The best travel credit cards in Canada for 2024

From points to perks, a good travel credit card can make your trip more affordable, more comfortable and even more secure.

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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.


The best travel credit cards in Canada by category

There are numerous travel credit cards in Canada to choose from, but you can get the best value by selecting one that pairs a strong earn rate for rewards along with perks like lounge access, travel credits or rebates, superior insurance coverage and the flexibility to transfer points between cards. Ultimately, choose your card based how you like to travel, your spending and credit card habits and travel perks that fit your lifestyle. To help you pick the perfect card, we’ve come up with a list of Canada’s best travel credit cards.

Best credit card by categoryWhy we love it
Best overall travel rewards credit card
American Express Cobalt
Annual fee: $156
Some of the highest earn rates (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
Annual fee: $139 (after your first year)
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 hotel credit card
Marriott Bonvoy American Express
Annual fee: $120
Redemptions for free stays at over 30 hotel brands (from Marriott to Ritz-Cartlon), plus point transfers to partner airline programs
Best credit card for premium perks
American Express The Platinum Card
Annual fee: $799
$400 in travel and restaurant credits, unlimited airport lounge access, hotel upgrades, and more
Best travel credit card for students
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students
Annual fee: $0
Good return on spending, plus a few travel benefits and student-friendly perks

Best overall travel rewards credit card

At a glance: With outstanding earn rates in broadly-defined, popular spending categories, the American Express Cobalt card is a travel rewards beast. Points are easy to redeem and flexible, and you can increase their value by transferring them to other travel loyalty programs. It comes with a comprehensive insurance package, so you travel carefree.

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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
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 660 or higher
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • At 5 points per dollar spent on eats and drinks, 3 points per dollar on streaming services, and 2 points per dollar on travel and transit, this card has some of the highest earn rates around. Plus, the high earn rate on food and groceries is capped at $2,500 per month, and no limits are applied to other categories.
  • The boosted spend categories are very broadly defined so you’ll earn more points for more of your purchases. For example, “eats and drinks”  includes everything from grocery stores to coffee shops to food delivery, and everything from gas to rideshares to flights falls under “travel and transit”.
  • Amex points are flexible and lucrative. Redeem points the simple way at a flat rate of 10,000 points for $10 towards any travel expense—or, if you’re a savvy points collector—boost your point values by using Amex’s Fixed Point chart or transferring points to another program like Aeroplan.

Cons

  • Although American Express is accepted at tens of thousands of businesses across the country, it’s not as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard.
  • The annual fee is charged monthly which slightly obscures the fact that the total is $155.88 per year, a bit more than the $120 charged by some comparable cards.
  • The travel insurance package lacks Trip Cancellation protection which covers you in case of a sudden illness.

Honourable mention

At a glance: With a lower annual fee and no foreign exchange fees, the Scotiabank Gold American Express gives the Amex Cobalt a run for its money. You’ll enjoy strong earn rates, easy and flexible redemptions, and one of the best travel insurance packages on the market. Frequent customers of Sobeys-affiliated stores like Safeway, FreshCo and Thriftys will especially appreciate the extra points boost on grocery purchases there.

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Scotiabank Gold American Express

  • Annual fee: $120 (waived for the first year)
  • Earn rates: 6 points per $1 spent on groceries at Sobeys-affiliated stores; 5 points per $1 on dining, entertainment and groceries at other eligible grocery stores; 3 points per $1 on gas, daily transit and select streaming services; 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

  • With 5 points per dollar on entertainment, restaurants, food delivery and groceries (plus an extra point at Sobeys stores).
  • Redemptions are simple and super flexible–especially for travel where 10,000 points is equal to $10 in value on any airline. In fact, you can apply points for travel purchases retroactively for up to one year by applying them in your app or online. 
  • There are no foreign exchange fees when you use this card to pay in a foreign currency (most cards charge 2.5% on all foreign currency purchases).
  • The card’s travel insurance package is excellent and includes up to 25 days of travel emergency medical for those under the age of 65.

