BMO Air Miles MasterCard Review

4.25

$0

Annual Fee

$129

Annual Rewards

1,500 miles

Intro Offer

$0

Annual fee

$129

Annual rewards

1,500 miles

Intro offer


Pros


  • No annual fee
  • Earn 1 Air Mile for every $20 spent
  • Welcome bonus of up to 800 Air Miles
  • 3x the Air Miles at participating partners
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty coverage
  • Additional MasterInclusiveTM travel insurance available

Cons


  • Lower earn rate compared to other Air Miles credit cards
  • No travel insurance included
  • Limited benefits and rewards for non-Air Miles collectors
  • Not suitable for those who want flexible reward redemption options
  • Foreign currency transactions charged at 2.5% fee

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 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 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 the most important factors for scoring this card are its fees and interest.

Rewards

With the BMO Air Miles MasterCard, 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 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 is worth up to $0.10, depending on how you redeem.

This $129 in rewards value puts the BMO Air Miles MasterCard 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 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 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 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 has a $0 annual fee.

The average card charges $85. So, the BMO Air Miles MasterCard 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 scored a 1.8 out of 5 for perks, putting it in the top 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 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 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 Score660 – 724
Personal Income$15,000
Household Income$0
Fees
Annual Fee$0
Extra Card Fee$0
Card typeMasterCard

We scored it 3.0 out of 5 for approval.

We predict that you will require a credit score of at least 660 to qualify for the BMO Air Miles MasterCard, while the average card requires 652 to qualify.

This puts it in the top bottom 50% of cards by approval difficulty.

The personal income requirements are $15,000, while the average card requires $23,896.

This puts it in the top 30% of cards by the income required to qualify.

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard offers a unique rewards program that allows you to earn and redeem Air Miles Reward Miles on a variety of spending categories. Here, we will discuss the earning potential of the card, list four major benefits along with two significant drawbacks, and provide any other relevant information for potential users.

Earning potential

 With the BMO Air Miles MasterCard, cardholders will earn 1 Air Mile per $20 spent on eligible purchases, and up to 3x normally earned Air Miles at participating AIR MILES partners. The reward rate varies depending on the category of spending, such as dining, travel, and groceries.

For instance, you can earn 2x the Miles when shopping at select AIR MILES partners like Rexall and Sobeys.

Benefits

  1. Welcome Offer: The first major advantage of using the BMO Air Miles MasterCard is the welcome offer. You can earn 800 bonus Air Miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months of card membership.
  2. No Annual Fee: The absence of an annual fee saves you money in the long run and makes this card an attractive option, especially for those who are new to rewards credit cards and want to give the Air Miles program a try without committing to an annual fee.
  3. Travel Benefits: The BMO Air Miles MasterCard comes with valuable travel benefits such as discounts on car rentals, purchase protection, and extended warranty on certain items bought using the card. These benefits enhance your travel experiences and provide you with peace of mind while on the go.
  4. Flexible Redemption Options: With the BMO Air Miles MasterCard, you can redeem your earned Air Miles for a wide variety of rewards such as flights, hotels, merchandise, event tickets, and even other essential expenses like gas and groceries.

Drawbacks

  1. Limited Earning Potential: A significant drawback of this card is the limited earning potential when compared to other credit cards with reward programs. With 1 Air Mile earned per $20 spent on eligible purchases, it might take some time to accumulate enough Miles to redeem for valuable rewards.
  2. Lack of Travel Insurance: The BMO Air Miles MasterCard does not offer comprehensive travel insurance coverage that typically comes with other travel-oriented credit cards. This may be a deal-breaker for some who prioritize extensive coverage while traveling.

Additional information

It is essential to remember that to maximize your rewards with the BMO Air Miles MasterCard, you should shop at participating AIR MILES partners and use the card for your everyday purchases.

While this card may not be the best choice for those seeking a high reward rate or extensive insurance coverage, it still provides a solid option for users looking to earn and redeem Air Miles without an annual fee.

Interested in other credit cards? Canadians that like the BMO Air Miles MasterCard credit card also like the BMO Rewards MasterCard. If you’re looking for other options you should consider the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card, and the BMO Air Miles MasterCard for Students.

FAQ

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard allows you to redeem your points for a variety of rewards, which include:

  • Travel Rewards: Use your Air Miles to book flights, cruises, car rentals, or vacation packages, as well as to cover taxes and fees related to your travel bookings.
  • Merchandise Rewards: Redeem Air Miles for an extensive range of products, such as electronics, home appliances, fitness equipment, fashion items, toys, and more. You can find these in the Air Miles reward catalogue on the official website.
  • Event and Entertainment Rewards: Exchange your points for tickets to concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment experiences, or for major attractions and theme parks.
  • Gift Cards & Prepaid Cards: Redeem points for gift cards at various retailers and dining establishments, or apply them towards a preloaded MasterCard that you can spend anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
  • Air Miles Cash Rewards: Use Air Miles at participating stores to make purchases using the Cash Rewards program, where you can redeem a specified amount of points for a certain dollar value (example: 95 points = $10).

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard credit card does incur foreign transaction fees. When cardholders use this credit card for transactions in a currency other than Canadian dollars, they are subject to a 2.5% foreign transaction fee charged on the converted amount.

This fee is applied in addition to the conversion rate set by MasterCard International.

The BMO Air Miles MasterCard credit card does not have a minimum income requirement, making it accessible to a wide range of individuals regardless of their income level.

Key benefits

  • Earn rate: 1 Air Mile for every $20 in purchases
  • 3x the Air Miles at participating AIR MILES Partners
  • 19.99% regular interest rate on purchases
  • 22.99% interest on cash advances and balance transfers
  • No annual fee for the primary cardholder and supplementary cards
  • Up to two free supplementary cards for additional cardholders
  • Purchase protection for purchases made on the card
  • Extended warranty on eligible items purchased with the card
  • Optional MasterInclusiveTM insurance package at an additional cost
  • BMO Mobile Banking app for monitoring and managing account

About The Author