Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada 2019

Best Travel Credit Cards In Canada 2019

Do you want the most valuable rewards possible?

Look no further than a travel credit card. They're some of the most attractive cards you can get your hands on, period.

With lucrative rewards, comprehensive travel insurance, and premium perks – it's one of the easiest ways to get one step closer to your dream vacation. The catch is the programs can be tedious, confusing, and overwhelming.

But don't worry – we've narrowed down the absolute best of the best in Canada.

Now all you have to do is pick which one works best for you.

2019 travel credit card rankings

We compared 50+ features of 114 cards in order to see which card was really best, using our purely math-based, unbiased algorithm. You can see the top 5 in the table below.

To be as thorough as possible, we've also included cash back cards in this category, since you can easily use cash towards your travel purchases.

Note: The "Welcome Bonus" when presented as a dollar value is calculated by combining all one-time bonuses available to new cardholders within the first year. To qualify for the full bonus you may need to make purchases, meet minimum spending requirements, or complete special actions.

The top 3 Canadian travel credit cards in detail

Let's see what makes our best 3 travel cards stand out.

1st place: American Express Cobalt

The American Express Cobalt is not only the absolute best card overall, but it's also the best travel credit card – go figure.

Why you want it

  • With a 8.75% return, this card has the highest earn rate on both groceries and restaurants of any card in Canada.
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at grocery stores, bars, and restaurants.
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, travel, and transit purchases.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else.
  • Affordable $10 monthly fee.
  • Earn up to 30,000 points as a welcome bonus.
  • Feel like a VIP with Amex extras, like Front of the Line, American Express Invites, and Cobalt Perks.
  • Redeem points instantly.
  • No minimum income requirements.
  • Add an extra card for free and collect even more rewards.

The Cobalt's amazing earn rates only get better when you consider that your points are worth up to 1.75 cents each. That's a return of up to 8.75% on your grocery and restaurant purchases – the best in Canada.

And if that wasn't enough, take advantage of the welcome bonus to get up to 30,000 points in your first year. You'll get 2,500 points every month you charge $500 to your card – a pretty achievable spend for a great reward.

But what can you do with the rewards?

Virtually anything.

  • Redeem 1,000 points for $10 of ANY type of travel charged to your card (even your transit pass),
  • 1,000 points for $7 when you log into your Cobalt mobile app and use your points to pay for ANY purchase you just made, or
  • transfer your points to either Marriott Bonvoy (5:6 ratio) or Hilton Honors (1:1).

But the best way to redeem your Cobalt rewards is through the Fixed Points Travel Program.

For example, if you go for a long haul flight from Canada to the US, you'll need 40,000 points. These 40,000 points will cover up to $700 towards the base airfare of any flight you can find. Maximize this, and each point is worth 1.75 cents.

Downsides

The only downside you'll hear about any Amex card is they aren't accepted as widely as Visa and Mastercard are.

It's true, but it's also getting better every day.

Other than that, there's really no other downside with this card. Spend a meagre $200 per month on groceries and restaurants and you already have the monthly fee paid for.

2nd place: American Express® Gold Rewards

If you want a bit more flexibility with your travel rewards, the American Express® Gold Rewards Card can get you there.

Why you want it

  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and travel purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else.
  • Have great flexibility with your points – transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Air Canada's Aeroplan or British Airways' Avios.
  • Up to 2.5x the reward value when transferred to Aeroplan and redeemed for flights.
  • Get started with a welcome bonus of 25,000 points (worth $625 when transferred to Aeroplan).
  • Add an extra cardholder for free and earn even more points.
  • Great insurance package.
  • Nice Amex extras like Front of the Line.
  • Low $150 annual fee.
  • No minimum income requirement.

If you're a frequent Air Canada flyer, you have a great option with the Amex Gold. The ability to transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Aeroplan – one of Canada's top reward programs – actually more than doubles your point value, giving you a great return on all your spending.

Aren't tied specifically to Aeroplan? No problem – you can also redeem your points for Amex's own travel rewards program or several other airline and hotel partners. Just keep in mind Aeroplan will give you the best value for your points.

Related: Air Canada's Aeroplan Rewards: How To Earn Faster And Redeem Better

But even if you don't fly that often, you'll get great flexibility with the option to instantly redeem your points as statement credits to go towards any purchase you make on the card.

On top of the great rewards, this card has a great selection of both insurance and perks. In fact, it offers 10 out of 16 insurance coverages we track.

The fact this card looks like a sparkling gold bar in your hand doesn't hurt either...

Downsides

Again, as an Amex card, it won't be accepted as widely as Visa or Mastercard.

And though this card's annual fee is $30 more than the Cobalt, its earn rate isn't nearly as impressive.

3rd place: TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite*

Want to steer clear of Amex? No problem – the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* can get you what you need.

Why you want it

  • Earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent on groceries, gas, drugstore, and Aircanada.com purchases (up to $80,000 annually spent per year).
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent everywhere else.
  • Get exclusive Air Canada perks without needing frequent flyer status.
  • Comprehensive insurance package covering 11 out of 16 types we cover.
  • A welcome bonus of up to 30,000 bonus points – worth around $750.
  • 24/7 personal concierge service.
  • Visa Infinite perks.
  • Low $120 annual fee.

Not only will this card help you earn more Aeroplan points, but you'll also get exclusive Air Canada perks when flying on a ticket you bought with rewards. How does first checked bag free, priority check-in, and priority boarding sound?

