Mastercard World vs World Elite

Mastercard World Elite or Mastercard World – Which Is Better and for Whom?

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Last updated on March 19, 2019 Views: 547 Comments: 0

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Today there seems to be a never-ending array of premium credit cards with enticing perks and rewards, and it can be tough to navigate your way around the fine print to figure out just what the heck you’re getting for your annual fee.

Among the most popular—if least clearly understood—Canadian credit card designations are the Mastercard World Elite and the Mastercard World programs. It’s easy to dismiss the addition of “World” and “Elite” as just an attention-getting, look-how-special-you-are gimmick. But there are differences between the two.

Mastercard World and Mastercard World Elite Comparison Chart

When I first got my BMO Air Miles World Mastercard a couple of years ago, I assumed that the Mastercard World moniker was just something the company threw on to add a sense of status to the card. Turns out that these Mastercard designations do correspond to higher-tier features, though they’re not necessarily consistent from one card to the next.

PerksWorld MastercardWorld Elite Mastercard
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Other Shopping Perks like Price ProtectionRare, inquire with providerRare, inquire with provider
Priceless CitiesVaries, inquire with provider
Travel Insurance Benefits Yes, but varies, inquire with providerYes, but varies, inquire with provider
Airport Lounge AccessRare at World level, inquire with providerFrequently offered, but access varies, inquire with provider

Though the basic Mastercard does have some potentially attractive perks (see below), the World Mastercard offers a lot more bells and whistles. To understand the added incentives Mastercard World provides, we need to first step back and check out what comes standard with most Mastercards.

Mastercard Standard Program

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Mastercard has three levels of credit cards: Standard, World and World Elite. A Standard Mastercard comes with a very low or no annual fee and offers a basic level of perks.

Unfortunately, unlike what appears to be the case with the American Mastercard program levels, the Canadian Mastercard tiers are not as strictly delineated. The Mastercard website is careful to list potential features of its Standards cards with the carefully crafted caveat “the selection of benefits on your card varies by card type and by card issuer. Contact your issuing financial institution for complete coverage terms and conditions.” In general, these are the most popular basic Mastercard offerings:

  • Zero Liability: You’re not liable if someone makes unauthorized purchases with your card.
  • Mastercard Global Service: You’ll have access to 24/7 emergency assistance in almost any language to help you with things like cancelling a stolen card, getting an emergency replacement card, locating an ATM and more.
  • Purchase Protection: Mastercard will reimburse you if an eligible item you charged to the card is damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase.
  • Extended Warranty: Mastercard will double the original manufacturer’s warranty of 12 months or less if you purchased the item with your Mastercard.
  • Price Protection: Not many people are aware of this a fantastic perk. With price protection if you find a lower price for an item you bought within 60 days from the purchase date, Mastercard will reimburse the price difference. NOTE: At the Standard level and even at the World and Elite Mastercard category, this perk is rare, but according to the Mastercard website, is indeed available for some standard cards, depending on your card issuer. Read here for more info.

It’s good to know that even if you don’t want to shell out for a hefty annual fee, Mastercard offers cardholders some quality basic benefits. Keep in mind, however, that you should consult your credit card provider to confirm what perks your card features.

Mastercard World Program

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Mastercard World is the second tier of Mastercard programs. Think of it as the middle child of Mastercard credit card offerings. In general, Mastercard World credit cards often (but not always!) come with an annual fee, usually of $99 or less. They also feature all the benefits of a standard Mastercard—zero liability, purchase protection and extended warranty—but add quite a few more perks to make the added fee worth it. These additions include:

Lifestyle Experiences

  • Priceless Cities: This experiential benefit gives Mastercard World holders the chance to enjoy (for an additional fee) exclusive, one-of-a-kind experiences in select cities around the world like a multi-course meal with a Michelin-starred chef or a VIP concert experience.
  • Concierge Services: Get your own personal assistant who can help you with things like making dinner reservations, shopping and restaurant suggestions, securing concert tickets and even arranging to buy and deliver gifts.
  • Special Offers: World Mastercard cardholders receive exclusive offers for things like discounts at select stores and rental card agencies, hotel upgrades and more.

Travel Insurance Benefits

This is where the more tangible perks of having a Mastercard World start to stand out and distinguish it from a Standard Mastercard.

  • Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver Insurance: If you pay for your rental with your Mastercard, it will cover you for damage and theft.
  • Travel Medical Insurance/Travel Accident and Emergency Medical Insurance: You, your spouse and your dependents are covered for any medical emergencies/death or dismemberment that occurs when you travel anywhere in the world.
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance: If your trip is interrupted or cancelled, you’ll be reimbursed.
  • Baggage Delay Insurance: You’ll be reimbursed for replacing personal or business items if your baggage is delayed.
  • Lost or Damaged Luggage Insurance: Reimburses you for either repairing or replacing your checked or carry-on baggage if it’s lost or damaged during your flight.
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance: You’ll be reimbursed for any personal property that’s stolen from a hotel or motel room.

