MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® Review

Last Updated on January 22, 2023


MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

2023 #3 Top No Annual Fee Travel Rewards Credit Card
Rewards Canada considers this the best non-Amex No Annual Fee Travel Rewards Credit Card

Receiving a slight revamp in 2021 the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® remains one of the best no annual fee travel rewards credit cards in Canada. The card has consistently ranked high in Rewards Canada's Top Travel Credit Card rankings and is a very good option for someone looking for a no annual fee Mastercard.

The review of the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard is broken down into the following sections:

Overview

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is a no annual fee rewards credit card that offers cardholders strong earn rates and really good redemption value for travel and e-Gift Cards. It has an easy to earn welcome bonus that is worth $100 towards travel. The introductory earn rate of 4 points per dollar for select category spending allows the cardholder to initially rack up a lot of points and the 2 points per dollar after that is one of the best in the market. Since it is a no fee card it does not offer additional features or benefits but does include some basic insurance coverage including mobile device insurance.

Costs & Sign up Features

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is a no annual fee rewards card so there are no monthly or annual costs associated with it!

Right now the card has a welcome bonus offering up to 10,000 MBNA Rewards points. The 10,000 point bonus is broken down as follows:

  • 5,000 bonus points†† ($25 in cash back value) after you make $500 or more in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening
  • 5,000 bonus points†† ($25 in cash back value) once enrolled for paperless e-statements within the first 90 days of account opening. .

This is a very easy to achieve welcome bonus offers as reaching $500 in spend over the course of three months should be no problem for most people. The additional 5,000 points is super easy - a couple of clicks in your account to enroll for paperless e-statements and those points are yours. You really should do that on day one of having the card!

The interest rate on the card is 19.99% on purchases. 24.99% on cash advances and 22.99% on balance transfers.

Earning

The card earns MBNA Rewards points as follows:

  • 4 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases during the first 90 days of having the card
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases until $10,000 is spent annually in the applicable category. ($10,000 per category)
  • 1 point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

On top of this the card features Birthday Bonus Points‡ that are equal to 10% of the total number of Points the Account earned in the 12 months before the month of your birthday, up to a maximum of 10,000 Points. That essentially makes your 4 points per dollar worth 4.4 points and the 1 point worth 1.1 points.

Point Valuation Chart

Spending Category Points earned per dollar spent Rate of return when booking travel with MBNA Rewards Rate of return Cash Back
Restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility first 90 days 4 4% 2%
Restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility 2 2% 1%
All other spending 1 1% 0.5%


With the birthday bonus:

Spending Category Points earned per dollar spent Rate of return when booking travel with MBNA Rewards Rate of return Cash Back
Restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility first 90 days 4.4 4.4% 2.2%
Restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility 2.2 2.2% 1.1%
All other spending 1.1 1.1% 0.55%


Redeeming

Redeeming for travel is extremely straightforward with the MBNA Rewards program. To get the best value out of your points for travel redemptions you must book your travel via MBNA which operates as its own travel agency. Basically you book travel through them as if you were booking travel anywhere else and then you redeem points against the charge during the payment process for your travel. You can choose to redeem any amount of points against the charge so it makes it quite flexible. The redemption rate published by MBNA is 10,000 points = $100 however you can choose to redeem less than that or more than that.

For example, if you are purchasing $1,200 in flights and have 45,000 points you can redeem those points and end up only paying $750 out of pocket for those flights. If you have 120,000 points (or more) you could redeem that exact amount so those flights are free!

With that 10,000 points to $100 ratio you are earning a 1% to 4.4% return for your spending on this card (see the point valuation chart above).

Cash back

Back in the day this card's travel and cash back redemption rate were one in the same but that changed about 4 or 5 years ago when MBNA dropped the cash back value from being the same as travel at 100 points to $1 to 200 points for $1. This redemption comes in the form of a statement credit or you can even choose to have MBNA direct deposit the funds to your chequing or savings account or send you a cheque- a feature that is rarely seen from proprietary reward programs. Most only provide a statement credit or if they do have the true cash back option it is only for those that hold bank accounts with the same bank as the card issuer.

At 200 points to $1 ratio you are earning a 0.5% to 2.2% return for your spending on this card if you choose the cash back option. (see the point valuation chart above).

e-Gift Cards

Unlike many of the competing programs where you lose even more value for your points when redeeming for non-travel or non-cash back options there is one category outside of those where MBNA does shine and that is for gift cards. More specifically, e-Gift cards, that is, the ones that are delivered to you electronically via email and are not a physical gift card. Depending on which e-Gift cards you redeem your points for you may actually get an even better rate of return than travel and will almost always receive a better return than the cash back option. The MBNA Rewards catalog has a lot of e Gift Card options from Amazon to Starbucks to Uber and more ranging from $25 to $200 in value. The best redemption options are for the Banana Republic and The Gap with many more not too far behind.

