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

80 travel rewards credit cards were carefully considered in these rankings - the top 10 are listed in the table below from best to worst. Please note that the table scrolls horizontally by using the slider at the bottom.

  Credit Card
Apply American Express Gold Rewards Card
Apply CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Apply TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Apply TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
Apply CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Card
Apply American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card
Apply The Platinum Card
Apply Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
Apply RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege
Apply RBC Visa Infinite Avion
Overall Score Rewards On $25,000 Spend1,2 Rewards On $100K Spend1,3 Sign Up Bonus Value4 Annual Fee First Year Free? Insurance Score Perks Score
5.00 $863 $3,900 $750 $150 Yes 3.1 1.9
4.91 $595 $3,576 $750
$1,500*
$399 No 4.1 2.8
4.85 $595 $3,576 $750 $399 No 4.1 2.7
4.63 $743 $3,330 $450
$600*
$120 No
Yes*
3.4 1.7
4.58 $743 $3,330 $450 $120 No 3.1 2.0
4.56 $439 $4,657 $1,200
$1,500*
$499 No 3.8 2.3
4.56 $239 $3,051 $1,500 $699 No 3.8 5.0
4.49 $818 $3,630 $750 $120 No 2.5 1.6
4.42 $539 $3,351 $750 $399 No 4.4 1.7
3.98 $639 $2,918 $450 $120 No 3.4 1.0

(+/-) Footnotes:

* Limited time promotion ending soon.
1. The rewards dollar values shown are calculated by splitting spending sensibly across spending categories like groceries, gas, drugstore, travel, bills, and everyday spending. Multiple price checks of typical travel rewards were done to calculate the true value of each type of reward points. If converting points to miles increases the reward value, that was also assumed to be done. All spending bonuses, tiers, limits, and caps are taken into account. Sign up bonuses are NOT included in these numbers, so that will be an extra perk for you. Finally, the annual fee is deducted from the rewards values shown giving you the true value of the rewards left in your pocket for the year.
2. $25,000 in annual spending works out to $2,083 in monthly spending which is achievable for a typical Canadian family funneling most of their spending through their credit card.
3. $100,000 in annual spending works out to $8,333 in monthly spending which is too high for most families. I have included these numbers to better evaluate cards and give an advantage to cards who don't have spending caps or limits. It also allows cards that have a good tier system to shine at higher spending levels.
4. The sign up bonus is a lump sum of points or miles you get when first opening a new credit card. It is often given when you make your first purchase, spend a reasonable amount of money on the card within the first X months, keep the card open for X months, or some combination of those. The criteria to qualify for the sign up bonus are usually very reasonable.

What Matters To You?

My rankings account for a wide range of features to determine the best overall travel credit card. If you're looking for a card that excels in one area, like best travel insurance coverage for example, the #1 card might not be the best choice for you. Here, I've broken the cards by feature to help you choose the one that's right for you.

Earn Rewards As Fast As Possible

The staple of any travel rewards card is the ability to earn points or miles on your spending. Marketers would like you to believe that all points have the same value, but that couldn't be further from the truth. "Double miles" doesn't mean much if the miles are worth half as much does it? The most typical value of a point is 1 cent, but it ranges anywhere from 0.5 cents all the way up to 3 cents and more.

The rankings above take into account my best estimate of the true value of the different types of points and miles. Generally airline miles are considerably more valuable than generic reward points. That's one of the main reasons there are a lot of Aeroplan credit cards ranked highly. I discuss why 3 cents per mile is a fair value for an Aeroplan mile here. Other airline miles have a similar value.

That said, the American Express Gold Rewards Card is tops when it comes to earning rewards on spending. You earn American Express Membership Rewards points with the gold card, which can be redeemed for ANY type of travel you want. However, you will get maximum value when transferring points to Aeroplan miles (Air Canada) or Avios miles (British Airways). That way you can use your miles on any airline that is part of the Star Alliance (Aeroplan) or One World (Avios) airline alliances - that's 42 airlines combined.

If you're a big spender, then the American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card gives great value. With a $100,000 annual spend you're looking at about $4,657 worth of rewards after the annual fee is deducted, a 4.7% return on spending.

