Rewards

10 Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada for 2016

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Travel credit cards give you both the highest reward return on your spending and the best insurance and perks of any type of credit card.

The catch?

Their rewards programs can be confusing and comparing apples to apples can seem impossible when every rewards program is completely different.

I've taken all the hassle out of finding the best card and compared every travel card available on the Canadian market. My comprehensive ranking system developed over the past 5 years uses more than 40 factors to rank cards from best to worst comparing only apples to apples. You just need to look at one simple score to know which card will give you the best overall value.

You will be flying off to your next vacation hotspot much sooner than you think! With the #1 ranked card you can earn $1,763 worth of free flights in the first year if you spend $2,083 per month on the card on stuff you would be buying anyway. That number factors in points earned both from spending and the 25,000 point sign up bonus you automatically qualify for. The best part? It's all at no cost to you because the $150 annual fee is waived for the first year.

2016 Travel Rewards Credit Card Rankings

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10 Best No Fee Travel Credit Cards in Canada for 2016

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Finding no fee travel credit cards is kind of like looking for Bigfoot - sightings are pretty rare indeed...

Reason being that annual fees are needed to allow for the increased rewards, insurance coverage, and perks that these cards typically offer.

While you are unlikely to find Bigfoot no matter how hard you look, fortunately there is still some Canadian no fee travel plastic in the wild. If points and miles are completely new to you, then this is a great starting point for you to figure out how everything works without any risk.

Once you've got it all figured out, you'll probably want to graduate to a top tier travel credit card that will rack up rewards faster and give you many additional perks.

2016 No Fee Travel Rewards Credit Card Rankings

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Free Gift Card Offers (Up To $100 To Popular Stores)

free_gift_card_offers_up_to_100_to_popular_stores2.jpgI've been touting free gift card offers on this site for a long time now: see here, here, and here. Most of them have been a free $100 gift card to Amazon.ca or another popular Canadian store in return for applying for an awesome credit card that earns you even more free money in cash back or travel rewards.

These credit cards usually also come with no annual fee (at least for the first year) and sometimes a hefty points sign up bonus to boot. Then, after the first year, there is no obligation to continue with the card if you decide it isn't for you. It's really a fantastic deal and one I've taken advantage of several times myself.

Since this has become a pretty regular thing, I thought I should make a permanent page that lists legitimate free gift card offers that I am aware of and will continue to update at the beginning of every month.

Proof That It Works

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Couples: Stop Fighting And Save Money With Planshare

couplesstopfightingandsavemoneywiththissimplesolution.jpgThis article is sponsored by BMO.

Managing your own money can be a stress inducing endeavour.

Throw in another person with a completely different personality, wants, and ideas and soon emotions can fly and tempers erupt.

In fact 17% of survey respondents in a recent BMO survey stated that they argue with their partner about their finances on a weekly basis. Turn those weeks into months and years, and you can bet that percentage rises substantially.

I’ve been there - and maybe you have too...

...You’re now living with the person you love and, at the bare minimum, you have to figure out how to split your expenses.

Or, you can dive in deep and merge your money together completely. Let’s be honest, it’s a little lot scary.

BMO PlanShare Provides Flexible Banking For Couples

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Collecting AIR MILES At Shell: Still Worth It?

collectingairmilesatshellstillworthit.jpgRoyal Dutch Shell, the second largest Big Oil company in the world, operates about 1,300 Shell branded retail stations in Canada.

Rather than offer their own rewards program like Petro-Canada’s Petro-Points or Esso Extra, Shell is a sponsor of the AIR MILES Reward Program. Customers that fill up at Shell can earn AIR MILES on eligible purchases at participating stations in addition to the miles that can be earned with other retail partners.

Shell recently changed their rewards structure yet again. It used to be that you earned 1 mile for every $20 spent on gas. Then, it became 1 mile on the first $30 and 1 mile per $20 spent in the same transaction thereafter.

Now, getting that first mile is much easier with only a 15L purchase required, but chances are it will be the only mile you earn on a single fill up. Have they gone too far with the changes this time?

Read on to see exactly how earning miles at Shell works and how you can maximize your rewards.

Earning AIR MILES with Shell

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Which AIR MILES Credit Card Is Best For 2016?

bestairmilescreditcards.jpgTwo out of every three Canadians collects AIR MILES and, if you want to maximize your rewards, having an AIR MILES credit card just makes sense!

But why settle for any old card, when you could be earning a lot more miles and experiencing a lot more perks by getting the best one?

Figuring out which one is best is easier said than done though ... that's why I analyze every single detail of these cards and then rank them using a comprehensive system I personally developed over the last five years.

No more comparing feature by feature trying to weigh the pros and the cons - you can rest assured that the top card on my list is the best fit for most Canadians. My rankings are also continually updated so you can be sure you aren't getting stale information.

AIR MILES Credit Cards Compared And Ranked

The cards in the table are ordered from best to worst. Please note that the table scrolls horizontally by using the slider at the bottom.

