BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®* Review

  • 5 min read

Air Miles is one of the longest-standing customer loyalty programs in Canada. Points are collected on purchases made at participating retailers and can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more. The Bank of Montreal (BMO) offers a unique credit card where members can earn even more Miles. Through the no-annual-fee BMO AIR MILES Mastercard*, clients can collect rewards whenever they charge items on the card, as well as when they shop with sponsored merchants within the program.

First, new cardholders have the opportunity to earn 800 Air Miles through their welcome offer, which holds a value of approximately $80. The period for this bonus sign-up extends to October 31, 2021, and clients must spend $1,000 on their new Mastercard within the first 90 days of opening the account to be eligible. There’s an added introductory interest rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for the first nine months of card ownership, and a 1% fee is applied to the amount that is being transferred. After that, the purchase interest rate is set at 19.99%, and cash advances are 22.99%.

With the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard*, clients earn 3x the points for every $25 spent at Air Miles Cash Reward partners and 1 Mile for every $25 spent anywhere else. There’s also the potential of earning twice as many Miles when customers shop at Air Miles sponsors. Not only can clients collect points by using their BMO Air Mile Mastercard, but they can also earn Miles when present their Air Miles customer loyalty card. 

Another extra—until May 31, 2021, BMO Air Miles Mastercard clients can earn up to 5x the Miles on grocery purchases. Customers who use both their Mastercard and Air Miles rewards card can collect this top-up when shopping for groceries at Sobeys, Foodland & Participating Co-op’s, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Urban Fresh,Les Marchés Traditions, and Rachelle Béry, as well as Thrifty Foods.

Additional benefits to the BMO Air Miles Mastercard include Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty, as well as a 25% discount at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car. Lastly, free supplementary cards are available for friends and family members that are added to the credit card account.

American Express offers an alternative to BMO’s no-annual-fee Air Miles Mastercard. The AMEX Air Miles card offers new clients a sign-up bonus of 500 Miles when $500 is spent within the first 90 days of opening the account. That’s a value of about $50.

After that, 1 Mile is earned for every $15 spent at participating Air Miles retailers, and one point for every $20 spent anywhere else. The purchase rate on the AMEX card is fairly close to BMO’s, with 20.99% for purchases, and 21.99% for cash advances. Supplementary cardholders can be added at no extra cost.

With that said, the American Express Air Miles Card does come with some added perks. Of course, card membership does have its privileges, and new AMEX clients can enjoy their “Front of the Line” program that unleashes pre-sale access to concert tickets, shows, and other events, as well as exclusive admission to shopping experiences, and more. 

Plus, there are the standard benefits of Buyer’s Assurance Protection and Purchase Protection plans that come with the credit card, as well as added Travel Accident Insurance, Fraud Protection Guarantee, and American Express’s Emergency Card Replacement program.

Both BMO and American Express offer other Air Miles credit card options; however, they do come with an annual fee.

The BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard provides a sign-up bonus of 3,000 Miles to new clients. One Mile is earned for every $10 spent, and cardholders gain access to 15% off when redeeming points for flights across North America. Additionally, customers are given a free membership to Mastercard’s Airport Experiences via LoungeKey, with two complimentary airport lounge passes for friends or family, each year. Added benefits include Collision Damage Waiver insurance for car rentals, Trip Cancellation Insurance, and out-of-country/out-of-province emergency medical benefits. The annual fee for this card is $120; however, the fee is waived for the first year.

Another offer from Amex , the Air Platinum credit card, which is comparable to BMO’s World Elite. The sign-up bonus is set at 2,000 Air Miles when $1,500 is charged in the first 90 days. After that, 1 Mile is earned for every $5 spent on eligible gas, transit, food, and drink purchases, with a cap of $30,000 each year. One Mile is earned on all other purchases. Platinum card members enjoy all the perks listed for the no-annual-fee American Express, as well as some added ones. Each year, an annual “Travel Redemption Benefit” is offered where clients can get “Bonus Miles” when they book their first package vacation or single flight through Air Miles. The top-up is 25% of the net Miles redeemed. Additionally, clients gain Car Rental Theft and Damage insurance. 

For more information on the no-annual-fee BMO AIR MILES Mastercard*, visit their website.

Christopher - BSc, MBA

With over two decades of combined Big 5 Banking and Agency experience, Christopher launched Underbanked® to cut through the noise and complexity of financial information. Christopher has an MBA degree from McMaster University and BSc. from Western University in Canada.