We’ve reviewed a lot of cards here at Frugal Flyer, mostly focusing on the big banks (BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD) and their subsidiaries (eg. Tangerine, Simplii Financial). One entity we’ve neglected is National Bank, which is no slouch as it is the 6th largest bank in Canada.
National Bank’s flagship credit card is the National Bank World Elite Mastercard. While not making any top 5 lists, this card has some unique benefits that make it stand out, and from time to time the welcome bonus (combined with an annual fee waiver and/or rebates) can make it a worthwhile card to add to your collection.
This card was refreshed in September 2022. Click here to learn about those details and what changed.
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. Due to it’s stellar travel insurance and purchase protection benefits, we deemed this card the Best Overall Insurance Credit Card of 2022.
Check out our National Bank World Elite review for full details about this card.
70,000 À la carte Rewards
Let’s review all aspects of the National Bank World Elite credit card and see what it has to offer.
The Main Benefits of the National Bank World Elite Mastercard
The National Bank World Elite Mastercard has a few features that stand out from the crowd, namely its $150 travel credit, earning rate, and top-of-the-market insurance.
$150 in Useful Travel Credits
Cardholders can receive $150 in refunds on travel expenses per year. This travel credit can be applied towards a range of ancillary travel expenses including airport parking, baggage fees, seat selection, access to airline lounges, and airline ticket upgrades.
These credits are per calendar year, refreshing on January 1st. So if you want to be sneaky and double-dip, consider applying for the card at a strategic time point relative to your planned trips.
Decent Earn Rate
Another unique feature is the earning structure of the National Bank World Elite Mastercard. Instead of a flat rate, the earning rate is tiered as follows:
- Groceries and restaurants:
- 5 À la carte rewards 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 À la carte rewards points per dollar spent when the total gross monthly amount charged to the credit card, regardless of the category, is over $2,500
- 2 À la carte rewards points for every dollar spent on Gas and electric vehicle charging purchases, recurring bill payments, and À la carte Travel Agency purchases.
- 1 À la carte rewards point for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
Strong and Flexible Insurance
The National Bank World Elite Mastercard has a competitive and flexible portfolio of insurance coverage. We’ve captured the main points below, but you can read the 60-page insurance certificate for full details.
For the majority of the comprehensive travel insurance coverage, the coverage is extended if any part of the cost of the trip is charged to your card – this is extremely useful for us in the points and miles game who rarely will pay the full cost of airfare, instead opting to subsidize our travel with points.
|Coverage||Details||Covered if only partial cost is charged to the card?|
|Travel medical insurance||Covers $5,000,000 per person up to 60 day trip duration for those ages 54 and under, 31 days for those aged 55 to 65, 15 days for those aged 65 to 74. There is no coverage for age 75 and above.|
Covers primary cardholder, a spouse traveling with the primary cardholder on a trip and any accompanying dependent child.
|Trip cancellation insurance||Trip cancellation coverage of up to $2,500 per person.||Yes|
|Trip interruption insurance||Trip interruption coverage of up to $5,000 per person.||Yes|
|Flight delay insurance||Up to $500 per person, $250 per day (minimum 4-hour delay)||Yes|
|Delayed baggage insurance||Up to $500 (minimum 6-hour delay)||No|
|Lost, damaged or stolen baggage insurance||Up to $1,000 per person||Yes|
|Car rental insurance||Coverage of damages resulting from an accident, fire, theft or vandalism for rentals of 48 days or less, up to $65,000||No|
Aside from travel and rental insurance, purchase protection on the National Bank World Elite Mastercard is God-tier. This is one of the only cards in Canada that covers purchases for 6 months (180 days) against theft or breakage (up to $60,000), and triples the manufacturer’s warranty, up to 2 additional years. Compared to other cards in Canada, this card offers an exceedingly strong extended warranty coverage.
Mobile Device Insurance
Cardholders are covered for up to $1,000 in the event of breakage, loss, or theft of a mobile device 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.
À La Carte Rewards
À La Carte Rewards are the proprietary National Bank rewards points. They operate similarly to TD Rewards, where they can be redeemed through National Bank’s travel agency for maximum value, or redeemed more flexibly (but also for a lower rate) against travel purchases directly charged to your National Bank credit card.
