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Best rewards credit cards in Canada for 2023

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

A rewards credit card is a great way to earn reward points or travel miles you can put towards travel, gas or shopping at your favourite stores just by making your everyday purchases. If you use your card responsibly, a rewards card can be a great way to get discounts on your next flight, travel package or shopping spree. Keep reading to learn about how rewards credit cards work in Canada, how to compare the best rewards credit cards and how to find the right type of rewards card for your unique set of needs.

The 9 best rewards credit cards in Canada

How we chose the best rewards credit cards in Canada

Best overall rewards card:
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on Scotiabank's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$120
Annual fee
Up to 6x
Points
40,000
Points welcome offer
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is a powerful everyday credit card as well as a strong travel companion. Earn 6 Scene+ points for every $1 you spend in Canada at Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland and more, 5 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible gas, transportation and select streaming services, and 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere. Book and redeem any flight for any time through Scotia Rewards Travel Service, a full-service travel agency. Plus, take advantage of the Best Price Guarantee on airfare. Plus, enjoy peace of mind with a broad array of travel insurance options.
  • Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points in your first year (that's up to $650 towards travel). Apply by October 31, 2023. To qualify for the 40,000 bonus Scene+ points offer, earn 20,000 bonus Scene+ points by making at least $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a 20,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $7,500 in purchases in your first year.
  • Earn 6 Scene+ points for every $1 you spend in Canada at Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland and more, 5 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible gas, transportation and select streaming services, and 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
  • This card comes with a 0% foreign transaction fee.
  • Enjoy peace of mind with a broad array of travel insurance options including Emergency Medical, Travel Accident, Trip Cancellation and Interruption, Flight Delay, Delayed or Lost Baggage and Rental Car Collision Loss/Damage.
  • Book and redeem any flight for any time through Scotia Rewards Travel Service, a full-service travel agency. Plus, take advantage of the Best Price Guarantee on airfare.
  • American Express rewards including early ticket access, discounts and invites to exclusive events.
  • This card has an annual fee of $120.
  • You'll need to earn a minimum income of $12,000 a year to be eligible for this card.
Annual Fee $120
Purchase APR 20.99%
Cash Advance Rate 22.99%
Balance transfer APR 22.99%
Welcome offer Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points in your first year (that's up to $650 towards travel). Apply by October 31, 2023. To qualify for the 40,000 bonus Scene+ points offer, earn 20,000 bonus Scene+ points by making at least $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a 20,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $7,500 in purchases in your first year.
Rewards Earn 6 Scene+ points for every $1 you spend in Canada at Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland and more, 5 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible gas, transportation and select streaming services, and 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.

Best rewards credit card for no annual fee:
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard logo
Credit recommended (Unknown-)
Read review
Unknown
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 4x
Points
10,000
Points welcome offer
The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard comes with no annual fee – but also offers a high earn rate. Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases (up to $10,000 spend annually in the applicable category), and earn 1 point for every $1 spent on other eligible purchases.
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases (up to $10,000 spend annually in the applicable category), and earn 1 point for every $1 spent on other eligible purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • This card comes with a 2.5% foreign transaction fee
  • No travel insurance perks.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 19.99%
Cash Advance Rate 24.99%
Balance transfer APR 22.99%
Welcome offer Earn 4 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases (up to $10,000 spend annually in the applicable category). Plus, get 5,000 bonus points ($25 in cash back value) after you make $500 or more in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening and 5,000 bonus points ($25 in cash back value) once enrolled for paperless e-statements within the first 90 days of account opening.
Rewards Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases (up to $10,000 spend annually in the applicable category), and earn 1 point for every $1 spent on other eligible purchases.
Please note: All information about MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard has been collected independently by Finder and this card is not available through this site.

