The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard is long-reigning backbone of the BMO Rewards program, and even though its earning rate are eclipsed by the new BMO eclipse Visa Infinite, it still has its own merits worth keeping the card for – perhaps the most significant of which is the outstanding insurance package for those travelling on award tickets.
Bonuses & Fees
The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard offers a welcome bonus of up to 60,000 BMO Rewards points, distributed as follows:
- 30,000 BMO Rewards points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months
- 2,500 BMO Rewards points in each of months 4–15 in which you spend $2,000, for a total of up to 30,000 additional points
The second part of the welcome bonus is quite a high spending requirement for low rewards. Therefore, you might want to skip it – our first year valuation only takes the first part into account.
The card comes with an annual fee of $150, which is waived for the first year. Supplementary cards can be added for an annual fee of $50 apiece.
This is the exact same welcome bonus as the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card, so you should choose based on which other features you prefer.
The card has a new earning structure as of May 3, 2022:
- 5 BMO Rewards points per dollar spent on travel, up to $15,000 per calendar year
3 BMO Rewards points per dollar spent on dining, entertainment, and recurring bill payments, up to $10,000 per category per calendar year
1 BMO Rewards points per dollar spent on all other purchases
Since BMO Rewards can be redeemed at the rate of 0.67cpp, these earning rates are equivalent to a 3.35%, 2.01% and 0.67 return, respectively.
These are respectable returns on a premium card, although some might choose to earn more valuable points currencies through a product like the American Express Platinum Card instead (since BMO Rewards points can only be redeemed at a fixed value, rather than transferring out to higher-value airline partners).
However, the BMO Ascend World Elite still makes for a solid Mastercard option to keep in your wallet alongside an Amex product as well.
BMO Rewards points are worth 0.67 cents per point (cpp) when redeemed against the cost of travel booked via the BMO Rewards online portal (at a fixed rate of 150 BMO Rewards points = $1).
Therefore, the signup bonus of 60,000 BMO Rewards points can be redeemed as $400 worth of travel. Plus, you’ll earn more points from everyday spending as you work towards the spending requirements.
BMO Rewards points can also be redeemed at 0.5cpp against any statement purchase (at the rate of 200 BMO Rewards points = $1), but the value in doing so is clearly not as strong, so you should always aim to use your BMO Rewards points to book travel, if possible.
Perks & Benefits
In terms of perks and benefits, this card offers four annual complimentary lounge passes with DragonPass lounge membership, which allows you to access the airport lounge and relax before your flight (either on four occasions for a solo traveller, two occasions as a couple, etc.) Additional lounge visits will cost US$27 apiece.
The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard also offers a complimentary Boingo wifi membership, providing free wifi at many airports, retail locations, and flights that use Boingo wifi such as WestJet. You can register on the Boingo website.
The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard offers an outstanding insurance package, including:
Emergency medical insurance of up to $2 million for the first 21 days on out-of-province trips
Trip cancellation / interruption insurance for up to $2,500 per insured person and $5,000 per trip overall
Flight delay benefits of up to $500 per trip for reasonable expenses incurred on a flight delay of six hours or more
Car rental insurance and Collision Damage Waiver benefits, which allow you to save on the insurance fees that car rental companies usually charge
The most powerful part of the insurance, though, is that all of these benefits are valid as long as you charge the full or partial cost of the trip to your BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard.
This is a benefit which is unique to the BMO World Elite series of credit cards, making it an ideal card for whenever you’re travelling on points. As long as you charge the taxes and fees of your trip to the card, you’re fulfilling the “partial cost” criterion and therefore eligible to receive insurance coverage on your trip.
With its comprehensive insurance coverage, the BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard is arguably worth applying for purely for the award travel coverage alone.
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