Quick overview

Globetrotters may well find the National Bank World Elite Mastercard a compelling credit card option thanks to its substantial rewards and travel benefits. With a solid welcome promotion of 40,000 points, this card also offers up to five points per dollar on groceries and dining, two points on gas, EV charging, recurring bill payments and Ă  la carte travel, as well as one point on everything else. The card also boasts travel-friendly perks like unlimited access for the cardholder and a guest to the National Bank Lounge at the MontrĂ©al-Trudeau Airport and up to $150 in annual travel expense reimbursements. Furthermore, the card comes with an attractive array of travel insurance. 

While the rewards and travel benefits are impressive, the $150 annual fee may be too pricey for some. Additionally, the card may be out of reach for many as it requires a minimum gross annual income of $80,000 or $150,000 in household income. Additionally, the welcome promotion is contingent on meeting a strict spend minimum at various timelines of being a cardholder or you’ll miss out on bonus points. It’s also worth noting that, for a travel card with a considerable annual fee, the lounge offerings are minimal, allowing you visits to the National Bank Lounge in Montreal only.

Who’s the National Bank World Elite Mastercard for?

The National Bank World Elite Mastercard is designed for individuals who enjoy travel and seek significant rewards for their spending at grocery stores and restaurants. The perk of unlimited access to the National Bank Lounge at the Montréal-Trudeau Airport will mainly only be of use to those who regularly visit the Montreal airport, however the $150 travel credit is a generous perk that will benefit all travellers. The same goes for the card’s generous suite of travel insurance, including out-of-province medical insurance, flight cancellation, delayed flight and stolen luggage insurance. It even features mobile phone insurance, which is still somewhat of a rare insurance offering among cards in Canada. The card will also appeal to those who want a flexible rewards program with the À la carte Travel rewards program cardholders can redeem points for gift cards, discounted travel, a statement credit and more.

Pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • Generous earn categories and welcome bonus

  • Flexible point redemption

  • Impressive $150 travel expense redemption

  • Robust insurance, including mobile device insurance

  • Industry-leading extended warranty and purchase protection

Cons

Cons

  • $2,500 spend cap on the max rewards earn rate (from 5 points down to 2 points)

  • High income requirement of 80,000 individual or $150,000 household

  • Lounge visits are only available at one airport

  • High credit score needed

National Bank World Elite Mastercard welcome bonus

  • Earn 40,000 points
  • To earn the bonus you’ll need to make $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of card ownership (which gets you 15,000 points). You can earn another 3,000 points by  enrolling in payment insurance for at least the first three months. You’ll then be eligible to earn a continuous stream of 1,000 points per month for 12 months (equalling 12,000 points) by spending at least $2,500 monthly during the first year. Finally, you’ll earn another 10,000 points as long as you’ve spent a minimum of $20,000 in the first 14 months. 

How to earn À la carte Travel points on National Bank World Elite Mastercard

The National Bank World Elite Mastercard kicks off its rewards journey with an impressive welcome bonus, offering up to 40,000 points. Other than the welcome bonus, you’ll earn five points per dollar spent on eligible grocery and restaurant purchases (however your earnings in this accelerated category are capped at $2,500 in gross monthly purchases, once that amount is reached, you’ll only earn two points per dollar for grocery and restaurant purchases). You’ll also get  two points per dollar on gas, electric vehicle charging, recurring bill payments, and Ă  la carte travel and one point per dollar on all other spending.

You can maximize your point accumulation by focusing your spending on the highest earn categories of restaurants and groceries.

How to redeem À la carte Travel points on National Bank World Elite Mastercard

You can redeem your National Bank’s rewards points through their online Ă€ la carte rewards portal. Once on the portal website page, you can then redeem your points for an impressive array of rewards: gift cards, statement credits (with a minimum of 6,250 points for $25), select charities, put points towards your mortgage, buy merchandise from the online boutique and use points for travel. With travel, you have the option to either book travel using your points or get reimbursed for travel that you’ve already charged to your card. 

It’s important to note that you get the best value for your points when you redeem them for travel via the Ă€ la carte Travel booking portal. When you do, your points are worth one cent each. However, if you use your points to offset a travel purchase you’ve already made, you’ll only get a value of 83 cents per point if you redeem fewer than 55,000 points or 91 cents if you redeem more than 55,000 points. For all other types of redemptions you’ll earn anywhere from 83 cents (financial rewards) to 40 cents(for statement credits). 

National Bank World Elite Mastercard key benefits

  • Generous welcome bonus of 40,000 points 
  • $150 reimbursement on travel expenses 
  • Comprehensive insurance package

National Bank World Elite Mastercard insurance coverage

  • Out-of-province emergency travel medical insurance: This covers the primary cardholder, spouse and dependent children for up to $5,000,000 per person per trip. It also includes up to $2,000 for emergency dental treatment and up to $300 for a licensed chiropractor, physiotherapist, podiatrist, or osteopath whose services are prescribed by a doctor. Note also that age and length of trip limitations apply: age 54 and under: 60 days of coverage; age 55 to 64: 31 days; age 65 to 75: 15 days; age 76 and over: no coverage.
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance: This covers up to $5,000 for trip interruption and $2,500 for trip cancellation per person. 
  • Flight delay: This covers up to $250 per day up to a max of $500 total per insured per person for things like hotel accommodation and meals. 
  • Delayed, lost, stolen or damaged baggage insurance: If baggage is delayed for at least 6 hours an insured can claim up to $500 per insured person for essentials like toiletries and clothing. Lost, stolen or damaged damaged or stolen baggage is insured up to a max of $250 per item.  
  • Auto rental collision/loss damage insurance: This covers the full value of the vehicle for theft, loss, fire and accident damage, if the entire cost of the rental is charged to your card. This coverage has a limit of 48 days and up to up to $65,000. 
  • Mobile device insurance: If the entire cost of the mobile device was charged to your card and your monthly plan payments are also charged to the card, you’re eligible for coverage in the event of loss, theft or damage up to $1,000. Coverage is triggered 60 days after purchase and ends two years after purchase.
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty insurance: Extended warranty protection triples the manufacturer’s warranty up to two additional years (this is quite notable as most extended warranty protection only offers up to 12 months of additional protection). Coverage is a maximum of $60,000 for your account lifetime. Purchase protection covers offers protection against theft or breakage for up to 180 days after the date of the item’s purchase (most insurance only covers 90 days). Purchase protection is also offered for a lifetime max of $60,000.

