**This post contains affiliate links

If you’ve checked out some the best travel credit cards in Canada lists out there, you’ve probably noticed that most of them focus on categories. You’ll find recommendations for the best airline, hotel, travel insurance, no foreign transaction fees, etc. While this is very useful, I think that the sign up bonus is arguably the most important thing as it can be worth hundreds of dollars.

My list below of the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada is focused on that big welcome bonus and what it takes to get all those points/miles. As you’ll quickly learn, some of the bonuses only require a minimal amount of effort to get hundreds of dollars in travel rewards.

I do NOT recommend applying for all of the below cards (there’s more than a dozen cards on the list). You should only apply for the travel credit cards that make sense for you or meet your specific needs. That said, signing up for a couple of these cards over a few months can be valuable as you’ll be able to gain a lot of points/miles quickly. Using this strategy is how I was able to fly From Dubai to Toronto on Emirates first class and on EVA Air from Toronto to Taipei in business class for less than $140 CAD each.

Here’s a list of Canada’s best travel credit cards based on the sign up bonus. 

CardWelcome BonusAnnual fee
American Express Personal Platinum25,000 after $2,000$699
American Express Business Platinum45,000 after $7,000 spend$499
Marriott Bonvoy American Express50,000 after $1,500 spend$120
American Express Gold Rewards Card25,000 after $1,500 spend$150
American Express Cobalt5,000 monthly after $500 spend$10 per month
Scotiabank Passport Visa30,000 after $1,000 spend$139
Scotiabank Gold Amex20,000 after $1,000 spend$120
STACK$5 / No ATM forex feesNo fees
BMO World Elite Mastercard30,000 after $3,000 spend$150 - FYF
WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard$350 WJD after first purchase$119
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite15,000 after first purchase + 5,000 after $3K spend$120
CIBC Aventura Gold Visa15,000 after first purchase + 5,000 after $3K spend$120
CIBC Aventura Business Visa35,000 after $3,000 spend$120
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®20,000 after first purchase + 40,000 after $5K spend *N/A for QC residents$149 - First year rebate, terms apply
MBNA Best Western Mastercard20,000 after first purchaseNo Fee
MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard30,000 after $1,000 spend$99

American Express Platinum

  • $699 annual fee
  • 25,000 Membership Rewards points sign up bonus
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $200 Annual travel credit
  • Unlimited airport lounge access
  • Special benefits at Toronto Pearson International Airport
  • Hotel status upgrades
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits
  • Exclusive dining experiences with the Global Dining Collection
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package
  • Buyer’s assurance
  • Purchase protection

The current sign up bonus for the American Express Platinum Card is 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 in the the first three months of card membership. Admittedly, this offer is quite low compared to previous welcome bonus, but it seems to be a reaction to COVID-19. For the time being, the American Express Gold Rewards Card is a better offer as you can earn up to 30,000 points as a sign up bonus when you use a referral link.

Despite the lower welcome bonus, the American Express Platinum Card is still one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. The sign up bonus has a value of $250. Then there’s the annual travel credit of $200. That means you’re getting $450 in immediate value and paying $249 for the additional benefits. That said, I personally would advise waiting for a better before applying.

Looking strictly at the benefits, this card is honestly one of the best credit cards for miles since you can transfer your points to multiple airlines including Air Canada/Aeroplan and British Airways/Avios. In addition, you can transfer your points to Marriott Bonvoy or use the Amex Fixed Travel program to maximize the value of your points. The included Priority Pass Membership and hotel status is fantastic for frequent travellers while the referral program is a great way to earn points fast. Note that if you use my referral link, I get a bonus of 5,000 points.

American Express Business Platinum

  • $499 Annual fee
  • 45,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus when using a referral link
  • Earn 1.25 points for every $1 spent
  • 55 interest free days
  • Unlimited airport lounge access
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package
  • Buyer’s assurance
  • Purchase protection

Normally, the American Express Business Platinum Card has a much higher sign up bonus, but the current offer is 45,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $7,000 to your card in the first three months with a referral link. The regular offer is 35,000 points on a $7,000 spend so you should use a referral link when applying.

The Amex Business Platinum is similar to the Amex Personal Platinum but the fee is $200 less, you don’t get the annual $200 travel credit, the earn rate is different and you get fewer travel perks. To be honest, if you’re just looking to earn points fast, this is a good card to have in addition to some of the other cards on this list.

Since this is a business credit card, you get 55 days interest free days which can help you manage your cashflow. The earn rate is a straight 1.25 per $1 spent which isn’t anything great, but if you’re running a business and making frequent purchases, you can rack up those points fast.

