Canada’s best credit card promotions and sign up bonuses for 2019

Hyder Owainati
by Hyder Owainati September 11, 2019 / No Comments

From points bonuses and cash back offers to annual fee waivers, there’s no shortage of credit card promotions out there on the market.

Designed to spur interest and entice applications, promotional offers can also help those on the hunt for a new credit card quickly amass hundreds of dollars in bonus rewards. So, while an offer alone shouldn’t be a deciding factor and is just one piece of the puzzle that goes into choosing a credit card, there’s no denying it can make an already great credit card even better.

It’s with that in mind that Ratehub.ca listed the top promotions available from some of the best credit cards in Canada. Remember, when reading through these offers make sure to also look into which credit card would make a good long-term fit for your personal spending habits.

The Best Credit Card Promotions and Offers in Canada for 2019

Credit Card Card Promotion Annual Fee
Scotiabank Gold American Express (VIEW) 30,000 Bonus Points ($300 Value) $120
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite (VIEW) 10% Cash Back on All Purchases for 3 Months $120 (Waived for 1st Year)
TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card (View) Up to 20,000 TD Points ($100 Value) + 5X points on every purchase $120 (Waived for 1st Year)
BMO World Elite Mastercard (View) 35,000 Points ($250 Value) $150 (Waived for 1st Year)
American Express Cobalt (VIEW) Up to 30,000 Bonus Points ($300 Value) $120
Tangerine Money-Back Card (VIEW) 4% Cash Back on Bonus Categories for 3 Months +$75 gift card $0
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express (VIEW) 5% Cash Back on All Purchases for 6 Months $99
BMO CashBack Mastercard (VIEW) 5% Cash Back on All Purchases for 3 Months $0
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus (VIEW) 10,000 points ($100 value) $0
MBNA True Line (VIEW) 0% on Balance Transfers $0
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite (VIEW) Up to 35,000 Bonus Points ($350 Value) $139
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (VIEW) 50,000 Bonvoy Points $120


Scotiabank Gold American Express

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: 25,000 bonus points ($250 value) to new cardholders who spend at least $1,000 on the card within their first three months; and a final 5,000 points when a total of $10,000 is spent on the card in the first year.
  • Value of Offer: $300
  • Offer End Date: Point bonus ends on December 30, 2019.
  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn 5 Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent on groceries, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment
  • Earn 3 points per dollar spent on gas, public transit, ride share services, taxis, and streaming services
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees

The Scotiabank Gold American Express is one of the most widely-appealing rewards credit cards in Canada, offering between 3X and 5X the points on a range of common spending categories including everything from restaurants and groceries to gas and transit. That adds up to a ton of points on your everyday purchases. On top of all that, the card’s welcome offer gives you the opportunity to walk away with up to $400 in bonus rewards.

Some other stand-out features: the points you earn on the Scotiabank Gold American Express are flexible and can be redeemed for free or discounted flights on any airline at a rate of 1 point for 1%. The card comes with a full suite of travel insurance benefits. Plus, it has no foreign transaction fees, so you’ll avoid those pesky ancillary credit card charges when using your card across the border.


TD Cash Back Visa Infinite

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: 10% cash back on every purchase you make for the first three months or on your initial $2,000 in purchases (whichever comes first). The $120 annual fee is also waived for the first year.
  • Value of Offer: $320
  • Offer End Date: Applicants approved by March 2, 2020 can benefit from this offer.
  • Annual fee: $120 (waived for first year)
  • 3% cash back on gas, groceries and recurring bills
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Complimentary roadside assistance and travel insurance benefits

This is one of the strongest cash back promotions in Canada and represents one of the few times a credit card offers per-dollar savings in the double digits. If you have plans to make a big purchase and are also searching for a new cash back credit card, the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite will make for a great addition to your wallet.

Even after the promotional 10% cash back offer ends, this card will continue to deliver significant savings on everyday household spending. With 3% cash back on gas, groceries, and utility bills, and 1% on everything else, this cash back card aligns most with the purchasing habits of couples and families who commute by car and spend a big chunk of change on restocking the fridge. It’s also worth highlighting that this card will waive its $120 annual fee for the first year.

