National Bank World Elite Mastercard Review

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In this National Bank World Elite Mastercard review, I’m going to go over why the card is greatly underappreciated and why it’s easily one of the best travel credit cards in Canada.

National Bank credit cards don’t get much attention since National Bank is not one of the big five banks in Canada. However, when you look at the benefits that come with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard, you’ll quickly realize that it comes packed with perks.

Admittedly, this card wasn’t always this good. It recently went through a complete overhaul which made it significantly better. From the welcome bonus to best in class travel insurance, read my National Bank World Elite Mastercard review now for the full details.

National Bank World Elite Mastercard

  • $150 annual fee – Reimbursed for the first year free
  • 30,000 NBC à la carte points when spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • 30,000 points when spending $12,000 in the first 12 months
  • 10,000 points when you sign up for credit card payment insurance for 3 months
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on grocery and restaurant purchases up to $2,500 per month. Then earn 2 points per $1 spent
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on gas, electric vehicle charging, recurring bills and à la carte Travel
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Unlimited access to National Bank Lounge at Montreal-Trudeau airport
  • Annual $150 travel credit

We can’t have a National Bank World Elite Mastercard review without talking about the welcome bonus. Recently, the sign up offer was 30,000 à la carte points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. You would also get an additional 30,000 points when you spent a total of $12,000 in the first 12 months. That’s a total of 60,000 NBC Rewards points, which has a value of $700. That’s crazy good when you consider the fact that the annual fee of $150 is reimbursed for the first year. Also note that to take advantage of this welcome offer, you must not currently hold a personal National Bank Mastercard credit card or have held one in the last 24 months.

As for the earn rate, it’s quite generous. You’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on grocery and restaurant purchases. However, there is a monthly spending cap of $2,500. After that, you’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on grocery and restaurant purchases. You’ll also earn 2 points per $1 spent on gas, electric vehicle charging, recurring bills and à la carte Travel. All other purchases earn you 1 point per $1 spent. Even though there’s a cap on the points you can earn on grocery and restaurant purchases, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard still has one of the best earn rates in Canada.

What’s interesting is that this card gives you an annual $150 travel credit which can be used on things such as seat selection, airport parking, lounge access, baggage fees, and airline upgrades. Remember, the annual fee is $150, so this card is basically free. In fact, National Bank is paying you to hold this card since the annual fee is waived for the first year. 

The other significant travel benefit is unlimited access to National Bank Lounge at Montreal-Trudeau airport for the primary cardholder, plus one guest. While some people may find it odd that this card only gives you lounge access in Montreal, but that’s where NBC has its headquarters. In addition, Dragon Pass and Priority Pass don’t give you access to the National Bank Lounge, so it’s nice to see there is a credit card that does offer access.

It’s worth noting that since this is a World Elite Mastercard, there’s a personal income requirement of $80,000 or a household income of $150,000 to qualify for this card.

National Bank World Elite Mastercard insurance

Now to move on to the insurance coverage in this National Bank World Elite Mastercard review. Simply put, this card comes with some of the best insurance available. You get excellent travel and purchase insurance included with the card.

Travel insurance

  • Emergency Medical Insurance – $5,000,000 – 60 days under age 55, 31 days for ages 55 – 64, 15 days for 65 – 75
  • Trip cancellation – $2,500 per person
  • Trip interruption – $5,000 per person
  • Flight Delay Insurance $500 per person – 4 hours +
  • Baggage Delay Insurance $500 per person – 6 hours +
  • Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance – $1,000 per person
  • Car Rental TheftDamage Insurance – $65,000 – 48 days

Simply put, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard is one of the best credit cards with travel insurance in Canada. In fact, it is the best card with travel insurance, hands down. Why is it so good? Because you get 60 days of travel medical insurance if you’re under the age of 55, 31 days for those aged 55 to 64, and 15 days for those between the ages of 65 and 75. That’s significantly higher than what most other credit cards offer.

It’s worth mentioning that this card doesn’t come with any hotel/motel burglary or travel accident insurance, which is a touch surprising, but it’s definitely not a deal breaker.

Purchase insurance

  • Purchase protection – 180 days
  • Extended warranty – Triple up to two additional years
  • Mobile device insurance – $1,000

Even the purchase insurance included is better than most of the other cards on the market. With purchase protection, your purchases are covered from loss, theft, and damage for 180 days from the time of purchase. Other cards typically only give you 90 days of coverage.

With the extended warranty, any purchases charged to your National Bank World Elite Mastercard get the manufacturer’s warranty tripled, up to two additional years. This is double what other cards offer.

Finally, you get mobile device insurance which covers your tablets and phones from loss, theft, and damage, up to $1,000.

