Best Credit Cards for Drivers

Jordann Brown
by Jordann Brown November 9, 2018 / 2 Comments

We Canadians love our cars. Maybe it’s because we live in a sparsely populated country and many of us require a car to achieve the freedom of mobility. Maybe it’s because the distances we travel in our cars are so long they are often measured in hours, not kilometers.

Whatever the reason, we love our cars so much that last year Canadians purchased more than two million vehicles – a new record high. Those two million cars (and all the other cars on the road in Canada) will each cost their owners an average of between $8,600 and $13,000 per year – almost as much as the average yearly rent in Canada for a two-bedroom apartment.

If you’re a car owner, it makes sense to consider credit cards that have benefits for drivers. There are two main types of credit cards drivers likely care about:

Today we’re going to look at the best credit cards in Canada for both categories so that you can minimize your car’s impact on your bottom line. We’ll start with roadside assistance.

What is Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance exists to assist you if you find yourself stranded with your car. The coverage typically includes 24/7 assistance for accidental lockout, flat tires, fuel delivery, towing services, and some services even offer accident coverage. The most popular company that offers roadside assistance in Canada is CAA, but there are actually many other ways to obtain roadside assistance coverage. A fantastic way is to use a credit card that offers roadside assistance as a complimentary perk.

Best credit cards with Roadside Assistance

Home Trust Preferred Visa

The Home Trust Preferred Visa has made waves in Canada recently due to its 0% foreign transaction fee on purchases abroad, but it also offers a Roadside Assist membership at no extra charge. These emergency roadside services offer 24/7 coverage in North America. The Roadside Assist membership covers towing if your vehicle breaks down, gas delivery at no charge, battery boosting and lockout assistance.

This credit card also has no annual fee and allows you to earn 1% cash back on every purchase.

Triangle World Elite Mastercard from Canadian Tire

New on the scene in April, the Triangle World Elite Mastercard from Canadian Tire has first-class roadside assistance. This credit card covers you for up to 250 kilometers of towing, fuel delivery, flat tire change, battery boosting, lockout assistance and extrication/winching. This roadside assistance package covers up to five tows per year to a Canadian Tire Service Center.

On top of roadside assistance, this credit card also lets you earn 4% cash back at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark’s and Atmosphere, as well as 3% back in Canadian Tire money at grocery stores. You must have an individual income of at least $80,000 to qualify.

BMO Cashback World Elite Mastercard, BMO Cashback World and Shell Cashback World Mastercard from BMO

These three BMO credit cards offer a Basic membership to the BMO Roadside Assistance Program, which is administered by the Dominion Automobile Association. Here is what that membership covers:

  • Additional cardholders are covered free
  • Service is available within Canada and the continental USA
  • Four service calls per year
  • The maximum towing distance is 10 kilometers
  • Battery boost, flat tire change, fuel delivery, lockout assistance, extrication and winching

This coverage is worth $69 annually if you paid for your membership outright. Now let’s look at each of the individual BMO credit cards that offer this perk:

BMO Cashback World Elite Mastercard

The BMO Cashback World Elite Mastercard is one of the stronger cash back credit cards on the Canadian market. With an annual fee of $120, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all credit card purchases without restrictions. Plus, when you sign up, you’ll earn a special bonus rate of 4% cash back during the first four months of spending, up to a maximum of $250.

This credit card comes with a suite of extra perks including travel and medical protection, extended warranty protection, 24/7 concierge service, and car rental collision/loss damage waiver protection. The income requirement is $80,000 per year or $150,000 per year as a family.

BMO Cashback World

The BMO Cashback World is like the credit card mentioned above, but with a lower annual fee of $79, and a minimum income requirement of $60,000 individually, or $100,000 as a family. With this credit card, you’ll earn 1.25% cash back on all your purchases, and 3% cash back on Shell purchases.

You can add additional users for $35 per user per year, and the BMO Cashback World offers several types of insurance coverage including travel protection, extended warranty, purchase protection, and of course Roadside Assistance. You’ll also enjoy 25% off at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car.

Shell Cashback World Mastercard from BMO

The Shell Cashback World Mastercard from BMO is ideal for anyone driving long distances and regularly filling their tanks at Shell locations. This credit card offers 3% cash back for every dollar spent on purchases at Shell locations in Canada, and 1.25% cashback on everything else. There is a $79 fee for this credit card, and you must have an income of $60,000 or a family income of $100,000 to qualify. There are no additional insurances or perks offered with this credit card.

