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BMO Rewards Points Program

Published by My Rate Compass Team | Updated Aug 26, 2020
BMO Rewards Points Program

BMO Rewards Points review: How to get the most Out of Your BMO rewards Points

 

 

The Bank of Montreal, more commonly known as BMO, is Canada's oldest financial institution. Founded more than 200 years ago, BMO started out as a primarily commercial lenders intended to help business customers do business in and around Montreal.



BMO has since grown into a multinational bank, traded on both the Toronto and New York stock exchanges, that employs more than 45,000 people. BMO holds nearly $800 million in assets and serves more than 12 million customers.



Like many major banks, BMO offers a credit card rewards program. Today, we're going to take a look at that program in depth. So, keep reading to learn all about the specifics of BMO's rewards program, who it's for, and how it stacks up to the competition.



BMO Rewards Points Program Overview



Credit card rewards programs are a great way to add a little extra value to money that you would spend anyway. As we've seen, credit card loyalty programs aim to reward customers for making most or all of their transactions with a single credit card, instead of using cash, a debit card, or splitting purchases between various cards. They do this by awarding points based on the value of each purchase, then allowing customers to redeem those points for rewards such as travel, merchandise, or statement credits.



But something we haven't really looked at thus far is why banks offer rewards programs. Any reader of this site can pretty easily figure out that banks don't offer rewards programs out of pure kindness. Banks, rather, get something in return: the chance to charge interest on credit card purchases.



So, offering credit card rewards incentivizes more people to use the bank's credit cards, thereby making it more likely the bank will collect at least some interest from that customer.



In short, banks seek to get as many customers to use their credit cards as they can, and they use rewards programs as an incentive to attract and retain customers. The end result is a mutually beneficial relationship between the bank and the customer that ultimately helps the customers' dollars go a little further, provided the customers utilize prudent spending and money management techniques.



How to earn BMO Rewards Points



Earning BMO Rewards works like any other credit card rewards program. For every purchase made with an eligible BMO credit card, the customer receives a certain number of points based on the value of the purchase. These points accumulate in the customer's BMO rewards account until the customer redeems them for his or her chosen reward.



As of this writing, BMO offers four credit cards that allow customers to earn BMO Rewards points. We'll summarize the key features of each of BMO's eligible credit cards below.



1)  BMO World Elite Mastercard

  1. $150 annual fee; 19.99% interest rate
  2. Requires minimum annual income of $80,000 (personal) or $150,000 (household)
  3. 3 points per dollar spent on travel, entertainment, and dining
  4. 2 points per dollar on all other purchases
  5. Includes a complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences
  6. 2 bonus points per dollar on select rental car services
  7. Dedicated customer service center
  8. Comprehensive travel insurance, including travel health plan to cover up to $2 million in medical expenses incurred while traveling



2)  BMO Rewards Mastercard

  1. $0 annual fee; 19.99% interest rate
  2. No annual income requirement
  3. 1 point per dollar on every purchase
  4. 2 bonus points per dollar on select rental car services
  5. Extended warranties and purchase protection



3)  BMO Rewards Business Mastercard

  1. $120 annual fee; 14.99% interest rate
  2. No annual income requirement
  3. 3 points per dollar spent on gas, mobile phone and internet service bills, and office supplies
  4. 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases
  5. Travel insurance, including trip cancellation and rental car coverage
  6. Extended warranties and purchase protection



4)  BMO Rewards Commercial Mastercard

  1. $50 annual fee; unpublished interest rate
  2. Low 2-4% rate on cash advances
  3. Baggage, common carrier, and rental car insurance
  4. Extended warranties and purchase protection



All BMO Rewards credit cards allow customers to redeem their points for travel packages, hotels, flights, merchandise, gift cards, statement credits, or to make a charitable donation or deposit in their investment account. Additionally, BMO Rewards are subject to no blackout dates or seat restrictions, and customers can use their BMO Rewards points to cover travel taxes, fees, and surcharges.



BMO Rewards points value



Similarly to the RBC Rewards program, which we've looked at before, BMO Rewards point are assigned different values based on the class of reward for which they're redeemed. Likewise, BMO Rewards points are most valuable when redeemed for travel rewards, but they do not range in value as dramatically as RBC's rewards points. The value of BMO Rewards points, rather, remains relatively consistent whether they're redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards, or investments.



There are five main categories of rewards for which BMO customers can redeem their rewards points. These five classes are travel, investment, gift cards, merchandise, and experiences.



The figures below represent the cash value of BMO Rewards points for each class of reward:



-    Any travel booked through BMO Rewards: .71¢

-    Addition to BMO investment account: .67¢

-    Gift cards: .56¢

-    Merchandise: .54¢

-    Experience packages: .64¢



These figures indicate that making a purchase of $1,000 using an eligible BMO Reward credit card would reward the customer with between $5.40 and $7.10 of real-world purchasing power depending on the type of reward for which the points are redeemed.



How to redeem BMO Rewards Points



BMO's online baking portal makes tracking, managing, and redeeming BMO Rewards points simple and convenient. Customers begin by logging into their BMO rewards account. From there, customers can navigate to the BMO Rewards travel portal, the gift card shop, or to BMO's merchandise catalogue featuring a full selection of products from participating retailers to redeem their points for merchandise from some of the world's leading retailers in a variety of industries.



  • Redeem BMO Rewards points for travel



Customers have two options when it comes to redeeming their BMO Rewards points for travel-related rewards. The best option is to log into their BMO Rewards account and book all their travel online. This portal allows customers to book flights, trains, hotels, and rental cars. Customers can pay entirely with BMO Rewards points, including taxes, fees, and surcharges, if their points balance is large enough. Or, customers can elect to use points for part of their expenses and cover the difference with their BMO credit card.



