BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard Review

4.37

$150

Annual Fee

$281

Annual Rewards

70,000 points

Intro Offer

$150

Annual fee

$281

Annual rewards

70,000 points

Intro offer


Pros


  • Comprehensive travel insurance coverage
  • Earn 10,000 BMO Rewards points upon first card purchase
  • 2 points earned per dollar spent on travel, dining, and entertainment expenses
  • 1.78 points earned per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign exchange fees on worldwide purchases
  • Exclusive perks, including airport lounge access and complimentary membership in MasterCard’s Airport Experiences program
  • Ability to redeem points for flights, merchandise, or even cash back

Cons


  • Annual fee of $120 after the first year
  • Minimum income requirement of $80,000 (individual) or $150,000 (household)
  • Lower earn rate (1.78 points) applies to most everyday purchases
  • Limited bonus categories for earning extra points
  • BMO Rewards program may not offer the best value for some frequent travelers
  • No introductory interest rate offers for balance transfers or new purchases

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 Ascend World Elite MasterCard has earned a 4.37 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 Ascend World Elite MasterCard are insurance and perks.

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 Ascend World Elite MasterCard the most important factors for scoring this card are its insurance and perks.

Rewards

With the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard, here’s the rates at which you earn rewards for different spending categories per dollar you spend:

Bills3 points
Pharmacy1 point
Gas1 point
Groceries1 point
Restaurants3 points
Specific Stores1 point
Travel5 points
All Other Spend1 point

Calculating your annual rewards

We estimate that spending $2,000 per month with the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard would earn $281 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:

Bills$84
Restaurants$48
Travel$40
All Other Spend$109

Our study investigating the value found that each dollar spent on the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard is worth up to $0.01, depending on how you redeem.

This $281 in rewards value puts the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard in the bottom 40% 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 Ascend World Elite MasterCard earns $281 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
Bills2.01%1.25%
Pharmacy0.67%1.17%
Gas0.67%1.48%
Groceries0.67%1.71%
Restaurant2.01%1.53%
Store0.67%1.94%
Travel3.35%1.19%
Other0.67%1.08%
Above, we’ve calculated the earn rate for the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard for every spend category and compared it to the average for all Canadian credit cards.
Redemption methodAnnual rewards
Redeem for travel$281
Apply to statement credit$210
Gift cards$235
Merchandise$227
Make investments$281
Enjoy experiences$273

For an annual spend of $24,000, we estimated annual rewards value at up to $281.

That’s equivalent to a 1.17% return on spending.

The BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard has an annual fee of $150. After deducting this, we predicted net annual rewards of $131.

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 Ascend World Elite MasterCard has a $150 annual fee.

The average card charges $85. So, the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard is in the top 20% 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 Ascend World Elite MasterCard scored a 2.9 out of 5 for perks, putting it in the top 10% of cards.

The average card scores 1.6 out of 5 for perks.

Interest Rates

Purchase20.99%
Cash Advance23.99%
Balance Transfer22.99%

The average (median) credit card has a purchase interest rate of 19.99% and so the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard charges 1% more than the average.

For cash advances it costs 23.99% compared to the average of 19.96%.

Testing the BMO Ascend World Elite 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
Travel Accident$500,000$500,000
Emergency Medical Term21 days15 days
Trip Cancellation$2,500$1,500
Trip Interruption$2,000$2,000
Flight Delay$500$500
Baggage Delay$200$500
Lost or Stolen Baggage$750$1,000
Rental Car Theft & DamageYesNo
Rental Car Personal Effects$1,000$1,000
Rental Car Accident$200,000$200,000
Hotel Burglary$750$1,000
Personal Effects Insurance$750$750

We scored it 5.0 out of 5 for insurance.

It offers 14 types of insurance, whereas the average card has 5 types of coverage.

Approval and qualifying

Do I qualify?
Estimated Credit Score560 – 659
Personal Income$80,000
Household Income$150,000
Fees
Annual Fee$150
Extra Card Fee$0
Card typeMasterCard

We scored it 3.5 out of 5 for approval.

We predict that you will require a credit score of at least 560 to qualify for the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard, while the average card requires 652 to qualify.

This puts it in the top bottom 30% of cards by approval difficulty.

The personal income requirements are $80,000, while the average card requires $23,896.

This puts it in the top 10% of cards by the income required to qualify.

The BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard is a versatile option for Canadians looking for a credit card with a strong earning potential and a variety of benefits. However, it also comes with a few drawbacks, making it important to consider all aspects before deciding if this card is the best fit for your financial needs.

Earning potential with the card

The BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard enables you to earn points on various spending categories. You will earn 3 points per dollar on travel, dining, and entertainment purchases, and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases.

These accelerated reward rates help optimize your earning potential while adhering to your typical spending habits.

Benefits

  1. Comprehensive Travel Insurance Coverage: One of the major advantages of this card is its extensive travel insurance coverage. This includes travel emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and baggage loss/delay insurance, giving you peace of mind while traveling.
  2. Airport Lounge Access: The BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard offers complimentary access to MasterCard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey. Cardholders can access over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, making your travel experience more comfortable and enjoyable.
  3. Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty: This card offers purchase protection and an extended warranty on eligible items. Purchase protection covers you against theft or damage for 90 days from the purchase date, and the extended warranty doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for up to one additional year.
  4. Concierge Service: Cardholders have access to BMO’s World Elite Concierge Service, which offers assistance with travel bookings, dining reservations, event tickets, and more. This service adds an extra level of convenience and personalization to your experiences.

Drawbacks

  1. High Annual Fee: The BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard comes with a $150 annual fee. This may be a significant drawback for some potential users who may not spend enough in the bonus categories to offset the cost of the fee or who may be looking for a no-fee credit card option.
  2. No Sign-up Bonus: This card does not currently offer a sign-up bonus or introductory offer, which may be a disadvantage compared to competitors that offer attractive welcome bonuses for new cardholders.

Additional information

The BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard requires a minimum personal income of $80,000 or a minimum household income of $150,000. This requirement may be a limiting factor for some potential users.

Additionally, keep in mind that all points earned with this card must be redeemed through the BMO Rewards program, offering flexibility in redemptions but also limiting your available options.

In summary, the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard provides excellent earning potential and a range of benefits, particularly for frequent travelers. The drawbacks, including the annual fee and lack of a sign-up bonus, should be carefully weighed against the potential rewards and perks before choosing this card.

Is the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard not convincing you? Consider the BMO Air Miles World Elite MasterCard or the BMO US Dollar MasterCard. Still not the right credit card? Make sure not to miss the BMO Air Miles MasterCard.

FAQ

The BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard allows cardholders to redeem points for various rewards through the BMO Rewards Program. Below are some popular redemption options:

  • Travel: You can use your points to book flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, and more through BMO Rewards’ travel portal.
  • Gift Cards: Points can be redeemed for a wide selection of gift cards from popular retailers, restaurants, and for various experiences.
  • Merchandise: Choose from a variety of products available in the BMO Rewards catalogue, including electronics, home appliances, and fashion accessories.
  • Experiences: Redeem points to enjoy experiences such as culinary classes, adventure tours, and more.
  • Investments: Convert your points into contributions towards a BMO investment account for your future financial goals.
  • Statement Credits: Utilize points towards paying down the outstanding balance on your credit card statement.
  • Charity Donations: Donate points to a charitable organization to support a cause you care about.

The BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard has a foreign transaction fee which is imposed on transactions made internationally.

When using this credit card outside of Canada or for purchases in foreign currency, cardholders will be charged a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% on top of the converted amount. This fee applies to both purchases and returns made abroad or in a foreign currency.

The BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard credit card has a minimum income requirement of $80,000 for individual applicants or a combined household income of $150,000.

Key benefits

  • 10,000 BMO Rewards points bonus upon completing initial card transaction
  • Impressive insurance offerings for travellers’ peace of mind
  • Comprehensive 2x points earning on travel, dining, and entertainment expenses
  • No foreign transaction fees for stress-free international shopping
  • Enticing 1.78x points earning on all other eligible spending categories
  • Enjoy exclusive perks such as airport lounge access and MasterCard’s Airport Experiences program
  • Redeem BMO Rewards points flexibly for flights, merchandise, or cash back
  • Annual fee of $120 waived for the first year of cardmembership
  • Robust income requirements ensuring financial stability for cardholders
  • Distinctive reward system tailor-made for frequent travellers and those who love dining out
  • Unequalled versatility in point redemption with a focus on user preference
  • Captivating design and premium card features reflecting cardholder status

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