National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®: My Choice for Travel Insurance

national-bank-world-elite-best-for-travel-insurance

As I’ve written about several times before, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® credit card. I firmly believe this is one of the most underappreciated credit cards in Canada (or at least underappreciated in Western Canada).

National Bank World Elite Mastercard

The National Bank World Elite Mastercard earns À la Carte Rewards points and offers cardholders benefits such as $150 in annual travel credits and access to the National Bank VIP lounge in the YUL International terminal. Due to its stellar travel insurance and purchase protection benefits, we deemed this card the Best Overall Insurance Credit Card of 2024.

Check out our National Bank World Elite Mastercard review for more details.

BONUS
0 À la carte Rewards
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$-150+
ANNUAL FEE
$150
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

One of the strongest benefits of this card in particular is its travel insurance coverage. Not only is the coverage competitive and consistently amongst the strongest in Canada across the board, but it’s also among the most flexible. Furthermore, in my experience, their insurance department is easier to deal with than most. 

In this article, I detail why the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® shouldn’t be overlooked by frequent travelers, whether you fly on award redemptions, cash fares, or both.

Reason #1: Strong Overall Coverage

The National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® provides a comprehensive travel insurance package to its cardholders. Importantly, this includes out-of-province medical insurance, flight cancelation and trip interruption insurance, flight delay insurance, and stolen or lost luggage insurance.

When compared with other competitive travel insurance offerings from World Elite and Visa Infinite credit cards, the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® outshines most of its direct competition and even competes with higher tier premium cards (for example the Amex Platinum card). 

To illustrate this point, in the section below we outline each component of the travel insurance protection offered by the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® and compare it with some benchmarks from other prominent Canadian credit cards.

Reason #2: Coverage Applies to Award Redemptions

With the majority of credit cards, booking a flight with points excludes you from credit card insurance coverage. Many credit card insurance terms and conditions will state that the entire cost of the trip must be charged to the card for the insurance to apply. For example, look at the terms of the Flight Delay Insurance on the American Express Platinum card.

flight-delay-insurance-fully-charge-ticket-to-the-card

However, with a select few credit cards, the insurance will still apply even if only a portion of the trip or flight cost (for example the taxes and fees) is charged to the card. The National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® is one of a few elite cards that offer this flexible coverage. 

What this means is that if, like me, you frequently book flights with Aeroplan points, paying the taxes and fees with your National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® would make you eligible for most of the card’s travel insurance coverages. 

This is a big factor in my decision to use this card frequently when making award bookings, as having the peace of mind of knowing you’re covered by a strong insurance policy and not having to potentially pay for external coverage through something like AMA or Allianz is a huge benefit.

Reason #3: Stellar Customer Service

Although anecdotal, I’ve personally found the customer service for the insurance department of National Bank to be an overwhelmingly positive experience. Having dealt with several other insurance agencies associated with other cards through the COVID pandemic, I can’t often say this.

On my recent trip to Ireland for example, I found the car rental agency attempting to force me to pay for their collision damage coverage and not allowing me to use my credit card coverage due to a ‘national policy’. They claimed I had to provide a letter from my credit card company stating that the insurance was valid in the Republic of Ireland. I found it convenient that they requested this only once I was there in person and anxious to get driving, rather than the many months prior when I had booked the car.

Anyways, I was able to call the number on the back of my National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® and be redirected to an insurance agent. From there, the agent was able to generate the required letter for me and email it to the insurance company, all within the span of about 5 minutes.   

While I have yet to make an insurance claim with National Bank, this experience gives me hope that it would be a much smoother process than I’ve experienced in the past.

Coverage Offered by the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®

Please remember to consult the insurance certificate for complete details and to confirm all information as it pertains to your specific situation.

Out-of-Province Hospital Medical Insurance

For emergency medical care required while outside your province of residence, the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® has you covered for up to $5,000,000 per person per trip. There are a number of medical expense categories some of which have their own coverage limits. You can find these details in the insurance certificate.  

The trip length or term is dependent on age as follows: 

  • Age 54 and under: 60 days
  • Age 55 to 64: 31 days
  • Age 65 to 75: 15 days
  • 76 and over: no coverage

If the length of the trip exceeds the maximum number of days, no coverage is offered for that trip (ie. on a 64 day trip, you, unfortunately, wouldn’t be covered at all, rather than only receiving coverage for the first 60 days).

This coverage applies to the primary cardholder, a spouse traveling with the primary cardholder, and any accompanying dependent child. Importantly, to be eligible for this insurance, you must also reside in Canada and be covered by the province of residence’s public health and hospitalization insurance at the time the trip was booked and for its entire duration.

When you stack the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® up against other strong travel insurance cards, including the very premium Scotiabank Platinum American Express card, it holds its own, even being superior in some respects as evident in the table below.

