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With the number of available travel credit cards in Canada, it is not easy to find that single travel credit card that meets your specific needs.
There are just so many variables to consider, which makes it difficult to know what metric to base your decision on.
We have examined the best travel credit cards in Canada for you and have broken them down into three primary categories as follows:
The order in which we have listed the travel credit cards within each category has been determined by considering the average rewards rate cardholders could potentially enjoy with each card. Bonus rewards for new members, as well as the annual fee payable on the card, have also been considered.
The below tables summarize the breakdown for each category.
|Travel Credit Cards||Minimum Income Requirement||Annual Fee||Bonus Rewards Value||Average Rewards Rate|
|American Express Cobalt Card||None||$120 ($10 per month)||$450||3.76%|
|CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card||$15,000||$139||$344||2.77%|
|American Express Gold Rewards Card||None||$150||$500||2.75%|
|Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard||None||$75||$460||2.3%|
|Scotiabank Gold American Express Card||$12,000||$120||$400||2.3%|
|Marriott Bonvoy American Express||None||$120||$582||2.08%|
|MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard||None||None||$100||1.35%|
|Best Western Mastercard||None||None||$166||0.99%|
|BMO AIR MILES Mastercard||None||None||$258||0.75%|
|Travel Credit Cards||Annual Fee||Bonus Rewards Value||Average Rewards Rate|
|CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card||$139||$344||2.77%|
|BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite||$120||$284||1.7%|
|Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite||$139||$300||1.3%|
|Travel Credit Cards||Annual Fee||Bonus Rewards Value||Average Rewards Rate|
|BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard||$120||$310||2.12%|
|MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard||$120||$300||2%|
|RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard||$99||None||1.65%|
|HSBC World Elite Mastercard||$149||$100||1.57%|
The American Express Cobalt™ card is at the top of our list within this category but also takes our top position for travel credit cards in general.
Why? Because, of all the travel credit cards out there, the American Express Cobalt™ card gives cardholders the highest possible rewards rate. This card also comes with an excellent bonus reward offering to new members and is affordable, as travel credit cards go.
With all these amazing rewards to be earned, there are loads of ways to redeem them, which makes it an attractive card for the avid traveller.
Rewards points can be redeemed via the American Express Fixed Points Travel Program, by using points for travel-related purchases, such as flights, hotels, travel packages, and dining out.
Redeeming points this way gives cardholders a value of up to $0.0175c per point. This is one of the highest reward points values of its kind in Canada.
Another way to redeem your points is through the Flexible Points Travel Program, where 1 point is equal to 1c.
The number of points you can earn is based upon where you use your American Express Cobalt™ card. Using the card for groceries, dining out, and food delivery services will give you a massive 5 points per $1 spent.
Purchases made relating to air, water, and rail travel, as well as hotels, gas, taxis, and public transit charges, will give you 2 points per $1 spent. Everything else will get you 1 point per $1 spent, which is still a great deal.
For a limited time, cardholders can earn additional bonus points for their spending over the first 12 months after signing up. You could earn up to a maximum of 2,500 points each month, as well as an additional 15,000 if you spend $3,000 or more in your first 3 months.
Unlike many other travel credit cards, there is no minimum income requirement to qualify for an American Express Cobalt™ card. And, while you will have to pay $120 in annual fees, they have structured payments so that you pay $10 monthly instead of one annual lump sum, making it more manageable.
Other benefits include zero extra cost for additional users and great travel insurance.
As if that was not enough, cardholders also enjoy special offers such as early bird ticket sales for concerts, movies, and other events.
As one of the most flexible travel credit cards on this list, the CIBC Aventura Gold Visa card is almost as good as the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite. The primary difference is that you do not need to have a high annual income to apply for this one.
Throw in a fee-free first year, and you have one of the greatest value-for-money travel credit cards for keen Canadian travellers.
While this card offers benefits that many of the higher-end travel credit cards offer, you only need a good credit record and $15,000 in income per annum to qualify as an applicant.
