BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card review: The pros & cons

Hyder Owainati
by Hyder Owainati November 18, 2020 / No Comments

BMO – one of Canada’s big five banks – has launched an all-new rewards credit card: the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite. And it’s seriously impressive.

Dubbed a “lifestyle credit card” by BMO, the Eclipse Visa Infinite offers a ton of points on virtually all types of food and transit spending. Clearly aimed at millennials who don’t just want to rack up bonus points on traditional categories like groceries and gas but on restaurants, public transit, taxis, and rideshares too, I’d argue the BMO the Eclipse Visa Infinite fits almost every lifestyle.

Beyond its strong points multipliers on food and transit, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite has a lot going for it including a $50 annual lifestyle credit, up to 40,000 bonus points in the first year,  and the fact it’s a Visa card (so it’s accepted virtually everywhere unlike some of its rival American Express cards).

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite

  • $120 annual fee (wavied for the first year)
  • Earn 5 BMO points per dollar on gas, groceries, restaurants, and daily transit (including public transit, taxis, and rideshares)
  • Earn 1 BMO point on all other purchases
  • Get up to 40,000 bonus points in your first year
  • Recieve a $50 annual lifestyle credit every January
  • Annual income required: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite – review

The pros

Great rewards on food and daily transit: The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite offers 5x the BMO Rewards points on everything from groceries and dining (including food deliveries) to gas, public transit, taxis, and rideshares. BMO points are worth 0.71 cents each when redeemed for travel, so that works out to an impressive return of roughly 3.5% on virtually all your food and transit spending. 

Flexible points: BMO Rewards points are extremely versatile and can be used to book flights on virtually any major airline (at a rate of 140 points = $1 / 0.71 cents per point) without seat restrictions or black out dates. Plus, points don’t have an expiry date. You can also use points to save on everyday purchases charged to your card within the past 30 days (but at a slightly less-impressive rate of 200 points = $1 / 0.5 cents per point). There are no complicated rewards charts, high or low seasons, and points values are always easy to calculate.

The welcome offer: As a new cardholder, you’ll get the annual fee waived for the first year and are eligible to receive up to 40,000 BMO bonus points ($285 travel value) in two phases: 25,000 bonus points after you spend at least $3,000 on the card within your first three months plus an additional 15,000 bonus points 12 months from when you activated your card on your first anniversary (provided your account is still in good standing, of course).

Annual lifestyle credit: Cardholders will receive a $50 lifestyle credit at the start of every new calendar year, which will be applied on your credit card statement. There’s no minimum spend requirement to hit and all you need to do to qualify is keep your account open and in good standing. In a way, this lifestyle credit effectively helps to cut down the card’s annual fee from $120 to $70.

It’s a Visa card: Thanks to its Visa badge, this card has near-universal acceptance and can be used at virtually all restaurants and grocery stores outside of a few minor exceptions (namely Costco).

Get a boost when adding authorized users: When you share your BMO eclipse Visa Infinite account with an authorized user, your card’s earn rate will increase by 10%. That effectively increases your earn rate from an already strong 5 points per dollar on food and daily transit purchases to an even more impressive 5.5 BMO points per dollar spent. The one thing to keep in mind: adding an authorized user will result in an additional $50 annual fee per user. 

The perks: The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite comes with up to $1,000 in mobile device insurance to cover a newly-purchased smartphone as well as purchase protection, car rental collision/loss damage insurance, and travel medical emergency insurance for both domestic and international travel.

The cons

Fewer returns on generic purchases: For all your other purchases that don’t fall under the grocery, gas, dining or daily transit categories, you’ll earn just 1 BMO point per dollar. That works out to a less-than-stellar return of 0.71 cents per dollar, which is a notch below the standard 1 cent per dollar earned by other comparable travel credit cards. The silver lining: you’ll receive a $50 lifestyle credit every year in January that’ll give your rewards a boost and help offset this difference

Stiff competition: While the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite manages to out-earn most Visa and Mastercards in terms of points earned on restaurants and food deliveries, there are some American Express Cards (namely, the American Express Cobalt) that do offer higher returns on dining and groceries. As a Visa Card, however, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite does have an edge as it’s accepted at more places. 