Finally, if you're looking for something that isn't an Amex for higher acceptance, go with the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite. It gives you a nice balance of rewards earned, perks, and a lower annual fee.

Big Sign Up Bonuses

If you're a budding travel hacker and are targeting credit cards with the high sign up bonuses then The Platinum Card gives you a whopping 50,000 points that can be converted to 50,000 miles. That's worth about $1,500 in flights right there. The annual fee is steep at $699, but you get a whole slew of perks that you won't get with other cards including a $200 annual travel credit that effectively makes the annual fee $499. If you get the card mid-year, you'll have a chance to use the travel credit for this year AND next year before the annual fee kicks in. That gets your first year annual fee down to $299 if you decide not to keep the card for year 2.

The American Express Gold Rewards Card is also great for getting a big sign up bonus because you get 25,000 points = 25,000 Aeroplan miles and the annual fee is waived for the first year. That's $750 worth of rewards absolutely free if you don't keep the card into the second year. Since it's the best travel rewards card out there right now, you should probably keep it though...

Where You Spend Your Money

There American Express Gold Rewards Card gives you double the points on gas, grocery, drugstore, and travel purchases. No other card out there gives you that many bonus categories and many only give you a 50% bonus, not a 100% bonus. You might think a card like the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite (rank 23) would be a good choice because you get "double miles" on every purchase. However, those points are only worth 1 cent each, so even if you double them you're still earning less than the 3 cents per point you get with Amex and Aeroplan.

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is another option that gives you 1.5 miles per dollar spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and aircanada.com purchases.

Maximum Flexibility

If you want maximum flexibility and great reward value combined, then nothing beats the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. Starwood is an amazing hotel rewards program that allows you to transfer your points 1:1 to 36 different airline rewards programs. From there, you can of course also use the airline alliances to access even more airline partners - practically every airline with a rewards program worldwide.

Not only that, but when you transfer points to miles in 20,000 Starpoint increments, they will give you 5,000 bonus miles in your chosen program. That means you really get 1.25 miles per dollar spent instead of the usual 1 mile per dollar spent. Starpoints also give great value when redeemed for reward nights at Starwood properties or when used for "Night and Flights", which gives you 5 free nights at a category 3 or 4 Starwood hotel along with 50,000 air miles with your chosen airline rewards program.

If you want points that can be used for ANY travel without using an airline or hotel rewards program, then the BMO World Elite MasterCard (rank 16) is your best choice. It isn't listed in the table above because it only offers a 1.4% return on $25,000 annual spending after you deduct the annual fee, whereas top Aeroplan cards can achieve double that. If you want ultra simple though, this is the card for you.

Avoiding Fees

Travel credit cards and annual fees go together like peanut butter & jelly because the fees help pay for increased perks and insurance coverage. A few cards can be found without fees though. The HSBC Premier World MasterCard (rank 22) would be a fantastic choice because it offers decent rewards and great insurance coverage. Unfortunately, in lieu of a fee HSBC requires you be a Premier banking client which requires you have at least $100,000 worth of total assets on deposit with them. That's a pretty inconvenient requirement unless you're well established and are looking to switch banks.

A more realistic choice is either the MBNA Rewards MasterCard (rank 46) or the Capital One Aspire Travel Platinum MasterCard (rank 48). These two cards have lesser rewards, insurance coverage, and perks than their bigger World Elite brothers with fees, but they offer a great starting point if you are looking to get your feet wet in the travel rewards game.

Check out my no fee travel credit card rankings if avoiding fees is a top priority for you.

Lower Minimum Income Needed

Every card from American Express has surprisingly low minimum income requirements. Even their premier card, The Platinum Card, only requires a personal income of $40,000 to qualify. Your income should never hold you back with Amex.

If you don't want an Amex, then you have to drop out of the top 10 to find something. The #13 ranked card is the MBNA Alaska Airlines Platinum MasterCard which rewards you with valuable Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. If you live out west where Alaska flies or have access to a major airport, then chances are you can find a partner airline to fly on that accepts Mileage Plan miles. Currently with 17 airline partners to choose from, you are bound to find a flight.

