We work hard to pay off our credit cards, so isn’t it about time our credit cards repaid us with rewards? These days, it seems like credit card reward programs abound, so it can be hard to track down the ones that are worth signing up for. In this roundup, we’ll examine the best rewards credit cards in Canada, so you know you’re making the right choice before signing on the dotted line.
Best overall card
- 5pts Earn 5x the points on food and drinks, including restaurants and food delivery purchases.
- 3pts Earn 3x the points on streaming subscriptions including Netflix, Disney+, and Crave.
- 2pts Earn 2x the points on travel and transit including flights and public transportation.
- 1pt Earn one point on all other purchases.
Flexible rewards redemption for nearly every purchase you make with your Cobalt card.
Maximize points on everyday purchases.
Comprehensive travel, mobile device, and purchase protection insurance when you book with your Cobalt card.
- The Cobalt card costs $12.99 a month, which works out to be an annual fee of $155.88.
- The annual interest rate is 20.99%, which is not recommended for those with a balance.
The American Express Cobalt card is recommended for those looking for a low-fee card that features a flexible rewards program. You’ll quickly earn points on purchases you’re already making, like streaming subscriptions, and you’ll rest easy knowing you have a thorough insurance plan abroad (and at home).
Why we picked it
The American Express Cobalt Card is known for its rewarding approach to everyday spending, especially in dining and travel categories.
In the first year, the card offers up to 15,000 Membership Rewards® points, featuring 5x the points on dining and drinks, 3x on streaming, and 2x on travel and transit. Points can cover a wide range of purchases, including gas, groceries, and streaming services.
The card also provides mobile device and travel insurance, ensuring both device safety and travel-related peace of mind. But the American Express Cobalt Card’s unique advantage is the ability to transfer Membership Rewards points, 1:1 to travel programs like Aeroplan. This feature, combined with extensive rewards and protective coverages, positions it significantly higher than other cards in rewards and safety offerings.
Best Aeroplan card
- 1.5pts Collect 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on gas, groceries, and Air Canada purchases.
- 1pt Collect 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Generous travel insurance coverage and extensive mobile device
- Free checked bag on Air Canada flights
- Nexus fee reimbursement
- No blackout periods for flight redemptions
- Minimum income requirement
- No airport lounge access
- Flight redemption limited to Star Alliance members
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card is a great travel rewards credit card for the frequent Air Canada flyer or Aeroplan member. With its minimum income requirement and ties to the Aeroplan Rewards program, it’s really designed for moderate to high earners who are in airports often and want to reap the rewards. This card also offers unique travel perks, such as the Nexus fee reimbursement.
Why we picked it
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is the best Aeroplan card we’ve reviewed, specifically designed for frequent travellers. Its standout features include a lucrative welcome offer, comprehensive travel insurance, and free checked luggage benefits, setting it apart in the travel credit card sector.
The true appeal of the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card lies in its welcome offer of 50,000 Aeroplan points, valued at up to $1,400. The card also excels in travel protection, offering extensive travel insurance and a unique benefit of free checked luggage for the cardholder and up to eight companions, enhancing the travel experience significantly.
Compared to its peers, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card offers superior travel-related benefits, making it a top choice for travellers. If you’re seeking a card that combines a substantial welcome offer, exceptional travel insurance, and practical travel perks like free luggage, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is unrivaled in its offerings.
Best no foreign exchange fee card
- 6pt Earn 6 Scene+ points per dollar you spend in Canada at Sobeys, safeway, FreshCo, and more.
- 5pt Earn 5 Scene+ points per dollar spent on entertainment, dining, and groceries.
- 3pt Earn 3 Scene+ points for every dollar spent on gas, transit, and streaming services.
- 1pt Earn 1 Scene+ point for all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Low personal income requirement ($12,000)
- A generous bonus of 40,000 points after signing up
- Access to special perks for Amex holders
- Comprehensive travel insurance options
- Card is less widely accepted in Canada than in the United States
- Annual fee of $120
- Requires a high credit score to qualify
The Scotiabank Gold American Express credit card has a wide variety of perks, which means its ideal audience is quite broad. However, its ideal customer will probably spend a considerable amount of time across the border so that they can reap all of the benefits of having zero foreign exchange fees. It offers essential benefits like travel insurance and luxury benefits like concierge services and a robust points system, covering a wide range of everyday categories such as groceries and gas.
Why we picked it
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card offers no foreign transaction fees, making it an ideal choice for travellers and international shoppers. This card blends the convenience of practical global use with a lucrative rewards program.
New cardholders can earn up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points. This includes 20,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first three months and an additional 20,000 points after spending $7,500 in the first year.
