You might want to go fishing if you ever visit British Columbia. We shall take a look at the important things to do and the places to go to, in this article.
What’s the best credit card for travel points or rewards that you can get in Canada? It’s a crowded market, so if you look at the details carefully you can find some pretty enticing offers.
Travel credit cards, in Canada just like everywhere else, can save you money on flights, hotels, restaurants, and plenty of other major expenses when you leave Canada behind. Some of them can save you money between trips as well.
In this guide, you’ll see a selection of some – only some – of the best options out there, including the welcome offers they currently have. And you’ll also learn about the Wise card and how it can help you save money when you travel abroad or when you pay in different currencies.
|Card||Annual fee||Current welcome bonus||Rates||Best for|
|American Express Cobalt¹||$155.88 (charged as $12.99 monthly)||20,000 points if you spend $3,000 in 3 months||20.99% on purchases, 21.99% on funds advances||Everyday earning points|
|TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite² ³||$139||First year no annual fee; up to 25,000 points if you spend $1,000 in 90 days||19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances||Aeroplan points|
|Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite⁴||$139||First year no annual fee; up to 30,000 points if you spend $1,000 in 3 months||19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances||No foreign exchange fee|
|MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus⁵ ⁶||$0||Up to 10,000 points if you spend $500 in eligible purchases and consent to paperless statements within 90 days||19.99% on purchases, 24.99% on cash advances||No annual fee|
|HSBC World Elite⁷||$149||First year no annual fee; 20,000 points||19.9% on purchases, 22.9% on cash advances||Bonus points and no foreign exchange fee|
|Scotiabank Gold American Express⁸||$120||First year no annual fee; up to 50,000 points if you spend $1,000 in the first three months and $7,500 in the first year||19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances||No foreign exchange fee and everyday use|
|American Express Aeroplan ⁹ ¹⁰||$120||10,000 if you spend at least $1,500 in net purchases in the first three months, plus a Buddy Pass||n/a: charge card. 30% annual interest rate if balance not fully paid||Traveling with a “buddy”|
|BMO World Elite ¹¹ ¹²||$150||First year no annual fee; 25,000 if you spend $3,000 in the first three months||20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances or 21.99% in Quebec||Travel points|
|TD First Class Visa Infinite ¹³||$120||First year no annual fee; 20,000 with your first purchase, 80,000 if you spend $1,000 within 90 days||19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances||Welcome bonus and extra points with Expedia|
|Marriott Bonvoy American Express ¹⁴ ¹⁵||$120||70,000 if you spend $1,500 in three months||19.99% on purchases, 21.99% on funds advances||Hotel trips|
Wise card: save your money when you spend abroad
Wise isn’t a credit card, and it won’t give you points. But if you’re travelling internationally, you might want to know that using Wise is 4x cheaper than banks for spending abroad.
You won’t have the high foreign transaction fees - your money gets converted with the real mid-market rate, no matter if you spend in-person or online in over 200 countries.
The only cost you’ll have is a very low and transparent conversion fee, in case you need to convert your Canadian dollars. Unlike other accounts, there are no monthly or annual charges, nor any minimum balance requirements.
The Wise card is part of the Wise account, which means that you can add, hold, and convert over 40 currencies instantly. You can get your own bank details for 10 different currencies (including CAD, USD, GBP, EUR, and more) to receive money from those places.
The first pick may be a slight surprise, because it isn’t specifically a travel credit card at all. But the American Express Cobalt Card is great for travelers all the same – it just happens to be useful when you’re back home too.
The Cobalt Card gives you 5x points on a wide category of food and drink, 3x points on streaming subscriptions, 2x points on travel, and 1x points on everything else. Perks of particular interest to travelers include a range of insurance offerings, and some extra benefits on stays with The Hotel Collection¹.
It’s a tempting offer that’ll make you ask the question: do you need a specialist travel credit card at all? Can you get a card that works across the board?
