The best rewards credit cards in Canada for 2024

Rewards credit cards help you earn cash back or points, which can be redeemed toward groceries, travel, merchandise, gift cards and more.

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MoneySense is an award-winning magazine, helping Canadians navigate money matters since 1999. Our editorial team of trained journalists works closely with leading personal finance experts in Canada. To help you find the best financial products, we compare the offerings from over 12 major institutions, including banks, credit unions and card issuers. Learn more about our advertising and trusted partners.

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The best rewards credit cards in Canada by category

If you’re not leveraging your everyday spending to earn rewards, you’re missing out. Rewards credit cards help you earn cash back or points, which can be redeemed toward groceries, travel, merchandise, gift cards and more. But to figure out the best rewards credit card for you, you’ll need to answer a few questions. Do you prefer to collect points or get cash back in your pocket? Is it worth paying an annual fee for premium perks, or would you rather a no-fee card? What kind of travel rewards do you want?

No matter your criteria, you’re bound to find a great fit with one (or more!) of the rewards credit cards below.

Best cards by categoryWhy we love it
Best cash back overall
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
Annual fee: $120
4% back on groceries and gas, and 2% back on all other purchases
Best no-fee cash back card
SimplyCash Card from American Express
Annual fee: $0
At least 1.25% back on all purchases, with no annual fee
Best flat-rate cash back card
Rogers Red World Elite Mastercard
Annual fee: $0
A flat 1.5% back on all your Canadian purchases (or 2% back for Rogers, Fido and Shaw customers), plus enough back on all U.S.-dollar purchases to cover forex fees
Best overall travel rewards credit card
American Express Cobalt
Annual fee: $156
Some of the highest earn rates in Canada (with up to 5x the points on dining and groceries), combined with a flexible points, equals your best return on spending
Best airline travel credit card (Aeroplan)
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
Annual fee: $139
High earn rates on gas, groceries and Air Canada purchases, easy redemptions and a $100 Nexus fee rebate every 2 years
Best airline travel credit card (WestJet)
WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard
Annual fee: $119
1.5% earn rate paired with an annual round-trip companion voucher on WestJet
Best no-fee travel credit card
American Express Green Card
Annual fee: $0
Consistent earnings of 1 point per dollar on all your purchases, combined with the flexibility and value of Amex Membership Rewards
Best cash back credit card for students
BMO CashBack Mastercard for students
Annual fee: $0
3% back on groceries and the ability to redeem rewards at any time
Best travel credit card for students
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students
Annual fee: $0
Better than average return on spending, plus a few travel benefits and student-friendly perks
Best hotel credit card
Marriott Bonvoy American Express
Annual fee: $120
Redemptions for free stays at over 30 hotel brands (from Marriott to Ritz-Carlton), plus point transfers to partner airline programs
Best store credit card
PC Financial World Elite Mastercard
Annual fee: $0
Highest rate of return on spending at one of the largest retail networks in the country

Best overall cash back credit card

At a glance: When it comes to rewards, there’s nothing like cash, and the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express is our pick for the best cash back credit card. It pairs first-class returns on groceries and gas—two of the most-used spending categories for Canadians—with an above-average base earn rate. Plus, it gives access to all sorts of Amex benefits when you use this card.

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SimplyCash Preferred from American Express

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn rate: 4% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases; 2% cash back on everything else
  • Welcome offer: You can earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases on your card.
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 725 or higher
  • Interest rates: 21.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • With a guaranteed 2% base earn rate, the SimplyCash Preferred multiplies the earnings offered by many competing cards—and there’s no limit to how much you could earn.
  • For many Canadians, gas and groceries are major expenditures, and this card offers a whopping 4% back on both. 
  • Like many other credit cards in Canada, this one has a limit on the amount of bonus earnings you can accumulate but they’re so generous that they likely won’t make a difference for the average person. For example, you’d have to spend nearly $2,500 per month on groceries and gas to max out these bonus categories. And even if you do that, you’d still earn at the 2% base rate, which is pretty good.  
  • If you want to earn even more in cash back, you can get supplementary credit cards for family members at no additional fee. 
  • This credit card comes with Amex benefits like Front of the Line, which gets you early access to event tickets, as well as dining and retail experiences. Plus, you’ll receive Amex Offers, tailored to your spending habits. 
  • While the best insurance packages usually come with travel credit cards, this credit card includes $100,000 in travel accident insurance, as well as combined baggage and flight delay coverage to get you on your way.

