Best Travel Credit Card Rankings in Canada For 2016

best travel credit card rankingsJust how far can your Canadian travel credit card take you? Whether you’re a bargain hunter, snowbirder, frequent flyer or bonus surfer, we’ve evaluated the best travel credit card deals in Canada to help you soar in 2016.

To help us derive our rankings for the best travel credit card, we first measured the value per point of each rewards program. We checked how many points were required to fly on 15 different flights for each credit card and compared it to the lowest price of each flight, giving us the true cost per point of each rewards program. We did a similar exercise for hotels.

We then evaluated earn rates, credit card bonuses, annual fees, perks, insurance coverage, foreign transaction fees, ease of redemption, and travel opportunities to determine the best travel credit card in Canada for each travel card category.

Here’s the summary of the top ranked travel credit cards in Canada:

Best Travel Credit Card Rankings for Canada 2016

Best Airline Travel Credit Card Winner:
Winner: TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card
Runner-Up: WestJet World Elite MasterCard

Best Flexible Travel Credit Card Winner:
Winner: The American Express® Gold Rewards Card
Runner-Up: RBC Visa Infinite Avion

Best “Book Anything, Anytime, Anywhere” Travel Credit Card Winner:
Winner: MBNA Rewards World Elite® 
Runner-Up: Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard®

Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Travel Credit Card Winner: 
Winner: Rogers Platinum MasterCard®

Runner-Up: The Marriott Rewards® Premier Visa® Credit Card From Chase

Best Insurance Travel Credit Card Winner:
Winner: Desjardins Visa Odyssey Gold

Runner-Up: National Bank World Elite MasterCard

Best Hotel Travel Credit Card Winner: 
Winner: 
Marriott Rewards® Premier Visa® Card
Runner-Up: Starwood Preferred Guest Card

A description of each travel card category and a full review of each of the top ranked Canadian travel credit cards are as follows:

Best Airline Travel Credit Card In Canada:
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Card

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card

Click Here to Apply

An airline travel card puts miles directly into your airline frequent flyer account. Airline credit cards have their perks – waived bag fees, lounge access, priority boarding & check-in, and so on – while a more general travel credit card might offer higher earning potential and greater flexibility.

          • Why It’s a Winner: If you’re looking to top-up, or start-off your Aeroplan mile bank, this is a great opportunity. There’s currently a welcome bonus of 25,000 miles – earn 15,000 Aeroplan miles with your first purchase, 5,000 miles when you keep your account open and in good standing for 90 days and an additional 5,000 miles if you add an authorized user (exclusive online offer available until September 2nd, 2016). 25,000 points will allow you to fly return to any city in North America from any Canadian city. To top it off, TD is offering a first year annual fee rebate, a value of $120, making the card free to try and the welcome bonus a hefty bargain.

            Our study found each Aeroplan mile to be valued between 1.28 cents per mile when redeeming for economy fare to 2.2 cents for business class – a strong rewards rate, despite the recent devaluation when redeeming for business and first class fares on certain routes. We like the point acceleration opportunities offered by the card, including 1.5 points per dollar spent at gas, grocery & drug stores (at 1.28-2.2 cents per mile, it give you a 1.92% to 3.3% earn rate) and the additional opportunities to double dip at Aeroplan partners to further accelerate point accumulation.

            TD offers a very rich set of perks on the card. It has a robust set of insurance protection, including travel medical, trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage and auto rental. Other perks we like include priority check-in and boarding, free lounge access, and one-free checked bag on Aeroplan redemption flights, which can save you $52.50 per return ticket.

            The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card beats the West Jet World Elite MasterCard for four reasons. First, it’s welcome bonus has no annual fee in the first year. Second, you can redeem your points to fly to more destinations with Air Canada and Star Alliance than with West Jet. Third, there are more opportunities to earn points and to double dip at Aeroplan partners. Fourth, you can use your points to upgrade to business and first class.

          • Runner Up: WestJet World Elite MasterCard

Best Flexible Travel Credit Card In Canada:
The American Express® Gold Rewards Card

Best credit card Canada American Express Gold Rewards

Click Here to Apply

A flexible travel credit card allows you to make any travel related purchase on your card, then call or go online to pay for it with your points, allowing you to benefit from the best deals or options you can find. Some even allow you to convert your points into an alternative frequent flyer program.

            • Why It’s a Winner: The American Express Gold Rewards card is special because of its phenomenal rewards value and its unparalleled flexibility.  Earn a welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points (value up to $550) when you charge $1,500 in purchases to your Card in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. In addition, the first year annual fee is waived – a value of $150 – making the card virtually free to try for a year.

              Ongoing value is strong. Earn double points on gas, grocery, drugstore & all travel related expenses (air, water, rail and road transport, lodging and tour operator sales). Each Amex point is worth 1 cent. As a result, the base rewards rate is worth 1% and the bonus rewards rate is worth 2%. If you transfer your points to Aeroplan, the base rewards rate is worth 1.28% and 2.56% on bonus categories, which is stellar. The insurance package is phenomenal.

              What makes this card the gold standard of flexibility in Canada however, is that you can book any travel related purchase (flight, cruise, train, hotel, or rental car) on the card, and then use your points to pay ANY of the travel expenses that show up on your statement, including taxes & fees. You can ALSO choose to transfer your Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan or British Airways AVIOS points 1:1 with no additional charges – secretly making this the most valuable Aeroplan card on the market. Pair this card with the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card above and you’ll have 50,000 bonus points to start.

              The Amex Gold Rewards card beats RBC’s Visa Infinite Avion card for four reasons. First, it has a higher sign-up bonus. Second, Amex waives the first year annual fee. Third, you can earn double points on travel expenses (in addition to gas & groceries). Fourth, Amex allows you to redeem for any travel expense on your statement at full value, while if you redeem with RBC’s Payback with Points feature, you’ll get closer to half a penny per point.

              In the end, Amex gives the cardholder additional flexibility to take advantage of promotions and cost saving opportunities in both the Aeroplan and Avios programs, without sacrificing any value if you decide to redeem for any travel purchase.

            • Runner Up: RBC Visa Infinite Avion Card

Best “Book Anything, Anytime, Anywhere” Travel Credit Card In Canada:
MBNA Rewards World Elite® 

MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard credit card

Click Here To Apply

A “Book Anything, Anytime, Anywhere” travel credit card allows you to redeem for any travel related expense on your credit card. You purchase travel on your card from any travel provider (airline, hotel, cruise, resort, theme park, car rental, etc…) then call or go online to redeem your points for the travel purchase.

            • Why It’s a Winner: The MBNA Rewards World Elite card is simple, convenient and rich. Get the first year annual fee waived, value of $89, a $100 signing bonus, upon your first purchase (no minimum spend required), and a 2% earn rate on everything. Best of all, you can redeem your cash credit for anything on your credit card bill – including travel.

              The MBNA Rewards World Elite card offers 2 points per dollar spent on ALL purchases, which translates to a 2% earn rate on all spend (earn $2 in rewards for every $100 in purchases). There are no caps or limits to how much you can earn. That matches the richest flat earn rate in Canada. Nothing beats 2%.

              Here’s where the MBNA Rewards World Elite is unique. You can apply your points against ANY purchase on your credit card statement, not just travel purchases – at full value – including taxes and fees. For example, if you spent $10,000 on your travel card, you will earn $200 in rewards. You can then apply that $200 credit against any item on your statement any time, OR you can have MBNA send you a check or direct deposit the $200 into your checking account (cashback). Pretty nifty.

              You can also use your points to redeem for travel in MBNA’s travel centre or rewards catalogue, but why would you? We recommend you get the best deal you can find on your own (websavers, Expedia, discount travel, etc…). Use your MBNA Rewards World Elite card to purchase your travel, and then redeem your MBNA cash equivalent points against the purchase. You’ll get the cheapest travel deal you can find, booked when you want, with one of the richest redemption rates!

              The MBNA Rewards World Elite beat the Capital One Aspire World Elite because, while both offer a 2% earn rate, the Aspire devalues points to a 1.5% earn rate when redeeming for cash or non-travel purchases. MBNA is 2% all the time. Moreover, while the Aspire World Elite has the higher sign-up bonus, it coms with a $150 annual fee (versus $89) with no first year fee waiver, and requires $1,000 spend in the first 3 months.

Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card In Canada:
Rogers Platinum MasterCard® 

Rogers MasterCard

Click Here To Apply

Most banks charge a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% on top of the near spot market currency conversion rate charged by Visa or MasterCard. A no foreign transaction fee card charges no fees above the conversion rate, meaning you’re getting pretty close to the spot rate when using the card to make a purchase in a foreign currency!

            • Why It’s a Winner: While not a travel card per se, the Rogers Platinum MasterCard is one of only 3 credit cards in Canada that do not charge any foreign transaction fees. It won the category because it saves you 2.5% on foreign transaction fees, comes with no annual fee, a 1.75% rewards rate on all spend & you can redeem against any expense – not just Rogers.

              The Rogers MasterCard offers a 1.75% earn rate on all purchases (including travel) with no caps, limits or categories. You can redeem for Rogers, FIDO or Chatr services & products at any time. Or, you can redeem your cash rewards as a statement credit once per year, for any balance owing on your credit card, including travel expenses.

              Rogers offers a $35 welcome bonus, no annual fee in the first year (savings of $29), and no annual fee ever if you set up your Rogers bill as a pre-authorized payment. This card does not have a very strong travel insurance package. It’s best to use abroad or for foreign internet purchases, but not to book your flight, if you want trip cancellation coverage.

              The Rogers Platinum Mastercard beats out the Marriott Rewards Visa card for two reasons. First, Rogers comes with a richer rewards rate of 1.75% on all spend, compared to about 1% for Marriott. Second, you can redeem your points as cashback against any expense, including travel, not just Marriott hotels – making it more flexible.

Best Insurance Travel Credit Card In Canada:
Desjardins Visa Odyssey Gold

Visa Odyssey Gold Desjardins

Click Here To Apply

Whether you’re a snowbird, jaunt across the border, or go away for the annual family holiday, you can save big money and protect yourself and your savings with free travel insurance included on your credit card. It’s convenient, free, and exceptionally valuable.

            • Why It’s a Winner: The Desjardins Visa Odyssey Gold is available to every Canadian. Its inclusive credit card travel insurance is a tour de force that stands head and shoulders above the competition.

              First, its travel medical insurance covers you and your family for 60 consecutive days, while out of province or country. Most other travel cards cover you for 15-25 days. Second, it offers travel medical coverage up to the age of 75 ( 60 days for ages up to 59, 31 days for ages between 60-64, and 15 days for ages 65-75)! Third, it covers you for up to $5 million in claims, most cover you between $1M to $2M.

              Lastly, while the Odyssey covers you for trip cancellation up to $2,500 per person, if you have an unexpected return home it offers unlimited trip interruption insurance!

              Desjardins’ Odyssey Gold comes with every major travel insurance coverage you’ll need, including out-of-province / out-of-country travel medical insurance, trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage, car rental, travel accident, purchase protection, extended warranty & mobile device insurance.

              Unfortunately, it comes with a $110 annual fee (pretty reasonable given the coverage), and only gets you a 1% earn rate on your spend. A great card for the coverage itself, but we’d probably recommend using another card to accumulate your rewards.

              The Desjardins Odyssey Gold Visa card beats National Bank’s World Elite travel card for a few reasons. It offers more coverage to older ages. It offers unlimited trip interruption coverage and it has mobile device insurance, which National Bank does not.

Best Hotel Travel Credit Card In Canada:
Marriott Rewards® Premier Visa® Card

Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card

Click Here to Apply

Hotel travel cards put your points directly into your frequent guest program accounts. Cardholders will discover benefits that both cut your travel costs and add another dimension of luxury and convenience to your hotel experience. 

            • Why It’s a Winner: Earn 30,000 bonus points with your first purchase, plus a free nights stay valid for 6 months at any category 1-4 hotel! That’s up to 5 free nights, with no minimum spend requirements – and it comes with no annual fee in the first year. Plus, get an additional free nights stay on your account anniversary date EVERY year at a category 1-5 hotel! To top it off, it doesn’t charge any foreign transactions fees on purchases outside of Canada. That’s a savings of 2.5% on non-Canadian purchases alone.

              Not to be overlooked, Marriott Rewards ranks highest among hotel loyalty/rewards programs as ranked by J.D. Powers – with weighting given to account maintenance/management, ease of redeeming points/miles and recommendation of friends and family. Also Marriott Hotel’s has recently acquired Delta Hotels & Starwood. Their hotels can now be found worldwide with a brand for every price point – Delta, Sheraton, W, AC Hotels by Marriott, Autograph Collection Hotels, Courtyard, Edition, Fairfield Inn, Gaylord Hotels, JW Marriott, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Vacation Club, Renaissance Hotels, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, The Ritz-Carlton and TownePlace Suites.

              The Marriott Rewards Premier Visa card beat out the Starwood Preferred Guest Card for three reasons. First, because of its higher sign-up bonus offer and anniversary bonus. Second, because the Marriott card does not charge a foreign transaction fee – a savings of 2.5% on non-Canadian spend (out of country or online). Third, because we don’t know what’s going to happen with Starwood, now that’s it’s been bought by Marriott.

            • Runner Up: Starwood Preferred Guest Card From American Express

Last Leg of The Journey

The best travel credit card for you will depend on your travel needs and spending habits. You’ll get the most from your card if you start-off with a great bonus offer, like the rewards program offered by the card, pay your balance in full each month, and consider which fees can best be balanced with bonuses, perks, and rewards.

Canadians are in a great position to try new travel cards that earn them more points, provide more benefits and better flexibility than the card in their wallet today. Take advantage and get more bang for your buck starting now.

109 comments

  1. This was a great article! I am still having some difficulties figuring out which option may be best suited for myself. I spend around $1500/month on everyday items. I fly 2-3 times a year and go on other mini vacations which would add to that monthly spending. I don’t mind paying an annual fee if the rewards are worth it! I don’t have many bills to pay and am not a frequent flyer, however I would love to start earning points that would benefit by type of spending right now. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Hi Cassandra,

      We’re big proponents of deriving value from credit card welcome bonuses, as well as annual companion vouchers. Credit cards that offer annual fee rebates and welcome bonuses that can get you a free round trip flight, or hotel night, are the cheapest and quickest way to fly free with a credit card. To that end, both the Amex Gold Rewards and TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa have first year annual fee waivers and relatively strong welcome bonuses right now. The Marriott card has another good fee waiver and welcome bonus.

      Using a credit card that also gets you a companion ticket is another great deal. The WestJet World Elite card gives you a companion voucher ANNUALLY, which you can use to buy return ticket to anywhere in North America for $99 (they’ve expanded the number of destinations). We also like the WestJet card because it offers free checked bags for you and up to 8 travelling companions, for any WestJet flight booked on your card.

      That said, depending on where you shop, the Scotia Gold Amex will get you 4% in travel rewards on everyday purchases like gas, groceries, restaurants and entertainment expenses – yu can then redeem those points for any travel expense on your credit card statement. The Amex Gold Rewards card will get you 2% on gas, groceries, drugstore and travel expenses. If you’re willing to book and redeem your travel through Expedia, you’ll get 4.5% rewards on your travel spend through the TD First Class Infinite card.

      All said, we would still say you’r best off focusing on the credit cards with the highest welcome bonuses. You’re getting a free flight, with no annual fee just for getting the card. In some cases, like the TD Aeroplan Infninite card, there is no minimum spend required. With the Amex Gold you only have to spend $1,500 in the first 3 months. And of course we like the WestJet World Elite MasterCard because of the annual companion voucher you get EVERY year you have the card – perhaps the best value in Canada if you fly with your spouse every year.

      Hoe that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  2. Hey there! I am from Canada and am currently only holding cards that consist of no annual fee and cash back of around 1-1.25%. My “home bank” is TD. I spend money on groceries, gas, insurance, rent (which can’t really be used on credit, unless I pay via paypal) and everyday life stuff of course.

    I am looking to get into a card that offers travel rewards but there are too many options. I am not worried about an annual fee. Can anyone offer their top 3 cards to consider?

    Second question – do any of these free aeroplan miles you receive when you sign up expire? Can any aeroplan miles expire? Or are you always able to turn them over to the next year.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Nick,

      We’d go with the following 3 travel cards in your situation:
      1. Amex Gold Rewards: because of 1st yr free, 25K welcome bonus ($250 travel credit or 25K Aeroplan miles good enough for a free round-trip flight anywhere in North America), 2 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries, drugstore & travel purchases.
      2. TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa: because of 1st yr free, 20K +5K for authorized user welcome bonus, with no minimum spend requirement. Also good because it comes with trip cancellation insurance
      3. WestJet World Elite MasterCard: This one is especially good if you travel with a spouse or family. It comes with a companion voucher for $99 every year, and free checked bags for you and up to 8 of your travelling companions. The $250 WestJet dollar bonus offsets the first year annual fee of $99

      If you like hotels, you might also try the Marriott, which comes with no fee in the first year, a welcome bonus of up to 5 free nights with no minimum spend requirement and no foreign transaction fees.

      Second question Aeroplan miles expire if the Aeroplan Member has not accumulated or redeemed Aeroplan Miles for a period of 12 consecutive months. So all you have to do is accumulate 1 Aeroplan miles or redeem 1 Aeroplan mile and another 12 month clock period starts. Purchasing a pack of gum will do.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  3. Thank you for this very informative website in helping the consumers out. Been doing some research and here’s my preliminary conclusion: feedbacks appreciated. I’m looking at a more-or-less dedicated travel card…will be doing a bit of international flying in the upcoming 6 months (Canada-US, US-Taipei, Taipei-Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Singapore, Singapore to Papua New Guinea), but also in some in less developed countries where AmEx may not be as widely accepted (Visa or MC should be okay). In the future most travel will be done in Southeast Asia—with occasional trips back to Canada.

    Robust travel insurance is a definite plus—and so is ability to apply those points effectively (flexibility may not be the most important, but being able to apply them without too much hassle is important).

    AmEx Gold Rewards card comes highly recommended in many reviews: I do like the flexibility and simplicity, but the market share may limit its usefulness and also it lacks trip cancellation (only trip interruption) coverage.

    TD Aeroplan Infinite VISA looks appealing, but not 100% sure (maybe incorrectly so) about committing to Aeroplan/Star Alliance redemption program. The flexibility of buying your finding/buying your own tickets then get redeem points against those purchases seem pretty great…that opens the door for all airline possibilities. But with all the bonus miles up front, it seems like I could use those against the upcoming trips in the next six months.

    These two are the ones I’m currently “zoning in” on. The other potential runner ups are RBC Infinite Avion Visa or BMO World Elite MC….but both seem inferior to the two above.

    Wading through all these information is not very easy…so any 2¢ that you might have will be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Derek,

      We don’t want to cop out on this one, but because both the Amex Gold Rewards Card and the TD Aeroplan Infinite cards both have first year annual fee waivers, why not get both? Just pace out the applications a few weeks.

      There’s no minimum spend requirement to get the 20K-25K Aeroplan miles from the TD Aeroplan promo, and you only have to spend $1,500 in 3 months to get the 25K points from the Amex Gold Rewards card. You can then decide to use the Amex Gold points as cash ($250) against any travel expense, or you can convert them to Aeroplan miles 1:1 for free, ending up with 45K-50K Aeroplan miles completely free.

      This gives you the chance to double your welcome bonus and try both cards for free.

      By the way, one of the big advantages of using Aeroplan, if you plan on flying to multiple cities, are free stopovers. On any international flight you can book up to 2 stopovers, of at least 24 hours. You can take as long as you’d like between each stopover.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Thanks. That was a good suggestion. I had seriously not thought of that. 😀

        Is the Aeroplan stopover advantage something from TD card only or just Aeroplan in general. And do you mean that’s only available when you book with your Aeroplan miles? I had not known that. That’s a really huge plus if that’s the case, since stopping over at different countries/cities is going to be a repeated and necessary part of our travels going forward.

        • Hi Derek,

          The stop-over benefit is a feature of the Aeroplan loyalty program, which is only available when you redeem Aeroplan miles. It is one of the features of the Aeroplan program that really isn’t matched by an other loyalty program. If you can use it, it makes the program worth it in spades.

          GreedyRates Staff

  4. We are shopping for a 2nd credit card, to be used to accumulate rewards for airline travel.
    We have a Westjet Elite card and love it when we are going somewhere WJ or their partners fly – however, are finding that we are going places they don’t go. For example – inter-island in the Caribbean.

    We have tons of Air Miles with BMO MasterCard, but find that flights are not available or have highly undesirable schedules, Air Miles is now deleting “stale” points, and we can’t use the miles to upgrade our seats.
    We like that we can take our WJ “dollars” and book without any restrictions at all as long as they fly to our destination.
    What other program will give us the broadest choices of who we fly with and unrestricted flight availability on those airlines?

    p.s. – regarding ‘churning’ credit cards… I was told that this will lower your credit rating. Yes?No?

    • Hi Marlene,

      There are several Canadian credit cards that allow you to redeem miles for any travel expense on your credit card statement. The MBNA Rewards World Elite gives you 2% rewards, waives the first year annual fee, and comes with a $100 bonus. The Amex Gold Rewards card comes with a 25,000 point bonus ($250), waives the first year annual fee, you get 2% on gas, grocery, drugstore and travel expenses, 1% everywhere else – and of course you can exchange your points to Aeroplan giving added flexibility. The Scotia Amex Gold gives you 4% on gas, grocery, dining & entertainment, 1% everywhere else, $99 annual fee. The Capital One Aspire World Elite also provides 2%, $150 annual fee.

      With respect to churning, it will only lower you credit score noticeably if you do it excessively. If you apply for a credit card once every 2-3 months you should be fine. Even if it does impact your score it will be minor and it will recover as soon as you press pause. We’ll take a free flight welcome bonus any day of the week, if it means going from a 730 to a 720 score for 45 days. Just don’t apply for 3 cards in one week. Space it out.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  5. Hi GreedyRates,
    I have both your number one pick, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, and the RBC Avion Visa Infinite. I’ve had both for years and years (although TD used to be CIBC). For my purposes (travel, using points accumulated for free-ish flights) both are good. In all the message boards and all the ratings sites there is one important and integral thing missing though, one really important distinction: Purchase posting dates.

    I agree the TD card is excellent. I’ve flown on points all over Asia, Australasia, Africa, Europe and South America thanks to Aeroplan. I think the CIBC to TD transition was a good shake up for the Aeroplan program and that Aeroplan despite its many detractors is actually a really utilitarian online tool.

    But let’s assume you travel. Let’s assume you have these cards because you travel. Then I must say that the TD has one huge fault that is pure misery: Purchases are posted online on your account 48 hours afterwards. Your credit decreases, the system recognizes you’ve made a purchase, but a third party processes your purchases and it doesn’t appear online on the TD site for two days. I feel like I’m living in a castle throwing sewage over the edge in a moat. What is TD thinking?

    Not so with RBC. Instant. Whether you’re in Vancouver or Vanuatu, you buy a coffee and it’s online. If you travel, and I do, there is no comparison to this security. I mean come on TD, it’s 2016: If you want users to be responsible and take steps in case of any fraudulent activity, clients need to see their transactions online. But we don’t just want to see our transactions immediately, we deserve to see our transactions immediately. And we don’t.

    A second strike against TD is that foreign transactions come through converted. It’s a lesser strike against them but, again, if you travel, and you travel a lot, it’s a big one. RBC converts the currency and shows you the currency rate you received on your transaction.

    So, like I said at the start, the TD card provides great benefits, but there is absolutely no way it should be number one until all the users, all the reviewers, collectively demand TD upgrade the “two day” lag on posting transactions and come clean on transparency with currency rates on exchanges.

  6. Well it seems like this post is quite active so I have a question as well. I am choosing between the BMO World Elite card and the RBC Avion cards. They would mostly be used for gas purchases and vehicle maintenance so I would say $800/month or so would be spent. Which one of those two would you guys suggest or think is better and why? Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Mike,

      If you had to choose between the BMO World Elite and the RBC Avion cards, we would recommend the BMO World Elite MasterCard for the following reasons:
      1. Both come with annual fees, but the BMO World Elite welcome bonus is almost double the size of the RBC Avion card at this time (in dollars it’s about $300 for BMO vesus $225 for the Avion).
      2. With the BMO World Elite MasterCard, you will always earn 2% rewards for each dollar you spend – not so clear with the Avion card (usually get about 1.5%)
      3. The insurance package of the BMO World Elite car is better (longer out of country travel medical, higher trip cancellation coverage).
      4. The one thing we like about the Avion card is the opportunity to transfer points to British Airways, American Airlines and WestJet. There are some value opportunities in some of those conversions, especially when RBC has a promo. You have to be committed to finding them. Then again, the BMO World Elite masterCard allows you to book any airline, any time, you just have to do it through their travel centre.
      5. The BMO World Elite card also gives you 4 free lounge passes every year, if you value lounges, that’s a nice plus as well…

      A few other cards you might want to consider if your spend will mostly come from gas:
      1. Scotia Amex Gold: 4% rewards on gas purchases, redeem for any travel expense on your bill
      2. Amex Gold Rewards: 2% on gas, no fee first year, 25K welcome bonus ($250), redeem for any travel expense on your bill or exchange to aeroplan 1:1 for free
      3. MBNA Rewards World Elite: 2% on everything, no fee first, year, $100 welcome bonus, redeem for any travel expense on your bill or for cash back.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Hi. Your article on Best Canadian Credit cards is amazing. I had a few questions, that I was wondering if you can help with. My BMO world Elite Master Card has just come up for renewal & they now are charging besides the annual fee of $150 an additional $150 for additional users , which make it very un -affordable (I joined a few years back when there was some promotion going on). What Master Card would you recommend?
        As well, the TD first class travel visa is highly touted, but I have never been able to get a bang for my buck when it comes to travel redemption with them. I do not currently pay the annual fee ,a s it is included with my monthly fee for my bank account with TD, but I am also looking to opt out of that card & will need a new Visa Card , would the Aeroplan be a good choice now with their current promotion or can you recommend something else? As a side note, my main travel redemption is travelling from Toronto- New York New Jersey area.

        Thanks

        • Hi Robert,

          Thanks for the nice words!

          1. The annual fee on the BMO World Elite Authorized User card is a bummer. A nice 2% MasterCard alternative is the MBNA World Elite MasterCard. It comes with no fee in the first year, so you can give it a try for free, and a $100 welcome bonus. But what’s really nice about it is you get 2% per dollar spent, same as the BMO card, but you can redeem your rewards against any expense on your credit card statement, including travel expenses. The annual fee after the first year is only $89 (not heavy on travel insurance), and there is NO fee for authorized user cards.

          If you travel with a companion or family you might also want to consider the WestJet World Elite card. Although it comes with an annual fee, you get a companion ticket EVERY year that can take you, return, to any destination in North America (NY-NJ). Plus, you get first checked bag free for you AND those travelling with you, for any WestJet flight booked with your card – not just rewards flights. That’s a savings of $50 per person (return).

          2. We also like the TD First Class Infinite card – but it really only packs value if you can use it to book flights on Expedia and redeem on Expedia – if you can, you’re getting 4.5% return which is massive. For an alternative Visa card, as a TD customer you will find a lot of value in the TD Aeroplan card. It currently has a no fee first year offer, 20K welcome bonus with no minimum spend requirement (15K on activation, 5K if its open and in good standing for 90 days, plus an additional 5K if you get an authorized user card which is $50). The welcome bonus alone will get you from Toronto to NY – with no annual fee in the first year you have nothing to lose – its a completely free trip just for signing-up for the card.

          Hope that helps!

          GreedyRates Staff

          • Thanks again. Your responses to all, seem to be quite insightful. I think I will go for the TD aeroplan . & cancel the 1st class travel. I find that I tend to use the points tickets for most of my last minute flying, which if you were purchasing for $ is always in the $600 range , that is why I am not seeing much value from the TD travel .

            Regarding Mastercard ,I realized that I do have the Capital One Platinum Master card, which only allows me one authorized user (which is my wife) but i need 1-2 more for my children. Like you said for the 1st year I do not have to lose with the MBNA being that there is a sign up bonus + no fee 1st year.

            Is there any hoax with the Dejardin Visa, that offers 60 day Travel Insurance??

            Lastly, I signed up for the Marriot rewards Visa a little while back when there was that promotion of (30,000?? points) + i have a few users in The USA & wanted to avoid the foreign transaction fee. when the annual fee kicks in I assume the Rogers Visa would be a better choice?

            Thanks

            Robert

          • Hi Robert,

            There’s no hoax with Desjardins’ travel insurance. The card is relatively light on rewards, and there’s no welcome bonus or annual fee waiver. It really competes on insurance – but does so very well. It looks like Desjardins designed it to cater to many of the snowbirds who go down to the U.S. during the winter months.

            Absolutely correct on replacing the Marriott card with the Rogers card to avoid foreign transaction fees. You could also go with the Amazon card, but with the Rogers card you’ll get 1.75% cash back on all of your purchases, including foreign, whereas you’ll only get 1% with the Amazon card.

            GreedyRates Staff

          • Thanks for your quick response.

            Thanks again for the insight. The Dejardin visa card even with the annual fee is worthwhile,as it is cheaper than most annual plans you can buy for 30 day travel (which I have bought for the last few years for my children attending summer camp in the USA).

            Regarding replacing Marriot (still have a year) I happen to already have the amazon, as I got it when there was some promotion & never cancelled it. Does one get a decent conversion rate for USD purchases with these Canadian “no transaction fee ” cards , as I have USD $ credit card as well.

            It seems very worthwhile to sign up for the various credit cards that have nice signing bonuses with 1st year fee waived even if you wouldn’t use it after reaching the spending threshhold. Including, Amex Gold, Amex Air miles etc…

            Thanks

            Robert

          • Thanks for your quick response.

            Thanks again for the insight. The Dejardin visa card even with the annual fee is worthwhile,as it is cheaper than most annual plans you can buy for 30 day travel (which I have bought for the last few years for my children attending summer camp in the USA).

            Regarding replacing Marriot (still have a year) I happen to already have the amazon, as I got it when there was some promotion & never cancelled it. Does one get a decent conversion rate for USD purchases with these Canadian “no transaction fee ” cards , as I have USD $ credit card as well.

            It seems very worthwhile to sign up for the various credit cards that have nice signing bonuses with 1st year fee waived even if you wouldn’t use it after reaching the spending threshold. Including, Amex Gold, Amex Air miles etc…

            Thanks

            Robert

          • Hi Robert,

            All of the credit card out of country medical travel insurance packages are great for families. They cover spouses and dependents, whether you fly, drive, bike or walk over the border. Awesome deals.

            The no foreign transaction fee cards offer great conversion rates, pretty close to market rates. However, our study found that MasterCard averaged 38 basis points lower than Visa 70% of the time on foreign exchange over 52 days.

            We’re right on board with you regarding welcome bonus offers. We think everyone should be signing up for credit card offers with welcome bonus offers and annual fee waivers. There’s no risk, all reward. You may just want to space out your applications a little bit, and watch-out for minimum spend requirements. Other than that, it’s the quickest way to free flights.

            GreedyRates Staff

  7. The Travelling Cobbler

    I have both the SPG and Marriott cards because I spent a lot for business. Yes the Marriott sign up bonus is good, but the issue not addressed here is the number of points to actually book a room under each program. I can book the Westin Grand Central for 12000 points with SPG, but for a similar (actually inferior) hotel in the Marriott group would require at least 35000 points and as many as 70000 points. Thats 3 or 6 times the spend required to get a free room. SPG points are that much more valuable, which is the issue being discussed as a result of the purchase of SPG by Marriott. The conversion will have to be at least 3 Marriott points for every SPG point when the programs are merged.

    • Hi Travelling Cobbler,

      We completely agree. The SPG card does have a higher earn rate on spend. However, we liked the Marriott credit card because of the high welcome bonus with no minimum spend requirement, first year annual fee waiver, annual free room voucher and no foreign transaction fees.

      It will be very interesting to see what Marriott decides to with the SPG program, which obviously has a very strong following. Marriott’s CEO, Sorenson, has been quoted saying “I think we can make sure the benefits stay the same or get better, but offer them a broader selection.” I cannot imagine a scenario where Marriott just converts SPG points 1:1 to Marriott Rewards points.

      Great observation,

      GreedyRates Staff

  8. great article. very thorough in comparisons.

    My only question is, are there any cards that will give you bonus for reapplying? forexample, If I get signup bonus and close the account and apply again 6-12 months later, will I be able to get the signup bonus again. I’m sure it wont be possible with all the cards but are there any that allows this?

    • Hi Ozman,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      What you’re referring to is called churning. Signing-up for a new credit card, getting the welcome bonus, and doing it again. Rinse, wash, repeat. While many Canadian credit card issuers are trying to limit churning. There are still some where the practice has not been completely eliminated.

      For example, TD Aeroplan and TD First Class allow churning, but reserve the right to limit abuse. Their language is as follows: “If you have opened an Account in the last 6 months, you will not be eligible for these offers (meaning, you have to wait 6 months). We reserve the right to limit the number of Accounts opened by and the number of miles awarded to any one person.” (TD Aeroplan currently has a no fee first year, 20K mile welcome bonus, plus another 5K if you add an authorized user).

      The RBC WestJet World Elite MasterCard also doesn’t have any restrictions on churning (it comes with a 250 Westjet dollar welcome bonus, 99$ annual fee, and companion ticket)

      The Chase Marriott Visa card does not have any restrictions on churning (no fee first year, 30,000 welcome bonus)

      In general, MBNA, whether it be the Alaska Airlines or MBNA World Elite account doesn’t limit churning either.

      The Scotia Amex Gold card also allows churning ($200 welcome bonus, $99 annual fee).

      Hope that answers your question,

      GreedyRates Staff

  9. Hi guys, great article!
    I just have a question regarding what a good choice would be for me, a student. I make just around $15,000 annually while still in school and I was wondering 1.) what the best travel rewards card I can get is (because it looks like for most you need an annual income much higher than 15k, and 2.) whether there are any good student deals on travel rewards cards? I am not concerned about paying the typical annual fee of $120, I just want to get a card that gives me the most travel! Thanks!

    • Hi Danny,

      Thanks for the kind words! As a student, a credit card issuer will take more than just your income into account, they will also take your credit history into consideration. As such, your best bet to get approved is probably a no fee student credit card to start.

      The two best cards with travel rewards redemption opportunities for students are the no fee MBNA Student Rewards card, where you earn 1 point (valued at 1%) in rewards for every dollar you spend, plus you get a $10 welcome bonus and an additional $10 every year as an anniversary bonus.

      Another good student credit card option is the no fee student BMO SPC Air Miles credit card. It currently comes with a limited time offer of 500 Air Miles rewards on sign-up, and you get 1 mile for every $20 you spend. The welcome bonus is valued at $75, better than MBNA’s, but the rewards on ongoing spend of .75% is lower than MBNA’s 1%. The nice thing about Air Miles is that you can combine your earnings from your credit card with Air Miles you collect from the loyalty program as well, which will help you accelerate your earnings.

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

  10. I am looking to sign up for my first travel rewards card. My monthly expenses are paid to city taxes, energy bills, car/house insurance, cell phone bill, cable bill, transfers to my line of credit account, groceries, retail stores, restaurants, online shopping (PayPal,Amazon/eBay/Costco, etc.). I would love to start traveling but it isn’t in my budget so I’m looking to earn points for free travel. Which travel card will give me the best rewards based on my spending? Can any or all of my expenses (cell phone bill, utilities, etc.) be applied to a credit card and then paid off each month? If I used my credit card to make monthly payments to my line of credit will that count towards travel points? WestJet is a big carrier around where I live and usually has the best seat prices although Air Canada is an option too. I currently have an Air Miles account and accumulate points when I make purchases at retail stores and have 2500 dream miles. Any suggestions? I was going to sign up for a credit card (or more) today since the deadline for the TD Aeroplan Infinite card ends tonight.

    • H DeeBee,

      There are two strategies to think about when getting a new travel credit card. The first, is getting a credit card with the best welcome bonus. The second is to get a credit card that maximizes your rewards on spend.

      We love concentrating on the first strategy because for many people, it provides so much more value – more points faster – than focusing on rewards from spend. Let’s say we take a look at the TD Aeroplan offer that expires today. It’s offering 25,000 miles, with no annual fee in the first year. That’s the equivalent to around $20,000 in credit card spend that you’ll be getting just for keeping the account open and in good standing for 90 days. You can get an additional 25,000 points from the Amex Gold Rewards card (which you can transfer to Aeroplan 1:1 for free) also with no annual fee in the first year. That’s incredible value.

      Now, we also believe you should maximize your rewards on your existing credit card spend. To help you do so, we would recommend you use our credit card comparison tool, which will show you the dollar value of each credit card’s rewards program to you, based on your spend.

      To answer some of your questions, yes, you can put all of your expenses on your credit card, pay it down at the end of every month, and you will still be credited with the cards points/miles/cashback.

      Don’t be afraid to get multiple cards, although you might want to space out your applications, every few months. Right now getting the TD Aeroplan Infinite offer is a great choice, combined with the Amex Gold Rewards card, you’ll have 50,000 Aeroplan miles, with no annual fee in the first year. That’s enough for two free roundtrip tickets to anywhere in continental North America.

      The WestJet World Elite MasterCard is also a great choice. You get a $200 WestJet Dollar welcome bonus, and a companion ticket EVERY year, which is tremendous value, if you have someone to fly with! There is a $99 annual fee, but it’s well worth it with the welcome bonus and companion ticket.

      Bottom line, don’t be afraid to get more than one card. Try to find offers that make choosing a new card free to try… Use our calculator to see different options that optimize your rewards on future spend, based on where and how much you spend.

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

  11. Sandra Laurence

    I am 57 and my husband is 61. We are going to travel the entire 2017 year in our RV all over North America as well as 2 months in Austrailia and New Zealand. We currently have our home phone/TV/internet with Rogers but will cancelling that at the end of 2016 since we will be away. We would like the best situation to collect air miles for our trip to Australia and also want excellent travel/health insurance. After reading this article, I’m thinking of combining the TD Aeroplane VISA Infinite Card and the American Express Golf Rewards card. Is this the best option for travel rewards and travel insurance?
    Thank you very much. I found this article to be extremely helpful.

    • Hi Sandra,

      Those are good selections. We’d recommend booking your travel with your Amex Gold Rewards card, so that you get 2 points per dollar spent.

      With respect to insurance, if you’re looking for travel medical insurance, the best available on the market for a long term trip will be from Desjardins, which offers free out of country medical coverage for up to 60 consecutive days and up to $5 million dollars in claims.

      With respect to using a credit card while out of country, we’d strongly recommend getting the Rogers card. You’ll save 2.5% on foreign transaction fees, and get 1.75% cash back, which you can redeem as a statement credit. Remember, the Rogers card is free for the first year regardless of whether you’re a customer or not, making it free for you. In addition, you’ll get a $35 welcome bonus, which will cover the minimal $29 annual fee in the second year, should you decide to keep it then.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  12. We are both 69 and travel by plane once a year but do small trips to the states. Medical is high for us now. Are we covered even if we have some medical issuses at our age with the TD Aeroplane and we usually book flights according to best price…are we limited with whom we book…A

    • Hi Lynda,

      The TD Aeroplan Infinite card has travel medical coverage for people 65+ for 4 consecutive days when out of province (21 consecutive days if you’re under 65). You can take advantage of those 4 consecutive days however many times you want throughout the year.

      With respect to which medical condition are covered, we would really recommend customers read the insurance certificate to get comfortable with the individual card’s policies. That said, the TD Aeroplan infinite card’s plicy does say the following about pre-existing conditions:

      Stable means any Medical Condition or related condition (whether or not the diagnosis has been determined) for
      which there have been:
      • no new or change in medication or dosage;
      • no new or change in Treatment;
      • no new or increase in frequency or severity of symptoms;
      • no referral or recommendation to see a specialty clinic or specialist;
      • no pending test results or testing; or
      • no pending surgery or other Treatment.

      In general, you’re allowed to have a medical condition, there just can’t be a recent change or pending information/treatment.

      GreedyRates Staff

  13. Hi, great article, appreciate all the comments to learn of other customers experiences. I have a question regarding how one moves from card to card. I have a platinum american express but I see now on the website it has a 2000 reward miles offer. Do I cancel my current card and reapply? Is this process the same with any card to get the best deals?