Great Perks And Insurance

The Platinum Card from Amex has the top insurance and perks package of any credit card in Canada. It has the best global airport lounge access of any Canadian card with unlimited free visits to Priority Pass lounges for you and a guest along with additional lounges in Canada and American Express branded lounges as well. Most other cards either don't have lounge access or give you a limited access. You also get 11 different types of insurance coverage, upgraded status at several hotel chains, several perks at Canadian airports like access to a fast track security lane, and much more.

The BMO World Elite MasterCard (rank 16) has the best insurance package of any travel card on the market which is amazing considering its completely reasonable $150 annual fee. You'll get 21 days emergency medical coverage, personal effects coverage that is good for the entire duration of your trip, not just when traveling on common carriers (VERY rare), trip cancellation, trip interruption, and much more. It has 14 different types of coverage in all - the only one missing is price protection.

If you live in Canada and like to travel, chances are you fly Air Canada at least sometimes. Therefore, Air Canada specific perks can be quite valuable. Both the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege and TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege cards give you rare perks like priority check in and boarding on Air Canada flights as well as annual discounted companion flights, security priority, and 4 annual passes to any Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.

The Top 5 In Detail

1) American Express Gold Rewards Card

Clearly the best travel rewards card in Canada, this card provides so much value for its relatively low $150 annual fee that sometimes it's a little hard to believe how good it actually is compared to the competition.

No other card on the market allows you to earn double points on 4 bonus categories while allowing you to transfer your points to much more valuable airline miles as well. If you spend $2,083 per month on this card, you'll reap an incredible $863 worth of savings on Air Canada or other airline partner flights annually. That's net after deducting the $150 annual fee by the way, which is waived for the first year anyway. You can also choose to redeem your points for ANY travel purchase you charge to the card, but I highly recommend transferring to miles because you get about 3x more reward value that way.

What about insurance and perks? It actually has a great range of both for a lower annual fee card. And hey, the fact that it looks like a shiny piece of gold in your hand doesn't hurt either...

Why You Want It:

  • 2 points per dollar spent on all gas, grocery, drugstore, and travel purchases.
  • Transfer points 1:1 Air Canada Aeroplan or British Airways Avios miles.
  • Access to all the Star Alliance and One World airlines through Aeroplan and Avios.
  • 25,000 bonus points for signing up worth about $750 when transferred to Aeroplan.
  • Above average insurance coverage with 15 days of travel medical and 9 other types included.
  • Add an extra cardholder free to earn points faster, often $50+ with other premium cards.
  • Very low minimum income requirement of $20,000 considering the premium features.
  • Nice Amex perks like Front Of The Line and exclusive perks at 330 hotel partners.
  • Your first year is free with the $150 annual fee waived.

Apply Now

2&3) Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Cards

It's unusual to have a tie when it comes to credit cards, but the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card and CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege Card are so similar that it's almost impossible to tell them apart. There are slight differences in the insurance package they offer but the difference mostly balance out and the only other real difference I was able to find is that CIBC explicitly states you can go over your credit limit with no over limit fee. That's why the CIBC card has an ever-so-slighty higher score.

If you can get past the $200,000 minimum income and $399 annual fee sticker shock of these cards, you will see they offer a lot of valuable features. Their scores were penalized because they are so costly, but they still came out near the top. Why? First, they both have an increased base earning rate of 1.25 Aeroplan miles per dollar spent on every purchase + 1.5 miles per dollar spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and Air Canada purchases. Next, they offer a long list of exclusive Air Canada perks like priority check-in, priority boarding, 4 annual Maple Leaf Lounge passes, your first checked bag is always free, and a 50% discounted business class companion fare.

Additionally, they have other great features like priority security lane access, concierge, easy top status in the Fairmont President's Club after only 5 stays, hotel perks, golf course perks, and more.

