best credit cards IN CANADA

Cheap travel is great... but free travel is even better. All financially-responsible Canadians can easily get free travel thanks to credit cards and Travel Hacking.

Travel Hacking is a great way to get hundred of dollars in free travel each year by getting new credit cards regularly , which is also positive for your credit score if you do it the right way. 

But the key to Travel Hacking is choosing the right credit cards.

Here are the best offers in Canada* 

Be careful! There are obviously some details you need to know: make sure you read the important info about credit cards. 

Best Credit Cards (April 2019)

Marriott BonvoyTM American Express® Card

An excellent card to get free hotel stays, the best offer in Canada currently

 $447

in free travel after $1,500 in 3 months

marriott-bonvoy-card

Previously known as the SPG Card, our favorite card in Canada is now revamped! Since the Welcome Bonus is so good, every traveler who loves free hotels should get it.

This card is excellent and one of the most lucrative if you use the Marriott Points well. You could get up to 15 free nights with the Welcome Bonus alone if you maximize it. The earn rate is also great and an additional card is also offered free of charge.

Welcome bonus of 60,000 Marriott Points
≈ $540 (estimated value 0.9¢/pt)
Points earned on the $1,500 minimum spend
= $27 (minimum value)
Card fee
= $120 (deducted from the total free travel)

Total of ≈ $447 of free travel
(no minimum value)
+ all Points earned with your regular purchases

After the $447 Welcome Bonus…

Here is the Points earn rate:
2 pts (≈ 1.8%) per $ everywhere
or
5 pts (≈ 4.5%) per $ at Marriott hotels

Marriott Points are Variable-Value Points, which means you have to use them wisely to get the most value.

Points can be redeemed for Marriott hotel stays (best use most of the time) or transferred to 40 airline programs.

More details in the article about the Marriott program.

No medical travel insurance
Flight delay insurance ($500, 4h minimum)
Car rental insurance
Baggage & personal effects insurance
Trip cancellation insurance
Hotel burglary insurance
Purchase protection & extended warranty 

or

Marriott BonvoyTM American Express®

Offer Summary
  • ≈ $447 in free travel
  • Variable-Value Points (and transferable)
  • Silver Elite Status & benefits at Marriott
  • Good earn rate and free additional card
  • Excellent insurance coverage (except medical)
  • Many AMEX benefits
  • No minimum income required
  • Minimum spend of $1,500 to reach
  • Certain conditions apply*

or

American Express Platinum Card®

The most premium card there is, with unlimited airport lounge access (only for those who travel a lot)

≈ $296

in free travel after $3,000 in 3 months

We both have this card and it is amazing. But since its fee is high and the welcome bonus that makes the first year profitable is “once-in-a-lifetime”, we recommend it only if you plan to travel a lot and you will be able to enjoy the many benefits.

Unlimited access to airport lounges (for 2 people) and Gold Elite Status at Marriott and Hilton are some of the perks that make your travel experience more luxurious.

And these are just some of the benefits of this card, the most prestigious in Canada (and now a sleek shiny metal card).

50,000 American Express MR Points Welcome Bonus
≈ $750 (estimated value of 1.5 ¢ / pt)
Points earned on the $3,000 minimum spend
≈ $45 (minimum value)
Annual travel credit
= $200 (minimum value)
Card Fee
= $699 (deducted from total free travel)

Total of $296 in free travel
(minimum value of $46)
+ all points earned with your regular purchases

After the $296 Welcome Bonus…

Here is the Points earn rate:
3 pts (≈ 4.5%) per $ on dining
2 pts (≈ 3.0%) per $ on travel
1 pt (≈ 1.5%) per $ everywhere

American Express Points are hybrid (fixed-value or variable-value) and transferable.

Variable value: Points can be transferred to Aeroplan, Avios, Delta and others (and potentially give you more for your money, but this requires more flexibility). They can also be used via American Express’s fixed-price award chart directly.

Fixed value: Points can also be applied to travel expenses via the AMEX portal, which gives you more flexibility but can not give you more for your money.

More details coming soon in the Travel Hacking section.

