This post has been updated to include changes to the BMO Rewards program effective Jan. 15, 2018.
The BMO Rewards program is one of the top rewards programs in the country, due to the success of the BMO World Elite MasterCard. The BMO World Elite MasterCard is one of the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada, because it offers 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent on travel, dining and entertainment purchases and 2 points for every $1 spent everywhere else. The BMO Rewards program allows you to redeem points to cover the cost of flights (including all taxes), hotel stays, cruises and vacation packages, as well as gift cards and merchandise. If that’s the kind of flexibility you’re looking for in a rewards credit card, keep reading.
How to Earn BMO Rewards Points
BMO has two credit cards that are affiliated with the BMO Rewards program: the BMO Rewards MasterCard and BMO World Elite MasterCard. With the BMO Rewards MasterCard, you earn 1 BMO Rewards point per $1 spent on the card, no matter where you shop; this card has a $35 annual fee and a 19.9% interest rate. With the BMO World Elite MasterCard, you earn 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent on travel, dining and entertainment purchases and 2 points on everything else. This card has a $150 annual fee (waived for the first year) and comes with 35,000-point sign-up bonus ($250 value) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You’ll also get a long list of additional benefits including travel insurance, VIP airport lounge access and 24/7 concierge services.
How to Redeem BMO Rewards Points
In order to redeem your BMO Rewards points, you must login to your BMO Rewards account, and either use their full service online travel agency or shop from their catalogue. Points can be redeemed at a rate of 140 points = $1 (e.g. a $500 flight requires 70,000 points). If you don’t have enough points, you can apply as many points as you do have and then pay the remainder with your credit card. Also, there is no restriction on the number of points you can use towards a travel booking.
Even though you’re restricted to booking your travel through the BMO Rewards travel agency, you can still fly on any airline with no blackout dates or seat restrictions; this flexibility is part of what makes the program so popular.
The Value of BMO Rewards Points
With both of the credit cards in the BMO Rewards program, every 1 point you earn will always be worth $0.007. When you spend $1 on the BMO Rewards MasterCard, the 1 point you earn will always be worth $0.07. Of course, with the BMO World Elite MasterCard, you earn points quicker depending on what your spending on.
The reason these returns will never change is because there are no tiers under which you must redeem your points. When you redeem for travel expenses, you can do so at a rate of $1 = 140 points (travel cost x 140). For example, if you purchased a $500 flight, you could redeem 70,000 points to pay for it.
It’s worth nothing that the included travel insurance alone is quite valuable. As long as you charge your flights to your card, you’ll be covered for flight delay/cancellation, lost/delayed baggage, and travel medical insurance which could easily cost you $120 each trip.
If you want to earn travel rewards points with one of the best credit cards in Canada, here are more details on the BMO World Elite MasterCard:
- Fly on any airline.
- No blackout periods.
- No seat restrictions.
- Get priority seating.
- Best in-class travel medical insurance coverage (up to $2 million).
- $150 annual fee (first year free)
- Annual interest rate 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.