Travel redemptions must be booked with BMO Rewards: When booking a trip using points, you have to use the in-house BMO Rewards travel agency. While that’s not necessarily a negative since BMO Rewards offers access to virtually all major airlines and a huge range of vacation packages, it does mean you can’t use points to offset the cost of travel you bought directly from an airline, hotel provider, or a third-party travel site.  

Travel insurance isn’t as comprehensive: While the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite does offer complimentary out-of-province/country emergency travel insurance, it lacks some additional coverage found on other comparable cards like flight delay insurance and lost/delayed baggage insurance. 

Who is the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite right for?

  • Anyone who spends big on groceries, restaurants, gas, and daily transit (like public transit and rideshares).
  • People who want a flexible and easy-to-understand rewards program.
  • Cardholders who value the near-universal acceptance of Visa.
  • Couples or families who plan on sharing the credit card account by adding an authorized user.

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite

  • $120 annual fee (wavied for the first year)
  • Earn 5 BMO points per dollar on gas, groceries, restaurants, and daily transit (including public transit, taxis, and rideshares)
  • Earn 1 BMO point on all other purchases
  • Get up to 40,000 bonus points in your first year
  • Recieve a $50 annual lifestyle credit every January
  • Annual income required: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household

How much can you earn with the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite?

So, how much value can you get with the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite as your go-to-credit card? Below, we’ve run the numbers assuming you spend an average of $1,550 every month on the following:

Spending Category Monthly Spending
Groceries $240
Gas / daily transit $180
Restaurants $250
Bills $200
Travel $100
Entertainment $60
Pharmacies $20
Everything else $500

Based on our calculations, in your first year, you would rack up:

  • 50,760 points on your everyday spending: $363 in travel value or $254 in statement credits
  • 40,000 points as part of the welcome offer: $285 in travel value or $200 in statement credits
  • $50 lifestyle credit

In total, that adds up to $698 in value in your first year alone (assuming you were to redeem points at their maximum value in the form of travel rewards).

After the first year – when the sign-up bonus and annual fee waiver are no longer in the picture – you would earn a net value of up to $293 in travel rewards.

The reality is your net rewards will vary depending on your particular spending habits, how you redeem your BMO points, and whether or not you’ve added an authorized user. Plus, our calculations above don’t factor in the added value of emergency travel medical insurance or built-in mobile device insurance, which can add up to considerably more savings depending on the situation.

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About BMO Rewards points

If you’re considering the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite, it’s worth getting acquainted with the BMO Rewards ecosystem.

Travel

Like many rewards programs, you’ll reap the best value out of BMO points when redeeming them for travel. BMO points are extremely flexible and can be used to book flights on virtually any major airline without seat restrictions or black out dates, and points don’t have an expiry date (so you can hold onto points for travel plans well into the future). 

When redeeming points for travel, 140 BMO points is worth $1 or 0.71 cents per point.

You are required to use BMO Rewards’ proprietary travel agency, which isn’t so much a drawback considering you’ll have access to most airlines and a host of vacation package options. But it does mean you can’t use points to book travel from other travel search engines like Expedia or directly from an airline.

Pay with Points

The other popular redemption option – especially in our new normal – is to use what BMO calls Pay with Points. 

Using Pay with Points, you can redeem points to offset the cost of everyday purchases charged to your card within the past 30 days (somewhat similar to cash back). You can even redeem points at any time for as little as $1 in savings.

With added flexibility comes compromise, however, as the value of your points will be slightly less lucrative when using the Pay with Points option versus when you redeem points for travel rewards.

With Pay with Points, 200 BMO points is worth $1 or 0.5 cents per point.

Income requirements and fees

As standard for a Visa Infinite Card, you’ll need to earn a minimum personal income of $60,000 (or $100,000 as a household) to qualify for this card. It’s worth noting these income requirements are a bit more lenient when compared to alternative World Elite Mastercards that demand a personal income of at least $80,000.

The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite has a $120 annual fee for the primary cardholder, which is also pretty much the standard for premium Visa Infinite Cards. Adding an authorized user will also result in an additional $50 annual fee, though this will be offset by at least some degree thanks to the 10% points earning boost you’ll get on your spending for adding a secondary cardholder.

There are also no surprises when it comes to interest rates. Like most rewards credit cards, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite has a 20.99% annual purchase interest rate that’ll only kick in if and when you don’t pay off your monthly balance in full.


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