Compare Rewards Credit Cards for 2021 | Finder Canada

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Rewards credit cards for 2021

Collect points to redeem for travel, merchandise, gift cards and more with a rewards credit card.

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Are you looking for a credit card that lets you earn points for every purchase? You might like to check out a rewards credit card. This type of card lets you earn reward points or miles when you travel, fuel up, shop at your favourite stores or make everyday purchases. Find out more about how rewards credit cards work and learn which type might be the best fit for your unique set of needs.

American Express Cobalt Card

American Express Cobalt Card

19.99 % APR

Purchase interest rate

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

American Express Cobalt Card

Apply today and earn up to 45,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year.

  • Purchase interest rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 21.99%
  • Annual fee: $120
  • Credit rating: 700+
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Compare rewards credit cards for 2021

Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Rewards with this card Description
American Express Cobalt Card
45,000
Membership Rewards
19.99%
21.99%
$120
Earn 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at eligible grocery stores, restaurants, bars, cafés and food delivery services, 2 points per $1 spent at eligible gas stations, and on transit and travel purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to 45,000 bonus Membership Rewards points. In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, earn 2,500 points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 on your card (for a total of 30,000 points in a year). Plus, earn 15,000 points when you spend a total of $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months. Apply by May 5, 2021.
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
2,000
Air Miles
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Get topped up to 5x the AIR MILES Reward Miles on groceries until May 31, 2021 (when you use any BMO AIR MILES credit card with your AIR MILES Card when you shop at participating grocery stores). Plus, get 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on eligible purchases.
Earn a bonus of up to 2,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year.
American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
2,000
Air Miles
20.99%
21.99%
$120
Earn 1 AIR MILE for every $5 spent on eligible food, drink, gas and transit purchases (up to an annual spend of $30,000), and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on all other eligible purchases (and after the $30,000 annual spend)
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,500 in eligible purchases within the first three months. That’s enough to redeem for $200 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash.
American Express Aeroplan Card
15,000
Aeroplan Miles
30% annual interest rate applies to balances not paid in full each month
N/A
$120
Earn 2x the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada vacations, 1.5x the points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases and 1x the points on everything else.
Earn up to 15,000 Welcome Bonus Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass as a new cardmember.
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
50,000
Marriott Bonvoy™
19.99%
21.99%
$120
Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott properties and 2 points on all other spending. Terms apply
Receive 50,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy™ points when you charge $1,500 in the first three months of card membership. Terms apply
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite
40,000
BMO Rewards
20.99%
23.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Earn 5x the BMO Points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, gas and transit.
Get up to 40,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year. Earn 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and get 15,000 points on your first anniversary.
Choice Card from American Express
12,500
Membership Rewards
19.99%
23.99%
$0
Earn 1 American Express Membership Point for every $1 you spend on purchases.
Earn 12,500 Bonus Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,250 in purchases to your card within the first 3 months as a new Cardmember. Apply by May 5, 2021.
American Express Business Edge Card
30,000
Membership Rewards
19.99%
21.99%
$99
Earn 3 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible business essentials including office supplies, electronics, rides, gas, eats and drinks (up to an annual earn of 75,000 Membership Rewards), and earn 1 Membership Reward point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
Earn up to 42,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn a Welcome Bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months, and earn 1,000 Membership Rewards points each month (a total of 12,000 annually) when you spend a minimum of $3,000 on eligible purchases
BMO World Elite Mastercard
30,000
BMO Rewards
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
Get 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining and entertainment purchases (up to $50,000 spend annually), and 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases (and once you reach the $50,000 annual spend).
Get up to 30,000 points – 25,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and 5,000 points on your first anniversary. Plus, get the $150 annual fee waived in the first year. Apply by October 31, 2021
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
65,000
Aeroplan Miles
19.99%
21.99%
$599
Earn 3x the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, 2x the points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases in Canada, and 1x the points on everything else.
Earn up to 65,000 Welcome Bonus Aeroplan points and a $100 Statement Credit as a new cardmember.
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How do rewards credit cards work?

Rewards credit cards let you earn reward points or miles for every purchase you make on your card. Most basic cards let you earn between 0.5 and 1 point for every dollar you spend, while premium cards tend to offer between 1 and 3 points or miles per dollar. You may also earn a different number of reward points for different types of purchases.

