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Credit cards are one of the easiest ways to maximize your daily purchases. They’re not limited to the United States either. If you’re Canadian, you may want to check out the best Canadian credit cards for travel. It’s possible to redeem your rewards for a specific airline or any travel purchase.

Best Canadian credit cards for travel
Here’s your guide to finding the best Canadian credit cards for travel. Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels

The Best Canadian Credit Cards for Travel

The information for the BMO World Elite Mastercard, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, The Platinum Card, American Express Cobalt Card, Rogers World Elite Mastercard, Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard, Odyssey Visa Infinite Privilege has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

BMO World Elite Mastercard

The BMO® World Elite®* Mastercard®* earns 3x BMO points on travel, dining, and entertainment purchases. All remaining purchases earn 2x points. This base purchase reward is exciting as most travel credit cards only award 1 point per $1 on non-bonus purchases.

Add-on card benefits include complimentary LoungeKey Mastercard Airport Experiences for you with four complimentary passes each year. You can also save up to 20% on Cirque de Soleil tickets.

The signup bonus is 35,000 bonus BMO points after spending $300. This bonus is worth $250 for travel rewards like one free night at a 4-star hotel in Banff or Montreal. It can also be enough for a one-way main cabin flight from Toronto to Chicago.

BMO waives the $150 annual fee for the first year. The one downside about this card is that you must have a minimum individual income of $80,000 or a household income of $150,000.

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

Aeroplan loyalists will like the TD® Aeroplan®Visa Infinite* Credit Card as your miles never expire as long as you own the card. Earn 1.5x Aeroplan miles on groceries, gas, and drug store purchases. All other purchases earn 1 mile per $1 spent. For the first three months, your first $10,000 in card purchases will earn 2x Aeroplan miles.

Air Canada travel benefits include:

  • One free checked bag
  • Priority check-in and boarding
  • Annual one-time Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge guest benefit

Visa Infinite travel benefits include $1,500 in trip cancellation coverage per person (up to $5,000 per trip). Trip interruption coverage is available up to $5,000 per person ($25,000 per trip). Delayed and lost baggage insurance is up to $1,000 per person.

When you apply by December 1, 2019, you can earn up to 40,000 bonus miles worth two premium economy short-haul round-trips. To get the full bonus, spend $10,000 within the first three months (35,000 bonus miles) and adding an authorized user to get the final 5,000 miles.

Also, the annual fee is $0 for the first year and then $120 each card renewal. You can qualify with an individual annual income of $60,000 or a household income of $100,000.

The Platinum Card

If you fly several times a month or like flying in a premium cabin, The Platinum Card® is a worthy option. You earn 3x American Express Membership Rewards on dining purchases in Canada, 2x points on travel, and 1x points for everything else. Your points can be redeemed for award flights or transferred to airline loyalty programs like Aeroplan and British Airways Executive Club.

The Platinum Card’s real value is in the additional travel benefits. You get an annual $200 airline fee credit and complimentary access to several airport lounge networks. These networks include the Centurion, Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club, Plaza Premium, Airspace, and Escape.

Your signup bonus is 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The annual fee is $699, but the air travel benefits can be well worth it for frequent international travelers.

American Express Cobalt Card

So the American Express Cobalt™ Card also takes the prize for being one of the best lifestyle credit cards. The Cobalt Card earns up to 5x Membership Rewards points on purchases:

  • 5x points on groceries, dining, and food delivery in Canada
  • 2x points on transit and gas in Canada and travel purchases
  • 1x points on all non-bonus purchases

Your points are redeemable for award flights and travel statement credits. Although you might find more value by transferring them directly to your Aeroplan or British Airways Executive Club account at a 1:1 ratio.

The signup bonus is worth up to 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards points (worth $300 in award travel). You get 2,500 bonus points each month you spend at least $500 in purchases.

The annual fee is $10 a month, although the foreign currency conversion fee is 2.5%.

Rogers World Elite Mastercard

When you want a no annual fee travel credit card, try the Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®. While it’s technically a cash back credit card, but you earn the most rewards on foreign purchases:

  • 4% back on purchases made in a foreign currency
  • 2% back on Rogers products and services including Rogers, Fido, or chatr monthly bill
  • 1.75% back on everything else

Your points are redeemable as a cash statement credit for any purchase in the last 90 days.

One air travel benefit is discount LoungeKey access at $32 per person per visit. You also get shopping discounts of up to 15% on duty-free, restaurant, and spa purchases.

Travel insurance benefits include rental car collision and damage, trip interruption/cancellation insurance, and out-of-country emergency medical assistance.

Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard

The Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard is the best overall option from Desjardins if you love to travel. Some of the best reasons to consider this card include:

  • Earn up to 2% BONUS DOLLARS on purchases
  • 20% bonus on annual purchase rewards earned
  • 8 free passes to Desjardins Odyssey Lounge
  • Up to 60 days of comprehensive travel insurance

The annual fee is $130, and additional cards are free. Individual minimum gross income is $80,000 or a $150,000 household income.

Desjardins Odyssey Visa Infinite Elite

If you prefer Priority Pass airport lounge access to Odyssey Lounge, you can consider the Odyssey Visa Infinite Privilege edition of this card.

You still get access to the Desjardins Odyssey Lounge in Montreal-Trudeau Airport. Plus, you get six free one-time Priority Pass visits each year. This card has a higher fee of $295 for Desjardins members and $395 for non-members. Your required minimum annual income must also be $200,000.

Like the Odyssey World Elite Mastercard, you get 2% back on purchases and a 20% bonus on your annual point earnings. Travel insurance up to 60 days is available. Benefits include up to $2,500 per person in trip cancellation and unlimited coverage for trip interruption after departure.

Summary of Best Canadian Credit Cards for Travel

The best Canadian credit cards for travel offer something for casual and frequent flyers. Once you find a card you qualify for, you can enjoy valuable benefits like travel insurance and airport lounge access. You may also appreciate avoiding foreign transaction fees and currency fees by making purchases in non-Canadian dollars.

FAQs

Which Canadian credit card is best for travel rewards?

The best credit card for travel rewards depends on your travel habits. For instance, do you fly a particular airline or value specific benefits like airport lounge access or travel insurance? However, some travel credits are better than others.

Below are three credit cards to consider first to get the best rewards and benefits:

  • BMO World Elite Mastercard (Best overall)
  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite (Best for Aeroplan miles)
  • The Platinum Card (Best premium travel rewards)

What is the best air miles credit card in Canada?

The BMO World Elite Mastercard is one of the best overall air miles credit cards. Why? Cardholders can earn 3 BMO points per $1 on travel, dining, and entertainment. All other purchases earn 2 points per $1.

Also, Complimentary Mastercard LoungeKey membership gives you four annual passes. You will also get rental car insurance up to $2 million in out-of-province and out-of-country medical emergency coverage for trips up to 21 days long.

Is the BMO World Elite Mastercard worth it?

The BMO World Elite Mastercard can be worth it if you can maximize the purchase rewards and Mastercard LoungeKey airport lounge membership. You earn 3x BMO points on travel, dining, and entertainment. All other purchases earn 2 points per $1.

Another automatic travel perk is complimentary LoungeKey airport lounge network membership. You get four free visits for you or a travel companion. After the four one-time passes, each visit is US$32 per person.

The signup bonus is 35,000 bonus points worth $250 in travel rewards. Cardholders can earn the bonus by spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. The annual fee is $150 for the primary card and $50 for authorized users.

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