Mastercard World Cards

BMO Cashback World Mastercard

BMO Cashback World Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
Fair-Good
– Min personal income required: $60000
– Annual fees: $79

A big selling point of this card is that’s it’s one of the few cards without an “Elite” designation that offers an airport lounge perk. Cardholders get a free LoungeKey membership (though you’ll have to pay $27US per visit). It also has worthwhile added incentives like roadside assistance, 3% cash back on all spending at Shell and as much as 25% off at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car.

It has an annual fee of $79 and gives you 1.25% cash back on all your purchases.

Click here to learn more about the BMO Cashback World Mastercard


BMO air miles world elite mastercard

BMO Air Miles World Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
Good-Excellent
– Min personal income required: $60000
– Annual fees: $99

Canadians love their Air Miles, and this card is especially popular because it quickly multiplies Air Miles earned. Cardholders get 1 Mile for every $15 spent, plus 1.25 Miles at Shell and 1.5 Miles at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car.

The card has a $99 annual fee, and additional cardholders can be added for $35 each annually (this is a great way to rack up Miles within, for instance, a family). Like the Cashback World Mastercard, the Air Miles World Mastercard provides a complimentary LoungeKey membership.

Click here to learn more about the BMO Air Miles World Mastercard

Mastercard World Elite Program

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In my opinion it’s debatable whether the Mastercard Elite category is inherently superior to its World counterpart, and the value of the designation really depends on the card it’s applied to. The World Elite Mastercard benefits include all those associated with the World Mastercard, such as extended warranty and purchase protection. They also feature similar travel insurance perks, though many may offer a few additional days of insurance protection and an increased monetary payout.

Aside from extra days and bigger monetary allowances for insurance coverage, the single biggest benefit of the “Elite” Mastercard category is airport lounge access, making the “Elite” program especially appealing for globetrotters. The other big difference between the two categories tends to be the annual fee. While not all World Elite cards come with a fee (check out the Rogers card below), most charge from $120 to $150.

Just remember, the same caveat applies as with Standard and World Mastercard credit cards: talk to your specific card issuer for the complete coverage terms and conditions of your specific card.

Mastercard World Elite Cards

BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard

BMO World Elite Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
Good-Excellent
– Min personal income required: $80000
– Annual fees: $150 first year free

The major distinguishing feature of this card is its airport access, which is the best I’ve seen in the World Elite category. You’ll get four complimentary passes annually via Mastercard Airport Experiences by LoungeKey. It also has generous travel insurance offering a full 21 days of emergency medical coverage if you’re under 65.

Presently it has a welcome offer of 50000 points and the $150 annual fee is waived in the first year. This card nets you 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining and entertainment spending and 2 points for all other spending.

Click here to learn more about the BMO World Elite Mastercard


Rogers World Elite Mastercard

Rogers World Elite Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
Poor-Fair
– Min personal income required: $80000
– Annual fees: $0 

The “wow” factor with this card is that it’s one of the few credit cards I’m aware of with a “World Elite” designation that has no annual fee. Also impressive is that you’ll get 4% unlimited cash back rewards on purchases in a foreign currency—this kind of FX perk is rare among Canadian credit cards, no matter their category.

You also get 2% cash back rewards on Rogers products and services and 1.75% on all other spending. You’ll earn $25 in cash back rewards when you make your first card purchase within 3 months.

The card comes with a LoungeKey membership, but you’ll have to pay an additional $27US every time you want access to a lounge.

Click here to learn more about the Rogers World Elite Mastercard


Desjardins Odyssey World Elite

Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
Fair-Good
– Min personal income required: $80000
– Annual fees: $130

This card is truly elite when it comes to its medical insurance, which is among the most generous in the industry. It offers $5,000,000 for 60 days of travel if you’re under 55, 31 days for those 56 to 64 and 15 days for 66 to 75-year olds. In terms of airport access, this is one of the most ho-hum World Elite Mastercards, however, because it only gets users access to the Desjardins Odyssey Lounge at the Montréal-Trudeau airport. Sadly, there’s no membership or access to any other network of airport lounges.

While there is no enticing welcome sign-up offer, the card has solid benefits of % in BONUSDOLLARS on your first $20,000 of annual spending and then 1.5% in BONUSDOLLARS afterwards.

Click here to learn more about the Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard

Is the Elite Lite on Benefits?

While the World Mastercard is certainly a step up from the Standard category, it’s up to each individual cardholder to decide if the benefits of being “Elite” are worth the extra fee that often comes with the program. For me, because I travel often and frequently endure long layovers, paying a little more for an Elite premium card with some form of airport lounge access is worth it.

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