Why You Want Them:

  • High base rewards accrual rate of 1.25 miles per dollar spent.
  • 1.5 miles per dollar spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and Air Canada purchases.
  • Exclusive Air Canada perks without needing frequent flyer status including:
    • 50% discounted business class companion fare annually.
    • 4 annual Maple Leaf Lounge passes.
    • First check bag free.
    • Priority check-in.
    • Priority boarding.
  • Additional lounge access through basic Priority Pass membership with 6 complimentary lounge visits annually.
  • Top notch insurance package including extended travel medical, trip cancellation (rare), and higher maximums than most cards.
  • Travel insurance coverage applies on Aeroplan reward flights as well as paid flights (rare).
  • A good sign up bonus of 25,000 miles (as high as 55,000 during limited-time promotions).
  • Visa Infinite Privileges perks like hotel upgrades and credits, golf discounts, unique experiences, and more.
  • Premier status at Fairmont's President Club and Platinum status after only 5 stays.
  • Personal concierge service to make you feel like a rock star!

Apply For TD Apply For CIBC

4&5) Aeroplan Visa Infinite Cards

Just like the Infinite Privilege editions, the standard Infinite TD and CIBC Aeroplan branded cards are almost identical. This time the TD card has an edge because it has better trip interruption and baggage coverage than the CIBC card.

These cards come with significantly worse insurance coverage and perks than their Privilege counterparts and only 1 Aeroplan mile per $1 spent instead of 1.25. That is made up for by a big reduction in the annual fee - $120 instead of $399. It takes a lot of spending to make up for that gap if you only care about rewards and not extra features and perks.

They also have several Air Canada specific perks, but the big downer here is that those perks only apply to reward flights and not regular Air Canada flights. If you only ever fly with a rewards ticket, then I guess that isn't an issue, but most people purchase flights as well.

Why You Want Them:

  • Provides many features of the Infinite Privilege cards without the high minimum income and annual fee.
  • 1.5 miles per dollar spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and Air Canada purchases.
  • Exclusive Air Canada perks without needing frequent flyer status including:
    • 1 annual Maple Leaf Lounge pass.
    • First check bag free on reward flights.
    • Priority check-in on reward flights.
    • Priority boarding on reward flights.
  • Good insurance package including travel medical and trip cancellation (rare).
  • Travel insurance coverage applies on Aeroplan reward flights as well as paid flights (rare).
  • A good sign up bonus of 15,000 miles (as high as 25,000 during limited-time promotions).
  • Personal concierge service to make you feel like a rock star!

Apply For TD Apply For CIBC

Take Off On Your Next Adventure

Travel rewards credit cards make it easier than ever to travel the world. My family has personally used rewards from credit cards to fly almost free to Paris, Vienna, the Philippines, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto. We have young kids so it is harder to get away now, but we have more than enough points banked to keep exploring the world as soon as we can!

Where would you like to fly off to? Let me know in the comments! Questions? Ask away and I will respond.

Finally, always remember that letting credit cards with rewards entice you into much higher spending and debt is NEVER worth it. Please only apply for these cards if you plan to pay them off in full every month.

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Comments

Jon
Jon's picture

Do you have the full list available?

May 24, 2016 @ 2:28 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I'm not planning to make the full list available Jon. Most people are interested in the top performing cards anyway. Is there a particular card you were wondering about?

May 27, 2016 @ 9:12 am
Doug
Doug's picture

Regarding travel insurance....After an exhaustive seared I found the Blue Shore Financial MasterCard gold. It provides all the usual travel insurance benefits....but covers up to age 70, instead of the general practice of 65. It allows a huge saving for those in the 65-70 age range.

August 19, 2016 @ 4:47 pm
Doug
Doug's picture

Your analysis leaves out the new best card in for travel in Canada. The AMX platinum reserve card. 60,000 points sign up bonus at the moment. Unlimited Priority Longe access, high point accumulations, great insurance packages. $200 free travel bonus, buy one 25,000 point redemption get a second free once a year. $899 annual fee.
If you can qualify....it has everything all the other plans do and more.

August 19, 2016 @ 4:34 pm
Norman
Norman's picture

i think results are not accurate. It is solely based 3 cents per mile for aeroplan. This may be true for longer haul flights, but in reality there are only so many long haul flights a person can take. Places to visit are not necessarily long haul. Also the further you go, the longer your trip, the more money required for trip. So IMHO, it is no accurate.

