Skip to main content
Ratehub logo
Ratehub logo

Ratehub's 2021 Credit Card Awards

We’ve crunched the numbers, pored over the fine print, and put countless credit cards up to the test to determine the best of the year across nine categories and spending personalities. Here are the winners

Ratehub Credit Card Awards winners infographic.

Download and share.

Our infographic of Canada's best credit cards for 2021 compiles all the winners side-by-side along with the key perks and benefits that set them apart from the competition.

The best credit cards - in more detail

American Express® Cobalt™ Card

  • Annual fee: $155.88 ($12.99 paid monthly)
  • Earn 5X the points per $1 on virtually all your food spending (from groceries and restaurants to food deliveries)
  • Earn 3X the points on eligible streaming services
  • Earn 2X the points per $1 on gas, public transit, travel, and even rideshares
  • Earn 1X the points per $1 on everything else
  • Welcome offer: earn up to 50,000 Membership Rewards points
  • Average point value: 1 point = 1 cent when redeemed for travel

 

Once again, we've selected the American Express Cobalt as the Best Overall Rewards Card in Canada.

An immediate stand-out for it's generous welcome offer and points multipliers on food and travel spending as well as streaming services, the American Express Cobalt also wins for the great value of its refreshingly straightforward points system.

Designed with convenience in mind, AMEX’s Flexible Points Travel program lets you redeem points for travel purchases in increments of 1,000 points for $10 (or 1 point = 1 cent). The best part? Point values always stay the same; similar to cash back rewards but for travel. Plus, you can use points to offset costs from any airline or hotel at a later date, meaning you’re not forced to use an in-house travel agency or search engine.

For those who really want to maximize value, AMEX’s Fixed Points Program can be used to chart or transfer points to the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, increasing the worth of your travel rewards even more.

SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express®

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Earn 2% cash back on everything
  • Welcome offer: Get 10% cash back on everything for the first 4 months (up to $400) 

 

Offering an industry-leading 2% cash back on all purchases, the SimplyCash Preferred from American Express allows you to collect more points on everything you buy rather than restricting you to select categories. Compared to the average rewards card, that means you'll earn at least twice the cash back for every dollar spent on across-the-board purchases such as clothes, household appliances, electronics, and more.

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

  • Annual fee: $120 (rebated for the first year)
  • Earn 3% cash back on groceries, gas, recurring bills
  • Earn 1% cash back on everything else
  • Free Deluxe TD Auto Club membership
  • Discounts on Avis and Budget car rentals
  • Auto rental collision/loss damage insurance
  • Income required: $60,000 or $100,000 as a household
  • This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

 

Packing the best cash back value on the market for those who use their card for regular expenses like gas, groceries, and recurring bills, the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite also comes with an impressive amount of extra perks, making it stand out amongst the competition.

Included with the card is a complimentary deluxe membership to TD Auto Club in addition to discounts and insurance on car rentals. Not only that, but those travelling with the card will enjoy travel medical and delayed/lost baggage insurance. The card also boasts a refreshingly liberal points system, allowing you access to your cash back dollars at any time in increments of at least $25.

CIBC Select Visa* Card

  • Annual fee: $29 (rebated for the first year)
  • Welcome Offer: Transfer your credit card balance - Get 0% interest for up to 10 months with a 1% transfer fee†
  • Low interest rate of 13.99% on balance transfers after the 10-month balance transfer offer ends
  • Standard interest rate of 13.99% on purchases and cash advances
  • Minimum household income: $15,000 annually

† Conditions Apply

 

If you're currently dealing with credit card debt, the CIBC Select Visa is a card you should be paying attention to. With no annual fee in your first year, you can transfer up to 50% of your credit limit to this card and pay zero interest for the first 10 months, helping you to pay off your debt quickly and easily. Even if your repayment takes a little longer than expected, the CIBC Select Visa's regular interest rate of 13.99% is still significantly lower than other cards on the market. Even with the card's 1% transfer fee, that's still the best balance transfer deal available.

