Best Travel Credit Cards Canada

The Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada

In recent years, the concept of the travel credit card has become increasingly popular. In fact, with so much competition out there, it appears as if travel credit cards keep making their offerings more and more enticing. It’s no surprise that many Canadians choose to have at least one travel-related credit card in their wallet.

However, with so many different kinds of credit cards out there, are they all created equally? In this Wealth Rocket article, we weigh both sides of the proverbial equation, while considering your personal interests to determine the best travel credit cards in Canada.

Table of Contents

The Best Credit Cards for Travel in Canada

As mentioned in this article's introduction, there's no shortage of credit cards available in Canada, with many travel credit card options available.

Below, we'll look at the most popular travel credit cards in Canada, many of which are available through Canada's "Big Five" banks.

1. Best Travel Credit Card: Tangerine World Mastercard

  • Cashback: 0.5%* to 2%*
  • Minimum Limit: None
  • Personal Income Requirement: $60,000
  • APR: 19.95%*
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Bonus Features: 10% cashback promo for first two months

The Tangerine World Mastercard takes first place in our list of the best travel credit cards for Canadians.

As one of Canada's most popular no-frill online banks, Tangerine offers a wide variety of free banking products. The Tangerine World Mastercard is one of the products that go above and beyond its competitors in Canada's financial landscape.

The Tangerine World Mastercard offers a cashback rate of up to 2%* on two customizable categories or 2% back on three customizable savings if the applicant also opens a Tangerine Savings account.

Cashback categories of choice include groceries, furniture, restaurants, hotels and motels, gas, recurring bill payments, pharmacy, home improvement, entertainment, public transportation, and parking. Any purchases outside of the chosen categories earn 0.50%* interest.

But that's not all! The Tangerine World Mastercard offers a wide variety of additional perks, including free access to over 1 million Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide, mobile device insurance, access to LoungeKey, Mastercard's airport lounge in over 400 airports, and much, much more.

Finally, the Tangerine World Mastercard currently offers a promotional interest rate of 10%* cashback on a total of $1,000 for the first two months.

If you plan on going on vacation any time soon, it would be wise to use this credit card before travel and during to maximize your earning potential.

If you do not meet the minimum income requirement for this credit card, you may find value in the Tangerine Money Back Credit Card.

*Rates current as of June 2021
Tangerine-World-Mastercard-243x153

Tangerine World Mastercard

Tangerine World Mastercard

Receive a 1.95% Balance Transfer promo for 6 months (1% fee) with Tangerine World Mastercard

To learn more, check out:

2. Best Travel Credit Card for Points: Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

  • Minimum Limit: $5,000
  • Personal Income Requirement: $60,000
  • APR: 19.99%*
  • Annual Fee: $139
  • Bonus Features: 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards from $1,000 in everyday eligible purchases in the first three months

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is a fan favorite on the travel credit card scene, having won itself the title of “Best Travel Card 2020” from MoneySense, and “Best Travel Perks Card” from Ratehub.ca. But, how does its performance hold up to these accolades?

Pretty well, it turns out. For one thing, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is unique among rewards credit cards for offering its holder zero foreign transaction fees.

This feature is a huge benefit to those who partake in a lot of international travel and find themselves making a lot of purchases in foreign currencies, as these transaction fees can quickly add up.

As far as rewards go, cardholders benefit from 2 Scotia Rewards* for every dollar spent in qualifying categories (restaurants, groceries, entertainment, and transit).

Any other purchase will still result in 1 Scotia Reward* per dollar spent. Cardholders will find it easy to redeem their points through the Scotia Rewards Portal.

*Rates current as of June 2021
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

Scotiabank
Passport Visa

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

Earn up to 35,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $350 towards travel)

To learn more, check out:

3. Best No-Fee Travel Credit Card: MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

  • Minimum Limit: N/A
  • Personal Income Requirement: N/A
  • APR: 19.99%
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Bonus Features: 5,000 bonus points for $500 or more in eligible purchases within the first 90 days, double points for every $1 spent on gas, grocery, and restaurant purchases during the first 90 days

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is a well-rounded travel credit card with a straightforward points rewards system that is generous in its category limitations.

For starters, this card offers one point for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. Eligible purchases do not include cash transactions, such as balance transfers or cash advances.

Customers receive double the rewards for common spending categories, such as gas, groceries, and restaurants, which means spenders receive 2 points* for every dollar spent.

However, points doubling maxes out after you have spent $5,000, at which point you will go back to earning the standard one point.

As a bonus, new cardholders can earn four points for every dollar spent within their first 90 days.

While these reward points are technically redeemable anywhere, they go a further distance (pun intended) when redeemed for travel.

With travel-related rewards, such as hotel reservations or rental cars, 100 points are worth $1*. For other rewards, 200 points are worth $1*.

Overall, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is ideal for those looking to avoid paying an annual fee and who don’t want to feel limited by their reward redemption options.

*Rates current as of June 2021

4. Best Travel Credit Card Sign-Up Offer: BMO World Elite Mastercard

  • Minimum Limit: N/A
  • Personal Income Requirement: $80,000
  • APR: 19.99%
  • Annual Fee: $150
  • Bonus Features: Temporary welcome bonus of 40,000 points (or $284)

The revered BMO World Elite Mastercard is somewhat of a “magnum opus” of all travel credit cards, and it’s easy to see why.

With 3 points earned per every dollar in eligible purchases and 2 points per dollar for all other purchases, this card comes packed with an enticing rewards structure. However, the card shines when it comes to its travel perks.

For example, the card comes with a comprehensive travel insurance offering that is hard to beat.

