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BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard Review 2024

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The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard is one of a few premium credit cards available on the list of BMO credit cards. It is often considered one of the best travel credit cards in Canada.

The card waives the $150 annual fee in the first year and has a remarkable travel insurance package.

This BMO World Elite Mastercard review covers its benefits, downsides, what your points are worth, and everything else you need to know.

BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard Summary

  • $150 annual fee is waived in the first year
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on travel
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining, entertainment, and recurring bills
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Comprehensive travel insurance coverage
  • Complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey plus four annual complimentary passes
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard Benefits

BMO Rewards Points

You earn 5 points for every $1 spent on travel (on up to $15,000/year) and 3 points per $1 spent on dining, entertainment, and recurring bill payments (on up to $10,000 per year per spending category). All other purchases earn at a rate of 1 point per $1 spent.

You can easily redeem BMO Rewards points for:

  • Travel: including flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacation packages
  • Investments in your BMO investment account
  • Merchandise: purchase gift cards and merchandise on bmo.rewardsonline.ca
  • Statement credit

BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard Travel Insurance

The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard offers one of the most comprehensive travel insurance packages in Canada. Here’s a summary of what you get:

  • Emergency medical protection up to $2 million for up to 21 days if you are under 65 years
  • Trip cancellation up to $2,500 per insured person and a maximum of $5,000
  • Trip interruption/trip delay insurance coverage up to a maximum of $2,000
  • Flight delay coverage with reimbursement up to a maximum of $500 in the event you are delayed for more than six hours
  • Lost or stolen baggage up to $750 per person and a maximum of $2,000 per trip
  • Car rental insurance for up to 48 consecutive days and an MSRP of $65,000
  • Travel Accident Insurance up to $500,000

This card also offers:

  • Purchase protection coverage against theft or damage for 90 days following the date of purchase
  • Extended warranty coverage for up to one extra year

BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard Perks

Cardholders of the BMO Ascend World Elite card also enjoy the following VIP perks:

1) Complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey and four free passes to VIP airport lounges in over 120 countries. The four annual passes alone are worth $140 and do not include the membership that is also provided free of charge.

2) Access to Boingo Wi-Fi for Mastercard cardholders and 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide at no extra cost.

3) 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows in Canada, and 20% off selected resident shows in Las Vegas.

Downsides of the BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard

Although this card waives the annual fee in the first year, you will need to shell out $150 per year in subsequent years. If you are an occasional traveller, the annual fee could be prohibitive.

To qualify for the BMO World Elite, you must have a minimum personal income of $80,000 or $150,000 for a household.

BMO World Elite Mastercard Review

Is The BMO World Elite Mastercard For You?

The card offers a good combination of rewards points and travel insurance and is worth looking at.

If you are hunting for a travel card that surpasses the BMO World Elite Mastercard in overall benefits, here are two premium card options to consider:

BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard Alternatives

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite offers a $250 value sign-up bonus when you spend $1,000 in your first three months. You earn a 2-3% return on grocery, dining, entertainment, and daily transportation spending and 1% on everything else.

This card is one of a few credit cards in Canada to waive the FX fee when you make purchases in a foreign currency. You also get:

  • Complimentary Priority Pass membership plus 6 free passes to VIP airport lounges ($379 value per year)
  • Comprehensive travel insurance benefits, including travel emergency medical for up to 25 days
  • Purchase security and extended warranty
  • Minimum personal income of $60,000 to apply

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite comes with a $150 annual fee (waived in the first year), and you can learn more about the card in this review.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express offers up to a 5% return on your grocery, dining, and entertainment spending, plus 3% on gas, transit, and streaming services.

It comes with a $400 value sign-up bonus and has a $120 annual fee.

Like the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, this card also waives the FX fee (a 2.50% fee saving) when you spend money abroad. You also enjoy;

  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Discounted Priority Pass membership
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Even better, the income needed to apply for this card is $12,000. Check out this review of the Scotiabank Gold AMEX for more information.

BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard Review
  • Rewards
  • Annual fee
  • Insurance
  • Other perks
  • Eligibility
Overall
4.2

Summary

The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard is one of the best travel rewards cards in Canada. This BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard review covers everything you need to know.

Pros

  • Solid travel rewards
  • Comprehensive travel insurance benefits
  • Easy to redeem BMO rewards
  • Offer airport lounge access

Cons

  • Minimum personal income of $80,000 required
  • $150 annual fee

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

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3 thoughts on “BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard Review 2024”

  1. Gravatar for Topo

    DO NOT GET THIS CARD.

    I have been using their World Elite Master Card for 3 years now. I hadn’t run into any issues with them initially until the first couple of times I actually needed assistance to dispute unfair charges. The bank did little to help my cause. Not particularly satisfied, I continued with them anyways, mostly for the travel perks including lounge access.

    Then things really got bad. Due to COVID, I hadn’t been able to use the lounge pass until recently when lounges finally reopened in my city (Toronto). I attempted to use the pass a few days ago and was shocked to hear that, actually, BMO neglected to renew its contract with the airport this summer. I ended up needing to pay for the lounge. I sent an angry message via my online account asking for compensation for the lounge cost, as it should’ve been included in my credit card anyways. I had used it at the same location in pre-covid days without problem. I also said that if they fail to resolve the matter appropriately, I wanted to move forward with canceling my card. The rep who messaged me back gave a standard message stating that with my World Elite I have access to “1000 airport lounges”….and basically provided no explanation as to what happened. Nor any compensation. They said to feel free to message them again if I still wanted to cancel the card.

    And here, ladies and gents, is where things went from bad to ridiculous: every time I tried sending a message (to cancel the card) a 404 error showed up. At a loss, I ended up “disputing” the airport lounge payment in order to write down my desire to move forward with the cancellation. Another 404 message. Essentially anything I tried to do on that account took me to a 404 page as if they’re purposely stopping me from cancelling. I figured maybe if I accessed via my phone instead of my laptop, I may miraculously be able to send the message. Not so – in fact I suddenly ended up being locked out of my account. I spent hours calling various service numbers at BMO, first to try and access my online account again. And then to actually cancel my card and close my account. Both times I was told I had to “visit a branch and provide ID in order to proceed”. No explanation as to why, only that my account was “flagged” as such and they had no clue. I frustratingly told them that from the very beginning starting with my application for this card, I had never needed to step into a branch to “provide ID” in order to do anything. I am currently traveling and won’t be back home for another 2 weeks. Again, crickets on their end as to any suitable explanation.

    So, now I’m abroad without access to my credit card account or any ability to monitor what the heck this fraudulent bank is doing to it until I return. I’m pondering whether to report it stolen or something just so they’d actually close the card. It’s apparent they’re putting up barriers upon barriers to stop me from canceling, and in the meantime just cementing my decision further to do so. I will never ever use any of BMO’s services again.

  2. Gravatar for Sam Tam

    DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH BMO WORLD ELITE MASTERCARD
    I am a medical professional with perfect credit score. I had a BMO world elite MC for years but it started to fail me with denial of my airport lounge previledges.
    Hence I applied and tried their cash back BMO world elite MC and got my card 7 weeks ago. It has denied my purchase 3 times in as many weeks now. I called their number and waited an hour for them to answer and their “fraud analyst” cleared my card and promised everything should be fine from now on. So I went ahead and tried the same purchased again and got declined again for the second time and they blocked my card as well. Presently I am still waiting on the phone which they said it will be a wait time of 2 hours now.
    So be fore-warned, don’t ever apply for this BMO world elite product, as far as I am concern, it is a fraud product.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

      @Sam: Sorry to hear about your experiences with this card. It is unfortunate. I’d say BMO is legit, and this could perhaps be a failure of their customer service folks.

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