As with the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite, the CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card rewards cardholders with up to 15,000 points as a sign-up bonus.
Points are awarded in a similar way to that of the Infinite card, with 2 points per $1 spent on travel through the CIBC rewards centre. 1,5 points can be earned per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores, and 1 point is awarded per $1 spent elsewhere.
Rewards points earned can be redeemed against travel, merchandise, gift cards, unique activities, or to pay down your balance and purchase investments.
What is more is that, unlike several other travel credit cards, the CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card gives cardholders access to more than 1,200 airport lounges globally, including 4 free visits per year.
When it comes to travel insurance, this is one of the travel credit cards that has you covered for all your primary concerns. There are 8 types of travel and purchase insurance cover in total, including $500,000 in cover for accidents that could occur while travelling.
When it comes to Aeroplan rewards, the American Express Gold Rewards Card is for you.
Aeroplan is Canada’s most popular frequent flyer program. So, it makes sense that many fellow Canadians would be looking to earn Aeroplan rewards that they could redeem when travelling.
When signing up, you could earn up to 25,000 bonus welcome points. However, while you can’t earn Aeroplan points directly, you can transfer your rewards points at a ratio of 1:1 to your Aeroplan account or the British Airways Executive Club.
You can even transfer your rewards points to the Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Program, offered by Marriott International. The Marriott Group is one of the world’s leading hotel chains and you can transfer your rewards points at a ratio of 5:6 from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy.
Marriott Bonvoy Rewards points can be used to pay for hotel stays, flights, travel packages, car rentals, and more, through selected partners.
Earning rewards points is easy with the American Express Gold Rewards Card. Earn 2 points per $1 spent when purchasing at gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, and when making travel purchases. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on anything else you buy with the card.
While there is no minimum income requirement, the card fees are a bit steep at $150 per year. Travel insurance through this card comes with all the basics, including $500,000 in accident cover.
If you are looking to earn reward Miles to be used through the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, this is one of the best travel credit cards to consider.
While the Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard is relatively unknown in Canada, it makes for a fantastic option for Canadians travelling outside of Canada.
Don’t be put off by the word “Alaska” here. This card can be used to redeem miles on 17 different airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Korean Air, and Qantas.
However, if you do choose to fly with Alaska Airlines, you will enjoy some advantages. Such as receiving a companion voucher to the value of US$99.
This card does come with an annual card fee, however, as travel credit cards go, it is well below the average travel credit card fee at only $75 per year.
When using your Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard you will earn Miles in one of two ways.
Receive 3 Miles for every $1 spent on tickets, travel packages, and cargo services from Alaska Airlines. Or earn 1 Mile per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases made with the card.
Cardholders can earn up to 20,000 in bonus Miles after spending $1,000 within your first 90 days.
With the Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard, you will enjoy 6 types of core travel insurance cover. However, cover for lost or delayed baggage is not one of them.
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is one of the best travel credit cards available because it combines the benefit of no foreign exchange fees, with an above-average rewards rate, and a great rewards bonus for new users.
Most other travel credit cards will charge you an extra 2.5% on purchases made in a foreign currency. However, the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card will not.
In addition, you could find yourself earning up to 40,000 bonus points as a new member in your first year, valued at up to $400.
Cardholders can earn 5 points for every $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, and entertainment, and 3 points per $1 spent on gas, transit, and select streaming services. They can also earn 1 point per $1 spent on any other purchases using the card.
With the flexible Scotia Rewards program, rewards points can be redeemed against flights, hotels, car rental, and more, without restriction.
This travel card comes with plenty of travel insurance benefits and its annual fee of $120 per year is on par with most other travel credit cards in its class.
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is, without a doubt, one of the best travel credit cards for those looking to save on their luxury hotel spend.
With this card, members will enjoy several perks, which include a free hotel stay once every 12-month cycle, and automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite Status.
Marriott Bonvoy points accumulated while using your card can be redeemed through any of the 7,000 Marriott hotels, including the Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, and the Sheraton, to name a few.
