If you need any help comparison shopping, read our frequently asked questions below:
Why should I get a travel rewards credit card?
If you love to travel, and use your credit card to pay for all of your everyday purchases, a travel rewards credit card is one of the easiest ways to save on travel-related expenses. Based on the card you choose, you will earn a certain number of travel points for every dollar spent on the card. These points can then be redeemed for anything from flights, hotel stays, bus and ferry fares, taxi fares, ski rentals, baggage charges, airport parking and more.
The other bonus of a travel rewards credit card is the different insurance policies that may come with it. When you use your card to book your trip, or redeem points towards the trip or service, some of the best travel rewards credit cards can also include complimentary travel medical insurance, trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, flight delay and baggage coverage, and collision and damage insurance for rental cars.
How can I redeem the travel points I collect?
Depending on the travel rewards program attached to your card, your travel points can be redeemed either by exchanging your points or miles for a certain dollar value of your travel expense, or by using the points or miles directly to make the purchase.
One thing to consider: When you’re redeeming your travel points, booking well in advance of your travel date is recommended, as prices will typically be lower and there will be more availability. It’s also important to keep in mind that some travel rewards credit cards charge a booking fee, taxes or fuel surcharges, when you redeem points. It’s worth comparing the fine print of any card that you’re considering getting, in order to see how the points are valued, how they’re redeemed and what restrictions apply.
How can I compare the best travel rewards programs?
When you’re doing your research and comparing travel rewards credit cards, it’s important to understand how each card values its points. Every rewards program in Canada is different, so you should read the card agreement for guidelines and restrictions – or you can compare them on our site, as we’ve done the hard work for you on our rewards charts. There may also be a number of different cards available within each program - try using our rewards calculators to find the one which suits you best.
Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada 2017
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card – Best Rewards Travel Credit Card
The Scotiabank Gold American Express card has one of the highest earn rates in Canada, giving you 4 Scotia Rewards points for every dollar (that’s 4% back in travel rewards) spent on eligible gas, groceries, entertainment, and restaurant purchases (on the first $50,000), and 1 point per dollar for everything else. The card’s annual fee is $99.
This card is a winner for its flexibility when redeeming points. There are no blackout dates or seat restrictions with your rewards so you can book your travel through Scotia Rewards Travel Service, a full-service travel agency. Alternatively, you can book your travel on your own and then redeem your points online later. Don’t have enough points for your trip? You can pay the remainder of the balance. Cardholders get complimentary concierge services and access to Priority Pass memberships at a 35% discount.
BMO World Elite MasterCard – Best “Anytime, Anywhere” Travel Credit Card
For convenience purposes, the BMO World Elite MasterCard is one of the best cards out there. All purchases earn 2 BMO Rewards points per dollar spent which works out to 2% back in travel rewards, with an annual fee of $150. Your points can be used on any airline with no blackout dates, and covers all flight charges and taxes.
Looking for more value? The card also includes a standard Priority Pass airport lounge membership that renews every year as an anniversary bonus (US$99 value), plus four free VIP lounge visits per year (US$108 value). In addition, you’ll get concierge service and a comprehensive insurance package. BMO’s travel centre will also match the price of any lower fares you find.
American Express Gold Rewards Card - Best Flexible Travel Credit Card
The most appealing aspect of the American Express Gold Rewards card is the Membership Rewards you can earn. New applicants will earn 25,000 bonus points after charging $1,500 to your card within the first three months of membership. Those points can then be transferred to frequent flyer programs including Aeroplan and Avios on a 1:1 basis. Those 25,000 points could also be used as a statement credit towards travel which has a value of $250.
The card does come with an annual fee of $150, but the first year is waived. One free supplementary card ($50 value) is available to help you earn points faster. Speaking of earning points fast, you earn 2 points per dollar spent on eligible gas, grocery, travel, and pharmacy purchases while all other purchases earn you 1 point per dollar spent. A comprehensive travel insurance package is also included.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express – Best Hotel Points Credit Card
At first glance, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express may look like a simple hotel loyalty card, but it’s one of the better hotel and flight cards available.
You’ll earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on the card. Your Starwood points can be transferred to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio giving you access to more than 5,800 properties in 110+ countries. Cardholders also have the option to transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. You’ll even get an additional 5,000 bonus points for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred to airlines for a ratio of 1:1.25. There is an annual fee of $120, but a comprehensive travel insurance package is included.
Scotiabank American Express Card – Best No Fee Travel Credit Card
If you’re looking for a travel rewards card with no annual fee, the Scotiabank American Express card is a good choice. For every dollar you spend on eligible purchases, you’ll earn 2 Scotia Rewards points – that’s 2% back in travel rewards.
Cardholders can book their own travel online and then redeem their points later, or they can use Scotia Rewards Travel Service, a full-service travel agency. There are no blackout dates or seat restrictions when claiming points which gives you maximum flexibility.
Travel emergency medical, trip interruption, rental car collision loss/damage, and travel accident Insurance is included. In addition, you’ll get access to special offers, events and experiences with American Express Invites.
Travel Rewards Programs
Best Credit Card Travel Insurance Packages