Related: What Is An Aeroplan Mile REALLY Worth?

If the typical Aeroplan mile is worth 2.5 cents when redeemed for flights, you'll get a 3.75% return on all purchases made in the card's bonus categories. On our typical spending breakdown, you'll be getting $593 in rewards a year – even after subtracting the annual fee.

And that's not all. The card's comprehensive insurance coverage really helps set it apart:

Plus you'll get the travel insurance even when flying on a rewards ticket – a rare benefit indeed.

Want the annual fee waived? Just sign up for the TD All-Inclusive banking plan and that's exactly what you'll get. Keep a minimum balance of $5,000 and your bank account will be free, too.

Downsides

Unlike the 2 Amex cards, the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* has minimum income requirements of $60,000 personal or $100,000 household, making it a bit less accessible to the average Canadian.

And it's an extra $50 if you want to add another cardholder.

Still not sure what the best travel card for you is?

A quick glance at the Overall Score can tell you the best travel credit card in Canada.

But if you’re looking for something particular or cards that excel in one specific area, you’ll have to dig a little deeper…

I want the most rewards possible

If you just want to make sure you're getting the absolute best return for your spending, look no further than the American Express Cobalt.

With 5x the rewards on one of our biggest necessities – food – every dollar spent can take you a long way. But that's not all. You'll even get 2x the rewards on another huge need – gas, travel, and transit.

If you redeem your points for the Amex Fixed Points Travel Program, you'll be getting an 8.75% return for your food spending. This blows every other card out of the water – all for a $10 monthly fee.

I want flexible rewards

If you don't want to be tied down to one airline partner (or to travel in general), the American Express Cobalt will still work great for you and your wallet.

You can redeem your points in 10 different ways:

  • Flexible Points Travel Program,
  • Fixed Points Travel Program,
  • transfer to airline partners,
  • transfer to hotel partners,
  • redeem through Ticketmaster,
  • donations to charity,
  • gift cards,
  • statement credit,
  • shopping on Amazon.ca, and
  • merchandise.

So it's pretty safe to say, whatever your preference is, you can find some way to use your rewards with the Amex Cobalt.

Not to mention this is the best travel credit card on the market, so for the times you do want to redeem for travel, you're in good hands.

I want the biggest welcome bonus on the market

If you want a huge welcome bonus, the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card will give you 50,000 points – enough for 2 long-haul round trip flight rewards, or about $1,250.

How?

  • You'll get 25,000 bonus Aeroplan Miles when you make your first purchase with your card, then
  • get 25,000 MORE miles when you spend $1,000 within 90 days of opening your account.

Of course, as a Visa Infinite Privilege card, it has a high annual fee of $399 and high minimum income requirements of $200,000. But if these sound okay to you, you'll get an amazing welcome bonus with even better perks.

If the annual fee and income requirements are a bit too much to handle, our #2 travel card, the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite*, still gets you 30,000 miles for a $120 annual fee and much more reasonable income requirements ($60,000 personal or $100,000 household).

I want no income requirements

If you want a card with no income requirements, any American Express is up your alley since none of them have them – even the super prestigious Platinum Card.

But if you prefer a Visa or Mastercard for their increased acceptance, the Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus® Mastercard® is a great option.

Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent, and get 3 miles on Alaska Airlines purchases. We value an Alaska Airline mile at 2.3 cents, giving you a return of 2.3% on all your purchases.

Plus, get a sign up bonus of 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

This card is also known for its an annual companion voucher. Once per year, book a flight for yourself on Alaska Airlines and bring someone else with you for $99 USD plus taxes and fees.

Don't plan on travelling on Alaska Airlines? No problem. Use your points on 17 different international carriers as well. Just note that you won't be able to use your miles for flights within Canada.

And this card has a lower annual fee of $75, yet still has 7 types of purchase and travel insurance.

Bonus: If you meet the requirements of a World Elite Mastercard, the Alaska Airlines World Elite® Mastercard® is a similar card, except has a higher sign up bonus of 30,000 miles, and gets you free checked bags on Alaska Airlines. It has an annual fee of $99.

I want the best no annual fee travel credit card

If you don't spend enough to justify an annual fee, or maybe you just don't want to worry about it, there are plenty of no fee cards for you to choose from. Let's take a look at the top 2.

Taking first place is the Rogers World Elite Mastercard. Though it's technically a cash back card, cash can easily be used against any travel expenses. You'll get nice and easy 1.75% cash back on all your purchases.

But the best part is its unique way of dealing with those pesky 2.5% foreign exchange fees you get hit with whenever you pay for something that's not in CAD. Instead, earn 4% cash back on these purchases, leaving you 1.5% in the green.

But it does have income requirements of either $80,000 personal or $150,000 household to qualify.

The next best option is the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard®. You'll get:

  • 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases, up to $5,000 annually in each category, and
  • 1 point for every $1 spent on everything else.

All rewards earned are completely flexible – you're in control of how and when you want to redeem, with 5 different options to sweeten the deal.

But that's not all. For a no fee card, MBNA gives you a lot to work with, including 7 different insurance coverages and a 5,000 point welcome bonus (worth about $50) – both very rare to see with no annual fee.

I want the best credit card travel insurance

If you love having some peace of mind while travelling, the insurance package of your travel credit card is an important aspect to consider.

The Desjardins Odyssey Visa Infinite Privilege has the best insurance coverage of any card on the market right now – but you need $250,000 in household income to qualify and carries a $395 annual fee.

