Refreshed National Bank World Elite & Platinum Credit Cards

by | Published Sep 1, 2022 | Edited Sep 1, 2022


As of September 1, 2022, National Bank is refreshing both the National Bank World Elite Mastercard and the National Bank Platinum Mastercard. These changes involve modifications to earning rates, modifications to some existing benefits, and insurance updates. Some of these changes are favorable, while others may not be looked upon so favorably.

Let’s take a look at what is changing on these two National Bank credit cards.

National Bank World Elite Mastercard

The National Bank World Elite Mastercard is the flagship National Bank credit card, and most often the card that many individuals pursue within the miles and points community. Previously, it was known for offering outstanding insurance coverage and strong benefits to cardholders.

National Bank World Elite

The National Bank World Elite card 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.

Check out our National Bank World Elite review for more details about this card.

BONUS
0 À la carte Rewards
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$0+
ANNUAL FEE
$150 (FYF)
FOREX FEES
Yes

Does this value still exist in this card? Let’s review; below are the changes to this card.

Changes to À la carte Rewards Earning Rates

Before September 1st, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard earned points not based on categories, but on total spending during that cardholder year. Your cardholder year commences on the date that you are approved for the card.

This means that you would earn À la carte rewards points at the following rates:

  • 1.5 points per dollar for all purchases that occurred between $0 to $40,000 in total spend during your cardholder year
  • 2 points per dollar for all purchases that occurred between $40,001 to $80,000 in total spend during your cardholder year
  • 1.5 points per dollar for all purchases that occurred after reaching $80,000 in total spend during your cardholder year 

Cardholders also receive an additional 1.5 À la carte rewards points for all eligible purchases made via the À la carte Travel Agency, regardless of total spending for the year.

This previous structure rewarded high spenders since you would need to spend at least $40,000 on your card during a cardholder year to start earning at the highest possible rate. For the large majority of consumers, this simply isn’t attainable and as such, they may have chosen a credit card with a different financial institution if they are looking to maximize their rewards and return on their spending.

As of September 1st, the card is now moving to a new structure that sees cardholders earning points based on the category of spend, which is fairly typical of almost all credit cards in Canada. The new earning rates are as follows:

  • Groceries and restaurants:
    • 5 points per dollar spent when the total gross monthly amount charged to the credit card, regardless of the category, is between $0 and $2,500
    • 2 points per dollar spent when the total gross monthly amount charged to the credit card, regardless of the category, is over $2,500
  • Gas and electric vehicle charging purchases: 2 points per dollar spent
  • Recurring bill payments: 2 points per dollar spent
  • À la carte Travel Agency purchases: 2 points per dollar spent
  • All other purchases: 1 point per dollar spent

The most interesting change is how the grocery category works. What this means is that if you charge a $2,500 non-grocery bill to your National Bank World Elite card, you will only receive 2 points per dollar spent on all future grocery purchases in that billing period.

national bank world elite grocery purchase points

This means that the greatest value lies in using this card for grocery purchases when the total monthly spend is less than $2,500 since that will result in a 5% rate of return (as we value À la carte rewards as 1 cent per point). If you have spent more than $2,500 in the billing period, you would be better off using any of the other strong grocery cards in Canada, such as the Scotiabank American Express Gold or the American Express Cobalt.

Travel Expense Reimbursements

One of the greatest benefits of this card is the travel expense reimbursement perk. This perk allowed cardholders to claim specific expenses related to travel for reimbursement in the form of a statement credit once the transaction was posted to their World Elite credit card.

Before September 1st, the card offered up to $250 in reimbursed travel expenses per calendar year. This $250 was combined from a few different eligible expenses:

  • Airport parking (up to a maximum reimbursement of $100)
  • Baggage fees (up to a maximum reimbursement of $100)
  • Seat selection (up to a maximum reimbursement of $50)

These credits are very easy to take advantage of and easily covered the $150 annual fee, and ultimately left cardholders $100 in profit. This credit got even better when you realize that it is awarded per calendar year, meaning you can double dip and essentially earn an easy $500 statement credit (with a net profit of $350) within your first cardholder year.

airplane seat selection fee reimbursement

As of September 1st, the card now offers up to $150 in reimbursement for travel expenses per calendar year. This $150 is still combined from a few different expense categories, however, there is now no maximum per category. The new list of eligible expenses are:

  • Airport parking
  • Baggage fees
  • Seat selection
  • Access to airport lounges
  • Airline ticket upgrades

This means that the annual fee is covered completely if you use this credit to its full extent. Similarly, double dipping during the first calendar year will earn you $300 total (with a net profit of $150) which is still substantial.

In my opinion, this change is a positive for your everyday average cardholder who wants a credit that is easy to redeem with minimal complications. For those of us who know how to min-max the system and get the most out of our cards, this is a net loss of $200.

Changes to Insurance Coverage

In addition to the changes to the earning rates and travel expense reimbursement credit, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard is also seeing some minor changes to their insurance coverage related to mobile device insurance and personal effects aboard rental vehicles.

Before September 1st, this card did not offer mobile device insurance. As of September 1st, the World Elite credit card offers mobile device insurance up to $1,000 in the event of breakage, loss, or theft for a maximum of 2 years after the purchase date. In order to take advantage of this insurance, the full cost of the mobile device will need to be charged to this card.