There aren’t many business cards that make the list of the best travel credit cards in Canada, so this may be a good fit for those who are self-employed.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

  • $120 annual fee
  • 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points welcome bonus
  • Earn 5 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 on eligible card purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • Earn 2 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 on all other purchases
  • Free annual night award that can be redeemed at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties worldwide, with a redemption value up to 35,000 points
  • 15 Elite Night credits each calendar year
  • Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status when you spend $30,000 on your card each year
  • Complimentary in-room, premium internet access while staying at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels

The Marriot Bonvoy American Express offers 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as a sign up bonus is amazing since it’s worth 5 free nights at a category 2 hotel when you factor in the ongoing promotion where you get the 5th-night free when you book 4 nights on points. The free annual night is good up to 35,000 points which is incredible. There are multiple hotels in New York that require just 35,000 points for a free night but would cost you $350 USD if you were to pay for it. Seriously, it’s insane how valuable the annual free night award is and easily offsets the yearly fee of $120.

I should mention that the Marriott Bonvoy card has an increased sign up bonus of 51,000 points if you sign up with a referral link. That said, you need to spend $3,000 instead of $1,500 in the first three months to get that extra 1,000 points. If you think that’s worth it, use my link below. Check out my full review of the Marriott Bonvoy card to learn more about the loyalty program and their transfer partners.

American Express Gold Rewards card

  • $150 Annual fee 
  • 25,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after charging $1,500 in purchases
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on grocery, gas, pharmacy, and travel
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included

The American Express Gold Rewards Card comes with an annual fee of $150, but it’s still a great card since you get a welcome bonus of 25,000 points. In addition, if you use my referral link, you get an additional 5,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you add an authorized user at the time of your application. Adding this supplementary cardholder is free, so there’s no reason to not do so. For reference, the regular offer does not give you the extra 5,000 points. This card is great for people who are looking to earn American Express Membership Rewards points without paying an insane annual fee. 25,000 points (when transferred to Aeroplan) are enough for a round-trip ticket to anywhere in the continental U.S. or Canada which has a value of about $600. Read my American Express Gold Rewards card review now for my full thoughts.

American Express Cobalt

  • $10 Monthly fee ($120 Annually)
  • 2,500 monthly welcome points (30,000 total) after charging $500 in purchases
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on food (grocery, restaurants, bars, food delivery, etc)
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel (includes public transportation and taxis/Uber)
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The Amex Cobalt card is interesting since the annual fee and signup bonus happen on a monthly basis. That means you’ll need to spend $6,000 over the course of a year to get the full bonus of 30,000 Membership Reward Select (MRS) points, but it’s worth it since your points can be converted to hotel points or used for travel credits. Also, the earn rate is 5 points per $1 spent on food which is insanely high. If you spend a lot on food, you can earn a ton of points! Although MRS points can’t be transferred to the airline partner program, you can transfer them to hotel partners or you can use points on the fixed travel program. Please use my referral link below if you’re interested in the card.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

  • $139 Annual fee
  • 30,000 signup points ($300 value) after charging $1,000 in purchases  (must apply by July 1, 2020)
  • Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on grocery, dining, entertainment, and transit purchases
  • Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Priority Pass Membership with 6 free annual passes
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included

As you can see, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card comes packed with benefits. It’s the first credit card with no foreign transaction fees from a major bank which is quite impressive. Clearly, Scotiabank has targeted this as an all-in-one card travel card. The overall package is quite impressive if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like carrying multiple credit cards just to earn the maximum amount of points. Read my full review of the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card now.

Scotiabank Gold Amex 

  • $120 Annual fee
  • 20,000 Scotia Rewards points ($200 value) when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on gas, public transportation, rideshares and eligible streaming service purchases
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Some of the best Scotiabank credit cards saw some changes for the positive last year which included the Scotiabank Gold American Express. The welcome bonus of 20,000 Scotia Rewards points has a value of $200 but most people love this card for the earn rate. You’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases; 3 points per $1 spent on gas, public transportation, rideshares and eligible streaming service purchases; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. That’s a lot of points you can earn if you’re a big spender. The nice thing is that Scotia Rewrds is one of the better bank travel loyalty programs in Canada. Oh, this card also no foreign transaction fees which is great for travellers.

