The Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada for 2023
Do you like seeing new places and experiencing new things?
Travel is a great way to broaden your horizons and enjoy life. Whether you travel a great deal, or whether you go on a big trip every two or three years, it makes sense to get the most out of your experiences. One way to do that is with the help of travel credit cards. These are cards that reward you for booking hotels and scheduling airline flights.
One way to get the best bang for your travel buck is with the help of travel rewards credit cards. You can also earn points for travel by making everyday purchases with these credit cards.
As you earn points, you can plan to redeem for travel down the road. The best travel credit cards work with your preferences and habits. Look for a card that will help you earn free stays at your favourite hotel or fly for free. Combine your travel rewards with a loyalty program, and you can super-charge your efforts.
Some of the biggest and best credit card rewards can be found in the travel category. Here are some of the best Canadian credit cards for travel rewards in 2017.
DISCLAIMER: While we attempt to keep all credit card details current, the rates, fees, rewards and benefits may have changed since the last update. Please visit the credit card supplier through the “Apply Now” links to ensure you have the latest details for that card.
I just wanted to point out another really good MasterCard offered by most credit unions in Canada. The CUETS World Elite MasterCard.
• $150 annual fee and $40.00 additional card.
• Travel and health insurance included for the primary cardholder and his/her spouse up to the age of 75. Eligible dependent children covered as well. Note that most credit cards offer travel insurance up to age 65 and only 21 days. This Credit Union World Elite MasterCard covers up to 31 days of each trip outside of your province of residence.
• Introductory rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for your first 10 billing periods
• CHOICE REWARDS® program that allows you to easily collect and redeem points
2 points/$1 spent | 10,000 points = $100
• MasterRental, MasterTrip, MasterPurchase, Price Protection, Concerge Service.
• Interest rate is 19.49%
More info at CUETS.ca or find a credit union near you.
Addendum to the RBC AVION card:
If you switch from RBC AVION to RBC British Airways Infinite, you get 1.5 Executive Club points for every 1.0 AVION points you have, plus they give you free companion tickets for every $60,000 spent. You can easily fly to Europe and back for 50,000 Business Class.
While this may not mean much if you only have a few thousand points, for those holding 30,000-50,000 AVION points, after switch to BA Exec Club, you could be looking at a One-way First Class Ticket to many points in Asia. Case in point, I just booked a RTW (Round the World, multiple stop – First Class ticket) from on BA and Cathay Pacific for 225,000 points & used a companion pass. Nice way for 2 ppl to fly first class without spending $34,000 per ticket.
Downside: if you carry a balance, it’s at 22.5%
How do you use a companion ticket when you are using points for your half the trip?
What do you think of the Blue Sky Amex card? I’m looking for the best No Annual Fee card for travel points. 1.25 pts per $1.00, 10,000 points . Thx.
What are your thoughts on the Westjet Mastercard. It was rated number one last year for travel rewards.
Ken, I love this card. First year was free with $250 travel credit. It’s $99/year after that. Includes car rental insurance (big savings), completely flexible booking times (no blackout periods), one piece of luggage booked for free, and really, really low flight prices. Last year I flew Gatwick return (from Calgary) for $648 after discounts and WJ$; this summer I booked a flight for just over $500 that goes return Calgary to Dublin, with a one week stopover in St John’s. Also comes with a companion pass each year. I use this card for almost all of my purchases, so the WJ$ pile up quickly. Great card for those who like to travel!
I had the westjet MC. It doesn’t fly to many destinations I wanted to visit. It also became ultra low cost having had to pay for blankets, food etc on a transatlantic flight to Europe. Had 2 cancelled flights in London Uk. The travel credit they issued me expired in one year without me knowing it. It’s all downhill for westjet even after record profits!
I’ve never owned a card that charges a fee and am in the habit of paying off my balance on each billing.
My only credit card currently is a President’s Choice MasterCard but I would luv to see a review of the “Blue Sky Amex” card which Lana mentioned above.
Depending on your spending and payment habits, the premium cards are well worth the higher annual fees. If you pay your balance in full each month it only takes $1000 spending a month to earn more than enough to cover the fees. Add in the premium benefits (insurance mostly) and these cards are pretty economical.
What are your thought on the CIBC Aventura card. I just switched my CIBC Visa Aerogold card to the CIBC Aventura, because the Aerogold was just about impossible to book anything unless you booked a year ahead. I heard the Aventura is similar to the Avion card. I was wondering if this is true.
Aventura card is great. I converted my Aerogold a few years ago because Aeroplan is hopeless. 35,000 points = $800 travel, just slightly better than Avion (35000=$750). Don’t use it for the fees/taxes though. The redemption rate is different (much lower) vs using it for the base ticket price only.
