With the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card now available, the premium travel credit card space is starting to get crowded. This is a great thing for consumers, but it can also present a problem since there are so many different choices.
The high earn rate for travel purchases and the ability to double-dip the $200 annual travel credit in the first year of card membership will definitely appeal to travellers. But how does the card stack up to what else is on the market? Read my BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card review and find out what makes this card special.
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card benefits
- $499 annual fee
- $99 annual fee per authorized user
- Up to 50,000 BMO Rewards points sign up bonus
- $200 annual lifestyle credit
- 5 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on travel, dining, groceries, gas, and drugstore purchases
- 1 BMO Reward point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Earn 25% more points when adding an authorized user to your account
- Priority Pass membership + 6 lounge visits per year
- Visa Infinite Privilege benefits
- Travel insurance
- Mobile device insurance
- Extended warranty
- Purchase security
- Pay with points option
The first thing to note is that this is BMO’s first Visa credit card since they’ve been exclusive to Mastercard up to this point. This likely won’t matter to consumers, but it’s nice to see another premium Visa card available. Since this is a Visa Infinite Privilege Card, there is a personal income requirement of $150,000 or a household income of $200,000 to qualify. If you don’t reach that requirement, take a look at the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card instead.
Since this is a high end Visa card, you expect it to come packed with benefits. The good news is that it doesn’t disappoint. The sign up bonus of 50,000 BMO Rewards points is broken up into two parts. You’ll get 35,000 points when you charge $5,000 to your card within the first three months of card membership, and an additional 15,000 points on your anniversary date. 50,000 points are worth $357.14 when redeeming for travel. Keep in mind that there is an annual fee of $499.
The earn rate is what will likely attract people to the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card. You’ll earn 5 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on travel, dining, groceries, gas, and drugstore purchases. However, if you add an authorized user, your earn increases by 25% which is a huge jump. There is a cap on your earn rate of $100,000 per calendar year. Once you reach that cap, your earn rate drops to the base rate of 1 point per $1 spent.
While those earn rates are incredibly high, it’s vital that you understand how BMO Rewards works so you can maximize the value of your points. I’ll go into details about later in the review.
The $200 annual lifestyle credit is great since you can use it for just about any purchase. I’m a bit disappointed that you only get 6 free annual lounge passes. Other premium travel credit cards in this price range would give you free unlimited access.
Other benefits you get include mobile device insurance (up to $1,000), extended warranty (up to 2 extra years), and purchase security (120 days).
Visa Infinite Privilege travel benefits
As a Visa Infinite Privilege cardholder, you get access to some additional travel benefits. When used, these benefits can be extremely useful, but only if you maximize them. Here’s what you get included.
Concierge service – With concierge service, you’re getting access to a 24/7 personal assistant. This may not sound like anything special, but you could use them to help you plan your trip or even a birthday party. Save time and have your concierge do some of the work for you.
Global Airport Lounge Access – As mentioned, you get a Priority Pass membership and 6 free annual passes a year. For reference, the membership and passes are worth over $375 each year.
Airport Benefits & Services – You can use the priority security lines at Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Ottawa airports when you show your BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card. In addition, Vancouver and Ottawa airports give you a discount on parking when paying with your card.
Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection – Cardholders get access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection which can be quite valuable as reservations come with the following benefits:
- Best rate guarantee
- Complimentary room upgrade when available
- 3PM check-out
- Complimentary breakfast
- Free in-room internet
- $25 food or beverage voucher
- VIP Guest Status
Besides the travel benefits, BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* cardholders get access to:
- Visa Infinite Dining Series
- Visa Infinite Wine Country Program – Canada
- Visa Infinite Screening Series
- Visa Infinite Privilege Troon Golf Benefit
- Privé Course Access
- Elevated Troon Rewards Status
How BMO Rewards works
BMO Rewards is a good bank travel rewards program, but it can be a bit complicated due to the points structure. It takes 140 points to claim $1 in travel, which means 1 BMO Rewards point is worth .71 cents. Based on this value, the real earn rate for the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card is as follows:
- 3.55 cents in points per $1 spent on travel, dining, groceries, gas, and drugstore purchases
- .71 cents in points per $1 spent on everything else
The earn rate for dining, groceries, gas, and transit purchases is generous and comparable to other cards on the market. However, the base earn rate on all other purchases is quite low.
Remember, you can get a 25% increase in the points earned when you add an authorized user. That would bump up your earn rate to the following:
- 4.44 cents in points per $1 spent on travel, dining, groceries, gas, and drugstore purchases
- .89 cents in points per $1 spent on everything else
Getting more than 4 cents per point on travel purchases is quite rare. If you spend a lot on travel, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card should definitely be on your radar.
Although using your points for travel gives you the best value, you can also use your points to pay for any purchase you’ve made. The cost is 200 points for $1, so that means 1 point is worth .50 cents, which is not the best deal.
Keep in mind that to get the full value of your BMO Rewards points, travel must be booked via the BMO Rewards website. If you book travel on your own and then use the pay with points option, you’d be using them at the .50 cents per point rate.
Is the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card worth it?
When applying for a new credit card, you want to take a look at what you’re getting in benefits in the first year compared to what you’re paying for the annual fee. Since the annual fee is $499, you need to get at least that if you’re considering the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card.
Since part of the sign up bonus is awarded at your anniversary (and when your annual fee is charged), we need to ignore that. Instead, we’ll only consider the 35,000 points that are given which have a value of $250.
Then there’s the annual lifestyle credit of $200 which you can double-dip in the first year. This credit resets January 1st, that means you can use it in the year you apply and then again come January 1st. That’s a total of $400 in credit you can claim in the first year, but this trick only works if you cancel your card before your annual fee posts.
Now let’s talk about the lounge access. A Priority Pass membership is US $99 and each individual visit is $32. That means you’re getting a real value of US $291 or about CAD $375 if you use all your passes each year.
For those who rely on credit card travel insurance, a comparable package purchased separately is worth about $200 a year. You could also argue that the extended warranty which triples the manufacturer’s warranty by up to 2 extra years is also worth quite a bit.
All in, you’re looking at a first year value of $1,200+. Clearly that’s a great value since the annual fee is $499. If we ignored the first year benefits, you’d still be getting $575 in annual value from the travel credit and lounge access alone, so this card is worth keeping for the long run.
How does the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card compare to others?
I don’t think there’s one specific card you can compare the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card to since there are a few cards that have similar qualities depending on the benefits. Let’s look at the earn rate first and compare it to the American Express Cobalt and the Scotiabank Gold American Express cards. For simplicity, I’ve calculated the earn rates in cents.
|BMO eclipse VIP||Amex Cobalt||Scotiabank Gold|
As you can see, the earn rate for the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card is quite good for any category with a multiplier, but the base earn rate is much lower. Remember, you can get a 25% boost when you add an authorized user.
I personally wish that this card came with a few more travel benefits. The American Express Platinum Card gives you unlimited lounge access and hotel status upgrades. That said, the Amex Platinum Card does have an annual fee of $699.
The other not so obvious benefit of the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card is the fact that it’s a Visa card. Visa is accepted at more merchants than American Express, which is convenient if you use your card a lot.
My BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* card Review is positive. The value you get in the first year makes the card an obvious choice to sign up for. Since the ongoing benefits are worth more than the annual fee, hanging onto this card for the long run may very well be worth it.
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