Canada’s best credit card for travel points could be one that makes the most of Air Canada’s Aeroplan scheme. You can redeem Aeroplan points when you travel with Air Canada, and also with hotels, car rental, holiday activities, and plenty more².
But which Aeroplan credit card should you go for? There are many competitors vying for your attention – including another later in this list. Here, we’ve picked out the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, which lets you collect a point for every dollar you spend, rising to 1.5 on gas, groceries, and Air Canada purchases, and double points at some partner brands and Aeroplan retailers. Travel insurance is on offer as well, and some tempting offers for new members are currently running.
It’s only for those with an annual income of $60,000 or more, or a household income of at least $100,000³.
What offers are really valuable to you when you’re traveling? The big expenses on your list tend to be flights and hotels, of course, but smaller purchases mount up too. If you’re not careful, you can end up spending a small fortune on foreign exchange fees, which are typically around 2.5% – on every single transaction.
That’s why the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card is worth a look: it’s one of the cards that charges no foreign transaction fees, so it could end up saving you money on every single foreign purchase you make.
You also get 5x points on travel purchases for the first three months, subject to conditions. It’s 2x points on eligible groceries, dining, entertainment, and transit, and 1x on everything else. And travelers may also enjoy 6 free visits to airport lounges per year, plus strong insurance coverage.
Like with the TD Aeroplan card, you’ll need a $60,000 income or $100,000 across your household. Or $250,000 assets under management⁴.
With no annual fee, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is a great travel credit card option for those who may be on a lower salary, or who simply prefer not to pay for a credit card each year.
You can still earn plenty of points with this card: for the first 90 days, it’s 4 per dollar at eligible restaurants and grocery stores, and on digital media, memberships and household bills; after that it stays at 2 until you’ve spent $10,000 annually. It’s 1 per dollar on all other purchases. You get 10% of your total as an extra birthday bonus, too.
Why’s it a good travel credit card? Within the MBNA rewards catalogue, travel purchases are redeemed at 100 per $1. So your points go particularly far on your travels⁵.
MBNA also offers a Rewards World Elite Mastercard, more in line with the two “Infinite” cards discussed above, for $120 a year⁶.
Another card with no foreign transaction fees comes to you courtesy of HSBC. The HSBC World Elite Mastercard can be used abroad without incurring those frustrating extra fees each time – and it has other benefits for travelers as well.
On top of 31-day insurance coverage for under-65s, you get $100 annually in travel enhancement, which you can use on seat upgrades, baggage fees, and lounge passes, in some cases.
And the welcome bonus of 20,000 points – $100 if spent on travel – is yours after your first purchase; unlike with some other cards, you don’t have to spend a minimum amount. Quebec residents also get another 80,000 after 180 days if the account is still active. As you also get 20,000 points as a bonus on your anniversary, this surely counts as one of the more generous cards when it comes to bonuses.
You’ll need an income of $80,000 or $150,000 across your household, or $400,000 in assets under management⁷.
The second Scotiabank credit card in the list is a strong all-rounder that offers no foreign transaction fees, as well as plenty of points whether you’re traveling or staying in Canada.
The Scotiabank Gold American Express gives 5x points at certain grocery stores, restaurants, takeaways, and drinking establishments, as well as entertainment; 3x points on gas,transit, and streaming; and 1x points on everything else⁸.
This is another one, then, that isn’t exclusively good for travel. While it’ll save you all those foreign exchange fees when you’re abroad – and offers various Amex travel perks, plus insurance – it’ll also be useful back home for everyday use.
The American Express Aeroplan Card isn’t actually a credit card at all: it’s a charge card, which means you have to pay it off in full each month. But just like with a normal Aeroplan credit card, you can earn plenty of points and redeem them when you travel with Air Canada.
If you spend $1,500 in net purchases within three months, you get 10,000 bonus points – but, more unusually, you also get a Buddy Pass, which means you can take someone with you on a round trip within North America.