Cash back rewards aside, the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite offers additional benefits including a free roadside assistance membership, concierge services, and travel medical insurance. In order to qualify for this card, you’ll need to earn an individual income of $60,000 or household income of $100,000.


TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: 20,000 TD bonus points after making your first purchase. The card’s $120 annual fee is also waived for the first year and you’ll earn 5X the points on all your purchases for the first three months (up to a maximum of 20,000 points each month).
  • Value of Offer: Up to $520
  • Offer End Date: The bonus is available until March 2, 2020
  • Annual fee: $120 (waived for the first year)
  • Earn 9 TD Points per dollar spent on travel through ExpediaforTD
  • Earn 3 TD Points per dollar on all other purchases
  • Earn 2X the points on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to 60,000 points)
  • Full suite of travel insurance benefits

Between the upfront point bonus, first-year annual fee waiver, and accelerated earn rate that lets you pocket double the points for the first three months, the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite offers one of the best deals for new cardholders.

Along with its welcome bonus, this card comes with all of the bells and whistles that you’d expect from a premier travel card issued by one of Canada’s biggest banks, including flexible redemption options through ExpediaforTD and a lucrative 9 TD points per dollar spent on travel (the equivalent of 4.5% return per dollar in points). The one downside of this card is it doesn’t offer point multipliers on popular spending categories such as gas and groceries. To learn whether this card is right for you, make sure to read our full TD First Class Visa Infinite review.


BMO World Elite Mastercard

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: 35,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. The card’s $150 annual fee is also waived for the first year.
  • Value of Offer: $400
  • Offer End Date: The points bonus is available until January 15, 2020.
  • $150 annual fee (waived for the first year)
  • Earn 3 BMO Rewards points per dollar on travel, dining and entertainment purchases; 2 points per dollar on everything else
  • VIP lounge access with the included Mastercard Airport Experiences membership, plus 4 complimentary passes per year ($140 value)

The BMO World Elite Mastercard is a premium credit card with a sign-up bonus to match. The card’s stacked promotional offer (which includes an annual fee waiver) delivers cardholders up to $400 in value provided certain spending minimums are hit.

The BMO World Elite Mastercard is a great match for frequent flyers and will earn you 3 BMO Rewards points on travel (including flights and hotels), restaurants and entertainment, and 2 points on all other purchases. Points are flexible and can be redeemed for flights on any airline (1 point = 0.7%), which means you won’t be subjected to blackout dates or seat restrictions. This card is also notable for its roster of premium travel perks that include access to over 1,000 airport lounges through Mastercard Airport Experiences and robust travel medical insurance coverage.

It’s important to note the minimum income required to be approved for this card is $80,000 (or a household income of $150,000). Plus, after the first year of card membership, you’ll be on the hook to pay the card’s annual fee of $150. So, you’ll want to ensure this card is right for you in the long-term based on your spending habits, priorities and financial standing before you apply.


American Express Cobalt Card

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: 2,500 bonus points for every month you spend at least $500 on the American Express Cobalt. This offer is applicable for the first twelve months and can add up to 30,000 points.
  • Value of Offer: $25 each month, up to $300
  • Offer End Date: Not specified.
  • Annual fee: $120 (charged at $10 monthly)
  • Earn 5 points per dollar on restaurants, coffee shops, bars, grocery stores, and food delivery
  • Earn 2 points per dollar on gas, taxis, public transportation and travel (air, water, rail, or road transport, plus hotels)
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

A quick glance at the American Express Cobalt and it’s easy to see who this credit card was made for: millennials and those who spend big on food.

One of Canada’s best travel credit cards, the AMEX Cobalt offers an earn rate of 5X on all food-related purchases (including restaurants, groceries and cafes). Plus, for those who rely on public transit to get around, the card offers 2X the points on taxis, public transit and ride-sharing services such as Uber. The card’s desire to appeal to millennials extends to its unique fee structure, which is charged monthly at a rate of $10 instead of as an upfront $120 annual fee – mirroring the subscription pricing models of Netflix and Spotify.