Best everyday rewards card:
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite logo
Credit recommended (760-)
Apply now
on BMO's secure site
760
Min. credit score
$120 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 5x
Points
60,000
Points welcome offer
The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite let's you earn accelerated rewards on everyday purchases. Earn 5x the BMO Points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, gas and transit. Plus, earn 1 point for every $1 spent on everything else. Plus, you'll also get an annual lifestyle credit and a generous welcome offer. Get up to 60,000 points (worth $400 in travel rewards), a $50 lifestyle credit and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year. That's a total value of $570 in your first year.
  • Get up to 60,000 points (worth $400 in travel rewards), a $50 lifestyle credit and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year. That's a total value of $570 in your first year.
  • Earn 5x the BMO Points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, gas and transit. Plus, earn 1 point for every $1 spent on everything else.
  • Annual lifestyle credit
  • Travel worry-free with emergency medical insurance, common carrier insurance and car rental collision insurance.
  • This card comes with a 2.5% foreign transaction fee
  • You'll pay an annual fee of $120.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Purchase APR 20.99%
Cash Advance Rate 23.99%
Balance transfer APR 23.99%
Welcome offer Get up to 60,000 points (worth $400 in travel rewards), a $50 lifestyle credit and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year. That's a total value of $570 in your first year.
Rewards Earn 5x the BMO Points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, gas and transit. Plus, earn 1 point for every $1 spent on everything else.

Best rewards credit card for earning flat-rate cash back:
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$119.88
Annual fee
Up to 4%
Cash back
$400
Welcome offer
The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express helps you earn rewards points fast. In your first 10 months, earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases. This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months. The card also offers a suite of travel insurance benefits and exclusive offers on dining and entertainment. Just watch out for the annual fee of $119.88.
  • In your first 10 months, earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases. This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months.
  • Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases in Canada, 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually), and 2% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Get up to $100,000 travel insurance coverage for delayed flights, lost or stolen baggage, car rentals and accidents. Plus, enjoy up to up to $5,000,000 Out-of-Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance in emergency medical coverage.
  • Complimentary Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance (MSRP of up to $85,000).
  • Earn up to a maximum annual referral bonus of $750 cash back for approved referrals.
  • Charge the full purchase price of eligible items to your card, and get complimentary coverage against accidental physical damage and theft, plus double the original manufacturer's warranty for up to 1 additional year. Terms and conditions apply.
  • This card has an annual fee of $119.88.
  • When you spend overseas, you'll face a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.
Annual Fee $119.88
Purchase APR 20.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer In your first 10 months, earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases. This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months.
Rewards Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases in Canada, 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually), and 2% cash back on all other purchases.

Best rewards credit card for earning accelerated cash back:
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card logo
Credit recommended (750-)
Apply now
on Scotiabank's secure site
750
Min. credit score
$120 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 10%
Cash back
Fee rebate
Welcome offer
Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 spend). Plus, pay no annual fee in the first year. Apply by October 31, 2023. The card also offers a great suite of travel insurance benefits, an introductory balance transfer rate and exclusive offers on dining and entertainment – just watch out for the annual fee of $120.
  • Earn 4% cash back for every $1 spent on eligible grocery purchases & recurring bill payments, 2% per $1 spent on eligible gas purchases & public transit, and 1% per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 spend). Plus, pay no annual fee in the first year. Apply by October 31, 2023.
  • Pay for your flight with your card and get complimentary insurance for emergency medical situations up to $1,000,000, trip interruptions and cancellations, flight delays, lost and delayed baggage.
  • You won't be held liable for fraudulent charges on your account with Zero Liability coverage.
  • This card has an annual fee of $120.
  • When you spend overseas, you'll face a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Purchase APR 20.99%
Cash Advance Rate 22.99%
Balance transfer APR 22.99%
Welcome offer Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 spend). Plus, pay no annual fee in the first year. Apply by October 31, 2023.
Rewards Earn 4% cash back for every $1 spent on eligible grocery purchases & recurring bill payments, 2% per $1 spent on eligible gas purchases & public transit, and 1% per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

Best rewards credit card for earning AIR MILES:
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard

BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard logo
Credit recommended (760-)
Apply now
on BMO's secure site
760
Min. credit score
$120 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 3x
Miles
2,000
Miles welcome offer
The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard lets you earn accelerated AIR MILES that can be redeemed for travel perks and merchandise. Get 3 Miles for every $12 spent at participating AIR MILES Reward Partners, 2 Miles for every $12 spent at any eligible grocery store and 1 AIR MILE for every $12 spent on eligible purchases. Get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year. Cardholders also get a range of complimentary travel benefits.
  • Earn a bonus of up to 2,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year.
  • Get 3 Miles for every $12 spent at participating AIR MILES Reward Partners, 2 Miles for every $12 spent at any eligible grocery store and 1 AIR MILE for every $12 spent on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 3X the Miles when you pay with your credit card and show your AIR MILES Card at AIR MILES partners.
  • Get peace of mind with a wide range of travel insurance benefits including up to $2,000,000 Out-of-Province/Out-of-Country Emergency Medical Protection as well as coverage for delayed flights
  • trip cancellations, interruptions and delays
  • rental car collision damage and baggage loss, theft or damage.
  • Get up to a 25% discount at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations with complimentary Collision Damage Waiver benefits (MSRP of up to $65,000).
  • This card has an annual fee of $120
  • You'll need to earn a personal income of at least $80,000, or a combined household income of at least $150,000 annually.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Purchase APR 20.99%
Cash Advance Rate 23.99% (21.99% for Quebec residents)
Balance transfer APR 23.99%
Welcome offer Earn a bonus of up to 2,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year.
Rewards Get 3 Miles for every $12 spent at participating AIR MILES Reward Partners, 2 Miles for every $12 spent at any eligible grocery store and 1 AIR MILE for every $12 spent on eligible purchases.

Best rewards card for earning Aeroplan Miles:
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$599
Annual fee
Up to 3x
Miles
90,000
Miles welcome offer
The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card offers a sizable welcome bonus along with a high return on Aeroplan points for $599 per year. Earn 3x the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, 2x points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases in Canada and on eligible purchases with Rocky Mountaineer, and 1.25x points on everything else. This card also comes with a full suite of travel insurance, which includes travel medical, common carrier, trip interruption or cancellation, baggage or flight delay and car rental insurance. You'll also enjoy special travel perks such as NEXUS discounts and free checked baggage with Air Canada.
  • Earn 3x the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, 2x points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases in Canada and on eligible purchases with Rocky Mountaineer, and 1.25x points on everything else.
  • Earn 1,000 Status Qualifying Miles and 1 Status Qualifying Segment for every $5,000 worth of eligible purchases you charge to your card. Plus, you could receive a Complimentary Hotel Room Category Upgrade, on the first and last night, and a Complimentary Upgrade from SilverLeaf to GoldLeaf class of service when you book directly with Rocky Mountaineer using your card.
  • Earn up to 90,000 welcome bonus Aeroplan points. That's a first year value of up to $2,700.
  • travel medical, trip cancellation and interruption, hotel burglary, car rental and common carrier coverage
  • Protect the products you buy on your card with purchase insurance and extended warranty coverage.
  • free checked baggage for yourself and up to 8 companions, access to Maple Leaf Lounges in North America and Air Canada Cafés for you and a guest (with same day tickets on departing Air Canada or Star Alliance flights), Priority Airport Check-In, Priority Boarding, and Priority Baggage Handling with Air Canada and priority access to eUpgrades/standby list and worldwide airport lounge access with Priority Pass
  • This card has an annual fee of $599.
  • You'll need a minimum income of at least , or combined household income of , to qualify for this card.
Annual Fee $599
Purchase APR 20.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn up to 90,000 Aeroplan points. Earn 5,000 Aeroplan points for each Additional Aeroplan Reserve Card with an annual fee added to your account at time of application (up to a max. of 2 approved Additional Cards). Plus, earn 7,500 Aeroplan points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $2,000 in purchases for the first 6 months (that could add up to 45,000 points). You can also earn 35,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $6,000 in purchases between 13 and 16 months of cardmembership.
Rewards Earn 3x the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, 2x points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases in Canada and on eligible purchases with Rocky Mountaineer, and 1.25x points on everything else.

