Best Credit Cards For Travel 2021 - Calculate Rewards (Canada)

Calculate which Canada credit cards will earn you the best return on travel, get our picks for the best cards of 2021, and compare top cards.
Last Updated 2021-08-12
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Travel is a very broad category that covers many subcategories such as airfare, hotels, car rentals, transit, and much more. The best travel credit card should not only offer you the highest return on your spend, but also benefits and perks that fit the way you travel.

Review the best credit cards in Canada for travel and calculate which cards can earn you the most rewards based on your spend and offer the best travel benefits.

Best Travel Credit Cards In Canada

American Express Cobalt™ Card
Best Overall Card For Travel
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card
Best Card For No Foreign Transaction Fees
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card
Best Travel Card For Dining & Transit
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card
Best Travel Card For Heavy Spenders
American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card
Best Travel Card For Air Canada Benefits
The Platinum Card®
Best For Luxury Travel & Lounge Access

Best Overall Card For Travel

American Express Cobalt™ Card
American Express Cobalt™ Card

The American Express Cobalt Card is one of the best credit cards in Canada and is at the top of the list when it comes to earning flexible rewards points.

The card earns 5X Membership Rewards Points on restaurant and grocery store purchases, 2X on gas, travel, and transit, and 1X on everything else.

Points can be redeemed for high value towards airfare purchase through the AMEX Fixed Points Travel program. Points can also be transferred to a handful of partners for a chance at great value including Air Canada Aeroplan, Delta Airlines SkyMiles, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

If you want to use your points towards other travel redemptions made through the American Express Travel Service or use your points to cover charges made to the card, that will also get you some solid value.

Benefits of the Cobalt Card include $100 USD in hotel credit on 2+ night booking for hotels that fall under The Hotel Collection and great travel and purchase insurance.

American Express Cobalt™ Card
American Express Cobalt™ Card
Intro Bonus
View Issuer's Website
Rewards Rate
5X
Earn 5X points at restaurants and grocery stores including food delivery.
2X
Earn 2X points on gas, travel, and transit.
1X
Earn 1X points on everything else.
Main Card Highlights
  • With your American Express Cobalt Card you can redeem your points towards whatever eligible Card purchases you want – your options are anything but limited
  • Cobalt Cardmembers receive regular Perks, including bonus rewards and access to great events.
  • Enjoy benefits at over 600 participating hotels and resorts in over 30 countries with The Hotel Collection
  • Road trip or flight, you may be protected when you book travel with your Card.
Annual Fee
$12.99 per month
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
2.5%

Best No Fee Card For Travel

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

If you want a card that earns great rewards without the annual fee, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard is a fantastic option.

The card earns 2X points on restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases on up to $10,000 in spend annually in the applicable category. You'll also earn 10% bonus points based on points earned 12 months before your birthday month.

Points earned with the card can be redeemed for travel at a value of 1 cent each. The card also offers mobile device insurance as well as extended warranty benefits and purchase assurance.

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
Intro Bonus
View Issuer's Website
Rewards Rate
2X
Earn 2X points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases until $10,000 is spent annually in the applicable category.
1X
Earn 1X points for every $1 spent on other eligible purchases.
Main Card Highlights
  • Each year, you will receive Birthday Bonus Points equal to 10% of the total number of Points the account earned in the 12 months before the month of the primary cardholder's birthday, to a maximum Birthday Bonus each year of 10,000 Points
  • Redeem points for cash back, brand-name merchandise, gift cards from participating retailers, charitable donations, and travel.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Your MBNA Rewards Points never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing
  • The redemption value for travel is 100 points per $1, while cash and charity donations are 200 points per $1.
  • With Mobile Device Insurance, you’ve got up to $1,000 in coverage for eligible mobile devices in the event of loss, theft, accidental damage or mechanical breakdown.
  • Extended Warranty Benefits and Purchase Assurance
  • Use your MBNA credit card to save a minimum of 10% off the base rates in Canada and the U.S., and a minimum of 5% off the base rates internationally, on qualifying car rentals at participating Avis and Budget locations.
Annual Fee
$0
Authorized User Fee
$0
Foreign Transaction Fee
2.5%

Best Card For No Foreign Transaction Fees

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

Want to avoid foreign transaction fees on international spending while still earning a superb return on your spend? Then you'll want to check out the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

It has no foreign transaction fees meaning you will not have to pay the 2.5% fee on any foreign currency purchases including online shopping and traveling abroad. You'll only have to worry about the exchange rate which is great.

