With a good travel credit card, travel suddenly becomes affordable. And it helps if you sign up for the right travel credit card—one that doesn’t just focus on points, but also has perks like companion flights, amazing insurance coverage and flexibility with transferring points between cards.
The best travel credit cards in Canada 2019
- American Express Cobalt — Best travel card for dining and transit
- Scotiabank Gold American Express — Best travel card for everyday spending
- BMO World Elite MasterCard — Best sign-up bonus
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card – Honorable mention
- More on the best credits cards – View a full list of top cards by category
- Our methodology – For greater insight into our rankings
Best travel credit card for dining and transit
Year-long welcome bonus: Up to $300 in bonus points in the first year provided you spend at least $500 each month in your first year of card membership.
Annual fee: $120 (charged monthly at a rate of $10).
Rack up points fast: Five points for every $1 spent on eligible food delivery, groceries, and restaurants purchases and two points per $1 spent on gas and transit buys—including taxis, public transit, and flight tickets. Earn one point per dollar on all other purchases.
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.
Click here for more details about the American Express Cobalt*
Best travel card for everyday spending
One of the richest reward rates: 4X the points per dollar spent on gas, grocery, dining, and entertainment, and 1 point per dollar on everywhere else.
Beginner bonus: $150 in bonus points when $1,000 is spent on the card in the first 3 months.
Annual fee: $99
Flexible: Offers the flexibility to redeem your points on a range of travel expenses including flights from any airline.
Great protection: Comprehensive travel insurance coverage.
Relaxation at its best: Save on annual membership fees with an exclusive discount to Priority Pass Lounges.
Discounts and other special offers: on hotels, airfare, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages.
Click here for more details about the Scotiabank Gold American Express*
Best travel credit card for a sign-up bonus
What you’ll earn: Get 3 BMO points per dollar on travel, dining, and entertainment, 2 points per $1 on all other purchases.
Strong welcome bonus: $250 in points when $3,000 is spent on the card in the first 3 months.
No annual fee for the first year: $150 annually after that
Robust travel benefits: comprehensive travel insurance coverage and airport lounge access. You can also redeem points on any airline including taxes and fees.
Click here for more details about the BMO World Elite*
Plenty of points: 2 points per dollar on eligible purchases on groceries, restaurants, entertainment, and commuting costs including taxis and public transit.
No foreign transaction fees: great savings if you’re a big traveler.
Bonus points: Get $300 in points when $1,000 is spent on the card in the first 3 months.
Annual fee: $139.
Complimentary Airport Lounge Access: Complimentary Priority Pass membership, plus six free visits per year to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world.
Robust travel insurance package: Full travel insurance to cover car rental theft or collision flight cancellations or interruptions, baggage delays or lost luggage, hotel burglaries and other incidentals. Plus, $1 million in Travel Emergency Medical and $500,000 in Travel Accident insurance.
Other rewards: If you’re not planning to travel, you can redeem your rewards through merchandise offered by Scotia Rewards. You can also convert your points to SCENE movie points anytime you want, provided you have a SCENE account.
Click here for more details about the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite.*
Canada’s Best Travel Credit Cards – Net Annual Rewards
|Card||Net reward (excluding 1st year sign-up bonus)|
|American Express Cobalt||$501|
|Scotiabank Gold American Express||$546|
|BMO World Elite||$244|
In-Depth: THE BEST CREDIT CARDS BY CATEGORY
- Overall Best Credit Cards in Canada
- Best Rewards 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 Travel Credit Cards 2019 ranking, MoneySense tapped into Ratehub.ca’s‡ credit card tool and ran the numbers for travel point cards based on $2,000 in monthly spending. We used the following scenario: $500 on groceries, $200 on gas, $200 on restaurants, $125 on bill payments, $175 on travel, $225 on entertainment, $75 on pharmacy purchases and $500 on everything else.
The annual net reward in dollar terms was then used to identify the top travel cards for each type of spender, as well as an honorary mention. Our methodology also took into consideration other factors, including welcome offers, the range of spending bonus categories, 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.