Top credit cards for roadside assistance & gas in Canada

Jordann Brown
by Jordann Brown August 21, 2020 / 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 kilometres.

Whatever the reason, we love our cars so much Canadians own an estimated twenty-five million vehicles, representing one of the highest car ownership rates in the world. Those twenty-five million cars will each cost their owners a total average of between $8,600 and $13,000 per year – almost as much as the national average yearly rent 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 suddenly stranded with your car, often due to some form of mechanical issue. The coverage typically includes twenty-four/seven assistance for flat tire replacement, emergency fuel deliveries, car battery boosts, towing and winching services in case your car broke down or is stuck in a ditch, and emergency lockout services. The company most synonymous with roadside assistance in Canada is the CAA, and in order to receive coverage, you’ll usually have to pay an annual membership fee that can add up to between $73 to $147. But there are ways to obtain the benefits of roadside assistance coverage without paying, like using a credit card that offers roadside assistance as a complimentary perk.

Best credit cards with free Roadside Assistance

TD Cashback Visa Infinite

Roadside assistance features:

  • Coverage: 24/7 access across Canada and the U.S.
  • Service calls per year: Unlimited
  • Towing distance: up to 200 km radius (to the nearest garage, gas station, or repair facility)
  • Emergency gas replacement: up to $5 worth of emergency fuel
  • Other services: emergency flat tire changes, winching/extraction, battery boost, and lost key lockout assistance
  • Noteworthy features: Unlimited service calls per year; between $25 – $200 in reimbursements for transport, food, and accommodations in the event you’re stranded due to a roadside emergency; and trip planning services
  • Annual fee: $120
  • Get 3% cash back on gas, groceries and recurring bills
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

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As a TD Cashback Visa Infinite cardholder, you’ll be enrolled in a TD Deluxe Autoclub Membership, which covers you for all the standard types of roadside emergencies including battery boosting, flat tire repair, fuel delivery, lockout assistance, towing and winching.

What sets the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite’s roadside assistance apart is you’ll receive an unlimited number of service calls, which is unlike the other credit cards on this list that impose a cap of either four or five free service calls per year.

Additionally, you can receive reimbursements for a range of expenses in the event of a roadside emergency including:

  • Emergency transportation for you and your family back to your home in the event you’re stranded due to a mechanical issue with your vehicle or a car accident, provided your home is within 80 kilometres of the incident. Or you can receive a $25 reimbursement for any taxi or public transportation costs you choose to use to return home
  • Up to $200 in reimbursements on meals or accommodation in the event you’re stranded due to a car accident or because your car was stolen and you need some food or a place to stay until your vehicle is repaired, returned, or a replacement is made available
  • Up to an additional $50 reimbursement to cover personal necessities you need to pay for while staying at a hotel or motel while your vehicle issues are being resolved; and
  • In some instances, you can receive between $150 to $300 in reimbursements for advice or assistance from a lawyer in the event of legal matters associated with a car incident (i.e. if you’re being sued for damages arising out of your operation of a vehicle).

Finally, you can even tap TD AutoClub’s Personalized Auto Trip Planning feature to have a specialist help you plan your next road trip by highlighting top travel routes, develop personalized itineraries, and even providing travel tips and suggestions.

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. 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 can be added for $50. You must earn $60,000 individually or $100,000 as a family to qualify for this credit card.

BMO Cashback World Elite Mastercard

  • Coverage: 24/7 access across Canada and mainland U.S.
  • Service calls per year: 4
  • Towing distance: up to 10 km radius (to the nearest garage, gas station, or repair facility)
  • Battery boost, flat tire change, fuel delivery, lockout assistance, extrication and winching
  • Noteworthy features: Additional authorized users are covered for free

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

  • $120 annual fee (waived for 1st year)
  • Welcome Offer: 10% cash back on all purchases (up to $200) for first 3 months
  • 1.5% cash back thereafter
  • Annual income requirement: $80,000 (personal) or $150,000 (household)

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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 10% cash back during the first four months of spending, up to a maximum of $200.

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. Plus, as a Mastercard that offers a flat 1.5% cash back on everything, the BMO CashBack World Elite is one of the best credit cards to use at Costco. The income requirement is $80,000 per year or $150,000 per year as a family.

Best gas credit cards in Canada

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

Best no fee cash back card for gas

Tangerine Money-Back Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases in up to three spending categories of your choice (options include gas, groceries, dining, bills, and more)
  • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • No limit on how much cash back you can earn
  • Annual income required: $15,000
  • Roadside assistance: None

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The Tangerine Money-Back is one of the top no fee credit cards in Canada, earning a strong 2% cash back in up to three different bonus spending categories. The best part is you get to choose your own 2% bonus categories out of a total of ten options, and one of your choices includes gas. Your other two bonus categories can include anything from groceries and dining, to public transit, pharmacies, home improvement, and more.

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.

If you do earn a minimum annual income of at least $60,000, you may even qualify for the higher-tier Tangerine World Mastercard and get access to additional perks like mobile device insurance, a free Boingo Wi-Fi Membership, and rental car insurance.