STACK

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No ATM fees (ATM provider may charge a fee)
  • Discounts at a variety of merchants
  • Access to exclusive experiences
  • $5 when you sign up with my referral

STACK isn’t a formal credit card and it doesn’t give you a big signup bonus, but it’s made my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada since it’s the cheapest way to get cash in a foreign country. You see, STACK is actually a prepaid Mastercard that doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. That means when you withdraw money from a foreign ATM, you’ll only pay the Mastercard mid-market rate, plus any fees the ATM provider you’re using may charge. There’s no need to worry about exchanging your money before you depart or when you arrive, as long as you’ve preloaded your funds, STACK allows you to withdraw money as you need it. Funds can be loaded directly from your phone and there are no fees to load your money to your account so this is a very attractive option and a good complement to many of the other cards on this list. Sign up with my referral link and you’ll get $5 when you activate your card. Note that you must click this link via your mobile device for it to work.

BMO World Elite Mastercard

  • $150 Annual fee – First year free*
  • 30,000 BMO Rewards points ($215 value) after charging $3,000 in purchases
  • 10,000 BMO Rewards points on your first anniversary date
  • Earn 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on dining, entertainment, and travel purchases
  • Earn 2 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Mastercard Airport Experiences membership provided by LoungeKey, plus 4 annual complimentary passes
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included
  • Free global WiFi

The BMO World Elite Mastercard is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada becayse it usually has a promot where the annual fee is waived for the first year and it comes with great travel insurance. You get a 30,000 points welcome bonus which is worth $215 when you charge $3,000 in purchases to the card in the first three months – this is free money for travel! It takes 140 points to claim $1 worth of travel. That means you’re earning 2.1% in rewards on dining, travel and entertainment, and 1.4% on all other purchases. That’s not bad, but it’s not great either. The good thing is that BMO Rewards is very easy to understand program. Read my full review of the BMO World  Elite Mastercard if you want to learn more.

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

  • $119 annual fee
  • $350 WestJet Dollars signup bonus after your first purchase
  • Earn 2% back in WestJet dollars on WestJet flights or WestJet Vacations packages
  • Earn 1.5% back in WestJet dollars on everyday purchases
  • Receive an annual round-trip companion voucher starting at $119
  • Free first checked bags for the primary cardholder (up to 8 bags on the same reservation)
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included

For a straight airline rewards bonus, the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard is pretty sweet. The obvious downside is the fact that this card really only benefits people who fly WestJet on a regular basis. That being said, the $119 companion voucher and getting your first checked bag free is quite valuable even if you’re an infrequent WestJet flyer. Also, you get $350 WestJet dollars after your first purchase which is a crazy deal. Read my review of the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard now.

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite

  • $120 Annual fee
  • 15,000 Aventura points welcome bonus with your first purchase 
  • 5,000 additional Aventura points when you spend $3,000 in the first four months of card membership
  • Priority Pass membership plus 4 annual free passes
  • Mobile device insurance
  • NEXUS rebate
  • Earn 2 Aventura points per $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre
  • Earn 1.5 Aventura points per $1 spent on other travel purchases
  • Earn 1 Aventura point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included

CIBC Aventura cards are often overlooked since they don’t present anything special, but when you look at all three cards as a whole, you’ll quickly realize that you can use them to redeem free flights. Since you earn the same type of points, you can just stack the points until you’re ready to use them for travel. It really doesn’t matter which Aventura card you start with, but the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite does offer the best insurance package of the three cards. Note that the signup bonus is given after a single purchase which is amazing!

CIBC Aventura Gold Visa

  • $120 Annual fee – first year free 
  • 15,000 Aventura points welcome bonus with your first purchase 
  • 5,000 additional Aventura points when you spend $3,000 in the first four months of card membership
  • Earn 2 Aventura points per $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre
  • Earn 1.5 Aventura points per $1 spent on other travel purchases
  • Earn 1 Aventura point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Some travel insurance included

The CIBC Aventura Gold Visa is pretty much the same as the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite, but it requires a lower income to qualify and comes with less travel insurance. I would never seriously consider this as my main travel rewards credit card, but it’s still worth signing up for since it only takes a single purchase to get the sign up bonus of 15,000 points. If you want the additional 5,000 points, you need to spend $3,000 in the first four months of cardmembership.

CIBC Aventura Business Visa

  • $120 Annual fee
  • 35,000 Signup points after charging $3,000 in purchases (20K at sign-up + 15K after minimum spend met)
  • Earn 2 Aventura points per $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre
  • Earn 1.5 Aventura points per $1 spent on other travel purchases
  • Earn 1 Aventura point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $120 annual travel credit (offer ends Dec. 31st, 2018)
  • Free UP Express tickets
  • Some travel insurance included

Then there’s the CIBC Aventura Business Visa which doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. Like the other CIBC cards, you can earn up to 35,000 points as your welcome bonus. If you applied for all three CIBC cards and met the minimum spending requirement, you would end up with more than 75,000 points which is worth $750 at the base rate or more if you use the fixed travel schedule. 

