Best Travel Credit Cards

October 30, 2020 | Editorial Team

Do You Need a Travel Credit Card?

Travel credit cards are designed for cardholders to pay for vacations or other travel costs with points earned from using their card. With an air miles credit card, for example, you’ll earn miles points for your purchases. Later, you can use those rewards points to pay for travel rewards such as a free flight.

Many travel credit cards also offer bonus points on both travel purchases and everyday spending. That is in addition to regular bonus points you may receive from eligible purchases. Regardless, you acquire travel points for each purchase you make with your travel credit card.

When choosing travel cards, several deciding factors make one stand out from the rest. Generally, you’d want as many as the following perks in your travel credit card:

  • bonus points in the first 3 months
  • a waived 120 annual fee for the first year
  • a waived annual fee for the next year when you reach a purchase amount total within the year
  • waived fee promotions on purchases and cash advances
  • travel insurance with every flight purchase made through your credit card, and
  • more travel rewards points for trip-related purchases

It’s best to go with a high rewards rate, points, and an ample welcome bonus. Also, a substantial point value is desirable. You’d want more travel rewards points for every dollar you spend using your card.

If possible, also look at how difficult it is to redeem your travel miles points. Some cards make it easier than others to use the points you’ve earned.

Comparison of the Best Travel Credit Cards for Canadians

Canada presents a lot of choices for travel with Mastercard or VISA. Primarily though, the best choice must have these qualities:

  • high points per dollar spend and high spend points conversion to miles points
  • a low annual fee with the option to waive, and
  • travel insurance to cover baggage loss or damage, and delayed or cancelled trips

Let’s now look at your top choices for a new or secondary credit card.

American Express Gold Rewards

Considered one of the top travel cards on the market, the Gold Rewards Card is the gold standard in Canada. The card has access to the AMEX suite of perks, including Front of the Line and easy to book travel perks.

You also will have the ability to transfer AMEX points to several top hotel and flight programs. Additionally, you have access to AMEX travel insurance, which is second to none. The card does have a $150 annual fee. But this fee is generally waived in the first year.

A drawback is that AMEX is not accepted everywhere. However, its popularity is growing. This card is the real deal and is worth looking into for anyone looking into the best travel cards in Canada.

Finally, the card comes with a 25,000 point bonus with $1500 of purchases in the first three months. With 1:1 transfer to Aeroplan, that is equivalent to a free trip from Toronto to Vancouver.

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

For those looking to fly with Air Canada, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is a great choice. The card itself comes with a 15,000 point Aeroplan bonus upon sign-up.

As well, if you spend $1000 per month for the next three months, you receive another 15,000 points. Furthermore, you will earn 1.5 points per dollar on gas, grocery, and drugstores. For everything else, you will enjoy 1 point per dollar.

Finally, the card does have a $120 annual fee, but your first annual fee year is on TD. The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card is great and is worth a look into, especially if you fly with Air Canada.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

If you are looking for a great sign-up bonus, then the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is for you. This card has some of the best sign-up perks on this list, especially if you have Scotia Rewards. You will earn 30,000 Scotia Reward points if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.

You will also earn 2 points per dollar in groceries, gas, and drugstore purchases. On everything else, you will receive 1 point per dollar.

Furthermore, the card has no foreign exchange fee and comes with six free lounge passes per year. Not a bad deal, especially if you are looking for a rewards program for more than just travel. The Scotiabank Passport Visa is worth looking into for the sign-up bonus alone!

BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

For those of you who collect Air Miles, the premier card in Canada is the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard. The card has a welcome bonus of 1000 Air Miles upon approval.

Moreover, the card will provide you with another 2000 points after spending $3000 in your first three months. Other than that, you will earn 1 Air Mile per $10 spent. This is one of the highest rates of return in North America. The card also comes with two LoungeKey yearly passes, which makes air travel a little better.

Finally, the rewards credit card also has an annual fee of $120 per year, but BMO will cover your first-year annual fee charge. For those who are looking for an Air Miles option, the BMO Air Miles World Elite MC is worth a look!

Rogers World Elite Mastercard

One of the surprises on this list is the Rogers World Elite Master. It is one of the top travel cards for expenses. On all foreign transactions, this card provides you 4% in cashback. Whether you are booking hotels or buying lunch, if it is not in CAD, you are earning 4%.

Plus, the card provides you 2% cashback on all Rogers products and 1.75% for everything else. With no annual fee and Mastercard Airport Experience perks, the card is strong. With the 4% cashback, the Rogers World Elite MC is one of the top travel cards in Canada.

The Bottom Line

Getting a Mastercard or Visa that rewards you for trip-related charges is beneficial for many reasons. Those who often go on a trip or who have plans for a future trip may use one to help make their dreams come true.

There are some attractive perks for cardholders that help you accumulate points to redeem for a free flight. They include:

  • miles points,
  • bonus rewards points,
  • high spend points to mile points conversion