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Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada 2023

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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 article, we weigh both sides of the proverbial equation, while considering your personal interests to determine the best travel credit cards in Canada.

The best credit cards for travel in Canada

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

  • Cash back: 0.5%* to 2%*
  • Minimum Limit: None
  • Personal Income Requirement: $60,000
  • APR: 19.95%*
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Bonus Features: 10% cash back 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 cash back 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.

Cash back 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.

The Tangerine World Mastercard also 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%* cash back 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 don’t 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 2023

Tangerine World Mastercard

Tangerine World Mastercard

Rated 3.7/5 stars.

Our Review
  • 2% Earn 2% cash back in up to three spending categories, when you deposit your rewards to a Tangerine savings account.
  • 0.5% Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.

2. Best travel credit card for points: Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

  • Minimum Limit: $5,000
  • Personal Income Requirement: $60,000
  • APR: 20.99%*
  • Annual Fee: $150
  • Bonus Features: 25,000 bonus Scotia Rewards from $1,000 in everyday eligible purchases in the first three months

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is a fan favourite on the travel credit card scene.

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 Scene+ Points* for every dollar spent on dining and eligible grocery stores. If you shop at Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, and participating Co-ops, you earn 3 Scene+ Points for every dollar.

Any entertainment purchases will result in 2 Scene+ Points* per dollar spent, as will transit purchases, like rideshare, bus, and taxi trips.

*Rates current as of June 2023

ScotiaGold Passport Visa

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

Rated 4.4/5 stars.

Our Review

  • Welcome Offer Up to 35,000 SCENE points
  • Annual Fee $150
  • Interest Rates Purchases: 20.99%, Cash Advances: 22.99%
  • Recommended Credit 660-724

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.

For the first 90 days, customers receive double the rewards for common spending categories, such as groceries and restaurants, which means spenders receive 4 points* for every dollar spent, and 2 points for every dollar thereafter.

However, points doubling maxes out after you have spent $10,000 annually, at which point you will go back to earning the standard one point.

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 2023

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

  • 2 pts Earn 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, and on groceries, digital media items, memberships, and household utilities.
  • 1 pt Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

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 2023

BMO World Elite Mastercard

BMO World Elite Mastercard

  • Welcome Offer 40,000 points
  • Annual Fee $150 (first year waived)
  • Interest Rates Purchases: 20.99%, Cash Advances: 22.99%
  • Recommended Credit 740+

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 2023

AMEX Air Miles Platinum Card

American Express Air Miles Platinum

  • Welcome Offer 2,000 Air Miles points
  • Annual Fee $120
  • Interest Rates Purchase: 20.99%, Cash Advances: 21.99%
  • Recommended Credit 760 - 900

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 2023

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

Rated 3.3/5 stars.

Our Review

  • Welcome Offer N/A
  • Annual Fee $129 (first year waived)
  • Interest Rates Purchases: 19.99%, Cash Advances: 22.99%
  • Recommended Credit 740+

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

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