May 26, 2016 @ 6:25 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It sounds like you've read my article about how much Aeroplan miles are worth. If not, give it a read. I do believe 3 cents per mile to be a fair assessment of the value of an Aeroplan mile and go into much detail about why that is the case. Most people who are looking to travel want to take some sort of long haul flight. If you only want to travel close to home, why not just get a cash back credit card?

It's pretty easy to get 3 cents per mile with Aeroplan and other airline rewards programs in economy class if you put a little bit of effort into it. With business class flights, competitive routes, and high demand times you can get a much higher value.

Also, the rankings are based on a lot more than just rewards but also a long list of insurance coverages and perks as well. What would you say the top cards are if my list is not accurate?

May 27, 2016 @ 9:10 am
Deborah
Deborah's picture

We have the TD Visa Infinite not for the travel rewards, but for the included travel medical insurance. Saves us from buying a multi-trip policy for 1-2 day outings to the States. Problem is, I don't know how good the insurance provider (Allianz) is.
Would appreciate a future post comparing satisfaction with travel medical policies.

May 26, 2016 @ 8:14 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It's pretty hard to verify how good an insurance provider is Deborah. It's largely based on personal experience. You can try doing a Better Business Bureau search for the company to see how they rate there. So far my experience making claims with credit card insurance across multiple cards has all been positive - no one even asked me any questions after completing the forms.

If you're solely interested in travel insurance (particularly medical), I would check out the Desjardins Visa Odyssey Gold, the National Bank World Elite MasterCard, or the BMO World Elite MasterCard.

May 27, 2016 @ 9:21 am
Norman
Norman's picture

I agree that redemption for business class flights may make aeroplan more worth it percentage wise. However, business class is not a ticket that a normal person would pay with their own money. If I was offered to buy a car that had an MSRP of $50000 vs a car with an MSRP of $25000 and the first offer had a 20% discount but second car had a discount of %15, I wouldn't buy the first car just because I would save more money. I was never in the market for a higher end car in the first place. By getting a bigger discount doesn't justify buying e product. Then again to each their own.
As I said traveling long haul involves higher costs (hotel, car rentals, food, entertainment etc...) are you really saving by getting an extra percentage on your aeroplan redemption?

May 27, 2016 @ 1:04 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

The 3 cents per mile is based on economy class flights. You can double or triple that sometimes with business class flights. I just mentioned business class flights to demonstrate that the value can actually be much higher than 3 cents per mile if you wanted the business class experience without paying the business class price tag. Of course most people wouldn't buy a business class ticket, but that doesn't change the fact that a business class ticket costs what it costs.

Traveling long haul certainly costs money. However, if you travel much distance from home at all you incur many of those same costs unless you're camping or staying with friends or family. Again, travel credit cards are for people who are interested in traveling the world. If that's not of interest to you, then usually a cash back credit card would be a better fit anyway - why bother with travel credit cards at all?

May 28, 2016 @ 7:05 pm
Stephane
Stephane's picture

I don't understand how you can rank the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite card so low. On $25,000 of spending, you get $500 reward miles every year (2%). Sign up bonus is 40,000 miles - equal to $400. When I originally got the card, the first year was free. Not sure if that is still applicable. My yearly fee is $120 (seems to be $150 now) but I get 10,000 miles - equal to $100. Additional cards are free and the insurance seems to be pretty good.

June 07, 2016 @ 3:45 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

$500 compared to almost $850+ of the top card is quite a huge difference. Then you have to consider that I already subtracted the annual fee from that amount. That number is net rewards after paying the annual fee. So really you are earning $1013/year on $25,000 in spending. That's more than double. If you subtract the annual fee from the Capital One card, your net rewards are just $350.

Sign up bonus is $750 vs $400. Annual fee is no longer waived for the first year with Capital One. It is always waived with the Amex Gold Rewards, not just a promotion. The 10,000 points you receive yearly is only for grandfathered cardholders. That annual bonus no longer exists.

Insurance is pretty decent on that card though you're right. It has a 3.8 insurance rating whereas the Amex Gold Rewards has a 3.1. Not nearly enough to push it ahead though or even into the top 10. It's ranked #23.

