I’ve noticed a surge of posts on other sites about the recently revamped NBC World Elite Mastercard on being an amazing 5x points card and its awesome new welcome bonus. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good card, in fact it verges on being very good but there is an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. I want Canadians to know there is one thing I’ve noticed in those posts on the other sites and that is a serious lack of explaining the card’s complicated rules for its 5x points earning! In my mind it is a major factor on whether you should choose this card or another card. Read on to find out in this Loyalty Lesson:
The nitty gritty on National Bank World Elite Mastercard’s 5x points earn rate
Most unassuming readers of those other sites will take away the thought they will earn 5x points each month on the first $2,500 of spending for groceries and dining regardless of what other spending you have on the card. Technically speaking you can earn 5x points on $2,500 spending but what these other sites are not disclosing is that $2,500 cap is based on gross spending on the card – not just groceries and dining.
That is, if you go out and spend $500 for who knows what that does not fall into groceries or dining – say a Costco visit, a car repair or something like that, you will only be able to earn 5x points on the remaining $2,000 of spend that month. And this is if, and only if you spend that $2,000 on groceries and dining. The minute you start putting other spending on the card within your first $2,500 each month you take away your ability to earn that 5x points.
Have a big purchase you would like to make? Perhaps put a $5,000 deposit on a car? If you put that purchase on this card near the beginning of your monthly earn cycle you are saying good bye to any 5x points earning for the rest of that month.
Ideally with this card you do not want to put any spending on it other than groceries and dining until you have spent $2,500 in those categories in each monthly period. Once you have, then by all means, go nuts spending in all the other categories.
Points Earning Example
Here is a monthly spending example provided to Rewards Canada by National Bank where the total monthly spend exceeds that $2,500 mark. This is in chronological order of spending:
- $800 in groceries: 800×5= 4,000 pts
- $200 in gas: 200×2 = 400 pts
- $400 in recurring bill payments: 400×2= 800 pts
- $500 in other purchases: 500×1 = 500 pts
- $700 in groceries: 700×5=3,500 pts (even if the amount exceeds the $2,500 cap, the entire transaction will accumulate the 5 pts/$ spent)
- $100 in gas: 100×2 = 200 pts
- $500 in restaurants: 500×2 = 1,000 pts (because the total gross monthly amount charged to the credit card account is over $2500, regardless of the purchase category, these groceries & dining purchases and next purchases in that category are now at 2 pts/$ spent)
Total expenses charged to the account in the month: $3,200
Total points earned in the month: 10,400 points
The little bit of good news as you can see from the example is that if you are at say $2,450 in spending for that month and go buy $250 of groceries you will still earn the 5x on that transaction since your account wasn’t at the $2,500 of spending yet. This does mean you could earn 5x points on more than $2,500 of spending per month depending on what your last 5x purchase is that moves you past that $2,500 hump.
There are easier to use 5x points cards
If this seems confusing, it is, honestly NBC’s 5x points earning structure is one of the most convoluted we have ever seen on a credit card. If you want an easier 5x points Mastercard, consider the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard, it offers 5x points on dining and groceries with a $50,000 annual cap on that category – other spending such as Costco, deposits on cars and so forth do not affect that $50,000 cap. On top of this MBNA will give you a 10% birthday bonus so you would be earning as much as 5.5 points per dollar (the birthday bonus is capped at 15,000 points annually). In the context of earning points, the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard is the tops for Mastercards in Canada.
If you are not set on a Mastercard you have the best overall card in Canada the American Express Cobalt Card and the best travel points card the Scotiabank Gold American Express card as better 5x points options.
If you want the full welcome bonus you need to get insurance??
Then, there is the welcome bonus on the National Bank card- yes it is really good but for 10,000 of it you have take out payment insurance? Really? Credit card payment insurance is just a money making machine for banks and we at Rewards Canada avoid it at all costs. That being said, you only have to carry the insurance for three months, so chances are the insurance should cost a lot less than the $100 in value from the points. Just don’t forget to cancel the insurance after three full months! For me though I see this card as having a 60,000 point welcome bonus card instead of 70,000. Still that’s $600 towards any travel and since it is offered with no annual fee in the first year that is an excellent sign up bonus.
Take into account all factors
Now you do have to take other factors into consideration when selecting a card such as the welcome bonus, insurance coverage and so forth but I just needed to get this out there and continue Rewards Canada’s mission of properly educating Canadians on credit card and loyalty programs. When you have other sites extolling the 5x points earning on $2,500 of grocery and dining spending without disclosing how that 5x points can be affected by all your other spending is concerning to me. So please take this into account when considering this card!
Wrapping it up
Like the other sites I do plan on actually writing more about the National Bank World Elite Mastercard on Rewards Canada. However you can be confident in that I will let you know about the card’s perplexing points earning system rather than just trying to sell you it as a great 5x points card. No, there are better 5x points cards in market and I’m not going to tell you it is the highest earning Mastercard. Nor am I going to tell you that it is the best Mastercard in Canada but I’ll tell you it’s a decent card and even with its confusing earn rates I do feel it falls within the top 10 Mastercards in Canada.
Rewards Canada’s Loyalty Lessons:
- When earning 5x points isn’t the same as earning 5x points – a loyalty lesson
- Loyalty Lesson: Is a 30% return on credit card spending possible? Yes, it sure is!
- Loyalty Lesson: Why hybrid rewards credit cards are the best bet for most Canadians
- Loyalty Lesson: The first points & miles credit card you should get