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Canada’s 8 best credit card promotions and sign-up offers for 2021

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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 card would make a good long-term fit for your personal spending habits.

The best credit card promotions in Canada for 2021

Credit cardCard promotion
Amex SimplyCash Preferred (VIEW)10% cash back for first 4 months (up to $400)
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite (VIEW)25,000 Aeroplan points (~$500 value)
Scotiabank Gold Amex (VIEW)40,000 Scotia points ($400 value)
American Express Cobalt (VIEW)Up to 30,000 Amex MR points (+$300 value)
CIBC Select Visa* Card (VIEW)0% balance transfer offer for 10 months
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (VIEW)60,000 Bonvoy points and $120 credit
BMO Cashback Mastercard (View)5% cash back for 3 months (up to $100)
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus (VIEW)10,000 MBNA points ($50 value)•

Not sure which card to choose? Let us help you

 

SimplyCash Preferred from American Express

  • First year annual fee waiver: No.
  • Promotional offer: 10% cash back on every purchase you make for the first four months or on your initial $4,000 in purchases (whichever comes first).
  • Value of offer: $400 in cash back rewards.
  • Offer end date: Not specified.

Card details

  • Annual fee: $99
  • After welcome offer ends, earn 2% cash back on all purchases, with no limit on how much you can earn
  • Income required: None specified

Read in more detail (+/-)

 

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

  • First year annual fee waiver: Yes.
  • Promotional offer: Earn up to 25,000 bonus points and earn an Air Canada Buddy Pass that can score you a second ticket when you book an economy ticket to bring anyone along anywhere Air Canada flies in North America, Including Hawaii and Mexico. On the second ticket, you only pay the taxes and third-party charges. You’ll receive the one-time use pass when you spend $1,000 within 90 days of Account opening, and you have a whole year to use it (a value of $350).
  • This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.
  • †Terms and conditions apply.
  • Income required: $60,000 (personal) and $100,000 (household)

Card details

  • Annual fee: $139 (rebated for first year)
  • Earn 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 on eligible gas, groceries, and direct through Air Canada purchases
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Income required: $60,000 (personal) $100,000 (household)
  • Apply by December 5, 2021 to earn up to $1,250 in value (assuming you take one round-trip Air Canada flight and add an Additional Cardholder to your account in the first year)
  • This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.
  • †Terms and conditions apply.

Read in more detail (+/-)

 

Scotiabank Gold American Express

  • First year annual fee waiver: No.
  • Promotional offer: Get 50,000 bonus points
  • Value of offer: $400.
  • Offer end date: Point bonus ends November 21, 2021.

Card details

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Welcome offer: earn 50,000 bonus points when you sign up by November 21, 2021
  • Earn 5 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on gas, public transit, ride share services, taxis, and streaming services
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Income required: $12,000

Read in more detail (+/-)

 

American Express Cobalt

  • First year annual fee waiver: No.
  • 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: +$300  in statement credits redeemed towards purchases charged to your Card or $225 in American Express® Prepaid Cards.
  • Offer end date: Not specified.

Card details

  • Annual fee: $120 (charged at $10 monthly), but will be increasing to $155.88 (charged at $12.99 monthly).
  • Earn a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend a total of $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
  • Earn 5 points per $1 on restaurants, coffee shops, bars, grocery stores, and food delivery
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, taxis, public transportation and travel
  • Earn 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Transfer points 1:1 to several frequent flyer and other loyalty programs.
  • Income required: None specified

Read in more detail (+/-)

 

CIBC Select Visa* Card

  • First year annual fee waiver: Yes.
  • Promotional offer: Transfer your credit card balance and get 0% interest for up to 10 months with a 1% transfer fee.
  • Offer end date: Not specified.

Card details

  • Annual fee: $29
  • Low regular interest of 13.99% on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers
  • Annual income required: $15,000 (household)
  • Other qualification requirements: Canadian residency status and no history of bankruptcy for the past 7 years

Read in more detail (+/-)


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.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

  • First year annual fee waiver: No.
  • Promotional offer: New cardholders earn 60,000 bonus Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Plus, get a $120 cash credit when you charge $10,000 purchases to your card in your first twelve months.
  • Value of offer: The equivalent of 3 free nights at select Category 2 hotels and $120.
  • Offer end date: Not specified.

Card details

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn 5 points per $1 at participating Marriott Rewards hotels
  • 2 points per $1 on all other purchases
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite Status
  • Income required: $60,000

 

BMO CashBack Mastercard

  • Promotional offer: Earn 5% cash back for your first 3 months or on your initial $2,000 in purchases (whichever comes first), plus plus a $50 cash back bonus (when you spend $6,000) in your first year
  • Value of offer: $175 in cash back.
  • Offer end date: Not specified.

Card details

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back on groceries and 1% on recurring bills ($500 monthly cap on each category), plus plus a $50 cash back bonus (when you spend $6,000) in your first year
  • 0.5% cash back on everything else, plus an additional 4.5% bonus cash back up to a maximum of $1,500 spent in the first 3 billing cycles
  • Income required: $15,000
  • Terms and conditions apply

Read in more detail (+/-)

 

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus

  • 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 enroll for e-statements within the first 90 days. Plus, earn 4x the points on bonus categories for the first 90 days.
  • Value of offer: +$100 in travel rewards.
  • Offer end date: Not specified.

Card details

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 4 points†† for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases during the first 90 days  , and 2 points‡ for every $1 spent on eligible purchases in those categories thereafter – in both cases, these earn rates apply until $10,000 is spent annually in the applicable category.
  • Income required: None specified
  • This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here.

Read in more detail (+/-)

6 Important considerations 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. You also typically won’t be eligible for a card’s welcome bonus if you already have an account open with the card issuer. For instance, Scotiabank card welcome offers explicitly exclude anyone who is currently a primary or secondary cardholder of a Scotia credit card or had a Scotia account opened within the previous two years.

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).

5. Credit card promotions can offer hundreds of dollars worth in bonus rewards, but that’ll be in vain if you don’t pay off your balance in full. If you’re driven to overspend just to qualify for the welcome offer in time, you can end up racking up a large balance and owing more in interest. The best credit card promotions have qualification terms that can be met by your regular spending habits.

6. Credit card promotions usually exclude “manufactured spending.” If you make a big-ticket purchase just to hit a card promotion’s spending requirement and return that item soon after, that won’t count. For instance, the BMO World Elite offers 25,000 bonus points if you spend at least $3,000 within your first three months but its terms and conditions specifically state “refunds, credit or debit adjustments” are excluded.

Not sure which card to choose? Let us help you

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