NBC Rewards: Everything You Need to Know about the À la carte Plan

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    Financial institutions offer numerous rewards programs and it can sometimes seem a little complex. If you have one or more National Bank Mastercard credit cards, you may already know that there are many ways to take advantage of NBC rewards earned by using your credit card for daily expenses. In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about NBC’s A la carte rewards plan, so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to join.

    À la carte NBC Rewards

    National Bank offers an excellent rewards program for cardholders of some of its credit cards. The program is fairly straightforward. When you use your card, you earn points. Then you exchange them for a variety of rewards. And when I say “variety”, I mean it! They go from travel rewards to charitable donations and financial products.

    How to earn À la carte points?

    First of all, it’s important to know that the only way to participate in the program and collect points is via a credit card. Therefore, you need to know the prerequisites for applying for those credit cards, which depend on your annual income.

    Note that you must be a Canadian resident and have reached the age of majority in your province of residence to apply for any of the cards listed in this article.

    National Bank offers three cards with its À la carte Rewards program. These cards also come with travel insurance, which covers medical emergencies, trip interruption or cancellation, delayed, lost or stolen baggage, as well as flight delays and rental vehicles. A 24-hour assistance service is available for requests.

    To check your account balance, simply log into your account online and consult the “My Rewards” tab. You can also see it on the NBC rewards website and at the bottom of your monthly credit card statement.

    National Bank Platinum Mastercard

    With the National Bank Platinum Mastercard credit card, there’s no minimum income requirement. On grocery and restaurant purchases, you earn 2 points per dollar spent. After $1,000 of monthly spending in this category, however, you drop to 1.5 points per dollar. On gas, electric car recharging, recurring bills and À la carte Travel purchases, you earn 1.5 points per dollar spent. After that, you earn 1 point for every $1.50 you spend.

    For example, if you spend $1,000 a month on groceries and $600 on gas and recurring bills, you’ll earn 2,900 points. Add $450 in other purchases each month, and you’ve got a total of 3,200 points. Over the course of a year, you’ll earn 38,400 points… enough to pay for a round-trip flight between Montreal and Toronto (worth 37,500 points).

    National Bank Mastercard World Elite

    [Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”5f6238369021382b35bb250e” id=”134502″]

    This premium card is available to people with an annual personal income of $80,000 or a family income of $150,000 or more. If this isn’t your case, you should know that there are other eligibility criteria: you must have at least $400,000 in assets or make a minimum of $25,000 in annual purchases with the card.

    Its annual fee may be higher than the two other credit cards presented here, but on grocery and restaurant purchases, you earn 5 points per dollar spent. On gas, electric car recharging, recurring bills and your A la carte Travel purchases, you earn 2 points per dollar spent. Thereafter, the accumulation is 1 point per dollar.

    The National Bank Mastercard World Elite credit card not only lets you earn points, it also gives you free, unlimited access to the National Bank Lounge at Montreal-Trudeau airport, where you’ll enjoy free Wi-Fi, beverages, snacks and newspapers. The National Bank Lounge is located in the international zone of the Montreal-Trudeau airport, and is free and exclusive to World Elite cardholders, who can bring one guest and two children aged 12 and under. The number of visits per year is unlimited. Admit it, waiting at the airport is more pleasant when you’re this comfortable! You also get up to $150 reimbursed on your travel expenses (seat selection, airport parking, etc.) each year. It also offers a comprehensive range of insurance protections.

    When it comes to redeeming your points, there’s nothing like a good visualization! For 7,250 points, you get a $50 gift card, while a wireless headset purchased from the NBC Rewards boutique will cost you 9,380 points. You can pay off your balance with your points, but this is not the best choice (25,000 points for $100 refund).

    National Bank Mastercard World

    If your income is between $60,000 and $79,000, you could be interested in the National Bank Mastercard World credit card. And if your income is lower, you may be eligible if you have a minimum of $250,000 in assets or a minimum of $15,000 in annual purchases on the card. However, accumulating points is more complex with this credit card.

    You earn up to 2 points per dollar spent, but this is based on your net spending (over 12 months from the account opening date). If you spend less than $20,000, you earn 1.25 points per dollar spent. If your expenses are between $20,001 and $30,000, you earn 2 points per dollar spent! This is the category you want to be in, because at $30,001 or more, you’re down to 1.25 points per dollar again.

    À la carte NBC Rewards credit card comparison chart

    Mastercard World EliteWorld MastercardMastercard Platinum
    Minimum income for the applicant$80,000$60,000None
    Minimum family income$150,000$100,000None
    Travel refund$150No No
    Points per dollar spentUp to 5 pointsUp to 2 pointsUp to 2 points
    Access to the National Bank LoungeYesNoNo
    Travel insuranceUp to 60 daysUp to 60 daysUp to 10 days
    Car rental insuranceYesYesYes
    Points per dollar spent on À la carte Travel 2 points Between 1.25 and 2 points 1.5 point

    Note that all National Bank credit cards offer contactless payment, as well as card blocking and replacement. Importantly, all cards also offer protection against identity theft.