TD Cashback Visa Infinite

As the proud owner of the TD Cashback Visa Infinite credit card, you’re enrolled in a TD Autoclub Membership, which covers you in all the standard types of roadside emergencies including battery boosting, flat tire repair, fuel delivery, lockout assistance, towing and winching. You’ll also have access to transportation for you and your family if you become stranded, and towing and emergency accommodations in the event of an accident.

Along with roadside assistance, the TD Cashback Visa Infinite rewards your spending. You’ll earn 3% cash back on eligible grocery, gas and recurring bill payments, and 1% cash back on everything else. Plus, this credit card currently comes with a limited-time offer of 6% cash back on all purchases for the 3 months (on up to $2,000 in spending). Insurance options include travel medical insurance and delayed or lost baggage insurance.

The TD Cashback Visa Infinite also affords you access to a 24/7 concierge, the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel collection, and the Visa Infinite Food and Wine Experience. The annual fee for this credit card is $120, and additional users may be added for $50. You must earn $60,000 individually or $100,000 as a family to qualify for this credit card.

If you drive a lot and are looking to save on the cost of owning a car, you may be more (or just as) interested in maximizing your rewards for gas purchases more than roadside assistance. With that in mind, these are the best credit cards for gas that you should consider adding to your financial arsenal:

Best Gas Credit Cards in Canada

Best cash back credit card for gas

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

The Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card is one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada for gas purchases. With this credit card, you’ll earn 4% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases per year, and 1% cash back per dollar after that. You’ll also earn 2% cash back on recurring bills and at the pharmacy, and 1% back after that. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

The Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card also offers a comprehensive suite of insurance coverage, a 24/7 concierge service, and access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and the Visa Infinite Dining Series.

Best points credit card for gas

Scotia Gold American Express Card

If you’d prefer to earn rewards points instead of cash back, the Scotia Gold American Express Card is an excellent choice. With this credit card, users earn 3 points per dollar spent on gas, public transit and some streaming services, and 5 points per dollar on groceries, entertainment, and restaurants All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent.

The Scotia Gold American Express Card has an annual fee of $120 per year and requires an annual income of just $12,000 per year. If you spend $1,000 within the first three months, you’ll receive a bonus of 25,000 points, a $150 value. This credit card is equipped with comprehensive travel insurance coverage, a concierge service, and access to a reduced rate for airport lounges, exclusive offers, and more.

Best no fee gas rewards credit cards

Tangerine Money-Back Card

The Tangerine Money-Back offers one of the richest rewards rates for a no fee credit card, with 2% cash back in up to three different spending categories of your choice. Luckily for drivers, one of those categories includes gas purchases.

There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn and your rewards will be applied to your credit card statement every month, so you won’t have to wait a year for your gas savings to come into effect. The only caveat: you’ll get a nominal 0.5% cash back on purchases that don’t fall into one of your three bonus spending categories. However, since this card has no annual fee, it can be worth picking up as a secondary card.

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard

Another no fee credit card that offers 2% cash back on gas (as well as groceries) is the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum.

One thing that sets this credit card apart however is its welcome offer. For the first six months as a new cardholder, you can get 5% cash back on your gas purchases (up to a maximum of $500 every month). For all non-gas or grocery purchases, you’ll only get 0.5% cash back.

Honourable Mentions

The TD Cash Back Visa Infinite

In addition to offering cardholders free roadside assistance, The TD Cash Back Visa Infinite is also one of the best credit cards in Canada for drivers for its lucrative welcome bonus. This card is currently offering 6% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (on up to $2,000 in spending). Once the bonus expires or you hit the $2,000 ceiling, you’ll go on to earn 3% cash back on gas. This card does have a $120 annual fee (the highest annual fee on this list), however you may be eligible to have this annual fee waived if you also bank with TD and have a TD Bank All-Inclusive Plan.

MBNA Rewards Platinum

Offering double the points on gas, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus is an ideal choice for anyone who’s looking to rack up points (instead of cash back) without paying for an annual fee.

Take note however, you will only get double the points on gas on up to $5,000 spend every year, after which you’ll get 1 point. So, if you spend big on gas (upwards of $400 every month) you may want to consider another option.

The Final Word

For roadside assistance, the TD Cashback Visa Infinite offers high-level roadside assistance while maintaining a strong cash back rewards scheme. If roadside assistance isn’t important to you, you’ll maximize your fuel spending rewards by choosing the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card.

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Photo by why kei