Here are some highlights of its insurance package:

  • 60 days of travel medical coverage – compared to the standard 15.
  • Slightly reduced coverage all the way up to age 75.
  • Only card issuer to offer unlimited trip interruption insurance – compared to the $5,000 of the next best card.

Despite only offering 10 out of 16 different types of insurance, it tops 8 of them, making it pretty special.

If you prefer quality over quantity (and a lower annual fee), the BMO® Air Miles®† World Elite® Mastercard®* comes with 14 out of 16 possible types of insurance:

This amount of protection is pretty amazing when you consider the low $120 annual fee.

Plus personal effects coverage is one of the rarest insurance offered by any credit card – it covers your personal belongings for the entire duration of your trip, not just when travelling on common carriers.

Not to mention this is the best Air Miles card in Canada, hands down.

Related: How To Earn And Redeem More Air Miles

I want travel perks – and lots of them

Want exclusive perks to make you feel like a VIP every time you fly?

The American Express Platinum Card® has the best perks package of any credit card in Canada.

It gives you access to over 1,2000 airport lounges worldwide, including unlimited international airport lounge visits to Priority Pass lounges for you and a guest – better than any other card.

Want more? This card also comes with:

  • 11 types of insurance,
  • upgraded status at 4 different hotel chains,
  • perks at Canadian airports (like access to a fast track security lane),
  • $200 annual travel credit,
  • a welcome bonus of 50,000 points – worth about $1,250 when redeemed for travel, and
  • much more.

I need a credit card with travel insurance over age 65

If you're over the age of 65 and tired of your credit card's travel insurance being rejected because of it, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard has you covered.

You'll get up to 15 days of travel insurance on top of other premium travel card benefits, like:

  • up to $250 in annual travel fee reimbursements,
  • 24/7 concierge access, and
  • unlimited airport lounge access when visiting the Montreal Airport.

For an annual fee of $150, this card basically pays for itself.

Don't meet the high income requirements of a World Elite Mastercard? Don't worry – the National Bank World Mastercard will give you the same great coverage, with more manageable income requirements of $60,000 personal or $100,000 household.

Get where you want, faster and cheaper

Travel cards can give you the best credit card rewards in Canada...so which will you go with?

Let us know in the comments!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

Editorial Disclaimer: The content here reflects the author's opinion alone, and is not endorsed or sponsored by a bank, credit card issuer, rewards program or other entity.

Hot Credit Card Deals This Month:

  • COMING SOON: No foreign transaction fees + up to 5X reward multipliers
    • Coming August 1 to all cardholders:
    • 0% foreign transaction fees – a 2.5% savings.
    • 5X points on groceries, dining, and entertainment.
    • 3X points on gas, daily transit, and select streaming services.
    • Apply today to qualify for the lower $99 annual fee this year.
  • Pay Your Balance Faster with 0% Interest for 10 Months
    • Best introductory balance transfer offer in Canada right now.
    • Pay off pre-existing credit card debt with a 0% promotional balance transfer rate.
    • No annual fee and no minimum income requirements.
    • Offer not available to residents of Quebec.
  • Best credit card in Canada for 2 years in a row
    • Our top rated credit card in Canada in 2018 and 2019.
    • Earn up to 30,000 points as a welcome bonus in the first year.
    • 5 points per $1 spent on groceries and dining.
    • 2 points per $1 spent on travel, transit and gas purchases.
    • Monthly fee of $10 instead of an annual fee.
  • Rate Your Wallet in 3 minutes or less. Take the quiz

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
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It is included Doug - it just isn't good enough to make the top 10. You have to understand that kind of annual fee is well above what most people will pay. If it offered much better rewards per dollar spent, then it would come out on top - but it doesn't. It just adds extra perks and features instead. Those do increase its score, but not enough to counterbalance its high annual fee and lack of extra rewards.

The sign up bonus is barely higher than The Platinum Card either and the perks aren't that much better.

April 18, 2017 @ 10:24 am
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
Steve
Steve's picture

Hey Stephen!

You mentioned you prefer MBNA Rewards World Elite over the Capital One Aspire World Elite. Why is that?

You only get $100 sign up bonus and their travel insurance isn't as good as the Aspire (from what I've seen). The annual fee is lower however but on a $25,000 spending you only get $500 plus $100 sign up bonus less $89 AF = $511

Aspire you get $750 based on sign up bonus of $400 less $150 AF.

Curious to hear your response!

Steve

March 28, 2017 @ 12:20 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

MBNA Rewards are much more flexible than the Capital One rewards. You can use them for basically anything you want and you get the same 2% return on spending with the lower annual fee to boot. That's enough to push it ahead in my books. If you want a true travel rewards card, I would skip the Capital One card anyway. If you want truly flexible rewards, then MBNA is better.

April 18, 2017 @ 10:26 am
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
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Good to hear - maybe they've had a change of heart.

April 18, 2017 @ 10:27 am
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
Alan Graham
Alan Graham's picture

I used to use Medipac but they cancelled my policy when I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. I went to CAA and they insured me with no problem. Now I am on oxygen and will not be eligible for coverage until I have been on the oxygen (stable) for 1 year. I am 75 and my wife is 72. Last year,our combined total for full coverage with CAA was just over $800 for a 1 year policy (any 30 days out of country). Give CAA a try.

April 12, 2019 @ 3:53 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
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I find them all the time without much difficulty on basically every trip I want to take.