The second option is to book travel over the phone. BMO maintains a Rewards Centre that allows customers to book travel through a BMO travel agent if the customer prefers human interaction. It's important to keep in mind, however, that BMO charges a booking fee of $29.95 for all travel booked through the BMO Rewards Centre.



  • Redeem BMO Rewards points for experience



Customers can redeem their BMO Rewards points for a variety of exciting and exclusive dining, shopping, and travel experiences. BMO's dining packages include experiences like a romantic dinner for two at Luci's in Toronto or an exclusive wine tasting at the Chateau des Charmes vineyard.



Customers can also redeem points for a relaxing spa experience, and for a variety of tours of some of Canada's leading attractions including the Vancouver Aquarium, a selection of Kelowna wineries, and the Howe Sound in British Columbia.



Booking these experiences, once again, is done through BMO's online portal.



  • Redeem BMO Rewards points for gift cards and merchandise



BMO also allows customers to redeem their rewards points for gift cards and merchandise, although customers will take a slight hit with respect to the value of their BMO Rewards points when redeemed for these classes of rewards.



To redeem points for merchandise or gift cards, customers again begin by logging into their BMO Rewards account. From there, they simply navigate to the BMO Rewards catalogue, browse and select products, then check out when they're all done. And if you don't have quite enough points for the product you've selected, BMO offers its Points Top-Up program, which allows customers to use their credit card to purchase the additional points they need.



Notably, customers can also use BMO's Rewards Centre to redeem their points for merchandise with the help of a BMO agent. But here, too, it's important to point out that BMO charges a $10 redemption fee per item redeemed through the Rewards Centre. BMO waives the redemption fee for items redeemed through their online portal.



  • Other redemption options-investments and charitable donations



Finally, BMO allows its customers to redeem their rewards points for a contribution to their BMO investment account, to purchase a BMO financial product like a GIC, or to make a donation to a participating charity. This means that customers can redeem a minimum of 15,000 rewards points for a $100 addition to their RRSP or BMO savings account.



Getting the Most Out of Your BMO rewards Points



BMO Rewards points go the furthest when redeemed for travel-related rewards such as flights, hotels, and transportation. But they go almost as far when redeemed to make an addition to a BMO investment account or to purchase a BMO financial product.



It's also important to keep in mind that dining, entertainment, and travel purchases made with the World Elite Mastercard earn triple points, so making sure to use that card for those classes of purchases will ensure customers maximize their points earning potential.



To ensure their points go the furthest, customers should book all their travel and order all their merchandise online in order to avoid the $29.95 telephone booking fee for travel and $10 redemption fee for merchandise.



How BMO Rewards Compares to Other Loyalty Programs



The BMO Rewards program stacks up fairly well to its competition. The ability to use points to book travel without blackout dates or restrictions provides the flexibility that customers have come to expect, and the fact that BMO Rewards points pretty much maintain their value when redeemed for financial and investment products is a notable difference from BMO's competitors.



Our review today indicates that BMO Rewards points are less valuable per point than the points of other rewards programs in that their real world purchasing power tops out at .71¢ per point. But BMO points have a couple notable advantages over other programs that are worth focusing on.



  • Pros and cons



First the BMO World Elite Mastercard allows customers to earn triple points on some purchases, whereas the cards of other programs often max out at 2 points per dollar spent. Additionally, some purchases made with a BMO credit card are eligible to earn bonus points. These incentives could allow users to accumulate enough additional points to make up for the fact that each point is worth a little less than a point in a different rewards program.



The downside, as we've mentioned, is that BMO rewards points overall are worth less per point when redeemed for comparable benefits.



Conclusion



Customers that already maintain investment or savings accounts with BMO Financial will likely find it worth their time to use a BMO credit card to make everyday purchases. While there are rewards programs that offer more valuable point-for-point travel benefits, BMO's World Elite Mastercard allows users to earn triple points on select purchases, double points on all other purchases, and bonus points on others, all for a relatively low annual fee. Additionally, the exclusive experiences offered by BMO Rewards help set it apart from its competition.



FAQ's



  • How Do I Log In to My BMO rewards Account?



Customers log in to their BMO Rewards account a www.bmorewards.com.



  • How to contact BMO Rewards?



Customers can contact BMO Rewards electronically through their online portal or over the phone through the BMO Rewards Centre.



  • Can BMO rewards Be transferred?



In general, no. Customers can only transfer their rewards into the BMO investment account by redeeming points to make the equivalent of a cash deposit into the account.



  • Do BMO rewards Expire?



No. BMO Rewards points will not expire as long as BMO maintains its Rewards program.



  • How do I check my BMO rewards balance?



Customers can view their points balance through their online banking account.



  • Do BMO rewards cover taxes and fees?



Yes. Customers can use BMO Rewards points to cover all travel-related expenses, including taxes and fees.



  • Are there any blackout dates with BMO Rewards?



No. BMO Rewards points are subject to no blackout dates or seat restrictions, meaning customers can use points to travel how and when they want.



  • How do I earn BMO rewards faster?



Customers will earn points the fastest by using their enrolled credit card to make purchases that earn the most point, including dining, entertainment, gas, and mobile phone and internet service bills, depending on which card the customer is using.



  • How many BMO rewards points do I have to redeem for a flight?



As of this writing, it costs 14,000 rewards points to receive $100 toward a flight. So, if your roundtrip airfare costs $500, you would need to redeem 70,000 points to cover the entire cost of the trip.

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My Rate Compass is a Canadian personal finance portal helping consumers make the most informed financial decisions and take control of their finances through financial literacy. We offer tools, articles, and resources to inform, educate, and provide advice on credit cards, mortgages, loans, RSPs, GICs, TFSAs, bank accounts and credit scores.