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

  • $149 annual fee – First year rebate, terms apply
  • 20,000 welcome bonus points ($100 travel value) after your first purchase 
  • 40,000 additional points ($200 travel value) when you spend $5,000 in the first 180 days 
  • 3% (6 points per $1 spent) in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases
  • 1.5% (3 points per $1 spent) in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees. Only the exchange rate will apply.
  • $100 annual travel enhancement credit
  • 31-day travel insurance coverage
  • Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey (fee per visit still applies)
  • 10% discount on select hotel bookings on your card with Expedia and Agoda
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi through Boingo at over 1 million hotspots worldwide
  • Purchase assurance
  • Extended warranty

Offer for Quebec Residents

  • $149 annual fee 
  • 20,000 welcome bonus points ($100 travel value) after your first purchase 
  • 70,000 additional points ($350 travel value) if you keep your account open and active for 180 days

The HSBC World Elite Mastercard doesn’t normally have a huge sign up bonus compared to the other cards on this list, but quite often there are promos where you can earn additional points and it comes with a ton of travel perks which is why it’s a worthy addition to my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada. The travel benefits you get include no foreign transaction fees, 31-day travel insurance, a $100 annual travel enhancement credit, 10% off select hotels and unlimited wi-fi. One could argue this is the ultimate travel credit card since all the benefits are clearly aimed at people who frequently travel.

MBNA Best Western Mastercard

  • No annual fee
  • 20,000 Signup points 
  • Earn 5 Best Western Rewards points per $1 spent at Best Western Properties
  • Earn 2 Best Western Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get Best Western Gold Status after your first purchase

Here’s another one of the best travel credit cards in Canada that gets overlooked. People tend to ignore the MBNA Best Western Mastercard since staying at Best Western hotels aren’t very glamorous. However, since the card has no annual fee and you get a welcome bonus of 20,000 points after your first purchase, what are you complaining about? This isn’t as good as the previous 40,000 points that were being offered, but if you sign up via Great Canadian Rebates, you get $60 cash-back.

MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard

  • $99 annual fee
  • 30,000 Signup miles after charging $1,000 in purchases
  • Earn 3 Alaska miles per $1 spent on airfare and vacation packages from Alaska Airlines and Virgin America
  • Earn 1 Alaska mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive an annual round-trip companion voucher for $121 USD

If you live on the west coast of Canada, you should seriously consider signing up for the MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard since you can earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000. There’s an annual fee of $99, but keep in mind that you can convert your Alaskan Miles to Cathay Pacific points so there is good value here. Another huge benefit of the card is the annual round-trip companion voucher for $121 USD which can save you a fair amount of money when you’re travelling with someone.

Best travel credit cards by category

Credit cardBest card for
American Express PlatinumBest sign up bonus
Marriott Bonvoy American ExpressBest for hotels
Amex CobaltBest for everyday spending
WestJet RBC World EliteBest airline card
STACK MastercardBest for no foex fees
BMO World Elite MastercardBest for travel insurance
Scotiabank Passport Visa InfiniteBest for lounge access

What are the best travel credit card programs in Canada?

Every bank in Canada has its own travel rewards program, but none of them are the same. They all offer different ways to redeem your points, but some just give you more options than others. I’ve ranked and detailed them all in this article, but here’s a quick ranking from best to worst. Each link goes to my detailed reviews so you can learn more about the programs.

Some of the best travel credit cards in Canada are co-branded with airline and hotel programs. If you’re a frequent WestJet flyer or you stay at Marriott hotels on a regular basis, their cards would be worth getting. Here’s a link to my reviews of their programs.

How to choose a travel credit card

With so many travel credit cards to choose from, there are a lot of factors to consider before you click apply. It’s not as simple as just picking the card that gives you the most points or miles. You need to think about what your goals are, how you’re going to use the card and what benefits you want. Here are some things to consider.

Your goals

  • If you want to redeem a business class flight via Aeroplan or you want to stay for free at a luxury Marriott property, then you should be applying for cards that earn you Aeroplan Miles or Marriott Bonvoy points. Remember, American Express credit cards allow you to transfer your points to both programs.
  • Do your travel plans include your partner? If so, you should both be accumulating mile and points together. If you use the American Express Refer A Friend program, you can earn additional points. Use my links above to get started, then start referring your friends. Here’s an example of how two people can refer each other and fly around the world.

Sign up bonus

  • Always go for the biggest sign up bonus as getting as many points as possible as quickly as you can should be your goal
  • Be sure to find out the conditions of the sign up bonus. Some cards require only one purchase while others may require you to spend $3,000 – $5,000 in the first three months. Try to time your credit card applications around when you have a major purchase coming up.