Extra benefits

  • A $150 annual travel credit, which you can use to cover a range of expenses like checked baggage and airport parking
  • Complementary and unlimited access to the National Bank Lounge for you and a travel companion at MontrĂ©al-Trudeau Airport 
  • Compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay

What people have to say about this card

One reddit user wonders if the card was mostly intended for users in Quebec (likely because the card’s lounge benefit is only useful at the Montreal airport). Another user praised the card’s point value of one cent when redeemed for travel. 

How National Bank World Elite Mastercard compares

National Bank World Elite Mastercard vs. BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard

The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard offers a compelling alternative to the National Bank World Elite Mastercard. BMO’s welcome offer gives users up to 90,000 BMO Rewards points and waives the $150 annual fee in the first year for both primary and authorized users). Like with the National World Elite Mastercard, the rewards program has lots of flexibility, letting you redeem points for a wide range of items, such as travel, merchandise, financial products and statement credits. You’ll earn five points per dollar spent on travel, three points per dollar on dining, entertainment, and recurring bill payments, as well as one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. 

The card also comes with a robust insurance package that includes insurance like emergency medical, trip cancellation/trip interruption, delayed and lost baggage and more. (Note, however, that unlike the National Bank World Elite Mastercard, the BMO card does not have mobile device insurance.) The card also has perks like rental car and Cirque du Soleil discounts. Finally, where this card really shines when compared to National Bank’s card is in its lounge offering. With the BMO card, you’ll enjoy four free visits to airport lounges around the world (not just at Montreal’s main airport) with your free DragonPass lounge membership.

The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard certainly has some drawbacks. Firstly, it doesn’t have an accelerated earn category for groceries, which can be a significant downside as it’s where many Canadians spend a lot on a regular basis. Furthermore, lest you get too excited about BMO’s welcome offer of 90,000 compared to National Bank’s 40,000, it’s crucial to keep in mind that an individual BMO Rewards point never has a value of more than .67 cents, even when redeemed for travel. So, on a 1:1 basis, À la carte Travel points are potentially as valuable as BMO rewards here.

The best way to figure out which of the two cards is best for you is to compare the accelerated earn categories and see which one would add up to rewards based on your spending habits. 

National Bank World Elite Mastercard vs. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

One big expense that frequent fliers often ignore is their credit card’s foreign exchange fee. Most cards in Canada charge 2.5% on any purchase you make in a foreign currency and those fees can quickly add up if you travel outside of the country often. That’s where the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card comes in. It’s one of the few cards that doesn’t charge a forex fee. It also has the most free airport lounge visits (6) of any card with a similar $150 annual fee. It features an impressive welcome offer of 25,000 Scene+ points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months (a much lower spending bar than the National Bank card), and an additional 

10,000 Scene+ points once you spend $40,000 annually. When redeemed for travel 35,000 Scene+ points would be worth $350. 

With the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card, you’ll earn three Scene+ points per dollar spent at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway and FreshCo, two Scene+ points on transit, groceries, dining, and entertainment and one Scene+ point on all other purchases. The card also has strong insurance offerings (while it doesn’t have mobile device coverage, it does offer hotel/motel burglary). It also features a slightly lower income eligibility, requiring a minimum annual income of $60,000 or a minimum household income of $100,000. 

The main drawback of the card is that its earn rate for groceries is weak compared to the National Bank card. Not only do you only earn three points but you can only earn the points at a narrow range of grocery stores. You also don’t enjoy a travel reimbursement.

National Bank World Elite Mastercard vs. National Bank World Mastercard

Features National Bank World Elite Mastercard National Bank World Mastercard
Annual fee $150 $115
Welcome offer 40,000 points None
Insurance Comprehensive and includes mobile device insurance. Industry leading purchase protection and extended warranty Comprehensive but no mobile device insurance. Industry leading purchase protection and extended warranty
Benefits $150 travel reimbursement, free lounge visits at Montreal-Trudeau airport None

Is the National Bank World Elite Mastercard worth it?

The National Bank World Elite Mastercard is worth it if you can take advantage of the generous $150 travel reimbursement and will get regular use out of the lounge benefit at the Montréal-Trudeau Airport.

FAQs

  • Is it hard to get a National Bank World Elite Mastercard?

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    It can be hard for some Canadians to get a National Bank World Elite Mastercard because you generally require a good credit score and a high income level.

  • What is a National Bank World Elite Mastercard?

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    A Mastercard World Elite card is a premium credit card, offering a range of enhanced benefits and privileges to cardholders, including things like travel perks, free Boingo Wi-Fi, exclusive entertainment and sports benefits and more.

  • What is the minimum income for a National Bank World Elite Mastercard?

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    Generally, the minimum income for a National Bank World Elite Mastercard is $80,000 (individual) and $150,000 (household).

Sandra MacGregor Freelance Contributor

Sandra MacGregor has been writing about finance and travel for nearly a decade. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications like the New York Times, the UK Telegraph, the Washington Post, Forbes.com and the Toronto Star.

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