The BMO World Elite Mastercard was easily one of the best travel credit cards in Canada, but after changes to the card earlier this year, many people wonder how it ranks now. In my opinion, it’s still a strong contender, but there’s no denying that the card has been devalued.
The card still offers some decent multipliers and good benefits which is why it’s still worth considering, but you really need to look at how it fits with your daily spending and travel habits before you apply. Read my BMO World Elite Mastercard review now for my full thoughts.
BMO World Elite Mastercard benefits
- $150 Annual fee – First year free (Until Jan. 31, 2020)
- 35,000 Signup points after charging $3,000 in purchases
- Earn 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on dining, entertainment, and travel purchases
- Earn 2 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Mastercard Airport Experiences membership provided by LoungeKey, plus four annual complimentary passes
- Comprehensive travel insurance package included
- Concierge service
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
The signup bonus of 35,000 points is worth $250 which is a touch higher than many of the other best travel credit cards in Canada. That being said, there is an annual fee of $150.
The BMO World Elite Mastercard (referral link) also comes with Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey and 4 free passes each year. LoungeKey is nearly identical to the previous Priority Pass program that was included. There are a few lounges that one has that the other doesn’t but generally speaking, I wouldn’t say one program is better than the other. Either way, the BMO World Elite Mastercard is one of the best credit cards with free airport lounge access. For reference, the 4 free annual passes are worth about $140 each year.
Since lounge membership normally costs $99 USD a year and $32 per visit. You end with $227 USD in lounge passes which is worth more than the annual fee.
I personally think concierge service is a bit overrated since you still need to call them to describe what you want. In the same time, you could have bought the item or made reservations on your own. That said, if you’re trying to make reservations at a restaurant where English isn’t their first language, concierge service could be incredibly useful.
Although purchase protection and extended warranty are pretty standard for premium credit cards, I can’t state how important they are. With purchase protection, any purchases that are fully charged to your BMO World Elite Mastercard will be covered for 90 days from loss, theft or damage. There’s been more than one occasion where I’ve bought something and shortly after I’ve lost it or it’s been damaged. With purchase protection, I’d be able to get it repaired or replaced at no cost. With extended warranty, the manufacturer’s warranty is doubled up to one additional year which is obviously handy.
BMO World Elite Mastercard travel insurance
- Travel medical – $1,00,000 for 25 days / 10 days if you’re 65 or older
- Trip cancellation – up to $2,500 per person / $10,000 total
- Trip interruption – $2,000 per person
- Flight/trip delay – up to $500 / 6 hours
- Delayed and lost baggage – up to $750 per person / $2,000 total / 12 hours
- Auto rental collision / loss damage – 48 consecutive days / $65,000
- Common carrier travel accident – $500,000
The BMO World Elite Mastercard travel insurance is pretty comprehensive but one thing I want to point out right away is that you don’t get hotel/motel burglary included which I find a bit odd. It’s not really a dealbreaker, but considering this is BMO’s top travel credit card, it’s a bit surprising that you don’t get it.
That said, the rest of the travel insurance doesn’t disappoint. Those under the age of 65 get up to $1,000,000 in travel medical for trips up to 25 days. If you’re 65 or older, you only get 10 days of coverage included for free.
Your trip cancellation insurance is good up to $2,5000 per person but for some reason trip interruption only covers each person up to $2,000. Again, not a dealbreaker, but a bit odd. The delayed and lost baggage insurance is pretty generous while the auto rental collision/loss damage is pretty standard.
Here’s the most important thing about the BMO World Elite Mastercard travel insurance. If you look at the terms and conditions, it states the following: “Coverage applies only when You charge the full or partial cost of Your Trip to the Primary or Family Cardholder’s Mastercard prior to departure.”
That means if you charge just $1 of your travel expenses to the BMO World Elite Mastercard travel insurance, you would be covered. This is significant since most travel credit cards require you to charge 75%-100% of your trip expenses for your travel insurance to be valid.
You would think this wouldn’t be an issue, but it can be a major problem when you’re partially booking a flight on points. For example, I fly WestJet on a regular basis and often offset my costs with my WestJet Dollars. I could use my WestJet World Elite Mastercard to pay my remaining balance so my travel insurance is valid, but that card doesn’t come with trip cancellation. Instead, I use my BMO World Elite Mastercard to pay the balance so I get comprehensive travel insurance. For this reason alone, the BMO World Elite Mastercard is one of the best credit cards with travel insurance in Canada.
How BMO Rewards works
To claim $1 in travel, you need 140 points. Based on this, you end up with a 2.14% return per $1 spent on dining, entertainment, and travel purchases. All other purchases get you 1.43% in points which is meh.
That’s not bad for travel purchases, but for dining, it’s a bit low. For example, the Amex Cobalt card gives you a 5% return on dining and the Scotiabank Gold American Express gives you a 4% return. Yes, those are Amex cards and your Mastercard would be accepted in more places, but it’s important to point out what else is out there.
Your points can also be redeemed for a statement credit. It’ll take 140 points to claim 50 cents so that means your ratio is even lower at .72 to 1.05%. If you’re going to use your points, use them for travel to maximize the value. What’s great about BMO Rewards is that there is no minimum points redemption required so you can use any amount you have to offset your travel costs.
To use your points, you must book your travel through the BMO Rewards website which gives you access to flights, hotels, rental cars, rail tickets, vacation packages and cruises. This is a bit annoying for some people, but the good news is that there are no blackout dates and you can use your points to pay for taxes. If you find a lower price on airfare or vacation packages, BMO Rewards will price match it.
If you don’t have enough points to make a full redemption, you can pay the remaining balance with your credit card. For more details about BMO Rewards, check out my full guide.
My BMO World Elite Mastercard review is positive. Although one of the best travel credit card in Canada and has some of the best travel insurance available. The LoungeKey access and included passes are easily worth more than the annual fee so you’re getting a lot of value here.