Medical travel insurance 15 days (64 years and under)
Flight delay insurance ($1,000, 4h minimum)
Car rental insurance
Baggage & personal effects insurance
Trip cancellation insurance
Travel accident insurance
Hotel burglary insurance
Purchase protection and extended warranty

or

American Express Platinum Card®

Offer Summary
  • ≈ $296 in free travel (50,000 Points Welcome Bonus)
  • Unlimited access to airport lounges (for 2 people)
  • Gold Elite Status at Marriott and Hilton
  • Points transferable 1:1 to Aeroplan and Avios
  • Hybrid Points (Fixed-Value or Variable-Value)
  • Excellent earn rate on dining and travel
  • Exceptional insurance coverage
  • No minimum income required
  • Minimum spend of $3,000 to reach
  • Certain conditions apply*

or

Scotia Passport Visa Infinite

An excellent card to use abroad with no foreign transaction fees (and with 6 lounge passes)

$171

in free travel after $1,000 in 3 months

Scotia Passport Visa

Almost all credit cards in Canada charge you a 2.5% transaction fee over the exchange rate for all purchases made in foreign currency.

All travelers should consider this card to save 2.5% on every dollar spent abroad: this is by far the best card to use outside Canada. You also get 6 free passes to access airport lounges.

The welcome bonus is really not the highest, but if you travel a lot, it’s a great addition to any Travel Hacking strategy. Not to be confused with the Scotia Passport Visa, it’s only the Visa Infinite that is interesting.

Welcome bonus of 30,000 Scotia Points
= $300 (fixed value of 1.0 ¢/pt)
Points accumulated on the $1,000 minimum spend
= $10 (minimum value)
Card Fee
= $139 (deducted from the total of free travel)

Total of $171 in free travel
(fixed-value)
+ all points accumulated with your regular purchases

After the $171 Welcome Bonus …

Here is the Points earn rate:
1 pt (1.0%) per $ everywhere
or
2 pts (2.0%) per $ in grocery stores, restaurants, entertainment and public transportation

Scotia Points are Fixed-Value Points and can be applied to travel expenses as a credit, so they are extremely flexible but can not give you more for your money.

More details coming soon in the Travel Hacking section.

Medical travel insurance 25 days (64 years and under)
Flight delay insurance ($500, 4h minimum)
Car rental insurance
Baggage & personal effects insurance
Trip cancellation insurance
Travel accident insurance
Hotel burglary insurance
Purchase protection and extended warranty 

Scotia Passport Visa Infinite

Offer Summary
  • $171 in free travel
  • 6 free airport lounge passes
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Easy-to-use Fixed-Value Points
  • Excellent insurance coverage
  • Good earn rate on everyday purchases
  • Minimum income of $60,000 required
  • Minimum spend of $1,000 to reach
  • Certain conditions apply*

American Express Cobalt™ Card

An excellent card for those who spend a lot every month

≈ $398 *

in free travel after $500 each month 

American Express Cobalt

This offer and this card is completely different from all the others. To get the welcome bonus, instead of having to spend an amount for the first 3 months, you have to spend $500 a month for 12 months.

It is only for those who spend a lot each month. That said, with the 5X Accumulation Rate Points on some purchases, this is by far the most lucrative card for everyday purchases.

Welcome Bonus of 30,000 American Express MR Select Points
≈ $324 (estimated value of 1.08 ¢/pt)
Points earned on the $500 minimum monthly spend
≈ $194 (estimated value*)
Card Fee
= $120 (deducted from free travel)

Total of $398 in free travel
(minimum value of $360)
+ all the Points earned with your regular purchases in excess of the amount included*

* estimated monthly expenses based on an assumption of $500 per month, half of which in food at 5X and half at 1X

Here is the Points earn rate:
1 pt (≈ 1.08%) per $ everywhere
or
2 pts (≈ 2.16%) per $ for travel and transportation
or
5 pts (≈ 5.4%) per $ at restaurant, convenience stores that code as food stores and grocery stores (and all stores that sell gift cards at in these locations)

American Express Points are hybrid (fixed-value or variable-value) and transferable.

Variable value: The Cobalt’s Select Points are different than the AMEX Points earned on the Gold and Platinum cards. They can not be transferred to Aeroplan, Avios, Delta and other airlines. They can only be transferred to Marriott (recommended) and Hilton (not recommended). They can also be used via American Express’s fixed-price award chart directly.

Fixed value: Points can also be applied to travel expenses via the AMEX portal, which gives you more flexibility but can not give you more for your money.

More details coming soon in the Travel Hacking section.