In terms of rewards, the card earns 5X points on grocery, restaurants, and entertainment purchases, 3X points on gas, daily transit, and select streaming service purchases, and 1X on all other purchases. Scotia Rewards Points can be redeemed at a value of 1 cent each towards travel purchases.

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card also comes with a good list of benefits including Priority Pass membership, access to AMEX Offers which can earn you bonus points and save you money at your favorite retailers, and 8 types of insurance coverage including trip cancellation insurance, trip interruption insurance, flight delay insurance, and rental car collision loss/damage insurance.

Overall, if you want a card that does it all no matter if you're spending domestically or internationally, you'll want to sweep up the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card
Intro Bonus
Earn up to 50,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $500 towards travel). Plus, no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards.
Rewards Rate
5X
Earn 5x Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, and drinking establishments. Includes popular food delivery and food subscriptions.
5X
Earn 5x Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible entertainment purchases. Includes movies, theatre, and ticket agencies.
3X
Earn 3x Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible gas and daily transit. Includes rideshare, buses, taxis, subway, and more.
3X
Earn 3x Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible select streaming services.
1X
Earn 1x Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on every other purchase.
Main Card Highlights
  • No foreign transaction fees - You will not pay 2.5% foreign transaction fees on any foreign currency purchases, including online shopping and when travelling abroad. Only the exchange rate applies.
  • Make every day more rewarding with Amex Offers. With offers for shopping, dining, travel, and more, there’s something for everyone.
  • Cardmembers can purchase Front Of The Line® presale tickets to some of the most in-demand concerts, theatre productions, restaurants, and special events before the general public.
  • Enjoy a variety of special offers and events created just for you through American Expres Invites.
  • Book and redeem any flight for any time through Scotia Rewards Travel Service, a full-service travel agency. Plus, take advantage of the Best Price Guarantee on airfare.
  • Whether you need help booking your restaurant reservations or scoring tickets for a show, our concierge service is happy to assist you 24/7.
  • Be confident that you’ll have a place to relax or catch up on business. Enjoy a preferred discount on the Priority Pass™ membership and access over 1200 VIP lounges around the world as a Scotiabank Gold American Express® Cardholder.
  • Shop and travel with 8 types of insurance coverage including trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, flight delay insurance, travel emergency medical insurance, and rental car collision loss/damage insurance.
Annual Fee
$120
Authorized User Fee
$29 per card
Foreign Transaction Fee
0%

Best Travel Card For Dining & Transit

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card

If you're looking to earn points redeemable towards travel and you spend heavy across the categories of dining and transit, consider picking up the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card.

It earns 5X BMO Rewards Points on groceries, dining, gas, and transit and 1X on everything else. You can also earn 10% more points on all purchases when you add an authorized user to your account.

Other benefits of the card include an annual $50 lifestyle credit, access to Visa Infinite benefits, and great purchase and travel insurance coverage.

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card
Intro Bonus
View Issuer's Website
Rewards Rate
5X
Earn 5X points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, gas and transit.
1X
Earn 1X points for every $1 spent on everything else.
10%
Earn 10% more points on all purchases when you add an authorized user to your account.
Main Card Highlights
  • Earn 10% more points on all purchases when you add an authorized user to your account.
  • Get a $50 annual lifestyle credit to use however you want.
  • Get access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and enjoy seven exclusive benefits (like complimentary breakfast).
  • Make dining even finer with the Visa Infinite Dining Series.
  • Connect to the Visa Infinite Concierge - it’s like having a personal assistant on call!
  • Get the Visa Infinite Troon Golf Benefit and enjoy discounts at 95 resorts and courses around the world.
  • Get mobile device insurance, purchase security and extended warranty insurance, and travel insurance with your BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card.
Annual Fee
$120
Authorized User Fee
$50
Foreign Transaction Fee
2.5%

Best Travel Card For Heavy Spenders

RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card

If you're a big spender that want travel benefits but don't want to worry about bonus categories, the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card is a solid option.

