National Bank is one of the smaller financial institutions and credit card issuers in Canada. However, good things often come in small packages, and accordingly, National Bank has three powerful credit cards available to Canadians.
Similar to RBC Rewards, A la Carte Rewards is National Bank’s in-house loyalty program and rewards currency that can be earned from their credit cards. These points can be redeemed flexibly in a variety of ways, depending on your interests as a cardholder.
Earning A la Carte Rewards Points
There are two main ways in which you can earn A la Carte Rewards points: credit card welcome bonuses and organic credit card spending.
Credit Card Bonuses
As with many miles and points programs available to Canadians, the easiest and quickest way to earn large sums of A la Carte Rewards points is to accrue credit card welcome bonuses.
National Bank offers three versions of its credit card to customers: World Elite, Platinum, and World. If you are looking to build your reward points balance, picking the correct National Bank Mastercard that aligns with your needs, income level, and desired annual fees will set you on the right track to success.
The National Bank World Elite Mastercard credit card has an annual fee of $150. World Elite cardholders are able to take advantage of an annual travel credit and access to the National Bank Lounge in Montreal. This card has a minimum personal income requirement of $80,000 or $150,000 household income.
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 2023.
Check out our National Bank World Elite Mastercard review for more details.
40,000 À la carte Rewards
Jan 31, 2024
The National Bank Platinum Mastercard has an annual fee of $89 and has no minimum income requirement.
The National Bank Platinum Mastercard earns À la Carte Rewards and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 2x À la Carte points on grocery purchases.
0 À la carte Rewards
The National Bank World Mastercard has an annual fee of $115. This card has a minimum personal income requirement of $60,000 or $100,000 household income.
The National Bank World Mastercard earns À la Carte Rewards points and offers cardholders a free Boingo WiFi membership.
0 À la carte Rewards
If you are interested in signing up for any of these cards, consider taking advantage of the FlyerFunds Rebates Program to earn additional cash back on your approved credit card account application.
Credit Card Spending
Similar to other loyalty programs, the National Bank Mastercard credit cards earn points on all eligible purchases made on the card. All three credit cards earn at different rates, so it is important to understand how the earning rates are structured to ensure you can select the best card for your needs.
The National Bank World Elite credit card earns points at varying rates depending on the category of the purchase being made. The World Elite card earns 5 points per dollar spent on grocery purchases when the total monthly spend on the card is below $2,500.
This card also earns at an accelerated rate for every dollar spent on gasoline, electric vehicle charging, A la Carte Travel Agency purchases, and recurring bill payments. View the National Bank World Elite Mastercard page for more information about the earning rates for eligible purchases on this card.
Similar to the World Elite, the National Bank Platinum credit also earns points at varying rates depending on the category of the purchase being made. The World Elite card earns 2 points per dollar spent on grocery purchases when the total monthly spend on the card is below $1,000.
This card also earns at an accelerated rate for every dollar spent on gasoline, electric vehicle charging, A la Carte Travel Agency purchases, and recurring bill payments. View the National Bank Platinum Mastercard page for more information about the earning rates for eligible purchases on this card,
On the other hand, the National Bank World credit card earns points on all purchases at the same rate as there are no category bonuses. Cardholders can earn at the highest rate possible after putting $20,000 in total spending on the card during a cardholder year. View the National Bank World Mastercard page for more information about the earning rates on this card.
Redeeming A la Carte Rewards Points
National Bank clients are able to redeem their A la Carte Rewards points through five different methods: Booking travel through the in-house travel agency, utilizing “Book your way” travel, contributing to an investment account, redeeming for statement credit, or purchasing gift cards & merchandise.
A la Carte Travel Agency
National Bank’s A la Carte Travel Agency, powered by Transat, is available for cardholders who are looking to redeem their points for flights, hotels, vacation packages, and more.
If you are booking with the travel agency, points can be redeemed at a rate of 1 cent per point, or 10,000 points = $100. If the points you have available cannot cover the whole cost of the booking, you are able to pay the remainder with your National Bank credit card.
This is the best value for redeeming your rewards points with National Bank if the redemption aligns with your travel plans.