Cons

  • Like all American Express cards, this one won’t be accepted at some retailers such as Loblaws banner stores. 
  • Supplementary cards are $29 each, unlike with our winning card, the Amex Cobalt, where they’re free.
  • As a fixed-rate program, Scene+ points are always valued at 1 cent per point as opposed to some dynamic programs where you can get better value during certain time periods. 
  • You’ll only earn the base rate of 1 point per dollar on foreign currency transactions regardless of whether they are in a bonus category or not.

Best airline travel credit cards

For Aeroplan

At a glance: Although you could use our number one travel card, the Amex Cobalt, to transfer Amex points to Aeroplan, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite tops our list of best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada for its easy redemptions and extras like the $100 Nexus fee rebate. Plus, if you frequently spend on Ubers or are a regular at Starbucks, you could stretch your rewards even further with this card.

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TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

  • Annual fee: $139 (annual-fee rebate—conditions apply to qualify)
  • 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 up to 30,000 Aeroplan points and no annual fee for the first year. Conditions apply. Account must be approved by March 4, 2024. 
  • Anniversary bonus: Earn 10,000 Aeroplan points when you spend at least $7,500 within 12 months of opening the account.
  • 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 

  • You can earn Aeroplan Status Qualifying Miles on your everyday purchases so you advance in Aeroplan status faster. The higher you go, the better the perks, like priority boarding, discounts on flights and priority seat selection.   
  • Card holders and up to eight travel companions travelling on the same reservation get their first checked bag free when your trip starts on an Air Canada flight. 
  • In addition to being able to redeem for Air Canada flights, you can redeem your points on a dozen Star Alliance partners like Lufthansa and United. 
  • This card has valuable extras like a $100 Nexus fee rebate every two years. 
  • The included insurance package is competitive, and includes emergency medical travel coverage for longer than some competitors (21 days, or 4 days for those 65 and older).

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 1:1 ratio is a better option, but this is our choice for a simple, Aeroplan-specific card.
  • Aeroplan is a dynamic chart-based program which means point values can fluctuate based on where and when you’re flying, so it may not be the right program for cardholders looking for simplicity. 
  • This card has a slightly higher annual fee ($139) than some other cards in its category.

Best Aeroplan alternative

If you’re currently a CIBC customer, you might find the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite card to be quite comparable. It shares almost identical earn rates and many similar perks (excluding the Nexus rebate). The insurance offerings are quite similar, though the CIBC card provides $5 million in emergency medical coverage, compared to the $2 million offered by the TD card. However, it’s important to note that CIBC’s coverage is limited to 15 days (or 3 days for those 65 and older). CIBC offers a supplementary card for $50, which is $25 less than the TD card.

What’s new with Aeroplan?

Canadian workers who receive group health insurance through Manulife will soon be able to earn Aeroplan points for completing health and wellness activities, such as physical exercise and mindfulness actions. More details on eligible activities and points earned will be released in the coming months.

For WestJet 

At a glance: With a 1.5% base rate and 2% back on WestJet flights or vacation packages, this card gives travellers a solid tool to take the sting out of the cost of airfare. Add to that competitive perks like an annual round-trip companion voucher and a free first checked bag for you and up to eight travel companions, and you’ve got a card WestJet flyers will want to consider.

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WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

  • 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 600 WestJet dollars with the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard. Plus a Round-Trip Companion Voucher Every Year.
  • Annual income requirements: Personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000
  • 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

  • Get one round-trip companion voucher to anywhere WestJet flies annually, which lets you book a companion fare at a reduced rate when you also book a full fare. Or, you can exchange the companion voucher for four airport lounge passes.
  • Receive up to three $500 Status Lifts annually, which get you to the next rewards tier faster. The higher your tier, the more benefits you’ll get, like lounge access.
  • The WestJet rewards program is simple, without confusing charts or blackout periods. One point equals 1 cent in savings on Westjet flights. 
  • You get rewarded for your loyalty—earn 2% on WestJet flights or vacations, which is a higher earn rate for travel bookings than other cards on this list.

Cons

  • When you use a round-trip companion voucher, the discount only applies to the base rate of the fare. Taxes, airport fees, and air transportation charges remain the same—and these can be quite hefty. 
  • WestJet dollars are not transferable to any other airlines or airline programs.

