[ANALYSIS] National Bank World MasterCard

Just like HSBC and Laurentian Bank, it is slim pickings in terms of top credit cards at National Bank. But just like the latter two banks, there is a hidden gem somewhere.

The National Bank World MasterCard has some interesting features. Here are the highlights of the credit card:

  • $125 annual fee
  • No fee for supplemental cardholders
  • Earn 1.5 point for every $1 for purchases between 0 to $20,000 annually
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 for purchases between $20,001 to $30,000 annually
  • Earn 1.5 point for every $1 for purchases of $30,001 or more annually
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Access to concierge service
  • Access to National Bank World MasterCard to Montréal-Trudeau Airport’s National Bank World MasterCard Lounge (with a guest)

In terms of the rewards program, the best use of your points is to redeem your points for travel related expenses that are charged to your credit card. There are three reward tiers to consider:

  • 11,000 points is worth $100 in travel savings
  • 50,000 points is worth $500 in travel savings
  • >50,000 points, every 10,000 points segment entitles you to an additional $100 travel discount

You can also redeem your rewards for other products, but you will get less value for your points in doing so.

For this analysis, I think it would be easier to identify the cons first before talking about the pros.

The Cons

The first thing noticeably missing is a decent sign up bonus. There does not appear to be any sign up bonus whatsoever. If there is no sign up bonus, they should at least waive the first year annual fee.

I find it quite bizarre that they would decrease the earning ratio when you pass the $30,001 spending threshold. It takes a while to reach the $20,001 to $30,000 spend threshold to earn 2 points per dollar and you only enjoy earning more points per dollar for a short period of time before reaching the $30,001+ spend threshold. It is like they are discouraging people from using the credit card.

When redeeming your points, you will only be able to get more value at your points when you redeem 50,000 points and above. It takes time to earn that many points.

There are a few annoying restrictions that apply to lounge access. The lounge is located in the international jetty of the Montreal-Trudeau Airport and excludes flights to the United States. That means only very few travelers will be using these lounges.

That being said, the cons can be offset by some of the positives.

The Pros

Earning 1.5 point per $1 spent essentially comes out to 1.5% on all purchases. You do earn at a 2% rate for some of your spending, but overall 1.5% is fair.

In terms of getting value out of the $125 annual fee, it starts with the concierge service if you can get value out of this service.

They have an extensive travel insurance coverage including:

  • Out-of-Province-of-Residence Medical/Hospital Insurance up to $5,000,000
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance up to $2,500 per person
  • Trip Interruption Insurance up to $5,000 per person
  • Flight Delay Insurance up to $500 per person for any flight delay of 4 hours or more
  • Baggage Insurance up to $1,000 per person in case of theft, burglary, disappearance, or vandalism, plus up to $500 per person should your checked baggage be delayed more than 6 hours

If you are a heavy traveler, all these insurance coverages will come in handy. To top it off, if you can take advantage of the National Bank World MasterCard Lounge, especially with a guest, at the Montréal-Trudeau Airport a few times a year, then you will have gotten all of the $125 value back. The lounge offers complimentary food and drinks, newspapers and magazines, and free WiFi access.


The recommendations could be endless for this credit card. Waiving the annual fee, get a sign up bonus, give better spending thresholds that rewards big spenders instead of pushing them, etc.

But overall, there is an opportunity to get value out of this credit card if you are a frequent traveler, especially those who use the international terminal at the Montreal-Trudeau Airport frequently.

There is definitely a lot of room for improvement for this credit card, but it is definitely a hidden gem in my books.


  1. The only issue I’ve had with the card is that the airport lounge is only accessible to international fliers at Dorval EXCLUDING USA, not just Canada. And given that there are so few good flights to europe that don’t transfer somewhere then you NEVER get to use the lounge. So what’s the point of that? They should have negotiated a reciprocity deal with another lounge somewhere or have a second room somewhere – I know they can’t have two entrances and let international and domestic mix (yeah because once you clear security it really matters and they can’t have a way to reroute you? – the only security that prevents that is one guy in a hallway checking boarding passes without even a stand/clearance point.) So you can see the lounge and the guy will turn you away about 150 feet away…

  2. Great points Dan L. I suspect they might have had trouble getting the appropriate space for additional lounges. The annual fee is also very reasonable for a credit card that gives lounge access. If they open another lounge, I suspect that the annual fee would increase. There’s always going to be a trade off.

  3. What makes this card really interesting is that if you are an eligible professional, that 125$ per year will also include an unlimited checking account and preferrential rates for financing (preferential +1% on my credit line). You can get the World card even if your professional offer only includes the Platinum.

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