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Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards in Canada for 2017

Jane Switzer

New year, new list. For the most up-to-date cards and details, check out Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada for 2018

A good travel rewards credit card can take you where you want to go, but with dozens of cards spanning several different rewards programs, finding the best one for you can feel like a challenge.

If you travel frequently for work or pleasure, or aspire to be a travel points hacker, a travel rewards credit card can not only earn you free flights and hotel stays faster, but create value through perks such as concierge service, travel insurance, VIP airport lounge access, and special travel discounts and upgrades. Attractive sign-up or welcome bonuses are the most valuable way for new cardholders to kick-start your earning.

Luckily, you can easily compare multiple credit cards side-by-side with’s rewards calculator. To help start your journey, we’ve rounded up what we consider to be the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada for 2017:

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Card details

  • Annual fee: $99 (waived for first year)
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points ($250 value) with your first $1000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn 4 Scotia Rewards points per dollar on gas, groceries, entertainment, and restaurant purchases (up to $50,000); 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • No blackout dates; points can be used to cover taxes/fees

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card offers one of Canada’s highest earn rates at four Scotia Rewards points per every dollar spent (that’s 4% back in travel rewards) on groceries, gas, restaurants, and entertainment, up to $50,000 a year, after which you’ll earn one point per dollar. Purchases in all other categories give you one point per dollar, or 1% back.

The annual fee is waived for the first year for new accounts opened by Feb. 28, 2018.

One attractive feature of this card is the flexibility it gives you in booking your trip. You can use Scotia Rewards’ full-service travel agency, or book your own travel using your card and redeem points to cover the cost later. This lets you to book on any airline, hotel, or vacation package without restrictions. Like the BMO World Elite MasterCard, there are no booking blackout dates, points can be used to cover taxes and fees, and you can use cash to cover any points shortfalls.

The annual fee is $99 and includes a host of perks, including discounts and special offers on airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages, concierge service, and comprehensive travel insurance. If you spend a lot of time in airports, you can also buy a Priority Pass lounge membership at a discounted rate.

BMO World Elite MasterCard

Card details

  • Annual fee: $150
  • Earn 3 BMO Rewards points per dollar on travel, dining, and entertainment; 2 points per dollar on everything else
  • Earn 35,000 bonus points (value: $250) on your first purchase
  • VIP airport lounge access with the included Priority Pass membership, plus 4 complimentary passes per year
  • No blackout dates; points can be used to cover taxes/fees

Note: Updated to include changes to the BMO Rewards program effective Jan. 15, 2018.

We picked the BMO World Elite MasterCard as one of the best credit cards in Canada for 2017 for its flexibility, perks, and ease of redemption: You’ll earn three BMO Rewards points for every dollar spent on travel, dining, and entertainment purchases, and two points per dollar on all other purchases. There are no booking blackout periods, and unlike some rewards programs, points can be used to cover all extra taxes and fees. If you don’t have enough points to cover the cost, you can pay the difference. As a welcome bonus, you’ll earn 35,000 points when you make your first purchase using the card—that’s $250 toward your next trip.

Benefits include unlimited travel and medical insurance, plus the free annual Priority Pass membership, which gives you VIP airport lounge access in more than 400 cities around the world. You’ll also receive four complimentary passes per year, for a total value of US$200.

As with most premium travel credit cards, perks aren’t free: the card has an annual fee of $150, and a higher minimum income requirement of $80,000/year.

Still searching for the right card?

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