Medical travel insurance 15 days (64 years old and under)
Flight delay insurance ($500, 4h minimum)
Car rental insurance
Baggage & personal effects insurance
Trip cancellation insurance
Hotel burglary insurance
Purchase protection (90 days)
Extended warranty on purchases

Detailed article on the credit card coming soon

American Express Cobalt™ Card

Offer Summary
  • ≈ $398 in free travel (30,000 Points Welcome Bonus)
  • Excellent earn rate (5X on food, 2X on travel & transit)
  • Access to Cobalt cardmember perks, bonus rewards & events
  • Hybrid Points (Fixed-Value or Variable-Value)
  • Only card with monthly signup bonus
  • For those who spend a lot each month
  • Excellent insurance coverage and AMEX benefits
  • No minimum income required
  • Minimum spend of $500 per month to reach
  • Certain conditions apply*

Detailed article on the credit card coming soon

BMO World Elite Mastercard

An excellent card for an easy-to-use travel credit

$287

in free travel after $3,000 in 3 months

BMO_World_Elite_Mastercard

This is an excellent offer, especially for those who prefer more flexible and easy-to-use Points.

The BMO World Elite also offers 4 free airport lounge accesses, but there are fewer lounges choices than CIBC and Scotia cards because it’s the LoungeKey program rather than Prority Pass. 

Not to be confused with BMO World Elite Air Miles card.

Welcome Bonus of 35,000 BMO Rewards Points
= $245 (fixed-value of 0.7¢/pt)
Points earned on the $3,000 minimum spend
= $42 (minimum amount)
Card fee
= $0 (1st year free promo)

Total of $287 in free travel
(fixed-value) 
+ all points earned with your regular purchases 

After the $287 Welcome Bonus…

Here is the Points earn rate:
2 pts (1.4%) per $ everywhere 
or
3 pts (2.1%) per $ in travel, restaurants and entertainment

BMO Rewards Points are Fixed-Value Points.

They can be applied to travel expenses as a credit via the BMO website, so they give you great flexibility but can not give you more for your money. 

More details coming soon in the Travel Hacking section. 

21-day medical travel insurance (65 years and under)
Flight delay insurance ($500, 6hr minimum)
Car rental insurance
Baggage & personal effects insurance
Trip cancellation insurance
Travel accident insurance
Hotel burglary insurance
Purchase protection and extended warranty (90 days)

Detailed article on the credit card coming soon

BMO World Elite Mastercard

Offer Summary
  • $287 in free travel
  • 4 free airport lounges passes
  • Easy-to-use Fixed-Value Points
  • Great insurance coverage
  • Good earn rate on everyday purchases
  • 24/7 travel concierge service
  • Minimum income of $80,000 required
  • Minimum spend of $3,000 to reach
  • Certain conditions apply*

Detailed article on the credit card coming soon

American Express® Gold Rewards Card

An excellent card to earn Aeroplan Miles or Avios Points

≈ $240

in free travel after $1,500 in 3 months

Often, the offer is $315 free travel, but if you need Miles Aeroplan immediately, it’s still not a bad offer.

This card remains the best way to earn Aeroplan Miles or Avios Points.

25,000 American Express MR Points – Welcome Bonus
≈ $375 (estimated value of 1.5 ¢/pt)
Points earned by reaching the $1,500 minimum spend
= $15 (minimum value)
Card Fee
= $150 (deducted from the total amount of free travel)

Total of $240 in free travel by getting the card
(minimum value of $115)
+ all Points earned with your regular purchases

After the $240 Signup Bonus…

Here is the Points earn rate:
1 pt (≈ 1.5%) per $ everywhere
or
2 pts (≈ 3.0%) per $ in grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations and in travel

American Express Membership Rewards Points are hybrid (fixed-value or variable-value) and transferable.

Variable value: Points can be transferred to Aeroplan, Avios, Delta and others (and potentially give you more for your money, but this requires more flexibility). They can also be used via American Express’s fixed-price award chart directly.

Fixed value: Points can also be applied to other travel expenses via the AMEX portal, which gives you more flexibility but can not give you more for your money.

More details coming soon in the Travel Hacking section.

