This Year’s Best Credit Cards for Travel Perks

This Year’s Best Credit Cards for Travel Perks

For the avid traveler, there are a few things you can’t go without – your passport, travel insurance, and a good travel rewards credit card.

Those who travel pretty often already know – the opportunity to gain rewards with a good travel credit card are hard to resist. You can easily earn deep discounts on flights, accommodations, and more.

General rewards credit cards offer points or cash-back rewards for particular spending categories (gas, grocery, pharmacy purchases, etc.) But a good rewards card maximizes on your everyday purchases and ultimately helps you save, instead of forcing you to make purchases in specific categories you wouldn’t usually.

And when it comes to travel rewards credit cards, the best ones come with a flexible, easy-to-comprehend redemption process with few restrictions.

A great travel rewards credit card should also include travel insurance coverage – from trip cancellation and baggage delay coverage that can offset costs when your itinerary doesn’t go as planned, to medical insurance that can cover you in case you become injured or sick while abroad (international medical bills can become ridiculously expensive).

Problem is, with so many different cards on the market, how do you know which card will get you the most bang for your buck miles for your money?

To make the decision-making process easier, RateSupermarket.ca has a handy-dandy card comparison tool. And with all things considered, from sign-up bonuses to annual fees to earning categories, we used our Best of Finance methodology to list the cards that provided the most cash value.

Here are the best credit cards that can get you the most in travel perks.

2019 Best of Finance Best Credit Card With Travel Perks Category Winner


 

CIBC Aventura® Visa InfiniteTM

Why it’s an awesome card

The CIBC Rewards program is one of the most unrestricted travel reward programs out there – giving you the ability to book all airlines, flights and seats. Even better, Aventura Points don’t expire, and they can be also used to redeem merchandise, gift cards and charitable donations.

Moreover, with the CIBC Aventura® Visa InfiniteTM, you get a $120 travel credit upon approval, access to over 1,200 airport lounges with four complimentary visits, and a NEXUS application fee rebate.

With multiple spending categories, you can earn points on most everyday purchases. And, in addition, you get 15,000 points when you make your first purchase and can get an additional 5,000 when you spend $1,000 or more within the first four months of cardmembership. This quick earning scheme can lead you to get the most out of this travel card, making it our number one choice for travel credit cards this year.

Earning rate*

  • Grocery, gas and pharmacy: 1.5 Aventura Points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases.
  • Travel: 2 Aventura Points for every $1 spent when you book a trip through the CIBC Rewards Centre.
  • Other: 1 Aventura Point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.  

Earning potential**

  • Annual fee: $120.
  • Sign-up bonus: 20,000 Aventura Points (15,000 upon your first purchase and 5,000 if you charge $1,000 to the account within the first four months of cardmembership).
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period:72,831.68 Aventura Points.
  • Monetary worth: $1,216.63 (after annual fee).

 

Notes: 

*Earning rate up to card’s annual spending cap, if applicable.

**Assuming $1,600 is spent on the card monthly at eligible retailers, in the following categories:

  • Pharmacy: $55.33
  • Food: $710.58
  • Gas**: $134.31
  • Travel: $151.21
  • Other: $548.57

2019 Best of Finance Best Credit Card With Travel Perks Runners Up


RSM-022_2018_Best_Of_Finance_2018_Campaign_BlogPost_800x180_RBC_Infinite_FINAL

Why it’s an awesome card

Right off the bat, the RBC Visa Infinite‡ Avion® comes with no annual fee for the first year ($129 after that).

The best part of the RBC Reward program is the opportunity to redeem your points for travel bookings, with no black-out periods or airline-specific bookings. And the RBC Rewards portal is simple enough to navigate, offering the option to redeem your points for a catalogue of merchandise, from gift cards to electronics and home appliances. You can even redeem points for a charity donation, or a credit towards your account so your balance is reduced.

Lastly, this card comes with all types of coverages for the smart, avid traveller, from medical and accident insurance in case you get sick or injured while abroad, to auto rental collision insurance, flight delay insurance, lost luggage insurance and hotel/motel burglary insurance.

Earning rate*

  • Travel: 25 RBC Reward points per $1 spent on eligible purchases (airlines, accommodations, tour operators, cruise lines, travel agencies, car rental companies, etc.).
  • Gas: 1.20 RBC Reward points per $1 spent at Petro-Canada when you link your Petro-Points card to your account.
  • Other: 1 RBC Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Earning potential**

  • Annual fee: $0 for the first year. $129 after the first year.
  • Sign-up bonus: 15,000 RBC Reward points.
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: 50, 285.36 RBC Rewards points.
  • Monetary worth: $502.85 that can be redeemed for a travel reward booked through the RBC Rewards travel portal.

