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Travel rewards credit cards in Canada

The best travel rewards credit cards let you earn points with your everyday credit card spending and enjoy free flights, airport lounge access, upgrades and other perks.

With a powerful travel rewards credit card, you can be rewarded for your spending and earn points so you can travel for free sooner. As well as points, some travel credit cards offer other travel perks, including free travel insurance, free airport lounge access and flight vouchers for your traveling companion.

But which travel rewards credit card are popular? Find out how credit cards with travel rewards work in this comprehensive guide and compare travel credit cards in Canada.

Popular travel rewards credit cards in Canada by category

The best travel credit cards allow you to quickly earn rewards so you can take your next trip sooner. They’ll also come with low (or no) annual fees and little or no foreign exchange fee. Here are some popular travel rewards credit cards by category.

    Travel credit cardTravel pointsApply and learn more
    Picture not describedAmerican Express Cobalt Card
    American Express Cobalt Card
    Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery (spend cap applies), 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada, 2x points on eligible ride shares, transit & gas in Canada, 1 additional point on eligible hotel and car rental bookings via American Express Travel Online, and 1x point for every $1 in purchases everywhere else.Go to site

    Read Review

    Picture not described

    Scotiabank American Express Card
    Earn 3 Scene+ points on every $1 you spend at Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland and more, 2 Scene+ points for every $1 you spend on eligible grocery, dining, entertainment, gas, daily transit and select streaming services purchases Plus, earn 1 Scene+ point for every $1 spent on on all other eligible everyday purchases. Use your Card and book travel through the full-service travel agency, Scotia Rewards Travel Service. Plus, get special travel offers through Scotia Rewards Travel Advantage.

    Read Review

    Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
    Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
    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.Go to site

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    BMO Ascend World Elite
    BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard
    Get 5 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases, 3 points per $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.Go to site

    Read Review

    Picture not described
    American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
    Earn 2X the points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases in Canada, and earn 1.25X the points on everything else.Go to site

    Read Review

    How do travel credit cards with rewards work?

    Travel rewards credit cards give you a way to earn points on your everyday spending by offering a set number of points for every dollar spent (such as 1 point for $1 spent or 1 point for $2 spent) on eligible purchases. This means the more you spend, the more points you can rack up. There are different ways to earn and redeem reward points depending on the type of credit card you choose and the rewards offered by the provider.

    Some travel points credit cards send points directly to your account and other rewards credit cards allow you to transfer points to a variety of other eligible travel reward accounts. Your card may also have tiered earn rates – different earn rates depending on the type of purchase – and points caps that reduce or limit points earnings after you spend a certain amount each statement period. As your points are debited to your account, you can redeem them for a variety of rewards including flights, upgrades, accommodation and plenty of other perks.

    When you’re searching for the best travel rewards credit cards, there are two different options to consider:

    1. Direct earn cards. These credit cards partner with a single airline rewards program and earn points that are credited directly to your linked travel rewards account. Direct earn cards generally have a better earn rate than other options, so you could potentially get more rewards for your spending if you’re loyal to one travel rewards program.
    2. Indirect earn cards. These reward credit cards earn points that can be transferred to a wide range of travel rewards programs. Unlike direct earn travel rewards credit cards, the value of the points you earn on these types of cards may differ when transferred to a travel rewards account.

    How to compare the best credit cards for travel rewards

    With a large variety of travel points credit cards in Canada, you have plenty of options to discover a card that suits your travel goals and financial circumstances. You should compare the following key factors when choosing the best travel rewards credit card for you:

