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How do World and World Elite Mastercards work?

Enjoy more travel rewards and benefits when you sign up for a World or World Elite Mastercard.

There are dozens of World and World Elite Mastercards on offer from a number of banks and independent providers. Find out how these cards work and compare a selection of popular cards to find the one that might be the best fit for you.

Comparing Mastercards: Standard vs World vs World Elite

Below are some of the features you may find with different types of Mastercard World and World Elite cards. Keep in mind that each card will have its own unique set of features that will depend on your provider.

FeatureMastercardMastercard WorldMastercard World Elite
Minimum annual income requirementNo minimum income$60,000 individual or $100,000 household$80,000 individual or $150,000 household
Typical annual fee$0 to $120$0 to $120$100 to $150 (though some may be cheaper)
RewardsLower return on Mastercard rewardsMid-level return on World Mastercard rewardsHigh return on World Elite Mastercard rewards
Basic Insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
Travel insurance
  • No travel insurance with most cards
  • Common carrier insurance
  • Car rental insurance
  • Travel medical
  • Trip interruption/cancellation
  • Baggage insurance
  • Car rental insurance
  • Mobile device insurance
  • Roadside assistance
  • Common carrier insurance
Travel perks
  • VIP experiences
  • Boingo Wi-Fi
  • VIP experiences
  • Boingo Wi-Fi
  • Discounted lounge access
  • Airport lounge access
  • VIP experiences
  • Special travel discounts
  • Companion vouchers
  • Boingo Wi-Fi
Mastercard programs
  • Zero-liability insurance
  • Contactless payments
  • ID-theft protection
  • Ritual Rewards points
  • Priceless Cities
  • LoungeKey access
  • Zero-liability insurance
  • Contactless payments
  • ID-theft protection
  • Ritual Rewards points
  • Priceless Cities
  • LoungeKey access
  • Zero-liability insurance
  • Contactless payments
  • ID-theft protection
  • Ritual Rewards points
  • Priceless Cities
  • LoungeKey access
  • Other Mastercard World Elite benefits
World and Mastercard World Elite benefits and fees vary based on which card you have – this table provides a sample overview of what benefits and fees you might expect with each type of card.

How does a World or World Elite Mastercard work?

You can choose from two types of World or World Elite Mastercards:

  • Rewards cards. You’ll typically earn travel points for every dollar you spend. You may also earn accelerated points on certain purchases, such as travel or groceries. When you collect enough points, you can use them to “pay” for flights and other travel-related purchases with your credit card provider.
  • Cashback cards. Some World and World Elite Mastercards let you earn cashback instead of points. You won’t be able to redeem cashback for travel directly, but you can use the cash you earn to pay down your credit card statement.

You’ll also get travel perks and benefits with an Elite Mastercard. These include Mastercard World Elite benefits such as comprehensive travel insurance, airport lounge access and special travel discounts. The benefits and perks you’re eligible for will depend on your card and provider.

Where can I get a World or World Elite Mastercard in Canada?

You can get a Mastercard World or World Elite credit card from banks, online providers and private institutions. Check out the table below for samples of popular World and World Elite Mastercards based on provider.

World or World Elite Mastercard providerMastercard World or World Elite (linked to reviews)
RBC
BMO
Tangerine
MBNA (formerly CUETS Financial Mastercard)
HSBC
National Bank of Canada
Brim Financial
Desjardins
Other financial institutions

Is a World or World Elite Mastercard right for you?

World and World Elite Mastercards may be a good fit for you in the following situations:

  • You’re a regular traveller. You may benefit from a Mastercard World or World Elite credit card if you travel regularly and want to collect cashback or points you can redeem for flights and other travel-related purchases.
  • You want comprehensive travel insurance. You could enjoy this type of card if you’d like World Elite Mastercard travel insurance such as travel medical, trip interruption/cancellation, car rental insurance and more.
  • You want to take advantage of Mastercard experiences. You may want to take advantage of exclusive programs that Mastercard offers, such as Airport Experiences with LoungeKey, Ritual Rewards points and Priceless Cities.
  • You don’t mind paying an annual fee. You’ll only want to sign up for a Mastercard World Elite credit card with the bank if you don’t mind paying over $100 per year in annual fees to maintain your card. That said, some private institutions offer fee-free or low-fee World and World Elite Mastercards, so it helps to shop around.
  • You have a minimum income of $60,000. Most World Mastercards require you to have an annual income of $60,000, while World Elite credit cards can require you to make as much as $80,000 per year.