Not only can you redeem points when purchasing hotel stays, but you can transfer your points to the loyalty programs of dozens of prominent airlines for flight purchases too.
To earn Marriott Bonvoy points, cardholders will receive 5 Bonvoy points for every $1 spent at any hotel under the Marriot umbrella. Cardholders will also be rewarded with 2 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases using this card.
Best of all is that new Marriott Bonvoy American Express cardholders could receive up to 60,000 in bonus Bonvoy points after they have spent a minimum of $1,500 on the card.
Another positive is that there is no additional fee to add another authorized user.
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express offers its members comprehensive travel insurance, including $500,000 in travel accident insurance, car rental theft and damage insurance, lost or stolen baggage insurance, hotel burglary insurance, and more.
If the annual fee that many travel credit cards charge does not suit your pocket, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard may be the perfect travel credit card for you.
Despite there being no annual fee, cardholders still receive some impressive rewards. Try 4 points per $1 spent on groceries, gas, and at restaurants for the first 90 days. Thereafter, you will receive 2 points per $1 spent on these with a $5,000 cap in each category. You will also get 1 point for every $1 spent on anything else with this card.
You could even earn up to 5,000 points for spending $500 on the card in the first 90 days of receiving it. And an additional 5,000 points could be yours for signing up to receive online e-statements within that first 90 days as well.
Points can be used to buy flights through almost any airline. You also have the option to redeem points against taxes and fees when booking flights.
Throw in incredible travel insurance cover, including coverage for car rental personal effects as well as accidents, and it is easy to see why this card made our list.
If you are looking for one of the best travel credit cards for budget hotel spend, look no further than the Best Western Mastercard.
With zero annual card fees and no required minimum annual income, you are off to a great start.
The Best Western Mastercard allows its new members to earn up to 20,000 bonus points simply by using the card for the first time.
Cardholders can earn 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases through Best Western properties. In addition, cardholders can enjoy 1 point per $1 spent on any other eligible purchase.
After the first purchase, members will receive automatic Gold status. After $10,000 in purchases over the first year, cardholders will be promoted to Diamond Status. Each status tier comes with additional perks and bonuses.
Best Western Rewards points can be redeemed through Best Western for the purchase of hotel stays, dining experiences, and gift cards.
Members can also enjoy perks and special deals with Best Western car rental and airline partners, such as Budget, Avis, Aeroplan, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and more.
The Best Western Mastercard also comes with 7 types of travel insurance cover, including $1m in accident cover.
If you are looking at travel credit cards that offer great Air Miles rewards, the BMO Air Miles Mastercard may be one to consider.
With this card, cardholders can earn up to 3 Air Miles for every $25 spent through participating Air Miles rewards partners. This is a respectably return on your expenditure and, while the Air Miles bonus for new members seems minimal, should not be overlooked.
Consider too, that with the BMO Air Miles Mastercard you will not pay any annual fees, nor will you be asked the prove your annual income to qualify for the card.
The downside with this card is that there is next to no travel insurance offered and the interest rate can be quite steep.
With a few options for points redemption and a great average rewards rate, it is easy to see why the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card is one of the top flexible travel credit cards in its category.
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite cardholders can earn flexible flight rewards and perks as they spend, which never expires.
Earning rewards with this card is easy, with 2 points awarded per $1 spent on purchases made through participating partners.
Members will also earn 1,5 points per $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and pharmacies. 1 point is earned for every $1 spent elsewhere.
When using the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card, you could receive up to 15,000 points for signing up and using the card.
This card comes with an annual fee of $139 and only applicants with a minimum personal income of $60,000 per year are considered.
There are, however, some decent travel insurance benefits that come with this card, including cover for rental car theft, hotel burglary, flight delay, and any accidents that may occur while travelling.
The BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite card is considered one of the best travel credit cards for lifestyle rewards, and for good reason.
First, the BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite offers great rewards on everyday spending, with the ability to earn 5 points per $1 spent on gas, public transit, rideshares, taxis, groceries, and restaurants. Users can also earn 1 point for every $1 spent on everything else purchased with this card.