For example, a travel card might let you earn a higher return on travel rewards when you book flights or stay at a hotel. An everyday card might offer a higher return on points for gas, grocery and drugstore purchases. With frequent flyer cards, you may also be able to earn a higher return on points or miles when you shop with partners.

What happens when I want to redeem my points?

When you’ve collected enough points or miles, you can redeem them for rewards such as travel, merchandise or gift cards. To do this, you usually just need to sign in to your credit card account and find your points balance on your statement. You can then usually click some variation of “redeem points” to cash your points in for rewards.

Just be aware that you may need to book your travel rewards on a third-party site. For example, you might be redirected to the booking site for a specific airline if you want to exchange frequent flyer miles. You could also be redirected to your provider’s rewards catalogue to exchange your points for merchandise or gift cards.

Who should consider getting a rewards credit card?

You may want to consider a rewards card if you travel often or you enjoy shopping for merchandise and gift cards. Rewards credit cards let you work up to big purchases that you might not make in your everyday life. For example, you can use your points to book a weekend vacation or to buy that new kitchen appliance you’ve had your eye on.

Many rewards credit cards also offer a nice mix of benefits and perks to keep you interested. These can include benefits such as travel insurance, roadside assistance, mobile device insurance, airport lounge access and much more. Your best bet is to look for the card that offers the best combination of rewards and benefits for your unique set of needs and lifestyle

Types of rewards credit cards

There are many types of rewards credit cards you can take advantage of. These include the following:

Type of cardHow it worksExamples
Everyday rewardsEarn a higher return when you spend money on everyday purchases such as gas, dining, groceries and drugstore purchases.
  • BMO eclipse Visa Infinite
  • American Express Cobalt
  • Scotiabank Gold American Express
Loyalty rewardsCollect more points when you shop with cards that are tied to specific retailers such as Walmart, Canadian Tire and President’s Choice.
  • PC Financial Mastercard
  • Walmart Rewards Mastercard
  • Capital One Costco Mastercard
Gas rewardsGet rewarded and earn discounts every time you fill up with a specific gas provider.
  • BMO AIR MILES Mastercard (Shell)
  • Signature RBC Rewards Visa (Petro Canada)
  • Triangle Mastercard (Husky)
Travel rewardsRack up travel rewards to exchange for discounts on flights, hotels and travel packages with any number of travel partners.
  • TD First Class Visa Infinite
  • BMO World Elite Mastercard
  • National Bank World Elite Mastercard
Frequent flyer milesCollect frequent flyer miles for specific member-only travel rewards programs such as AIR MILES, Aeroplan, Avion or Aventura
  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
  • BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
  • RBC Avion Visa Infinite
Hotel rewardsAccumulate points for using a specific hotel every time you travel. These points can then be redeemed for discounts and free nights.
  • Marriott Bonvoy American Express
  • American Express Platinum
  • Best Western Rewards Mastercard
Cashback rewardsEarn points and redeem them as cashback to pay off your credit card balance.
  • Brim World Mastercard
  • CIBC Aventura Visa
  • Scotiabank Gold American Express
Business rewardsGet rewarded every time you spend money on business purchases such as office supplies, Internet costs or travel for business.
  • American Express Business Edge
  • BMO AIR MILES Business Mastercard
  • TD Business Travel Visa
No annual fee rewardsEarn a lower return on points than you might with premium cards, but pay no annual fee.
  • Scotiabank SCENE Visa
  • MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard
  • HSBC Advance Mastercard

How to compare rewards credit cards

If you’ve decided that a rewards credit card is the best fit for you, you should consider a couple of factors before you pick the specific card that you want.

  • Return on rewards. Think about how many reward points or miles you’ll earn for every purchase and multiply this number by how much your points are worth on average. Choose the card that gives you the highest return and the highest value for your points.
  • Welcome offers. Look for a card that offers a large welcome bonus since this can often give you enough points to get hundreds of dollars’ worth of rewards.
  • Benefits. Search for a card that offers a solid mix of benefits and perks that you’ll actually use for a price you can afford. Benefits can include travel insurance, mobile device insurance, rental car insurance, roadside assistance and more.
  • Annual fee. Find a low-fee card if you don’t need many benefits, or search for a premium card that waives your first annual fee if you want extra perks and a higher return on points.
  • Interest rates. Try to pick a card that has a maximum interest rate of 19.99% for purchases and 21.99% for cash advances. If possible, aim to find a lower interest rate so that you can save money if you intend to keep an outstanding balance on your card.
  • Other fees. Make sure to read your contract fully and pay attention to fees for services like cash advances, foreign transactions and any other fees. Look for the card that doesn’t charge for the services you use regularly.
  • Provider. When deciding on a rewards credit card, you can choose from many providers. These include big banks, digital banks and private companies. Look for a card from an establishment you trust and make sure the rewards are tailored to your lifestyle.