Cons

  • American Express is widely accepted across Canada, but there are some important exceptions. Loblaw-affiliated stores, for example, don’t accept Amex, so you can’t cash in on the boosted grocery rewards there. (That you? Check out our Best store credit cards.)
  • You can’t choose when you get your rewards with this credit card loyalty program. Instead, you’ll get a lump sum applied to your account once per year, in September.

Best no-fee cash back card

At a glance:  If you want a no-fee cash back credit card, the SimplyCash Card from American Express offers many of the same benefits of the SimplyCash Preferred, but with lower earn rates. Still, with a base rate of 1.25%, and a 2% rate on gas and groceries, your everyday spending will help boost your bank account.

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SimplyCash from American Express

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: 2% cash back on gas and groceries; 1.25% cash back on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: You can earn a $10 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you make at least $300 in purchases (for a total value of up to $100).
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 725 or higher
  • Interest rates: 21.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • Considering most no-fee credit cards in Canada have a base earn rate of 0.5%, the 1.25% offered by this card is eye-catching. 
  • You’ll get a return of 2% on the first $15,000 you spen on groceries and gas, meaning you can earn up to $600 annually in those categories alone.

Cons

  • Just like with the SimplyCash Preferred, rewards are paid out once a year, every September. 
  • You won’t be able to use this credit card anywhere that doesn’t accept American Express.

Best flat-rate cash back card

At a glance: By offering a 3% return on U.S. dollar purchases, this card is effectively a no-forex-fee card with no annual fee. Plus, all Canadian-currency purchases still earn at a solid 1.5% cash back rate (plus, an extra 0.5% if you’re a Rogers, Fido or Shaw customer). This card also comes with some nice World Elite Mastercard extras, like free Boingo Wi-Fi and Mastercard Travel Pass Provided By DragonPass, which gives you access to some airport lounges.

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Rogers Red World Elite Mastercard

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: 1.5% cash back on all purchases, or 2% back for Rogers, Fido and Shaw customers; 3% cash back on all purchases in USD
  • Welcome bonus: You can This card does not have a welcome bonus at this time.
  • Annual income requirement: Personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 725 or higher
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances, 22.99% on balance transfers

Pros 

  • The 1.5% flat rate means you won’t have to worry about spending categories if you want to maximize your rewards. Rogers, Fido and Shaw customers get an extra 0.5% back on their purchases, plus a 1.5x redemption bonus when redeeming for purchases with those companies (including bill payments). That brings the potential cash back earnings up to 3%.
  • This is one of the best credit cards to use at Costco, since it doesn’t accept Visa or American Express.
  • The accelerated 3% earn rate on purchases made in U.S. dollars means that whether you shop in-person or online, you’re making enough back to offset foreign exchange fees.
  • It’s unusual for World Elite Mastercards to be available in Canada with no annual fee. 
  • Redemptions are flexible. You can cash out as soon as you have $10 in rewards.

Cons

  • The income requirements are high at $80,000 ($150,000 for a household). 
  • If you want to maintain this credit card, you’ll have to spend $15,000 on it annually. If you don’t, your account may be switched to another Rogers Bank credit card.

Best overall travel rewards credit card

At a glance: This card offers some of the highest earn rates on frequently used spending categories, which the company broadly defines. Redeeming your rewards are simple, and you can boost the value of your points by using them for travel and transferring them to other loyalty programs, like Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy. This card also features a pretty good insurance package.