Cardholders who use the BMO World Elite Mastercard to purchase travel include up to 21 days of emergency medical insurance, as well as up to $2,000 of trip cancellation fees and $750 of personal effect coverage.

While this last benefit may not seem like a lot, it’s quite rare in the credit card world. Avid travelers will also appreciate the fact that this card will allow them access to Mastercard’s Priceless Cities and World Mastercard Experiences, as well as four passes to Mastercard Airport Experiences airport lounges. The card also comes with a 24/7 concierge.

While these benefits certainly are helpful, the card’s $150 annual fee and high income required may not make it a realistic option for many people.

*Rates current as of June 2021

5. Best Travel Credit Card for Air Miles: American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit Card

  • Minimum Limit: N/A
  • Personal Income Requirement: N/A
  • APR: 20.99%
  • Annual Fee: $120
  • Bonus Features: Sign-up bonus of 3,000 points when $1,500 worth of purchases are made in the first three months

Air Miles is a popular name in the travel world. This American Express card is the fastest way for Canadians to turn their expenses into the world’s most recognizable travel points system.

If you are in the habit of redeeming Air Miles, this is by far the best way to go about doing so, as this card will grant you access to some of the best-earning rates in the industry.

On top of this great Air Mile rate, cardholders will also benefit from a 25%* redemption bonus whenever they redeem their Air Miles towards travel. Also included is theft and damage coverage for car rentals as well as travel accident coverage.

The card will also automatically extend a manufacturer’s warranty for an additional year and offers your standard purchase protection plan.

This card is undoubtedly the best way to earn Air Miles with a credit card in Canada.

However, customers seeking more comprehensive insurance offerings, such as trip cancellation insurance or emergency medical insurance, may be better off using a different card.

*Rates current as of June 2021

6. Best Travel Credit Card for Booking Flights: TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

  • Minimum Limit: N/A
  • Personal Income Requirement: $60,000
  • APR: 19.99%
  • Annual Fee: $139
  • Bonus Features: 10,000 Aeroplan points with the cardholder’s first purchase, an additional 10,000 Aeroplan points, and a Buddy Pass if you spend $1,000 within a month of opening your account, new signups receive the first year free

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is the travel card offered by TD Canada Trust and linked to the Aeroplan program, a points redemption system used by the country’s national airline, Air Canada.

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card offers its cardholders 1.5 points per every $1 spent on eligible purchases (gas, grocery, and aircanada.com travel purchases). Every other purchase category will earn you 1 Aeroplan point per $1 spent.

This credit card also offers some of the best insurance coverages on the market, with up to $1 million in travel medical emergency coverage for up to 21 days (4 days for those over 65), up to $500,000 in travel accident coverage, and $1,500 in trip cancellation, to name a few.

Other insurance benefits include car rental insurance, flight and trip delay insurance, delayed or lost baggage insurance, and even stolen item insurance.

The card’s benefits don’t end here. Air Canada fliers will also be delighted to get their first bag checked for free, as well as 24/7 emergency travel assistance. It is easy to see how these perks add up to justify the $139 yearly fee.

Even if you do not fancy yourself a jetsetter, it makes sense to add a travel credit card to your wallet just for the reward perks alone. Things like travel insurance and concierge services simply come as a bonus, and if you find yourself in a position where you need one, you will be sure to thank your former self for your foresight.

*Rates current as of June 2021

What is a Travel Credit Card?

By definition, a travel credit card offers travel-related rewards or incentives to its holder, usually in the form of points or miles rewards that are redeemable for services such as hotel stays and flights.

Most travel credit cards function by offering a type of travel point redemption system, allowing users to earn points on common spending categories and then redeem them for travel expenses.

However, these points can often be redeemable for other rewards such as groceries, gas, or even gift cards.

Many travel credit cards also come with some degree of travel insurance, such as medical health insurance and/or trip cancellation insurance, which can help travelers with peace of mind without requiring that they take out additional insurance policies.

In some cases, a travel card may also offer waived foreign transaction fees, which saves international travelers a considerable amount of money (and yes, that includes Canadian cross-border shoppers).

Our Final Thoughts

If you're looking to find a credit card with travel incentives, you'll face no shortage of fruitful options available to Canadians. Many travel credit card options can add that extra push to your spending before and after your next adventure.

However, using a credit card properly, whether it's for travel or otherwise, is the smartest decision anyone can make for themselves.

Spending within your means and paying your bill in full will eclipse any rewards that a credit card of any type can offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Even if you do not travel often, it still may make sense for you to have a travel credit card. This is bound to depend on a number of factors.

For one thing, it is possible to get travel credit cards that don’t have an annual fee, which means that you will not be paying for a perk or perks that you do not use.

In many cases, the rewards that come from a travel credit card are not limited to travel-related purchases, which might make them just as enticing if not more enticing than a regular rewards card.

Even if it comes with an annual fee, you may also be surprised to learn how little it takes for a travel credit card to pay for itself.

For example, even if you only take one international trip a year, choosing a card with no foreign transaction fees could save you hundreds of dollars if you travel with an entire family or make a lot of purchases.

While it may seem too indulgent for the average student, there are several reasons why a student may benefit from a travel credit card.

For one thing, many students who are studying away from their hometown may find that they are taking several trips back and forth to home and school.

Earning points can add up quickly, which means that you may be able to redeem one or two free trips per year. This factor makes a big difference in the tight budget of a student!

Additionally, some travel cards do not carry income requirements, making them a realistic choice for a student.

It’s never a good feeling if you lose your wallet or important documents while traveling.

However, if you contact your credit card company as soon as possible, you will be able to cancel your card and will be issued a new credit card number on the spot.

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