Best no-fee travel credit card

At a glance: One of our best no-fee cards in Canada, the American Express Green Card earns you points on your everyday spending that you can redeem for statement credits, gifts, cards, merchandise or travel, and like the Cobalt, they’re transferable at a 1:1 ratio to other frequent flyer or rewards programs. This is notable because by transferring to a program like Aeroplan, you can boost the value of your points significantly. 

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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: 660 or higher
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • You’ll earn a flat rate of 1 point per dollar on all of your everyday spending with no spending limits, and this will be doubled for hotel or car rental bookings made through Amex Travel Online. 
  • When you transfer your points to another program, like Aeroplan, you can double their value to 2 cents apiece. A 1.5% to 2% return on your spending is rare for a no-fee card.
  • Amex Membership rewards like Experiences allows you to take advantage of curated dining, shopping, and entertainment events, while Front of the Line gets you advance access to tickets.

Cons

  • There is no included travel insurance nor travel-related perks like lounge or Wi-Fi access with this card, but that’s not unusual for a no-fee card.
  • American Express cards are accepted at tens of thousands of locations across Canada and abroad, but there are limitations–mostly in the grocery sector. In Canada, you cannot use an Amex at Costco or Loblaws banner stores.

Honourable mention

At a glance: This no-fee travel card offers accelerated earn rates on restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases, giving you lots of ways to earn points through your everyday spending. Plus, the birthday bonus perk returns 10% of your annual earnings in points. Points are worth $0.01 each when you redeem for travel, and they never expire.

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MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible groceries, restaurants, digital media, membership and household utility purchases ($10,000 max annual spend) and 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Welcome offer: You can earn 10,000 bonus points ($50 in cash back value). Plus, get 4 points per $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership and household utility purchases during the first 90 days.. (Not available for residents of Quebec.)
  • Annual income requirement: None
  • Points values: 1 MBNA Rewards point = $0.01 when redeemed for travel
  • Recommended credit score for approval: 660 or higher
  • Interest rates: 19.99% on purchases, 24.99% on cash advances, 22.99% on balance transfers

Pros

  • This card comes with an impressive five bonus categories, giving you many opportunities to rack up points. 
  • Unique birthday bonus perk returns 10% of your yearly earnings in points so you’ll get an annual boost.
  • Includes $1,000 in new mobile device protection.

Cons

  • The point redemption process isn’t super intuitive or flexible. You have to redeem points on MBNA’s travel portal and can’t transfer points.
  • The annual cap on the bonus categories, such as groceries, is $10,000 per category. Any purchases beyond that amount will earn at the base rate of 1 point per $1 spent.
  • Unlike a lot of other travel credit cards, this card doesn’t include travel insurance but that’s to be expected in a no-annual-fee card.

Best hotel credit card

At a glance: You’ll earn Marriott Bonvoy points on every purchase you make at the world’s largest hotel conglomerate, redeemable at more than 30 hotel chains (from Marriott and St. Regis to The Ritz-Carlton) in 130 countries. Get service upgrades like free Wi-Fi, spa treatments, dining experiences, or free hotel stays. Points are also transferable to around 40 other airline programs like Aeroplan, Delta SkyMiles and Virgin Atlantic.

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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 up to 80,000 points. Offer ends May 6, 2024.
  • 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: 20.99% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances

Pros

  • You can treat yourself to hotel-related upgrades, services and free nights at hotels, including St. Regis, The Ritz-Carlton and Westin, or for other travel-related expenses like flights or car rentals. Bonvoy points are flexible—you can also use them for merchandise and experiences.
  • The base rate of 2 points per dollar is quite good, but your points will really rack up when you earn 5 points per dollar spent on your Marriott hotel stays. 
  • This card comes with some valuable perks like one free night’s stay at a Marriott property every year and 15 Elite Night Credits to help you achieve the next level of status.
  • If you reach $30,000 in total annual spending on the card, you’ll be upgraded to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and unlock perks like room upgrades, savings on points redemptions for hotel stays and more.
  • As an Amex card, this package gets you Amex benefits like Front of the Line and dining, retail and wellness experiences.

