Nothing beats the satisfaction of going on a long-awaited vacation… unless it’s a vacation earned for free! Travel reward cards allow Canadian consumers to do just that, and it’s an option that more people are choosing for themselves. But which one should you choose?
There are many credit card travel reward programs, and there is one that is right for you.
We’ll do our best to answer all your questions with our compendium of the best credit card reward programs for travel in Canada!
Scotiabank® Gold American Express® Card
The Scotiabank® Gold American Express® Card is well suited as a travel rewards card. First-time users can expect a welcome offer of 50,000 Scotia Rewards points (worth $500) as the first of many perks from its rewards program.
Users can also expect to pay no annual fee for the first year, nor any foreign transaction fees. As well, this card offers airport lounge access, 24/7 complimentary concierge services, and a number of insurances that include Trip Interruption/Trip Cancellation, Emergency Travel Medical, Flight Delay, Rental Car Collision Loss/Damage.
Start earning points on this card using these rates:
● 5x points on grocery, dining and entertainment
● 3x points on gas, transit and select streaming services
● 1x point on all other eligible everyday purchases
Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite Card
The Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite Card entices new users by featuring no annual fee for the first year along with Complimentary Airport Lounge Access, plus 6 free lounge visits per year. What’s more, this card has a welcome offer of 40,000 Scotia Rewards points (worth $400).
With this card, users can redeem Scotia Rewards points towards statement credits, travel, the latest in tech, gift cards and more. As well, this card features no foreign exchange mark-up.
Start racking up travel reward points with every purchase:
● 5x Scotia Rewards points on Travel for the first 3 months (up to $2,500)
● 2x points on grocery, dining, entertainment and transit
● 1x point on all other eligible purchases
CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Card
Make way for the CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Card for great travel rewards! This card has a 20,000 Aeroplan point (worth $200) welcome offer that includes a first-year annual fee rebate for you and up to 3 Authorized Users!
What’s more this card offers a complimentary Buddy Pass through which users can bring anyone along to anywhere Air Canada flies in North America, including Hawaii and Mexico, in Economy class.
Earn points with every purchase using this card:
● 1.5x points for gas, groceries and with Air Canada directly, including through Air Canada Vacations
● 1x point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases
● Earn points at double the rate at over 150 Aeroplan partners and 170+ online retailers through the Aeroplan eStore
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite Card
The Aventura® Visa Infinite Card is a worthy contender to become your primary travel credit card on the merits of its strong benefits. This card has a welcome offer of 35,000 Aventura points (worth $800 in travel value†) and a first-year annual fee rebate for you and up to 3 Authorized Users!
Not only that, this card provides a rebate on NEXUS application fees, extensive travel insurances, and a Priority Pass Membership and 4 complimentary airport lounge visits per year.
This card allows users to accumulate points towards their travel rewards program this way:
● 2 points for every $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre
● 1.5 points for every $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores
● 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa Card
The CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa Card features a welcome offer where users can earn up to 35,000 Aventura Points (worth $800 in travel value†). Also available is a first-year annual fee rebate for you and up to 3 Authorized Users!
The rewards program of this card features access to 1,300+ airport lounges (worth over $200), a Priority Pass Membership (4 complimentary airport lounge visits per year), and a rebate on NEXUS application fees (worth $50).
Start earning on this card at these rates:
● 2x points on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre
● 1.5x points on gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores
● 1x point on all other purchases
CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Card
The CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Card rewards its users right away. Its welcome offer lets users earn 10,000 Aeroplan points on first purchases (worth $100), making it enough for a one-way economy class short-haul ticket in North America (for example, Toronto to New York). In fact, primary cardholders can often book flight rewards for even fewer points.
With this card, users can get insurance coverage for car rental collision and damage, plus extra protection for new purchases. Not only that, card users won’t be subjected to additional airline surcharges on flight rewards with Air Canada®.
Earn points on this card this way:
● 1x point on gas, groceries and with Air Canada directly, including through Air Canada Vacations®
● 1x point for every $1.50 you spend on all other purchases
CIBC Aventura® Visa Card
The CIBC Aventura® Visa Card is a credit card without any annual fees that provides new users a chance to immediately earn 10,000 Aventura® Points (worth $100 in travel value†).
This card provides 90-day protection on new purchases with its Purchase Security Insurance if your new purchase is stolen or breaks. And, with its Aventura Travel Assistant, users can access personalized travel booking and trip planning without incurring booking fees.
User can earn rewards like so:
● 1x point on gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores
● 1x point on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre
American Express Cobalt Card
The American Express Cobalt Card gives users the chance to earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points, a value worth $300. In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, users can earn 2,500 Membership Rewards® points for each monthly billing period that includes $500 in purchases, adding up to a potential 30,000 points in a year.
Cobalt Cardmembers receive regular perks such as bonus reward offers and access to great events. These include access to Front Of The Line® Presale & Reserved Tickets to top concerts and theatre performances. As well, users get access to special offers and events through American Express® Experiences.
This card offers reward points using the following format:
● 5x points on eligible food and drinks, groceries + more
● 2x points for $1 spent on eligible transit, travel, gas and more
● 1x the points on everything else
BMO World Elite® Mastercard®
The BMO World Elite® Mastercard® is a robust travel card that allows new users to earn up to
30,000 points in the first year (worth $210), making it a great card to consider.