Annual fee

  • Annual fees can add up, so cards that offer the first year free are definitely worth your while
  • If the card does have an annual fee, look at the sign up bonus and included benefits. Quite often what you get every year is worth more than the annual fee.

Earn rate

  • Take a look at how many points you’ll earn for specific categories. Some of the best travel credit cards in Canada will give you more points when you spend on travel, groceries, gas, etc.
  • The flat earn rate is also important if you typically do a lot of spending on all other categories. It may be more beneficial to get a card with higher flat earn rate as opposed to a travel credit card that has bonus earn rates for specific categories.

Flexibility of points

  • The ability to use your points for different travel redemptions is incredibly valuable. The ability to transfer your points or to use them on a fixed travel program can sometimes double the value of your points.
  • If you’re going to use a co-branded credit card with a specific program, make sure it still gives you some flexibility. For example, don’t collect miles if finding a flight that benefits you is difficult. Research blackout dates, seat availability and taxes.

Additional benefits

  • Any additional benefits that come with the best travel credit cards in Canada should be seriously considered. Unlimited lounge access will appeal to frequent travellers while a card without foreign transaction fees will benefit everyone. 
  • Travel medical insurance is also an important benefit, but be sure to read the certificate of insurance so you know exactly what you’re covered for.
  • Estimate the value of all the benefits that you’ll actually use. If it’s more than the annual fee that the card charges, then you’ll come out ahead.

How do travel credit cards affect your credit score?

Every time you apply for a travel credit card, your credit score will take a hit of 10 points. This is normal as the credit card provider will do a hard check on your credit score to see if you’re credit worthy. After a few months, it’ll return to normal.

Getting additional credit can actually benefit you at times since it increases your credit utilization ratio. Your ratio is the amount of credit you’re using relative to how much you have access to. That means someone who normally carries a balance of $1,000 but has access to $10,000 in credit has a credit utilization ratio of 10%.

Finally, paying your bills on time will also help with your credit score. Always pay your bills on time and in full. You can check your credit score for free with Borrowell

Final thoughts

It doesn’t matter if you travel once a year or if you can’t stay at home for too long, having one of the best travel credit cards can save you a lot of money on your trips. Look for the sign up bonuses that give you the most value and apply for different cards that allow you to accumulate the same points/miles so you can travel for less.

The Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada

77 Comments

  1. Jaymee on October 8, 2015 at 4:02 AM

    I vouch for the Scotiabank Infinite Visa card. I use it for everything!

    And it’s great to know about that No Foreign Exchange fee credit card! I couldn’t find one back when I was looking for one. I’m surprised Amazon offers a credit card…

    • Barry Choi on October 8, 2015 at 9:30 AM

      Jaymee,

      4% back on certain categories can make the fee tolerable, it’s definitely one of the best card.

    • John Mikkelsen on February 28, 2020 at 10:43 AM

      If you live in Alberta for instance Westjet is a prominent carrier. And with a special bonus on now of $350 westjet dollars after first spend its hard to beat. And a companion ticket once a year, free luggage checkin which quickly covers your annual fee. No blackouts, a buck is a buck, the simplicity is my highlight.

  2. pastorash1 on October 8, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    As a thought, the Capital One Aspire Travel MasterCard just took away all their annoying tiers for rewards redemption, just received an e-mail on it today. I was considering other credit cards, and still will for the future, but it makes my large rewards balance on the card much more usable for 2016 when I hope to have a nice 25th Anniversary vacation away. What used to be a great card is still a decent card, and now with the tiers gone it goes back to being a good card. Time will tell if it become a top level card again.

    • Barry Choi on October 8, 2015 at 1:19 PM

      Pastorash1,

      Good eye! The Capital One Aspire Travel MasterCard will soon be offering a 40K bonus miles when you signup instantly making it arguably the best travel card available. I’ve updated my list to include it.

  3. Our Big Fat Wallet on October 8, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    I’m a big fan of the capital one aspire travel card and how they eliminated the tiers for the rewards. I actually just redeemed some earlier this morning. It was very easy to do. I’m glad I got it when they still had an annual fee of $120 (with 10,000 bonus rewards annually, essentially making the annual fee $20)

    • Barry Choi on October 8, 2015 at 3:33 PM

      Our Big Fat Wallet,

      I missed out since I was too cheap to pay the yearly fee. I should have done the math, at $20 a year, that’s totally worth it.

