What is the Best BMO Credit Card for You?

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Last updated on July 28, 2019 Views: 547 Comments: 4
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Bank of Montreal is a highly respected institution among Canadians, and offers many beneficial financial products including loans, mortgages, investments and of course—credit cards. Established in the early 19th century, it’s now one of the ‘Big Five’ banks in Canada. The bank provides credit cards to suit the lifestyles of nearly every cardholder profile, including different spending habits, income and credit levels, and reward types. Explore the very best that BMO offers below, where we’ve organized a list of credit cards based on their primary utility and what kind of person they’re ideally suited to.

Summary of the Best BMO Credit Cards

Credit CardCard TypeAnnual FeeCard Review
BMO Air Miles MastercardTravel Rewards
Balance Transfer
$0Read More
BMO SPC CashBack MastercardCash back
Student
$0Read More
BMO World Elite MasterCardTravel Rewards$150
first year free
Read More
BMO Rewards MastercardRewards$0Read More
BMO CashBack MastercardCash Back$0Read More
BMO Preferred Rate MastercardLow interest
Balance tranfer
$20Read More
BMO Air Miles World Elite MasterCardTravel Rewards$120Read More
BMO Sobeys Air Miles MastercardTravel
Rewards
$0Read More
BMO IGA Air Miles MastercardTravel
Rewards
$0Read More
BMO CashBack World Elite MastercardCash back
$120
first year free
Read More

Best BMO Balance Transfer Card

BMO Air Miles MastercardBMO Air Miles Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
fair_good
– Min personal income required: $15000
– Annual fees: $0

Though it isn’t primarily known as a balance transfer card, the BMO Air Miles Mastercard does provide this option to new cardholders who want to consolidate their credit card debt, pay it off, and earn Air Miles on their everyday purchases. Those who transfer an outstanding balance from another credit card or bank (outside of BMO) will pay just 1.99% interest on this amount for 9 months. Few strategies are as effective for reducing compounding interest charges. Moreover, a simultaneous bonus of 1000 Air Miles awaits new cardholders who apply before May 31, 2019.

The card helps those who want to earn Air Miles quickly and reduce their travel expenses. At Air Miles sponsors like Sobeys, Shell, and Rexall, cardholders will earn 2 Air Miles for every $20 they spend, and 1 Air Mile per $20 elsewhere. With $0 spent on annual fee, if you manage to spend just $1,000 per month on the card, you’ll earn up to 1,200 Air Miles in the first year. This is the equivalent value of a round-trip flight from Montreal to Toronto.

Finally, it’s easy and free to sign up supplementary cardholders. Extend them the benefits above, but also up to 25.00% off at Alamo and National rental car locations alongside purchase protections including extended warranties and damage coverage.

Learn more about the BMO Air Miles MasterCard here

Best BMO Student Credit Cards

BMO SPC Air Miles MastercardBMO SPC Air Miles Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
poor_fair
– Min personal income required: $0
– Annual fees: $0

BMO offers several excellent credit card options for students who love to travel, but cannot meet the high income and credit requirements of most cards. These students still have a lot to gain from increased purchasing power, and the SPC Air Miles Mastercard is just for them. It offers students a 800-Mile bonus straightaway after a single initial purchase. Afterwards, they’ll earn 1 Air Mile for every $20 spent with the card. No annual fees are charged to SPC cardholders either, which is another plus for cash-strapped students.

Students will also appreciate their ability to get up to 15.00% off when using the card at hundreds of their favorite stores, restaurants, and brands. The list is available from BMO and includes many Canadian staples that will keep students clothed and fed for less. Finally, the rate that Air Miles accrue is increased at all Air Miles sponsors across Canada, and cardholders can protect purchases made with the card thanks to damage coverage and extended manufacturers’ warranties.