How to maximize your rewards

You can maximize your World Elite Mastercard rewards or cashback in the following ways:

  • Choose a credit card with a solid sign-up bonus. Some cards come with accelerated World Elite Mastercard rewards when you first sign up while others might offer travel vouchers or special discounts in your first months of card ownership. Pick the card that gives you the best welcome bonus.
  • Choose a card with a high return on rewards or cashback. Look for the card that will give you the highest return on World Elite Mastercard rewards or cashback for every dollar you spend. You may even want to pay a higher annual fee for a higher return if you plan to spend a significant amount of money on your card.
  • Use your card to purchase travel. Many World and World Elite Mastercards will let you earn accelerated points when you spend money on travel. Make sure to use your card to book flights, car rentals, hotels and other travel-related purchases to get the most bang for your buck.

Benefits of a Mastercard World or World Elite credit card

You can expect to enjoy the following benefits with a World or World Elite Mastercard:

  • Travel points or cashback. Earn cashback or World Elite Mastercard rewards to redeem for travel every time you spend money on your credit card.
  • Comprehensive insurance. Enjoy World Elite Mastercard travel insurance, such as travel medical, trip interruption, baggage insurance, car rental insurance and more with some cards.
  • Mastercard travel perks. Take advantage of exclusive Mastercard travel perks, such as airport lounge access, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi and Priceless Cities experiences.
  • Sign-up bonuses. Earn a lump sum of travel points as soon as you sign up with certain World and World Elite Mastercards.

What to watch out for with a World or World Elite Mastercard

Keep an eye out for the following drawbacks with Mastercard World and World Elite credit cards:

  • Annual fee. Most World and Mastercard World Elite cards come with an annual fee that ranges from $120 to $180 per year.
  • High interest rates. You’ll typically need to pay between 19.99% and 21.99% in interest on purchases and cash advances.
  • Foreign transaction fees. You may have to pay foreign transaction fees between 1% and 3% on any transactions you make overseas.
  • Strict income criteria. You could be required to make between $60,000 and $80,000 per year to qualify for World or Mastercard World Elite cards.
  • May need a high credit score. You may be required to prove that you have a credit score above 650 to qualify for this type of credit card.

How to choose the best World or World Elite Mastercard for your needs

You can find the best card for your needs by looking at the following features:

  • Annual fee. You’ll typically pay between $120 and $150 per year for a World or World Elite Mastercard. Try the Tangerine World Mastercard for a no-fee option.
  • Sign-up bonus. Some cards give you a lump sum of points when you sign up while others may offer discounts or travel vouchers. Find the rewards that you’ll make the best use of.
  • Type of rewards. Many cards let you collect World Elite Mastercard rewards to redeem for travel, while a few may allow you to collect cashback in lieu of rewards. Pick the rewards that make the most sense for your personal situation.
  • Additional benefits. Most cards will come with Mastercard World Elite benefits, such as mobile device protection, car rental insurance and travel medical. Find the best mix of insurance that suits your specific needs.
  • Travel perks. Some cards come with extra perks such as companion passes, complimentary lounge access, free checked baggage and more. Find the card that offers a combination of perks you’ll actually be able to use.

How do I redeem my World or World Elite Mastercard rewards?

You can redeem your World or World Elite Mastercard rewards by exchanging them for travel, merchandise or gift cards with your provider. Each card issuer will offer a different rewards catalogue and may work with different airlines and travel providers for bookings.

For this reason, it pays to look at each provider’s rewards catalogue and think about what you want to exchange your points for before you choose a credit card. You may also be able to collect cashback in lieu of rewards/points with some cards. In this case, you would simply apply the money you earn as a credit on your statement.

Bottom line

A World or World Elite Mastercard may be a good fit for you if you’re a frequent flyer and want a decent return on travel perks and benefits. It may not be a good fit for you if you don’t want to pay an annual fee or you make less than $60,000 per year. Find out more about how to find the best World or World Mastercard for your personal situation and apply today to get started.

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