    • The travel credit card rewards program. Choosing a credit card that earns points for a specific travel program you already use will help you maximize your rewards. For example, if you exclusively fly with WestJet, you wouldn’t get as much value from a card that offered British Airways points. If you don’t belong to a program yet, think about which airline(s) you travel with the most and look at their loyalty program options.
    • Points earning rate. Check the standard rate of points you’ll earn for each dollar spent on the card. Be aware that a different earn rate could apply for certain types of spending, such as overseas purchases. There are usually some transactions that won’t earn points – such as cash advances and gambling transactions – and there may be a limit to the points you can earn each month or year, so make sure you check restrictions for the cards you’re comparing.
    • Reward values. Consider the types of rewards you want to claim, the number of points you’ll need and how much you’d have to spend to redeem your preferred reward. Check how these values measure up between programs, so you can apply for the card that offers the greatest value based on your spending and reward goals.
    • Annual fee. Ideally, the card’s annual fee should cost less than the rewards and any complimentary extras that you intend to use. If you don’t reap these rewards, it may not be worth paying a high annual fee for the card.
    • Promotional rates and features. Travel rewards credit cards sometimes have promotions for new customers, such as bonus points, 0% purchase rates or no annual fee for the first year. These benefits can add value to the card that you choose, but make sure you read the terms and conditions and confirm the length of the introductory period so that these offers work for you.
    • Complimentary extras. Travel rewards credit cards often come with a selection of complimentary extras such as international travel insurance, extended warranties, concierge services and airline lounge access. The value of these perks can be used to offset the cost of the annual fee of the credit card, as long as you know you will actually use them.
    • Foreign transaction fee.
      The best travel credit cards may come with no foreign transaction fees. Skipping this fee means saving around 2.5% on every purchase made abroad and with foreign online merchants.
    • Secured vs. unsecured.
      You’ll need to put down a security deposit to open a secured card, but you might have more products to choose from. Meanwhile, you don’t need a security deposit for an unsecured card, but you might have fewer options.

    Why get a travel credit card?

    If you’re interested in getting a travel rewards credit card, weigh up these pros and cons to decide if it will be worth it for you:

    Pros

    • Redeem flights and travel upgrades faster. If you’re earning points every time you spend with your credit card, you can maximize the number of points you’re earning and reach your reward goals faster. Points can likely be used toward both domestic and international flights, as well as perks like business class upgrades, seat upgrades, dining upgrades and airport lounge access.
    • Sign-up bonus points. Some credit cards offer introductory bonus points as an incentive for new customers to sign up. Depending on the card, you could earn up to 100,000 bonus points (or more) when you meet the spend requirement. Not only will this give your points balance a boost, but it’s also another way you can redeem rewards more quickly.
    • Large range of rewards. The best travel rewards credit cards let you redeem the points you earn for rewards including flights with your preferred airline and its partners, hotels, online shopping and more.
    • Travel perks. Designed to suit frequent flyers and travellers, these cards often come with extra features such as flight vouchers, airport lounge passes and 24/7 concierge services.
    • Complimentary insurance. Many travel rewards credit cards come with complimentary travel insurance, which can help you save on stand-alone insurance costs when you’re travelling.

    Cons

    • High interest rates. Travel rewards credit cards often come with less competitive interest rates than other cards and are suited to cardholders who consistently pay off their balance each month and can avoid the high interest charges.
    • Expensive annual fees. Travel rewards credit cards typically come with higher annual fees than standard credit card options. Make sure that the value of the points you can earn and the extra features of the card outweigh the annual fee.
    • Temptation to spend. If you struggle to repay your credit card on time each month or you need to consolidate debt, a travel rewards credit card might tempt you to spend for the sake of receiving points. If you are struggling to pay off existing debt, you might want to consider a card designed for balance transfers instead.
    • Airline and flight restrictions. If you want to use points for flights or upgrades, you will likely be limited to a specific airline or alliance of airlines. There may also be blackout dates or limited availability for reward flights and upgrades.
    • Offer requirements. Travel rewards credit cards that come with introductory offers or complimentary insurance may have specific spending requirements you need to meet to enjoy these benefits. Make sure that the spend requirement is realistic with your budget and monthly spending.