To top it off, cardholders receive an annual lifestyle bonus of $50, which is loaded to the card every January.
The downside is that you will have to prove a minimum annual income of $60,000 to qualify for this card. And, while the annual fees on the card will be waived for the first year, you will be in for $120 per year thereafter.
However, you could earn yourself a bonus of 25,000 points if you spend $3,000 or more within your first 3 months. You will also receive up to 15,0000 BMO points after your first 12 months as a cardholder. What more could you ask for?
Cardholders can redeem their BMO points for travel through just about any airline, without seating or similar restrictions.
If you add a second authorized user to the card, you’ll enjoy a 10% increase in the amount of BMO points you can earn per $1 spent.
While the travel insurance associated with the BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite Card is basic, it does at least cover medical emergencies, car rental damage or loss, and mobile device insurance.
While it is true that you will not have to pay for any foreign exchange transaction fees with this card, there are one or two drawbacks to the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card.
First, the positives.
With this travel credit card, you could earn up to 30,000 bonus Scotia rewards points within the first year after signing up. Up to 20,000 bonus points will be awarded to you if you spend $1,000 or more in your first 3 months. An additional 10,000 bonus rewards points could be earned if you spend a minimum of $40,000 within your first year, however.
While that does sound like a tall order, remember that these are bonus points and that this card comes with a few other perks. Such as access to more than 1,200 airport lounges at airports around the world with Priority Pass, including 6 free visits per year.
Being somewhat of a lifestyle card, you will be rewarded with 2 points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining, transit, and various entertainment purchases. Any other purchases made with the card will earn you 1 point per $1 spent.
The travel insurance offered is comprehensive, including $1m covering a medical emergency and $500,000 for accident cover.
The primary downside is that this card comes with a $139 annual fee.
One of the best travel credit cards for frequent flyers, the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard allows cardholders to accumulate Air Miles as they spend.
Cardholders can earn Air Miles at a high rate, and benefit from discounts when redeeming Air Miles for flights.
A sign-up bonus is also offered to the value of to up to 3000 bonus Air Miles.
Cardholders receive 1 Air Mile for every $10 spent, which is one of the best rates when it comes to earning Air Mile rewards. You can earn points through the Air Miles retail network, which comprises several stores.
If you spend $3000 within the first 3 months of signing up, you will receive an additional 2000 Air Miles as a bonus.
When redeeming Air Miles for flights within North America, you will enjoy an additional 15% discount on the price of the flight. You will also get 2 complimentary passes per year to VIP airport lounges where available.
This card also offers great travel insurance options, of which there are 14 different types, including $2m in emergency medical cover.
Not only are there no fees for the first year, but from the second year onward, fees are still fairly low at $120, which isn’t bad considering all the bonuses and perks.
If you are looking for the best in travel credit cards and enjoy shopping at Costco and online, then the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard may be a good fit for you.
This travel credit card is a great option for those who frequently shop at stores that don’t accept Amex or Visa.
Cardholders can earn 2 MBNA points for every $1 spent on any purchase. When redeeming points, they carry a value of $0.01c each, which could see cardholders enjoying some great value.
New cardholders could earn 30,000 bonus MBNA points in their first 12 months.
If you spend $2,000 or more within your first 90 days as a cardholder, you will earn yourself 20,000 MBNA rewards points.
If you sign-up for e-statements within those first 90 days as well, cardholders will be rewarded with a further 10,000 MBNA points.
Spending your points on travel is easy with the MBNA Rewards website, with the ability to spend your points with almost every major airline. There are also gift cards for Walmart, Amazon, Uber, and more to purchase.
Another fantastic benefit is that you can add up to 9 extra authorized users, without any additional fees.
One negative is the $120 per annum card fee. While this fee is comparable to many other travel credit cards, some travel credit cards do not carry a fee at all.
The travel insurance offered with this card covers almost everything. However, it should be mentioned that emergency travel insurance, trip cancellation, and flight delay coverage are not included.
