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
Best Overall Card For Travel
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.
- 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.
Best No Fee Card For Travel
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.
- 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.
Best Card For No Foreign Transaction Fees
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.
- 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.
Best Travel Card For Dining & Transit
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.
- 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.
Best Travel Card For Heavy Spenders
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.
- 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
Best Travel Card For Air Canada Benefits
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.
- 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.
Best For Luxury Travel & Lounge Access
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.
- 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.
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
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