    Compare more travel rewards credit cards

    1 - 10 of 24
    Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
    RBC ION Visa
    6,000 points
    1.5 points per $1 spent
    20.99%
    $0
    Min. recommended credit score: 660
    Get 6,000 Avion points when you get approved for the card.
    American Express Cobalt Card
    15,000 points
    Up to 5x points per $1 spent
    21.99%
    $155.88
    Min. recommended credit score: 700
    Earn up to 15,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 1,250 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases. That’s up to $150 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
    RBC ION+ Visa
    12,000 points
    3 points per $1 spent
    20.99%
    $48
    Min. recommended credit score: 660
    Get 12,000 Avion points when you get approved for the card.
    BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard
    90,000 points
    Up to 5x points per $1 spent
    20.99%
    $0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
    Min. recommended credit score: 760
    Get up to 90,000 points and get the $150 annual fee waived by your first anniversary.
    BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege
    120,000 points
    5 points per $1 spent
    20.99%
    $499
    Min. recommended credit score: 760
    Get up to 120,000 welcome points.
    Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
    35,000 points
    Up to 3 points per $1 spent
    20.99%
    $0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
    Min. recommended credit score: 700
    Earn up to 35,000 bonus Scene+ points and get the first year annual fee waived (that’s up to $1,100 in value in the first 12 months). Apply by October 31, 2024.
    Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
    45,000 points
    Up to 6 points per $1 spent
    20.99%
    $0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
    Min. recommended credit score: 700
    Earn up to 45,000 bonus Scene+ points and get the first annual fee waived (that's up to $950 towards travel). Apply by October 31, 2024.
    American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
    85,000 points
    Up to 2x points
    21.99%
    $599
    Min. recommended credit score: 700
    Earn up to 85,000 welcome bonus Aeroplan points. That's a value of up to $2,600 or more when you combine your welcome bonus points and card benefits.
    American Express Aeroplan Card
    50,000 points
    Up to 2x points
    N/A
    $120
    Min. recommended credit score: 700
    Earn up to 50,000 welcome bonus Aeroplan points. That’s up to $1,100 or more in value when you combine your welcome bonus points and card benefits.
    BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
    Up to 10% cash back
    1% cash back
    20.99%
    $0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
    Min. recommended credit score: 760
    Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived by your first anniversary.
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    The 3 types of travel points programs offering credit cards in Canada

    There are three main types of travel rewards programs in Canada that offer credit cards. The one that’s the right fit for you will depend on how many miles you want to earn and what you’re looking to get out of the program.

    1. Standalone travel rewards programs

    Standalone programs require a membership to participate and let you earn miles when you shop with partners and online retailers. You can also use your program-affiliated credit card to earn travel rewards.

    • Air Miles. Air Miles is one of the biggest travel points programs in Canada and offers the chance for members to earn miles on everyday purchases like gas, groceries and pharmacy purchases. It works primarily with banking partners BMO and Amex to offer basic and premium credit cards to fit any budget.

    2. Bank-affiliated travel credit card rewards programs

    Bank-affiliated programs are linked to a specific bank and don’t require a membership to participate. These programs don’t tend to have partners, so you’ll only be able to earn travel rewards when you shop with your bank-affiliated credit card.

    • Aventura. Aventura is tied exclusively to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). It doesn’t have any partners, so it can take more time to earn points for purchases. The selling point of this program is that your points will be more flexible and you may get better customer service if you run into issues with your account.
    • Avion. Avion is operated by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and doesn’t require a membership to participate. Instead, you have to sign up for an Avion credit card to earn points for making everyday purchases. One of the best features of this program is that the rewards are fairly flexible and RBC offers a decent level of customer service.

    3. Airline-affiliated travel rewards programs

    Airline-specific cards are affiliated directly with certain airlines and don’t require a membership to participate. However, you will need to have a program-affiliated credit card to earn points.

    • Aeroplan. The Aeroplan travel rewards program is owned by Air Canada, and is one of the most popular travel points programs in Canada. It offers the chance for members to earn more miles on travel-related purchases or for merchandise in Aeroplan’s eStore. It currently works with banking partners CIBC, TD and Amex to offer a wide range of Aeroplan credit cards.
    • Other airline-specific programs. There are a number of other frequent flyer programs that work with specific airlines such as WestJet and Alaska Airlines. You’ll need a program-specific credit card to earn points with these programs. You’ll typically only be able to cash your points in for flights and other travel-related rewards, but you’ll often get a nice suite of travel perks to use with the airline itself.
    Credit cardAnnual feeBest featuresWhat to watch out for
    Aeroplan credit cardsCIBC Aeroplan Visa Card$0Low fee, welcome bonus, travel insuranceLower earn rate, no comprehensive travel insurance
    American Express Aeroplan Card$120Good points per dollar value and welcome bonusSteep annual fee, limited travel coverage
    Air MilesBMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard$120First fee waived, comprehensive travel insurance, lounge access, flight discountsHigher annual fee, high minimum income requirements
    American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card$120Decent return, welcome bonus, referral bonus, easy to qualifyHigher annual fee, no travel insurance, no travel medical
    AvionRBC Avion Visa Platinum Card$120Decent earn rate, welcome offer, fuel discounts, travel coverage, optional insurance, flexible pointsHigher annual fee, no travel medical
    RBC Avion Visa Infinite$120Decent earn rate, welcome bonus, fuel discounts, mobile phone insurance, travel medicalHigher annual fee
    AventuraCIBC Aventura Visa Card$0No fee, purchase protection, common carrier insurance, easy to qualifyLow return on points, limited benefits
    CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card$139Decent return, welcome bonus, lounge access, travel insurance, mobile phone insuranceHigher annual fee, points are worth less than other programs
    WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard$119Companion vouchers, gas discounts, travel insurance, welcome bonusHigher annual fee, high minimum income requirements

