Best Credit Cards for Drivers

Jordann Brown
by Jordann Brown July 25, 2018 / No 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 benefits that credit cards offer drivers: roadside assistance and rewards for filling up at the pump. Today we’re going to look at the best credit cards for both categories so that you can minimize your car’s impact on your bottom line. We’ll start with roadside assistance.

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. Here are your options for credit cards with roadside assistance in Canada:

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 credit cards are offered through the Bank of Montreal (BMO) and all three of them 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. 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.

Best Credit Cards for Cash Back Rewards on Gas

If you drive a lot and your car tends to be in good condition, you may be more interested in maximizing your cash back rewards for your gas purchases than roadside assistance. If this is the case, there are two credit cards you should consider adding to your financial arsenal:

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card is one of the best credit cards on the market for cash back rewards on gas purchases. With this credit card, you’ll earn 4% cash back on the first $25,000 of eligible grocery and gas 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 up to $25,000 in spending, and 1% back after that. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. This credit card has an annual fee of $99 that is waived in the first year and an annual income requirement of $60,000 individually or $100,000 per year for a family.

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card 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.

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 4 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries, entertainment, and restaurants, with a $50,000 spending limit. Purchases exceeding this limit earn 1 point per dollar spent. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent.

The Scotia Gold American Express Card has an annual fee of $99 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 15,000 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.

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