In order to redeem your bonus rewards points at the maximum value ($0.01 per point), you must book your travel through the National Bank À La Carte Travel website. You can book online using the portal, or call in to make bookings with an agent. Through the website, you can book flights, hotels, vacation packages, car rentals, and cruises.
On the other hand, if you want to redeem against travel booked external to the NBC travel agency, simply charge the travel purchase to your card and then follow the instructions on this page, as follows:
- Request your travel discount online within 60 days of charging the purchase to your National Bank Platinum Mastercard, World Mastercard, or World Elite Mastercard.
- Enter the number of points you wish to redeem in the calculator. Once selected, the corresponding travel discount will appear.
- Click on “Exchange” to complete the transaction.
- The travel discount will appear as a credit to your next National Bank Mastercard® statement. The transaction is processed within 72 hours.
The redemption rate is tiered based on how many points you redeem, as follows:
|Cents per point||0.833||0.909||0.909||0.909|
Aside from travel, you can also redeem your points for banking plans, investments, brand-name merchandise, gift cards, and statement credits. However, these all generally get you a lower redemption value. For that reason, we’d recommend just doing the refundable hotel method to cash out your travel rewards if you don’t have any travel in the near future that you intend to use the points on.
The National Bank World Elite Mastercard currently has a welcome bonus of 70,000 À la carte Rewards points! This equates to $700 when redeemed for travel through Alacarte Travel ($0.01 per point).
The bonus is structured as follows:
- 30,000 À la carte Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.
- 10,000 À la carte Rewards after signing up for credit card payment insurance for at least 3 months.
- 30,000 À la carte Rewards after spending $12,000 in the first 12 months (awarded after the card anniversary and second annual fee).
The promotion for the World Elite card (and the World and Platinum cards) also includes a waiver of the first year annual fee, which is $150 in the case of the World Elite.
Furthermore, if you don’t qualify for the World Elite, promotions (welcome bonus and annual fee waiver) generally extend to the World and Platinum Mastercards as well. As with some other banks, you will automatically be considered for the lower-tier cards if found not eligible for the World Elite.
The current welcome offer expires January 13, 2023.
As a cardholder, you are entitled to complimentary and unlimited access to the National Bank Lounge at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) for yourself, one guest, and up to 2 children (<12 years old).
Hugh was able to access the National Bank VIP lounge in February 2022 and found it to be a fairly decent to excellent quality lounge. Of note, many other cards do offer access to this lounge through Priority Pass, LoungeKey, or Amex Platinum and Amex Business Platinum credit cards.
Free Boingo Wifi
With the World Elite Mastercard, you also get access to WiFi hotspots provided via Boingo, worldwide. Boingo works with some prominent airlines such as WestJet, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Singapore Airlines, and Etihad (and is even a great way to get free WiFi on WestJet flights).
The National Bank World Elite Mastercard has an annual fee of $150. National Bank often offers an annual fee refund (or waived annual fee) during special promotions.
The National Bank World Elite Mastercard is a great addition to any traveler’s wallet, with its $250 travel credit/calendar year, extremely competitive insurance portfolio, and a decent earning rate of 1.5% which can be redeemed flexibly.
It’s worth waiting for promotions on the card, which usually include a welcome bonus and a first-year annual fee waiver. If you are curious about the other National Bank credit cards available, learn more about them and the cashback rebate offered by Frugal Flyer here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the income requirement of the National Bank World Elite Mastercard?
You must have an annual gross income of $80,000 or an annual household income of $150,000. Otherwise, you may qualify by having $400,000 in assets.
What credit score is required to be approved for the National Bank World Elite Mastercard?
A credit score of 660 is the cutoff to be approved for the National Bank World Elite Mastercard, as well as the World and Platinum Mastercards.
Do National Bank’s À La Carte Rewards expire?
No, as long as your card is active. If you cancel your card, you have 30 days to redeem your points before they are forfeited.
Can you make partial redemptions of your points on the À La Carte travel agency?
Yes, if the cost is greater than the points amount, you can cover the difference with cash/credit.
Does the À La Carte Travel Agency offer price matching of travel costs?
No, À La Carte Travel Agency doesn’t match the cost of a flight or travel package on another agency, portal, or even direct booking.
Can you use À La Carte points to cover taxes & fees?
Yes, points can be used to cover taxes and fees on a redemption.
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