No annual fee travel rewards credit cards

Discover how you can earn points per dollar spent when you pay with your travel rewards credit card with no annual fee.

Updated

If you’re an avid traveller, you may want to consider a travel rewards credit card. These types of credit cards can earn you points per dollar spent which can usually be used toward flights, upgrades, travel experiences and more. While most travel rewards credit cards come with an annual fee, there are some cards that offer a $0 annual fee for the first year or no annual fee for the life of the card.

Read our guide and learn how to find and compare travel rewards credit cards with no annual fee. We also go through some of the key factors to consider when comparing cards, so that you can find the best travel rewards credit card to suit your spending habits and travel goals.

Compare no annual fee travel rewards credits cards

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Benefits with this card Description
BMO Rewards Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 1 BMO Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, and get 2 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
Earn a bonus of up to 15,000 BMO Rewards points. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO IGA AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent on eligible purchases at IGA stores and at participating AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Earn 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Earn 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Earn 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.
BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
N/A
Earn 1.25x the Air Miles for every $20 spent at participating Shell stations, and 1 Air Mile for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Get up to 1,000 Bonus Air Miles.
BMO Sobeys AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at Sobeys, Foodland and eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles.
American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card
19.99%
21.99%
$0
N/A
Earn 1 AIR MILE for every $15 spent on eligible purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors, and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 150 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months
No-Fee Scotiabank Value Visa Card
16.99%
16.99%
$0
$12,000
Save with a low interest rate, no annual fee and a balance transfer offer.
Get a 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by October 31, 2020.
Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$12,000
Earn 5 SCENE points per $1 spent at participating Cineplex theatres or cineplex.com, and earn 1 SCENE point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
Earn 2,500 bonus SCENE points when you spend a minimum of $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months as a new SCENE Visa cardholder. Apply by October 31, 2020.
Scotiabank American Express Card
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$12,000
Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases.
Earn 5,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Apply by October 31, 2020.
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What’s the deal with no annual fee travel rewards credit cards?

These credit cards allow you to earn travel rewards points that you can use toward flights, hotels, upgrades and travel experiences. With no annual fee, these credit cards allow you to save between $50 to $700 a year on annual credit card fees.

  • $0 annual fee in the first year

Some travel rewards credit cards will offer to waive the standard annual fee in the first year you have the card as part of an introductory offer. After the first 12 months, you’ll be charged a standard annual fee for the account each year.

This means you have time to test out the card (and enjoy perks such as bonus point offers or complimentary lounge access) without paying an annual fee. If you decide the card is worth it, you can then keep it and pay the fee once it’s applied. If not, you can cancel it before the first year and avoid being charged an annual fee.

  • No annual fee for life

You may also find a travel rewards credit card that offers no annual fee for the life of the card. With these cards, you won’t pay an annual fee at all.

The catch with these cards is that you may not have as many extra features, such as complimentary travel insurance, lounge access or introductory bonus point offers. However, if you get one of these cards and pay your balance off each month, you can earn points per $1 spent without having to pay any account fees.

Is a no annual fee travel rewards credit card right for me?

These credit cards are for people who want to earn travel rewards points using a credit card but don’t want to pay an annual fee for the service. These people are also willing to forgo some of the usual perks that are offered by travel rewards credit cards that have an annual fee, like complimentary insurances and access to airport lounges.

No annual fee travel rewards credit cards can also be a good starting point if you’re new to the world of travel rewards programs and credit cards because they give you a chance to test the waters without paying any upfront costs. However, if you’re a big spender and an avid traveller, a credit card with an annual fee and a higher points earn rate could give you more value than the savings you’d get from a $0 annual fee credit card.

How can I compare travel rewards credit cards with no annual fee?

Compare the following features when you’re looking for a credit card that earns travel rewards points and has no annual fee:

  • Annual fee details. Before choosing a travel rewards credit card, check whether the $0 annual fee is for the first year only or for the life of the card, so that you know exactly what you’ll be required to pay now and in the future.
  • Bonus points. Many travel rewards credit cards offer thousands of introductory bonus points when you meet the spending requirements as a new cardholder, however this offer rarely comes with no annual fee cards. If you stumble across this offer, it could provide you with a huge amount of value in the first year – especially without an annual fee, even just for the first year.
  • Points per $1 spent. The amount of points you’ll earn per $1 spent can help you figure out how much value you’ll get from the card based on your typical spending habits. Keep in mind that although you’ll earn points for most everyday purchases, you usually won’t get any for transactions such as cash advances.
  • Interest rates. Travel rewards credit cards usually come with average or high interest rates, which could potentially offset the value of the no annual fee if you carry a balance on your credit card from month to month.
  • Additional cardholders. If you want to boost your travel rewards point balance by sharing the account with a partner or a family member, check whether they’ll also get the option to have a card with no annual fee.
  • Complimentary extras. Weigh up the value of any additional perks, such as complimentary insurances, lounge passes or annual travel credits. If the card offers a $0 annual fee in the first year, also consider whether these benefits will outweigh the cost of the standard annual fee once the first year is up.

What's next?

If you’re interested in a travel rewards credit card with no annual fee, start by comparing the different options currently on the market. You can also compare a wider range of travel rewards credit cards if points are your priority, or look at other no annual fee cards if your goal is to save on yearly credit card costs.

FAQs about no annual fee travel rewards credit cards

Here are answers to a couple of the most commonly asked questions about no annual fee travel rewards credit cards.

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