You also get travel and purchase insurance coverage and a few extra bonuses like a free checked bag on Air Canada – for you and up to eight others on your reservation⁹.
Amex offers two further Aeroplan cards: Aeroplan Reserve and Aeroplan Business Reserve. These are full credit cards, and come, as you’d expect, with even more points and bonuses, for a higher annual fee of $599¹⁰.
The BMO World Elite Mastercard is another card targeting those earning $80,000 or $150,000 across the household. Like quite a few others, it offers the first year for free before the $150 annual fee kicks in, and plenty of bonus points are on offer if you spend enough early on.
It’s on a few of the extra features that the BMO World Elite card stands out. You get triple points on a good selection of travel, dining, and entertainment, and double points on everything else. There’s also airport lounge access through LoungeKey, which comes with 4 free passes annually. And don’t overlook the travel and medical coverage on unlimited trips of up to 21 days¹¹.
BMO also offers a cash back version of this card – the BMO Cash Back World Elite – and an Air Miles World Elite version. There’s also the Eclipse Visa Infinite and Eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege cards, as well as an Air Miles Mastercard, all of which are worth considering if you’re keen for travel deals¹².
TD’s First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card gives you 20,000 points as a welcome bonus with your first purchase, and another 80,000 if you spend $1,000 within 90 days, which is a good rate of return compared to many others mentioned here.
Most of the bonuses you’d expect to see are there too, including travel insurance, and the fact that you can earn 9 points if you book through Expedia For TD could prove especially tempting. It’s 3 points per dollar on other purchases, too.
And you can redeem those points quite widely, for cash back or gift cards if you want, or else on Amazon.ca. This is another one, then, where the benefits aren’t exclusively for travelers but could spill over into your everyday life.
The income threshold is $60,000 or $100,000 household¹³.
A final credit card for you to consider comes courtesy of American Express’s partnership with Marriott Bonvoy, a range of hotel brands that doesn’t just include the Marriott but also brands including the Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels, and Le Méridien. In brief, it’s a lot of hotels and destinations¹⁴.
With the Marriott Bonvoy American Express, you can earn points in the usual way – 5x on eligible travel and gas purchases, 5x on Marriott purchases, and 2x on all other purchases. But, as you’d expect, the benefits really make themselves felt when you head to a Marriott Bonvoy destination. You get one free night a year, and automatically attain Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status. Points can be transferred for frequent flyer miles too¹⁵.
The best Canadian travel credit card for you will depend on everything from your personal income to how much you travel, not to mention if you already have any credit cards that you want to continue using. So you’ll have to weight all the pros and cons considering your sitisituation and goals.
|If your main goal is to get a card option that lets you spend in different currencies while avoiding high conversion fees, then Wise might be just right for you. It's convenient, and you save your money.|
Cards like the Aeroplan ones or the Marriott Bonvoy Amex are designed in partnership with specific brands, so to truly get the most from them you’ll need to spend your money with the right airlines and hotels. That can be great, so long as it works for your trip.
There are also the recurring discounts and freebies on offer, not to mention insurance provision, all of which are worth considering if you’ll benefit from that sort of feature.
But the very best rewards of all are the ones that you’ll definitely make use of. Free foreign transactions might not sound as exciting as a free night at a luxury hotel, but that can save you 2.5% on every purchase, for example.
The short answer’s no: some of these credit cards are designed specifically with travel in mind, but some others are all-rounder cards that might be perfect for use on daily purchases back at home. If you can redeem points or get cash back on everyday purchases, that could be a useful feature.
- American Express Cobalt Card
- Air Canada: Redeem your Aeroplan points
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite
- MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard
- MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard
- HSBC World Elite Mastercard
- Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
- American Express Aeroplan Card
- American Express Aeroplan Cards
- BMO World Elite Mastercard
- BMO Credit Cards: Help Me Choose
- TD First Class Travel VIsa Infinite
- Marriott Bonvoy: Explore Our Brands
- Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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