BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students Review

4.25

$0

Annual Fee

$129

Annual Rewards

800 miles

Intro Offer

$0

Annual fee

$129

Annual rewards

800 miles

Intro offer


Pros


  • No annual fee
  • Earn 1 Air Mile per $20 spent
  • Double Air Miles at participating partners
  • Welcome bonus of 800 Air Miles
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Special student perks and offers

Cons


  • Limited reward options (Air Miles only)
  • High interest rate on unpaid balances
  • Requires a good credit score
  • Not suitable for frequent international travelers (2.5% foreign transaction fee)
  • No travel-related benefits such as complimentary airport lounge access or travel insurance

Performance test results

At DollarWise, for each credit card we test 7 different factors including the rewards, value for money, perks, insurance, strengths and weaknesses of the card.

You can see our full testing methodology here to learn why we’re the most trusted source for credit card reviews.

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students has earned a 4.25 DollarWise Rating out of 5. This score is based on a weighted average of the two highest scoring factors (excluding acceptance and approval).

Rewards

Fees

Perks

Interest rates

Insurance

Acceptance

Approval

The highest scoring categories for the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students are fees and interest.

These factors are weighted 70% to the highest scoring factor and 30% to the second highest score to get an overall review score.

This weighting allows us to judge cards on their merits and the customers they are designed for.

For the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students the most important factors for scoring this card are its fees and interest.

Rewards

With the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students, here’s the rates at which you earn rewards for different spending categories per dollar you spend:

Bills0.04 miles
Pharmacy0.04 miles
Gas0.04 miles
Groceries0.08 miles
Restaurants0.04 miles
Specific Stores0.12 miles
Travel0.04 miles
All Other Spend0.04 miles

Calculating your annual rewards

We estimate that spending $2,000 per month with the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students would earn $129 in rewards over the year.

Our performance testing research uses an accurate estimation of the average Canadian households spending patterns to predict the rewards a card will earn.

We found that you’d earn this per category:

Groceries$48
Specific Stores$14
All Other Spend$67

Our study investigating the value found that each dollar spent on the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students is worth up to $0.10, depending on how you redeem.

This $129 in rewards value puts the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students in the bottom 30% of credit cards in Canada based on rewards earned.

The average credit card in our database earns $337 in rewards for the same spend that the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students earns $129 in rewards value.

We can compare this card to other options by looking at the earn rate by category.

This earn rate is the percentage return that you would get when you spend on this card, assuming you redeem at the predicted maximum value.

For example, if a card earned 5 points per dollar on gas and each point is worth up to $0.02, then the earn rate is 5 points multiplied by $0.02 each, divided by the dollar you spent.

In this example, that’s a 10% earn rate on gas.

SpendThis CardAverage
Bills0.40%1.25%
Pharmacy0.40%1.17%
Gas0.40%1.48%
Groceries0.80%1.71%
Restaurant0.40%1.53%
Store1.20%1.94%
Travel0.40%1.19%
Other0.40%1.08%
Above, we’ve calculated the earn rate for the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students for every spend category and compared it to the average for all Canadian credit cards.
Redemption methodAnnual rewards
Transfer to partner airlines$129
Transfer to partner hotels$127
Merchandise$123
Car rentals$129
Vacations$143
Attractions$140
Cash rewards$129

For an annual spend of $24,000, we estimated annual rewards value at up to $129.

That’s equivalent to a 0.54% return on spending.

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students has an annual fee of $0. After deducting this, we predicted net annual rewards of $129.

This puts it in the bottom 30% of credit cards for net rewards after fees.

In comparison, the average card earns net annual rewards of $254.

Fees

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students has a $0 annual fee.

The average card charges $85. So, the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students is in the bottom 50% of cards based on the cost of the annual fee.

Perks

We manually review the perks of each credit card to determine how they compare to other cards.

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students scored a 1.1 out of 5 for perks, putting it in the bottom 40% of cards.

The average card scores 1.6 out of 5 for perks.

Interest Rates

Purchase20.99%
Cash Advance22.99%
Balance Transfer22.99%

The average (median) credit card has a purchase interest rate of 19.99% and so the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students charges 1% more than the average.

For cash advances it costs 22.99% compared to the average of 19.96%.

Testing the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students with a $2,000 starting balance, you can see in the graph how the 1% more in interest rates impacts the interest over a year, compared to the average card.

Insurance coverage

InsuranceThis CardAverage
Extended Warranty1 year1 year
Purchase Protection90 days90 days

We scored it 0.0 out of 5 for insurance.

It offers 2 types of insurance, whereas the average card has 5 types of coverage.

