Using rewards credit cards can be a great way to maximize your spending habits and earn money on purchases you’re already making. But depending on the credit card you choose, the amount of time it takes to actually earn meaningful rewards can vary widely.
To illustrate, let’s look at three of the best cash-back credit cards in Canada to determine how long it would take to earn $1,000 in rewards, using an example monthly spending profile of $1,500.
Before we dive into the results, it’s important to note that your results might differ dramatic depending on your unique spending habits. To determine which credit card will provide you with the best rewards, compare multiple cards side-by-side using our credit card rewards calculator.
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card is a cash-back credit card with an annual fee of $99. To qualify, you need to have an annual income of at least $60,000, or a minimum of $100,000 per household. With this card, you’ll earn 4% cash back on gas and groceries up to $25,000 in spending, and 1% after that. You’ll also earn 2% cash back on bills and at the pharmacy up to $25,000 in spending, and again 1% after that. On all other purchases, you’ll earn 1% cash back. With this credit card, you’ll have access to the Visa Infinite collection of services including the Infinite Dining Series, the Infinite Hotel Collection, and the Infinite Complimentary Concierge Service.
Scotia Momentum® VISA Card
- Annual fee: $99
- Earn 4% cash back on gas and groceries (up to $25,000 annually), 2% back on drugstore purchases and recurring bill payments (up to $25,000 annually), and 1% back on all other purchases
- Receive VISA Infinite benefits
So how long would it take to earn $1,000 cash back if you used the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite? Here’s a summary of the rewards you would earn using the spending profile above:
With this credit card, you’ll earn $339 per year, which means it will take about three years to earn $1,000 in cash back rewards.
SimplyCash Card from American Express
The SimplyCash Card from American Express is a great cash-back credit card if you’re looking for a no-fee credit card with no minimum annual income requirement. The SimplyCash Card from American Express offers an impressive 5% cash back on gas, groceries, and restaurants for the first six months of card membership (up to $250), and 1.25% cash back in all categories after that. This credit card also offers a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers in the first six months, and travel accident insurance and car rental collision/loss damage waiver.
SimplyCash™ Card from American Express®
New SimplyCashTM from American Express Cardmembers can earn 4% cash back on purchases (up to $200 cash back) for the first 6 months of Cardmembership
- No annual fee
- Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants for the first 6 months (up to $250)
- Earn 1.25% cash back on all other purchases once welcome rate ends
- 0% interest rate on all balance transfers for the first 6 months
Here’s how long it would take to earn $1,000 cash back using the SimplyCash Card from American Express, using the example spending profile:
According to Ratehub.ca’s credit card rewards calculator, you’ll earn $393 in the first year you use the SimplyCash Card from American Express and $225 after that. This mean’s it’ll take you a little over three and a half years to earn $1,000 cash back.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is another accessible choice for a cash back credit card. With this credit card, you’ll earn 2% cash back in up to three spending categories of your choice, and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases. The categories are groceries, restaurants, gas, pharmacy, entertainment, furniture, hotel-motel, bills, home improvement, public transportation and parking. This credit card does not have an annual fee or a minimum income requirement, and lets you deposit your earnings directly into a savings account. There is no limit to how much cash back you can earn with this credit card.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
Earn 2% Money-Back Rewards on purchases in two 2% Money-Back Categories of your choice, and 0.50% Money-Back Rewards on all other purchases.
- No annual fee
- Earn 2% cash back on purchases in up to three categories of your choice, and 0.5% cash back on everything else
- No limit on how much cash back you can earn
Here’s the breakdown on how long it would take to earn $1,000 cash back with this card:
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is the weakest card out of the three. In the first year you’ll earn $268 cash back, and in subsequent years you’ll earn $268 cash back. At this rate, it will take four years to earn $1,000 cash back with this card.
Of course, these numbers are all based on a fictional spending profile, and it’s important to remember that your individual results will be very different. To get a customized recommendation for the best cash back credit card, make sure to use the credit cards rewards calculator.