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American Express Cobalt

  • Annual fee: $156
  • Earn rate: 5 points per $1 spent on dining and groceries; 2 points per $1 spent on transit and gas; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: You can earn 1,250 points for each month you spend $750, up to a maximum of 15,000 points.
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Point value: 1 Amex Membership Rewards point = $0.01 when redeemed with the Flexible Points Travel Program, $0.015 on average with the Fixed Points Travel Program, and up to $0.02 with airline points transfers
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 725 or higher
  • Interest rates: 21.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • With earn rates—like 5 points per dollar on groceries and dining, and 3 points per dollar on streaming services—this credit card is designed to let you build up points quickly. 
  • The way that bonus categories are defined means that you’ll earn boosted points on more purchases. Take the travel and transit category, for example: You’ll get 2 points per dollar on flights and hotels, and on gas and public transportation, but also on taxis and rideshares. 
  • Redemptions are easy and you have lots of choice in how you spend your rewards. You can put them toward any travel expense you’ve charged to your card at a rate of 1 point for $0.01 in travel savings. You can transfer them to participating airline or hotel loyalty programs, which not only increases where they can be used, but also their value. And, because Aeroplan points are typically worth more than other rewards, you can basically double the value of your points. Finally, you can use its Fixed Points Travel chart to find a favourable rate without worrying about the carrier or blackout dates.  
  • Additional cards are free, so you can add family members to accumulate more points, faster. 

Cons

  • American Express cards aren’t as widely accepted across Canada as Visa or Mastercard. 
  • While many comparable cards charge $120 in annual fees, at 155.88 (charged at $12.99 monthly), this card’s fee costs quite a bit more than other rewards credit cards on our list here. 
  • One of the key travel perks—no foreign exchange fees—is not on offer here. 
  • The travel insurance package is quite comprehensive with the notable exception of trip cancellation coverage, which covers you in case of a sudden illness.

Honourable mention

At a glance: The Scotia Gold Amex rivals our top pick by offering super competitive earn rates, a comprehensive travel insurance package, and valuable perks like no foreign exchange fees—which the Cobalt lacks. However, you won’t have the opportunity to transfer, and therefore potentially increase the value of, your points.

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Scotiabank Gold American Express

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn rates: 6 points per $1 spent at Sobeys-affiliated stores; 5 points per $1 on dining, entertainment and groceries; 3 points per $1 on gas, transit and streaming; 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Welcome offer: You can earn up to $650 in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points. Must apply by July 1, 2024.
  • Annual income requirement: $12,000
  • Point value: 1 Scene+ point = $0.01 when redeemed for travel, store purchases and food and drink at Cineplex and Scene partners
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 700 or higher
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances, 22.99% on balance transfers

Pros

  • Purchases at some grocers, like FreshCo and Sobeys, will return a very impressive 6-points-per-dollar rate. And the 5-points-per-dollar category includes a wide variety of retailers including restaurants, food delivery and grocery stores. 
  • You can retroactively redeem your points (up to one year). Say, for example, you booked a hotel in January, you could apply your Scene+ rewards to that travel purchase within the upcoming 12 months. Plus, you’re not limited to hotels and flights. The travel spending category considers Airbnbs, car shares, public transportation fares and taxis eligible for retroactive redemption, too. As if this card’s rewards weren’t flexible enough, you can also pay for travel rewards with both points and cash.
  • The absence of foreign transaction fees is a top perk both for Canadian travellers and cross-border shoppers, saving between 2% and 2.5% on purchases made in other currencies. 
  • This credit card has some of the best travel insurance on the market.

Cons

  • Your Scene+ points are always valued at $0.01 per point, so there’s no room to boost their buying power. 
  • The foreign exchange fee waiver is slightly dampened by the fact that purchases in other currencies only earn the base rate of 1 point per dollar. 
  • You might want to carry a secondary Visa or Mastercard for those retailers in Canada who don’t accept American Express.

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Best airline travel credit cards

For Aeroplan

At a glance: If you’re looking for an Aeroplan card with simple redemptions, this is our pick. It’s worth noting that if you use the Amex Cobalt and transfer your Amex points to Aeroplan, you can get a higher value for your rewards. But this credit card impresses us with perks like the $100 Nexus fee rebate and free first checked bags.