Learn more about the SPC Air Miles MasterCard here

BMO SPC cash back mastercardBMO SPC CashBack Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 

– Min personal income required: $0
– Annual fees: $0

While the SPC Air Miles card benefits students who love to travel, their second SPC card offers a bonus that is often preferable. The ability to earn cash back is a more direct way to save money on common expenses, and students will especially enjoy the BMO SPC CashBack Mastercard for its introductory rate of 5% cash back for the first 3 months. The cash back rate reverts to 1% on all purchases afterward, and like BMO’s other SPC card there is no annual fee.

Students will also get up to 15.00% off when shopping at any of the hundreds of stores and restaurants affiliated with SPC. This perk alone is worth getting the card, given the relevance of many of these stores to a student’s lifestyle. Alongside these savings, using the card to cover $1,000 worth of expenses per month will net $240 in cash back during the first year. With added purchase protection and valuable extended warranties for items purchased with the card, students can finally find a card that suits them well without unrealistic requirements for applicants.

Learn more about the SPC Cash Back Mastercard here

Best BMO Travel Rewards Credit Card

BMO Rewards World Elite MastercardBMO World Elite Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
good_excellent
– Min personal income required: $80000
– Annual fees: $150

The World Elite label means that a credit card is accompanied by extra benefits like total travel and medical protection. Though the aforementioned Air Miles World Elite card is a great card for Air Miles devotees, not all Canadians love that rewards program. The BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard is a good alternative, with cardholders able to earn an impressive $540 between all its lucrative introductory bonuses, plus steady BMO points for their everyday spending – which are redeemable on any number of great travel rewards. BMO offers new applicants 35000 welcome points and will waive their first year’s annual fee, with a minimum spend of $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Cardholders will earn 3 points for every $1 they spend on travel, dining, and entertainment purchases, and then 2 points per $1 spent on anything else. Since it’s a World Elite card, cardholders will also receive 4 free passes for worldwide VIP airport lounges every year—a $140 value. When added to the 35000-point bonus (worth $250) and $150 annual fee waiver, plus a new bonus offering $100 to those who spend $100 on travel within 6 months, the card’s fast value to new members is $540. A best-in-class promotional package.

BMO travel protection features include out-of-country or province medical coverage up to $2 million, plus insurance for rental car collisions as well. Add in extended warranties and protection for damage and theft on items purchased with the car, and it’s no wonder that applicants will need to show $80,000 or $150,000 in personal or household annual income, respectively, in order to qualify.

Learn more about the BMO World Elite MasterCard here

Best BMO No Annual Fee Credit Cards

BMO Rewards MasterCardBMO Rewards Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
fair_good
– Min personal income required: $15000
– Annual fees: $0

It’s sometimes difficult for cardholders to justify paying a high annual fee for a credit card, because in order to offset the fee they’ll need to use the card frequently and rack up rewards/cash back. Thankfully, BMO offers several credit cards that exempt cardholders from any annual fees while granting them some convenient benefits and rewards. One of the best is the BMO Rewards Mastercard, which allows cardholders to earn 1 BMO Rewards point for every dollar they spend. BMO points are flexibly redeemable on travel, vacation packages, hotels, merchandise, and more.

The BMO Rewards Mastercard helps cardholders double their rewards rate to 2 points per $1 when renting vehicles at National and Alamo locations across Canada. They’ll also receive up to 25.00% off the price of their rental. Back up these perks with protection for new purchases against accidental damage, plus extended warranties by to up an additional year, and the whole offer becomes that much more lucrative. Finally, anyone can appreciate the generous bonus of 20000 BMO rewards points, just for making an initial purchase and a minimum spend of $1,000 for the first 3 months. There are few cards that give so much for so little.

Learn more about the BMO Rewards MasterCard here

BMO CashBack Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
fair_good
– Min personal income required: $15000
– Annual fees: $0

The BMO CashBack Mastercard is another handy wallet companion that doesn’t charge an annual fee and still provides high value. Cardholders are welcomed with a competitive 5% cashback bonus rate that lasts for their first 3 months, which returns to the standard rate of 1% on all their purchases after the promotional period. Charging $1,500 to the card per month means that new cardholders who receive the bonus will earn almost $360 in their first year. Cash back can be deposited directly into a chequing or savings account, credited to one’s monthly card statement, or invested via the BMO Investorline account.