National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®Scotiabank Platinum American Express CardBrim World Elite Mastercard
Coverage Maximum$5,000,000$2,000,000$5,000,000
Longest Term60 days 
(up to age 54)
31 days15 days
Term for 65+15 days 
(up to age 75)
10 days3 days
Covers Spouse and Dependents✔️✔️✔️

Of note, this coverage automatically applies as a World Elite cardholder – you do not need to charge any portion of your trip to the card to be granted coverage. Do read the complete list of inclusions and exclusions prior to your trip as there are other medical exclusions that should be noted.

Trip Cancellation/Delay or Interruption Insurance

Another big insurance topic is trip cancellation and trip interruption. Trip cancellation is defined as a trip being canceled before departure, whereas trip interruption is defined as the trip being interrupted after departure.

There are numerous different events and circumstances where the coverage can apply, including, illness, injury, or hospitalization of the insured or a family member, disasters, travel advisories, loss of employment, passport theft, and more (see the insurance certificate for full criteria). 

In the case of cancellation, you are covered for up to $2,500 per insured person, whereas in the case of interruption, you are covered for up to $5,000 per insured person. There are a number of allowable expense categories for each, including:

Trip Cancellation ExpensesTrip Interruption Expenses
The nonrefundable portion of prepaid travel arrangements for a canceled tripNon-refundable portion of prepaid travel arrangements for a trip
Additional transportation expensesAdditional travel expenses for delays during the trip or on the return journey
Accommodation expensesSubsistence expenses (up to $250 per day and $3,000 total per insured)
Subsistence expenses incurred due to a departing flight delay (up to $250 per day and $500 total per insured)Return of deceased

Note that this list is non-exhaustive, and the above benefits apply in the case of the trip cost being charged in full or partially to the card. 

Compared with other strong travel insurance credit cards, the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® stacks up well on this type of insurance, offering similar or better coverage amounts and more flexible eligibility criteria than flagship cards from HSBC, Scotiabank, and American Express.

National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®HSBC World Elite MastercardScotiabank Platinum American Express CardThe Platinum Card from American Express
Coverage Maximum for Trip Cancelation$2,500 per insured person$2,000 per insured person

(max of $5,000 combined)
$2,500 per insured person 

(max of $10,000 combined)
$2,500 per insured person 

(max of $5,000 combined)
Coverage Maximum for Trip Interruption$5,000 per insured person$2,000 per insured person

(max of $5,000 combined)
$5,000 per insured person 

(max of $25,000 combined)
$2,500 per insured person 

(max of $6,000 combined)
Covers Spouse and Dependent Children✔️✔️✔️✔️
Coverage when only portion of trip cost charged to the account✔️

(Must charge 75% of the trip cost to the card)


(Must charge 75% of the trip cost to the card)


(Must charge 100% of the trip cost to the card)

Delayed Flight Insurance

One subset of the aforementioned trip cancellation/delay insurance protection is departing flight delay insurance. This is a very common situation and one that can cause a lot of grief for travelers when airlines refuse to compensate appropriately. 

As we’ve written about previously, airlines are bound by APPR and are required to compensate you in the case of flight delays and cancellations where they are at fault. Airlines often try to skirt out of compensating appropriately. 

While credit card insurance can’t entirely replace APPR compensation, it can help cover expenses you must incur when flight delays happen, including subsistence expenses.

The National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® will provide coverage of $250 per day per insured person to a total of $500 per insured person for a departing flight delay of 4 hours or more. Covered expenses include accommodation and meals, transportation expenses, and essential telephone calls.

Let’s see how this stacks up against other strong credit cards.

National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®HSBC World Elite MastercardScotiabank Platinum American Express CardThe Platinum Card from American Express
Maximum expense amount per insured person$500

($250 per day)
$500

($250 per day)
$1,000$1,000
Minimum flight delay4 hours6 hours4 hours4 hours
Allowable subsistence expensesAccommodation, meals, transportation, telephoneAccommodation, meals, 
essential items
Accommodation, meals, 
essential items
Accommodation, meals, 
sundry items
Covers Spouse and Dependent Children✔️✔️✔️✔️
Coverage when only portion of trip cost charged to the account✔️

(Must charge 75% of the ticket cost to the card)


(Must charge 75% of the ticket cost to the card)


(Must charge 100% of the ticket cost to the card)

The National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® edges out its strong competitor in the HSBC World Elite, although offering lower maximum coverage amounts than some more premium cards like the Scotia Platinum or Amex Platinum.

Stolen or Lost Luggage Insurance

With the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®, the cardholder and travel companions are covered in the case of delayed, lost, damaged, or stolen baggage for up to a maximum of $1,000 per person per trip. 

This includes coverage of essential items in the case of delayed baggage, or the cost to reimburse damage or loss to checked or carry-on baggage. Limits to the maximum coverage depend on the type of incident:

Delayed BaggageLost, Damaged or Stolen baggage
“If the total cost of a common carrier journey during a trip was charged to the account and baggage checked with the carrier is delayed 6 hours or more before the scheduled date of return, the insurer will reimburse any essential purchases (including clothing and toiletries) up to a maximum of $500 per person.”“The benefit payable is limited to the cost of the item, up to a maximum of $250 per item. If the lost, damaged or stolen item is part of a collection or a set, only the value of the individual item is covered. Replacement fees for lost, damaged or stolen travel documents required for the trip (e.g., passport, driving permit, birth certificate or travel visa) are covered in aggregate up to a total of $50.”