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TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

  • Annual fee: $139
  • Earn rates: 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on gas, groceries and purchases made directly through Air Canada (including vacation packages), and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: You can earn a welcome bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points when you make your first purchase with your new card; earn 20,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $6,000 within 180 days of Account opening. Conditions apply. Account must be approved by June 3, 2024. 
  • Anniversary bonus: Earn a one-time anniversary bonus of 20,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $10,000 within 12 months of opening the account. Conditions apply. Account must be approved by June 3, 2024.
  • Annual income requirement: Personal income of $60,000 or household income of $100,000
  • Point value: Aeroplan points are worth $0.02 on average
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 660 or higher
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances, 22.99% on balance transfers

Pros 

  • The card has solid earn rates, and you can get the Aeroplan Status Qualifying Miles that you need to advance in Aeroplan status. Higher status means better Air Canada benefits.
  • Points are redeemable with a dozen Star Alliance partner airlines, like United and Lufthansa.
  • This credit card includes free first checked bags for up to eight travel companions on North American flights and a $100 Nexus fee rebate every 48 months—perks that will make your journey smoother.
  • The included emergency medical travel coverage is for 21 days, or four days for those 65 and older—longer than what most other cards offer.

Cons

  • If you’re looking for the absolute best way to get as many Aeroplan points as you can, using the Amex Cobalt and transferring your points at a one-to-one ratio is a better option, but this is our choice for a simple, Aeroplan-specific card.
  • The Aeroplan program is dynamic so you’ll need to pay attention to the fluctuating points values if you want to get the most out of it. 
  • At $139, the annual fee is more than some other credit cards in its category.

For WestJet 

At a glance: Between a competitive earn rate and eye-catching perks, the RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard is our recommendation for Canadians who fly with WestJet. Redeeming rewards is simple. And, with an annual round-trip companion voucher and your first checked bag is free for you and up to eight travel companions, this travel credit card is a first-class card.

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

Visit rbc.com for more details
  • Annual fee: $119
  • Earn rate: 2% back in WestJet dollars on WestJet flights and vacations packages and 1.5% back on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: You can earn up to $450 in WestJet dollars with the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard. Plus, get a Round-Trip Companion Voucher Every Year – for any WestJet destination starting from $119 CAD (plus taxes, fees, charges and other ATC).
  • Annual income requirements: Personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000
Visit rbc.com for more details
  • Point value: 1 WestJet Dollar = $1 CAD when redeemed for eligible flights or vacation packages
  • Recommended credit score: None specified
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • You get an annual round-trip companion voucher to anywhere WestJet flies. The companion voucher allows you to book a companion fare at a reduced rate when you book a full fare for yourself. You can use this to travel within Canada and the continental U.S. starting at $119. 
  • Status Lifts let you advance through the tier structure, gaining you access to benefits like lounge access. With this card, you can get up to three $500 Lifts annually.
  • WestJet dollars (think points with a cash-back twist) are easy to collect with a minimum of 1.5% in WestJet dollars on every purchase on your card. You’ll get boosted rewards of 2% on WestJet flights or bundled vacations. 
  • With the WestJet rewards program, you don’t have to keep track of anything. It’s simple, and there are no confusing charts nor blackout periods for booking.

Cons

  • The reduced rate for the companion voucher only applies to the base rate of your flight. You’ll have to pay any taxes, airport fees and air transportations charges. 
  • No transfersies. You can’t use WestJet dollars with another airline.

Best no-fee travel credit card

At a glance: With this card you can earn flexible rewards points that are easily redeemed for almost anything, including travel. Plus, you can transfer them at a ratio of one to one to other frequent flyer or rewards programs which, depending on the program, can actually increase their value. This card has a lot to offer, especially for a no-fee card

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American Express Green Card

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: 1 point for every $1 spent on all purchases and 1 additional point for every $1 spent on hotel or car bookings made on americanexpress.ca.
  • Welcome offer: You can earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,000 in purchases to your card in the first three months of cardmembership.
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Points values: 1 Amex Membership Rewards point = $0.01 when redeemed with the Flexible Points Travel Program, $0.015 on average with the Fixed Points Travel Program, and up to $0.02 with airline points transfers.
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 725 or higher
  • Interest rates: 21.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • Earning points is simple with a flat rate of 1 point per dollar on your everyday spending, and you’ll double that for purchases made through Amex Travel Online. 
  • You can redeem your points at a flat rate of 10,000 points for $10 in travel, or get more out of your points by using Amex’s Fixed Point chart. In some cases, such as with a transfer to Aeroplan, you can increase the value of your points. 
  • With this travel rewards credit card you have access to Front of the Line where you can take advantage of advance access to tickets. Amex Experiences allows you to enjoy a variety of curated dining, shopping and entertainment events.