  4. Jerry Hung on October 8, 2015 at 11:34 PM

    Typo – “when you spend $1,00 in the first 90 days”, should say “$1000” 🙂
    and I’d wait for the BMO World Elite First Year Free + 30K offer when it comes back

    • Barry Choi on October 9, 2015 at 12:47 AM

      Jerry,

      Thanks for the catch. FYF + 30K signup offer is pretty good. The flexibility of the BMO card is one of the best.

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  17. […] If you think about it, the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard has cash-back features while having many travel benefits which is a huge win for cardholders. If you want a travel specific card, then take a look at my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada. […]

  18. ScotiaGold Passport VISA review - Money We Have on October 9, 2018 at 10:40 AM

    […] The earn rate of 1 Scotia Rewards point per $1 spent on all purchases is not terrible, but it’s also not great when you compare it to some of the best travel credit cards in Canada. […]

  19. […] cuts out the abuse. Even with this change, the American Express Platinum card is still one of the best travel credit cards in Canada and one of the best American Express cards in Canada. Check out my review now for my full thoughts […]

  20. October Travel Deals - Money We Have on October 24, 2018 at 8:30 PM

    […] and enhanced travel insurance. The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card was already on my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada, so these extra benefits are […]

  21. Tom on December 25, 2018 at 3:45 PM

    Hi Barry…I have both the HSBC world elite and the President’s Choice world elite MasterCard’s. Do you know if both the travel insurances are in effect or just one policy when I travel?

    • Barry Choi on December 25, 2018 at 3:51 PM

      Hi Tom,

      Both would be in effect but you can only make claims through one of your insurance providers.

      The HSBC card has much better insurance overall but note that besides travel medical, all other travel insurance only applies if you purchased your flights and hotels with your HSBC card.

  22. Janet MacDonald on January 9, 2019 at 9:59 AM

    I am curious about the Van City Visa Card where I get a dollar value returned to me when requested.
    Do you have any comments about it?

  23. How to Save Money at Disney World - Money We Have on January 20, 2019 at 12:28 PM

    […] people know that using one of the best travel credit cards in Canada can save you big, but let me show you how. Let’s say you’re a family of four: two […]

  24. Lisa on February 6, 2019 at 1:33 PM

    What are your noughts on he Avion Visa Infinite for travel rewards.? Does it rank anywhere in the top

    • Barry Choi on February 6, 2019 at 2:13 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      Avion is a decent program, but the card is nothing special and WestJet is their only transfer partner. That being said, every so often there’s a special promotion where you can get 25K bonus points when you sign up and the first year is free which is a good deal.

  25. Mike on February 14, 2019 at 10:24 AM

    Not sure why the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite is flagged with a “This card is no longer offered by the provider” message when I click on the link for it above. I still have one and the CIBC website still advertises the card at the front of their list of credit cards. I was going to share my experience with this card, in particular the CIBC Rewards program where you would redeem the Aventura points you earn with the card. Not sure where/if I should leave my comments now.

  26. Mat on March 6, 2019 at 6:06 AM

    Hey Barry, my main card is the Scotia Infinite Momentum. With my spending partners this card earns me approx $900/yr. If I were to add one travel card to the mix just to get the sign-up bonus, which would you suggest and why? I typically travel once or twice a year. Are you able to cancel a card prior to uaing the points you’ve earned. Thank you

    • Barry Choi on March 6, 2019 at 7:43 AM

      Hey Mat,

      Since your main goal is the sign up bonus, you should just pick a card that works for you. American Express cards have the most flexibility since you can transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott and then cancel your account without losing any points. I also like the Scotiabank PAssport Visa Infinite card since you get 6 lounge passes, a $300 sign up bonus, and no forex fees. However, if you cancel your card before using your points, you lose them. You could transfer those points to SCENE or as a statement credit, but the value is lower compared to using them for travel.

  27. Jenna on March 7, 2019 at 5:08 PM

    Is there any way to get the fees reduced on the Amex Platinum? $700 is a lot of money just to buy yourself some perks

    • Barry Choi on March 7, 2019 at 5:43 PM

      Jenna,

      Unfortunately not. You do get an annual travel credit of $200 so it brings the fee down to $499

  28. David on March 10, 2019 at 3:23 PM

    Interesting reading. I guess you don’t think much of RBC’s AVION cards, seeing as you have no mention of them. What is it about them that caused them not to make your list?

    • Barry Choi on March 10, 2019 at 8:12 PM

      The card has a few decent promos now and then, but right now it doesn’t which is why it’s not on the list.

  29. Harley on March 13, 2019 at 1:31 PM

    What are your thoughts on the following? Good information on here!

