The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2015

If you travel a great deal, it makes sense to get the most out of your experiences. One way to do that is with the help of travel rewards credit cards. These are cards that reward you for booking hotels and scheduling airline flights. You can earn points to redeem for more travel down the road. With Capital One recently discontinuing their original Aspire Travel World MasterCard (my previous top pick), I thought we should have a look at the best Canadian credit cards for travel rewards in 2015.

The best travel credit card is the one that works with your preferences and habits. Look for a card that will help you earn free stays at your favorite hotel or fly for free. Below are some of the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada:

BMO World Elite MasterCardBMO World Elite MasterCard – The BMO World Elite MasterCard comes with 30,000 bonus points when you get started, with a $300 travel value. That’s not too bad at all. You get 2% back on each card purchase, helping you earn points faster. On top of that, travel credit card comes with travel and medical insurance and VIP airport lounge access ($200 value).

There is an annual fee of $150 a year, but it is waived for the first year. If you use the airport lounge, you can easily make up for the cost each year. This card comes with an interest rate of 20.5%. You need a minimum of $70,000 if you are single or a household income of $120,000 a year in order to qualify.

Scotiabank Gold American Express CardScotiabank Gold American Express Card – If you are interested in travel and want to earn points faster, the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card might be able to help. This card offers 20,000 bonus points when you spend $500 in your first three months of card membership. That is equivalent to $200 in travel rewards. This more than makes up for the $99 annual fee.

For those that use the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card for all of their gas, grocery, dining, and entertainment expenses, it’s pretty easy to build up the travel reward points. You will earn 4x the points for every dollar when you spend on qualified purchases in those categories. Every other purchase is one point per dollar spent. This credit card comes with travel insurance, including travel emergency medical coverage, as well as complimentary concierge services available 24/7. You can also get access to special discounts when you travel. If you are a frequent traveler, this card can be a great addition to your wallet.

Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCardCapital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard – You can earn more reward miles on everything you buy, creating an effect rewards rate of up to 2%. You receive two reward miles for each dollar that you spend on all of your purchases. This card comes with a 10,000 mile bonus after you make your first purchase.

Other benefits that come with the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard include trip cancellation insurance and travel emergency medical insurance. This makes it easier for you when planning your travel. The interest rate is the prime rate plus 16.80%. There is an annual fee of $120, but the savvy traveler can easily get this value back each year.

RBC Visa Infinite AvionRBC Visa Infinite Avion – You can enjoy world-class travel with the help of this travel credit card. You get one point for each dollar spent. However, you get a 25% bonus when you spend on travel, including flights, hotels, and car rentals. Plus, the RBC Visa Infinite Avion comes with a 15,000 welcome bonus, which is equivalent to $350 worth of travel.

This card also comes with a special balance transfer rate of 1.9% for the first 10 months. The regular purchase interest rate is 19.99%. There is an annual fee of $120. However, as with any card considered a best travel credit card, it’s possible for a savvy traveler to get full value anyway.

Written by Tom Drake

Tom Drake is the owner and head writer of Canadian Finance Blog. While you’re here, consider signing up for the RSS feed or email subscription. Both deliver the latest articles directly to you! You can also follow me on Twitter for all the latest posts or to send me any comments or questions!

9 Responses to The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2015

  1. Hello Tom,

    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.

  2. 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%

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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