Medical travel insurance 15 days (64 years and under)
Flight delay insurance ($500, 4h minimum)
Car rental insurance
Baggage & personal effects insurance
Trip cancellation insurance
Travel accident insurance
Hotel burglary insurance
Purchase protection and extended warranty 

Detailed article on the credit card coming soon

American Express® Gold Rewards Card

Offer Summary
  • ≈ $240 in free travel (25,000 Points Welcome Bonus)
  • Points transferable 1:1 to Aeroplan & Avios
  • Good earn rate (2 pts / $1 for travel and certain categories)
  • Hybrid Points (Fixed-Value or Variable-Value)
  • Excellent insurance coverage
  • Many AMEX benefits (and free supplementary card)
  • No minimum income required
  • Minimum spend of $1,500 to reach
  • Certain conditions apply*

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite

An excellent card to get airport lounge access (for new CIBC clients)

≈ $220

in free travel after $1,000 in 3 months

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite

This is an excellent offer, but especially if you have never had a CIBC card (since the promo is only for new CIBC customers).

It’s rare that the value of free travel you get with the CIBC Aventura card is so high, and the card now offers 4 free airport lounge passes (a little less than the Scotia Visa Passport that offers 6) and also the free membership to NEXUS to speed up your airport experience.

Welcome Bonus of 20,000 CIBC Aventura Points
≈ $220 (estimated value of 1.1 ¢/pt)
Travel credit
= $120 (fixed value)
Card Fee
= $120 (deducted from amount of free travel)

Total of $220 in free travel*
(minimum value of $200)
+ all points earned with your regular purchase

After the $220 Welcome Bonus …

Here is the Points earn rate:
1 pt (≈ 1.1%) per $ everywhere
or
1.5 pts (≈ 1.7%) per $ in grocery stores, gas stations and drugstores

CIBC Aventura Points are hybrid (fixed or variable).

Variable value: Points can be used via the fixed-price award chart and potentially give you more for your money, but this requires more flexibility.

Fixed Value: Points can also be applied to other travel expenses via the CIBC portal, which gives you more flexibility but can not give you more for your money.

More details coming soon in the Travel Hacking section.

Medical travel insurance 15 days (64 years old and under)
Flight delay insurance ($500, 4h minimum)
Car rental insurance
Baggage & personal effects insurance
Trip cancellation insurance
Hotel burglary insurance
Travel accident insurance
Damaged cellphone insurance
Extended warranty on purchases

Detailed report on the credit card coming soon

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite

Offer Summary
  • ≈ $220 in free travel
  • 4 free airport lounge passes
  • Free NEXUS membership
  • Hybrid Points (Fixed-Value or Variable-Value)
  • Excellent insurance coverage
  • Free supplementary card
  • Minimum income of $60,000 required
  • $1,000 minimum spend to reach
  • Certain conditions apply*

Detailed article on the credit card coming soon

BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

An excellent card but only for those who know how to maximize the Air Miles program (i.e. by using them for travel)

≈ $363

in free travel after $3,000 in 3 months

BMO Air Miles

Air Miles is pretty well known, but quite misused. Like ALL rewards programs, avoid any use other than for travel to maximize their value, this is the most basic rule.

I am not the biggest fan of Air Miles, but there are still very good uses when you understand their award chart. And the 3,000 Air Miles bonus is very interesting.

Welcome bonus of 3,000 Air Miles
≈ $330 (estimated value of 11¢ /pt)
Points accumulated on the $3,000 minimum spend
≈ $33 (estimated value)
Card Fee
= $0 (1st year free promo)

Total of $363 free travel
(no minimum value)
+ all points accumulated with your regular purchases

After the $363 Signup Bonus …

Here is the Points earn rate:
0.1 pt (≈ 1.1%) per $ everywhere
and
no bonus categories

Air Miles Points are Variable-Value Points. Air Miles can be used according to the Air Miles Award Chart.

More details coming soon in the Travel Hacking section.