It's a good card for flexible travel rewards, but I still prefer the MBNA Rewards World Elite more if you want flexibility. Hope that answers your question.

June 09, 2016 @ 2:41 pm
James Connolly
James Connolly's picture

I until quite recently had a American Expess Gold reward card, however I gave it up as the rewards although very good . The problem was that my favourite stores do not accept it (ie Costco and Superstore), I also found as I do a fair bit of travel many of smaller stores and restaurants either did not accept it or surcharged due to American Express higher merchant fees. Hence the value of the card compared with MasterCard and Visa card was not worth it.

June 08, 2016 @ 2:12 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

There are some stores that don't accept it for sure, but almost all the restaurants I've been to do accept it. There are grocery stores that accept it as well.

I think the best strategy is to pair it with a no-fee card like the Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard (see my no-fee cash back rankings here). That way you can get up to 7 different bonus spending categories and have a nice backup if Amex isn't accepted. The acceptance rate of Amex was considered in the rankings and did lower the score of Amex cards. I may consider increasing the weight of that in future years.

June 09, 2016 @ 2:44 pm
ernest
ernest's picture

i'm curious why the BMO world elite wasn't in the rankings, as they have been ranked very high by you and others in recent years. how does it stack up?

and may not be useful for most, but for BMO private banking clients, they will waive the annual fee for the world elite if 30thou is spent a year.

July 08, 2016 @ 10:30 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It is a very strong card. The simple fact of the matter is that no flexible travel points card that offers a straight percentage of your spending back as rewards usable on any type of travel can compete with most true airline rewards cards.

The reason for that is because airline miles are valuable enough to get around a 3% return on your spending if the card gives you 1 point per dollar spent, which most do. That's already 50% more than the 2% the top travel points cards give you. Then, if you have spending bonuses like the Amex Gold Rewards has, you can double that return to 6% on spending in those categories. I've worked that out to be an average of 4.05% for typical spending patterns.

About 50% of my scoring system is comprised of reward value after annual fees are deducted so when you have much higher rewards like that, those cards just can't compete.

The other 50% that takes into account insurance and perks does account for the added flexibility cards like the BMO card give you, but it just isn't enough.

If I look through my travel credit card rankings, the BMO card is ranked #16, which is the highest of any flexible travel card. I will probably write a separate article that compares just those cards at some point.

Also see my response to Stephane above, which gives a more concrete example with numbers.

July 08, 2016 @ 12:27 pm
Jill
Jill's picture

Is it still possible to cancel an Amex card (or any other) and then reapply to get free annual fee and bonus points? If so, how long between cancellation and reapplication? Also, suppose I apply for an Amex card different from the one I already had?
Thanks for the wonderful info in this website.

August 12, 2016 @ 7:33 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

You can always apply for different cards - no problem there. Some companies will limit you on how many of their cards you can have concurrently but usually you can just cancel one you no longer use to get a new one if you want.

Whether or not you receive sign up bonuses and annual fee waivers again depends on the company. Amex used to allow this no problem but recently changed it to be one bonus per card per customer lifetime. However, I managed to sign up for the Amex Gold Rewards and get both the sign up bonus and annual fee waived after they instituted the policy and I had already had the card about 3 years ago.

If you are going to try doing this, I suggest waiting at least a year before applying again. Some will let you do it within as little as 3 months.

August 13, 2016 @ 3:27 pm
Bob
Bob 's picture

Hi Stephen,
I just called the AMEX customer service regarding the Platinum card. They only require you to wait 24 months after cancelling to re-qualify for the sign up bonus

November 20, 2016 @ 4:33 pm
Kirit Kothari
Kirit Kothari's picture

I have BMO World Elite Master Card. Has been OK, so far.

I have turned 77, and BMO has come back stating that I am not covered
for Travel Medical.

I obtained rates from their Insurance Company. Premiums for me and my wife,
for annual coverage are over $ 2,400.
Comparative rates from TD Visa Infinite are about a $ 1,000 LESS.

Any suggestions ?