With the RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard members don’t earn rewards points, as with other travel credit cards. However, they can earn up to 1,5% in cash back on everything purchased with the card, making it the best travel credit card for cash back.
Some of the other benefits that come with the card include access to more than 800 airport lounges and the use of more than 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world.
Cardholders also receive special offers and perks through a variety of on-demand service apps, as well as an instant saving of $0.03c per litre on gas.
Premium purchases made with the card come with 120-day purchase protection, and the extended warranty offered on certain purchases triples the manufacturer’s original Canadian warranty.
The travel insurance offered is very comprehensive, including car rental collision or loss damage insurance.
Are you a frequent flyer? If so, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard may be a great option as far as travel credit cards go.
Cardholders can earn 6 rewards points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases, as well as 3 rewards points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
New members could even receive up to 20,000 in bonus points just for signing up.
Rewards points can be redeemed on almost anything, including travel, gift cards, merchandise, and financial rewards.
The HSBC World Elite Mastercard also spares cardholders having to fork out for foreign exchange fees, which could amount to quite a bit in savings.
Cardholders will also enjoy access to over 850 airport lounges worldwide and will receive a travel enhancement bonus of $100 each year with this travel credit card.
Travel insurance is also comprehensive with the HSBC World Elite Mastercard and includes $1m worldwide emergency medical insurance, baggage delay or loss insurance, car rental insurance, and more.
Travel credit cards offer travellers a way to align their everyday expenses with their travel needs.
Almost all travel credit cards offer cardholders the ability to earn points that they can redeem against travel-related purchases, such as flights and hotel stays.
The financial services provider behind each card will usually encourage purchases through their partners by offering cardholders increased rewards and bonuses for these kinds of purchases.
Travel credit cards work in the same way that regular credit cards do. You will use the card to purchase your everyday consumables and items as you would with any other card.
However, travel credit cards offer the opportunity to earn rewards and perks for purchases relating to travel. Purchases are, generally, made through partners of the organization you received the card from.
Points are most often redeemable through an online store linking partners of the relevant financial institution. These points can generally be used to pay for flights, hotel stays, car rental and more.
The more you spend, the more rewards and bonuses you will earn.
When choosing the right travel credit card for your needs, you must consider what your travel needs are, as well as what you can afford.
Two of the primary factors will be your current income bracket and what you can afford to pay each year in fees.
For instance, if you earn less than $60,000-$80,000 per annum, you will need to look at travel credit cards that require a lower minimum income bracket or none at all.
Many of the travel credit cards charge an annual fee of $120-$139 per annum. If this is outside your budget, you should take a closer look at those that charge less, or no fee, per year.
Once you have narrowed down the travel credit cards you qualify for, and those that you can afford, you will need to consider would be the average rewards rate offered. The higher the average rewards rate, the more points value you will earn.
And last, once you know what you can afford, and what you want to spend your money and points on, you need to have a look at benefits such as travel insurance.
Given the above list of travel credit cards, it is easy to see why choosing the best card for your needs can be a complicated process.
After considering the overall affordability of each card and breaking them down into categories for each income bracket, the task becomes a little easier.
With no minimum income requirement, massive bonus rewards for new members, great travel insurance, and the highest rewards rate by far, we feel that the American Express Cobalt Card is the best overall of all the travel credit cards in any category.
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The best credit card to get depends on the type of rewards you want and how you'll use the card. But for all-around usability and rewards we recommend the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® with $0 annual fee.
Take a look at the type of spending you usally use your credit card for and consider what rewards you want to earn. Then take a look at the recommended cards and categories at Comparewise to find the best match for you.
The MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card has a low rate of 8.99% followed by the MBNA True Line® Mastercard® credit card with a rate of 12.99%.
Try to have a limit of five credit cards at once. If you get any more you may have trouble keeping track of your spending and paying the bills on time.
Credit cards are available for those with poor credit scores and limited credit history. You should try to accrue 3 years of credit history or a minimum credit score of 300 before applying for a credit card.