Cons

  • Typical for a no-fee credit card, this card doesn’t offer travel perks or feature insurance. 
  • You can use an American Express card across Canada and abroad, but there are some stores, mostly in the grocery sector, that don’t accept it. Both Costco and Loblaw-banner stores don’t accept Amex in Canada.

Best student credit cards

For cash back

At a glance: The first thing to note about this card is the 3% cash-back return on groceries—the highest rate in the nation for a no-fee card. If you spend just $400 per month on groceries, that comes out to $144 in cash back for the year. Plus, there are no limits to how much you can earn, making this a solid student credit card.

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BMO CashBack Mastercard for Students

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: 3% cash back on groceries (on the first $500 per month), 1% on recurring bills and 0.5% on everything else
  • Welcome offer: You can earn 5% cash back in your first 3 months. Conditions apply.
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Recommended credit score: 660 or higher
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances (21.99% in Quebec) and 22.99% on balance transfers

Pros 

  • At 3% cash back on groceries, this student credit card offers the best rate in Canada for a no-fee card. The other bonus category, streaming services return 1.5% adding a bit more to the package.
  • Unlike with some credit cards that pay out once annually, with this card you can redeem your cash when you need it. All you need is a minimum of $25 in cash back and you can choose to apply it as a statement credit or deposit it into your BMO chequing, savings or InvestorLine account.

Cons

  • At 0.5%, the base rate could be better. Even some other no-fee cards offer 1% or more.
  • Although there is no limit to how much cash back you can earn with this card, there are monthly caps in the bonus categories of $500 each.

For travel

At a glance: With the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students, you can earn valuable and easy-to-redeem Aeroplan rewards, travel benefits and student-friendly perks—all without paying an annual fee.

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students

Visit CIBC.com for more details
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: 1 point per $1 spent on gas and EV charging, groceries and Air Canada purchases, and 1 point per $1.50 on everything else
  • Welcome offer: Earn 10,000 Aeroplan points when you make your first purchase ($200 value).
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances (21.99% in Quebec)
  • Annual income requirement: None
Visit CIBC.com for more details
  • Point value: Aeroplan points are worth $0.02 on average
  • Recommended credit score: None specified

Pros

  • Aeroplan points are flexible and transferable. There are no seat restrictions or blackout dates for using your points on Air Canada purchases, and you can also use points with any of Aeroplan’s many partners, such as United and Aer Lingus.
  • You don’t need to collect the entire amount of rewards in points. You can pay in cash and points.
  • You’ll become a member with the popular SPC student discount program, which gives you access to savings and giveaways.
  • You can save up to $0.10 per litre when you buy gas at participating stations with Journie Rewards.

Cons

As a no-fee card, this card has lower earn rates than other Aeroplan cards.
The only included insurance with this card is common carrier accident coverage, car rental collision and loss damage protection and purchase protection.
You won’t earn Status Qualifying Miles on your everyday purchases, unlike with other Aeroplan cards.
The Aeroplan points program is really dynamic, meaning that the value of your earned points values do fluctuate, so this may not be the right card for someone who is looking for simplicity.


Best hotel credit card

At a glance: With the ability to redeem for everything from room upgrades to spa treatments, Marriott Bonvoy points are super valuable for frequent Canadian travellers. Plus, they’re transferrable to about 40 airline programs. Extras, like free hotel stays and Amex benefits, make this a must-pack travel credit card for your next trip.

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Marriott Bonvoy American Express

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn rates: 5 points per $1 at Marriott properties, 2 points per $1 everywhere else
  • Welcome offer: earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Point value: 1 Marriott Bonvoy point = $0.0117 on average when redeemed for eligible flights or hotel stays.
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 725 or higher
  • Interest rates: 21.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • Marriott Bonvoy points are flexible, earning you upgrades across a variety of hotels, including the St. Regis, The Ritz-Carlton and the Westin. Or, use them for merchandise and experiences, or for travel expenses like car rentals and flights.
  • With a 2 points per dollar base rate and 5 points per dollar spent on all Marriott hotel stays, this card lets you build up points, fast.
  • This card includes an annual free night’s stay at a Marriott property. Plus you’ll get 15 Elite Night Credits that will help you advance to the next level of status, so you can access further benefits.
  • You’ll have access to Amex benefits like Front of the Line, where you’ll have early access to event tickets. Plus, you can take advantage of curated dining, retail and wellness experiences.