August 19, 2016 @ 5:34 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I haven't analyzed credit cards yet for people over 65 yet, but I hear the Desjardins Visa Odyssey Gold is good.

September 05, 2016 @ 1:00 pm
Charly
Charly's picture

One concern with your recommendation of having an American Express card for a regular Joe in Canada is there are far fewer retail locations that accept American Express over a MC or VISA. Perhaps wealthier people who travel outside of Canada frequently (ie USA or abroad) can make use of the card in foreign countries, but trying to build points here in Canada is probably much more difficult than other card types. IMHO, while it may offer bigger rewards, it may not be the best option for average Canadians.

September 14, 2016 @ 5:57 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It's true that fewer retailers accept it, but still many do. That's why I normally recommend people pair it with a good no-fee MasterCard or Visa for those cases where it isn't accepted. Here is my list of top no-fee cash back credit cards.

September 15, 2016 @ 1:15 pm
Dhruv D
Dhruv D's picture

Also, how would you rate the CIBC Visa Infinite Aventura Card?

Thank you.

September 20, 2016 @ 3:51 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It isn't a bad card if you are focused on flexible travel rewards that can be redeemed for any sort of travel. It comes in ranked as the #20 travel card.

September 20, 2016 @ 10:47 am
Jill
Jill's picture

Is there any reason to keep using the AlaskaAir credit card once I collect the 25,000 points. I am using British Airways RBC Visa because I only need 15,000 points for short hauls and it seems to make sense to keep doing that. thanks.

September 30, 2016 @ 4:54 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Not really - having multiple cards with an annual fee over the long term doesn't usually make sense.

October 14, 2016 @ 1:01 pm
Geoff
Geoff's picture

Aeroplan is seriously overrated. Unless you are extremely flexible with your travel schedule and dont mind layovers, it is exceedingly difficult to find flights at the base rate. Ive tried many times to book using aeroplan points but always found they were quick to raise the price when it suited them.

Want a flight from Toronto to Vancouver? 25k pts!
Oh wait, you want a direct flight? 35k pts.
Oh wait, you want to travel on the weekend? 50k pts.
Oh wait, you dont want to sit in the last row? 65k pts.
You will end up paying 2-3 times as many points to get what you want.

Ultimately, it doesnt matter how many points you EARN because it is a long and frustrating process to get any value out of them. Any travel reward card rating cant simply rate how many points you get. It has to evaluate the practical value of applying those points..... and Aeroplan points simply don't offer the advertised return in real life.

October 06, 2016 @ 5:30 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Flexibility is key - I find that I am personally able to make it work well enough to justify the amount of money I'm saving.

October 14, 2016 @ 1:02 pm
Dave
Dave's picture

I completely agree that Aeroplan is NOT easy to use, unless you are 100% flexible on where you want to go and when you want to go. I have the CIBC Aventura Infinite Card and just did a quick comparison on a flight I'm about to book. Air Canada Direct YYC to EWR for one week in March. Aeroplan was 65,400 pts plus $126.71 in taxes. Aventura was 35,000 pts plus $162.22 in taxes. Good luck trying to find a 25,000 point flight on Aeroplan.

December 09, 2016 @ 6:59 pm
Gloria
Gloria's picture

Although this is available only to your Canadian readers,I wanted to share the information in case it is of interest and you publish information for those readers specifically.

Rogers Mastercard gives you $25 cash back credit as a welcome bonus, card is free for first year and also thereafter if you are a Rogers' subscriber and pay for your monthly bill with the credit card; great feature is that you get 4% cash back on any foreign currency purchase whether online or out of country. Cash back can be used to pay towards monthly bill or Shopping channel purchases.

November 01, 2016 @ 11:19 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Thanks Gloria - it's a great card and one that I mention in my cash back credit card rankings.

November 01, 2016 @ 12:28 pm
Ron
Ron's picture

Hi;

What do you think of the WestJet World Elite card? $99.00 annual fee + $99.00 companion voucher makes it a no brainer for me. Savings really add up if you fly to visit family at Christmas time.

Where does it rank for you?

