Personal Credit Cards in Canada

Credit cards are most likely the easiest way to earn miles without flying. Actually, scratch that, credit cards are THE EASIEST WAY to get miles and fly for only taxes whether it’s short-haul hops or international first class.

I am going to do a very long series on the valuation of miles and points and thus on the value of credit cards. Here is a list of all the credit cards in Canada that earn different types of miles and points. I would like your opinion with how to approach this topic – would you like a post on each credit card, or on each issuer, or on each type of mile? Head for Points in my opinion has a really good approach which covers a similar (limited) credit card marketplace for UK residents.

Right now, I’m definitely trying to define my approach towards credit cards (and naturally affiliate links) and your feedback is always welcome. Most of the flexible rewards/cashback cards are not listed as I have selected the best card in those fields and those make applying for those weaker cards redundant. So these are all the cards that are relevant and that I am planning to write about. Please tell me in the comments if I’m missing any cards that are of importance (Canadian Cards only!). I am definitely not as good with Air Miles and flexible reward Canadian credit cards, so I may have missed some. This page will likely be a sticky page at the header on the top once I’m done with this series, so it’ll be a good reference page.

Aeroplan/Hybrid

CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite

CIBC Aventura World Elite Mastercard

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite

American Express Aeroplan Plus Platinum Card

American Express Aeroplan Plus Gold Card

American Express Aeroplan Plus Card

Transferrable Points

American Express Gold Rewards Card

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card

American Express Platinum Card

RBC Platinum/Infinite Avion Visa

Airline

RBC British Airways Visa Infinite

RBC Westjet Mastercard/Elite Mastercard

Capital One Delta Skymiles Gold/World Mastercard

Alaska Airlines Platinum Mastercard

Hotel

Capital One Priority Club Platinum/World Mastercard 

Chase Marriott Premier Visa

MBNA Best Western Rewards Mastercard

MBNA Choice Privileges Mastercard

Air Miles

American Express Air Miles Reserve

American Express Platinum/Air Miles Credit Card

BMO Air Miles World Mastercard

Flexible Rewards/Cashback

Capital One Aspire Travel World Mastercard

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite

MBNA SmartCash Mastercard

Other

HBC Financial Mastercard

RBC Target Mastercard

Chase Sears Financial Mastercard

MBNA More Rewards Mastercard

That concludes the very limited list of credit cards I think you should be considering! Reviews coming soon!

Comments

  1. this is a great post. Do you know if there is a card in Canada that doesn’t charge Foreign Transaction Fees? I tried using a few cards overseas, but they all charged me a 2.5%-3% fee. 🙁

    • All Chase Canada Cards do not have forex fee. Two I would recommend are the Chase Marriott and Chase Sears (which are in my post).

  2. Do you have any stories of persons in the US establishing credit in Canada to get Canadian credit cards? Is it possible to do online/over the phone? I’m US based, but don’t want to sign up for some of the cards out there with very high spending requirements. I was wondering if the CA credit market is a viable option to diversify into.

    • You will need a Canadian address and credit report, which means it’s almost likely you will need a Canadian SIN (Social Insurance Number). So unless you were (are) a Canadian resident I would say in almost all cases it is better to get credit cards in the US that have no spend/little spend. With Amazon Payments you can at least do $1000 a month so at least you can do the Delta AMEX cards, Barclay US Airways, and some Chase/Citi offers.

    • Hi Jason: I had a reverse experience moving from Canada to the US. AMEX trf’d my Cdn account to the US based on my Cdn credit history. I also had a BofA Alaskan VS Card (before it was sold to MBNA Canada, and now back to BofA), and BofA basically issued me a new card on the basis of my Cdn history (so did Verizon). I did not yet have my SSN at that time, only a US address. I assume AMEX and BofA would do the same for an American “moving” to Canada. The Alaska VS might be worth getting as you’d get a second $99 companion fare certificate. Bonne chance

      • Interesting, thanks for your comment. AMEX does to global transfer but you need residency in the country you’re moving to and (I think) work proof as well.

  3. I don’t understand why the offers in Canada are so lame. I checked the RBC Avios (15K points ???) and Westjet ( 50 dollars) and truly feel sorry for Canadians.

    • That is the case with most countries outside of the US! We sometimes have okay offers (for example the RBC Avios had periods where it was 50k) but yes US credit for Canadians are so close… yet so far.

  4. Don’t forget TD First Class Visa Infinite. 3 pts per dollar for all spending, 6 pts for travel booked through their agent over the phone, 9 pts when using their expedia portal. Redeem for any and all travel, 10000 pts = $50.

    • Yep, but that’s only 1.5% return which is outclassed by Capital One Aspire. The 4.5% return on requires going through their portal – and I’m pretty sure you can get more than 3% back with cashback portals! Since they dropped AA as a partner I haven’t been too interested in TD…. and their First Class Infinite which was a pretty good product 2 years ago is now outclassed by the Scotiabank and Capital One cards.

  5. Great idea Jeff, I have been following this closely for about a year and find it a great way to get cheap flights – family of 4 for myself. the sign-up bonuses can be sweet as well, but I wonder about the churning – seems way easier South of our border as are the sign-up bonuses and choice of cards. We have it OK, just have to be choosy.
    Best Western MBNA MC had a 50,000 sign up bonus last October which got us 4 nights (12000) at the Tampa Bay Harbour hotel which is a decent place. Starwood’s 20000 sign up bonus earlier this year was nice as well. I’ll keep you bookmarked for sure!
    Jay.

  6. You are missing the BMO rewards world elite mc. I churned that one and for a pro rated annual fee of under $100, I got 3 nights at an LAX hotel and lounge membership with 4 lounge passes. About a $400 value…great return!

    • How exactly did you get a $400 value? The annual fee pro-rated is around $50-75, so a value of around ~$200.

  7. The sign-up points are worth $285 on BMO’s travel website. 4 lounge passes are worth $27 each. Priority pass membersip is worth $99. So less the annual fee $400 or more!

    • Interesting. Here’s how I look at it. Because I will be applying for the AMEX Plat which does come with priority pass (and 60k points), I see the benefits that BMO offers as duplicate and thus I don’t count it in my evaluation. Each to his/her own cards, I guess!

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