Cons

  • Although Marriott Bonvoy points are transferable to airline programs, the rate is an underwhelming three-to-one for most transfers.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is a dynamic loyalty program, meaning you’ll need to pay attention to dates and times if you want to get the most out of your points.
  • As an Amex credit card, it’s less widely accepted in Canada than Mastercard or Visa.

Best store credit card

At a glance: Numerous retail partners, many opportunities to boosts your points, and simple redemptions at the cash register make PC Optimum one of Canada’s most popular points programs. When you spend with the PC World Elite Mastercard, you’ll get the highest value of any store credit card in Canada.

PC Financial World Elite Mastercard

Visit pcfinancial.com for more details
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: 45 PC Optimum points per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart; 30 points per $1 at Loblaw banner grocery stores (including No Frills), and 10 points per $1 on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: You can
  • Annual income requirement: Personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000
Visit pcfinancial.com for more details
  • Point value: 10 PC points = $0.01 at Loblaws grocery network and Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 560 or higher
  • Interest rates: 21.99% on purchases, 22.97% on cash advances (21.97% for residents of Quebec), 22.97% on balance transfers

Pro

  • When you use this card to pay for groceries, clothing or housewares at Loblaw-banner stores, like No Frills, Fortino’s or Real Canadian Superstore, you’ll get 30 points per dollar—a 3% return. Purchases at Shoppers Drug Mart earn 45 points per dollar, which is a whopping 4.5% return.
  • There are many ways to multiply the points you earn, including in-store promotions, and you can stack your points by using a PC Optimum Card with your PC Financial Card. 
  • PC Optimum may have the simplest process for redemption of any loyalty program in Canada. Simply show your card at the checkout of one of the above-mentioned stores, and request to use your points. Even the rewards value is easy: 10,000 points are worth $10.
  • If you don’t meet the requirements for this higher-tier World Elite card, you may want to consider PC’s mid-tier and entry-level cards, which have lower eligibility requirements but similar perks.

Con

  • The annual income requirement is fairly high at $80,000 per year (or $150,000 for the household). 
  • You maintain your eligibility for this card by spending at least $15,000 annually on it. Otherwise, you’ll be downgraded to PC’s lower-tier World or entry-level PC Mastercard.

How we determine the best rewards cards

Our editors apply their credit card expertise and knowledge of Canadians’ financial goals to come up with selection criteria that matches the needs of the intended cardholder. For rewards credit cards, which include the accumulation of travel and cash back, your return on spending is a key consideration, because it represents the value you are earning with every purchase. Depending on the spend categories, additional criteria are used. For example, to find the best student rewards cards, we also consider annual fees and eligibility requirements—because, well, being a student is expensive. The addition of links from affiliate partners has no bearing on the results. Read more about our best credit cards selection process and about how MoneySense makes money.

Frequently asked questions

The best rewards credit card depends on your spending habits and lifestyle. If you are an avid traveller, then the best rewards credit card should provide you with travel rewards or points that you can redeem towards hotels or transportation, like the American Express Cobalt card. If you’re a shopaholic or brand loyal for groceries, beauty products and other essentials, consider a credit card that will reward you for in-store purchases like the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard.


Travel credit cards work on one of two programs: either consistent rewards or chart-based rewards. Some credit card providers in Canada, like MBNA and BMO, offer consistent rewards, meaning each point has specified dollar value, and that does not change. With chart-based programs, like Aeroplan’s program, the value of your earned points depends on factors like the travel date and destination you’re redeaming for. American Express Cobalt is a strong contender for the best credit card for travel rewards because it offers convenient access to both chart-based and consistent programs, as well as a generous earn rate on everyday purchases. 


Video: Promotional rates: What to look for in the fine print

How much are credit card rewards points worth 

With consistent rewards programs, the points are worth a fixed amount and this doesn’t change. Here are the values of points with consistent rewards programs.  

