I recently switched credit cards. I had been running the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard for almost 15 years. It worked well for the family and we used the Air Miles for short haul flights in our part of the country. However, we found we wanted some more flexibility with our rewards, similar travel perks, and I had the opportunity to have the fee covered by switching to the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card.
Essentially it is a very similar card in terms of travel features, but the rewards can be used a variety of ways. In particular I can apply the points like cash towards any purchase on my Visa that is travel related. So essentially I could always find the cheapest flight online though a travel booking site or airline itself, book with my VISA, and then I just transfer over the points to pay for it.
In regards to the fee, I already bank with Scotiabank and they have a feature. If you have an Ultimate Package chequing account, you get up to $139/year waiver on select credit cards, which this is one of them. Heads up though. The Ultimate Package has a high monthly fee (currently $30.95), which is waived only if you keep a $5,000 balance in the account.
Fortunately, the first additional card (like for your spouse) is free with no extra charge.
Using the Points
I have used the point rewards already. Essentially you have an account you log in to and are presented with a variety of options. You may get gift cards, book travel, etc. I just wanted to use the cash option. So it lets you examine the listing of VISA charges that have been marked as travel (it seems to have a pretty good algorithm to recognize these). Then I just selected the ones I wanted to apply points to. A point is worth one cent. So 100 points is $1. The next VISA statement, it should a credit back on the VISA statement for the points I applied.
Point collection is 1 point for $1 on regular purchase and 2 points for $1 on groceries, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases.
The other perks were very comparable to our previous master and many of the other top tier travel cards. But I will list notable ones here.
- Signup Perks
- $300 in points if you spend $1,000 within your first 3 months.
- 6 lounge accesses per year at airports.
- Free room upgrade at select hotels.
- Concierge service to help with bookings.
- No foreign transaction fees on exchanging money.
- 24 hour best price guarantee. If you book a trip and you find the same itinerary for cheaper online or elsewhere within 24 hours, they will cover the difference with reward points.