BMO announced a positive change to their proprietary BMO Rewards program that will happen in August. As posted by HermanH on RFD, BMO will make their current promotional redemption offer of 150 points to $1 for any travel booked via any provider permanent as of August 2, 2022.
Here is part of the announcement from BMO:
Effective August 2nd, 2022 you will have the flexibility and control
to book travel directly with any travel provider of your choice. Simply
use your primary BMO credit card for your travel purchase and sign into
bmorewards.com or through the BMO Mobile Banking app and then use Pay
with Points to pay for all or part of your travel purchase at our best
redemption rate which is 150 points per dollar.
This 150 points to $1 travel redemption rate has been to go to rate with the program only when you booked travel directly via BMO Rewards. If you wanted to book travel with another travel provider and redeem points against the charge, you could do so but at a much worse redemption rate of 200 points to $1.
The 150 points to $1 redemption for any travel booked with any provider has actually been in place since March due to issues BMO Rewards had with their travel rewards booking engine that didn’t allow new flight bookings to be made. Since BMO couldn’t provide flights to their cardholders they had to allow them to go book travel elsewhere while temporarily providing a better redemption rate than the 200 points to $1 they would typically charge for those redemptions. There is more to that story as well….
The Back Story
When the technical issues arose with BMO’s own booking engine they actually already has promotion in place for travel booked outside of BMO Rewards. That promotion launched late in 2021 and provided a redemption rate of 175 points to $1. So in the couple of months leading up until the technical problem members could choose to book flights from BMO Rewards to receive their 150 to 1 rate or go out and book any travel and redeem at 175 to 1.
Then the issues arose with their booking engine so the bank put up a statement on their site saying you couldn’t make new flight bookings with them so you were to go out and book your own travel and they would give you that special promotional rate of 175 points to $1! I found this odd considering here you had members wanting to book travel through BMO expecting to be able to redeem at 150 points to $1 but you were forcing them to redeem at 175 to $1 at no fault of their own. So, Rewards Canada called them out on it and thanks to that BMO
changed the rate to the 150 to $1 rate that they really should have been charging right from the start of their technical issues
read the entire back story in these two articles:
issues hamper new flight bookings with BMO Rewards, bank tells
customers book elsewhere and redeem points for that travel but at a
- BMO Rewards Technical Issue Update: You can now redeem 150 points towards $1 for any travel booked on your BMO Rewards cards!
What this means for BMO Rewards cardholders
This is truly a good enhancement to the BMO Rewards program and existing cardmembers should be happy about it! You now get the flexibility in the program that we have seen from the likes of American Express, HSBC, Scotia, TD and other credit card reward programs. You are not tied into booking with the credit card’s travel agency and have that flexibility to book how you want, with whomever you want and be able to redeem points after the fact (up to 30 days after the charge posts).
Wrapping it up
This is a much needed change in the BMO Rewards program that brings it in line with many of the competing credit card programs. Existing cardholders should be excited the bank has moved to make the 150 points to $1 for any travel as a permanent redemption option. There’s no better feeling than knowing you can shop around and buy travel with whomever you want and not lose value in your points when you redeem points against that travel charge.
I do have to be honest though, as much as this is a positive improvement for the program it still doesn’t make up for the BMO Rewards suite of cards having extremely low base earn rates and the pretty low annual caps on the accelerated earn rates on their BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard.