Looking for a way to travel more, and get more out of your travel experiences?
Credit cards can actually help you with that. A rewards credit card lets you take advantage of awesome rewards like free nights at top-tier hotels, access to exclusive airport lounges and of course free flights.
And who doesn’t want a free flight?
But out of hundreds of credit cards to choose from, which ones actually provide you with the best value?
In this article, we’ll review the best Canadian credit cards for travel rewards in 2016 as rewarded by Canada’s Top Travel Rewards Credit Card, 8th annual feature. The best travel credit card however, is the one that works with your preferences and habits. So, look into each of the following winners and decide if they are right for you.
Best overall card in Canada
1) The American Express Gold Rewards Card –
No other card on the market provides you with the best options and most flexibility for travel redemption than American Express Gold. Want to book a cruise and use points? No problem. Want to convert to Aeroplan for business class tickets to Tokyo? You can do that with your Gold Rewards Card.
Amex Gold provides new members with 25,000 points when you charge $500 in purchases to your card in your first three months of card membership. That is equivalent to $250 in travel rewards which helps to offset the $150 annual fee (although first year is free).
With Amex Gold you earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores as well as eligible travel purchases like flights, cruises, hotels, car rentals etc. Scotiabank Gold American Express card ups that from 2 points to 4 points for every $1 spent at eligible vendors.
2) Capital One Aspire World Elite MasterCard
Capital One Aspire World Elite MasterCard is accepted just about everywhere you’d want to use it. So no matter where you shop, you’ll receive 2 rewards miles for every $1 you spend.
The annual fee for owning Aspire is $150, but it also includes supplementary cards for free which actually makes it cheaper to own than some of its competitors. And as a bonus on your first 3 months of purchasing $1000 or more, you’ll receive 40,000 reward miles, that’s a value of $400 in travel.
Capital One Aspire World Elite MasterCard includes an insurance package, covering travel accident, baggage and car rental insurance, trip cancellation and travel medical insurance.
3) BMO World Elite MasterCard
Like Aspire, BMO World Elite MasterCard should be the choice of those who don’t need to transfer points to other programs, but want a card that gives you airport business class lounge access when traveling and have a 2% return towards travel on their spending. BMO World Elite MasterCard also welcomes newcomers with 30,000 points equaling $300 that you can use towards your next travel purchase. Their annual fee is also $150.
BMO World Elite MasterCard provides Medical Protection as well as additional travel insurance options.
4) Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
Despite Marriott announcing the takeover of Starwood Hotels we won’t see any changes to the SPG, Starwoods Preferred Guest program for at least a year if not more, so you’ll still be able to earn Starpoints to redeem for great stays or as a card to convert Starpoints to well over 30 different airlines Worldwide.
Earn 20,000 Welcome Bonus Starpoints after you charge $500 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of membership. That will give you up to 5 nights free. One Starpoint is earned for every $1 in purchases charged to the Card. You can also receive a free weekend night reward once you reach $40,000 in purchases each year. The annual fee is $120.
There are no blackout dates on flights and at over 1,200 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries, including a collection of distinctive brands like St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Le Méridien and Westin.
5) RBC Visa Infinite Avion
One of the most popular cards in Canada, Visa Infinite Avion provides a high level of flexibility and value, however it is more restrictive than the cards that have been ranked above. But, you have that option to book any travel, choose any airline, any flight, any time with no blackout periods or seating restrictions (if there’s a seat you can have it). And, you can convert to airlines like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, American and WestJet.
You receive 1 point for every dollar spent on purchases plus, earn 25% more RBC Rewards points on eligible travel related purchases like flights, hotels, and car rentals. Plus, RBC Visa Infinite Avion comes with a 15,000 welcome bonus, equivalent to $350 worth of travel. The annual fee is $120, but you also receive the benefits of Trip Cancellation, Emergency Medical Insurance and Rental Car Insurance as well.
Back to you
Are you maximizing your credit card for travel rewards? Let me know if you have a card that you’d recommend and we’ll add it to the list. We currently use RBC Visa Infinite Avion as our go-to card. We do all our purchasing with this card to take full advantage of the points. How about you?