Battle of the Best Credit Cards: Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite vs. BMO World Elite

Jordann Brown
by Jordann Brown September 20, 2017 / 5 Comments

The BMO Rewards program has changed read here for the updates effective Jan. 15, 2018. In addition, the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite is no longer taking applications. Check out our list of top travel credit cards for other options.

Travelling to new places and having new experiences are some of the best parts of life. But as anyone with a demanding career knows, it can be hard to find the time and money to make your travel dreams a reality. Fortunately, there are several travel rewards credit cards designed for working professionals that offer points redeemable for free flights, hotels and accommodations.

Here’s a quick comparison of the two best travel credit cards for Canadians with annual incomes of more than $70,000 to $80,000 per year: the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard and the BMO World Elite MasterCard.

  BMO World Elite MasterCard Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard
Annual Fee $150 $150
Value of Sign-Up Bonus $200 $400
Value of 1 Mile $0.01 $0.01
Annual Income Requirement $80K individual or $150K household $70K individual or $120K household
Interest Rate 19.99% 19.8%
Special Features Receive a Priority Pass Membership (value of US$207) Book travel through any provider

At first glance, these two credit cards are very similar. They have the same rewards structure and their travel miles have the same value ($0.01 per mile). The biggest difference is the BMO World Elite MasterCard offers an annual Priority Pass Membership, which is valued at over US$200. This feature makes the BMO World Elite MasterCard a strong card… but is it the best card? Let’s look at a detailed monthly spending profile to see which card comes out on top.

Monthly Spending Profile
$500 on groceries
$400 on travel
$2,200 on everything else
Total per month: $3,100
Total per year: $37,200

Now let’s look at the value of the rewards earned with both credit cards when we apply this monthly spending profile to each one.

BMO World Elite MasterCard

  • Annual fee: $150 (waived for first year)
  • Earn 3 BMO Rewards points per dollar on travel, dining and entertainment purchases; 2 points per dollar on everything else
  • Earn 35,000 bonus points (value: $250) when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • VIP airport lounge access with the included Priority Pass membership, plus 4 complimentary passes per year

 

Annual Fee Sign-Up Bonus Spending Rewards Monthly Spending First Year Return Subsequent Years Return
$150 $300 2 miles for $1 spent on everything 2 miles x $3,100 = 6,200 miles per month

Value of 1 mile = $0.01

6,200 x 0.01 = $62/month

Sign-up: $200

Spending Rewards: $62 x 12 = $744

Priority Pass = $207

Annual Fee: $150

Total: 200+744+207-150 = $1,001

$744+207-$150= $801

If you look at the sign-up bonuses, the BMO World Elite card comes short by $200. But what puts this past the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite is the US$207 Priority Pass Membership that comes with this card. Therefore if you find value in private airport lounges, then the $200 loss is definitely worth it.

*Note: the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard is no longer offered as of November 2017

 

Annual Fee Sign-Up Bonus Spending Rewards Monthly Spending First Year Return Subsequent Years Return
$150 $400 2 miles for $1 spent on everything 2 miles x $3,100 = 6,200 miles per month

Value of 1 mile = $0.01

6,200 x 0.01 = $62/month

Sign-up: $400

Spending Rewards: $62 x 12 = $744

Annual Fee: $150

Total: 400+744-150 = $994

$744-$150= $594

The $400 sign-up bonus more than offsets the $150 annual fee but that is not enough to come out on top. In the first year, the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite has return equal to $994, which is a few dollars less than the BMO card’s return.

It’s important to remember that the comparison above is based off a very specific spending profile, and both of these are among the best credit cards in Canada today. To be sure that either of these cards is the one for you, fill out your spending profile on our website and see which card comes out on top.

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Flickr: Fumigraphik


  • Unfortunately, the Capital One Aspire World Elite has been discontinued by Capital One in Canada as of November 2017.

    And the issuer of BMO Word Elite is making changes that will make travel rewards a bit less competitive (140 points = $1, vs. the current 100 = $1) but increasing the earn rate to 3 points per $1 earned.

    • Jane Barton-Greig

      Hi. I just received my new Capital One Aspire World Elite Mastercard in the mail last week. Are you sure it has been discontinued?

      • Jane Barton-Greig

        Here is the next question. I want to use my points for travel. I am turning 65 next year. Is the Capital One Aspire World Elite Mastercard better for me than the BMO World Elite Mastercard ?? Help…

        • Jane: Existing users of Capital One Aspire World Elite Mastercard appear to have been grandfathered. The average reward rate for the BMO World Elite Mastercard will decrease from a constant 2.0 % to approximately 1.5 % – 1.8 % (depending on spending habits) starting February 2018. Therefore, I suggest you keep your Capital One Aspire World Elite Mastercard and consider cancelling your BMO World Elite Mastercard after redeeming your points or downgrade to a free BMO Rewards credit card if you are worried about damaging your credit score or if you wish to redeem at a later date. Age doesn’t affect earning or redeeming rewards.

          • Jane Barton-Greig

            Roy. Thank you for your advice. Yes, I will cancel the BMO World Elite Mastercard and just use the Capital One Aspire. I must have been one of the last people to receive the Capital One Aspire Card….Fortunate for me…