As a standard BMO perk, the CashBack Mastercard extends protection against theft and damage to one’s new purchases made with the card. It will also grant longer warranties on expensive items like electronics (those that already have a manufacturer’s guarantee), which is highly appreciated when something breaks unexpectedly. All in all, the sum of these benefits makes the card a savvy addition to anyone’s wallet.

Learn more about the BMO CashBack MasterCard here

Best BMO Low Interest Credit Card

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
fair_good
– Min personal income required: $15000
– Annual fees: $20

For people who routinely carry part of their outstanding balance from month to month, interest charges are a constant concern. Saving money is more about reducing interest, in this case, than it is earning cash back or rewards. BMO offers a pertinent solution with their Preferred Rate Mastercard, which can immediately help applicants transfer their balances and then pay interest of 3.99% for 9 months. With most cards charging interest at 20% or more, this alone can put money right back into your pocket.

Even without the promotional balance transfer rate, BMO keeps interest on purchases and cash advances at a competitive 12.99%. Standard among BMO cards is complimentary damage and theft protection for new items bought with the Preferred Rate card, plus extended manufacturers’ warranties by up to one more year. These benefits are all available to cardholders for the low annual fee of $20.

Learn more about the BMO Preferred Rate MasterCard here

Best BMO Air Miles Credit Card

BMO Air Miles World Elite MastercardBMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
good_excellent
– Min personal income required: $80000
– Annual fees: $120

BMO has an excellent relationship with the Air Miles program and can therefore offer some of the best Air Miles cards in Canada. They demonstrate this handily with their Air Miles World Elite Mastercard, which introduces new cardholders with a 3000-Air Mile bonus, and $120 annual fee waiver. After the first year, the relatively high annual fee is no longer waived, but the card’s benefits will have already proven why it’s more than worthwhile. Cardholders earn Air Miles at a fast rate of 1 per $10 spent, which can be spent on excellent travel rewards and airfare anywhere in the world.

One of the best perks of the World Elite card is its Priority Pass membership to airport lounges worldwide. Members receive two free vouchers to enter the lounge per year—a $150 value that already covers the annual fee and then some. Applicants need $80000 personal annual income to be eligible, given the higher-tier perks. The card’s advantages also include comprehensive travel and medical insurance, with 15 consecutive days of out-of-province coverage for up to $2 million.

Those who spend $4,000 per month on the card will earn 7,800 Air Miles in their first year. That’s already enough for a flight from Toronto all the way to Honolulu. A standard BMO benefit is the addition of purchase protection and extended warranties on items purchased with the Air Miles World Elite card. Last, but not least, cardholders can earn 2 Air Miles on purchases made at Air Miles sponsors across Canada.

Learn more about the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

Best BMO Credit Cards for Groceries

BMO Sobeys MastercardBMO Sobeys Air Miles Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
fair_good
– Min personal income required: $15000
– Annual fees: $0

For cardholders who spend a lot on groceries and love travelling inexpensively, BMO offers the Sobeys Air Miles Mastercard. You’ll receive 800 Air Miles just for one initial purchase, even something as small as a pack of gum or candy bar. Earning Air Miles on the most common purchases is where the card’s strengths lie, especially for Sobeys and Foodland shoppers. At these staple Canadian grocery stores, cardholders earn 2 Miles for every $20 they spend. Accordingly, weekly grocery purchases for the family will therefore help pay for their summer vacation at the same time.

Even for non-grocery purchases, cardholders earn 1 Mile for every $20 they spend. Double Miles are earned at participating Air Miles program partners—places like Shell gas stations, Ace Hardware, Rexall pharmacies, and National Car Rental. These perks are made even more valuable given the absence of an annual fee.