Cons

  • The value of Marriott Bonvoy points can fluctuate based on a mix of factors—from the hotel you’re staying at to the time of the year—meaning maximizing points and transfer options isn’t always straightforward to newer point collectors. 
  • Points are worth less for airline transfers at a 3:1 ratio, meaning you’re missing out on maximizing value for anything other than hotel bookings.
  • American Express is less widely accepted than Mastercard or Visa.

Best credit card for premium perks

At a glance: The Amex Platinum gives new meaning to the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” In this case, the $799 annual fee pays for itself through a smorgasbord of incredible perks. Your travel experience will be transformed with unlimited airport lounge access, partnerships at Fine Hotel + Resorts properties, and priority treatment at Toronto Pearson Airport. The many perks—like several hundred dollars worth of annual travel and dining credits and a Nexus fee rebate—go a long way toward offsetting the price tag.

American Express Platinum

Visit americanexpress.com for details
  • Annual fee: $799
  • Rewards: 2 points per $1 on dining and food delivery; 2 points per $1 on travel, plus 1 additional point on purchases booked through Amex Travel Online; 1 point per $1 on everything else.
  • Welcome bonus: You can earn up to 100,000 rewards points ($1,000 value). Conditions apply.
  • Annual income requirement: None
Visit americanexpress.com for details
  • 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: 760 or higher
  • Interest rates: N/A (as a charge card, you’re required to pay off your balance in full every month)

Pros 

  • You’ll get a $200 travel credit each year that can be redeemed towards a travel purchase made through American Express Travel Online. Spend your additional annual $200 dining credit at select restaurants around the world, including 100 in Canada.  
  • Get access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection composed of more than 1,300 lounges in over 140 countries, including American Express Centurion Lounges, Plaza Premium and Delta Sky lounges. Cardholders may have unlimited free visits and companion passes at no additional cost, depending on the lounge.
  • Automatically achieve the higher tier in the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy hotel programs.
  • Obtain personalized assistance through Platinum Concierge service. The concierge can make restaurant reservations, obtain tickets to special events, book services for you, and more—at no additional cost to you. 
  • Because the Platinum is a charge card, high-volume spenders are not restricted by a conventional credit limit.

Cons

  • Additional cards cost $250 each annually. 
  • Given the annual fee, the travel medical insurance is lackluster. Whereas some cards offer 20 days or more, this card only covers you for up to 15 consecutive days and doesn’t offer any insurance to those who are 65 or older.
  • Charge whatever you want to the card (there’s no credit limit), but because it’s a charge card, you’re required to pay off the balance in full every month.

Best travel credit card for students

At a glance: The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students bundles the ability to earn Aeroplan rewards with a few travel benefits and student-friendly perks to deliver a competitive package for no 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

  • You can use your points on any available Air Canada seat and there are no blackout dates. Plus, you can use your points with any of Aeroplan’s many partners such as United and Aer Lingus.
  • Aeroplan points are worth a lot compared to those of other programs, and they can be redeemed for flights with multiple airlines, not just Air Canada. 
  • You can often get preferred pricing so you can often book flights using fewer points and you can pay for flight rewards with a combination of points and cash.
  • A free SPC membership is included, giving you access to discounts and giveaways, and you’ll save up to 10 cents off per litre when you buy gas at participating stations with Journie Rewards.
  • You’ll have common carrier accident coverage, car rental collision and loss damage protection and purchase protection.

Cons

  • Unlike other Aeroplan cards, you won’t earn Status Qualifying Miles on your everyday purchases. 
  • The Aeroplan points program isn’t the most intuitive to understand, especially for first-time card holders, because point values fluctuate based on a regional chart.

Honourable mention

At a glance: The no-fee TD Rewards Visa combines the ability to earn flexible travel rewards points with other student-friendly perks like bundled banking services. Although TD Rewards points are worth less than some other loyalty programs, the earn rate is fairly generous across everyday spending categories giving you lots of opportunities to earn.