    How to decide which travel rewards program to join

    Before you decide which travel points program to join, it makes sense to think about the following features to make sure you pick the best fit for you:

    • Earn rate. Find out how many miles you’ll earn for spending money on your card, and try to track down a program that offers double the miles for shopping with partners.
    • Value of miles. Think about how much each mile is worth with each program and calculate the value in relation to your earn rate. Learn more in our guide to calculating the value of credit card reward points.
    • More chances to earn. Aim to choose a program that offers special promotions and a wider network of partners to help you earn miles.
    • Types of rewards. Look at each program’s “rewards store” to find out what you can use your miles to purchase.
    • Available credit cards. Take time to compare the credit cards affiliated with each program to make sure you pick the best fit for you.
    • Customer service. Consider customer reviews for each program to figure out which one offers the highest level of customer service.

    How to compare credit cards with travel points

    If you’ve settled on a travel points program and you’re ready to pick a card, be sure to ask the following questions before making your choice.

    • How many miles will I earn? Think about how many miles you’ll get for each purchase and pick the card that will give you the highest return for the most affordable fee.
    • How big is the welcome bonus? Sign up for the card that gives you the best welcome bonus, with an annual fee that matches your budget.
    • Will I get the benefits I want? Think about what kind of perks and benefits you think you’ll use most frequently and get the card that offers the most practical options.
    • What will my interest rates be? Calculate what you’ll have to pay in interest on outstanding balances and avoid paying more than 19.99%.
    • Will I have to pay an annual fee? Find out how much you’ll have to pay for your card and read the fine print to see if there are any other fees you should be aware of. Make sure you use your card enough to earn enough points or miles to justify the annual fee.

    How to redeem travel rewards points

    Once you’ve earned enough points, you can redeem them for a variety of rewards, depending on the provider. Popular rewards you could redeem with your travel rewards program include flights, gift vouchers and hotels. The number of points you need for a reward varies depending on the travel rewards program and the type of reward you choose.

    How to recover travel miles or points with frequent flyer programs

    There are four main frequent flyer programs in Canada and each one has a different policy when dealing with the recovery of points or frequent flyer programs.

    • Aeroplan
    • Air Miles
    • Avion
    • Aventura

    What credit card transactions don’t earn points?

    The list of transactions that do and don’t earn points when you use a travel rewards credit card varies between providers and products. The following are some of the most common exclusions:

    • Cash advance transactions
    • Balance transfers
    • Gambling charges
    • Purchasing foreign currency
    • Account fees
    • Reversed transactions
    • Government payments
    • Some monthly bills
    Keep in mind that not all cards have the same exclusions, so it’s important to check the terms and conditions or product disclosure statement for full details of what individual travel rewards credit cards do and don’t count as an “eligible transaction”.

    How can I get a companion certificate or travel credit?

    This depends on the card, and they usually have these perks listed in the terms and conditions. You can also call to find out how your card distributes companion certificates or travel credits. Possible ways include:

    • An annual benefit. Many credit cards give you up until 12 months or the end of the calendar year to redeem travel credits. That means these benefits can’t be rolled over to be used the next year.
    • An earned perk. In some cases, you have to meet a spending requirement, usually thousands of dollars a year, before you can use your flight or travel credit.
    • By request. You may have to request a companion certificate before you can use it. This could take time, so make sure you make your request before the certificate expires.
    • To use with an eligible travel partner. Read the fine print to see if your travel credit or companion certificate is limited to a specific airline.

    What else should I consider when using a travel credit card?