How do NBC à la carte Rewards work?

à la carte Rewards is the travel rewards program for NBC. The program is pretty basic, but that’s good for consumers. When booking travel through the NBC à la carte travel portal, 1,000 points will get you $10. That’s a value of 1 cent per point (CPP) and is similar to other programs. It is possible to book travel on your own, but then the value of your points drops to .83 CPP. That’s a pretty significant devaluation, so it’s in your best interests to book via the travel portal.

Another redemption worth mentioning is financial products such as mortgage payments or contributions to your National Bank Registered Retirement Savings Plan or Tax-Free Savings Account. Although you only get a CPP of .83, if you’re investing for the long-term, the value of your contributions could grow.

How the National Bank World Elite Mastercard compare

Now it’s time to go over the comparable cards in my National Bank World Elite Mastercard review. It’s quite clear that the NBC card is looking to compete with the American Express Cobalt Card

With the Cobalt card, you earn 5 points per $1 spent on eats and drinks, 3 points on streaming services, 2 points on travel (including gas), and 1 point on all other purchases. That’s very similar to the NBC card. When it comes to overall insurance, the NBC card cleanly beats the Cobalt card. That said, American Express Membership Rewards are better than NBC à la carte Rewards since you can transfer your points to Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy

Another comparable card is the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card. The Scotiabank card has a higher earn rate, but it depends on where you shop. You’ll get 6 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Empire-owned supermarkets, 5 points on grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases, 3 points on gas and daily transit purchases, and 1 point on everything else. Scene+ is very similar to NBC à la carte Rewards, as your points have a standard value of 1 CPP. However, with Scene+, you don’t need to go through their travel portal. You get the same value for your points even if you book it on your own.

Final thoughts

My National Bank World Elite Mastercard review is positive. The recent changes to the earn rate make this card one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Add in the fact that this card has arguably the best travel and purchase insurance in Canada, and you’ve got a clear winner. Don’t forget that the annual travel credits are worth the same as the annual fee, so you get this card for free. The only “negative” aspect of this card is that you can’t book travel on your own for the full value when redeeming your NBC à la carte Rewards points.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Barb on November 2, 2020 at 8:47 AM

    Thanks Barry this looked good initially because I turn 65 in March. 15 days of insurance is still better than the 5 or so I’ll get for Scotiabank World Elite Mastercard. But there is a company that allows those days to be used before starting their insurance outside Canada. The earn rate also looked good and typically I’d spend almost $80,000 per year. Also their categories looked good, but when you compared to the Scotiabank Momentum card…. Does Scotiabank world Elite gain more points then Momentum or another card? Thanks Barb

    • Barry Choi on November 2, 2020 at 9:11 AM


      It really comes down to your categories. You say you spend $80K a year on your card, but on what categories e.g. groceries, gas, etc.?

      As for the insurance, I typically recommend anyone over 65 to get a separate travel insurance policy from an insurance policy. The underwriting is better compared to credit cards.

      • Barb on November 2, 2020 at 1:55 PM

        Thank you for your speedy response Barry. I also appreciated you recommending Robb Engen as a for fee financial planner. He is very thorough and answers any questions promptly. I have been reading all sorts of financial information on blogs, I wish I’d know some of this stuff at least 7 years ago but now I know a fair bit and glad I have a second opinion on some strategies. Thank you. Barb

      • Susan on April 17, 2023 at 11:33 AM

        Barry, can you please explain your comment about the underwriting being better on a separate travel insurance policy than on credit card travel insurance?

        • Barry Choi on April 17, 2023 at 11:53 AM


          Generally, when you get a separate insurance policy, the underwriting applies at the time you get the policy. So if you go on a trip and haven’t had any medical issues before then, your insurance is all good.

          Now let’s say you’re relying on credit card insurance. You go on a trip and make a claim. The insurance companies checks your medical records and sees you went to a doctor two months ago. They may deny your claim.

          Generally, I prefer separate policies as you can find out exactly what you’re covered for before you depart.

          • Susan on April 17, 2023 at 12:27 PM

            Don’t the underwriters cover this off by excluding pre-existing conditions? I mean, if I go to a doctor for X ailment and on my trip a month later make a claim for Y ailment, are you saying you’ve seen credit card insurance deny the claim in these situations? I find this very alarming, I always read the fine print of the policy on cc insurance and have taken for granted that I will be covered as per the limitations of the written policy.

          • Barry Choi on April 17, 2023 at 12:52 PM


            But with a separate policy, the pre-existing clause may not matter if you’ve been healthy for a year. Credit card insurance can literally use a random doctor visit to exclude you from anything. That said, it comes down to the individual policy.

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