    • Hi Teresa,

      Do you currently have the Platinum Card, or the American Express Air Miles Platinum credit card? If you already have the American Express Air Miles Platinum credit card, Amex recently changed it’s rules so that you can’t apply for the same card twice and get the bonus. However, you can apply for a different Amex card and get each of their bonuses, once.

      If you’re looking for additional free Air Miles collector points from credit card welcome bonuses with no annual fees, check out this review which shows all the Air Miles cards in market with their current welcome bonus offers. You can get the Sobeys Air Miles card, which has no fee and 400 miles, the Amex no fee Air Miles card which offers 500 Air Miles.

      Many issuers are not as strict and will allow you to cancel and re-apply continuously. Most, have language in their footnotes that leave themselves the discretion to stop awarding bonus points, after multiple applications.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  14. Hi,

    Thanks for the post! Can you transfer the TD Aeroplan Visa points to Aeroplan?

    • Hi Jack,

      Thanks for the question! Yes you can consolidate your miles into one account. All you have to do is enter your Aeroplan loyalty number when you apply for the Aeroplan credit card, and every time you use your credit card, the Aeroplan miles will automatically accumulate towards the account you designate.

      If you don’t already have an Aeroplan loyalty number, one will be automatically created for you when you apply for the credit card. You will then be mailed the loyalty card separately by Aeroplan – so you can double dip at Aeroplan partners!

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  15. Hello and thank you very much for shearing your a wealth of knowledge on the murky credit card business.
    I am completely green in the credit card field, so I only had regular credit card, (TD Emerald 4.9 interest) . TD recommended that I should change the card to TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card or TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card. I am not a frequent traveler, maybe fly once or twice a year, and every 4-5 years to Europe. I might not able to limit my travel by booking trips trough Expedia, or only fly with Air Canada. Often rates are better with other carriers. Also, Avis Rent a Car or Budget rental might be not operate where i need to rent a car. Any thoughts on which card (TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card or TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card) would be the best choice for me?

    Ether way, In addition to one of the TD card I going to take your advice and apply for the Amex Gold Rewards Card.

    Thank you very much, your advice is very much appreciated.

    • Hi Gizelle,

      Thanks for using GreedyRates and your kind words!

      If you’re choosing between the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card and the TD First Class Travel card, we’d recommend the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite right now.

      The current promotion on GreedyRates.ca, until May 27th, is the best we’ve ever seen for the card, with no annual fee, a 25,000 mile welcome bonus with no minimum spend requirement & double bonus miles for the first 90 days.

      Remember, you can fly on more than just Air Canada with Aeroplan (Star Alliance partners include United Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Air China and 23 other airlines). In fact, your taxes and fees are even cheaper when flying on a partner airline versus Air Canada!

      GreedyRates Staff

  16. TheThe American Express® Gold Rewards Card I’m not sure i understand it. I get the bonus points for spending 500 (can this be by buying the airfair with first purchase ?) Then I can use those points to cover my bill – but it says it has to be paid in full each month so I assume the time it takes for everything to show up will be an issue ? I want to fly from BC to Mexico city and was in the market for a new card anyway and some of these seem to indicate they could basically get me a free round trip ? Problem is it’s specific dates ID need so id need a card that didn’t restrict time frames .

    • Hi Jared,

      Let’s see if we can clarify things.

      1. You spend $500 in month 1. Your account will then be awarded the 25,000 welcome bonus points within 1-2 statement periods. The 25,000 points are either worth $250 if you keep them as American Express points, or you can transfer them to Aeroplan or Avios 1:1.
      2. After your 25,000 point bonus has been awarded to your account, you then book travel to Mexico for a ticket that costs $600.
      3. After you’ve booked the ticket, you can call American Express, and have them apply your $250 welcome bonus to your flight to Mexico. You will then only owe American Express $350, when paying off your credit card statement.

      Does that help?

      GreedyRates Staff

  17. Greetings,
    I was so happy to have found this article with all of this current, consolidated information! However, now I feel overwhelmed. Lol!
    I was trying to choose between the TD Aeroplan and the TD First Class Travel Infinite…I currently have an RBC Gold Rewards card and am finding it very hard to build up my points. I have an account also with TD, so I inquired there. I was informed that the First Class Travel Infinite was perhaps the better choice for me due to its flexibility and ease of use when redeeming the points (less restrictions etc)… Essentially, I need a credit card that will give me “the most for the least”. I’m looking to obtain travel points for family trips (two adults, two kids). My spending is average… groceries, gas, daily expenditures etc. We fly maybe twice a year…
    What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Teena,

      The most effective way to get “the most for the least”, is by signign-up for multiple credit cards with attractive welcome bonuses.

      Right now the TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa card and the Amex Gold Rewards card (transfer points to Aeroplan 1:1) each have fantastic promos offering no annual fee in the first year, and 25,000 miles (enough for a round trip flight to anywhere in North America). That gives you 2 free flights, just for signing-up for 2 new cards. You would have to spend close to $50,000 to earn the same number of points.

      There is no minimum spend requirement for the TD Aerplan Infinite card, and only a $500 min spend in 3 months for the Amex Gold Rewards.

      With Aeroplan you have to be willing to be a little flexible – if so, there is good value to be found. Also remember to try to book through partner airlines, such as United, to reduced taxes and fees. Better yet, if you can fly out of the U.S. (not sure where you live) your taxes and fees will be negligible.

      Take a look at some of the other credit cards out there with strong welcome bonus offers (preferably with no annual fee in the first year). Cards such as the MBNA Rewards World Elite (no fee, $100 welcome bonus), The TD First Class Visa is a good offer right now with $200 welcome bonus and no fee first year, Alaska Airlines, has a 25,000 point bonus which you can transfer to multiple Airlines, comes with an annual companion ticket, and a low annual fee of $75.

      For ongoing rewards, the TD First Class Infinite card is an excellent card if you spend a lot on travel and are willing to book and redeem your flights through Expedia. If not, there are better cards out there.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  18. can you please list credit cards that provide travel accident and medical insurance including out-of-province coverage without using the credit card to pay for air tickets and hotels? Thanks!

    • Hi Fred,

      Almost every credit card that provides out-of-province travel medical insurance covers you regardless of how you travel. Even if you travel by card into the U.S. you’re still covered.

      We did a blog post comparing the insurance of many of the top Canadian credit cards and their travel insurance coverages here. The post and its data is kept up to date.

      That said, the best travel medical insurance coverage is not offered by the top travel credit cards. For exceptional travel medical insurance, you will want to look at Desjardins, National Bank and the CUETS World Elite cards. Those 3 offer the best travel insurance in the country in our opinion.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  19. Hello! I keep getting letters from TD offering the bonuses described above if I switch from my TD Platinum Travel Visa to the TD Aeroplan Infinite. Any thoughts? I quite like the card I have–I’ve had it forever. But if it’s no longer offering benefits comparable to other cards, it might be time to switch. Thoughts?

    • Hi Michelle,

      You should definitely switch to the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card from the TD Aeroplan Platinum card. First of all, the sign-up bonus alone is worth the switch – first year annual fee, 25K aeroplan miles, plus additional 5K if you add an authorized user, plus double points for the first 90 days ) exclusive on GreedyRates.ca by the way – that offer is available no where else). It would take you more than $25,000 of credit card spend on your Platinum card to get those miles, plus you’d be paying your annual fee.

      In addition, you will earn more per dollar spent with your Infinite card. Getting 1.5 miles in gas, grocery, drugstore and AirCanada.com purchases, and 1 mile everywhere else. The Platinum Aeroplan card only gives you 1 mile for gas, grocery and drugstore spend and .67 miles per 1 dollar spent everywhere else 1 mile per 1.5 dollars spent).

      You will also get significantly better travel insurance protection, including trip cancellation and out of province/ out of country travel medical insurance, which the Platinum card does not include.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  20. I’m with Royal Bank Visa Gold Rewards.
    I would like to switch to a more rewarding card, cash back, travel miles.
    We usually fly once or twice a year. ( more than 5k kilometers)
    We spend 30 to 40k yearly on credit card
    ??
    thanks

    • Hi Dan,

      With $30K-$40K annual spend the RBC Visa Gold Rewards card is definitely the wrong card for you. It only offers you 1 point per dollar spent, giving you around 1% in rewards per dollar spent on your card. You can easily double that.

      With your spend, there are two approaches you can take. First, you can focus on getting a new credit card with a sizeable welcome bonus. As we’ve stated before, two very attractive offers right now are the TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa card (no minimum spend required) and the Amex Gold Rewards card (convert points to Aeroplan or Avios 1:1, $500 minimum spend in first 3 months) – both come with first year annual fee waivers, both come with enough bonus points for a free return flight to anywhere in North America.

      The other approach, is to focus on a card that offers you maximum value for your $30K-$40K annual spend. We’re at a little bit of a disadvantage here, because we don’t know how you spend your money, or what you’re looking to redeem for. That said, you might want to consider a card that offers you 2% value on all of your spending regardless of category with no limits, like the MBNA Rewards World Elite card. the advantage of the MBNA World Elite card is that it’s kind of a all in one card. You can redeem your points for cash back (spend $40K, you’d earn $800 cash back per year), or you can redeem your points against your statement (book your travel anywhere and apply the dollar value of your points against your travel, or you can redeem for merchandise, gift cards, etc…

      You can also check our comparison tool, which will tell you how much you can earn from each card, based on how much you spend and where.

      Let us know if you have any additional questions. Glad to help and thanks for using GreedyRates.ca!

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Thanks a lot
        Highly appreciated !!
        I use the tool you’ve suggested
        We are a family of 5
        so big grocery bill, a lot of gas
        scotia momentum is on top,
        followed by CIBC and MBNA
        FYI
        royal gold only give you 1 per 2 dollars spending
        which is worse than previously thought.
        wow
        great web site by the way
        Have a wonderful day

  21. Hi there, for years I’ve had the CIBC world elite MasterCard and I think it’s time for me to look around to see what the best credit card is for travel rewards when you balance the cost and value of the yearly fee. Am I better to cancel my existing card and get another one and if so what would be the best one that you would recommend?

    • Hi Donnie,

      You’re almost always better off getting a new credit card. Most of the value offered by a credit card is in the Welcome Bonus i.e. 25,000 miles, no annual fee first year. Many welcome bonuses are worth over $350, and it’s given away free. Unfortunately, that type of value is only offered for new accounts. It’s also a great opportunity to try a new card and rewards system, to see how it works for you. If you get a new card with first year annual fee promotion, it’s free to try.

      There are some great promotions going on right now including the TD Aeroplan Infinite card (no fee first year, up to 30K miles, 2X bonus points in the first 90 days, no minimum spend, offer good through GreedyRates until May 27th), and the American Express Gold card (no fee first year, 25K points, points can be transferred to Aeroplan or Avios 1:1, $500 minimum spend in 3 months). Get both those cards and you have 2 free round trip tickets to anywhere in North America – completely free! Both cards are listed above in the article.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  22. Hi,
    When applying for the TD Infinite Travel Card, do you already have to have an Aeroplan Number?

    Thanks

    • Hi Dianne,

      If you’re not already an Aeroplan member, a new Aeroplan number will be automatically created for you when you apply for the credit card.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

      • First I would like to thank you for such an extensive post. It has been very helpful.

        We are in the process of changing credit card companies due to my husband being over 65 now. We have spent hours on the phone with BMO and Allianz and have always got different answers with regards to insurance coverage each time we phoned. It has been frustrating, many have told us that if I become the primary card holder ( I’m 57 ) my husband would be covered under me. we would call back to make the application only to be told something different each time. Finally, we were about to purchase BMO World Elite 31 day insurance package (29 up charge from the 21 day ) as my husband would supposedly be covered. I was sent the policy just so I could double check for myself and it looked to be correct. I called back to make the application and was told he would have to pay an additional $249.00.

        Thanks to your wonderful research I think we will go with the Desarjin Odyssey Gold Visa and perhaps get the Rogers MasterCard as we live on the US Border and do a lot of trips to the States. My point here to everyone is to please be very very careful if purchasing a CC for the insurance as many “experts” don’t know what they are talking about.

        I would have loved to have stayed with BMO as we have been with them for over 30 years but we will have to make the switch to get a better insurance rate and would like a CC with a decent point system. Thanks again!

        • Hi Robin,

          Thanks for the kind words and insightful comments!

          We would always recommend each person review their credit card insurance policies themselves to understand the coverage, eligibility, limitations and exclusions. Your comment is a great reminder to do just that. Not every policy is right for each person, at every point in their life.

          When you ask a customer service rep for clarification, ask them to refer you to the section within your policy, so you can evaluate their response yourself.

          Thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us.

          GreedyRates Staff

  23. Hi. I am new to this discussion, so please forgive any ignorance. I have had a RBC Visa Avion card for years, and have used it to book flights many times. I always thought there was an advantage to this card because the points could be applied to the purchase of any ticket on any airline, like money. However, I am now confused by the discussion of Aeroplan and Avios – I always thought there were limited tickets available on each flight that could be purchased by consumers via aeroplan points – has this changed? Also, I just received a request from RBC to upgrade my card to a Avion Visa Infinite Privilege Card, but the annual fee is a whopping $399 per year, with another $99 for other cards on the same account – we currently pay $199 per year for both our cards. Any thoughts on whether this is worth it? Thanks!

    • Hi Natalie,

      The advantage of the RBC Avion Privilege over the Avion Infinite card is that it offers you 1.25 points per dollar spent, versus the Infinite which offers 1 point on all spend, and 1.25 points on travel. The Privilege also offers six lounge passes, dedicated VIP fast track through security at select airports, and an automatic upgrade to Fairmont President’s Club Elevated membership. If that worth the incremental $300 to you then go for it – we don’t think it is.

      Frankly if you’re looking for lounge passes, you’re better off with the BMO Rewards World Elite card, which gives you 4 passes, with a 2% return on all spend and only has a $150 annual fee with no fee for supplementary cardholders… You can book any flight from their travel center, using your points same as cash, i.e. have $400 in travel credits, apply it against a $400 flight 1:1.

      That said, we always recommend people watch out for the best welcome bonus offers, as that is where the majority of the value will be in a rewards card, especially if you’re willing to switch every few years, and keep collecting those free trip welcome bonuses. We especially love welcome bonuses with no annual fee offers, like the current TD Aeroplan promotion for above or the Amex Gold Rewards promotion above – both offer free return flights to anywhere in North America, and no annual fee in the first year.

      One thing to note relative to your question regarding the Avion card, there is a distance based flight grid, with points required for each region, i.e. 15K for short-haul flights, similar to Aeroplan, although there are no restrictions, as you pointed out. While you can use the same as cash feature with Avion, you will not get as much value when doing so. You’re much better off using the grid or converting your points to Avios, etc…

      With Aeroplan, you can avoid some of the availability issues with Market Fare pricing, but you’ll be paying a premium for it.

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

  24. How would you compare the Rogers™ Platinum MasterCard® with Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card from Chase? Thanks.

    • Hi Max,

      From the perspective of using the cards for foreign transactions, we would recommend the Rogers MasterCard. The reasons are as follows.
      1. Amazon.ca only provides 1% cash back on foreign transactions, including purchases at Amazon.com. Rogers provides 1.75% cash back on all purchases and the cash back can be redeemed as a statement credit (not just for Rogers goods).
      2. Amazon.ca is a Visa card, Rogers is a MasterCard. Visa charges a higher exchange rate than MasterCard 70% of the time and is cheaper by .38%.
      3. Add the higher cash back earnings and the better average exchange rate offered by MasterCard and you’ll get about 1.13% better value per dollar spent with the Rogers MasterCard.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  25. The Mariott rewards welcome bonus of 30000 points is only applicable to Category 1 hotels. At this time (March 2016) there are no category 1 hotels in Canada; therefore, making this bonus unusable for those who want to use it within Canada. Also, it is ironic that they announce this bonus as an exclusive Canadian offer.

    • Hi Debbie,

      We called Chase and Marriott and confirmed that you can use the 30,000 bonus points for ANY category hotel, not just category 1 hotels. So even though Canada may not have any category 1 hotels (the cheapest of the bunch), you can use your points for any category 2-9. The offer still has tremendous value if you want to book a Marriott in Canada – 3 free nights at a category 2 hotel in Canada.

      Regardless, 30,000 points (3-4 nights), plus an e-certificate for a free night at a category 1-4 hotel, and no annual fee in the first year is as rich a welcome bonus as you’ll get. Chase & Marriott are giving away 4-5 free hotel nights just for activating your card with no committment, cost or risk on your end.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  26. Hello. I’m single, don’t own a car and don’t travel much or stay in hotels so chances for me to accumulate points are limited. I was however a happy AMEX Gold Rewards user until recently because of the referral program. As you know that’s no longer the case. Now I was okay paying $150 a year given the advantages of the card and that fact that I could get at least 10,000 reward points with at least one referral per year so i figured it would almost ofset the $150 fee. Now that there is no referral bonus anymore I am looking to cancel the Amex Gold Rewards. Should I convert the points to Aeroplan or Avios ? I’ve had good luck with Aeroplan so far (I redeemed 3 trips) but I am tempted to convert to AVIOS because AMEX is offering a 25% bonus until March 28th when Aeroplan won’t give you more than the 1:1. Is Avios better or easier to use than Aeroplan. What are the pros ans cons of each program ( Star Alliance vs One World for instance).

    • Hi Andre,

      Great question. Choosing between Aeroplan or Avios will depend on where you want to travel and how you want to get there. Avios is a distance based program, while Aeroplan is a fixed point redemption program. Since Avios devalued its points recently, the disparity between the two has dropped dramatically.

      Each program will have availability issues. ideally, you would pick your destination, compare the redemption requirements of each, and redeem for the program that gives you the best value. having the Amex Gold Rewards card allows you to do that. Cancelling it, will force you to make that choice/switch now. That’s why we value the Amex Gold Rewards cards as being the most flexible in Canada – you can optimize your value by shifting your points from Member Rewards, to Aeroplan to Avios each flight, depending on which one gives you the most value.

      Here are some of the major differences. If you’re looking to fly within Canada, Aeroplan is your only choice, you can’t redeem Avios for any domestic flights. If you’re looking to fly American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, British Airways or One World alliance partners go Avios. If you’re looking to fly Air Canada, United Airlines or Star Alliance go Aeroplan.

      Ultimately, since you’ve been having luck with Aeroplan ( and we don’t know the specific routes you’re looking to redeem for), we would say stick with Aeroplan.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  27. I see that American Express is only allowing first time card applicants to get bonus points so that people do not cancel their cards after a year and wait for some time to reply to get the bonus again. Are the other credit card companies that also offer bonus points doing this also? Additionally, it looks Ike Amex is only allowing you to “refer a friend” for the same card you have and not for the same general type of card. For example, in the past, if you had a platinum card, you could refer someone for a platinum, a gold or a regular card but it doesn’t seem like that any more.

    • Hi Sherri,

      To answer your first question, several issuers will allow you to re-apply for a credit card multiple times and remain eligible to receive the welcome bonus attached to each new offer.

      That said, most issuers will have a minimum time frame between account openings with language like this “If you have opened an Account in the last 6 months, you will not be eligible for these offers.” And many will give themselves the right “to limit the number of Accounts opened by and the number of miles awarded to any one person”, which kind of gives them the catch-all to limit gamers. That said, whil emany maintain the right, many do not have the capability to monitor gamers. Examples of issuers that allow for it are TD, BMO, RBC and CIBC.

      You are correct, you can only recommend someone to a credit card that you have. It seems like Amex is trying to avoid the “gamers”, who were recommending cards to friends and others, just so they could get the points. While one could say Amex should benefit from that, we’re guessing, a lot of the accounts generated by that activity we’re churning heavily, and just not owrth it to Amex.

      Moreover, as opposed to selling credit cards on behalf of Amex, if you’re recommending a card, it probably should be a card your familiar with. That would tend to once again limit the gamers, who’s referrals ultimately made it unprofitable for Amex. Many were offering their links in forums and what not.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  28. Hi guys, enjoyed reading through this updated list – definitely looks updated from the 2015 version and very informative.