I JUST HAVE A BMO CREDIT CARD THAT COLLECTS AIR MILES.
I DO NOT PAY ANY ANNUAL FEE.
ITS GOOD FOR TRAVEL AND BUYING ONLINE ON THE AIRMILES SITE.
THE REWARDS ARE GREAT. I HAVE PURCHASED A STEREO, A BLENDER, TICKETS TO MOVIES, POTS AND PANS. I STILL THINK MY BMO AIR MILES CARD IS THE BEST
I’d highly recommend the SPG American Express Credit Card for those interested in maximizing “Free” hotel stays and airline tickets. One free night at a Four Points by Sheraton can be had for as little as 2500 points (but usually 5000 minimum in Canada) with the ability to transfer Starwood Points to airline points (with lots of carriers participating) if and when needed. Only downside is the lack of emergency medical on the card. But if you already have coverage – and want to travel as close to free as possible – this is the card for you.
Since I’ll be spending 7 weeks outside of Canada, the Marriott Travel card has been recommended to me as the one I should use to avoid to avoid the 2.5% foreign exchange cost while earning points towards hotel stays. Since I qualify as a new cardholder, the $120 annual fee is waived. Is this the best card for me?
Forget this card it is now cancelled in Canada
Chase Bank cancelled the Marriott Travel card. It was a great deal. Marriott is scrambling and left their members hanging!
The credit card I recommend is the TD Visa Aeroplan Infinite Card. But you must use your aeroplan points wisely to take full advantage.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card does NOT give you a free access to Priority Pass Lounges at airports Worldwide. In fact, it is not included with the gold card. This is a dishonest lie on the Scotiabank website. You need to apply on the Priority Pass website if you want the service and it costs money.
I hope you can make a suggestion here if at all possible. Is there one credit card that you would recommend above others that would be best to earn points toward travel using both Canadian and American airlines? Or perhaps is it best to go with a cash back credit card allowing one to use any airline? Thanks in advance.
Go with the SPG AMEX. It’s the best all round points travel card for Canadians, IMHO.
What is SPG? What is the opinion of the Scotia Passport Visa and the AMEX Cobalt credit card?
how about TD’s first class visa? keeping 5k in your td bank account waves the annual fee.
Leaving $5K in your account (all year – you can’t miss a single day) will save you like $500 a year in fees (monthly account plus annual credit card fees) or about a 10% return on your money. Not bad if you have the cash available but you’re still better off with an TD Aeroplan card if you travel. TD point redemptions can’t match Aeroplan – especially if you’re frequent flyer.
Thanks for the suggestions made to my query. Very much appreciated. One last question: What is/are your thought(s) about the AMEX GOLD REWARDS or the AMEX COBALT for Canadians as compared to the SPG AMEX. I’m leaving out the TD Aeroplan suggestion as I don’t think I can maintain the $5000 minimum. (Though excellent suggestion!) I don’t frequent the ‘nicer’ hotels much (more of a budget traveller) and am wondering if the other AMEX options would be better. Many thanks again.
Canadian Tire MasterCard suits me fine. No annual fee. No minimum income required. I get discounts on gas and purchases. I get free car rental insurance. I am not a frequent flyer, so I don’t t benefit from travel cards.
The MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard seems a bit misleading calling itself a travel card, I looked into it but from what I can see if offers no travel accident insurance of any kind, which many do, it does come with a death and dismemberment, but if anyone ever assumed they have some kind of travel coverage they could be in for a big surprise. If I am wrong someone please correct me.
Someone else mentioned CUET World ELite, I would second that one, if is basically the same as this with full travel coverage, it is the one I ended up with. I does come with a higher annual fee though.
I do also carry the Wesjet Elite, it only offers 1.5% on day to day not the full 2% like the top cards, but by the end of the year my flight purchases, free bag perk and companion voucher make up the annual fee on its own.
I’m interested in knowing more about the upgrade the the avion visa RBC card. Can u send me more info about it. Also what is the best way to pre purchase lounge passes? Avion has never offered me even one
BMO card increased the cost of redemptions by 40% in Jan 2018. It’s gone from being one of the best values to one of the worst out there.
What do you think of the amex cobalt card?
I have only 1 awards card, that being the CIBC Visa Infinite and am questioning the value. Where does it stand amongst other institutional award cards?
It is worth noting that cards which give you Priority Pass lounge access does NOT mean free access to lounges. A basic priority pass is $99/year, and that gives you reduced fee access but NOT free. So if you get lounge access and four free passes, that means you have the $27 fee waived 4 times, not that you can have 4 guests for free. You can have you and 3 guests for free one time, but after that you and guests all have to pay!