Approval and qualifying

Do I qualify?
Estimated Credit Score300 – 559
Personal Income$0
Household Income$0
Fees
Annual Fee$0
Extra Card Fee$0
Card typeMasterCard

We scored it 5.0 out of 5 for approval.

We predict that you will require a credit score of at least 300 to qualify for the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students, while the average card requires 652 to qualify.

This puts it in the top bottom 20% of cards by approval difficulty.

The personal income requirements are $0, while the average card requires $23,896.

This puts it in the top 50% of cards by the income required to qualify.

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students is a popular choice among Canadian students who want to earn rewards while building their credit.

This review will discuss the card’s earning potential, benefits, and drawbacks, as well as provide other relevant information to help potential users make an informed decision.

Earning potential

With this card, cardholders can earn AIR MILES reward miles on their everyday purchases. The earning rate is 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent in card purchases, with no categories or spending caps.

This straightforward approach to earning rewards might be ideal for students who do not require a complex rewards structure or prefer a simple cashback alternative.

Benefits

  1. No Annual Fee: The first major advantage of this card is the no-annual-fee. This cost-saving feature allows students to collect AIR MILES without worrying about offsetting the cost of an annual fee.
  2. Welcome Bonus: The second major advantage is the welcome bonus. New cardholders can earn 800 AIR MILES bonus miles after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months. This is a considerable incentive for those looking to build up their AIR MILES reward balance right away.
  3. Perk of Free Supplementary Cards: The third major advantage is the perk of free supplementary cards.

    Students can add authorized users to their account without any additional fee, allowing them to pool together reward miles, which could further strengthen their overall earning potential.
  4. Discount on rental cars: The fourth major advantage is the ability to save up to 25% on rental cars at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations. This added benefit can be particularly appealing for students who frequently travel for school or leisure purposes.

Drawbacks

  1. Limited Earning Potential: One significant drawback of this card is the limited earning potential of 1 AIR MILE per $20 spent on purchases.

    Other credit cards may offer higher earning rates, rewards structures, or accelerated earning rates for different categories, catering more significantly to a student’s specific spending habits.
  2. No Purchase Protection or Extended Warranty Benefits: Another drawback is that this card does not offer any purchase protection or extended warranty benefits.

    Many alternatives do provide these additional insurance features, which can be valuable to students who tend to purchase expensive electronic devices or other high-value items.

Additional information

Potential users should also note that while this card offers an introductory interest rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for nine months, it comes with a 1% fee.

It can still offer a way to save on interest costs, but students with significant debts or who will struggle to pay off their balance before the introductory period ends may want to explore alternative credit card options.

In conclusion, the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students is a solid choice for those seeking a no-annual-fee credit card with the ability to earn AIR MILES reward miles on everyday purchases. However, potential users should carefully assess if the provided benefits outweigh the drawbacks according to their spending habits and needs.

Interested in other credit cards? If the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students credit card isn’t perfect for you, you might want to consider the BMO US Dollar MasterCard. Plus, many Canadian’s that like the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students like the BMO Rewards MasterCard, and the BMO Cashback MasterCard.

FAQ

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students allows you to redeem your points for a variety of rewards through the Air Miles Reward Program. These rewards include:

  • Flights: Redeem points towards flight tickets with over 200 airline carriers, helping you save on your next trip.
  • Travel Rewards: Use your points for other travel-related expenses such as hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages.
  • MERCHANDISE & Cash Rewards: Choose from a wide selection of products and e-vouchers from top retailers, or opt for the Cash Rewards option to receive a credit towards your purchases at participating Air Miles Partner locations.
  • Experiences & Events: Redeem your points to access exclusive event tickets and unique experiences in entertainment, sports, culture, and more.
  • Charity Donations: Use your Air Miles points to support a charitable cause by donating them to a participating charity.

Note that the amount of points required to redeem any reward will vary depending on the specific item, experience or travel destination chosen.

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students does charge foreign transaction fees. When you use the card for transactions in foreign currencies, you will be subject to a fee of 2.5% of the transaction amount, in addition to the exchange rate.

This can add costs when you travel abroad or make purchases from international online retailers.

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students does not have a minimum income requirement, making it a more accessible option for students who may not have a steady income.

This allows students to start building their credit history and earn Air Miles rewards without having to worry about meeting a specific income threshold.

Key benefits

  • 19.99% interest rate on purchases
  • 22.99% interest rate on cash advances
  • Contactless payment via MasterCard Tap
  • Zero liability fraud protection
  • Access to the BMO Rewards program
  • Credit limit tailored to each user
  • Mobile app for easy access to account
  • Digital wallet compatible (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay)
  • Card customization with MyChameleon personalization
  • 6-month Balance Protection for students
  • MasterCard Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance

About The Author