There are two methods to redeem your points through the travel agency:
- Online: Visit the A la Carte Rewards website, click Travel, and click “A la Carte Travel Agency”
- Log into your account and you will then be able to search for vacation packages, flights, hotels, and more; you will be shown the total cost in points and cash when you search for your desired vacation
- Via Phone: Get in touch with a travel agent at 1-800-561-3653 and they will assist you with making your desired booking
- There is a $35/person booking fee for flights and a $25/person booking fee for all other reservations
“Book Your Way” Travel
If you would prefer to book travel on your own and not through National Bank’s travel agency, you can take advantage of their “Book Your Way” travel reimbursement, or a travel discount as these redemptions are referred to in their program.
The value that you can extract increases if you redeem a greater amount of points at once. For example, if you are redeeming less than 55,000 points, your points will be redeemed at a rate of 0.833 cents per point, or 12,000 points = $100 in travel credit. On the other hand, if you are redeeming greater than 55,000 points, your points will be redeemed at a rate of 0.91 cents per point, or 11,000 points = $100 in travel credit.
Eligible expenses for reimbursement through a points redemption include plane tickets, train tickets, bus tickets, vacation packages, car rentals, hotel stays, reservations of a condominium or country house for tourism purposes, cruises, excursions, and camping.
Ancillary travel expenses, such as restaurants, purchase of souvenirs, and clothing (or any other purchase that falls under personal expenses) are not eligible for reimbursement under this program.
If you are looking to make a redemption through the Travel Discount program, this can be accomplished through two methods:
- By logging into your Travel Rewards website and following the prompts
- By contacting the À la carte Rewards Centre at 1-800-341-8083
Travel expenses must be submitted for reimbursement within 60 days of the initial purchase. Once the travel discount or reimbursement is applied, it will be reflected on your credit card account within approximately 72 hours.
If you are looking to turn your points into cash at the best value possible, redeeming them and using the refundable hotel trick is a great way to get some solid value out of your points and end up with some additional cash in the form of a credit card account credit.
Contribute to an Investment Account
If you hold an investment account with National Bank, such as an RRSP or TFSA, you can redeem your rewards points for a contribution towards that account. If you choose to redeem via this method, you can expect to receive 0.833 cents per point (or a rate of 12,000 points = $100).
In order to redeem, you will need to call National Bank at 1-888-835-6281 to speak to a representative who can help you complete the redemption. Note that only National Bank RRSP or TFSA accounts are able to be funded with this redemption method; you cannot fund investment accounts with any other financial institutions.
Points can be redeemed for a statement credit to be applied toward your National Bank credit card balance.
Redemptions for an account credit are available at the following increments:
If you want to redeem for statement credit, simply sign into the National Bank mobile app or online banking and select your credit card account. From there, select “Pay with Points”, your desired redemption amount, and complete the transaction. It will take up to three business days for the statement credit to reflect on your Mastercard credit card account.
Redemptions for statement credit are worth 0.4 cents per point which is a terrible redemption rate, so we recommend avoiding this option.
Gift Cards & Merchandise
Points can be redeemed for gift cards or merchandise at the National Bank Rewards Boutique. These rewards can be redeemed at a varying cent per point rate, depending on the item you are redeeming for.
Similar to all other loyalty programs, this option should be avoided since your cent per point value is terrible compared to if you redeemed for travel purchases. If you absolutely wanted to purchase merchandise, you would be better off using the refundable hotel trick linked above to cash out your points and then use the statement credit towards your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do A la Carte Rewards points expire?
No, A la Carte Rewards points never expire as long as you hold a National Bank Mastercard and make at least one transaction during a 12 month period. You have up to 12 months after closing your credit card account to redeem your points.
What is the quickest way to earn A la Carte Rewards points?
The quickest way to earn a large amount of A la Carte Rewards points is to sign up for a National Bank credit card. Most cards earn upwards of 20,000 reward points upon meeting the spending requirements.
What is the best redemption for my A la Carte Rewards points?
You will be able to get the most value out of your points by booking travel through the A la Carte Travel Agency (1 cent per point). The second best option is to redeem for a travel discount, which will allow you to apply points towards travel that you book on your own (0.833 cents per point or more).
How can I contact A la Carte Rewards customer service?
If you have any questions about the National Bank A la Carte Rewards program, including any redemptions, you can contact customer service at 1-800-341-8083.