Last updated: February 15, 2019
Rewards programs are meant to create loyalty…
Repeat customers and repeat business are the name of the game.
But my experience has been that it doesn’t pay to be loyal. Shopping around for both the best prices AND the best rewards bonuses and perks is 100% the way to go...
IF you’re willing to invest the time.
A quick check shows that I am currently a member of at least 30 rewards programs. I don’t use them all on a regular basis - I have my favourites just like anyone. (Don’t miss my top 5 below.)
Then, there’s other times when rewards programs just aren’t worth it.
But, I do try to keep my eyes open for amazing opportunities in any one of those 30+ programs. If they make me an offer I can’t refuse - then I’ll take it!
That said, it’s hard to know what’s out there and targeted specifically at Canadians. I’ve put together a pretty comprehensive list below - please add any I missed in the comments!
Cash Rewards For Shopping Online
If you want more details on how to earn cash back when shopping online, you can read my cash back site guide.
Store & Retail Rewards
- AIR MILES (read our guide) - Multiple partner stores
- AEREWARDS - American Eagle
- HBC Rewards - Hudson’s Bay Company
- More Rewards (read our guide) - Multiple partner stores
- My Canadian Tire Money (read our guide) - Canadian Tire
- Plum Rewards (read our guide) - Chapters | Indigo | Coles
- Reward Zone - Best Buy
- Sears Club Rewards - Sears
- Shoppers Optimum - Shoppers Drug Mart
There are other programs not exclusive to grocery stores like AIR MILES and More Rewards that can be collected at grocery stores. You can find them in the Stores & Retail section above.
- Bonus Bucks - Pioneer
- Esso Extra (read our guide) - Esso
- Husky Dollars - Husky
- Petro Points (read our guide) - Petro Canada
- Valuemax - Ultramar
Bank & Credit Card Rewards
- BMO Rewards - Bank of Montreal
- BONUSDOLLARS - Desjardins
- Capital One Rewards - Capital One
- CIBC (Aventura) Rewards - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
- MBNA Rewards - MBNA
- Membership Rewards - American Express
- National Bank Rewards - National Bank of Canada
- RBC Rewards - Royal Bank of Canada
- Scotia Rewards - Scotiabank
- TD Rewards - Toronto Dominion Bank
- Walmart Rewards - Walmart
- Frequent Steeper - David’s Tea
- Jamba Insider Rewards - Jamba Juice
- McCafe Rewards - McDonald’s
- More! Rewards - Pita Pit
- MyPanera - Panera Bread
- My Denny’s - Denny’s
- My Starbucks Rewards - Starbucks
- Second Cup Rewards - Second Cup Coffee Co.
- Open Table - Multiple partner restaurants
- Papa Rewards - Papa Johns Pizza
- Piece of the Pie Rewards - Dominos Pizza
- Toasty Points - Quiznos
- Expedia + - Expedia.ca
- Hotels.com Rewards - Hotels.ca
- Park‘N Fly Rewards - Park’N Fly
- VIA Preference - VIA Rail
There are more than 5,000 airlines worldwide, many of which fly to Canada and have some sort of rewards program. It can make sense for Canadians to collect points with those airlines, but I am only listing those directly affiliated or heavily operating out of Canada here.
- Aeroplan (read our guide) - Air Canada
- Mileage Plan - Alaska Airlines
- VIPPorter - Porter
- WestJet Rewards (Dollars) - WestJet
There are dozens of hotel rewards programs and most of them aren’t specific to Canada. I’m listing several popular ones here that have a significant presence in Canada. I find using Priceline generally preferable to collecting hotel rewards points.
- Best Western Rewards - Best Western Hotels
- Choice Rewards - Choice Hotels
- Gold Passport - Hyatt Hotels
- Hilton HHonors - Hilton Hotels
- IHG Rewards Club - IHG Hotels
- Marriott Bonvoy Rewards - Marriott Hotels
- President’s Club - Fairmont Hotels
- Wyndham Rewards - Wyndham Hotels
- Pampers Rewards - Pampers
- Huggies Rewards - Huggies
- Disney Movie Rewards - Disney
- Pricing Rewards - Canada Post
Top 5 Canadian Rewards Programs
Which rewards points are most worth collecting?
You want to look at things like popularity, earning opportunities, frequent big bonus, valuable rewards. I’m sure if you ask 5 people and you’ll get 5 different answers.
I’ve been heavily invested in rewards programs for more than a decade and in my opinion these 5 are worth your time:
1) Shoppers Optimum
With all the incredible 20x bonus points days and other bonus earning opportunities I consider this to be the best rewards program in Canada.
The main complaint is that Shoppers Drug Mart prices are expensive. Honestly, they aren’t that much higher priced than Superstore. If you factor in their weekly big sales you can actually spend less than most other stores.
The kicker is that if you are shopping on a 20x points day, you’re immediately earning 21% back in points that you can use to purchase nearly anything in the store including groceries and other staples. If you stack other product specific bonuses and coupons - that percentage only rises.
2) Great Canadian Rebates
Earning actual cash back on practically everything you buy online is just too enticing to ignore.
These guys were the pioneers of cash back in Canada. More than a decade later they still offer the highest payouts, have the largest collection of partner stores, and pay out the most often.
I honestly can’t remember having a single problem with them. My cash back always tracks properly, I always get paid, and their website is simple and easy to use.
People continue to complain about Aeroplan - but it continues to be awesome if you can learn to jump through a few relatively simple hoops, be a little bit flexible, and actually redeem your miles for flights.
Compared to the recent AIR MILES fiasco - read why Air Miles reversal was a “bogus victory” - Aeroplan looks like a bright shining star. At least with Aeroplan, you have relatively predictable availability, the opportunity to get any seat on the plane if you really want it, and good value on many of their routes if you’re willing to look.
It’s true that they have far fewer retail partners than AIR MILES - because they are a true airline rewards program first and foremost - but the big bonus opportunities are much easier to come by that will get you flying faster.
4) American Express Membership Rewards
American Express has some of the strongest credit cards in Canada when it comes to rewards.
Their achilles heal is the merchant acceptance, but if you can get past that then none of the other cards can even compete.
The main strengths are that you can convert Membership Rewards points 1:1 to Aeroplan, the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum cards are both very strong and have massive sign-up bonuses, and if you can now redeem your points for literally any purchase you make.
Tip: Converting to Aeroplan can easily double or triple the value of your Membership Rewards points so I always recommend you do that if you are willing to figure out Aeroplan enough to get decent value for your miles.
5) PC Plus
PC Plus was the first truly customer specific rewards program and app in Canada. It tailors the offers directly to your shopping habits and does a top- notch job at it. Offers often give you up to 20% back in point value on specific items you regularly buy.
They also have more general points bonuses for purchasing $X in a certain product category like meat, produce, or natural health products. These can stack with individual item bonuses, which is great.
It’s so sad that you don’t earn PC points on every purchase you make at the large variety of Loblaws owned stores that offer PC points. For me, that’s the one thing holding this program back from being amazing.
Back To You
So, are you loyal?
What points do you go out of your way to collect on a regular basis?