The AMEX Cobalt also has plenty of wide appeal thanks to its earn rate of 2X the points on gas and travel (including flight tickets and hotels) and its flexible rewards program with points that can be redeemed for flights on any airline. The card also provides access to AMEX’s lucrative Fixed Points Travel Program, early-bird tickets to concerts through American Express Invites and top-notch travel medical, and rental car insurance.

In terms of its sign-up bonus, the AMEX Cobalt will offer you 2,500 bonus points for every month you spend $500 on the card during your first year. If you don’t spend at least $500 in a particular month, you’ll lose out on 2,500 bonus points but you’ll still be eligible to earn bonus points in the next month. If you hit the $500 spending threshold for all twelve months in a row, you’ll rack up a total of 30,000 bonus points.


Tangerine Money-Back Card

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: You’ll get a $75 gift card from your choice of either Amazon, Indigo, or Cineplex Cinemas when you apply and are approved, and 4% cash back in up to three of your chosen bonus categories for the first three months of card membership.
  • Value of Offer: There is no cap or maximum spend on this offer and it applies to all bonus category purchases for the first 3 months.
  • Offer End Date: Gift card is available for until December 31, 2019 and 4% bonus cash back offer is valid until January 31, 2020
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases in up to three categories of your choice, and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • No limit on how much cash back you can earn

With the ability to choose three of your own bonus categories (from a total of 10 options) and redeem rewards monthly, the Tangerine Money-Back Card is one of the most flexible credit cards on the market. It’s also among the most popular since it charges no annual fee and offers straight-up cash over points or miles. While it doesn’t offer the most impressive perks, the fact it’s so flexible and free to carry means the Tangerine Money-Back Card is also a great option to carry as a second card in combination with another more premium rewards card.

In terms of the card’s promotional offer, our favourite feature is easily that it has no spending cap, so you’ll earn 4% on bonus categories for your first three months no matter how much you spend. The only drawback is the accelerated 4% earn rate only applies to bonus categories and not every purchase.


SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: 5% cash back on every purchase you make for the first six months or on your initial $6,000 in purchases (whichever comes first).
  • Value of Offer: $300
  • Offer End Date: Not specified.
  • Annual fee: $99
  • After welcome offer ends, earn 2% cash back on all purchases, with no limit on how much you can earn
  • 1.99% interest rate on balance transfers made within the first six months

The SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express offers the highest flat cash back rate in the market, letting cardholders pocket 2% on everything. That simple and lucrative cash back rate means: 1. you won’t have to think about bonus categories, and 2. you’ll earn twice as many rewards on otherwise generic everyday purchases when compared to most rewards cards. The kicker: the card’s annual fee is $99, which is a notch lower than the $120 found on most other premium rewards cards.

The SimplyCash Preferred’s welcome offer is particularly enticing because it lasts for up to your first six months of card membership, which is twice as long the three month promotional period typically found on most other cash back cards.


BMO CashBack Mastercard

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: 5% cash back on every purchase you make for the first three months or on your initial $2,000 in purchases (whichever comes first)
  • Value of Offer: $100
  • Offer End Date: November 30, 2019.
  • No annual fee
  • After welcome offer ends, earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Up to 25% off rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations

There’s very little to “break down” about the BMO CashBack Mastercard. It’s an easy to understand cash back card that charges no annual fee, offers the same 1% on everything, and is so accessible that most students looking for their first credit card can get approved. That makes it all the more impressive that it comes with such an enticing up-front welcome offer that lets you earn 5% on everything for the first three months or on your first $2,000 in purchases.


MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: Receive 5,000 bonus points after making $500 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening, and another 5,000 bonus points when you enrol for e-statements within the first 90 days. Plus, earn 2X the points on bonus categories for the first 90 days.
  • Value of Offer: +$100
  • Offer End Date: February 29, 2020
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 4 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, groceries and restaurant purchases during the first 90 days
  • After 90 days, get 2 points‡ per $1 on eligible gas, groceries and restaurant purchases ($5,000 annual cap on each category).
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on everything else

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus should be on the radar of anyone who’s looking for a travel card but wants to avoid paying an annual fee. Why? Simple. It offers some of the best returns on your everyday purchases for a no fee points card.