The card earns 1X points on all purchases and a bonus 25% points on travel purchases. Points earned with the card can be redeemed for airfare using the RBC Air Travel Redemption Schedule at a minimum of 2 cents per point. They can also be transferred to partners such as American Airlines and British Airways.

You'll also receive a bunch of benefits including access to Visa Infinite benefits, discounts and bonus points with Petro-Canada, and great purchase and travel insurance coverage which includes mobile device insurance, trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, and emergency medical travel insurance.

RBC Avion Visa Infinite
RBC Avion Visa Infinite
Intro Bonus
Get 35,000 welcome points, a value of up to $750. Perfect for your future travel plans, with points that do not expire. Apply by November 15, 2021.
Rewards Rate
1.25X
Earn 1.25X RBC Rewards Points for every dollar you spend on travel
1X
Earn 1X RBC Rewards Points for every dollar you spend on all other purchases
Main Card Highlights
  • Redeem RBC Rewards points for high value via the RBC Air Travel Redemption Schedule.
  • No blackouts or seat restrictions. If there's an open seat, you can fly – even during peak seasons.
  • Eligible RBC Rewards members can convert points to other loyalty programs including WestJet dollars and Hudson’s Bay Rewards points.
  • Link your card with Petro-Canada and instantly save 3¢/L on fuel, earn 20% more Petro-Points, and earn 20% more RBC Rewards Points.
  • Link your card with your Rexall Be Well Card to get 50 Be Well points for every $1 spent on eligible products at Rexall
  • Get $0 delivery fees for 12 months from DoorDash when you add your eligible RBC credit card to your DoorDash account
  • Mobile Device Insurance included – up to $1,500
  • Travel with ease with trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, and emergency medical
  • Plus, eligible purchases made on the card are protected
  • Get access to luxury Visa Infinite benefits including first in line for exclusive events, and hotel and dining benefits via www.visainfinite.ca
  • Minimum Income Requirements: $60,000/year Individual, $100,000/year Household
Annual Fee
$120
Authorized User Fee
$50
Foreign Transaction Fee
2.5%

Best Travel Card For Air Canada Benefits

American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card
American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card

The American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card is the best option if you frequently fly Air Canada and you're looking for top-notch benefits when doing so.

The card offers access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges, priority airport services such as Air Canada priority check-in, boarding, and baggage handling, free checked bags, the ability to roll over Aeroplan Elite Status Qualifying Miles and unused eUpgrade Credits, and much more.

When you spend $25,000 in net purchases across the card prior to the anniversary date, you'll be given a Worldwide Companion Pass which allows you to buy an accompanying Air Canada economy class ticket for a companion at a fixed base fare from $99 to $599 CAD (plus taxes/fees) depending on the destination.

In terms of points, you'll earn 3X Aeroplan Points on purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations, 2X on dining and food delivery purchases in Canada, and 1.25X on everything else.

American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card
American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card
Intro Bonus
View Issuer's Website
Rewards Rate
3X
Earn 3X the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations.
2X
Earn 2X the points on eligible Dining and Food Delivery purchases in Canada.
1.25X
Earn 1.25X the points on everything else.
Main Card Highlights
  • Apply for an American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card by October 1, 2021 and spend at least $10,000 in qualifying net purchases by November 30, 2021 and you’ll earn, step up, or jump start your Aeroplan Elite Status.
  • Enjoy access to select Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges, as well as Priority Airport services such as Air Canada Priority Check-In, Priority Boarding, and Priority Baggage Handling and more.
  • Roll over any unallocated Aeroplan Elite Status Qualifying Miles and unused eUpgrade Credits to the following year to enjoy during your travels.
  • Receive one Annual Worldwide Companion Pass when you spend $25,000 in net purchases prior to your Card anniversary date; your Pass entitles you to buy an accompanying Air Canada economy class ticket for a companion at a fixed base fare from $99 to a maximum of $599 CAD (plus taxes, fees, charges, and surcharges).
  • American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card is made from precision cut and engraved 13g metal – it’s the perfect companion on your next exceptional journey.
Annual Fee
$599
Authorized User Fee
$199 for each Additional Aeroplan® Reserve Card to share some of the benefits and earn Aeroplan points faster, $0 for each Additional Aeroplan® Reserve No Fee Card to earn points faster
Foreign Transaction Fee
2.5%

Best For Luxury Travel & Lounge Access

The Platinum Card®
The Platinum Card

Want access to lounges around the world as well as a slew of elite travel benefits? Turn your attention to The Platinum Card® by American Express.

