% balance transfer fee applies (minimum fee of $7.50)
Purchase Assurance No Yes. Up to $60,000.
Coverage on most items purchased with your MBNA credit card for the first 90 days from the date of purchase.
Extended Warranty Benefits No Yes.
Doubles the written warranties for up to one additional year on most new purchases made with your MBNA credit card
Qualification to Apply Open to Canadian residents who are of the age of majority in your province/territory of residence.  No minimum personal or household income required Open to Canadian residents who are of the age of majority in your province/territory of residence.  No minimum personal or household income required

Benefit #6: MBNA Security

If there is unauthorized use of your MBNA credit card, PIN number or account number for purchases, you will be protected from the costs of this use. This is done with the Zero Liability Policy which covers both Mastercard and Visa credit cards.

The Zero Liability Policy negates consumer liability for such fraudulent transactions. However, it is key that you have taken adequate measures to prevent potential loss or theft as a consumer. Only then will the MBNA security feature – Zero Liability Policy – kick in and work for you. 

Other than that, MBNA has enforced the standard precautions below to ensure the safety of your transactions with MBNA cards:

  • MBNA Fraud Alerts  
  • Chip and Pin 
  • Contactless – Mastercard® PayPass® and Visa payWave®

The Verdict

The MBNA card range is diverse and customizable to suit varied preferences. However, there are other cards available with greater deals and far more exciting redemption plans. The top-rated cards in the MBNA Rewards program are the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard, which comes with a $0 annual fee. However, the points earn rate is best at the promo period which is only for 90 days, with a 4x points earn rate capped at $5,000 spending per annum.

If you’re looking for a better option, the American Express Cobalt Card comes with a monthly fee of $10 ($120 annually), it can be canceled at any time and it comes with a 5x points earn rate with no cap.

An interesting card range to note with MBNA is the sports range, which is an exciting alternative if you are a full-blown sports fan. These cards come with a $0 annual fee, which means that your only worry will be to be disciplined while holding on to one of these credit cards. If so, then you are good to go and earn yourself exciting sports merchandise from your favorite player or even earn fabulous deals to watch your sports team games.