When considering a good overall rewards card, you have to consider the entire package of goodies before making a final choice. You’ll pay an annual fee with these cards but will get terrific bang for your buck. Whether it’s a spending bonus, VIP lounge access, super high cash-back rewards, or no blackout periods during travel, these cards have it all and pack a punch when it comes to delivering a great package of rewards.
The best rewards credit cards in Canada 2019
- Scotiabank Gold American Express and American Express Cobalt — Best rewards cards for everyday spending
- Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite — Best cash back card
- TD First Class Class Visa Infinite — Best Visa travel card
- BMO World Elite Mastercard — Honourable mention
- More on the best credits cards — View a complete list of top cards by category
- Our methodology — For greater insight into our rankings
Best rewards credit cards for everyday spending
Beefed-up welcome bonus: New cardholders get 30,000 Scotia Rewards points—25,000 after a $1,000 spend in the first three months, and an additional 5,000 points after $10,000 spent in the first year.
Exemplary earn rates: 5 points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining, and entertainment, 3 points per dollar on gas, public transit and eligible streaming services, and 1 point on everything else.
Annual fee: $120 (first year free for new members).
Foreign transaction savings: Previously charged at 2.5% on all purchases in a foreign currency; this card now waives the conversion fee—including online purchases.
Tons of travel-related benefits: Priority Pass Lounge access discount, travel insurance, no foreign exchange fee.
Flexible: Scotia Rewards can be used for merchandise or a credit against your account, or for a variety of travel rewards. Book travel through the Scotia Rewards Travel Portal (or on a different site, then apply your points to get a statement credit), at a rate of 100 points for $1 in travel.
Rack up points fast: Five points for every $1 spent on eligible food delivery, groceries, and restaurants and two points per $1 spent on gas and transit buys—including taxis, public transit, and eligible flight tickets. Earn one point on all other purchases.
Annual fee: $120 (charged at a rate of $10 per month)
Get tickets before anyone else: Get advance access to Front of the Line by American Express Invites as well as advance screenings to movies. At ticketmaster.ca, 2,000 points are equal to $20.
Tons of travel-related benefits: Lost or stolen baggage insurance, hotel/motel burglary insurance, emergency travel insurance, flight delay insurance, and more.
Flexible: Points can be redeemed for flights on any airline anytime—with no blackout periods. Plus, points can be used to cover taxes and fees.
Best cash back card
Annual fee: $120, however this fee is completely waived for the first year.
Gold travel benefits: Boasts delayed and lost baggage insurance, trip interruption and trip interruption insurance, flight delay insurance and travel accident insurance.
One-of-a-kind dining and drink: Wine country discounts in Ontario and British Columbia where you can enjoy complimentary tasting, private vineyard tours, and discounts on wine purchases. Plus, access to other Visa Infinite Services (including concierge services).
Best Visa travel card
Flexible points redemption: You’ll earn 9 TD Points per dollar for flights booked online through Expedia; 6 TD Points per dollar for flights booked on the phone through Expedia; and 3 TD Points per dollar spent on everything else. The best part: You can redeem those points for a variety of rewards, including any travel expense—not just flights.
From providing purchase protection and insurance coverage, to offering opportunities to earn travel rewards, credit cards have revolutionized travel. Our top pick in this category, the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite card, allows you to earn TD Points you can redeem for rewards, including travel. For new cardholders signing up before December 1, 2019, there’s an outstanding bonus of up to 90,000 points, which is a travel value of $450. In addition to the sign-up incentive, this card gets first pick for its flexibility. Rewards can be applied to any travel expense—not just flights.
Annual fee: $120 (rebated for the first year)
Welcome bonus: Up to 90,000 TD Points (20,000 when you make your first purchase; 2X the earn on purchases in the first 3 months, for up to 60,000 points; and 10,000 points when you add another cardholder by December 1, 2019)
Strong welcome bonus: 35,000 BMO points when $3,000 is spent on the card in the first 3 months.
Annual fee: Free for the first year and $150 thereafter.
Robust travel benefits: Comprehensive travel insurance coverage and airport lounge access. You can also redeem points on any airline as well as taxes or fees
Canada’s Best Rewards Credit Cards — Net Annual Rewards
|Card||Net reward (excluding 1st year sign-up bonus)|
|Scotiabank Gold American Express||$612|
|American Express Cobalt||$501|
|Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite||$369|
|TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card||$303|
|BMO World Elite||$244|
In-Depth: THE BEST CREDIT CARDS BY CATEGORY
- Overall Best Credit Cards in Canada
- Best Travel Credit Cards
- Best Cash Back Credit Cards
- Best No Fee Rewards Credit Cards
- Best Low Interest Credit Cards
- Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards
- Best Student Credit Cards
For the Best Rewards Credit Cards 2019 ranking, MoneySense tapped into Ratehub.ca’s‡ credit card tool and ran the numbers for cash back and travel credit cards based on $2,000 in monthly spending. We made the following assumptions—grocery spend of $500, gas of $200, restaurants of $200 and bill payments of $125, travel of $175, entertainment of $225, pharmacy purchases of $75 and all other purchases of $500.
The end game was a magic number—that is, the annual net reward in dollar terms to identify the top cards in each category, plus an honorary mention. Our methodology also took into consideration other factors, including welcome bonuses and accelerated earn rates, annual fee waivers, loyalty program flexibility and travel insurance perks.
‡MoneySense.ca and Ratehub.ca are both owned by parent company Ratehub Inc. We may be partnered with some financial institutions, but this does not influence the “Canada’s Best Credit Card” rankings. You can read more about this in our Editorial Code of Conduct.