Before September 1st, this card offered up to $2,000 in coverage for personal effects (e.g. personal property) aboard a rental vehicle. As of September 1st, this coverage has been removed completely as there is no longer any coverage for personal effects aboard a rental vehicle.

National Bank Platinum Mastercard

The National Bank Platinum Mastercard is an entry-level credit card that has no minimum income requirements and a modest annual fee.

National Bank Platinum

The National Bank Platinum card earns À la Carte Rewards and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 2x À la Carte points on grocery purchases.

BONUS
0 À la carte Rewards
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$0+
ANNUAL FEE
$89 (FYF)
FOREX FEES
Yes

Below are the changes to this card.

Changes to À la carte Rewards Earning Rates

Before September 1st, this card offered a basic point earning system in which all purchases were coded as 1 point per dollar spent, except for any À la carte travel agency purchases which were coded as 2 points per dollar spent.

As of September 1st, the Platinum Mastercard is also moving toward a rewards structure that issues points based on the category of spend. The new earning rates are as follows:

  • Groceries and restaurants:
    • 2 points per dollar spent when the total gross monthly amount charged to the credit card, regardless of the category, is between $0 and $1,000
    • 1.5 points per dollar spent when the total gross monthly amount charged to the credit card, regardless of the category, is over $1,000
  • Gas and electric vehicle charging purchases: 1.5 points per dollar spent
  • Recurring bill payments: 1.5 points per dollar spent
  • À la carte Travel Agency purchases: 1.5 points per dollar spent 
  • All Other purchases: 1 point per $1.50 spent

Similar to the World Elite card changes above, the grocery spending bracket needs to be paid attention to if you want to maximize the rate of return for any grocery purchases made on the card.

Changes to Insurance Coverage

The National Bank Platinum Mastercard is seeing changes to quite a few of its insurance coverages, including mobile device insurance, trip cancellation insurance, trip interruption insurance, and personal effects aboard rental vehicles.

Before September 1st, this card did not offer mobile device insurance. As of September 1st, the World Elite credit card offers mobile device insurance up to $1,000 in the event of breakage, loss, or theft for a maximum of 2 years after the purchase date. In order to take advantage of this insurance, the full cost of the mobile device will need to be charged to this card.

Before September 1st, this card offered trip cancellation insurance for up to $1,250 per insured person, per trip. As of September 1st, this card still offers trip cancellation insurance however it has been reduced to $1,000 per insured person, per trip.

international departures delayed and cancelled flights

Before September 1st, this card offered trip interruption insurance for up to $2,500 per insured person, per trip. As of September 1st, this card still offers trip interruption insurance however it has been reduced to $1,500 per insured person, per trip.

Before September 1st, this card offered up to $2,000 in coverage for personal effects (e.g. personal property) aboard a rental vehicle. As of September 1st, this coverage has been removed completely as there is no longer any coverage for personal effects aboard a rental vehicle.

Thoughts on These Changes

As with any refresh of credit products, there are both positive and negative changes. Let’s look at all of the changes to each card and see where we land.

World Elite Changes

When it comes to the National Bank World Elite Mastercard refresh, overall I think the changes are positive when we consider that the card is moving towards targeting a different audience.

I like the changes to the rewards earning rate, since moving to categories makes it much easier to understand and take advantage of the increased categories (sans the slightly confusing grocery and restaurant category which may take less-savvy cardholders a few reviews to understand). 5 points per dollar spent on groceries and restaurants is highly competitive in Canada so this card may be great to keep in your wallet for those purchases alone.

The reduction of the travel expense reimbursement credit by $100 is unfortunate for churners looking to maximize their return per card approval, but it should be easier to redeem now for all cardholders. I do like that the credit is no longer capped by category, but can instead be redeemed on whatever ancillary travel expense is most useful to the cardholder.

More cards seem to be offering mobile insurance coverage so that change aligns with what we are seeing in the market.

Platinum Changes

On the other hand, I have mixed feelings about the National Bank World Elite Platinum Mastercard refresh. I like the changes to the rewards earning rate, since moving to a category-based approach is more robust and should result in a higher earning rate across all purchases.

On the other hand, the insurance changes are a net negative, even with the addition of mobile device insurance. The decreased eligibility amount on multiple coverages, in addition to the removal of the personal effects coverage for rental vehicles, does not build a strong value proposition for the Platinum card.

Overall Thoughts

Both cards still offer their best-in-class extended warranty insurance coverage which we are a big fan of at Frugal Flyer. For overall value, if you are interested in a National Bank credit card I still recommend the World Elite version as the value is still very strong compared to many other cards in Canada.

Additionally, the A la Carte Rewards program is still very easy to redeem points in, further driving the value of these cards post-changes.

Conclusion

I always think it is exciting when financial institutions take a look at their existing credit products to determine if they are meeting both consumer and market needs. Overall, I think these changes will be appreciated by the average consumer since they have simplified things overall when considering the broader Canadian market.

If you are interested in either of these credit cards, Frugal Flyer offers cash back rebates for successful applications.  Click here to learn more and apply.

Hugh Campbell

Hugh Campbell

Senior Editor at Frugal Flyer
Hugh has been involved in the miles and points game since 2015 but has scaled up his knowledge and points-earning potential in recent years. In 2019, Hugh stepped things up when he met Reed in addition to a few other miles and points fanatics (err degenerate churners) and has since been able to capitalize on the various expertise that each member brings to the group.

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