April 18, 2017 @ 10:27 am
Hartley
Hartley's picture

Stephen, you are one lucky man. Aéroplan must know your name and gives you special rights because I can rarely find short haul flights at 15,000 and then I get directed to market fare sales. If I don't mind taking a whole day to fly from Winnipeg to Toronto, then it pays off at roughly one cent per point. I am not retired so my down time has some value to me.

April 19, 2017 @ 12:07 pm
Hartley
Hartley's picture

I agree with Geoff. Aéroplan is useless. I am unable to get a direct flight from Wpg to Toronto. Like Air Miles, Aéroplan is cutting down on the available flights and adding ridiculous layovers or transfers. 8 hours to fly to Toronto from Wpg via Regina? What? Aéroplan has zero value for me. I dropped it years ago. Air Miles is not a lot better but at least I can get direct flights. Any card linked to Aéroplan, in my opinion, is a waste. Maybe if you are a platinum or elite status, then it may pay off.

For me, I will never sign up with Aéroplan again.

April 19, 2017 @ 11:36 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

How far in advance are you booking your tickets to always get re-routed through Regina from Winnipeg to Toronto? My first search conducted right now only 1.5 weeks out (April 29 to May6) showed a direct flight available for 15K. That was Saturday-Saturday. I checked Mon-Mon and Tues-Tues as well and both of those had direct flights available.

Maybe things have improved drastically since you last checked?

April 19, 2017 @ 2:49 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
Evan mugford
Evan mugford's picture

Not sure how your algo works, but it needs adjusting. A few months ago, I flew plus to Europe. The ticket cost was around 2200, my wife came as my "companion" for 400 (1800 savings) and I was able to use 1213 WestJet dollars on the first flight ( 250 was a bonus then rest earned) so on that one flight I saved $3212, I've had the card for 9 months. I've had around 10-15 other "travel" cards over the years, and none have ever come close to that kinda savings. Frig I don't think I could take all the others and combine them to get those kinda savings. As the 99 fee. If you have a checking account with RBC they credit part of the fee. I only pay 49 a year for the card.

May 03, 2017 @ 6:38 am
Evan mugford
Evan mugford's picture

actually, come to think of it, we also got our bags checked free because of the card, so that is another $100 saved on that one flight.

May 03, 2017 @ 6:41 am
Brian
Brian's picture

Just wondered if when doing your rankings you include the fact that the Westjet World Elite card
covers baggage fees for every flight. My wife and I fly 3-4 times a year and that amounts to hundreds of dollars in savings. Plus we really like the Airline!

February 02, 2018 @ 11:13 am
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

We do include complimentary checked bags in our rankings under our Perks Score, because you're right, it is a very valuable benefit if you fly a lot. 

Be sure to check back though... we should be posting our updated Best Travel Credit Cards of 2018 list soon! 

February 08, 2018 @ 5:00 pm
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
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I hate when they pull these tricks - there are often heavy conditions on companion fares. It isn't really something I try to get for myself for that reason.

January 17, 2017 @ 10:22 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
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I would suggest the Tangerine Money-Back MasterCard for a good cash back card. The best travel cards usually require a higher income level. The TD Aeroplan Platinum or the RBC Avion Platinum might be worth looking into though. You might be able to sweet talk them into an upgrade after you are a customer for a little while.

You could also try the regular MBNA Rewards, and then try to step up to the MBNA Rewards World Elite after a little while.

January 17, 2017 @ 10:25 pm
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
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Aventura points are bank-specific, so most certainly yes you will lose them if you cancel. I would suggest trying to downgrade to the cheapest version of the card until you can spend them.

January 17, 2017 @ 10:09 pm
Reed
Reed's picture

I have been using BMO Gold Airmiles Mastercard for over 10 years and really only use it so that I can get flights. I've always paired it with my airmiles card for fuel and grocery purchases to try get the most out of it .

The problem with it is that there are only certain flights and/or flight times that Airmiles offer. I am looking to switch credit cards for this reason but will not get an Amex card because it's not as widely accepted where I live.

Not sure which direction to go, I'm assuming all of the cards that made your list are better for strictly just travel than airmiles?

January 23, 2017 @ 8:18 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, every one of them is way better for travel than AIR MILES.

April 18, 2017 @ 10:14 am
Steve
Steve's picture

Hey Stephen

When is it better to go with a free cash back card vs a premium one with an AF?

March 28, 2017 @ 12:29 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

If you spend $1500 or more on your card monthly, it usually makes more sense to go with a premium card with an annual fee.

April 18, 2017 @ 10:14 am
Shannon
Shannon's picture

We travel alot. My husband and I and our 16-year-old daughter would love to go back to Australia. I just received an application in the mail for the RBC Visa Infinite Privilege. As an avid travel do you think this card is worth us getting.?

April 07, 2017 @ 10:37 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It's a solid card that makes the top 10. If you like the features of it vs other cards in this list, then it is a fine choice.

April 18, 2017 @ 10:15 am
Gillian
Gillian's picture

Hi,
I am looking to find a Canadian credit card that has no foreign exchange fees as I book a lot of travel that ends up being in US funds. I have one, but they as of June1/2017 are changing and adding the 2.5% foreign exchange fee as well as some other changes are being made. I don't want to pay a high annual fee either.
Interested to here back from you.

April 12, 2017 @ 1:53 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

There aren't many cards left that have no foreign exchange fee without an annual fee.

