The Ultimate Credit Card Perks Guide: Travel Benefits

Jordann Brown
by Jordann Brown July 18, 2018 / No Comments

You’ve done your research, you’ve chosen the travel rewards credit card that best suits your lifestyle, and you’ve charged your purchases while diligently paying off the balance every month. You’ve booked your flight or hotel with your points, and you’re finally ready to set off on a trip that is either totally or partially free. You’ve made it.

But before you take off on your adventure, don’t forget to take advantage of every last travel perk your credit card provides. Beyond the rewards points, most travel rewards credit cards offer additional perks and benefits. In this third edition of the Ultimate Credit Card Perks Guide, we’re looking at the final three oft-overlooked credit card perks: checked bags, foreign transaction fees, and insurance.

Free checked bag

Most airlines in Canada charge you to check a bag, but some travel rewards credit cards offer one or even multiple free checked bags as part of their perks package. If you tend to travel with a larger suitcase this perk could save you hundreds over dollars in unnecessary fees. Here are the credit cards that offer free checked bags on your flight:

The CIBC Aergold Visa Infinite offers a complimentary first checked bag with your Aeroplan flight rewards. This free checked bag perk only applies on Air Canada flights. The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite credit card also offers a complimentary first checked bag when you book your flight with your Aeroplan rewards and is also only available when travelling with Air Canada.

If you prefer WestJet over Air Canada, the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard offers a first checked bag for free for the primary cardholder. The flight must be with WestJet, and you must book your flight with your WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard.

No foreign exchange fees

When you travel outside of Canada and make purchases with your travel rewards credit card, your lender often charges a 2.5% – 3% fee. These fees are called foreign exchange fees and can quickly add up. If you tend to do a lot of spending on foreign soil, these two credit cards that do not charge foreign exchange fees: the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, and the Home Trust Preferred Visa.

Travel insurance benefits

Finally, most travel rewards credit cards offer a suite of insurance benefits to keep you and your luggage safe during your travels. The coverage can range from trip interruption and cancellation insurance to baggage loss or damage insurance to car rental insurance. You can find a summary of the benefits offered by the most popular travel rewards credit cards below:

Scotiabank Gold American Express Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite BMO World Elite Mastercard Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express RBC Visa Infinite Avion Credit Card National Bank World Elite American Express Gold Rewards
Annual Fee $99 $139 $150 $120 $120 $150 $150
Travel Accident $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $500,000 $500,000 $500,000 N/A $500,000
Travel Medical $1,000,000
25 days (Under 65)
10 days (65 or Over)
$1,000,000 25 days (Under 65) 10 days (65 or Over) $2,000,000
21 days (Under 65)
N/A Unlimited
15 days (Under 65)
3 days (65 or Over)
$5,000,000
60 days (Under 55)
31 days (Over 55 and under 65)
15 days (Over 65 and under 75)
$5,000,000
15 days (Under 65)
Trip Cancellation $2,500 per person
$10,000 per trip
$2,500 per person $10,000 per trip $2,500 per person
$5,000 per trip
N/A $1,500 per person
$5,000 per trip
$2,500 per person N/A
Trip Interruption $2,500 per person
$10,000 per trip
$2,500 per person $10,000 per trip $2,000 per person N/A $5,000 per person
$25,000 per trip
$5,000 per person $1,500 per person
$6,000 per trip
Flight Delay $500 per person
(4+ hour delay)
$500 per person
(4+ hour delay)
$500 per trip
(6+ hour delay)
$500 per person
(4+ hour delay)
$250 per person
$500 per trip
(4+ hour delay)
$500 per person
(4+ hour delay)
$500 per person
(4+ hour delay)
Baggage Loss $1,000 per trip $1,000 per trip $750 per person
$2,000 per trip
$500 per trip $500 per person
$2,500 per trip
$1,000 per person $500 per trip
Baggage Delay $1,000 per trip
(4+ hour delay)
$1,000 per trip
(4+ hour delay)
$200 per person
(12+ hour delay)
$500 per person
(6+ hour delay)
$500 per person
$2,500 per trip
(4+ hour delay)
$500 per person
(6+ hour delay)
$500 per person
(6+ hour delay)
Hotel/Motel Burglary $1,000 per person $1,000 per occurrence N/A $500 per person $2,500 per occurrence N/A $500 per person
Car Rental Insurance $65,000 $65,000 $65,000 $85,000 $65,000 Unlimited $85,000

 

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