The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card is part of a duo of cards released by BMO in late 2020 which represent their first foray into issuing Visa branded cards. Up until this point BMO has been strictly an issuer of Mastercard cards under their own proprietary program BMO Rewards and co-brand Mastercards for the AIR MILES reward program. The new eclipse Visa Infinite and Visa Infinite Privilege cards expand on BMO's portfolio of card offerings as they do not replace any cards but complement their existing BMO Rewards Mastercards.
The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card was released into a market that has seen card issuers trying to target lifestyle on top of rewards or at least that's how all the issuers are marketing the cards as such. This card falls into that category, it is being marketed as a lifestyle card with accelerated earn for select 'lifestyle' categories and an annual lifestyle statement credit. The card has accelerated earn rates that are comparable to several of their competitors and the annual $50 lifestyle credit is the first such offering for cards in Canada at this card level, that is premium cards like Visa Infinite and World Elite Mastercard. It's base earn rate is something else however and took us by surprise at being so weak for this level of card. Read on to find out more about that! In terms of benefits and insurance the card is mediocre but they do add in Mobile Device Insurance.
Costs & Sign up Features
The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card comes with a $120 primary card annual fee however with the current promotion that fee is waived in the first year. The annual fee is the same as most other World Elite Mastercards or Visa Infinite cards. Supplementary cards run $50 each. Right now the welcome bonus on the card is up to 40,000 BMO Rewards Points which is worth just over $285 towards travel. The welcome bonus is broken down as follows:
The interest rate on the card is 20.99% on purchases. 23.99% on cash advances and balance transfers. These rates are slightly higher than equivalent cards at this level. The minimum annual income requirements for the card are $60,000 personal or $100,000 household.
The card earns BMO Rewards points and earns those points as follows
5 points per eligible dollar spent on groceries, dining, gas plus transit - This earn rate is awarded on the first $50,000 spent in these categories combined annually.
Also if you choose to add supplementary cards to your account you'll earn 10% bonus points on all spending made on the account which would translate to 5.5 points per dollar for the accelerated categories and 1.1 points per dollar for all other spending.
Point Valuation Chart
Primary travel redemption: BMO Rewards points earned on this card can be redeemed for travel booked via BMO Rewards at a rate of 140 points for a $1 credit.
On the redemption side, the points earned with the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card can be redeemed for any
travel that is booked via BMO Rewards. Simply put, you log in to your BMO Rewards account and can book your travel online with them. You can also choose to call BMO Rewards to book travel however call in bookings will incur a $30 booking fee. When you redeem your points you can redeem any amount to cover part or all of the cost of the travel. That is, if you have $300 worth of points and your travel booking is $600 you can use points to cover $300 of it and you pay the rest on your credit card. This type of travel redemption is similar to what you find from CIBC and RBC for their primary redemptions where you have to book via their reward programs. The reason for this is that they stand to earn commissions on those travel bookings but in all honesty is kind of an old school process. Many of this card's primary competitors allow you to book travel how you want and with whomever you want and let you redeem points against the charge without losing value in the points. BMO will let you do this but it is consider a cash back redemption which has less value when compared to redeeming for travel via their booking site. See the chart above for the difference in those redemption rates. One final note on BMO Rewards travel bookings and this anecdotal evidence from our readers and even our own Jeff Fredericks is that BMO Rewards does not always have the best pricing on their flights, hotels and other travel options. In fact Jeff had to call in and was eventually able to have BMO match the price for travel he had found on other sites.
Features and Benefits
The number one feature of the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card that stands out from most of the other cards it competes with is the annual $50 lifestyle credit. This is a credit that is awarded when you get the card and then resets each year on January 1st. The credit is awarded when you have a charge on your card that meets or exceeds $50. Simply think of it as a $50 cash back gift for each year you have the card. You do have competing cards offering credits but those are tied into travel related purchases like baggage fees, seat selection fees etc. not a credit towards any purchase like the BMO card offers.