I would look at either the Rogers MasterCard or Fido MasterCard. They don't have no FX fee, but they do give 4% rewards on FX purchases which is basically the same thing. Not as good when doing refunds, but that's about it.

April 18, 2017 @ 10:17 am
Alan Graham
Alan Graham's picture

Try Home Trust Visa - no fee, no FX fee & 1% cash back.

April 12, 2019 @ 3:55 pm
Andrew
Andrew's picture

Hello,

I am excited to see the rankings for the AirMiles cards. I do have one question though. Is their a particular reason that you do the AirMiles cards separately from the rest of the travel cards? Keep up the great work. This website is very useful for comparing cards in one website. Cheers!

April 18, 2017 @ 10:08 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

The AirMiles cards are included in these rankings. The problem is that AirMiles is a pretty weak rewards program and their reward values are super lower compared to other travel cards. That prevents them from coming anywhere close to the top 10.

I do separate AirMiles rankings because people like AirMiles despite how little value they have. If you love AirMiles, you might as well have the best AirMiles credit card though.

April 18, 2017 @ 10:13 am
Andrew
Andrew's picture

I'm interested in see how you compare an AirMile to something like an Aeroplan Mile. From my personal experience I have found that an AirMile has SIGNIFICANTLY more value than an Aeroplan Mile. Also, AirMiles are much simpler to book flights with and layovers are the layovers that you typically get on a regular flight. Aeronplan was a nightmare to deal with when trying to book a flight.

To be transparent, I only use AirMiles for short flights from eastern Canada to New York. The value of an AirMile in that situation is so much better than an Aeroplan Mile.

April 18, 2017 @ 11:20 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

One AIR MILE does have significantly more value than 1 Aeroplan mile (11 cents vs 3 cents). The thing is that AIR MILES are accumulated MUCH slower than Aeroplan miles. You typically get 1 Aeroplan mile per $1 spent. With AIR MILES, it is typically 1 per $20 spent. That makes Aeroplan as a rewards program way more valuable than AIR MILES.

The way you are using AIR MILES for short-haul flights, you can squeak out better value than Aeroplan. However, if you starting flying long-haul, internationally, or business class - then Aeroplan easily wins with no contest.

Availability is subjective. Sometimes you get more choices with AIR MILES, but they only load the cheapest flights into their database so I find there is often very little available there either. Personally, I have little trouble finding Classic Aeroplan flight rewards at the lowest rates as long as I am a little bit flexible with my travel plans.

April 19, 2017 @ 10:10 am
Kevin Davidson
Kevin Davidson's picture

Hi Stephen. I see no mention of Marriott Premier Rewards Visa. We have found this to be an excellent program for travel use. No foreign exchange fee, great points accumulation, excellent rewards for members upon reaching gold and platinum. We travelled through Europe using points and free night certificates, with breakfasts and "happy hour" included. There is a fee however. I would appreciate your thoughts on this card. Thank you.

April 18, 2017 @ 10:29 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It isn't a bad card if hotels are what you are focused on. Even still, I think it offers significantly lower rewards than the top card listed here. It comes in at #70 overall in my travel rankings.

I do account for no foreign transaction fee in my rankings but it isn't counted as a spending category. The reason for that is that the majority of Canadians will do the majority of their spending in Canada using Canadian dollars. Unless you are living abroad, then that 2.5% currency exchange fee savings doesn't really add up. My algorithm considers it to be more a major perk of the card, not a spending reward.

April 19, 2017 @ 10:13 am
francois
francois's picture

Thanks again for the great update. It does however only seem to target those who travel in Canada, since the cost the Fx on the Spend seems excluded. Do you have plan to have a similar for those who travel and internationally which makes the Marriot card the top travel card i think, and the Rogers/Fido next, or am i missing something?

April 18, 2017 @ 3:58 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Like I said in my comment above yours, even Canadians who travel internationally do most of their spending at home in Canada in Canadian dollars. For that reason, currency exchange doesn't factor greatly into the rewards calculations of my scoring system.

However, if you live abroad but still use a Canadian credit card, then you are going to want pick up one of the cards you mentioned.

April 19, 2017 @ 10:15 am
L.Scott
L.Scott's picture

Well now, finally the Marriott card got mentioned.
I applied for one less than a year ago pretty much only for foreign travel to escape the 2.5% forex add-on costs, (and to stop all the "get our credit card" sales pitches coming in the mail for being a Marriott Rewards member) and approx. $4,500 in non-CDN spend equals the annual fee. (after the first year waived)
Ironically, we actually stayed at a Marriott chain hotel in Spain, so extra bonus points there. Now using it almost exclusively in Canada as we do have a need for hotel nights (got a free night just for signing up and another one comes annually on renewal) in places we regularly visit, (yes, you CAN find a decent hotel in Sudbury...) and yet again, we cover the annual fee in just one free hotel night.
As for the other perqs, pretty much the same as the others.

My other Go-To card is perhaps the queer duck of the lot, the BMO controlled Diners Club card. It began life in my wallet as the Air Canada enRoute card (remember those?) and morphed into the present incarnation. (despite my no longer even being CLOSE to meeting the qualification rules) Being a MasterCard, it also became my new "Costco card" so the annual spend went way up.
The insurance coverage is at best adequate, (our TD AIV card is better) although the car hire cover is top notch, but you cannot beat the airport lounge access feature. We easily cover the annual fee in lounge entrance costs every year with just two round trips as a couple. The Members' Reward points collected are an extra bonus and I actually used them for a free return flight on AirCan YYZ > YRQ. (with NO taxes or fees added on, as with Aeroplan or Air Miles.....)