At the heart of the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is its impressive Scene+ points system, offering up to 6x the points on groceries and 5x the points on dining, including food delivery and subscriptions. The card also offers 5x the points on entertainment and 3x the points on gas and daily transit. The card also provides essential travel insurance, covering up to $1 million in emergency medical expenses, ensuring peace of mind during travel.
Compared to other cards, the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card offers a unique blend of no foreign transaction fees and a high-reward points program, making it superior for both international use and daily expenses. Its comprehensive insurance coverage and exclusive access to Amex Offers®, Front of the Line®, and VIP lounge access further elevate its status. If you’re looking for a card that offers exceptional everyday value with the added advantage of no foreign transaction fees, the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is an unmatched choice.
Best gas and grocery card
- 4% Cash back on eligible gas, electric vehicle charging, and grocery purchases
- 2% Cash back on transportation, dining, and recurring payments
- 1% Cash back on all other purchases
- Welcome Offer First-year annual fee rebate for you and up to three authorized users.
- Annual Rewards $558 Learn how we calculate this.
- Annual Fee $120
- Minimum Income Required $60,000 individual or $100,000 household annual income.
- High cash back rewards
- Flexible cash back redemption
- Save up to 10 cents per litre on eligible gas purchases with Journie Rewards
- Minimum income requirement of $60,000 for individuals
- $120 annual fee (first year rebated)
- Annual spending caps can limit reward rates
The CIBC Dividend Visa® Infinite* Card is among Canada’s most valuable cash back rewards cards, with huge earning power on important purchase categories like gas, groceries, and recurring payments. This makes it ideal for families and those making regular commutes. It’s got a high annual fee and income requirement, but if your spending in high-earning categories is sufficient, this card will generate some of the biggest cash back rewards around.
Why we picked it
The CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card is specifically designed for those who spend significantly on gas and groceries. It offers an impressive 4% cash back on these categories, including electric vehicle charging, making it a top choice for everyday savings.
Cardholders receive a first-year annual fee rebate for themselves and up to three authorized users, enhancing the card’s value right from the start.
The card shines with 4% cash back on eligible gas, electric vehicle charging, and groceries. Additionally, cardholders can save even more on gas with up to 10 cents off per litre at participating gas stations through Journie Rewards. Beyond these categories, the card offers 2% cash back on transportation, dining, and recurring payments, and 1% on all other purchases. There’s no limit on the total cash back one can earn, maximizing the potential savings for cardholders.
For those prioritizing cash back on daily essentials like gas and groceries, the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card offers unmatched benefits. Its significant cash back rates, combined with additional savings opportunities like Journie Rewards, make it a leading choice in its category.
Best no fee card
- 3% Earn 3% back on all purchases made in US dollars
- 1.5% Earn 1.5% back on all eligible regular purchases
- No annual fee
- Free Mastercard Travel Pass with airport lounge access, discounts, and more
- Extensive travel insurance
- Cash back on all eligible purchases
- Only accessible for those with a high income
- High foreign transaction fee that offsets U.S. cash back rate
The card offers an easy way to earn travel and shopping rewards with no annual fee. It also provides attractive luxury benefits such as airport lounge access and cash back on U.S. currency and everyday purchases, while also offering substantial travel insurance. This card is best for those who travel to the U.S. frequently.
Why we picked it
The Rogers World Elite Mastercard offers a blend of benefits for a no-fee card, including 1.5% unlimited cash back on all eligible regular purchases and 3% on US dollar transactions. This card is particularly advantageous for those who make US purchases often, while still providing one of the highest flat cash back rates available.Cardholders also receive a $25 cash back bonus upon their first purchase within three months of receiving the card, kickstarting the rewards experience.
Unlike many no-fee cards, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard includes comprehensive travel benefits such as complimentary membership to Mastercard Travel Pass by DragonPass, providing access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. The card also offers a suite of insurance benefits, including extended warranty and purchase protection, rental car collision/damage insurance, emergency medical insurance, and both trip interruption and cancellation insurance.
For individuals looking for a no-fee card that doesn’t skimp on rewards or travel benefits, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard is an exceptional choice. Its combination of high cash back rates, USD cash back, and inclusive travel insurance makes it a standout option, all with zero annual fees.
Best cash back card
- 4% Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas station purchases made in Canada.
- 4% Earn 4% cash back on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada — up to $1,200 annually.
- 2% Earn 2% cash back on all other purchases with no limit.
- Mobile device insurance up to $1,000 if you buy your phone with the card
- Cash back bonus for referring
- Exclusive event ticket access through American Express
- Travel insurance for trips purchased with the card
- Cash back on groceries limited to $1,200 a year
- No travel points collection program
The SimplyCash Preferred card from American Express is a great option for those looking to get the most out of their essential daily purchases, while also travelling enough to make use of the card’s travel insurance and online booking deals. However, frequent flyers may miss getting extra points on travel that can lead to free flights. To get a comprehensive understanding of the card, continue reading our detailed review below.