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TD Rewards Visa Card

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rates: 3 TD Rewards points per $1 spent on groceries and at restaurants, 2 points per $1 on recurring bill payments, 4 points per $1 in travel purchases made through Expedia for TD, and 1 point on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: You can earn a value of $50 in TD Rewards Points to use on eligible Amazon.ca purchases, plus no annual fee. Conditions apply. Account must be approved by June 3, 2024.
  • Point value: 1 TD Rewards point = $0.005 when redeemed for travel via Expedia For TD or $0.004 when redeemed through other providers and websites
  • Recommended credit score: 660 or higher
  • Interest rates: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances and 22.99% on balance transfers

Pros 

  • You can quadruple your points by simply booking travel through Expedia for TD, but bookings made elsewhere still earn at a rate of 1 point per dollar and there’s no limit to how many points you can earn on travel.
  • In addition to travel rewards like flights or hotels, you can redeem your points for Amazon purchases, or put them towards statement credits to cover your balance. 
  • You’ll enjoy student-friendly perks and discounts at partners including Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber.
  • Point values are easy-to-understand: 200 points always equals $1 in travel rewards booked on Expedia. 

Cons

  • The boosted spending categories for grocery and restaurants, and recurring bill payments are capped at a $5,000 annual spend so after that, you’ll earn at the 1 point per dollar base rate.
  • Travel insurance isn’t included with this card, so you’d have to pay extra to cover yourself.

How we determine the best travel credit 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 travel credit cards, your return on spending is a key consideration, because it represents the value of the points you are earning with every purchase. We consider annual fees and eligibility criteria (for student cards), perks and insurance (for premium cards) and other factors, specific to the category. The addition of links from affiliate partners has no bearing on the results. Read more about our selection process and about how MoneySense makes money.

Frequently asked questions

The best travel credit card will depend on your needs, travel habits and how you intend to use the card. The American Express Cobalt, for example, is our pick for the best overall travel rewards credit card because you have the ability to earn rewards at a high rate across everyday purchases. The Scotia Gold Amex is a close second, because of its high earn rates and strong insurance package.


The most common types of travel points programs are consistent or chart-based. With consistent rewards programs, the value of the points is always the same. For example, BMO Ascend World Elite users earn BMO Rewards points, for which 150 points equals $1 in travel rewards. Point values in chart-based programs depend on variables like the destination, ticket price and time of travel. Points redemption for the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite are based on Aeroplan’s dynamic redemption chart. Consistent points programs are ideal if you want a simple redemption process. Chart-based programs are more complex, but potentially more valuable.


Different types of travel credit cards 

Generic travel rewards credit cards

Some credit cards offer you the ability to earn rewards on everyday purchases and other purchase categories, which can be redeemed towards a wide variety of things, including travel. This means you are not necessarily limited to booking through certain airlines when redeeming your points on flights. You may also be able to transfer your credit card points to an airline rewards program, such as with the American Express Cobalt.

Airline rewards credit cards

Some travel credit cards offer rewards with specific airlines where your points’ redemption values may vary, such as the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card. When you accumulate enough points, you can book a flight or vacation package with affiliated airlines like WestJet or Air Canada. Keep in mind though that the value of your points can depend on the date of your flight and your destination. 

Hotel rewards credit cards

Hotel rewards credit cards offer you the ability to redeem your points towards a hotel stay, and to earn points when you book at affiliated hotels like Marriott or Delta, or earn perks such as room upgrades or free breakfasts when you book eligible hotel stays. If you frequently book hotels for work or travel, consider a hotel rewards credit card like the Marriott Bonvoy American Express.

Travel credit card features 

Some important features to look out for in travel credit cards, besides points value and your booking redemption options (flights, hotels, cars), include: 

  • Travel insurance coverage for medical issues or trip delays. Most credit card travel insurance programs cover you up to 15 days and tend to be more limited for those over the age of 65, but there are exceptions. (Read about how to know if your credit card comes with enough travel insurance coverage.)
  • Airport lounge access for free or discounted lounge passes through Priority Pass, Visa Airport Companion Program, Dragon Pass and others. 
  • Hotel discounts, like discounts at Marriott hotels. 