Best overall rewards credit card for travel:
American Express Cobalt Card

American Express Cobalt Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$155.88
Annual fee
Up to 5x
Membership Rewards
30,000
Welcome offer
The American Express Cobalt Card offers a generous return on points for everyday purchases. You can collect points for every dollar you spend on dining out plus 2 points for gas and transit purchases and 1 point for everything else. This card also comes with up to a 30,000 points welcome bonus if you spend a certain amount of money each month. You'll also get a full suite of travel insurance and purchase protection when you sign up.
  • Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery, 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada, 2x points for every $1 spent on eligible transit & gas purchases in Canada and eligible travel purchases, and earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else.
  • Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your card (up to 30,000 points). That’s up to $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
  • Collect a higher return on rewards when you make dining, gas and transit purchases.
  • Enjoy peace of mind with complimentary protection against fraudulent charges to your card. Additionally, items charged to your card will be covered against theft and accidental physical damage, plus the original manufacturer's warranty will be extended by up to one additional year. Terms and conditions apply.
  • Get up to $5,000,000 in emergency medical coverage plus coverage for travel accidents, lost or stolen baggage, car rental theft and damage, flight delays and hotel/motel burglary.
  • Get complimentary Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance (MSRP of up to $85,000). Terms apply.
  • You'll have to pay $155.88 per year to maintain this card.
  • You'll be charged a currency conversion rate of 2.5% when you spend overseas.
  • Missed payments will be charged a penalty interest rate of 23.99% - 26.99% variable.
Annual Fee $155.88
Purchase APR 20.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your card (up to 30,000 points). That’s up to $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
Rewards Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery, 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada, 2x points for every $1 spent on eligible transit & gas purchases in Canada and eligible travel purchases, and earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else.

Best rewards card for hotel rewards:
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$120
Annual fee
Up to 5x
Points
50,000
Points welcome offer
Experience discounts at a variety of luxurious hotel chains around the world with the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card. Even though this card has an annual fee of $120, the rewards can quickly outpace the cost if you frequently visit Marriott Bonvoy™ hotels and their partners. The signup bonus alone is worth more than the annual fee of the card. Earn 50,000 Welcome Bonus points. Charge $1,500 in purchases to your card in your first three months.
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, and 2 points per $1 spent elsewhere..
  • Get more with the signup bonus. Earn 50,000 Welcome Bonus points. Charge $1,500 in purchases to your card in your first three months.
  • Although this card has an annual fee, you can get up to 9 additional cards for $0.
  • Enjoy peace of mind with up to $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance. Plus, get coverage for travel accidents, lost/stolen/damaged baggage, car rental theft and damage, flight delays and hotel/motel burglaries.
  • Get complimentary Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance (MSRP of up to $85,000). Terms apply.
  • This card comes with an annual fee of $120.
  • Any missed payments will incur a penalty interest rate of 24.99% - 26.99% Variable.
  • When you spend overseas, you'll face a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.
Annual Fee $120
Purchase APR 20.99%
Cash Advance Rate 21.99%
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn 50,000 Welcome Bonus points. Charge $1,500 in purchases to your card in your first three months.
Rewards Earn 5 points per $1 spent at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, and 2 points per $1 spent elsewhere.

How do rewards credit cards work?

A rewards credit card lets you earn reward points or travel miles for every purchase you make on your card. While cashback is most often returned directly into your bank account or sent to you as a cheque in the mail, rewards points can typically be used a variety of ways. You might be able to use your points for travel, merchandise, statement credit, gift cards and more. Miles, on the other hand, can usually only be redeemed for travel or travel-related experiences.

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 depending on what you buy and where you buy it.

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 than restaurants purchases. With frequent flyer cards, you may also be able to earn a higher return on points or miles when you shop with partner stores.

What happens when I want to redeem my points?