Why we picked it
The SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express is the best cash back credit card we’ve reviewed, particularly because of its high earn rates. While it carries a monthly fee of $9.99 (equating to $119.88 annually), its substantial cash back rates, especially on gas and grocery purchases, and comprehensive insurance benefits, make it a worthwhile consideration for savvy spenders.
New cardholders can earn up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months by earning a $40 statement credit each month they spend $750 on the card. This offer is exclusive to new Cardmembers.
The card offers an impressive 4% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases in Canada, up to $1,200 annually, and 2% cash back on all other purchases with no limit on the amount you can earn. This rate is particularly competitive, positioning the card as a top contender among other cash back credit cards.
While American Express cards may not be as universally accepted as Visa or Mastercard, the SimplyCash® Preferred Card compensates with its range of features and benefits:
- American Express Experiences: Get access to exclusive ticket presales, events, dining experiences, and shopping offers.
- Comprehensive insurance package: Get extensive travel insurance coverage, such as emergency medical insurance, flight delay insurance, lost or stolen baggage insurance, and car rental theft and damage insurance. The card also offers purchase protection and extended warranty on eligible items.
The SimplyCash® Preferred Card from American Express, despite its monthly fee and the potential limitation of being an Amex card, offers one of the highest cash back rates available, particularly for gas and grocery purchases. Coupled with its insurance benefits and exclusive American Express perks, it’s an excellent choice for those who value high cash back rewards and additional cardmember benefits.
Notable offers from our partners
Earn 2% cash back in two 2% money-back categories.
Tangerine World Mastercard
Earn up to 5% cash back on food delivery, Neo retail partners, and more.
Neo Secured Credit
Rated 2.9/5 stars.
Earn up to 5% interest on your account balance.
Wealthsimple Cash Card
Rated 3.6/5 stars.
How we select our cards
When evaluating credit cards on our website, we use a comprehensive and unbiased methodology.
Dynamic earning potential analysis
Our model simulates annual spending across various categories, including dining, travel, groceries, and entertainment, to calculate the potential earnings from points, miles, or cash back.
Reward value scrutiny
We delve into the details of point redemption options, examining how values change with different redemption methods.
Bonus rewards and offers examination
We dissect welcome bonuses, annual point bonuses, and other promotional offers to ensure they’re not just attractive at face value but offer genuine, attainable value to users over time.
Perks and benefits balance
We look at the suite of benefits the card offers—travel insurance, airport lounge access, concierge services, and more. We weigh these perks against the card’s costs, like annual fees and interest rates, to judge the net value offered to the consumer.
Importantly, our ratings remain impartial. They’re never influenced by affiliates or sponsors.
|November 10, 2023:
|Added rationale for selection of each credit card in each category.
What is a rewards credit card?
A rewards credit card, loosely defined, is any credit card that offers its user a return on their purchases, whether it’s in the form of points, miles, or cold, hard cash.
The motivation of a rewards credit card is simple: the rewards system is designed to incentivize credit card use over alternative methods. The card not only does this by offering enticing rewards but also by specifying which spending categories are eligible for rewards — you’ll notice that the most common categories are the ones that most households spend the most on, like gas, groceries, or bills.
Credit card companies can offer these rewards through annual fees, interest payments, or what is known as interchange (the fee that merchants pay to the credit card issuer to accept credit card payments).
As a spender, you will see credit card rewards work like so: your credit card will offer you a set amount of rewards for every dollar spent (1 point per dollar is a popular example). These points are redeemable in various ways depending on the carrier (usually in an online marketplace or online through specific vendors).
Depending on your particular program, you may also be able to exchange your points for a balance payment, trade them for gift cards, or donate them to charity. Overall, rewards credit cards can be beneficial if you do the majority of your spending with credit.
Types of rewards credit cards
Although every rewards card is going to theoretically do the same thing — give you rewards for spending — deciding which one is the best for you is a personal matter.
In general, rewards credit cards fall into one of the following categories:
You can earn miles, usually through travel-related programs like Aeroplan or Air Miles. These can be redeemed on more travel-related purchases, but also on merchandise and events.
Cash back is money returned to the cardholder with each purchase. This type of reward will generally net you less in value compared to other rewards cards. Some cash back cards are also easier to qualify for if you have an average credit score, like the BMO Cash Back Mastercard, which requires a credit score of about 670.
When you collect points, such as Scotia points or BMO points, you earn points per dollar you spend, which can be redeemed on things like merchandise, travel, gift cards, and more.