Here are just a few examples and the value you get from them:

  • Amazon.ca $100 e-Gift Card is 10,355 points which works out to a value of 0.97 cents per point making the rate of return on your spending 0.97% to ~4.27%.
  • HBC and Saks off 5th e-Gift Cards are 9,750 points for $100 which puts the value of each point at 1.02 cents making the rate of return on your spending 1.02% to 4.49%.
  • Banana Republic and The Gap run 9,250 points $100 which puts the value of each point at 1.08 cents making the rate of return on your spending 1.08% to 4.75%.
  • You can also redeem for a $200 Walmart card for 20,105 points. That puts the value of each point at 0.99 cents making the rate of return on your spending 0.99% to 4.36%.
  • The other cards where you can get a better rate of return than travel are the Ultimate Dining $100, Indigo $100, Bass Pro $100, Service Inspired Restaurants $100, American Eagle $100, and Xbox $100 & $50,

As you can see the e-gift card option from MBNA is actually a really good redemption avenue. You'll do better than the cash back option and even do better than the travel redemption option with a few select retailers like Banana Republic, The Gap, HBC and Saks off 5th.

The rest of the redemption options from MBNA include physical gift cards which lose some value over the e-gift cards as they account for having to mail the cards out and then there is merchandise, which is always an option that can be utilized if the other redemption options don't work for you.

Features and Benefits

As it is a no annual fee card with strong earn rates MBNA does not provide any additional features or benefits with the card

Insurance

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard comes with the following insurance coverage:

  • Purchase Security Insurance
  • Extended Warranty Insurance
  • Mobile Device Insurance




What is good about this card

The earn rate of two points per dollar spend in those select categories make this card one of the strongest points earning no fee cards in Canada. Add in the birthday bonus and you are receiving a 2.2% return for your spending in those categories when we don't take into account the introductory 4x points offer. This is actually one of the highest returns in Canada for a no annual fee card when you don't include cards that you allow you to convert to airline programs.

The excellent redemption value when redeeming for certain e-gift cards!

The ease of earning the sign up bonus is another strong point, the 10,000 points for only $500 in spending and signing up for paperless e-statements? Easy peesy! Add in the 4 points per dollar for your first 90 days and you can have a lot points in your account just from these welcome offers.

What is not so good about this card

When it comes to travel redemptions the card is a little less flexible than other cards in this category. Those other cards allow you to book travel with whomever you want and still get the full value of your points when you redeem against the charge. This lets the holders of those cards shop around for the best deals in travel. With that said our readers have told us MBNA Rewards does match pricing found on other websites so with a little work on your part you can get them find good travel options.

That also leads into not being able to redeem points after the fact for travel like this card's competitors. Well, technically you can with this card but then it would be a cash back redemption not a travel redemption so you would lose some value. An example of this buying tickets to take the train from Tokyo to Nagasaki when you are already in Japan on vacation, with some other cards you can just buy the tickets and then redeem points against that charge when you get home from vacation and still get the full value of those points.

The cash back redemption rate is only half the travel redemption rate so it isn't as good but surprisingly it is competitive with most of the no fee cash back cards in the market.

No transfer options that we see with competitors. Issuers like American Express, and RBC have transfer options to other loyalty programs even on some no fee cards.

Who should get this card

  • Consumers who want to make sure they are getting one of the highest possible returns on select category spending without paying an annual fee
  • Consumers who have an American Express and/or Visa annual fee card as their primary card(s) in their portfolio and want to fill the Mastercard position with a no fee card.
  • Consumers who are fine to redeem for travel via a single travel agency to get the most value out of their points
  • Consumers who shop a lot at the high value e-gift card options that MBNA Rewards provides (IE a Banana Republic fanatic!)

Conclusion

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is one of the best no annual fee credit cards in Canada. In fact, if you take American Express out of equation, it is the best card in the market. By providing really good everyday earn rates and valuable rewards the card even competes well against many of the fee based cards in Canada! If you are in the market for a no fee Mastercard this is one you should really consider for that position in your credit card portfolio.

Latest card details:



MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®


• Earn 4 points†† for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases during the first 90 days, and 2 points‡ for every $1 spent on eligible purchases in those categories thereafter – in both cases, these earn rates apply until $10,000 is spent annually in the applicable category. 1 point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
• 5,000 bonus points†† ($25 in cash back value) after you make $500 or more in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
• 5,000 bonus points†† ($25 in cash back value) once enrolled for paperless e-statements within the first 90 days of account opening.
• Each year, you will receive Birthday Bonus Points‡ equal to 10% of the total number of Points earned in the 12 months before the month of your birthday, to a maximum Birthday Bonus each year of 10,000 Points.
• Redeem points for cash back, brand-name merchandise, gift cards from participating retailers, charitable donations, and travel.
• Standard Annual Interest Rates of 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on balance transfers and 24.99% on cash advances.
• Mobile Device Insurance***
With Mobile Device Insurance, you’ve got up to $1,000 in coverage for eligible mobile devices in the event of loss, theft, accidental damage or mechanical breakdown.
• No annual fee.
• This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.  For residents of Quebec, please click here.


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‡, ††, ✪, ***, Terms and Conditions apply.

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here.

Sponsored advertising. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and TD is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this MBNA credit card, please click on the “Apply Now” button.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank is the issuer of this credit card. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ®MBNA and other-trademarks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.


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