Going back now to your 5th. place card, my wife went to the local TD branch to "accept" their repeated offers of the Aeroplan card and we properly requested the plain vanilla version which we qualified for. However, based on us previously having the CIBC Infinite version, (we had bailed out from them when the big switch came along) they offered us their Infinite card and we took it. My wife's AP account went from "an Economy trip to Ottawa zero to Business trip to Europe hero" in less than a year.
Found their insurance to be much better than our other cards and the travel medical cover is always in place even for a car trip in to the US. But for other air travel coverages, does NOT cover all tix bought with the card, just the "card holders".

As a side note, DO NOT be taken in by the inclusion on ANY card of the "we'll bring your dead body back home" coverage option as it's utter crap. Search out and buy a specific plan that will cover such an unfortunate occurrence as I did and travel with peace of mind.

As you have so properly pointed out, each person has different needs and your evaluation is a great tool to suss out the card(s) that fulfills said needs. For that we thank you sir.

April 24, 2017 @ 8:59 pm
Geoffrey
Geoffrey's picture

Aeroplan cards may seem pretty good, but I've been trying to snag flights to and from Australia. For one person one way in business it takes 80,000 points and that's a bargain. But try and get one of those seats even 12 months in advance .... it's almost impossible! Seats seem to be released one at a time, and at undisclosed time of day. Then they disappear before two are available at the same time. Terribly frustrating. I would say it is impossible to book a return trip.

May 09, 2017 @ 6:31 pm
HPakal
HPakal's picture

Are you planning to do a review in light of the newly announced Aeroplan & Air Canada divorce? I imagine Aeroplan based cards will loose a bit of value. Good work on your analyses by the way. Thanks

May 11, 2017 @ 4:38 pm
corinne
corinne's picture

All I want is a credit card that will let me earn points towards a package deal down south and a flight from montreal halifax once a year. Thats the extent of my travel. I had an amex gold rewards, which i cancelled due to the lack of stores in my area that accept amex. I just applied for and gold accepted for a bmo world elite card. Did i do the right thing? Should I have gotten a bmo air miles world elite? I shop mainly at IGA and Shell, both airmile participants. (BTW amex is not accepted at all IGA's). I tried to figure out which card would best suit my needs but living in the country and not having high speed internet in my area all I got was frustrated. Can you help? Thanks

May 21, 2017 @ 7:35 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, you made the right choice. The BMO World Elite is one of the top flexible travel cards out there, which by your description is exactly what you need.

May 22, 2017 @ 9:13 pm
Kevin
Kevin's picture

Thoughts on CIBC Gold Aventura Card and how it might rank with these?

June 01, 2017 @ 4:34 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It's a great flexible travel rewards card but if you're willing to jump through the hoops of using real airline miles then you can get higher rewards with the cards listed here.

June 04, 2017 @ 10:37 pm
Bill
Bill's picture

My wife and I have the BMO World Elite Mastercardcard. We are both 77 so the card does not cover us for travel insurance. We understood that when we joined the plan, so that is not a disappointment. After payment of the annual fee, I figure the card gives us 2% back in benefits for every dollar spent. Last year we spent over $65,000 on the card and earned considerable flexible miles. We used the plan for a trip to Hawaii and were very pleased with the booking process (much better than our former Aeroplan card).

We have paid $150 for many years for our two cards. But we notice that this year they have charged us an additional $50 for the second card. That is a 33% increase when they did not even have to issue a second card. I complained and they removed the extra charge for this year. I remain perturbed, however, and I am searching for a replacement.

To complicate matters, BMO says they will waive $150 in charges if we (1) change our type of banking plan and (2) maintain $6000 of “dead money” as minimum balance in our chequing account. We could easily do that, but I find such a restriction to be distasteful for an account that is supposed to be for day to day payments. .

What would you suggest as an alternative card for flexible travel or cash back?

June 06, 2017 @ 1:57 am
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

Hey Bill!

I totally understand how restrictions (though maybe not directly affecting us) can leave a bad taste in the mouth. Thankfully, when it comes to Credit Cards, there are usually other options. While we here at HowToSaveMoney.ca do rate the BMO World Elite Mastercard at the top of the list, I think the Scotiabank Gold American Express card could be a great replacement card. While the annual fee for this card is $99 (and the additional card will cost you $29 ) if you apply for this card before July 31st, 2017, Scotiabank will waive both of those fees for the first year, giving you a chance to test the waters before making a $130 commitment. The Scotiabank card also offers some great perks and a rather impressive signup bonus, with very few “restrictions” tied to it. If you’re worried about American Express, because they are not accepted everywhere, the MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard might be a good one for you to check out.

Hope that helps some. Thanks for reading.

June 07, 2017 @ 2:33 pm
Don Martin
Don Martin's picture

We live in C. America and use our Canadian Visa card for most things {Avion) I have noticed that The card comany's web pages say you must reside in Canada for 6 months a year. Could all my perks like rental car insurance etc be void since we live full time outside of Canada?
Thanks.

