Canada’s best Mastercard credit cards 2019 - MoneySense

Canada’s best Mastercard credit cards 2019

Choosing a Mastercard offers the assurance of near-universal acceptance. Plus, there are tons of options, from low-interest to cash-back to travel rewards. Here are eight of the best.


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As one of the top credit card processors in the world, Mastercard is both extremely popular and also nearly universally accepted. For those already banking at BMO Bank of Montreal, a major Canadian bank that associates with Mastercard, these cards may offer all the perks you’re after along with opportunities to “double dip” on rewards or loyalty programs. Whether you’re looking to earn points or cash, travel more, or keep your interest rates down, there’s a Mastercard product for you on this list. (Click here to browse more of the best credit cards in Canada.)


The best Mastercard credit cards in Canada

Best for cash-back

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card*
With its regular rate of 2% back on all purchases in your choice of up to three spending categories, including grocery, home improvement, gas and travel accommodations (0.5% on everything else), there’s no Mastercard product putting quite as much back in your wallet on as many purchases as the Money-Back Credit Card from Tangerine. Cardmembers can choose two categories in which to receive 2% cash back, plus, when they set up an automatic deposit of rewards into a Tangerine savings account, they receive cash back in a third category. With no annual fee and a three-month bonus of 4% cash back in three categories for new members, this Mastercard is a winner.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome bonus: New members who apply by July 31, 2019, will receive 4% cash back in up to three categories for three months
  • Earn rate: 2% cash back on purchases in up to three spending categories and 0.5% cash back on everything else
  • Additional benefits: Purchase assurance covers loss, theft or damage for 90 days after purchase; extended warranty up to one year

Click here for more details about the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card*

Best for travel

BMO World Elite Mastercard*
If you’re keen on travel but prefer not to participate in the Air Miles program, the BMO World Elite card may be right for you. Instead of collecting Air Miles, cardholders earn BMO Rewards—at a very competitive rate of 3 points to the dollar on dining, entertainment and meal purchases. BMO Rewards are redeemable for travel and merchandise rewards, and you’ll reach your goals faster with the current sign-up offer of 35,000 points (available until October 31, 2019). As a card geared for the traveller, this product includes a robust insurance package. 

  • Annual fee: $150 (waived in the first year)
  • Welcome bonus: 35,000 BMO Rewards points (redeemable for a short haul flight)
  • Earn rate: Three points per dollar spent on dining, meals, and entertainment, and 2 points per dollar on everything else
  • Additional benefits:  BMO World Elite Total Travel and Medical Protection insurance; extended warranty; purchase protection

Click here for more details about the BMO World Elite*

Best for flexible rewards

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard*
Travellers love flexibility—and with the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard, you can choose how you earn your rewards: on travel, cash back, merchandise or charitable donations. With numerous opportunities to collect bonus points on top of the 2 points for every dollar spent on gas, groceries and at restaurants, and 1 point per dollar on everything else, you’ll rack up the rewards in no time. And, you needn’t rush to redemption; your MBNA points never expire.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate: Two points for every dollar spent on gas, groceries, and restaurants and one point per dollar on everything else 
  • Welcome bonus: Up to 10,000 bonus points (which is good for $100 in travel) and four points per dollar on gas, groceries, and restaurants for the first 90 days
  • Additional benefits:  Emergency services; purchase protection; extended warranty

Click here for more details about the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard*

Best for Air Miles collectors

BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard*
The Air Miles loyalty program is one of the most popular in the nation, and for good reason. There are numerous program partners and just as many opportunities to redeem. Air Miles can be used for travel, merchandise or even cash off at certain retailers. Travellers will love this card’s welcome bonus of up to 3,000 Miles and its extraordinary earn rate of one Mile for every $10. Cardholders can make their Miles grow faster when they “double dip” by using the credit card along with their Air Miles loyalty card at participating sponsors. Offering extra benefits like travel and rental car insurance, plus discounts and lounge passes, this card is a great travel companion.

