BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard Review

Sign Up Bonus Points
minimum spend of $3,000 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee
first year free
Purchase Interest Rate
Min Personal Income Required
Recommended Credit Score
740 850 670 739 580 669 0 579
Get up to 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles and we’ll waive the $120 annual fee for the first year*.

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, Rona, Children’s Place, Staples, Alamo, and Transat. 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)
  • 3,000-Mile sign up bonus
  • Earn 1 Air Mile per $10 spent at all merchants
  • Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey with two free annual passes
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included
  • 15% discount on Air Miles flights within North America
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • $80,000 personal/$150,000 household income to qualify

Sign-Up Bonus

The sign up bonus of 3,000 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. Since 95 Cash Miles can be redeemed directly for $10 at participating stores, that means the 3000 Miles are worth about $315.

Alternatively, you can opt to have those miles earned as Dream Miles. With 3,000 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

With the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard, cardholders earn 1 Mile for every $10 in credit card purchases. This earn rate applies to all merchants. Other Air Miles Mastercards on the market only generate 1 mile per $15 or $20 spent, so you’re getting the best bang for your buck with the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard.

As an added bonus, you get a 15% discount on Air Miles flights within North America.

Airport Lounge Access

As a BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard cardholder, you’ll get a free membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey and two annual complimentary passes which can be used at 1,200+ lounges. The value of this membership and passes is about $163 USD ($205 CAD) which more than makes up for the card’s $120 annual fee (and remember that the annual fee for the first year is waived).

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 3,000 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.

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Article comments

ALI says:

can you please advise about Costco Canada earn rate with this card?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey ALI,

Thanks for leaving a comment with us at GreedyRates. If you’re a Costco shopper and want to pick up the awesome BMO Air Miles World Elite card, then you’ll want to know how many Miles you’ll get with this card versus with others. Since the BMO Air Miles World Elite only has one flat rate on all purchases, Costco expenses will collect at that same pace: 1 Mile per $10 spent (around 1.00% back).

This may not end up being the best card for Costco. For more options in the same category as well as others that reward cash back, check out our dedicated page on the best cards for Costco in 2019—and let us know if anything piques your interest!


Carly says:

Many black out dates and black out resorts that can’t be booked with air miles. Frustrating to be only infrequently able to book flights with airlines.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Carly, thanks for your comment. We understand your frustration, and this is why cards that are exempt from blackout dates top our travel list. Unfortunately, the requirement of booking through Air Miles on the BMO World Elite card only adds another potentially complicating factor to travel. We can make some other recommendations for you:

If you truly want the ultimate freedom to travel on whatever airline you want, as well as have your choice of hotels, there is no substitute for the Scotia Gold Amex. You can simply book any travel arrangements you like and pay for them later with the card’s points. To learn more you can read our full Scotia Gold Amex review.

If Amex isn’t for you, try the TD First Class Travel Infinite card. It has no travel blackout dates, allows you to apply your points to travel-related purchases, and your points will never expire. If you book through Expedia, which has a huge array of travel options, you earn even more points. While it will force you to abandon the Air Miles program, it doesn’t seem like you’re very attached to it. Let us know if we can help any further. You can learn more by reading our full review of the TD First Class Visa Infinite card.

GreedyRates Staff

Andrew says:

Hi greedyrates,

Good job on covering all these cards, but your article is wrong on point 1. You don’t get 3000 AIR MILES on your first purchase. You get 1000 after the first purchase and 2000 after you spend $3000 in the first 3 months. That’s quite different, please fix this.


GreedyRates says:

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your comment, we appreciate the feedback 🙂 The article has now been updated.

GreedyRates Staff

Rena Van Steele says:

Yep me too. It is very misleading. Says you get 3000 airmiles but when you get the card it is something very different. This makes me very mad about this kind of false misleading advertising to get you to purchase their product. Sounds illegal to me but I am sure they have it all nicely in the 32 pages of so fine print I cannot read it,…other things to read.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Rena,

Thanks for calling attention to the criteria that cardholders must meet before earning the 3,000 bonus Air Miles offered via the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard. In our article above and on BMO’s official page for the card you’ll find that cardholders who want the full bonus will need to spend $3,000 total within their first three months. After making just a single initial purchase (even just a pack of gum) you’ll earn the first 1,000 miles, and then the 2,000 additional miles come after you’ve met the $3,000 milestone.

The other perks on the card like the companion flight rebate or first year annual fee waiver come regardless of any spending goals. This information is freely available on the comprehensive one-pager site that BMO provides, but we always recommend that applicants read into the fine print regarding things like promotions, insurance, and other perks. If you missed the spending goal and your Air Miles bonus, remember that you’ll definitely get at least 1,000, and continue earning them on your everyday purchases!