When you’ve collected enough points or miles, you can redeem them for rewards like travel, merchandise or gift cards. To do this, you usually just need to sign in to your online credit card account and follow the prompts browse their online store and redeem your points.

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.

The 6 types of rewards credit cards in Canada

The type of reward credit card you pick will depend on factors like your eligibility and how you want to use your reward points. Rewards credit cards in Canada generally fall into one of the following five categories.

1. Cashback

You’ll receive your rewards in the form of cash back, which you can usually redeem for statement credit or a deposit into your bank account. Some providers let you redeem your cashback directly towards travel, gift cards and merchandise.

  • Here’s an example: TD Cash Back Visa Card. Earn 1% in cash back on eligible grocery and gas purchases, as well as on regularly recurring bill payments set up on your account, and earn 0.5% in cash back on all other eligible purchases.. You can redeem points for statement credit and bank deposits. Gift cards, travel and experiences are also available through TD Rewards.

2. Travel

Travel credit cards are a popular type of reward credit card, allowing Canadians to reach their travel goals more quickly. Travel cards work the same as other rewards cards – points you earn on everyday purchases can be redeemed for things like flights, car rentals or merchandise. Travel credit cards often come with airline-specific perks like priority boarding and free checked baggage. Travel credit card rewards programs generally fall into one of three categories:

  • Standalone programs: The AIR MILES rewards program primarily partners with BMO and Amex to offer basic and premium travel rewards credit cards to fit any budget. It’s one of the biggest travel points programs in Canada.
  • Bank-affiliated programs: The two big bank-affiliated travel rewards programs in Canada are the CIBC Aventura Rewards and RBC Avion Rewards programs. Both offer a selection of basic and premium travel rewards credit cards.
  • Airline-affiliated programs: Probably the most well-known airline affiliated travel program in Canada is the Aeroplan Rewards program, which is owned by Air Canada. It currently partners with CIBC, TD and Amex to offer a wide range of Aeroplan credit cards.

3. Retail

Retail credit cards offer benefits and rewards tied to a particular store. These retail cards allow you to earn rewards points when you pay for purchases, which you can use for in-store discounts or travel rewards. Keep in mind that sometimes you’ll only be able to use your card with the affiliated company.

  • Here’s an example: With the Hudson’s Bay Mastercard from Neo, you’ll earn 4 points per dollar on purchases in-store and online, with an additional 2 points everywhere else, which you can redeem for discounts at Hudson’s Bay. You can use this card wherever Mastercard is accepted.

4. Category-specific — Dining, entertainment, etc.

You’ll receive accelerated rewards when you use your card for a certain category, such as restaurants or streaming services. For example, you might receive 3% cash back for one category instead of 1%, which is the normal rewards rate for purchases. Some cards have spending caps for the highest rewards rates. Here are some examples:

5. Hotel

A hotel credit card offers bonus points when you spend with a certain hotel chain. You can often redeem points through the chain’s rewards portal for hotel stays, travel packages, point transfers and more. Here are a few of our favorite hotel loyalty programs on the market. Usually, this card type also includes hotel-specific perks like loyalty-program upgrades and resort credits.

  • Here’s an example: The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card allows you to earn points towards the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program. Earn 5 points per $1 spent at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, and 2 points per $1 spent elsewhere..

6. Business

Get rewarded every time you spend money on business purchases such as office supplies, Internet costs or business trips. As a business owner, you may want to look for cards offering certain benefits like free additional cards for your employees, travel insurance and easy account monitoring.

  • Here’s an example: The American Express Business Edge Card helps you earn on your business expenses. Earn 10x the points for every $1 spent on eligible business essentials including office supplies & electronics, rides & gas, eats & drinks within 6 months of Cardmembership (up to a maximum of 10,000 points). 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.