Learn more about the BMO Sobeys Air Miles MasterCard here

BMO IGA MastercardBMO IGA Air Miles Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
fair_good
– Min personal income required: $15000
– Annual fees: $0

Using the BMO IGA Air Miles Mastercard means earning Air Miles quickly on one of the month’s largest expenses: food. Shoppers loyal to IGA will love that they’ll be able to earn 2 Air Miles for every $20 they spend at this grocery franchise, but just as valuable is their exemption from paying an annual fee. Cardholders will also earn Miles everywhere else they use the IGA Air Miles card, but on these other purchases, the rate is 1 Mile per $20 spent. At Air Miles sponsors across Canada—like Ace Hardware and Shell—Miles will accumulate twice as fast.

Like the Sobeys Air Miles Mastercard, the IGA card also rewards new cardholders with 800 welcome Miles, all for a single initial purchase. That’s a lot of value delivered immediately, and just one more reason why BMO is one of Canada’s best card issuers.

Learn more about the BMO IGA Air Miles MasterCard here

Best BMO Cash Back Credit Card

BMO World Elite Cash Back CardBMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
good_excellent
– Min personal income required: $80000
– Annual fees: $120 (first year free)

Combining a high cashback rate with all the valuable benefits of the World Elite label, BMO’s CashBack World Elite Mastercard is one of the bank’s best. The card has a steep annual fee of $120 (first year free), but the rate at which you can amass cash back outweighs it by a significant margin. If you spend $3,000 per month you’ll earn $840 cash back in the first year. This includes the generous welcome bonus of 5% cash back for the first 3 months, after which the rate is reduced to a still-competitive 1.5%.

However, as a World Elite card, the benefits don’t end there. BMO provides 8 days of out-of-province and country medical insurance coverage for up to $2 million, plus damage and collision coverage for rental cars. Purchases made with the card are also protected from damage and theft, and any item that has an original manufacturer’s warranty can get it extended by up to an additional year. These benefits are only available to applicants who can demonstrate an annual personal income of $80,000, or a $150,000 household income.

Learn more about the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard here

 

Article comments

4 comments
susan says:

Hello, Never held a BMO card before. Do you know if they ask for income verification, etc, or just require pickup in branch . Most likely would be for the Airmiles world elite . Carry Amex, RBC and TD & MBNA on a reg. basis

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Susan,

Generally, any card that has a minimum income requirement will also need to you verify your income to get approved for it. The BMO Air Miles World Elite card is no exception, as one of the best and most prestigious travel cards around. Your income should be $80,000, or $150,000 household combined income to get approved, and though some applicants can evade these requirements by having stellar credit or many assets (creditworthiness has many variables), the bank will absolutely want to check your income in any case.

You have a better chance at skirting income requirements when you want a card from a bank that you’re already a member of. As a known entity, the bank’s familiarity with you is a boon and will result in a better chance at being approved for upper-tier cards, so if you’re very short of the income requirement then try to find a similar card from your current bank(s) like MBNA or RBC.

GreedyRates

Fran friel says:

Is the elite point card or elite air miles better. I have the point card thinking it was a air mile card. Please advise ,thank you, regards Fran friel

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Fran,

Thanks for coming to us with questions about the differences between BMO’s Rewards World Elite card and its Air Miles World Elite card. If you applied for the Rewards card thinking that it was an Air Miles card, and now want to know what your options are, we’ll help you out. If you’re an Air Miles fan and desire miles exclusively, then your primary option is to call BMO and ask them to switch your card (we’re not sure if this will work). Considering that eligibility requirements for both are identical, the bank might just take mercy and swap your card for the one you want. Or, you can simply cancel it and reapply for the correct card.

However, keep in mind that in terms of the sum value delivered by their introductory bonuses, perks, and everyday earnings rates, the cards are nearly indistinguishable. The BMO Rewards points you earn at a rate of 2 per $1 spent is the equivalent of around 1.40% when redeeming on travel (airfare included, though it’s through BMO’s travel booking portal and not Air Miles), which is similar to the Air Miles card’s 1 mile per $10 spent. They also have identical access to VIP airport lounges. Basically, you can use the BMO World Elite card as a travel card, but if you love Air Miles, then it won’t live up to your standards. Let us know if you have any other questions—thanks!

GreedyRates Staff