[ANALYSIS] National Bank Ultramar MasterCard

As the new highway exit near my house opens up, Ultramar decides to take the lead in securing a piece of property right next to the off ramp where cars are able to stop for gas and refreshments. Being a loyal Esso and Petro Canada client, I don’t usually pay too much attention to other gas station brands. But I must admit, the sight of a newly built gas fuel location got me quite enticed, especially with that big grand opening sign hanging across the top. It usually means something good. So of course, I decide to pull in and fill up some gas. Just as suspected, there was a lady passing out coupons for a free car wash. Win. As I was about to make payment, I noticed some signs for an Ultramar MasterCard offered by National Bank. The catch of the card was the obvious, savings for filling up at Ultramar affiliated gas stations, but as well as purchases made at the Ultramar Corner Store. I found this part attractive, so decided to do a little research of my own.

Ultramar MasterCard

Here’s the basic outline of the Ultramar MasterCard:

  • Up to 2.5% rebate on all purchases made at Ultramar. The rebate percentage is based on the total amount of monthly purchases made at Ultramar. For example, if you spend less than $100, the rebate percentage will be 1%; consequently if you spend more than $100, the rebate percentage will be 2%; and finally if you spend more than $2,500 annually, there will be an additional 0.5% rebate added to your credit.
  • Up to 1.25% rebate made on any other purchases. Again, this is split into three different tiers, depending on your spending habits. For example, if you spend up to $6000 annually, your rebate percentage will be 0.25%; spend from $6000.01 to $9000, your rebate percentage will be 0.50%; spend $9000.01 and more, your rebate percentage will be 1.25%.

Now, comparing this to both the Esso Visa Card by RBC and Petro-Points MasterCard by CIBC we previously posted, you can see that collecting points seem to have the upper hand in this battle.

At your initial application of the card, Esso Visa Card offers a sign-up bonus of 4500 points, totaling $25 in free gas rewards. You can then earn 2 points per 1$ spent at Esso locations and 1 point per 1$ at all other Visa accepted locations. Offering a variety of options, if you reload $0.25 per litre for 200 litres  (8200 points), this can be very rewarding.

For Petro, you can immediately save 2 cents per litre of fuel and up to 7 cents when you use both the Fuel Savings Reward Card with the Petro-Points credit card simultaneously. With the easy Petro-Points calculator found on their official website, you can see how easily points add up. For $100 worth of Regular fuel, you will receive 600 Petro-Points and $30 spent at its convenience store earns you about 900 points. If you don’t like paying for car washes, 6000 points can automatically get you a free one.

So the ultimate question here, is whether the Ultramar credit card is worth signing up for.

Essentially speaking, the card forces you to become an exclusive member to Ultramar, spending at least $100.01 a month to gain the highest rebate the card offers at 2.5% (which makes sense since it’s a credit card offered by a gas station company). As strictly a gas card, this is extremely attractive. But in order to maximize the card’s offer of 1.25% rebate on all other purchases, you will need to spend over $9000 annually; for an average individual, this means most of your expenses need to go into the card. Additionally, the maximum rebate for the Ultramar MasterCard is $250.00. Although I’m a die hard cash-back fan, I personally believe in portfolio diversification instead of pooling all my expenses into one card; so this one doesn’t make the cut.


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