The Best Credit Cards to Use for the 2018 Holiday Season

Best Credit Cards to Use for the Holiday Season

There are exactly 14 shopping days left until Christmas, and whether you’re ahead of the game or behind on your shopping list, you may already be feeling some shopping lethargy. But don’t despair: depending on your preferred method of payment, you may be able to get rewarded for running around those stuffy, crowded malls or spending hours scrolling through online catalogues.

We present to you some of’s 2018 Best of Finance credit card winners that can reward you on each dollar you spend and make your holidays just a bit brighter.

If you’re a student coming home for the holidays…


Though the holidays can pose as a stressful time for anyone, early December is an especially challenging time for a college or university student. Exam season can be mentally and physically taxing to say the least. And if money is tight and you’re looking for ways to relax, maybe a night watching the latest Avengers movie or the newest Fast and Furious release (they seem to be coming out with a new one every few months) is what you need.

The SCENE®* Visa* card allows users to earn one SCENE point  for every $1 they spend on the card. Those SCENE points can go towards free movies or be used at participating CARA restaurants and retailers. There’s no annual fee, and right now you can earn 2,000 bonus points for simply spending $500 in your first three months of cardmembership – that’s already enough for two free movie tickets!

Or, with the BMO SPC® CashBack® MasterCard®, you can earn you one per cent cash-back on all purchases. According to our Best of Finance methodology*, this can put almost $300 in your wallet over a two-year period – and every dollar helps when you’re living away from home or dealing with student loans. Another great bonus is that this card comes with a free SPC membership, which gives you 10 to 15 per cent off at participating retail stores – and there are many.

If you’re a busy parent looking for a getaway…


You’ve worked hard all year and the daily grind is starting to get to you, but you haven’t had a chance to get away from it all. Start planning that hard-earned vacation in 2019 with the help of the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express®Card. It’s our pick for the highest-earning credit card with travel perks in 2018, with four times the Scotia Rewards points for every $1 you spend at eligible gas stations, grocery stores, on dining and entertainment. Cardholders can redeem points for a plethora of getaways “anywhere, anytime, with no travel restrictions.”

If you make $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first three months, you can earn a bonus 15,000 points – starting you off in a good position to book trips.

Apply for a Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card through and you’ll receive $100 in cash via Interac e-Transfer or an e-Gift card from when your application is approved.

The card also so happens to come with all the protection you’ll need while you’re away, including baggage insurance, flight delay insurance, trip interruption or cancellation insurance, travel medical and accident insurance, and rental vehicle insurance.

So the more Christmas gifts you pay for with plastic, the greater number of travel options you have. The card does come with a $99 annual fee, but supplementary cards are only $29/year, meaning other members of your family can help pitch in towards your dream destination simply by using the card.

If you’re driving to visit out-of-town relatives…


Driving long distances can be a great alternative to flying, but it can still take a bite out of your budget. That’s why it’s important to make even more out of your visits to grandma’s house by earning some cash-back on the trip back and forth. Our top pick for cash-back is the Scotia Momentum®Visa Infinite* card, which gives you four per cent cash-back on fuel purchases. Based on the everyday expenditures of the average Canadian, this can result in almost $150 back in your pocket over two years from just gas alone.

This card also gives you two per cent on eligible drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and one per cent on all other eligible everyday purchases.

And for a limited time, you can earn 10 per cent cash-back on everyday purchases for the first three months (up to $200). Plus, your first year annual fee waived, but keep in mind that it’s $99 after the first year.

If you’re cooking that perfect Christmas dinner…


Stocking up your fridge can be pricey this time of year, especially when families are entertaining more than usual. That’s where the President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard® comes in handy: a top-notch product that earned first place in our Best Card for Groceries category.

This no-fee card earns you 25 PC Points for every dollar you spend at Shoppers Drug Mart and PharmaprixMD, as well as 10 PC points per $1 spent on groceries (and merchandise) purchased at participating stores where President’s Choice products are sold. You can also earn at least 30 PC points per litre of gas purchased at Esso stations. All points can be redeemed at stores under the Loblaws umbrella, including Joe Fresh clothing stores. This can amount to over $400 in your wallet over a two-year period – possibly covering a lot of – if not the entire – Christmas dinner next year!

And if you simply love to shop…


Perhaps you feed off the energy of those crowded malls this time of year. Or your greatest joy is digging deep into your wallet to give your family and friends everything on their wish lists. But maybe it’s time to reward yourself, for a change. In that case, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is the perfect way to do so. With no annual fee, this card earns you two per cent cash-back in two chosen spending categories (like food, entertainment, gas or pharmacy), and 0.5 per cent cash-back on everything else.

Earn rewards and be merry!

Our 2018 Best of Finance picks are all solid choices for any season, but we all know that December is the true season of consumerism.

Aside, we can’t stress enough how important it is to make at least your minimum monthly payments on time. In fact, you should always strive to pay your balance off in full every billing cycle. By doing so, you’re avoiding interest charges and truly reaping the benefits of each card. So, set a reasonable shopping budget and enjoy the perks these cards offer!


*Assuming $1,222.96 (average Canadian household spend according to Statistics Canada) is spent on the card monthly at eligible retailers, in the following categories: Pharmacy ($55.33), Food ($758.53), Gas: $155.72, Travel ($151.21), Other ($102.17).

This post has been updated.

Related Topics

Credit Card Reviews / Credit Cards / Credit Cards 101 / Lifestyle News / Personal Finance / RSM News / Your Budget