Whether the card charges you foreign transaction fees while you are abroad, on top of regular exchange rates. These fees can be as high as an added 2.5% on every purchase.

What travel points program is best?

Not all travel reward programs are created equal. So how do you choose the right one for you? 

First, it’s important to understand that travel rewards programs can be broken down into two basic types: Consistent and chart-based.

It’s worth noting that in rare cases, like the American Express Membership Rewards Program, you might get to choose to redeem points for travel based on either a consistent system or as a chart-based system.

Many of the big banks offer consistent points travel reward programs. They’re aimed at people who want to operate within a simple program that has an easy-to-understand redemption process; people who dislike complicated programs will appreciate these. Chart-based programs can be considerably more complicated—but also potentially more valuable. Since the number of points needed to redeem for a flight isn’t consistent, using the rewards chart strategically can help you stretch the value of your points and net a higher return when flying on certain routes, or even when booking premium seats or business class. These programs are more popular with personal finance enthusiasts and left-brain thinkers.

Compare travel credit cards rewards points values 

Rewards programPoint value
MBNA Rewards1 point MBNA Rewards point is worth $0.01 in travel rewards
American Express Flexible Points Program1 American Express point is worth $0.01 in travel rewards
Scene Rewards1 Scene Rewards point is worth $0.01 in travel rewards
TD Rewards1 TD Rewards point is worth 0.5 of a cent in travel rewards booked via Expedia For TD
BMO Rewards1 BMO Rewards point is worth 0.7 of a cent in travel rewards
WestJet Dollars1% in WestJet Dollars is worth $0.01 in travel rewards
National Bank1 National Bank point is worth $0.01 in travel rewards
RBC Avion Rewards1 Avion Rewards point is worth $0.01 in travel rewards
American Express Fixed Points program1 American Express point is worth $0.01 in travel rewards
Aeroplan1 Aeroplan point is worth $0.02 on average.
Marriott Bonvoy1 Marriott Bonvoy point is worth $0.0117 on average when redeemed for eligible flights or hotel stays
RBC Avion – Air Travel Redemption Schedule1 Avion point is worth $0.01 when redeemed for flights or hotels

How many travel rewards points do you need for a flight? 

How many Avion points you need for a flight

Premium Avion cardholders need at least 15,000 points for a flight within or near your province or territory, at least 35,000 points for a flight within North America, 65,000 points for a flight to Europe and 100,000 points for other destinations around the globe. 

How many Amex points you need for a flight 

Using the American Express Fixed Points Program, you’d need at least 15,000 points for a short flight within North America, 20,000 points for a flight from a Canadian province or territory to a nearby U.S. State, 40,000 points for a longer North American route, 50,000 points for a vacation destination and at least 60,000 points for Europe or 100,000 points for other continents. 

How many Aeroplan points you need for a flight

Aeroplan’s chart system uses Miles to measure the minimum point redemptions. For shorter flights within North America, you’d need at least 6,000-22,500 points for an Economy flight, 35,000-70,000 points for North America and Atlantic zones, and so on. 

How many Scene points you need for a flight

1 point is worth 1 cent. For a $300 airline ticket, you’d need 300,000 Scene points. 

How many BMO Rewards points you need for a flight

You can redeem your points for a statement credit towards flights. 1 BMO Rewards point is worth 0.7 of a cent in travel rewards.

How many TD points you need for a flight

You need a minimum of 200 points for a redemption through Expedia for TD. 1 TD Rewards point is worth 0.5 cents in travel rewards. 

How many MBNA rewards points you need for a flight

You can redeem a minimum of 10,000 points for a $100 statement credit on travel. 

Do travel credit card points expire? 

Some travel rewards points expire after a certain period of inactivity, while others do not. For example, Aeroplan points expire after 18 months of inactivity, and Marriott Bonvoy points expire after 24 months, while WestJet dollars generally do not expire, unless they were earned during certain promotions or other circumstances. To avoid having your points expire, you can book hotels with your points, buy products through the loyalty program’s store, transfer points from another program or to a family member, in some cases, and more.

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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.