While the National Bank World Elite Mastercard has always been known for its industry-leading insurance coverage, the card has garnered more attention recently with an elevated welcome bonus worth up to $700.
To further sweeten the deal, the best available offer comes with no annual fee for the first year and a yearly $150 travel credit, as well as a 5x earning rate at grocery stores and restaurants.
Here are nine reasons why the National Bank World Elite Mastercard is worthy of a permanent spot in your wallet.
1. 70,000 À la carte Rewards Welcome Bonus
Until January 13, 2023, National Bank is offering 70,000 À la carte Rewards as a welcome bonus, available exclusively through an affiliate link. This all-time-high signup offer on the National Bank World Elite Mastercard is broken down as follows:
- 30,000 À la carte Rewards upon spending $5,000 in the first three months
- 10,000 À la carte Rewards upon signing up for credit card payment insurance
- 30,000 À la carte Rewards upon spending $12,000 in the first 12 months
Without going through an affiliate link, the current public offer is for 20,000 À la carte Rewards after spending $12,000 in the first 12 months. Therefore, if you’re thinking about applying, it’s best to do so through an affiliate link.
Note that you’ll receive the first batch of 30,000 À la carte Rewards immediately upon meeting the $5,000 minimum spending requirement in the first three months as a cardholder. The second allotment of 30,000 À la carte Rewards won’t be deposited in your account until your first anniversary date, after you’ve paid the annual fee, even if you meet the $12,000 spend well before then.
To receive the remaining 10,000 À la carte Rewards, you must sign up for Mastercard credit card payment insurance for a minimum period of three months. This optional insurance provides life insurance, accidental death coverage, and a host of other inclusions, depending on which plan you decide on.
By maxing out the welcome bonus, you’ll wind up with at least 70,000 À la carte Rewards, which can be redeemed in a variety of ways.
When it comes time to redeem your points, the best way to use À la carte Rewards is by redeeming them through National Bank’s online travel booking portal, where you’ll get a fixed value of 1 cent per point. While it’s not the most flexible option for redeeming points, you’ll get a total of $700 of value from the welcome bonus through the National Bank World Elite Mastercard, which is outstanding.
You’re also able to redeem À la carte Rewards for any travel expense charged to your card; however, the rate is less favourable. Redeeming more than 55,000 À la carte Rewards in a single transaction will net you 0.91 cents per point, and redeeming fewer than 55,000 will get you 0.83 cents per point.
At best, you’ll still get up to $637 of value from the 70,000 À la carte Rewards, which can go a long ways towards offsetting the cost of travel. À la carte Rewards are great for booking independent hotels, cruises, or other travel expenses for which you’d otherwise have to pay cash.
À la carte Rewards may also be redeemed for other items, such as gift cards or merchandise from the National Bank Rewards Shop; however, you’ll get significantly less value this way.
2. First Year Free
Typically, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard has an annual fee of $150. However, if you apply by January 13, 2023 through an affiliate link, the annual fee is waived for the first year.
Other World Elite products, such as the HSBC World Elite Mastercard, also come with a First Year Free offer, so National Bank has chosen to match the best offers from similar cards. This results in a great value proposition for new cardholders, who can enjoy all of the perks, as well as the record-high welcome bonus, without paying a cent for the first year.
$150 is still a very reasonable fee to pay, especially when all of the other benefits the card has are taken into consideration. After a dry-run with no annual fee, it should be easy to quantify the ongoing value the card has to offer, therefore earning it a long-term spot in your wallet.
3. $150 Travel Credit
Another added perk that comes with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard is an annual $150 travel credit. Note that this is an annual benefit that resets on January 1, so you can enjoy it year-after-year.
The credit may only be used to offset eligible travel expenses charged to your card, which include:
- Airport parking fees
- Baggage fees
- Seat selection fees
- Access to airport lounges
- Ticket upgrades
If you apply for the card now, you’ll have plenty of time to make use of the 2022 $150 travel credit, and then you’ll also receive a second credit in January 2023. Unused credits don’t rollover to the next calendar year, so just be sure to use it before it expires each year.
This credit essentially offsets the annual fee, which is another good reason to make the National Bank World Elite Mastercard a keeper card.
4. 5x Earning Rate on Groceries and Restaurants
Aside from a solid welcome bonus, no annual fee for the first year, and an annual $150 travel credit, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard has one of the best earning rates for Canadian credit cards, and certainly the best Mastercard earning rate in Canada.
You’ll earn 5 À la carte Rewards per dollar spent on eligible grocery and restaurant purchases, up to $2,500 per month. After you spend $2,500 on any category, not just groceries and restaurants, the earning rate drops to 2 À la carte Rewards per dollar spent on food purchases.
This is equivalent to a 5% return on grocery and restaurant spend for the first $2,500 per month, and then 2% thereafter, but only if you redeem through the National Bank À la carte Travel portal. Should you wish to redeem your points for any travel purchase, this represents a 4.55% or 4.13% return, depending on how many points you redeem at a time.