    I just had a couple queries/gripes:
    Why did RBC Avion somehow displace the Scotiabank Gold Amex in the flexible category? The 4% earn rate on groceries/gas/dining/entertainment is unbelievable. I realize the insurance package is not as generous but RBC points are only worthwhile when redeemed at pre-determined amounts or when converted to Avios or AAdvantage miles – something the average consumer will fail to get great value out of (which the airlines count on). To me, this card is far from the flexibility offered by either Amex. Anyways I’m sure you guys have some thoughts that I haven’t considered so I was interested to hear them.

    Second, I think you may have rejigged your categories slightly from 2015 but I do think the BMO World Elite Mastercard deserves some love. Earning 2% on absolutely everything, in addition to a top notch insurance package AND 4 complimentary airport lounge visits a year would be beyond useful to many consumers and takes the guesswork out of fooling around with potentially frustrating airline loyalty programs like Aeroplan. Based on your assessment of TD’s Aeroplan Visa being ahead of the RBC Westjet Mastercard though, it is clear we see things differently. Haha 🙂

    • William,

      Thanks for the great question. Invariably, making any selection is a tough task. RBC squeezed out Scotia Gold because of the number of programs it allows cardholders to transfer points to, often with transfer bonuses (WestJet, Avios, American Airlines, Asia Miles, Esso), the high value that can be achieved on short-haul flights through partners, and the high value that can be achieve on last-minute flights through the Avion redemption chart.

      That said, we continue to think the American Express Gold Rewards card is the most flexible of all: redeem for any travel or transfer to Aeroplan and Avios, (with better earn rates than the RBC Avion card).

      Here are some of the details behind our rationale:

      1. Why we chose The RBC Infinite Avion over the Scotia Amex Gold:

      a. First, let’s start off by saying, the Amex Gold is a very good credit card, with a high earn rate in everyday spend categories. However, part of our thinking here is, if you want to get 4% on gas & groceries that you can redeem for any travel, why not get a 4% cash back card (Scotia Infinite Momentum or CIBC Infinite Dividend), and leave yourself the flexibility to redeem for ANY expense on your credit card statement with cashback? Plus you’ll get the advantage of having a Visa card instead of an Amex for easier point accumulation opportunities.

      Also remember, the average Canadian may spend $9,000 a year on gas & groceries. But most people with premium travel cards spend much more on no everyday spending categories, usually an additional $14,000. So we’re also looking for value in non-everyday spend categories, beyond the 1% the Scotia Amex Gold provides.

      b. Second the avion card allows cardholders to convert points to Westjet, American Airlines, British Ariways Avios, Asia Miles, Shoppers Optimum and Esso Extra points. But what makes that special are the transfer bonuses that RBC often provides i.e. 30%-50% transfer bonuses to Birtish Airways Avion, 20% bonus when converting to Westjet, etc…

      c. The Avios program is a distance based progam, meaning, it requires increasing point levels as flight distances increase. Our calculations show that (despite some recent devaluations), the program continues to have superior value for short-haul flights. In general short-haul flights (toronto-new york, montreal-chicago) require 15,000 avios points return. But the taxes and fees are far lower than an Aeroplan redemption.

      d. The Avios program still has one of the best redemption values for short-haul flights within Europe and Asia of 4,500 Avios points, 9,000 return.

      e. The Avios program also offers great value when flying to Asia, through Cathay Pacific flights. Asia Miles also offers superior value.

      f. The avion program is a chart based redemption program. As a result, the program can offer very good value when redeeming for flights at the last minute, since those flights tend to be more expensive. In those circumstance, you can get values in the redemption chart as high as 2.3 cents per point.

      There is obviously something to be said for the Scotia Gold program, which allows you to redeem for any travel. That said, we did include a separate category for that feature specifically. MBNA and CapOne won that category for reasons you can read in the post.

      No one card will be perfect for everybody. Ultimately, you may find the Scotia Amex Gold works best for you.

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Very well thought out. Thank you very much for the reply and for all the information. Would you guys happen to know of a way to convert Shoppers Optimum to RBC points? I have never been able to find a way to convert in that direction and was curious if you guys are aware of a method. Thanks.

        • Hi William,

          Thanks for the kind words.

          With respect to transferring points from Shoppers to RBC, you’re right, nothing obvious. Easy to do the inverse though. Calls to RBC were fruitless. One avenue you could check is Points.com, to see if they allow for transfers from Shoppers to RBC, and at what cost, if any. Let us know the result.

          GreedyRates Staff

  29. So I see that TD infinite is your recomendation for being one of the best for travel.. I had a CIBC Infinite before however when Aeroplan was sold or transferred or whatever happened I was told that I then had to switch over to TD Infinite which I did.. Now for a couple of reasons I am now thinking that I might go back to CIBC which I”m now told that I can do that… but do the two card have the same coverage ?? I know that the annual rate is the same but not sure about every thing else,, thankyou

    • Hi Terry,

      Both cards have the same coverage i.e. travel medical, trip cancellation, trip interruption, flight/baggage delay, car rental, extended warranty, purchase assurance. The two notable differences are:

      1. The TD Aeroplan Infinite card covers you for trip interruption up to $5,000 per person, while the CIBC Aeroplan Infinite card is limited to $2,000 per person.
      2. The TD Aeroplan Infinite card covers you for lost or stolen luggage up to $1,000 per person, no group limit. CIBC Aeroplan Infinite covers you for a max of $500 per person, with a $1,000 group limit.

      We respect your decision to switch back to the CIBC Aeroplan Infinite card. The reason why we preferr the TD Aeroplan Infinite card is because 1. It has no annual fee in the first year. 2. It has a higher welcome bonus of 25,000 miles (anthother 5K if you get an authorized user card) versus 15,000 for CIBC. 3. Get 3 miles per dollar spent instead of 1.5 miles per dollar spent in first 3 months on gas, grocery, drugstore and aircanada.com purchases. Everything else is pretty similar.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  30. Hi,
    Thanks for this review! One thing I was wondering about though, I ready have a Mastercard, but it has a foreign transaction fee. Would it be a bad idea to get another Mastercard? The Amazon Visa seems like another option, but I like the higher percent on money back from Rogers. Plus, I have a Rogers cell plan. Any idea if having two of the same type of cards is a negative thing? Thanks for any answers!

    • Hi Ashes,

      There’s no issue at all with having multiple MasterCards. In fact, it’s a good idea to have at least 2 credit cards from different credit card issuers. First, it’s always good to have an extra card in your wallet in case your card gets lost, stolen or frozen. Second, it’s good to have two cards from different issuers so that if your relationship with one bank sours (line reduction, account closure, contested payment, rise in rates, etc…), it doesn’t impact your other card. All of those decisions are made by the credit card issuing bank (TD, RBC, CIBC, BMO, CapOne, Rogers, Canadian Tire, Scotia, Chase, MBNA, etc…) not by the network (MasterCard, Visa).

      Whether you have two cards from the same network (MasterCard or Visa) makes no difference at all, both are accepted in virtually all of the same places.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  31. How does the Scotiabank American Express Gold compare?

    • Hi Yvonne,

      The Scotiabank American Express Gold is also a very strong card. It allows you to earn 4% in gas, groceries, dining & entertainment, 1% everywhere else. It comes with a $99 annual fee, and currently has a $200 welcome bonus. The nice thing is it’s also pretty flexible, allowing you to redeem the cash value of your rewards gainst any travel expense on your credit card statement. It also comes with a strong insurance package. For those who mostly spend in the gas, groceries and restaurant categories, it may just be the best card at a 4% earn rate.

      We considered it in the “book anything, anytime, anywhere category” as it has the same redemption scheme as the MBNA rewards and CapOne Aspire card. Ultimately, the MBNA World Elite MasterCard won because it offers 2% everywhere, and you can redeem your rewards not just against your travel expenses (which don’t includ taxis), but against any expense. We also like that the MBNA card always waives the first year annual fee, making it free to try. We believe, just like a pair of jeans, or a car, you should have the option to take a card for a spin to see if you like the product, redemption process and customer service before you’re obligated to pay an annual fee.

      • Thanks for the reply. Am I right that the Scotiabank American Express Gold does not allow you to convert points to Aeroplan? While the American Express Gold Rewards card above does?

        • That is correct Yvonne. You can only convert your Amex Gold Rewards points to Aeroplan 1:1. You cannot convert your Scotia Gold Amex points to Aeroplan at all. Despite similar names, there is no relationship between the Amex Gold rewards card and the Scotia Gold American Express Card.

          GreedyRates Staff

  32. How does the Scotiabank Amex Gold compare?

  33. Seems odd that Desjardins offers a more expensive Platinum card that offers a higher (1.5%) reward rate, similar insurance, but omits the very valuable mobile device insurance. Is that your understanding as well?

    • Hi Geoff,

      It seems that Desjardins has positioned the Odyssey Gold as the “comprehensive insurance” travel card and the Visa Prestige Platinum as the “rewards” travel card. While the Odyssey Gold comes with Mobile insurance, its travel medical insurance is also more robust, lasting 60 consecutive days. However, it only gives you 1% rewards per dollar spent.

      The Visa Prestige Platinum on the other hand offers a higher earn rate of 1.5%, but has no mobile insurance, and its travel medical insurance covers you to a lesser 23 consecutive days.

      There’s a reason no other issuer offering higher rewards rates is able to match Desjardin’s inclusive insurance package – they can’t afford both.

      Thanks for highlighting the difference and bringing it to our attention,

      GreedyRates Staff

  34. How about ASPIRE MasterCard? It has 2% return if you redeem point towards travel expenses also bonus $400 in points. Cancellation insurance, trip interruption and etc.

    • Hi Andrei,

      The CapOne ASPIRE World Elite MasterCard came in as the runner-up in the Best “Book Anything, Anytime, Anywhere” Travel Credit category above. It came second to the MBNA Rewards World Elite card, because the MBNA card also provides 2% rewards, but you can redeem for any item on your credit card statement, not just travel. In fact you can even have MBNA send you a check or deposit your 2% rewards into your bank account at no extra charge. Moreover, it comes with no annual fee in the first year, making it free to try. That said, the CapOne Aspire does come with a higher welcome bonus, and more robust insurance.

      We also liked the MBNA Rewards World Elite card because it comes with a first year annual fee waiver, with an ongoing annual fee of only $89, compared to Capital One Aspire’s annual fee of $150.

