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Canadians have a love/hate relationship with AIR MILES. The loyalty program is one of the oldest out there and has a huge following, but some Canadians have found it difficult to make redemptions over the years. That being said, AIR MILES has made recent improvements to the program and new changes to the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* will have many travellers taking a second look at the card.

The nice thing about Air Miles is that participants have the ability to earn miles at many national Canadian retailers such as Shell, Children’s Place, Staples, Alamo and Transat. AIR MILES can also be collected at some regional grocery stores. When you pay with your BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®*, you earn additional miles so you’re able to ‘double dip.’ In our estimation the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®* is the best AIR MILES credit card on the market. Here’s why:

At a glance

  • $120 annual fee (first year free)*
  • 2,000-Mile sign-up bonus*
  • Earn 3x the Miles for every $12 spent at participating AIR MILES Reward Partners* and 2x the Miles for every $12 spent at any eligible grocery store*
  • Earn 1 Air Mile per $12 spent at all merchants*
  • Complimentary membership in Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass*
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included*
  • Use less Miles with an exclusive 25% discount on one worldwide AIR MILES flight redemption during the calendar year*
  • Complimentary access to 1M Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots around the world*
  • BMO Concierge Service*
  • Deals for participating digital subscription services (including food delivery) and special cash back promotions with partner merchants*
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty*
  • $80,000 personal/$150,000 household income to qualify

Sign-up bonus

The sign-up bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES*, awarded after cardholders charge $3,000 to the card in the first three months, is the largest AIR MILES welcome bonus on the market.

Alternatively, you can opt to have those miles earned as Dream Miles. With 2,000 Dream Miles, where you can fly depends on where you’re leaving from and the season—one popular route is Toronto to Orlando. To see how many AIR MILES it’ll take you to reach a certain destination, check out the AIR MILES website. Keep in mind that you still need to pay airport/surcharge fees with any Dream Miles redemptions, but that’s no different than Aeroplan.

Earn rate

Apply now

With the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®*, cardholders earn an accelerated 3x the Miles per $12 spent at participating AIR MILES partners*, as well as 2x the Miles for every $12 spent at any eligible grocery store* and a flat 1 Mile for every $12 in credit card purchases at all other merchants*. Other AIR MILES Mastercards on the market only generate 1 mile per $15 or $20 spent at all merchants, so you’re getting the best bang for your buck with the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®*.

As an added bonus, you get an exclusive 25% discount on one worldwide AIR MILES flight redemption during the calendar year.*

Airport lounge access

As a BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®* cardholder, you’ll get complimentary membership in Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass.*

Included travel insurance

One of the most underrated features of the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®* is the comprehensive travel insurance package it comes with, which includes:

  • Emergency travel medical insurance*
  • Trip cancellation*
  • Trip interruption/trip delay*
  • Flight delay insurance*
  • Lost, delayed, or stole luggage insurance*
  • Rental car collision/loss damage insurance*
  • Travel accident insurance*

With emergency travel medical insurance, cardholders under the age of 65 are automatically covered for 15 days. Those 65 or older will need to purchase a separate travel insurance policy.

Keep in mind that you need to charge the full amount of your trip (usually just the flights and car rental) to your BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®* to qualify for all the additional insurance. The included travel insurance package does not include hotel/motel burglary insurance, but overall, it’s competitive with some of the top travel insurance credit cards in Canada.

Is it worth it?

There’s no denying that the sign-up bonus of 2,000 Air Miles and first year annual fee waiver* make this an appealing card, but who is the card best suited for in the long run?

Those loyal to Air Miles should not hesitate to sign up for the card, since they’ll get the highest earn rate of any Air Miles Mastercard out there. And if you happen to shop often at Air Miles partners you’ll get even greater value, as you can double dip on the points.

If you happen to fly often within a province, this card may also appeal to you since those flights are usually expensive if you’re paying out of pocket. With Air Miles, those same flights have a fixed redemption value, so it can work out in your favour.

On the other hand, if you view Air Miles as a secondary loyalty program that you only collect casually, you’re likely better off applying for a credit card where you can earn points in your preferred loyalty program.

Apply now

*Terms and conditions apply

BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.

About our author

Barry Choi
Barry Choi, Moneywise Contributor

Barry Choi is an award-winning personal finance and travel expert. He appears regularly on a variety of shows in Canada and the U.S., where he talks about all things money and travel. In addition to, his work has appeared in major publications, including The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Financial Post, and MoneySense magazine. Barry is an expert in personal finance, but he's passionate about credit cards, budget travel, debt management, and loyalty programs. His personal website is one of Canada's most trusted resources as he provides non-bias opinions on various financial products and services. When he's not writing or talking about financial literacy, you can find him travelling the world. Barry's favourite destinations are Japan, Jordan, and the Netherlands.


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