RSM-022_2018_Best_Of_Finance_2018_Campaign_BlogPost_800x180_SB_Passport_FINAL

Why it’s an awesome card

Frequent flyers are going crazy over the Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card because of its deluxe suite of travel insurance coverages, not to mention no foreign exchange fees, and six complimentary airport lounge access passes per year.

The sign-up bonus alone with this card already qualifies you for a flight worth $250. But as mentioned before, Scotia Rewards can also be used towards gift cards, merchandise from Apple, Best Buy or other brand names, a donation to charity, or even a credit on our account balance is reduced. Scotia Rewards points earned are automatically applied to your account and detailed on your statement each month.

The great insurance package that comes with this card also covers you in case of any medical emergency or accident abroad, or if your flight is delayed, your baggage is lost, or your items are stolen from your hotel, amongst other things.

Earning rate*

  • Grocery, dining, entertainment and daily transit: 2 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible purchases. 

Earning potential**

  • Annual fee: $139.
  • Sign-up bonus: 25,000 Scotia Rewards points if you spend $1,000 on the card within the first three months of cardmembership.
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period: 86 Scotia Rewards points.
  • Monetary worth: $508.37.

TD® First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card

Why it’s an awesome card

As a TD® First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card cardholder, you get access to book flights with TD Points through the ExpediaForTD portal, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. And if you’ve booked with Expedia before, navigating the redemption process on ExpediaForTD should be a breeze.

TD Points can be used towards flights, hotels, vacation packages, and even car rentals. Points also don’t expire, giving you the freedom to use them whenever you please. The points system is pretty simple for this card too – earn points at a regular rate on all your everyday purchases and at a premium rate when you book through the portal.

The conditional welcome bonus comes in at 80,000 points (equal to $400), and for a limited time, TD is also offering a rebate on the first year’s annual fee, equating to $120 in savings.

Earning rate*

  • Travel: 9 TD Points for every $1 spent on bookings through Expedia for TD online, or 6 TD Points for every $1 spent on bookings through Expedia for TD over the phone.
  • Other: 3 TD Points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Earning potential**

  • Annual fee: $0 for the first year. $120 after the first year.
  • Sign-up bonus: 80,000 TD Points (20,000 upon your first purchase and 60,000 if you charge $1,000 to the account within the first three months of cardmembership).
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period:216,974.
  • Monetary worth: $964.87 (after annual fee).

RSM-022_2018_Best_Of_Finance_2018_Campaign_BlogPost_800x180_AE_Cobalt_FINAL

Why it’s an awesome card

Probably one of the more “fun” cards out on the market, the American Express CobaltTM Credit Card rewards cardholders for things like restaurant and bar transactions, food delivery and ride-sharing. And in your first year, you can earn 2,500 Membership Rewards® points for every month that you put $500-worth of purchases on your card. This could add up to an additional 30,000 points in your first year.

You can exchange your Membership Rewards® points for a statement credit or browse through the Membership Rewards® catalogue and redeem your points for merchandise (electronics, appliances, clothing, jewelry, etc.), gift cards from various retailers, or a charity donation.

You can even use your points towards gas, groceries, TV subscriptions, Amazon or Ticketmaster purchases. And though the card has a $120 annual fee, it’s split up into easy $10 monthly payments.

Earning rate*

  • Restaurants and bars, grocery, and food delivery: 5 points per $1 spent at eligible retailers.
  • Gas, transit and travel: 2 points per $1 spent at eligible retailers.
  • Other: 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Earning potential**

  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period:105,244 Membership Rewards®
  • Monetary worth: $1,052.44 in points that can be redeemed for a statement credit towards eligible travel purchases, or $736.71 that can be used for a statement credit towards all other eligible purchases.

Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card

Why it’s an awesome card

The Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card is a great travel card if you favour the Marriott chain of hotels. With no specific spending categories, the revamped Marriott reward program allows you to rack up points quickly, and redeem them for free nights with no blackout dates at over 6,700 hotels worldwide. Eligible hotels are, of course, limited to Marriott Bonvoy affiliates, and you also get a free night annually for up to 35,000 points at any location after your first anniversary.

The sign-up bonus alone is enough for four free nights at a “Category 2” hotel – 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you charge $1,500 to your card within the first three months of cardmembership. 

Earning rate*

  • Other: 5 Marriott Bonvoy Points for every $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties.
  • Other: 2 Marriott Bonvoy for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.  

Earning potential**

  • Annual fee: $120.
  • Sign-up bonus: 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points if you charge $1,500 to the account within the first three months of cardmembership.
  • Rewards earned over a 24-month period:156,549 Mariott Bonvoy points.
  • Monetary worth: $1,168.94 (after annual fee).

Related Topics

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

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