Best no fee points credit cards for gas

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases ($5,000 annual cap on each category)
  • For the first 90 days, earn 4 points per $1 spent on the three bonus categories mentioned above
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Get up to 10,000 bonus points
  • Annual income required: No specific amount
  • Roadside assistance: None

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Offering double the points on gas, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is an ideal choice for anyone who’s looking to earn points on one of the country’s best travel credit cards without paying an annual fee. MBNA Rewards points are flexible, and can be redeemed for flights on virtually any airline at a rate of 100 points for $1 (or 1 point equals 1 cent / 1%), or for a range of gift cards at rate of around 1 point equal 0.9 cents / 0.9%.

You’ll also earn 1 point per dollar on groceries and dining purchases in addition to gas. The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus even has a slight edge over the Tangerine Money-Back Card (covered above) since it earns a minimum of 1 point per dollar on all your other everyday purchases while the Tangerine Money-Back offers 0.5% cash back.

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Card’s welcome bonus is also worth calling out and adds up to a potential value of $100. As a new cardholder, you’ll get 5,000 bonus points for signing up for online e-statements within the first 90-days of receiving your card along with another 5,000 points for making at least $500 in purchases within the same period.

The one thing to note however is you’ll only earn two times the points on gas on the first $5,000 you spend at gas stations annually, after which your earn rate will drop to 1 point per dollar. Note though, this cap does reset every year and $5,000 annually on gas equals to an average of $416 on gas each month, so you’ll likely be racking up double the points on most or all your gas spending.

PC Financial Mastercard

  • No annual fee
  • 30 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at Esso gas station
  • 25 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart
  • 10 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual income required: No specific amount
  • Roadside assistance: None

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While the PC Financial Mastercard is most synonymous with groceries, this entry-level card also offers great returns at the pump too. You’ll earn 30 PC Optimum per dollar at Esso stations, and when considering 10,000 PC points is worth $10, that works out to a 3% return. 3% on gas for a no fee, entry-level credit card at one of the largest gas station networks in the country is a solid offering.

You’ll also earn 25 PC points per dollar (2.5%) at Shoppers Drug Mart and 10 PC points per dollar (or 1%) everywhere else.

If you earn a minimum personal annual income of at least $60,000 or $80,000, you could automatically qualify for the higher tier PC Financial World or PC Financial World Elite respectively – both of which offer better returns on grocery purchases from Loblaws banner stores (including No Frills) and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Best cash back credit cards for gas

CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

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  • Annual fee: $99 (rebated for the first year)
  • 4% cash back on gas and groceries
  • 2% on Telus and Tim Hortons purchases
  • 1% on everything else
  • Annual income required: $60,000 (personal) or $100,000 (household)
  • Roadside assistance: None

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The CIBC Dividend Visa offers 4% on gas – an earn rate no other cash back credit card can beat. To top it off, you’ll earn 4% on groceries and 2% on Telus purchases and at Tim Hortons. Another advantage is the card’s annual fee is set at $99 instead of the average $120 charged by most premium rewards credit cards.

TD CashBack Visa Infinite

  • Annual fee: $120 (waived for first year)
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 10% cash back on eligible purchases for first 3 months (on up to $2,000 in spending)
  • Once offer ends, get 3% cash back on gas, groceries and recurring bills
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Annual income required: $60,000 (personal) or $100,000 (household)
  • Roadside assistance: Yes

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The TD Cash Back Visa Infinite makes a second appearance on this blog. We called it out earlier for its comprehensive road assistance coverage, but it also deserves a mention for its great rewards on everyday purchases including on gas.

With this card, you’ll earn an unlimited 3% on gas purchases, along with groceries and recurring bills.

Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card

  • Annual fee: $99
  • 4% cash back on gas and groceries
  • 2% on recurring bills and at pharmacies
  • 1% on everything else
  • Annual income required: $60,000 (personal) or $100,000 (household)
  • Roadside assistance: None

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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, and 2% on recurring bills and at drug stores. All other everyday purchases earn 1% cash back.

The Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card also stands out for its extensive suite of travel insurance benefits with up to $5,000,000 in travel emergency coverage for trips up to 48 days and cardholders up to the age of 75 – impressive coverage for a cash back card that even manages to beat out some top travel credit cards. The Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back also comes with 24/7 concierge services and access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and the Visa Infinite Dining Series.

Best overall points credit card for gas

Scotiabank Gold American Express

Scotiabank Gold American Express

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn 3 points per dollar spent on gas, public transit, ride share services, taxis, and streaming services
  • Earn 5 Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent on groceries, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual income required: $12,000
  • Roadside assistance: None

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If you prefer to earn travel points instead of cash back, the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is an excellent choice. With this credit card, users earn 3 points per dollar spent on gas and 5 points per dollar on groceries, entertainment, and restaurants. Most other everyday purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent. When redeeming Scotia points, 5,000 points equals $50 in free travel rewards (1 points equals 1 cent / 1%).

The Scotia Gold American Express 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 30,000 points, up to a $300 value. This credit card is equipped with comprehensive travel insurance coverage, concierge services, and access to a reduced rate for airport lounges, select retailers through AMEX 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.

*This blog is for educational purposes and isn’t legal insurance advice. Check credit card roadside assistance policies for details.

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