July 04, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
Fernando Echeverri
Fernando Echeverri's picture

Hi there, I'm been reading all your post and it still quite difficult to decide. At this moment I'm debating between RBC Infinite Avion and the First Class Infinitive but I'm not sure which reward program is better. (TD REWARDS or RBC Rewards) I believe both credit cards pretty much the same advantages. Would you be able to help me out on those 2?
Thanks

July 12, 2017 @ 10:14 pm
Bob Learmonth
Bob Learmonth's picture

Hi Stephen. Can you give me the "Rewards on a $25,000 spend" for the Desjardins Visa Odyssey Gold and the Desjardins Odyssey World Elite MasterCard? Also, do you have any information on how easy it is to use the points on those cards? Thanks.

July 18, 2017 @ 1:00 am
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

Hey Bob!  Thanks so much for commenting.  For the Desjardins Visa Odyssey Gold and the Desjardins Odyssey World Elite, the return on $25,000 spent is about $140 and $285 (after the annual fee) respectively. However, if you are a Desjardins member you will also get 20% more rewards back annually (up to $200). So, as a member you will be getting $196 back with the Odyssey Gold and $368 back for the Odyssey World Elite. For both cards you need a minimum of $20 to start redeeming and the Desjardins member bonus is only paid out once a year. 
If you're interested at looking a little more at these cards or comparing them against other Canadian Credit Cards, you should go check out our new credit card comparison website:
creditcardGenius.ca 

July 20, 2017 @ 4:28 pm
Colm Lynn
Colm Lynn's picture

I agree with the Amex Gold card as the top card but the rest make little sense. A few of them require a $200,000 minimum income? I've booked plenty of flights with Aeroplan and its a minimum of $200 in taxes anywhere in North America. At 2.5 cents that would mean an average return flight in North America is valued at $825 with significant routing restrictions? A pretty weak case. Aeroplan flights have limited availability connections and long layovers. I had to take a midnight aeroplan flight from Vancouver because no daytime flights were available without a connection. A direct flight was $575. Very few people actually fly to remote locations, use business class, or do a full cross country flight (no one goes Halifax to Vancouver unless they live in Halifax or Vancouver).

BMO world elite gives 2% on all spend. Has no restrictions on airlines and travel, has 4 free lounge visits per year, and has the best travel insurance in the industry. Almost all of the cards listed don't offer trip cancellation insurance which would take them out of the travel card running IMO. I don't know how 5 aeroplan cards could beat out the BMO world elite.

October 01, 2017 @ 11:25 am
Ventsi
Ventsi's picture

Hi, Stephen, I like the article. Which MasterCard is rated highest in your full list ? I can't find even one MasterCard in top 10. I don't have very high income and I spend a big amount in Costco. They accept only MasterCard and now I'm using primarily their CapitalOne.

February 27, 2018 @ 1:45 pm
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

Hi there. Great question. Most of the top travel Mastercards are World Elite Mastercards which require a minimum income requirement of 80K. However, the second best travel card on the market right now is the MBNA Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard (which only requires a $35K minimum income). It comes with a large sign up bonus, a lower annual fee of only $75, 7 types of travel insurance, as well as a Companion Fare every year on your card anniversary. 
Be sure to check it out

February 27, 2018 @ 2:24 pm
Cheryl's picture

Yikes! Some of those fees are higher than how much I spend on a credit card in a year! I suppose they might be good for someone who buys a lot of stuff on their credit cards, but I'm not much of a spender. I like the idea of a travel rewards credit card but I'm not interested in buying stuff just so I can get points. Sounds like a debt trap. For me it would be cheaper just to pay whatever the price is on a flight or hotel.

February 28, 2018 @ 2:28 am
sandra
sandra's picture

hi

Informative read but I am a little confused - when you speak of the AMEX Gold card do you mean the Scotiabank Gold American Express?

thanks

March 12, 2018 @ 5:52 pm
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

Hi there.

Usually when we refer to the Amex Gold, we are referring to the American Express Gold Rewards Card. You can find more information about that card here :   American Express Gold Rewards Card

March 14, 2018 @ 5:26 pm
Alan
Alan 's picture

Hi Stephen
With Aeroplan and Visa parting ways in 2020, I am concerned about how to maximize our travel rewards. My wife and I recently retired and want to travel extensively. We currently have Visa Infinite card and have been happy with it. We spend, on average, about $3000 monthly and pay it off monthly, so interest rates are not a factor. I don’t suppose Aeroplan will allow us to transfer our points to a competitor so we intend to use up as many points before 2020. I do prefer a lower annual fee and believe we should apply for a new card sooner rather than wait until the shoe drops. What do you think ?

Thanks

Alan

May 10, 2018 @ 1:00 pm
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

Hey Alan, 

Unfortunately Aeroplan is being pretty cryptic about the plans they have coming once the 2020 deadline hits. 

We did write an article about this very topic over on our other site though, so you should check out it when you have a chance. Hopefully you'll find some answers there. 

https://creditcardgenius.ca/blog/aeroplan-alternatives/

May 25, 2018 @ 1:36 pm
Marie
Marie 's picture

I have already paid $1000 deposit for an expensive trip on TD Infinite First Class Visa (which I am considering cancelling). I now need to pay a further deposit of $3000 and later the full balance of about $10,000. I want to know if I should pay these new amounts on my Amex Gold, or my new BMO World Elite Mastercard in order to get the best value. Also wondering if all travel insurance on these 2 cards would be void because the initial deposit of $1000 was paid on TD card. Hope you can give some guidance. PS - also just signed up for RBC Visa Infinite Avion so could use that one as well for the new charges for this trip.