    • Beware of currency conversion fees. Currency conversion fees, also known as a Dynamic currency conversion (or DCC), can easily be avoided by always paying in the local currency instead of having the merchant charge you in Canadian dollars. Paying in the local currency could mean you’ll face a poor exchange rate and additional fees.
    • Avoid ATM withdrawals with your credit card. Carrying cash while travelling comes with its own risks, so storing your funds on a card can be handy. However, using a regular card can come at a cost of up to $5 per ATM withdrawal – not to mention the excruciatingly high interest rate you’ll be charged from the day you withdraw the money. Using your debit card means you can avoid paying interest. To avoid the withdrawal fee, search for a debit card that waives this charge or look for a card that is a member of an international ATM alliance such as Scotiabank.
    • Protect yourself. Currency fluctuations can have either a positive or negative impact on your balance. If you’re worried about losing money due to fluctuating exchange rates, you can withdraw cash and exchange your funds to the local currency when it’s at a beneficial rate.
    • Know the relevant fees and charges. Carefully consider the fees and charges associated with a credit card before applying like foreign transaction, annual fees and overlimit fees. You should also consider any terms and conditions or exclusions and limits associated with complimentary insurances before travelling.
    • Notify your bank. In case your bank misjudges your overseas transactions as fraudulent activity, you should always call and inform your provider of your travel plans before leaving. Otherwise, you may find that your card is blocked and you no longer have access to your funds while overseas. Some banks allow you to notify them of your travel plans via online banking.
    • Beware of geographical sanctions. Some providers place financial sanctions on certain regions due to political instability or illegal activity. If you’re unsure, contact your provider or read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement to confirm whether you can use your card on your next trip.

    What is trip delay insurance?

    Trip insurance offers reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred during delays on eligible forms of transportation. For example, if your flight is unexpectedly delayed until the following day, you could be reimbursed for hotel costs, meals and whatever personal items you might need to wait out the delay up to a maximum amount.

    What’s the difference between trip delays, trip cancellations and trip interruptions?

    Trip delays, cancellations and interruptions are not treated the same way by insurance providers. Most credit card providers split up the details of these types of coverage under 3 separate sections of its policies.

    • Trip delay. Covers expenses incurred from flight delays that last longer than a certain number of hours, assuming no reasonable alternative form of transportation exists.
    • Trip cancellation. Covers expenses incurred when you have to cancel a trip due to an emergency. Eligible emergencies could include severe illness or death of the insured or his/her travel companion, missed flight connections, business meeting cancellations or travel warnings issued by the Government of Canada.
    • Trip interruption. Covers expenses incurred from having to return home from a trip unexpectedly due to an emergency such as the insured or his/her travel companion getting sick or passing away.

    Exact coverage and eligible expenses will vary depending on the card issuer, the specific credit card and other factors. Check with a provider to find out this information before registering for any card.

    What expenses does trip delay insurance cover?

    Here are common items that trip delay insurance might reimburse you for. Eligible expenses vary by provider. Check your card’s benefits guide to confirm.

    What may be coveredWhat may not be covered
    • Meals
    • Lodging
    • Toiletries
    • Medication
    • Ground transportation
    • Prepaid expenses
    • Airline vouchers for vacating
    • overbooked flights

    What you should know about trip delay insurance

    • Pay for your fare with your credit card.
      With most providers, you’ll qualify if you pay for at least a portion of your fare with your card. Some providers require you to pay for your entire fare with your card.
    • It’s valid for common-carrier travel.
      Typically this term refers to major public transportation that requires a purchased ticket. It might not include taxis, rental vehicles or limousines. And your provider might bar other forms of transportation such as commuter buses.
    • There will be a maximum amount of coverage per purchased ticket.
      This is often $500, but could be as high as several thousand dollars depending on the card.
    • Your travel must be delayed for a covered reason.
      Reasons might include poor weather, equipment failure or labor strikes. But it doesn’t include mishaps such as oversleeping or getting stuck in traffic.
    • Your travel must be delayed by a significant amount of time.
      This usually means it’s delayed by more than 4-12 hours or you’re grounded overnight.
    • Your travel companion(s) may be covered as well.
      Some policies allow you to insure the people you’re travelling with, so that coverage extends to them as well. However, not all cards offer this option or it may cost extra.

    How to get trip delay insurance

    Travel insurance providers offer policies that cover trip delays. But you can get trip delay insurance at no additional cost with certain credit cards such as: Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, and Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card to name a few.

    How to get bonus points with a travel credit card

    Many travel rewards credit cards will offer introductory bonus points in order to get you to sign-up for the card. Some cards will offer 50,000 or even 100,000 bonus points as an introductory bonus, which can sometimes be enough to get you to another continent by only using your points. While this may sound like a great offer, you typically have to spend a certain amount of money within a given time period in order to qualify for the full set of points.

    For example, if you read the fine print of the offer, you may discover that you must spend $5,000 in one month in order to qualify for the points. Although you may manage to spend this in one month, you may also discover that only “eligible purchases” qualify for the points. So while everyday purchases like groceries, gas and clothes may count towards the $5,000 total, other purchases like cash advances or payments for certain bills via your credit card may not count. Always be aware of the terms and conditions of a credit card before you commit to a new card.