December 14, 2016 @ 4:47 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It ranks as #41 on my travel credit card rankings. The rewards themselves are uninspiring but the companion fare is a good annual perk that is worth quite a lot. My algorithm probably doesn't weight that bonus quite as highly as it should - so it's really personal preference if you want the card just for that perk. Otherwise, there are definitely better cards out there.

January 02, 2017 @ 10:17 am
Diane
Diane's picture

I have the BMO World Elite, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, and the TD First Class Visa Infinite (on this one the annual fee is waived because of the all-inclusive banking plan I have). If I sign up for the AMEX Gold Rewards card, which one of the others do you recommend I cancel? I don't need travel insurance through a credit card, but like the trip cancellation and trip interruption options.

December 28, 2016 @ 1:49 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

If you're able to get good value out of Aeroplan and are getting the Amex Gold Rewards to convert those points to Aeroplan, then I would cancel the BMO World Elite. It has the highest annual fee and you're getting a 1.75% return on spending. With Aeroplan, you can achieve 3% return on spending or higher with a little work + 50% to 100% more in bonus spending categories like gas, groceries, drugstore, and travel.

I would see if you could get the annual fee waived on the TD Aeroplan card instead of the First Class, and then cancel both the First Class and the World Elite. Then you'll only be paying one annual fee when the Amex Gold renews a year later.

January 02, 2017 @ 10:15 am
Amr
Amr's picture

Hi Stephen,
Thanks for the great blog!

I'm a current holder of BMO WE card, and I don't know why you overlook National bank world and world elite cards? They offer far more superior insurance coverage at lower annual fees (primary and secondary cards)
Examples:
-2 years extended warranty instead of one.
-4h to benefit from flight delays or baggage delays vs 12h with BMO
-60 days med. Insurance coverage vs 21.
-drivers must be family members with BMO CDW coverage
- higher coverage for travel interruption and cancellation

National bank cards are weaker when it comes to rewards %, but I think it's either a card for high rewards /cash back or insurance coverage.
Let me know.

January 10, 2017 @ 5:43 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

They weren't overlooked, they just didn't have strong enough rewards to make it into the top 10 as you say. They do have strong insurance coverage. I will eventually provide more coverage on credit card insurance coverage sometime this year. I have another project on the go though that is eating up a lot of my time.

January 10, 2017 @ 1:13 pm
Matt
Matt's picture

Hi Stephen, great blog. You are spot on for most of your analyses.

But the 50% discounted companion fare for the top CIBC card is a complete rip-off.

Among many cards, I have a CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege Card. I was so excited to book a round trip for my wife and I to go to London, England - sure it costs extra to fly in Business Class for Air Canada, but hey - with that 50% savings I thought it was going to work out great. Plus I've always wanted to fly in a "pod".

Turns out, that's 50% off the "Flexible" business class fare - not to be confused with the "Lowest price" business class fare. So the $6000 price for both of us return, became $20,000. (But good news, the second fare is discounted 50% so it's really only $15,000).

Seriously? If you look really closely in the fine print, you can see "booking classes J, C, and D only". Guess what class "Lowest price fare" is not.

The CIBC card is going in the garbage next week. I like the rest of the benefits but at $500 for a card for myself and my wife, not worth it at all.

Moral: read the fine print.

January 10, 2017 @ 5:22 pm
Lisa
Lisa's picture

Stephen: I am researching travel and cash back credit cards... I earn less than the $60K income threshold (and am single). What card would you recommend?

Currently I have a Canadian Tire MasterCard. I tried an Amex card just recently but so few places where I am accept it that I cancelled that one.

I appreciate any input you have time to offer.

Lisa

January 11, 2017 @ 3:09 am
Kelly Anderson
Kelly Anderson's picture

Stephen,

I currently have the CIBC infinite Aventura card. It has worked well for us as both my husband and I had lots of work expenses which has allowed us to collect lots of points. We have booked many flights and have been very happy with the travel we have been able to take advantage of. Our spending pattern will be changing and I would like to move to a less expensive cash back card. The problem is I have 70,000 points. I'm concerned if I cancel or change cards even with the same family will I lose my points. Any advice?

thanks
Kelly

January 17, 2017 @ 9:34 am

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