    RBC® Avion® Visa Infinite Privilege‡ or RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege for Private Banking

    • Barry Choi on March 13, 2019 at 2:51 PM

      Hi Harley,

      It’s okay, but I sort of prefer the Amex Personal Platinum card more. The Amex card has a higher annual fee of $699 but you also get an annual travel credit of $200 and additional travel benefits such as hotel status upgrades. Amex points also allow you to book any type of travel and you can also transfer your points.

      • Harley Good on March 13, 2019 at 3:34 PM

        Thanks!
        Do you have any feedback on the VIP security fast track lane at select Canadian Airports?

        • Barry Choi on March 13, 2019 at 3:36 PM

          It just puts you in the priority line at select airports which is definitely a nice feature. The AMex Platinum card has that benefit but only at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

  30. Sean on April 22, 2019 at 2:03 PM

    looked at a sample of return flights from Vancouver and or Bellingham to Phoenix as an example on WestJet, Allegiant and Alaska….WestJet is the most expensive at about $465 (6 hours travel time from Van) followed by Alaska at $260 USD (4 hour travel time from Bellingham) then Allegiant $140 USD (2 hour travel time from Bellingham). Reward points and fees are only part of what should be considered.

  31. BMO Rewards - Money We Have on April 22, 2019 at 2:04 PM

    […] BMO World Elite Mastercard has long been known as one of the best travel credit cards in Canada due to its generous signup bonus of 35,000 BMO Rewards points. That may seem high, but 35,000 BMO […]

  32. Maria on April 25, 2019 at 11:27 AM

    What are your thoughts on the Scotiabank Gold Amex card?

    • Barry Choi on April 25, 2019 at 11:38 AM

      Maria,

      The Scotiabank Gold AMex is a fantastic card, it just doesn’t have a generous signup bonus compared to the ones on my list here. It also lacks lounge access compared to the Scotiabank Passport credit card but it does have higher multipliers for some categories.

  33. Kyle on May 2, 2019 at 3:18 PM

    Any idea if you get the bonus sign up on the Amex platinum card if you had one in the past and then downgraded to the gold amex.

    • Barry Choi on May 2, 2019 at 4:35 PM

      Hi Kyle,

      Technically speaking, all Amex bonuses are once per lifetime. That being said, if you had the Platinum years ago, you’d likely get the signup bonus again. Of course, Amex is perfectly within their rights to deny you the bonus. Calling in advance to see if you would get the bonus would only ensure you don’t since you’d essentially be flagging yourself.

  34. Dancing D on May 15, 2019 at 9:18 AM

    What about the TD Travel First Class Card?

    • Barry Choi on May 15, 2019 at 10:25 AM

      Dancing D,

      That card currently has a great sign up bonus as a good rate of return when booking on Expedia for TD. It’s got no lounge access though.

  35. Jimmy on June 13, 2019 at 4:20 PM

    Hi Barry,
    Just from perks perspective, Amex Platinum has everything that I want the most:
    1. Trip cancellation (which usually comes with trip interruption, but not the other way around)
    2. Rewards that can be converted into different program, aeroplan/avios in this case
    3. Hotel status benefit

    But, I still can’t justified paying the annual fee, plus, in order to maximized points, I want my wife to use the same card and it will cost me another $175, which bring the total annual fee of $874. Granted, there is cheaper additional card alternative with Gold card, but, I still have to pay $50 for that, which bring total annual fee of $749. Granted, there is $200 travel credit, but, that still make me paying $674 for platinum additional card or $549 for gold card. Not to mention the fact that the $200 travel credit only useful if we travel. What if I don’t travel every year?

    Any recommendation of what credit card should I be getting which provide perks as close as Amex Platinum?

    Also, correct me if I’m wrong, Amex Platinum is the only card providing hotel status benefit, correct?

    • Jimmy on June 13, 2019 at 4:34 PM

      One thing that I want to the most but missing from Amex Platinum, no foreign transaction fee.

      That said, assuming that Amex Platinum is the only card with hotel status benefit and I’m willing to not have this benefit, any card you can recommend which provide:
      1. Trip cancellation
      2. Rewards that can be converted into different programs
      3. No foreign transaction fee

      • Barry Choi on June 13, 2019 at 6:07 PM

        Jimmy,

        The Amex Platinum card has a high annual fee because it comes with all those perks, it’s really aimed at people who love to travel. Unfortunately, there’s no card that comes anywhere close to the Platinum card. RBC has WestJet and Avios as transfer partners but no lounge access. The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card gives you 6 lounge passes trip cancellation, has no forex fees but it has no transfer partners. The Scotiabank card is probably the closest to what you want.

