Canada’s Best Travel Credit Cards 2020
Best no fee card for travel
If you want the opportunity to earn travel rewards but don’t want to pay an annual fee, we recommend the MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard. As a cardholder, you earn MBNA Points at a regular rate of 2 Points per dollar spent on groceries, gas and restaurant purchases and 1 Point per dollar on everything else—but with the limited time welcome promotion, you get four times the Points on your bonus categories for the first 90 days of your account. This is a great opportunity to beef up your Points cache, particularly with these frequently used earnings categories, but you should be aware that these rewards are capped at a maximum of $5,000 in each category annually. Spends over this amount will be rewarded at the regular 1 Point per dollar rate.
There’s a 10,000-Point bonus with this no fee card, which works out to about $100 in travel. Another major benefit to this card is that when you book travel with your MBNA Points, you can book on any airline you wish. In addition to the usual purchase protection and extended warranty, car rentals with Avis or Budget Rent A Car may be discounted. Unfortunately, the MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard doesn’t have travel emergency coverage.
- Welcome bonus: Earn 4 Points per $1 on eligible grocery, gas, and restaurant purchases, plus up to 10,000 bonus Points—5,000 on $500 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months, plus another 5,000 when you sign up for paperless statements
- Earn rate: 2 Points per dollar spent on groceries, gas, and restaurant purchases; 1 Point per dollar on everything else
- Our favourite features: Strong earn rate and welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card
- Additional benefits: Discounts on car rentals at Avis and Budget Rent A Car; purchase protection and extended warranty
Best flat rate travel card
For those who want reliable, flexible rewards from their travel card, but crave simplicity, too, the MBNA Rewards World Elite is worth a look. You’ll earn 2 points per dollar on everything—no need to be strategic with your spending or think about bonus categories. And because it’s a Mastercard that earns twice the reward points of most other travel cards, and earns them across the board, it’s arguably one of the best options for Costco shoppers. New cardholders get a kickstart to the tune of 20,000 bonus points if you spend at least $2,000 within the first 90 days; that’s a value of up to $200, depending on how you choose to redeem, and if you’re saving up for something big, you can relax knowing that points don’t expire. (You can boost your points-earning potential by adding up to nine authorized card users in your household or family at no additional cost.)
Redemption is flexible, too: 1,000 points equals $1 in travel rewards (or 1% return). You can also choose to trade your reward points for a wide variety of gift card options (including some e-gift cards that allow you to avoid the shipping costs associated with receiving a physical card). Here, too, the rate of return is impressive at 0.9 cents per point; most other travel cards don’t offer such great value on gift-card redemptions.
So, what’s not to like? Compared to competitors’ offerings, this card under-delivers on its provided travel insurance. You’ll get lost document and ticket replacement, lost luggage and legal assistance, but there’s no travel medical insurance included.
- Annual fee: $120
- Welcome bonus: Receive 20,000 points by spending $2,000 with the card within the first 90 days
- Earn rate: 2 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases
- Our favourite features: Earn points at a simple, but generous, flat rate; flexible redemption, with better-than-average value on gift card redemptions
- Additional benefits: Car rental insurance, and discounts at Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car; cardholders enjoy double the written warranty coverage on most purchases
Best hotel credit card
When Marriott merged their loyalty program with Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Ritz-Carlton Rewards, consumers had a lot of questions and concerns. The good news is the deal is done and the resulting program—and the attached credit card—easily earns a spot in this best-of travel list. It’s tough to know just where to start with the benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express. For many, it’s the massive 50,000-Point welcome bonus—a gift large enough to get you three nights at eligible hotels, and that’s in addition to the one free hotel stay each year every member receives.