Compare more rewards credit cards in Canada for 2023

Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee call to action Rewards with this card Description
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
N/A
Tangerine Money-Back Rewards
19.95%
19.95%
$0
Earn 2% cash back in two Tangerine credit card categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Earn 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months. Valid until October 31, 2023. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
N/A
Cash back
20.99%
22.99%
$0
Earn cash back at a standard rate of 3% on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,500). Plus, get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 2% fee applies to transferred balances.
Tangerine World Mastercard
N/A
Tangerine Money-Back Rewards
19.95%
19.95%
$0
Earn unlimited 2% cash back in two Tangerine credit card categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and unlimited 0.5% cash back on everything else. Conditions apply.
Earn 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months. Valid until October 31, 2023. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months.
RBC Avion Visa Infinite
55,000
Avion
20.99%
22.99%
$120
Earn 1 Avion point for every $1 you spend and an extra 25% on eligible travel purchases.
Get up to 55,000 Welcome Points (value of up to $1,100). Apply by November 27, 2023.
American Express Cobalt Card
30,000
Membership Rewards
20.99%
21.99%
$155.88
Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery, 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada, 2x points for every $1 spent on eligible transit & gas purchases in Canada and eligible travel purchases, and earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else.
Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your card (up to 30,000 points). That’s up to $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
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Who should consider getting a rewards credit card?

Consider getting a rewards card if you’re…

  • Frequent spenders. If you plan on using your credit card frequently, you can benefit with strong rewards.
  • Loyal customers. If you do most of your shopping through a particular store, a retail card can reward you especially well versus a generic rewards card.
  • Cardholders who make regular payments. Making timely payments is crucial if you wish to make the most of your rewards credit card. If you keep a balance on your card, you’ll accrue interest that will eat into your rewards.

Consider NOT getting a rewards card if you’re…

  • Someone in debt. If you’re in debt, consider a balance transfer card rather than a rewards card. It may be wise to avoid the temptation of earning rewards through additional spending.
  • Irregular spenders. If you don’t use your credit card regularly, it may not be worth paying the fees for a rewards card. This product type is only beneficial if the monetary value of your rewards exceeds the costs of the card.

What are the pros and cons of credit card rewards?

What are the benefits of rewards credit cards? Are there any drawbacks? Check out the pros and cons before deciding if a rewards credit card is right for you.

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

  • Spending more than usual. With the incentive of a reward to look forward to, some cardholders are tempted to make purchases for the sake of earning rewards. Remember that you’ll need to repay the balance. Otherwise, the accumulated interest could outweigh the value you’ve received from your rewards.
  • 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.

How to choose the best rewards credit card in Canada

If you’ve decided that a rewards credit card is the best fit for you, you should consider these factors while deciding which specific card you want.

  • Return on rewards. The first step is to work out which credit card points are worth the most. 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 calculate how much rewards points are worth

If you’re wondering how much your points or travel miles are worth for certain redemption options like merchandise or gift cards, you can follow these 3 simple steps to calculate your points’ value. Let’s use a gift card as an example:

  1. Check how much the redemption option is worth. For this example we’ll use a gift card worth $25.
  2. Check how many points or miles you must trade for it. Let’s say you’ll have to redeem 3,000 points to get the gift card.
  3. Divide the redemption’s monetary value by the number of points you must redeem. In this case you would divide $25 gift card value by the 3,000 points needed to get it: $25 / 3,000 = 0.008.

That means your points would be worth 0.8 cents apiece if you redeemed them for this gift card. That’s less than the industry standard of 1 point = 1 cent, so redeeming your points for a gift card in this example is not such a great deal.

How to maximize your points with credit card rewards

Once you decide to sign up for a rewards credit 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.
  • Spend more in your bonus-reward categories. Your card might offer accelerated rewards for certain purchase categories. If you have the option to choose those categories, make sure to choose ones for purchases you tend to make the most. For example, if your card pays 5% cash back on groceries, it’s a no-brainer to use your card at the grocery store as much as you can.
  • 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.

Who can qualify for a rewards credit card in Canada?

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 and in some cases, a SIN card.
  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 a 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 in Canada:

  1. Compare rewards credit cards. Compare the rewards credit cards on this table available in Canada 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.

Bottom line

There are plenty of rewards credit cards on the market for you to choose from. The best rewards credit 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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