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Rewards credit cards 2020

Learn how you can earn points and redeem rewards while you spend with a rewards credit card.

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Do you regularly make purchases with your credit card? A rewards card can help you get something back from your spending. Whether you’re a frequent flyer, loyal customer or big grocery spender, you can find a rewards credit card to suit almost any lifestyle.

As these cards come with fees and restrictions, compare your options to determine which card offers more rewards and more bang for your buck.

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 30,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year.

  • Purchase interest rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 21.99%
  • Annual fee: $120
  • Credit rating: Fair+
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Compare rewards credit cards for 2020

Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Rewards with this card Description
American Express Cobalt Card
30,000
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. Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at eligible gas stations, and on transit and travel purchases. Earn 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent elsewhere. Terms apply.
Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points in your 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 3,000 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,500 in eligible purchases within the first three months.
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
2,000
Air Miles
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Get 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on eligible purchases and get 5x the Miles at Shell until December 31, 2020.
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 5x the Miles at Shell until December 31, 2020.
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 World Elite Mastercard
40,000
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 get 2 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases (and once you reach the $50,000 annual spend).
Get up to $575 in value in your first year. Get a bonus of 40,000 BMO Rewards points ($285 travel value booked on bmorewards.com). Plus, get the $150 annual fee waived in the first year.
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
Shell AIR MILES Mastercard from BMO
950
Air Miles
19.99%
22.99%
$0
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
Get 950 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $100 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Plus, get 5x the Miles at Shell until December 31, 2020.
American Express Gold Rewards Card
25,000
Membership Rewards
30% annual interest rate applies to balances not paid in full each month
N/A
$150
Earn 2 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible gas station, grocery store, drug store and travel purchases and on eligible hotel and car rental bookings made with American Express Travel, and earn 1 Membership Reward point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $1,500 on eligible purchases within the first three months
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
20,000
11.9%
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
Earn 2 Points for every $1 spent on eligible dining or entertainment purchases. Points can be redeemed for travel and financial rewards, gift cards and merchandise.
Earn 20,000 Points ($100 travel value) plus a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year ($25 value). Apply by December 28, 2020. Conditions Apply. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec. (Quebec residents eligible for separate offer).
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
100,000
19.9%
22.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Earn 3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases (6 Points per $1 spent) and earn 1.5% in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases (3 Points per $1 spent).
Earn up to 100,000 Points ($500 travel value) plus get a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year. Apply by December 28, 2020. Conditions Apply. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec. (Quebec residents eligible for separate offer).
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Why should I consider a rewards credit card

The major draw of this type of card is earning points that can be redeemed for rewards. Depending on the card you use and the promotions in place, you may be able to earn bonus points when making certain types of purchases or shopping with a particular retailer. Additional cards linked to the account can also earn rewards points as well. What you can redeem your points for will vary from card to card. Some allow you to redeem points for flight rewards as well as shopping or travel vouchers. Others can be used for cash back, to redeem merchandise or even to donate to charity.

Some rewards credit cards come with extra benefits beyond the rewards program. Some may offer low interest on purchases, while others provide extra warranty or complimentary rental car insurance coverage. Compare the features of the card to discover which will work best with your lifestyle.

Types of rewards credit cards

  • Retail rewards. These cards offer benefits and rewards tied to a particular retailer. Some retail credit cards in Canada are available from retailers such as Costco, Canadian Tire, President’s Choice, Sobeys and Wal-Mart. Consider where you shop the most and see whether they offer a card to reward your loyalty.
  • Cash back rewards. Some credit cards let you redeem your accumulated reward points as cash back. You can use this cash back to pay credit card fees or to reduce your outstanding balance (depending on the card).
  • Gas rewards. If you use your credit card to pay for gas, this type of card could reward you every time you fill up. These cards also sometimes offer bonus points, fuel vouchers and discounts as rewards.
  • Airline rewards. Are you a regular jet-setter? Then an airline rewards credit card could be a wise choice. You can use these cards to earn airline rewards points for everyday purchases and can redeem them for rewards such as airline tickets and flight upgrades. A variety of credit card providers in Canada offer credit cards linked to airline rewards. Learn more in our detailed guide to airline rewards.
  • Travel rewards. Cardholders can earn points for both travel-related and everyday purchases. Depending on the card, you can redeem your rewards for travel perks (such as flights, upgrades and accommodation) as well as other rewards (such as gift vouchers, gadgets and homewares).
  • Hotel credit cards. If you use a particular hotel chain on every trip, you could rack up rewards for your loyalty. The points you earn for staying at the hotel can then be redeemed for discounts and vouchers.

How to compare rewards cards

  • Annual fee. While some rewards cards charge no ongoing annual fees, others charge higher annual fees. The more features the card has, the higher the fee is likely to be.
  • Rewards program. Choose a rewards program based on your lifestyle, and select the one that will offer greater rewards value. If you’re a loyal customer to a particular retailer, you could benefit from their rewards card. A frequent globetrotter might get more from an airline rewards card. While you can sign up for multiple rewards cards, using a single card for all purchases is generally the fastest way to earn points.
  • Earn rate. This refers to how many rewards points you earn per dollar spent, and generally varies from one to three points per dollar. The earn rate lets you calculate the monetary value of your points and how much you’ll have to spend to redeem a particular reward.
  • Bonus points. Cards that offer bonus points to new customers can help you kickstart your rewards points. You may need to meet some eligibility requirements before you can claim the points (such as spending a certain amount in the first three months), so make sure to confirm these conditions before applying.
  • Limitations and restrictions. Most rewards cards limit the way you can earn and redeem points. You’ll often only be able to earn points with particular retailers or airlines. If the card comes with a points cap, you’ll only be able to earn up to a certain number of points. If you’re a big spender, this could reduce your points earning potential. Keep an eye out for expiration dates on your points, too.
  • Interest costs. Interest rates will vary from card to card. Comparing these in conjunction with your spending habits will help you calculate how much you’ll have to repay over time.
  • Balance transfer. Some rewards cards offer promotional balance transfers that allow you to repay existing debt at a lower rate. As balance transfers are designed to help reduce your debt, using the same card for purchases to build up points isn’t advisable.

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

Pros

  • Rewards for spending. You can choose a card that fits your lifestyle and earn rewards on purchases you would have made anyway.
  • Global acceptance. Most rewards cards are affiliated with Visa or Mastercard, and you can use these cards in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. While American Express credit cards aren’t as widely accepted internationally, they can still be used in many locations around the world.
  • Extra perks. Many rewards cards offer extra perks, such as complimentary rental car insurance. Compare your options to see which features work best with your lifestyle and spending habits.

Cons

  • Cost. Rewards credit cards aren’t free. For instance, you may have to pay an ongoing annual fee or the card will attract a higher APR than your basic no-frills card.
  • Limitations. Your card provider might not let you earn more than a given number of points in a calendar year, and your points can also expire after a set time frame.

A rewards credit card can be a useful way to earn extra benefits on everyday purchases. The variety of rewards credit cards available ensures that there is an option to suit almost every lifestyle. As there are so many cards on the market, and each comes with separate terms and conditions, you should compare your options to determine which one offers you the most value.

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