On the insurance side of benefits the card has a somewhat lower coverage offering that can be expected with a premium travel card. It has your standard Travel Accident and Car Rental insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty that is found on almost all cards of this nature. On top of that it an average 15 day out-of-province emergency medical insurance benefit for those up to 64 years old. What it is missing - and this is big - is flight delay coverage, lost/stolen/delayed baggage insurance as well as no trip cancellation or interruption insurance. Those are some big holes in this card's insurance coverage that are offered by its direct competitors.
The card does provide Mobile Device Insurance - a relatively new type of coverage that we are starting to see on more cards here in Canada. As with virtually all credit card mobile device insurance there are deductible and depreciation costs applied to any claims made.
What is good about this card
If we dissect this card and only look at singular items the card's earn rate on gas station and transit purchases of 5 points per dollar (or 3.57% return when redeeming for travel) is the best in Canada. No other card reaches that return unless you really want to get into intense calculations of taking the American Express Cobalt Card's or Gold Rewards Card's 2 points per dollar for gas, converting those points to Marriott or Aeroplan and then redeeming for a high value hotels or flights respectively. So for the most part this card is the best card for high value earn on gas and transit purchases.
The annual lifestyle credit is another good thing about this card. Who doesn't want to get a $50 gift every year you have a credit card and not be worried about making the right type of purchase to receive that credit?
Another great thing about this card is the bonus you receive on all spending if you have add supplementary cards. This makes the card a good combo for couples or families. This type of spend bonus has not been seen in Canada before BMO introduced it and is unique to the eclipse family of cards. You will have to note that BMO's T&C's state 'As an introductory feature' so it can and may very well be removed by BMO in the near future.
Finally another good feature of having this card is that you can combine points earned on this card with points from the BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard or the BMO Rewards Mastercard. This way you can rack up your points faster and make sure you have a card that you can use at Costco since they only accept Mastercard and cover off having those two types of cards in your wallet. Remember, Rewards Canada recommends that everyone should have at least one Visa, one Mastercard and one American Express card in their wallet
What is not so good about this card
The base earn rate is our biggest gripe here. This is the first premium credit card in our market to provide less than a 1% return on your base spending when redeeming for travel. For someone who makes a lot of purchases outside of the accelerated categories you would not want to go for this card - even if you take into account the supplementary card bonus you are still earning less than 1% back. There are no fee cards that earn more than this! Personally here at Rewards Canada we feel no premium travel rewards credit card should be awarding less than 1% back for non accelerator categories.
The welcome bonus points - sure it's marketed as 40,000 points worth $285 towards travel however 15,000 of those points come when you renew the card. So at that point you pay the annual fee of $120 to earn those additional 15,000 points so your actual travel value has now been eroded to $165 ($285 - $120 annual fee) if you don't take into account your annual lifestyle credit.
That also brings us to the BMO Rewards program for when you do redeem for travel. Although they changed providers to Priceline and Transat in the summer of 2020 the program has not got the best reviews. From pricing higher (see our note above in redeeming points) to having to pay a booking fee when you call in to redeem, a not so stellar reputation preceeds the BMO Rewards platform.
Who should get this card
It is great to see BMO expand their portfolio by adding in Visa branded cards however for the most part they missed the mark with this card. They had the opportunity to really make a dent in their competition with this card but have failed to do so. Don't get us wrong there are a couple of features that BMO brought on this card that are exciting - the annual lifestyle credit and the bonus points for supplementary cards and I'm pretty sure we'll see some competitors offer these in the near future. However those new features don't make up for a base earn rate that doesn't even provide a 1% return, the lack of some standard insurance benefits and a less flexible travel rewards program. Overall this card has a niche market of people who spend a lot on gas and transit and are okay with the less flexible rewards program, people who want to supplement their BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard (or aren't eligible for that card) and for those who don't want to have financial products away from BMO.
Latest card details:
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite on bmo.com
Other cards to consider if you are looking at this card:
American Express Cobalt Card
Talk to us!
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