Aside from groceries and restaurants, you’ll earn 2 À la carte Rewards per dollar spent on gas, electric vehicle charging, recurring bill payments, and travel booked through the National Bank online portal. Any other purchase will earn 1 À la carte Rewards per dollar spent.
To maximize the earn on the National Bank World Elite Mastercard, your best bet would be to use it for groceries and restaurants exclusively, to ensure you’re getting 5% back on your spend.
5. Mastercard Is Widely Accepted
You won’t have a hard time finding a merchant that accepts Mastercard for payments, which can’t be said for American Express. So, in the absence of being able to use an American Express Cobalt Card, which also offers 5x on groceries and restaurants, or the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, which earns a 6% return at Empire grocery stores, you can still get a great return rate with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard.
In fact, one of Canada’s largest grocery store chains, Loblaws, doesn’t accept American Express at any of its stores. That’s no issue if you have the National Bank World Elite Mastercard, as it will be accepted at any store where credit cards are accepted for payment.
Furthermore, Costco is a major shopping outlet that exclusively accepts Mastercard. While your purchases won’t code as groceries for the 5x earning rate, you’ll still be able to earn À la carte Rewards, as well as work on the minimum spending requirement, at Costco.
6. Outstanding Insurance Coverage
Where the National Bank World Elite Mastercard really pulls ahead of the competition is with its suite of included insurance coverage. By simply being an active cardholder, you’ll receive the best out-of-province medical and hospital insurance offered by any credit card in Canada.
The specific insurance benefit for out-of-province travel depends on your age, and is broken down as follows:
- Up to $5,000,000 per person for up to 60 days for cardholders aged 54 and younger
- Up to $5,000,000 per person for up to 30 days for cardholders aged 54–64
- Up to $5,000,000 per person for up to 15 days for cardholders aged 65–75
The duration of coverage is what makes this insurance benefit so remarkable, as the industry standard is just 15 days. The next best available product in Canada only provides insurance for a duration of 31 days, which pales in comparison to the 60-day coverage available with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard.
Very few credit cards will provide any medical emergency insurance for cardholders over the age of 65; however, you’ll still benefit from 15 days of coverage if you’re aged 65–75 with this product.
Indeed, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard is truly an industry leader when it comes to insurance coverage.
7. Insurance on Award Bookings
In addition to the excellent emergency medical insurance, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard also comes with coverage for:
- Trip cancellation/interruption
- Flight delays
- Delayed and lost baggage
- Travel accidents
- Car rental insurance
- Purchase protection for theft and damage
- Extended warranty
- Medical, general, and legal assistance
- Mobile device insurance
Most credit cards worth their weight have a similar list of inclusions; however, you’re most often required to charge the full amount of your ticket to the credit card in order to receive coverage. This means that award bookings, where you only pay the taxes and fees on a booking, are often not eligible for insurance coverage.
With the National Bank World Elite Mastercard, you’re still eligible for full insurance coverage on award bookings. This is another great reason to get and keep the card, as you’ll be eligible for full coverage as long as you use the card to pay for any required taxes and fees.
8. Unlimited Lounge Access to YUL National Bank Lounge
In Canada, Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is a major hub for travelling internationally.
Another benefit with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard is having unlimited access to the National Bank Lounge in the international departures area in Montreal’s primary airport. Note that this benefit doesn’t apply for travel within Canada, or for travel to the United States.
If you happen to be travelling as a pair, you can bring one guest in at no extra cost. Accessing the lounge usually costs $56 (CAD) per person, so this lounge benefit could be quite valuable if you tend to fly out of Montreal on international flights often.
9. Free Boingo Wi-Fi
Lastly, as a World Elite Mastercard, you’ll enjoy complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi on flights that feature the service, and at over one million hotspots worldwide. Paying for this benefit would usually cost $14.99 (USD) per month, so if you are able to make use of it in-flight or on the ground, you’ll never have to worry about paying for Wi-Fi.
Enrolling is easy, and you just need to enter in your National Bank World Elite Mastercard number on the Boingo website to get started.
The National Bank World Elite Mastercard is amongst the best Mastercard products available in Canada. With an elevated welcome bonus, which can be worth up to $700 in value when booking travel through the National Bank À la carte Travel portal, as well as no annual fee for the first year, now is the time to sign up for this card.
Even after the first year is done, there is a strong argument to be made for keeping this card in your wallet for the long term, given that the $150 annual travel credit essentially offsets the fee. Using the card for groceries and restaurants can also be a good way to rack up points to use for incidental trip expenses, such as independent hotels or cruises.
The main reason to hang onto the National Bank World Elite Mastercard, however, is because of its industry-leading insurance coverage, including on award bookings.
The best offer is only available through an affiliate link until January 13, 2023, so be sure to sign up before then if this card meets your needs.