September 24, 2013 and March 3, 2014, BMO is waiving its annual fee on the BMO World Elite MasterCard. Here are the highlights of the card:
- $150 annual fee (waived the first year if you apply between
September 24, 2013 and March 3, 2014
- Free supplementary cardholders
- Earn 30,000 BMO Rewards
- Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all purchases
- 1 point = 1 cent when redeeming for rewards
- Priority Pass membership, which included 4 free VIP lounge visits per year
- Redeem your rewards for travel purchases only
- Points do not expire as long as the account remains open
- If you close your account, you have 90 days to redeem your points
The 30,000 points sign up bonus is awarded only to first time BMO World Elite MasterCard cardholders, so unfortunately there is no opportunity to churn this credit card. They will also take away your points if you cancel this card within 30 days of opening this credit card. This is quite sad, especially since BMO essentially eliminated a lot of potential customers, especially for the people who already had this credit card over a year ago but decided to cancel it. I would have suggested that BMO implement a minimum spend threshold instead, have people spend $500 or $1,000 in the first three months before receiving the 30,000.
What I like most about this credit card is that there is no tier-ing system when redeeming your rewards like the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard.
Unfortunately this credit card does not have the best travel insurance coverage, so that is a big thumbs down for me because the only way to redeem the points is to purchase travel related expenses with this credit card. The weak travel insurance is a deal breaker for me. I would recommend these three credit cards instead for travel insurance: Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard, AMEX Gold Rewards Card, AMEX AeroplanPlus Gold Card. I also happen to have all three of these credit cards.
The 2 points per $1 spent is a great return, because it essentially comes out to a 2% return on all purchases. With the first year annual fee waived, this is a great card to have on the first year because you are essentially getting $300 for free. The main problem with limiting your redemption options to travel expenses is that if you do not travel much, then this card is basically worthless.
In terms of whether to retain this credit card the following year, I would recommend against it. The only benefit for retaining this credit card and justifying the $150 is the VIP lounges, but it is limited to only 4. That means you are paying $37.50 per lounge visit, if you travel often enough to gain access to the lounges. Furthermore, you need to be in an airport that has these specific lounges. Yes, it is cheaper than if you paid regular price to access the lounge, but that still does not seem worth it to me.
Summary: This credit card is for such a specific group of people. Customers who have never signed up for this card before, who do not want a tier-ing system when redeeming their rewards and who spend more than $300 on travel on the first year of having this credit card. After that, there is pretty much no incentive to keep the card beyond the first year. If you manage to waive the annual fee a second year, then I would recommend keeping it, otherwise, I just don’t think 4 VIP lounge access is worth $150.
Let us know if you have any experience with this credit card.