      Best,

      GreedyRates Staff

  35. Where these all the travel cards you compared?

    • Hi Helen,

      We included all of Canada’s credit cards in our comparison. The winners listed above, are the credit cards who ranked as the best in each of their respective categories.

      GreedyRates Staff

  36. Scotiabank’s credit card. “Momentum” does not have foreign transaction 2.5% charge and no annual fee…PNM

    • Hi PNM,

      Actually, that is incorrect. Scotia is only waiving the foreign transaction fees on the Sears MasterCard’s it converted over to the Scotia Momentum card. All new Scotia Momentum cardholders, or original Scotia Momentum cardholders are charged the 2.5% foreign transaction fee as per their terms and conditions:

      “When the transaction is posted to your account, in addition to the exchange rate, you will be charged a foreign currency conversion mark-up equal to 2.50 % for each foreign currency transaction.”

      Hope that helps clarify things.

      GreedyRates Staff

  37. Is there a low cost/ no fee card that is in US$ . I assume no transaction fees are applicable as long as card balance is paid in US$

    • Hi Harvey,

      If you already have U.S. dollars, then a U.S. dollar card is the way to go. If you don’t have US dollars, then a no foreign transaction fee credit card will be cheaper than a US dollar card.

      The reason is because a no foreign transaction fee card converts your US dollars at interbank, or the spot rate – no margin. While if you have a US dollar card, and have to convert CDN dollars to pay your US Dollar Card statement, the bank or any exchange bureau will charge you the interbank/spot rate plus margin to convert your moeny.

      That said, most Canadian banks offer a US Dollar card, however, most seem to charge an annual fee of around $35-$39. BMO’s US Dollar Card waives the annual fee of $35, if you spend a min of $1,000 – hopefully that helps you get to where you want to be. None come with any type of rewards. Not sure why.

      GreedyRates Staff

    • Hi Harvey, I work for RBC, and we offer a no-fee US$ Visa card through our USA banking operation. The application is roughly 15-20 minutes to complete, and then the card is mailed right to your front door in 2-3 weeks. Easy as pie.

      • Thanks, great addition. Just one note to our readers, the RBC U.S. dollar card sates that you must “have an existing personal account at RBC Royal Bank (Canada) or RBC Bank (U.S.)”. Is that correct Joshua?

        • Yes, that’s true, I have one. But at $2.95/month service fee for the chequing account, at 36$/year that is cheaper than the RBC USD card on this side of the border

  38. When you did your comparison of airline credit cards, did you simply use lowest fare or net fare after surcharges? My recent experience using Aeroplan points for a transatlantic flight gave a value of less than one cent per point. Air Canada’s fuel surcharge is one of the highest of any airline and points do not cover that! Incidentally it costs 3 cents a point if you need to buy extra points! No value there. Avion from RBC is my choice!

    • Hi Edna,

      Our calculations did in fact, take into account taxes, fees and other incremental charges when calculating the value per point or mile. Our study was conducted over 15 flights to different locations, in different seat classes. Obviously different routes have different redemption values, and if you are going to be an Aeroplan user, we do recommend you be prepared to be flexible with your dates, to get maximum value.

      We do have one tip to increase the value of your Aeroplan miles. We found that if you’re able to book your Aeroplan redemptions through United Airlines or other partner airlines, you’ll find your taxes and fees much lower than if you booked the same route with Air Canada. You’ll also notice better redemption values when booking most business or first class tickets.

      GreedyRates Staff

  39. I would suggest that Amazon’s Visa card is an excellent option for a no foreign transaction fee card. 1% cash back on all purchases, 2% cash back on all purchases made on Amazon Canada, no annual fee.

    • Hi Joe,

      Not a bad option either. We recommend the Rogers card ahead of the Amazon card because it offers 1.75% cash back on ALL purchases, and you can redeem your cash back as a statement credit against all purchases (Rogers & non-Rogers). Also, the Amazon card will only get you 1% rewards on US dollar purchases, including at Amazon.com, while Rogers will get you 1.75% everywhere, including Amazon.com – that’s a big difference.

      So for foreign transactions, with Rogers you’re getting the equivalent of 4.25% in savings (2.5% foreign transaction fee savings + 1.75% cash back), while with Amazon you’re getting 3.5% (2.5%+1%).

      GreedyRates Staff

      • I agree. I mentioned the Amazon card as perhaps a better runner up option than the Marriott. They also have good customer service. If the Rogers Card customer service is anything like Rogers telecom….ouch.

  40. About a week ago, a friend and I made the purchased identical items at the same store in Colombia within a moment or two of each other.

    I used a gold Amex and it cost $67.71CDN. My friend used the Marriott Rewards visa, and it cost $65.07.
    This could add up over several weeks on the road…….

    • Hi Tim,

      Great test. Interesting that the difference in price is close to 4%. One piece of that is obviously the lack of a foreign transaction fee on the Marriott Rewards Visa card charged by the issuer (credit card company), which should account for 2.5%. The other difference is in the foreign exchange which the network (Visa/Amex/MasterCard) charges. Seems like Amex came in a little high on this one compared to Visa.

      Thanks for sharing!

      GreedyRates Staff

  41. Does the fact that the Rogers card tranfers your purchase firstinto USD then into CDN not mean that they ding you twice, lessening the 2.5%advantage of “no transaction fees” — trying to decide whether to get this specifically for a European trip

    • Hi Bilzebub,

      There is absolutely no impact on the cost of your foreign exchange, this is a big misconception. Whether Rogers converts directly from Euros to CDN, or from Euros to USD, and then USD to CDN, makes no mathematical difference. We’ll show you the math using the the real exchange rates MasterCard used for Feb 11, 2016.

      1. Euro to USD =.886289. US to CDN =.713725. Now multiply .886289 X .713725 =.632566
      2. Euro to CDN = .632567

      You can see there is absolutely no difference, except for what amounts to a rounding error.

      MasterCard isn’t charging a tansaction fee everytime it performs a currency conversion. It’s using wholesale rates. As a result there’s no impact on your exchange rate by using the USD as the base currency. What consumers also need to realize is that Rogers does not control how the exchange is performed, MasterCard does. We actually believe every issuer does it the way Rogers articulated it, because that’s the way MasterCard does it. The other issuers just haven’t gone to the length of describing MasterCard’s currency exchange process in detail in their disclosures, because there is no impact to the cardholder.

      Hope that helps clarify things.

      GreedyRates Staff

  42. This was a terrific piece. Very helpful. Beyond the foreign transaction fee, Is there a card that consistently has the best market currency conversion rate for US travel?

    • Thanks Captain!

      Beyond the foreign transaction fee, it would be the networks (i.e. Visa, MasterCard, Amex), that set the currency conversion rate. MasterCard states that it “uses multiple market sources (such as Bloomberg, Reuters, Central Banks and others) to develop exchange rates. These rates generally reflect either wholesale market rates or government mandated rates that are collected during the daily rate setting process.”

      We just took 3 sample dates, to take a look at what Visa and MasterCard charged to convert CDN to US dollars on each of those dates. The results were as follows:

      Feb 15 Visa 1.396660 CAD
      Feb 15 MasterCard 1.384800 CAD MasterCard Wins by $.01186

      Feb 11 Visa 1.400060 CAD Visa Wins by $.00074
      Feb 11 MasterCard 1.400800 CAD

      Feb 8 Visa 1.391961 CAD Visa Wins by $.00579
      Feb 8 MasterCard 1.397400 CAD

      They really are pretty close, and it seems to be inconsistent. It seems, and we’d have to do more research here, that when MasterCard wins, they win big, but when Visa wins, the margin is much smaller. As a result, over the 3 transaction periods, MasterCard came out ahead by $.00533, even though it lost 2 out of the 3 days.

      It looks like you’d be far better off choosing the card with no foreign transaction fee, where the difference is 2.5%. Which bank you choose should not make a difference, and it seems difficult to asses which of Visa or MasterCard offers better exchange rates.

      Hope that helps Kirk,

      GreedyRates Staff

    • Is there any advantage at all to getting the Amex platinum card?

      • Hi Paul,

        In our opinion, the biggest advantages to the Amex platinum card are (potentially justifying the $699 annual fee):

        1. 50,000 welcome bonus points
        2. $200 annual travel credit
        3. Automatic upgrade to Starwood Gold prefered membership, Fairmont’s President’s Club membership, Club Carlson Platinum membership & HH Honours Gold Status
        4. Complimentary lounge access, with guest
        5. Complimetary companion ticket & upgrade to first class on select flights

        Hope that helps,

        GreedyRates Staff

  43. The Rogers Platinum MasterCard is ranked here as the best No Foreign Transaction fee credit card in Canada, but what is the value of the rewards accumulated? The Rogers bank website states “10,000 Rogers rewards points is valued at $35.” So with an annual spend of $25000 using the Rogers MC at 1.75% earn rate, will the cardholder receive $437.50 cashback as a statement credit at the end of the year? Or is the value less unless their rewards are applied against a Rogers group monthly bill (mobile/cable/internet etc). With the Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa, also with no foreign transaction fee/annual fee, for example, 100 points= $1.

    • Hi Alex,

      The Rogers MasterCard gives you 1.75% cash back on all purchases, which you can redeem against any items on your credit card statement, at full value.

      To your first point, Rogers does value 10,000 Rogers points at $35, making each point worth .35 cents, however, it provides the equivalent of 5 points per dollar spent per its terms and conditions: “Rewards are calculated on the Canadian dollar amount of Net Purchases. Rewards will be calculated as
      follows: 5 points per $1 spent of the Canadian dollar value of Net Purchases charged to your Account (equivalent to 1.75% of Card Purchases).” 5 multiplied times .35 equals 1.75%.

      Secondly, despite Rogers preference that you redeem for Rogers rewards, you’re allowed to redeem for any item on your credit card statement, not just Rogers items, once per year as stated in their terms “Or, you can contact Rogers Bank once per year to receive an annual statement credit for the value of the rewards you have earned during that period.”

      Alex, I hope this helps clarify the terms of the Rogers card. With 1.75% cash back on all purchases, with no fee in the first year, and a sign-up bonus of $35, which takes care of the annual fee in the second year (if you’re not a Rogers customer), we think this is a great option for foreign purchases.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

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