Medical travel insurance 15 days (64 years and under)
Flight delay insurance ($500, 6h minimum)
Car rental insurance
Baggage & personal effects insurance
Trip cancellation insurance
Travel accident insurance
Hotel burglary insurance
Purchase protection and extended warranty 

Detailed report on the credit card coming soon

BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

Offer Summary
  • ≈ $363 in free travel
  • 2 free airport lounge passes
  • Variable-Value Points
  • 15% discount on Air Miles flight rewards
  • Discount on companion ticket
  • Excellent insurance coverage
  • Minimum income of $80,000 required
  • Minimum spend of $3,000 to reach
  • Certain conditions apply*

Detailed article on the credit card coming soon

American Express® Business Gold Rewards Card

A good card to earn more AMEX/Aeroplan Points if you can reach the high minimum spend

≈ $275

in free travel after $5,000 in 3 months

American Express Or PME

If you have a small business (and the definition is very loose, just sell a few things on Kijiji and it counts as a business in the eyes of AMEX), you have access to additional cards that are especially useful if you have already others.

This card comes with a nice welcome bonus but requires a higher minimum amount than personal cards but it remains very interesting to complement its card wallet.

Welcome bonus of 30,000 American Express Points
≈ $450 (estimated value of 1.5 ¢/pt)

Points accumulated on the $5,000 minimum amount
= $75 (minimum value)

Card fees (tax deductible for SMEs)
= $250 (to be deducted from the total)

Total of $ 275 free trips
(minimum value of $ 100)
+ all points accumulated with your regular purchases

After the $275 Singup Bonus …

Here is the Points earn rate:
1 pt (≈ 1.5%) per $ everywhere
or
2 pts (≈ 3.0%) by $ at three suppliers among the AMEX list

American Express Points are hybrid (fixed-value or variable-value) and transferable.

Variable value: Points can be transferred to Aeroplan, Avios, Delta and others (and potentially give you more for your money, but this requires more flexibility). They can also be used via American Express’s fixed-price award chart directly.

Fixed value: Points can also be applied to travel expenses via the AMEX portal, which gives you more flexibility but can not give you more for your money.

More details coming soon in the Travel Hacking section.

No medical travel insurance (SME card)
Flight delay insurance ($500, 4h minimum)
Car rental insurance
Baggage & personnal effects insurance
Trip cancellation insurance
Hotel burglary insurance
Purchase insurance (90 days)
Extended warranty on purchases

Detailed report on the credit card coming soon

American Express® Business Gold

Offer Summary
  • ≈ $275 in free travel
  • Points transferable to Aeroplan & others
  • Hybrid Points (Fixed-Value or Variable-Value)
  • Excellent insurance coverage
  • Many AMEX benefits
  • Excellent earn rate with 3 suppliers
  • No minimum income required
  • Minimum spend of $5,000 to reach
  • Certain conditions apply*

Detailed article on the credit card coming soon

BMO Rewards Mastercard

A free card available to all (for those who inexplicably refuse to pay annual fees)

$147

in free travel after $1,000 in 3 months

BMO_Rewards

First, paying an annual fee is often the smart thing to do, because even deducting this cost, the fee cards give you more in terms of free travel than the cards with no annual fee (this is the case Scotia Gold at the moment for those with lower incomes).

It is only recommended for those who do not earn enough to be eligible for other cards or who want to build a credit history by keeping it open for a long time.

Welcome bonus of 20,000 BMO Rewards Points
= $140 (fixed value of 0.7 ¢/pt)
Points accumulated on the $1000 minimum amount
= $7 (minimum value)
Card Fee
= $0 (card always free)

Total of $ 147 free trips
(fixed value)
+ all points accumulated with your regular purchases

After the $147 Signup Bonus…

Here is the Points earn rate:
1 pt (0.7%) per $ everywhere
and
no bonused categories

BMO Rewards Points are Fixed-Value Points.

They can be applied to travel expenses via the BMO website, so they give you great flexibility but can not give you more for your money.

More details coming soon in the Travel Hacking section.

Limited insurance (no annual fee card)
Purchase insurance (90 days)
Extended warranty on purchases

Detailed report on the credit card coming soon

BMO Rewards Mastercard

Offer Summary
  • $147 in free travel
  • Easy-to-use Fixed-Value Points
  • Recommended for beginners only
  • No annual fee to build credit history
  • Very limited insurance coverage
  • Accepted at Costco
  • No minimum income required
  • Minimum spend of $1,000 to reach
  • Certain conditions apply*

Detailed article on the credit card coming soon

This content was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed on this page are purely our own.

All offers described on the Flytrippers website are subject to the financial institutions’ latest terms and conditions that can be found on their website.

Offers from financial institutions change quickly; it is your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of these offers on their website when applying for a card. Flytrippers will not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the offers or the result of your actions.

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