The card comes with a long list of benefits including $200 CAD in annual travel credit, complimentary hotel elite status with several hotel brands including Marriott and Hilton, special benefits at Toronto Airport, and great travel and purchase insurance coverage.

The most known benefit of The Platinum Card is the American Express Global Lounge Collection. This grants access to Centurion Lounges, Delta SkyClub Lounges (when flying Delta), Plaza Premium Lounges, Airspace Lounges, Escape Lounges, Priority Pass Lounges, Executive Lounges by Swissport, and Québec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport VIP Lounge.

With the Platinum Card, you're effectively getting lounge access, a bunch of travel benefits, and great insurance for $499 CAD (after the $200 annual credit) which is an excellent deal. Pair this card with the American Express Cobalt Card and you'll have yourself a nice 2-card combination that works great for travel.

The Platinum Card®
The Platinum Card®
Intro Bonus
View Issuer's Website
Rewards Rate
3X
Earn 3X points on eligible dining and takeout purchases
2X
Earn 2X points on travel including flights, hotels, tours, and more
1X
Earn 1X points on everything else
Main Card Highlights
  • With Fine Hotels + Resorts, Platinum Cardmembers can receive benefits such as guaranteed 4:00 p.m. late check-out, complimentary daily breakfast for two and other benefits at over 1,100 iconic properties worldwide.
  • With Hotel Status Benefit, you'll be fast-tracked to the higher tiers of leading hotel loyalty programs around the world without having to fulfill the usual qualifying criteria, such as numerous night stays each year.
  • Benefits at Toronto Pearson International Airport
  • Platinum Concierge offers you complimentary assistance, anytime, day or night, wherever you are.
  • Redeem points for statement credits, travel, gift cards, and more.
Annual Fee
$699
Authorized User Fee
$175 annual fee for each Additional Platinum Card, $50 annual fee for each Additional Gold Card
Foreign Transaction Fee
2.5%

Best Credit Cards For Travel Summary

Credit Card Annual Fee Best For Learn More
American Express Cobalt™ Card $12.99 per month Best Overall Card For Travel Learn More
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® $0 Best No Fee Card For Travel Learn More
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card $120 Best Card For No Foreign Transaction Fees Learn More
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card $120 Best Travel Card For Dining & Transit Learn More
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card $120 Best Travel Card For Heavy Spenders Learn More
American Express® Aeroplan® Reserve Card $599 Best Travel Card For Air Canada Benefits Learn More
The Platinum Card® $699 Best For Luxury Travel & Lounge Access Learn More

Best Credit Cards By Spend Calculator

The Best Credit Cards By Spend Calculator will give you an idea of which credit cards will offer you the most rewards and best return based on your spend.

Results will be sorted by net return. This is calculated by taking the average value of the rewards earned adding the average value of card benefits and subtracting any annual fees the card has.

Results will consist of top-rated credit cards in the market.

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Income Requirements

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You can set the duration of the spend for the categories listed above. If you're looking for the best card for only n-months worth of spend, this is where you change the option.

If you want to calculate based on a full year of spending, you can leave it set to a duration of '1 Year'.

Adjust Transferable Points

Some rewards programs allow you to transfer your earned points to airline, hotel, and other loyalty programs. These programs will generally have higher point values when doing such.

Since these matter so much when choosing a credit card, you can enter your own point value for these programs to include in the calculations.

When set to zero (0), they will calculate based on The Point Calculator's valuations. Any non-zero value you enter will be used in the calculations.

You can click on the to learn more about the value of the currency when applicable (opens in a new tab/window). Depending on the calculations, all programs listed below may not be featured in the results.

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Note: Results may take a few seconds to generate after doing a search. The results and values listed are estimates to help guide you towards making the best decision. They are for illustrative purposes only.
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