This card features complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport LoungeKey Experiences (4 free passes a year), 24/7 access to Concierge Service as well as access to over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide at no added cost, fees or roaming charges.
Earn reward points on this card according to these rates:
● Get 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent on travel, dining and entertainment purchases
● Get 2 points for every $1 spent everywhere else
● Get 2 bonus points for every $1 you spend on rentals at participating National Car Rental® and Alamo Rent a Car® locations.
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Card
The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Card lives up to its name by giving users a chance to earn up to $1,250 in value in the first year. It offers a welcome bonus of 20,000 Aeroplan points (worth $200) and a bonus Buddy Pass that can score you a second ticket when you book an economy ticket to bring anyone along anywhere Air Canada flies in North America (including Hawaii and Mexico).
By adding an additional cardholder to your account in the first year, users can get an annual fee rebate for the first year (worth $214).
Earn points on this card at these rates:
● 1.5x points on gas, groceries and travel
● 1x point on everything else
RBC Avion Visa Platinum
The RBC Avion Visa Platinum impresses with the freedom it grants its users. In addition to a welcome offer of 35,000 points (worth up to $750), it lets users make their own choices.
After earning 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 you spend on qualifying purchases, this card lets you fly on your terms:
● Choose any airline, any flight, at any time.
● No blackouts or seat restrictions, even during peak seasons.
● Choose your destination
Flights start as low as 15,000 RBC Rewards points, making this a great travel rewards card to consider.
RBC Avion Visa Infinite
The RBC Avion Visa Infinite lets users fly on any airline at any time. After receiving 35,000 bonus RBC Rewards points upon approval (worth $750), users can use these reward points to fly almost anywhere in Canada or the US (aside from Hawaii and Alaska).
This card lets users earn 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent, plus an extra 25% on eligible travel related purchases.
With flights starting as low as 15,000 RBC Rewards points, card users can expect these perks:
● No blackouts or seat restrictions. If there’s an open seat, you can fly – even during peak seasons.
● Redeem points for the latest Apple products, over 50,000 tech products at Best Buy, and an amazing selection of merchandise, gift cards, RBC Financial Vouchers and more.
● Use your RBC Rewards points toward your credit card balance.
TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite Card
The TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite Card has a welcome offer where users can earn up to 100,000 TD Points and have the first year Annual Fee waived for the Primary and Additional Cardholders (a value of up to $670).
Users can redeem TD Points for travel and travel-related purchases, retail merchandise and gift cards, or for a cash credit to your account. The reward point system on this card are:
● 9x points on travel
● 3x points on other purchases
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card
The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card features a welcome offer that lets users earn up to 40,000 points (worth $284) and waives the $120 annual fee for the first year.
As well, users can enjoy a $50 annual lifestyle credit in addition to Mobile Device Insurance that offers coverage for up to $1,000. With this card, points can be redeemed for as little as $1. Moreover, users can earn 10% more points when an authorized user is added.
Earn reward points accordingly:
● Earn 5x the BMO Rewards points on groceries, dining, gas and transit
● Get 1 BMO Reward for every $1 spent on everything else
WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard
The WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard is well deserving of its name. It offers users 350 welcome WestJet dollars (on first purchase) as well as other great perks such as: free first checked bags for the primary cardholder, no-fee Boingo WiFi (inflight or on-the-go), and no blackout periods.
What’s more, this card offers a number of insurances that include: Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical, Trip Interruption, Travel Accident, and Emergency Purchases and Flight Delay.
Start earning rewards at these rates:
● 1.5% back in WestJet dollars on everyday purchases
● 2% back in WestJet dollars on flights or packages with WestJet or WestJet Vacations
WestJet RBC Mastercard
The WestJet RBC Mastercard offers a lot for its low annual fee of $39. This card has a welcome offer that lets users earn up to 100 WestJet dollars (with $1,000 spending in the first 3 months), and provides an annual round-trip companion voucher for $199 CAD (plus taxes, fees and charges) for round-trip travel within Canada and to/from the continental U.S.
Start accumulating reward points at these rates:
● 1% in WestJet dollars for every qualifying purchase you make on your card
● 1.5% in WestJet dollars when you buy WestJet flights or WestJet Vacations
BMO Rewards ® Mastercard ®
The BMO Rewards ® Mastercard® is a no-fee credit card with a strong rewards program. New users can earn 10,000 points (worth $100) by spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. As well, it gives users the opportunity to earn faster with additional cardholders, and offers Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection.
Rack up the points accordingly:
● Get 1 BMO Rewards point for every $1 spent and redeem them with our most flexible rewards program – merchandise, travel, pay with points and more
● Get 2x BMO Rewards points and up to 25% off rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car locations
BMO AIR MILES® Mastercard®
The BMO AIR MILES® Mastercard® is a no-fee credit card that rewards users with AIR MILES Reward Miles on every purchase. This card features a welcome offer of 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (worth $80) and a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee.
As well, users can receive a discount on car rentals in addition to receiving features like Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection.
Earn AIR MILES, and save up for your vacation:
● 1 Mile for every $25 you spend on your credit card
● 3 Miles for every $25 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners
Want to find out more? Become a RatemyRewards.ca member and get exclusive deals and updates for free! Sign up today!
Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertising partners.