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Welcome bonus: Up to 3,000 bonus Air Miles and annual fee waived for the first year 
  • Earn rate: One reward mile for every $10 in purchases
  • Additional benefits:  Travel and medical insurance; flight discount of 15% on Air Miles flights in North America; up to 25% discount at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car; Mastercard Airport Experiences membership, plus two annual complimentary lounge passes; extended warranty and purchase protection

Click here for more details about the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard*

Best no-fee card

BMO Rewards Mastercard*
Where many no-fee credit cards skimp, the BMO Rewards Mastercard helps you earn. Cardholders receive one BMO rewards point for every $1 they spend, redeemable for flights, hotels, and merchandise. With its travel and medical insurance, and purchase protection and extended warranty, this card is offering a lot of bang without charging a single buck in annual fees.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome bonus: Up to 20,000 BMO rewards points, 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfer for a full 9 months
  • Earn rate: One BMO rewards point for every $1 spent and 2 BMO rewards points per $1 for purchases at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car
  • Additional benefits: Travel and medical insurance, extended warranty and purchase protection against theft or damage for 90 days after purchase; up to 25% off at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car

Click here for more details about the BMO Rewards Mastercard*

Best for no foreign transaction fees

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

Canadians don’t have many options for cards that forgo the foreign exchange mark-up on purchases from abroad—an expense of 2.5% to 3% on every purchase that can really add up for the traveller or cross-border shopper. That said, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard offers a lot  a break on foreign exchange fees, and a lot more. For $149 per year, cardholders get an annual $100 travel credit, rewards redeemable for travel, merchandise or financial rewards; and an impressive suite of insurance coverage. 

  • Annual fee: $149
  • Welcome bonus: 20,000 points, plus twice the earnings on all purchases for the first three months up to 40,000 points; annual fee rebate
  • Earn rate: 3% on all eligible travel purchases (6 points per $1), and 1.5% on all other eligible purchases
  • Additional benefits: Worldwide emergency travel insurance for trips up to 31 days, flight delay, lost baggage, trip cancellation, and car rental coverage, Mastercard Airport Experiences, annual travel credit of $100, discounts with Expedia and Agoda

Best for Costco shoppers

RBC Cash-Back Mastercard

If you’ve got a large family to feed and clothe, chances are you’re all-in with warehouse shopping. It used to be that the only card Costco accepted was their own branded Capital One Costco Mastercard, but things have changed. As of 2014, Costco accepts any Mastercard which means that in addition to the savings you and your family will enjoy buying in bulk, there are other perks to be earned from your grocery spends—like cold, hard cash. While the Capital One Costco Mastercard offers a good cash-back earn rate of 3% on restaurants, it offers only between 0.5% and 1% on groceries. For our money, the best choice is the RBC Cash-Back Mastercard. With no annual fee, this product keeps money in your pocket from the get-go, and adds to it with 2% cash-back on grocery purchases. Even better, the amount of money back you can earn is unlimited.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Earn rate: 2% cash back on grocery purchases (up to $6,000 per year) and up to 1% back on all other spends (above $6,000 per year)
  • Additional benefits: Purchase protection and extended warranty

Best for low interest

MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard*
Whether due to an unforeseen expense, an emergency or a simple overspend, most people end up holding a credit card balance at least once in their life. The trick is to take steps to pay it off quickly, and that’s where a card with a low interest rate can help. The MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard boasts a rate of only 8.99% on purchases (super low compared with the standard 19%-plus), and an introductory rate of 0% for six months on balance transfers. Plus, the annual fee is a reasonable $39 per year.

  • Annual fee: $39
  • Welcome bonus: 0% promotional interest rate for the first six months on balance transfers (you’ll be charged a flat 3% fee, or a minimum of $7.50, on transfers). NOTE: APR and balance transfer offer is different for residents of Quebec.
  • Earn rate: N/A
  • Additional benefits: Up to 9 additional users at no extra fee; Trip Assistance services, including help replacing lost documents and support if your luggage goes missing; purchase protection for up to 90 days; and extended warranty of up to one additional year on top on manufacturer’s coverage

Click here for more details about the True Line MasterCard*