Friday, July 10, 2020

The BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard has a new increased welcome bonus offer of 40,000 points with a first year annual fee waiver

** This post has been updated to reflect how the welcome bonus is broken down into two parts**
BMO revealed the highest ever welcome bonus points offer for their premier card the BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard . As of today the card comes with a limited time offer of 40,000 BMO Rewards Points that is broken down as 30,000 when you spend $3,000 within 3 months of being approved for the card and another 10,000 on the card's first anniversary.  On top of that the annual fee of $150 is waived for the first year of having the card. So basically the offer is actually 5,000 points less than the last offer on initial spend but you get that 'anniversary' bonus when you pay your annual fee for the second year.
Once you meet the minimum spend requirement you'll receive those 30,000 bonus points which are worth ~$214 towards any travel booked via Add in the 10,000 after your first year and you have $285 in points but you are now paying that $150 annual fee. You can also choose to use the points as a cash back credit towards purchases you make on the card but note the rate is quite low - those 40,000 points are equal to $133.33 in statement credits. So as you can see it is much better option to go down the travel redemption route!

The welcome bonus isn't the only factor to consider for this card - here are some of the key features of the BMO World Elite Mastercard that also make it one of the stronger cards in Canada:

·         Get 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible travel, dining and entertainment purchases
·         Get 2 points for every $1 spent everywhere else
·         Complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey, with exclusive VIP access, plus four annual complimentary passes

On top of that it has one of the best in class insurance packages mainly due to the fact that this is one of the few cards where the insurance will cover you when you fly on award tickets from other loyalty programs. As they state in their insurance policy you will be covered is you pay for the full or partial cost of a trip with this card. This means you can redeem Aeroplan miles, AIR MILES, etc. for a flight and as long as you pay for the taxes and fees with the BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercrd you have met the partial payment requirement to avail of trip cancellation, trip interruption, flight delay, baggage insurance etc.

Back to the points side and redeeming them - it takes 140 points for a $1 travel redemption and with accelerated earn rate of 3 points per dollar for travel, dining and entertainment purchases your return becomes 2.14% however the remainder of your spending at 2 points per dollar only provides a ~1.43% return. Points have to be redeemed via BMO Rewards unlike some of its fiercest competition that allow their cardholders to make their own bookings with any travel provider and redeem points against those charges. There does not seem to be a minimum amount of points that you need to redeem with BMO Rewards at one time so this card can be quite advantageous in redeeming for seat sale fares. As an example, flights between Toronto and Ottawa or Montreal often dip below $50 each way and come in under $200 with taxes which means, you could redeem as little as 28,000 points for the flights (or $9333.33 in spending) When redeeming with this card you want to try to do it online as BMO Rewards will charge you for bookings made over the phone.

Here's a quick review of the pros and cons of this card

  • Great welcome bonus of 40,000 points + first year annual fee waiver
  • Excellent insurance package that covers award tickets
  • Four complimentary lounge passes
  • The everyday spending return of 1.43% is on the lower side when compared to this card's direct competitors
  • Having to book via can be less flexible than some competitors who let you book any way you want and then redeem points against the charge.

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