        • Jimmy on June 14, 2019 at 10:14 AM

          Hi Barry,
          What if my requirements for credit card just the following 2 benefits:
          1. Trip Cancellation
          2. Rewards that can be converted into different programs

          I would think, this is the core benefits that I really needed. What’s the best card?

  36. […] and shop at Whole Foods a lot, but compared to the best cash back credit cards in Canada and the best travel credit cards in Canada, you may be a little disappointed. Read my Amazon.ca Rewards Mastercard review now for the full […]

  37. Bill on June 27, 2019 at 3:13 PM

    “To get your RSVP code, all you need to do is launch the app, you don’t actually have to be a member.”

    What app?

  38. Matt on July 6, 2019 at 11:17 AM

    Hi Barry,

    Thanks for all the insight. This is very helpful. I currently just upgraded to the TD Travel Visa but it’s looking like it may not be the best option. More importantly, I’m looking for an affordable way to withdraw cash in countries throughout both Europe and SE Asia. It looks like STACK might be the best option for that? Can you (or anyone on this board) offer any additional insights on that one? Any additional info would be great!

    -Matt

  39. […] you can lower your costs by taking advantage of the huge signup bonuses that some of the best travel credit cards in Canada offer. The welcome points you get could easily be worth $250 – $1,000 so it’s worth […]

  40. Renee Stacey on September 13, 2019 at 11:32 PM

    Hi Barry,
    What would you suggest as the best option for my daughter to take with her to Hawaii next month? From what I have read Stacks looks like it might fit best for her?
    Also, mu husband and I are taking our first trip to the US in Feb. Since we already bought cancellation insurance would it be pointless to apply for the Scotia Passport Infinite? We havent done any travelling and not sure if we will be doing any anytime soon after this trip.
    I would appreciate any advice I can get:) Thank you

    • Barry Choi on September 14, 2019 at 8:26 AM

      Renee,

      STACK is great due to low fees using it as a credit card and withdrawing funds from ATM as long as you’ve loaded funds in advance. The card had delivery issues in the past, so I would check with them to ensure you would get the card before then.

      From an insurance standpoint, the Scotiabank card would indeed be useless, but you do get 6 lounge passes and a nice sign up bonus which is worth more than the $139 fee so that’s wort considering. Scotiabank delivers their cards quite fast so you wouldn’t have any issues getting it before your daughter departs.

  41. Renée on September 14, 2019 at 12:53 PM

    Thanks Barry for responding so quickly:)

  42. Winn on November 28, 2019 at 5:06 PM

    I looked into getting the meridian cash back card with $99 annual fee. The application alarmed me tho as they are asking for every single bit of security information I possess.
    If their system was breached I would be SOL
    Any comments. Do all credit unions ask for this much security info?

  43. […] incredible to think that I was able to fly first class on Emirates because I used some of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Travel hacking takes time, but the rewards clearly […]

  44. […] system so I had to base things on a few different categories. Although some banks have some of the best travel credit cards in Canada, redeeming those points might be difficult which would lower their ranking. In my write up of each […]

  45. Brian M. on July 4, 2020 at 8:24 AM

    I have had the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard for the past few years, but they have just cut rewards from 2% on all purchases down to 1.5%. So, now I am looking for a better replacement. It seems the HSBC World Elite Mastercard may be a slightly better option.

    • Barry.Choi on July 4, 2020 at 8:38 AM

      Brian,

      The HSBC World Elite Mastercard is indeed a great card, but I believe there’s a minimum points requirement if you’re going to redeem for travel.

  46. Fergus on July 9, 2020 at 7:14 PM

    When I click on your referral link for Amex gold, I get

    Sorry, there was an error in accessing the application. Please try again using the link provided in your original offer.

    Is link working or I have to do something?

    • Fergus on July 9, 2020 at 7:31 PM

      Same with Cobalt

      • Barry.Choi on July 9, 2020 at 7:35 PM

        Fergus,

        I’m looking at this now and it seems lie Amex has removed all of their referral links for users. It’s not showing up in my account or app anymore.

      • Barry.Choi on July 9, 2020 at 7:47 PM

        Fergus,

        I found the updated links online. Gold and Cobalt links should be working now. I still need to fix the Platinum links. Thanks for flagging!

  47. Fergus on July 9, 2020 at 10:55 PM

    if you would choose between Amex Gold and Cobalt, which one would you choose ?

    • Barry.Choi on July 10, 2020 at 5:58 AM

      Fergus,

      If you spend a lot on food, the Cobalt has a better earn rate but note that your points can’t be transferred to Aeroplan.

      The Gold Rewards Card is a quick way to earn up to 30,000 points with minimal spending and you can transfer your points to Aeroplan.

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