As always, there are exclusions to the types of items covered and the specific circumstances under which no benefit is payable. Read the full insurance package for full details.

You can compare this coverage with that offered by other competitor credit cards in the table below.

National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®HSBC World Elite MastercardScotiabank Gold American Express Card
Delayed Baggage – Amount$500 per person$200 per trip$1,000 per trip
Delayed Baggage – Required Delay6 hours6 hours4 hours
Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Baggage – Amount$250 per item

(maximum of $1,000 per person)
$500 per item

(maximum of $1,000 per person)
$1,000
Coverage when only portion of trip cost charged to the account✔️

(Must charge 75% of the ticket cost to the card)


(Must charge 100% of the ticket cost to the card)

Vehicle Rental Insurance (Local or Abroad)

Renting a car abroad can be a stressful experience. Driving in a new place with a vehicle you’re not familiar with, it’s normal to be fearful of the worst happening, which is what insurance is for in the first place.

Car rental keys changing hands.

At the same time, car rental agencies can be really shady to deal with, and the idea of having an accident abroad and then being at the mercy of an insurance agency stationed in a foreign country is quite intimidating.

This is why I personally have always preferred to opt out of the car rental agency’s collision damage waiver (CDW) / loss damage waiver (LDW) insurance and instead opt into the insurance coverage provided by my credit card.

With the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®, you can be covered for potential damages up to $65,000 MSRP, to the rental vehicle in the case of accidents, fire, theft, or vandalism. Furthermore, you are covered for charges for towing and fees charged by the rental agency for loss of use of the vehicle.

For this coverage to be eligible, you must charge the rental costs entirely to the credit card, no partial charges are allowed here. 

Also, note that this coverage does not include public liability insurance, and a number of other exclusions apply, including the vehicle type (for example,  trucks,  trailers, and off-road vehicles are not covered).

National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®BMO Ascend World Elite MastercardAmerican Express Cobalt Card
Maximum MSRP covered$65,000$65,000$85,000
Maximum rental period48 days48 days48 days
Personal effects coverageNone$1,000 per person 

(maximum of $2,000)
None
Coverage when only portion of the cost charged to the account✔️

The National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® coverage for rental vehicles is good, but there are a few cards out there that edge it out in some respects.

For example, the BMO Ascend World Elite offers personal effects coverage and a more flexible stipulation for charging only part of the rental costs to the card. Meanwhile, the American Express Cobalt card uniquely insures a higher MSRP than most other cards in Canada.

Sign Up Now: Welcome Bonus

[DEPRECIATED]: The welcome offer on the National Bank World Elite ended as of June 30, 2023. Keep an eye out for future offers on this card.

If you’re considering signing up for the National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®, now is a great time. The card currently comes with a welcome bonus of up to 70,000 À la Carte Rewards points and offers cardholders benefits such as $150 in annual travel credits, along with the annual fee reimbursed in the first year, through our exclusive offer link.

National Bank World Elite Mastercard

The National Bank World Elite Mastercard earns À la Carte Rewards points and offers cardholders benefits such as $150 in annual travel credits and access to the National Bank VIP lounge in the YUL International terminal. Due to its stellar travel insurance and purchase protection benefits, we deemed this card the Best Overall Insurance Credit Card of 2024.

Check out our National Bank World Elite Mastercard review for more details.

BONUS
0 À la carte Rewards
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$-150+
ANNUAL FEE
$150
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

Conclusion

The National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard® is a strong card on many levels. With a high earning rate of 5 À la carte rewards points per dollar spent on groceries and restaurants, it even makes our list of best credit cards for grocery purchases in Canada.

But one of the most standout features that drives me to use the card on travel purchases is the insurance benefits package, which is competitive in all categories and even best-in-class in some. Couple this with the flexibility to be covered when making award bookings and you’ve got a winning combination.

Reed Sutton

Reed Sutton

Founder at Frugal Flyer
Reed is addicted to the art of earning and redeeming travel points, and frequently pairs his trips with his other hobby: photography. Through Frugal Flyer, Reed aims to distill some of the complex and esoteric points strategies into digestible information. Furthermore, he hopes to use his technical expertise to develop invaluable applications and tools for the travel community.

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3 comments on “National Bank® World Elite® Mastercard®: My Choice for Travel Insurance

  1. If i get Covid while Im travelling will my basic insurance cover .If there is a need of hospitalization

    Reply
    • What do you mean by ‘basic insurance’? If you mean the out-of-province hospital medical insurance offered by credit cards, it depends on the card. Check the certificate of insurance details or call in to confirm. But also FYI medical insurance offered by credit cards is typically separate from award travel in that you don’t need to have charged the trip/flight/hotels to the card. So you could look to any of your credit cards to see if this coverage is offered.

      Reply
  2. HSBC may be lacking in some coverage, but they are the only card to offer out of province medical insurance for cardholders over 65 for a maximum of 21 days.

    Reply