Credit card provider Point value
MBNA Rewards
1 MBNA Rewards point is worth $0.01 in eligible travel purchases, while brand-name merchandise, gift cards, cash back and charitable donations are worth $0.005 of a cent in redemption value. Some purchases must be made through the MBNA website.
Scene+ Points1 Scene+ point is worth $0.01 in redemption value for travel, purchases at affiliated grocery, liquor and drug stores, and food and drink at Cineplex and Scene partners. Points are worth slightly less when redeeming for movie tickets, gift cards, statement credits and some merchandise.
American Express Membership Rewards points With the American Express Flexible Points Program, 1 point is worth $0.01 in travel rewards. You can also transfer your Amex points to other travel rewards programs like Aeroplan at a one-to-one points value ratio, where your points could be worth even more using dynamic redemption programs. Membership rewards points are worth $0.04 to $0.07 in gift cards and merchandise through MembershipRewards.com, and $0.07 when used toward a statement credit. 
TD Rewards1 TD Rewards point is worth $0.005 in travel rewards booked via Expedia For TD, or $0.004 when booked through other travel providers and websites. TD Points are worth slightly less on merchandise, statement credits, purchases on Amazon.ca and gift cards. 
BMO Rewards1 point is worth $0.007 of a cent in travel rewards, while the redemption value is slightly lower for merchandise and gift cards. The travel redemption value is slightly lower for BMO Rewards, but with BMO, you’re not limited to booking through its website or with certain airlines. Some cards, like the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard, allow you to earn Air Miles points instead, which can be redeemed for flights, merchandise, and more through the Air Miles portal. 
PC Optimum Points1 point is worth $0.001 at Loblaw-affiliated grocery stores, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Esso and Mobil gas stations. You can stack your Optimum points to earn at higher rates with a PC Financial credit card like the PC Financial Mastercard.

How to choose the best rewards card

If you’re shopping around for a new credit card, you may notice most boil down to two types of rewards: points or cash back. It might be tempting to pick the card that gives you the best return, but it’s not always that simple. Where you shop, how much you spend each month and the type of rewards you prefer, these should all be part of your decision for the best rewards credit card for you.

The case for cash back

If you prefer simplicity, cash-back cards are the way to go. The best cash back credit cards give you the highest return based on your everyday spending habits. Here’s what to consider:

Payouts: Depending on the card, cash back is paid out monthly, quarterly or annually and refunded in the form of a statement credit, direct deposit to your bank account or a cheque in the mail.

Percentage earned: Cash back credit cards offer fixed percentage on rewards based how much you spend on the card. Generally speaking, cash back cards with an annual fee will earn you a higher base percentage, so you need to factor that in if you’re comparing it to a no-fee credit card.

Multipliers: Some cash back cards offer multipliers, which give you a higher percentage of cash back in popular spending categories such as grocery stores, gas stations, drugstores and automated payments for recurring bills.

The case for rewards

Instead of earning cash, travel rewards credit cards net points that can be used to claim travel (flights, hotels), gift cards, or merchandise. Rewards cards can be quite lucrative when you know how to earn and redeem points effectively, but there are several features to consider.

Type of rewards earned: Rewards credit cards are either linked to a specific travel brand (airline or hotel), or give you flexibility to travel on any carrier. If you’re loyal to a specific brand, it makes sense to pick a co-branded card. If you prefer flexibility, then pick a card that gives you the most options.

Signup bonus: Most rewards cards offer a huge signup bonus to entice Canadians to apply. Assuming you can meet the minimum spend requirement, that bonus could be worth a few hundred dollars.

Ease of redemption: Rewards are useless if you cannot use them. Look for loyatly programs without blackout dates. Another no-deal: Too many restrictions, so you can’t redeem your points whenever you want.

Value of your points: Know what your rewards (specifically points or branded dollars) are actually worth. For example, if you earn 1 point for every $1 spent, and it takes 100 points for you to claim $1 in rewards, your points are worth 1%. If you have a co-branded credit card for flights or hotels, you need to determine how many points it takes to get a free flight or hotel room.

Additional benefits: Aside from rewards, you’ll want to look at the additional perks and benefits. Many rewards card offer the following as standard benefits: comprehensive travel insurance package, auto rental insurance and price protection.

More of Canada’s best credit cards:

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About Keph Senett

About Keph Senett

Keph Senett writes about personal finance through a community-building lens. She seeks to make clear and actionable knowledge available to everyone.