May 11, 2018 @ 10:45 am
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

Hello Marie, 

Unfortunately for both the BMO World Elite Mastercard and the Amex Gold Rewards card, the trip needs to be paid for IN FULL by the card for the insurance to be valid. 

And as for which card would give you the best value for your spending, the Amex Gold Rewards could give you a better return on spending (if you use your points towards travel through the Amex Fixed Points Travel Program). 

Hope that is helpful for you. :) 

May 25, 2018 @ 1:47 pm
Max
Max's picture

I'm hearing that aeroplan will be basically worthless in the near future, that we should switch to avion or aventura. what is the best card for that scenario?

May 31, 2018 @ 11:45 pm
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

Things with Aeroplan are definitely up in the air. 
We posted a blog article about Aeroplan Alternatives that you could consider on our credit card comparison website. 
You can find it here:   https://creditcardgenius.ca/blog/aeroplan-alternatives/

 

June 09, 2018 @ 12:03 pm
Emma
Emma 's picture

Do you know if there is a credit card that gives very low fees on foreign transactions? I used to use the Amazon Visa which was an amazing card (using Chase bank) which gave no foreign transaction fees, great exchange rates and cash back on all transactions (4% foreign & 1% local).....very sadly this program has been canceled. Do any other Canadian banks offer this kind of program? Would be grateful for any feedback! Thanks

June 18, 2018 @ 3:22 pm
HowToSaveMoney Team
HowToSaveMoney Team's picture

Hey Emma.  Thanks for writing in. 

Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees are very highly sought after, but unfortunately, they are not super common in Canada. 

We have written a blog about the topic for our other site and you can find it here:
https://creditcardgenius.ca/blog/canadian-credit-cards-no-foreign-transaction-fee/

Or you can visit our Best Foreign Exchange Credit Cards page.

Hope you find the information there helpful. :) 

June 19, 2018 @ 3:35 pm
Ryan
Ryan's picture

Hi Stephen,

If you spent between $250,000 to $300,000 on your card every year (mostly business purchases) what card would you choose. Are there other cards that get dramatically better ranking on your scale if the yearly purchases are higher?

Thanks,

Ryan

June 27, 2018 @ 2:36 pm
HowToSaveMoney Team
HowToSaveMoney Team's picture

Thanks for writing in, Ryan. 
With that amount of spending, there are definitely cards that will give you a much better return than others. 
The Cobalt Card from American Express would definitely be at the top of the list.  
However, without knowing what you really are looking for in a card (ie. cash back, travel rewards, perks), it's hard to say what the best fit for you would be. 
We have a credit card comparison site called creditcardGenius that you should go to and play around with. You can enter your monthly spend amounts, slide the sliders to what is really important to you and find out which credit cards could be the best for your wallet. :)

August 03, 2018 @ 2:42 pm
Carl Ariost
Carl Ariost's picture

Hi Stephen, thanks so much for the great information. I buy an average of 8 tickets to Costa RIca per year and am looking for the best card to help me out with that. You haven't mentioned the Scotia bank gold american express much (unless I missed it somewhere - sorry if that's the case!) and was wondering how it would compare to the Am Ex Cobalt card and the fact that I have read that the Cobalt is an awesome "Hybrid" travel card? Do you know if Scotia has access to the "Fixed Points Program" (though would that even be important?)
Thanks tons!
Carl

September 30, 2018 @ 6:04 pm
Danielle Boudreau
Danielle Boudreau's picture

Hi Carl,

The Cobalt will give you 5 points back for each dollar spent on restaurants and grocery purchases, 2 points for each dollar spent on gas and travel (including public transit), and 1 point for every dollar spent on everything else.

The Scotia Gold Amex will give you 4 Scotia points for each dollar spent on gas, grocery, dining, and entertainment, as well as 1 point for every other dollar spent.

If you use the Fixed Points program with the Cobalt card, you can get the value of a single point up to 1.75 cents each. However, the Scotia card does not have access to the American Express Fixed Points Program. The rewards accumulated through this card are Scotia Rewards only and each point will only be worth 1 cent each.

The annual fee for the Scotia Gold Amex card is slightly lower though, and you also get 4 more different kinds of insurance coverage with this card.

So, if insurance and the annual fee is more important, I would go with the Scotia Gold. If rewards are your bigger concern, I would go with the Cobalt.

October 01, 2018 @ 11:23 am
Jean-Philippe
Jean-Philippe's picture

Hi Stephen

I usually change card once a year to avoid paying annual fee and to take full advantage of the welcome bonuse. Considering this would you still recommend me the Cobalt or should I go with the TD Aéroplan Infinite? I always order a second card for my wife.

Thanks in advance for your response

JP

April 28, 2019 @ 1:56 pm
HowToSaveMoney Team
HowToSaveMoney Team's picture

Hey there JP, that's a good question. I would say the Cobalt card is the best credit card in Canada, but that isn't changing anytime soon.

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite on the other hand has an amazing welcome bonus at the moment for 30,000 Aeroplan miles after qualifying spending for a limited time. So I would take advantage of that while it lasts.

Not to mention the TD card is first year free as well. The Cobalt card has a $10 monthly fee.

April 30, 2019 @ 10:07 am
KEZIA BASARABA
KEZIA BASARABA's picture

Hey there,

As a couple moving overseas and planning to use a Canadian credit card, which of these is the best option? From what I've seen so far it would be the Home Trust preferred Visa or the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card. Can you give me your opinion on that?

May 16, 2019 @ 6:38 pm

Post new comment