    What to do with your points?

    Once you’ve accumulated enough points, what can you do with them? The value of NBC Rewards points varies according to how you use them.

    Travel

    Cardholders who have earned several thousand points through purchases charged to any of the National Bank credit cards aforementioned have several options for benefiting from the À la carte Rewards Plan.

    To get the best value for your points, you can plan your vacation on À la carte Travel. You’ll be able to book vacation packages or airline tickets with a $100 discount for every 10,000 points you earn. You can also get a travel discount by redeeming points for $100 refunds directed at travel-related purchases already made. Eligible for reimbursement are excursions, cottage or hotel room rentals, cruises, airline tickets, vacation packages, and more.

    Treat yourself

    If you’re in the mood for a treat, the À la carte NBC Rewards Plan website offers a wide range of rewards for just about every points balance. Choose from the categories shown in this image:

    A la carte NBC rewards boutique

    What I particularly like about the NBC A la carte Rewards boutique is how easy it is to find what you like. For example, people with fewer than 15,000 points know right away where to look for their rewards. Fans of Apple products will also be delighted! In the eco-friendly section, we can buy credits to offset our carbon emissions when we travel.

    You can also use your points to help others by making a donation to a non-profit organization like the Red Cross or food banks.

    Save

    For those of you who are “responsible adults” and want to make long-term choices rather than enjoy immediate rewards, National Bank Mastercards offer several options, such as:

    • Invest in an RRSP or TFSA (you need a minimum of 12,000 points for a value of $100)
    • Pay off part of your mortgage
    • Pay off your credit card balance with points:
    Number of points625012 50025 000125 000250 000
    Value$25$50$100$500$1,000
    Pay off your credit card with points

    However, this option is much less profitable than travel discounts, for example.

    Mastercard’s Priceless Cities program

    As if cardholders didn’t have enough options when it comes to NBC rewards, there’s another program aimed at offering discoveries and experiences, the Priceless Cities program, available with all Mastercard credit cards.

    The range of products offered is very diverse, but can be divided into a few categories:

    Culinary encounters: You can learn from the world’s greatest chefs and enjoy tastings in restaurants. You can also discover how to handle kitchen knives safely, or become an expert in craft beer or cheese, with videos filmed around the globe and recipes to download.

    Priority access: If you’re a sports fan or dream of going backstage at Cirque du Soleil’s ECHO show, you could get privileged access thanks to Priceless Cities. There are also various testimonials to inspire or teach on various subjects, such as Italian shoe craftsmanship or an analysis of the latest World Championship of a particular video game.

    World class events: You can attend shows, listen to online interviews with international sports players, or get a 20% discount on a visit to New York’s One World Observatory, to name but a few.

    Enriching classes: Classes range from digital wellness and cooking to freestyle soccer techniques and magic tricks.

    Hidden gems: This category offers a number of activities that allow you to visit a town, learn about its history, visit an art gallery or follow an artisan in his workshop. These experiences may be online.

    Some experiences are free, while others, such as playing golf in a private club for a memorable day, come at a cost, which varies according to the experience.

    FAQs about NBC Rewards

    How do I redeem points with my National Bank Mastercard?

    It’s very simple! Go to the NBC rewards website to check out your rewards options: merchandise (electronics, cooking, etc.), gift cards, travel and financial products. The value of your points will be between 0,4 et 1¢ depending on your choice.

    How many points do I need to book a flight with À la carte NBC Rewards?

    For a round trip from Toronto to Montreal, you need 37 500 points. This means you need to have spent more or less $3,000 per month in some categories, over a year. The number of points required to travel is subject to change. To save on flights and check out air fares, log into NBC rewards regularly.

    Do À la carte points expire?

    Your points will expire if your credit card account remains inactive for a minimum period of 12 months. However, you won’t be surprised because you will receive a notice 30 to 60 days before they do. In addition, your right to redeem points will be suspended if you have not fully paid your credit card’s annual fee, if you have not made the minimum monthly payment, or if you have not complied with any other obligation under your credit card agreement.

    Maude Gauthier is a journalist for Hardbacon. Since completing her Ph.D. in communications at University of Montreal, she has been writing about finance, insurance and credit cards for companies like Fonds FMOQ and Code F. As a responsible user of credit cards, she can spend hours reading the fine print to fully understand their benefits. Because of their simplicity, she developed a preference for cash back cards. After suffering steep increases with her former insurer, she can now proudly say that she saved hundreds of dollars by shopping around for her auto and home insurance. In her free time, she reads novels and enjoys streaming popular shows (and possibly less popular shows, like animal documentaries).