  Credit Card
Apply BMO AIR MILES World Elite MasterCard
Apply American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
(low min. income!)
Apply BMO AIR MILES World MasterCard
Apply Hudson's Bay MasterCard
Apply BMO Sobeys AIR MILES MasterCard
Apply American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card
Apply American Express AIR MILES Credit Card
Apply BMO AIR MILES MasterCard
Score Miles Per $100 Spent Bonus Miles Annual Fee First Year Free? Extra Cards $25,000 Spend Score $100,000 Spend Score Insurance Score Perks Score
5.0 10.0 3,000 $120 No Free 4.6 5.0 5.0 2.9
3.3 8.0 2,000 $65 Yes Free 4.6 3.2 1.0 2.8
3.0 6.9 0 $99 No $15 3.4 1.4 4.2 1.6
2.6 6.3 0 $0 Yes Free 5.0 1.7 0.0 2.2
2.4 5.5 400 $0 Yes Free 4.6 0.8 0.8 2.2
2.2 8.0 2,400 $299 No $50 0.0 0.4 2.7 5.0
2.1 5.2 500 $0 Yes Free 4.4 0.4 0.2 2.4
2.0 4.8 0 $0 Yes Free 4.2 0.0 0.8 1.9
* Limited time promotion ending soon.
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The Best Use Of Petro Points

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Petro-Canada offers the Petro-Points loyalty program. Members can collect points and exchange them for fuel, car repair and store purchases at any of the 1,500 Suncor branded gas stations.

There is no annual membership fee associated with the Petro-Points program. Sign up at a station to receive a card immediately. Signing up online gives the option to print a temporary card until one arrives in the mail. In each instance, an online account will need to be created and the card number registered. Rewards are redeemed using the online account.

Here’s everything you need to know about collecting Petro-points with Petro-Canada.

Earning Petro-Points

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The Best Bang For Your Esso Extra Points

thebestbangforyouressoextrapoints.jpgEsso Extra is a loyalty program offered by Esso, one of the largest gas retailers in Canada. It offers everyday rewards like car washes, gift cards and fuel to entice drivers to fill up at one of the 1,700 Imperial Oil branded gas stations.

The Esso Extra program is free to join and there are no annual membership fees. You can join online or become a member at any station with your name, a valid email and Canadian address. Once the Esso Extra card has been received, you will need to create an online account to register the card number. The online account is also used for redeeming rewards.

With the current price of regular running about $1.05/L, an average Canadian family that drives 20,000 KM/year in a vehicle with a combined city/hwy fuel economy of 9L/100 KM would pay $1,890 for a year’s worth of fuel. How many points would be accumulated and what would be the best way to use those points? Here’s what you need to know.

Earning Esso Extra Points

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Review: SimplyCash Preferred From American Express

simplycashpreferredcardfromamericanexpress.jpgI recently reviewed the regular Simply Cash Card from American Express, which is one of the most underrated no-fee cash back credit cards in Canada. This card, the Preferred edition, is like the big brother to no-fee card in that it has higher cash back and more perks, but comes with an annual fee of $79 to account for them.

You’ll get 1.5% cash back on ALL purchases, which is a really good rate, and the annual fee is less than all of its main competitors. Everything else with $79 or less earns less cash back or has a tiered cash back system, which typically also means less overall cash back. Unfortunately, there are a few competitors with slightly higher annual fees in the $90-$120 range that offer more cash back.

However, this card definitely fills a nice niche that you will begin to appreciate as you peruse the pros and cons below. The sign up bonus that is effectively worth $400 is also nothing to sneeze at because none of the other cash back cards come close to this - they typically come in at around $100, if a bonus is offered at all.

Quick Facts

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The Simply Cash Card From American Express Is Very Underrated!

simplycashcardfromamericanexpress.jpgCanadians love their cash back credit cards, be it the Smart Cash, the Momentum, the Aspire, or one of the other cash back offerings from The Big Five Banks. However, there is one card that often gets overlooked when it comes to cash back credit cards, and it is the Simply Cash Card from American Express.

It might be flying under the radar because Amex isn’t known for cash back - most of their cards offer travel rewards. Or, it could be that the market leading 1.25% cash back on ALL purchases is just too simple for most people... it isn’t a round number after all, and that could also be a put off. More realistically, it could be because one particular store they shop at doesn’t accept Amex cards, but my experience has been that most stores will gladly take it. Even Tim Hortons, the last big cash-only hold out in Canada, now takes American Express.

Ultimately, I don’t know why more people aren’t choosing this card, but I hope to help change that with this review because it is definitely a card worth considering. It is especially good if you make a lot of everyday purchases that don’t fall into the bonus spending categories of other cards (which are often very limited anyway, as is the case with the Smart Cash).

Heck, since the card has no annual fee, I’m not sure why more people don’t just apply for it to get the massive 5% cash back on gas and grocery purchases for 6 months. If you spend $800 per month on those, that’s a cool $240 you just earned!

Quick Facts

Annual fee $0
Interest rate 19.75%
Min. income $15,000
Reward type Cash Back
Reward 1.25% on ALL purchases with no limits
HTS reward return 1.25% of spending for a typical person after annual fee deducted
Sign-up bonus 5% cash back on gas & groceries for 6 months - $250 maximum.
Apply Click here

Positives:

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