    4 tips to maximize travel rewards credit card perks for vacation

    1. Redeem your travel card rewards points

    If you have a travel points credit card, you can redeem your points for things like flights, accommodation, car rentals and even vacation packages. Just make sure you check the rewards program’s terms and conditions for point expiry and blackout periods. If don’t have enough points to redeem for a flight, consider using your miles to upgrade your airfare instead. Even if your rewards credit card doesn’t directly earn airline miles, you may have the option of transferring rewards points to your frequent flyer account and then using them for an upgrade.

    2. Enjoy airport lounge access

    Many premium credit cards offer complimentary airport lounge access. This perk allows you to escape the usual airport craziness for some relaxation and pampering before your long weekend flights. Some example credit cards in Canada offering lounge access include the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard and the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card.

    3. Use a companion voucher

    Some credit cards offer a companion voucher as an annual account benefit or as a reward you can earn, giving your companion a way to fly without paying for the airfare (usually except for fees and taxes) or for a very reduced price. Some of the cards that provide this complimentary extra include American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card and TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card. Note that most of these cards are premium credit cards and they have specific eligibility requirements for claiming your companion voucher.

    4. Get insider info from a concierge

    A popular feature of premium credit cards, concierge services can provide you with ideas for everything from holiday bookings to restaurant reservations, entertainment tickets and shopping recommendations. These services can usually be accessed at any time, anywhere in the world. So even if you’re planning a staycation, taking advantage of concierge services could help plan your fun and provide exclusive invitations to events you might have otherwise missed out on.

    What else should I consider when using a travel credit card?

    • Beware of currency conversion fees. Currency conversion fees, also known as a Dynamic currency conversion (or DCC), can easily be avoided by always paying in the local currency instead of having the merchant charge you in Canadian dollars. Paying in the local currency could mean you’ll face a poor exchange rate and additional fees.
    • Avoid ATM withdrawals with your credit card. Carrying cash while travelling comes with its own risks, so storing your funds on a card can be handy. However, using a regular card can come at a cost of up to $5 per ATM withdrawal – not to mention the excruciatingly high interest rate you’ll be charged from the day you withdraw the money. Using your debit card means you can avoid paying interest. To avoid the withdrawal fee, search for a debit card that waives this charge or look for a card that is a member of an international ATM alliance such as Scotiabank.
    • Protect yourself. Currency fluctuations can have either a positive or negative impact on your balance. If you’re worried about losing money due to fluctuating exchange rates, you can withdraw cash and exchange your funds to the local currency when it’s at a beneficial rate.
    • Know the relevant fees and charges. Carefully consider the fees and charges associated with a credit card before applying like foreign transaction, annual fees and overlimit fees. You should also consider any terms and conditions or exclusions and limits associated with complimentary insurances before travelling.
    • Notify your bank. In case your bank misjudges your overseas transactions as fraudulent activity, you should always call and inform your provider of your travel plans before leaving. Otherwise, you may find that your card is blocked and you no longer have access to your funds while overseas. Some banks allow you to notify them of your travel plans via online banking.
    • Beware of geographical sanctions. Some providers place financial sanctions on certain regions due to political instability or illegal activity. If you’re unsure, contact your provider or read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement to confirm whether you can use your card on your next trip.

    Bottom line

    There’s a wide range of basic and premium travel credit cards offering travel rewards for you to choose from. These cards are designed to help you save money on flights and other travel-related rewards. One way to earn more miles is to pay a higher annual fee on your credit card. Another is to shop around for a credit card that offers the best combination of features to suit your unique set of needs and lifestyle.

    Best travel credit cards FAQs

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    Editor

    Sally McMullen is a Co-Host of the Two Broke Chicks podcast and former credit card and frequent flyer editor at Finder. Her byline can be spotted on Yahoo Finance, Dynamic Business, Financy and Mamamia as well as Music Feeds and Rolling Stone. Sally has a first-class Honours degree in Communications and Media Studies (majoring in Journalism and Professional Writing) from the University of Wollongong. See full bio

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    Emma Balmforth is a producer at Finder. She is passionate about helping people make financial decisions that will benefit them now and in the future. She has written for a variety of publications including World Nomads, Trek Effect and Uncharted. Emma has a degree in Business and Psychology from the University of Waterloo. She enjoys backpacking, reading and taking long hikes and road trips with her adventurous dog. See full bio

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