How to maximize your reward points

Once you decide to sign up for a rewards card, you can maximize the number of reward points or miles you earn by using these tricks:

  • Pay an annual fee for a premium card. You’ll get a higher return on rewards and a better mix of benefits when you pay an annual fee for a premium card.
  • Avoid rewards caps. Avoid rewards caps on your monthly or annual spending limits to earn more reward points or miles if you intend to spend a lot of money on your card.
  • Sign up for targeted rewards. Find rewards programs targeted towards the types of purchases you make the most (e.g. travel rewards for frequent flyers).
  • Look for a welcome bonus. Load up the points in your account right from the get-go by searching for a card with a generous welcome bonus or a special promotional offer.
  • Keep an eye on expiration dates. Your points may expire if you don’t use them within a certain time period, so make sure you know how long they’ll be good for.
  • Be mindful of excluded purchases. Some purchases aren’t eligible for rewards, so you should look into your rewards program to find out where you stand to earn the most.

Compare apps to help you earn even more rewards

Name Product Reward Fees Participating Brands Min. to Cash Out
Ampli
1-10% cash back, or a set $ amount
$0
50+
$15
Link your debit and credit cards to the Ampli app and earn cash back at 50+ big retailers across Canada. Enter promo code AMPLI5 to receive a $5.00 cash back bonus on signup.
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Who can qualify for a rewards credit card?

You should be able to qualify for a rewards credit card if you have a decent credit score. Just be aware that you may need to meet certain income amounts to be eligible for premium cards. Other criteria you may need to meet include the following:

  1. Be 18 years old or the age of majority in your province or territory.
  2. Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Canadian address.
  3. Have a working bank account (this is sometimes not a requirement – it varies between providers).
  4. Have an average credit score and not be struggling with a bankruptcy or consumer proposal.

You’ll also need to be willing to meet additional requirements put forth by your credit card provider to qualify in some cases.

How to apply for a rewards credit card

You can follow these steps to apply for a rewards credit card:

  1. Compare rewards credit cards. Compare the cards on offer from a number of providers to find the best fit for your budget and lifestyle.
  2. Apply for the card of your choice. Visit the main site of the provider you’re interested in to apply for the credit card of your choice.
  3. Fill out application details. Fill out personal details such as your full name, address, email and phone number to start your application.
  4. Submit to a credit check. Submit to a personal credit check to get approved for the rewards credit card of your choice.
  5. Review final details. Look at the details of your contract and make sure you understand what type of reward points and benefits you’ll get with your card.
  6. Click submit. Once you’re ready to apply, click submit on your application or call your credit card provider directly to apply over the phone.
  7. Wait for your card to arrive. When your application is approved, your provider should send your card out in the mail or allow you to pick it up at a branch location.

What are the pros and cons of using a rewards credit card?

Pros

  • Rewards for spending. You’ll be able to earn rewards that you can redeem for travel, merchandise, gift cards and more.
  • Additional benefits. Many cards offer a number of benefits such as travel insurance, roadside assistance and mobile device protection if you pay an annual fee.
  • Welcome bonus for signing up. You’ll usually receive a large amount of reward points or miles just for signing up for a rewards card.
  • Cards that suit your lifestyle. You can choose a card that will give you more points for the purchases you make the most, which means you’ll earn more in the long run.

Cons

  • Annual fees. Many rewards cards charge an annual fee for membership, so you’ll need to make sure your rewards and benefits outweigh the costs.
  • Rewards caps. Some providers put a cap on how many reward points you can earn at an accelerated rate, which means you’ll miss out on getting the maximum return.
  • Points can expire. In some cases, your reward points or miles may expire unexpectedly before you’ve had a chance to redeem them.
  • Low points value. Some cards offer a lower value for points than others, so you should be sure to look up average returns for the program you’re interested in before signing up.

Bottom line

There are plenty of rewards credit cards on the market for you to choose from. These cards can be particularly useful if you travel often or you would prefer to earn points that you can redeem for merchandise or gift cards. Learn more about how rewards credit cards work and compare providers to find the best deal.

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