The fact MBNA points can be redeemed for a straight 1% for travel means you’ll earn between 2% and 1% back on all your spending on this card.

The card’s welcome offer is also great since it lets you easily rack up $100 worth of travel points just for making $500 in purchases and for signing up for e-statements within the initial 90 days of opening your account. The icing on the cake: you’ll earn double the points (4%) on your bonus categories for the first 90 days. The only drawback is the card’s travel medical insurance coverage isn’t as comprehensive as most other annual fee rewards cards (and coverage is important if you happen to travel a lot).


True Line® Mastercard®

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: Eligible new cardholders can pay a 0% annual interest rate on balance transfers for the first twelve months (an additional fee of either 3% or a minimum of $7.50 also applies).
  • Offer End Date: February 29, 2020.
  • Note: Balance transfer offer varies for residents of Quebec.
  • No annual fee
  • 12.99% purchase interest rate
  • Around the clock protection against fraudulent charges
  • Fixed interest rate varies for residents of Quebec

One of Canada’s best low interest credit cards, the MBNA True Line® Mastercard® has no annual fee, charges a nominal 12.99% annual purchase interest rate on unpaid balances and is currently offering an unbeatable 0% promotional rate on balance transfers for the twelve months (an additional 3% fee also applies).

So, if you’re juggling balances on multiple credit cards and paying as much 19.99% in annual interest charges, you can consolidate your debts on the MBNA True Line and clear off your balance while paying nothing in interest. Even after the balance transfer offer ends, you’ll only be charged a 12.99% interest rate instead of the typical 19.99% or 22.99% charged by most rewards credit cards.

Note: the True Line Gold currently offers a similar balance transfer offer of 0% but for six months plus a 3% fee (or a minimum of $7.50). The True Line Gold also has a lower fixed interest rate of 8.99% and charges an annual fee of $39.


Below, we provide a quick snapshot of some other noteworthy credit card promotions you’ll want to consider in your hunt for some new plastic to add to your wallet.


Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: New cardholders earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months and 10,000 additional points after spending $40,000 on the card annually.
  • Value of Offer: Up to $350
  • Offer End Date: March 1, 2020.
  • Annual fee: $139
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points on every $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment, and transit purchases
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases


The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

  • Credit Card Promotional Offer: New cardholders earn 50,000 bonus Bonvoy points after spending $1,500 in the first three months.
  • Value of Offer: The equivalent of 3 free nights at select Category 2 hotels.
  • Offer End Date: Not specified.
  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn 5 points in eligible Card purchases at participating Marriott Rewards hotels and 2 points on all other purchases
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite Status

4 Important considerations to make when looking at credit card promotions

1. While it may be tempting to apply for a credit card on the merit of its promotional offer alone, it’s important to evaluate whether it would make a good long-term fit for your personal spending habits. Unless you’re accustomed to churning cards on the regular, odds are you will keep a credit card after its promotional offer ends and when its regular earn rate or annual fees kick in.

So, if one of the best credit cards for gas has a particularly strong promotional offer but you don’t own a car, you may want to consider an alternative credit card – even if its welcome offer is lacking in comparison.

2. A credit card promotion may be an efficient way to amass bonus rewards, but it’ll rarely scratch your instant gratification itch. Whether it’s a points offer or accelerated cash back, in most cases, card issuers won’t provide your bonus immediately and you’ll have to wait several weeks before your rewards are redeemable.

3. It’s important to note credit card promotional offers often have terms and conditions that can impact your eligibility. In the case of a points bonus for instance, you will often be required to meet a minimum spending threshold in order to unlock the offer (i.e. spending a minimum of $1,000 during your first three months of card membership). In other instances, you’ll need to maintain an account in good standing to avoid losing out on the bonus.

4. Any credit card you apply for – whether it has a promotional offer or not – can affect your credit score. While a credit card application may only temporarily impact your credit score by a few points, you may want to keep this in mind in case you have a big financial decision to make in the near future that will require a credit check (such as a rental or mortgage application).