Purchase interest rate
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: 700
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|Travel credit card||Travel points||Apply and learn more|
|Best overall travel card:American Express Cobalt Card||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.||Go to site|
|Best for no annual fee:Scotiabank American Express Card||Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on eligible 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.||Go to site|
|Best for no foreign exchange fee:Scotiabank Gold American Express Card||Earn 5 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, 3 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, transportation and select streaming services, and 1 point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.||Go to site|
|Best for frequent flyers:BMO World Elite Mastercard||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).||Go to site|
|Best for travel perks:American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card||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 1.25x the points on everything else.||Go to site|
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 chosing a travel rewards credit card, there are two different options to consider:
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:
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:
There are 3 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.
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.
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.
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.
|Credit card||Annual fee||Best features||What to watch out for|
|Aeroplan credit cards||CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card||$0||Low fee, welcome bonus, travel insurance||Lower earn rate, no comprehensive travel insurance|
|American Express Aeroplan Card||$120||Good points per dollar value and welcome bonus||Steep annual fee, limited travel coverage|
|AIR MILES||BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard||$120||First fee waived, comprehensive travel insurance, lounge access, flight discounts||Higher annual fee, high minimum income requirements|
|American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card||$120||Decent return, welcome bonus, referral bonus, easy to qualify||Higher annual fee, no travel insurance, no travel medical|
|Avion||RBC Avion Visa Platinum Card||$120||Decent earn rate, welcome offer, fuel discounts, travel coverage, optional insurance, flexible points||Higher annual fee, no travel medical|
|RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card||$120||Decent earn rate, welcome bonus, fuel discounts, mobile phone insurance, travel medical||Higher annual fee|
|Aventura||CIBC Aventura Visa Card||$0||No fee, purchase protection, common carrier insurance, easy to qualify||Low return on points, limited benefits|
|CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card||$139||Decent return, welcome bonus, lounge access, travel insurance, mobile phone insurance||Higher annual fee, points are worth less than other programs|
|Airline-affiliated||MBNA Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard||$75||Companion vouchers, welcome bonus, purchase protection, easy to qualify||No travel insurance, no travel medical, points can only be redeemed for airline purchases|
|WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard||$119||Companion vouchers, gas discounts, travel insurance, welcome bonus||Higher annual fee, high minimum income requirements|
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:
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.
Purchase interest rate
Apply today and earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card and the American Express AeroplanPlus Card.
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.
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.
There’s a wide range of basic and premium 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.
If you want to know more about travel rewards credit cards, check out these answers to the most popular questions we’re asked about them – including how to earn and redeem points. If you still have a question, get in touch with us using the “Ask a Question” box below and we will respond to your query.
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