Tangerine World Mastercard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on two categories of your choice, with a third category available if you choose to deposit your cash back dollars in a Tangerine savings account
  • Mobile device insurance
  • Rental car collision/loss damage insurance
  • Complimentary Boingo WiFi and Loungekey membership

 

Similar to Tangerine's Money-Back Mastercard in almost every way, the Tangerine World Mastercard offers the same cash back reward system as it's counterpart, allowing users to select up to 3 categories where they'll receive 2% cash back, providing the best value on the market for those who plan to use the card frequently in specific areas.

Where it differs, however, is in the travel perks it provides. World Mastercard carriers will enjoy mobile device insurance as well as coverage for rental car collision/loss damage while on the road, as well as complimentary airport benefits such as access to Boingo WiFi hotspots and Loungekey membership.

MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card

  • Annual fee: $39
  • Standard annual interest rate of 8.99% on purchases and balance transfers
  • Interest rate of 24.99% on cash advances
  • Note: This offer is not available for residents of Quebec

 

At 8.99%, the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard charges less than half the annual interest on carried-over balances compared to regular credit cards. The best part is the interest rate is fixed and not variable, which means your interest rate won't fluctuate based on your credit score.

PC Financial® World Elite Mastercard®

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn 45 PC Points per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart
  • 30 PC Points per $1 at Loblaws banner stores (including No Frills, value-mart, Real Canadian Superstores, and more)
  • 30 PC Points per litre at Esso and Mobil gas stations
  • 30 PC Points per $1 at PC Travel
  • 10 PC Points per $1 on everything else
  • Income requirement: $80,000 or $150,000 as a household
  • Average point value: 10 points = 1 cent when redeemed for purchases at Shoppers Drug Mart / Loblaws banner stores

 

Standing out from the pack among retail credit cards, the PC Financial World Elite lets you rack up the equivalent of 4.5% to 3% in PC Optimum points on everyday essentials like groceries, gas, and pharmacy purchases from stores partnered with President's Choice. Plus, it's also the first World Elite Mastercard in Canada with no annual fee. If you do the majority of your household shopping at PC-affiliated stores, the rewards power of this card can be extraordinary.

The PC Optimum program is incredibly straightforward, and you can redeem points for a flat rate of 10,000 points for $10 at over 2,500 PC partner retailers located across Canada.

BMO CashBack Mastercard®

  • No annual fee
  • Welcome Offer: 5% cash back on all purchases (up to $100) for first 3 months
  • 3% cash back on groceries and 1% on recurring bills ($500 monthly cap on each category)
  • 0.5% cash back on everything else

 

A perfect first credit card for students, the BMO CashBack Mastercard will give you a great head start on building your credit as you collect cash back rewards on everyday expenses like groceries and recurring bills.

Outside of it's generous 3% cash back on grocery purchases, what makes this card a great pick for students is it's flexible redemption system, allowing you to redeem cash back at any time in increments as small as $1.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

  • Annual fee: $139
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Welcome offer: earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in the first year ($400 cash value towards travel). Plus, no annual fee in the first year (including supplementary cards) and 5X Scotia Rewards points on travel for the first 3 months (up to $2,500 in total travel purchases)
  • 2X points on groceries, dining, entertainment, daily transit
  • 1X points on everything else

 

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is the only card offering no foreign transaction fees, whether you're shopping in-person abroad or simply browsing online.

It also boasts an impressive welcome offer of 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1000 in the first three months, plus an extra 10,000 points when you spend $40,000 annually. You can redeem these against your statement balance or use them at the Scotia Rewards Centre for travel expenses and other purchases. You'll also get 5X the points on travel for the first three months (a cash value of up to $2500) which can go a long way towards a flight or accommodations.

The methodology

Find the right card for you.

We listed the top credit cards of 2021 that tick off the most boxes across nine broad categories. But why not get a personalized credit card recommendation based on your particular spending habits? Tell us a little about yourself, and in under 2 minutes, we’ll suggest the top credit cards for you. Specifically.