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Canadians love to travel. Whether it be to escape the winter (snowbirds), for a summer vacation abroad, or any travel for that matter, the best travel credit cards can help you save a ton of money.

These credit cards offer a combination of rewards including comprehensive travel insurance, free airport lounges, sign-up bonuses, and travel perks that can make your vacations much more enjoyable.

Because the cards on this list are awesome and offer real value, you will also find some of them on my list of best cash back credit cards and best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees in Canada.

To make finding your next travel card easy, I have divided this post into 6 different sections as follows.

Best All-Round Travel Credit Cards

Best Travel Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees

Best Sign Up Bonus Travel Cards

Best Aeroplan and AIR MILES Travel Cards

Best No Fee Travel Rewards Cards

More Travel Rewards Cards For Canadians

Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada for 2019

Can’t be bothered to read through the full post? I have highlighted the best cards (in my opinion) in each category below:

Read on to see what each card offers for perks and benefits, their annual fees, income eligibility, and any downsides.

best travel credit cards in canada

Best All-Round Travel Credit Cards

These two cards are an epitome of everything you want in a great card: high earn rates, easy and flexible redemption, solid sign up bonuses, multiple perks, and a reasonable annual fee.

1. American Express Cobalt Card

The American Express Cobalt is not just a travel card, it is also great for earning rewards on your everyday spending. Here’s what you get:

  • $10 monthly fee ($120 annual)
  • Earn up to 30,000 in bonus points in your first year
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and cafes
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on gas, travel, and transit purchases
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Comprehensive travel insurance including emergency travel (up to $5 million), flight and baggage delay, hotel/motel burglary, lost or stolen baggage, car rental, and travel accident insurance (up to $250,000)
  • Purchase protection plan and extended warranty
  • Access to VIP perks including Amex Invites with Front Of The Line Access to in-demand events
  • 7.99% low-interest rate on purchases for the first 6 months
  • Multiple rewards redemption options
  • Free supplementary cards

In addition to great travel rewards, the Amex Cobalt card also has one of the highest earn rates for grocery and food purchases in Canada. Its 30,000 bonus points is achievable as long as you charge at least $500 to the card every month.

American Express offers multiple ways to use your points including:

  • Flights through their Fixed points Program e.g. a long haul flight between the U.S. and Canada requires 40,000 points at a maximum ticket price of $700.
  • Instantly for purchases on almost anything.
  • Ticketmaster.ca where 2,000 points is equivalent to $20.
  • Amazon.ca, and more.

Apply Now

American Express Cobalt Card

2. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express is one of Scotiabank’s best credit cards with a top-notch earn rate and a variety of redemption options. It offers:

  • $99 annual fee
  • Earn 15,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points ($150 value) when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 4 points for every $1 spent on gas, groceries, dining, and entertainment
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent elsewhere
  • Comprehensive travel insurance including travel emergency medical, flight delay, trip cancellation/trip interruption, travel accident, rental car, hotel/motel burglary, delayed and lost baggage insurance.
  • Purchase security, price protection, and extended warranty
  • Discounted Priority Pass membership (35% off) with access to 600+ VIP airport lounges worldwide
  • Special access to events with American Express Invites
  • Up to 25% discount on AVIS and Budget car rental
  • Complimentary 24/7 concierge services

The 4% rewards rate for this card on grocery, gas, dining, and entertainment purchases are great. Add in the $150 bonus offer (15,000 points), and the $99 annual fee is easily paid off.

Personal income eligibility for the Scotiabank Gold Amex is very low at $12,000 per year. You can also read my complete Scotiabank Gold American Express review.

Apply Now

Scotia Gold American Express card

Best Travel Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees

When you use your credit cards a lot abroad, the foreign transaction fees do add up. At a cost of 2.5% or more, these no-FX fees cards come in handy.

1. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

For a combination of zero foreign transaction fees and premium travel perks, the Passport Visa Infinite card is a top contender.

  • $149 annual fee
  • Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points ($400 value)
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on grocery, dining, entertainment and transit purchases
  • Earn 1 point on all other purchases
  • No FX mark up on foreign currency purchases
  • Complimentary Priority Pass membership with 6 free airport lounge visits per year
  • Comprehensive travel insurance including travel emergency medical, trip cancellation and interruption, travel accident, flight delay, delayed and lost baggage, rental car collision loss/damage waiver, and more
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite‘s 40,000 bonus point is worth $400 in travel costs. Earn 30,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months and an additional 10,000 points if your annual card spending is $40,000 or more.

The annual complimentary Priority Pass membership and 6 free lounge visits is worth around $261 which more than covers the card’s annual fees. Add in your savings from foreign transaction fees and this card has very little competition.

You need a minimum personal income of $60,000 (or $100,000 household income) to be eligible for this card. You can also read my complete Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite review here.

Apply Now

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Business card review

2. Home Trust Preferred Visa

The Home Trust Preferred Visa is the second card I recommend if you are looking for a credit card with zero foreign transaction fees.

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign currency conversion fees
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases
  • Free roadside assistance membership
  • Car rental collision and purchase security insurance

While the Home Trust Preferred gas no sign-up bonus, its no annual fee, 1% flat rewards rate, free roadside assistance and savings on foreign currency purchases are noteworthy.

Some downsides to this card include its unavailability to Quebec residents and a limit of 10 transactions per day.

Apply Now

Home Trust Preferred Visa

Travel Credit Cards With The Best Sign-Up bonuses

Premium credit cards come in various flavours. These two cards take the top spot for the best sign up welcome bonuses.

1. Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express offers one of the best rewards for hotel stays for Canadians. It replaces the Starwood Preferred Guest SPG card.

  • $120 annual fee
  • Earn a welcome bonus of 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Redeem points for hotel stays at more than 6,500 hotels including names like the Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Marriott Hotels, Le Meridien, and Sheraton
  • Get one free night every year (worth up to 35,000 points)
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status
  • Free supplementary cards
  • Free Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status when you spend up to $30,000 each year
  • 15 Elite night Credits each year
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Access to American Express Invites such as Front of The Line Advance Access
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

The 60,000 bonus points offered by this card are adequate for booking 4 free nights at a Category 2 hotel. 15 free Elite Night Credits and the free upgrade to Gold Elite status if you spend up to $30,000 per year means you only need an additional 10 nights to achieve Platinum status and all the perks that come with it.

Add in the annual free night that is worth up to 35,000 points (easily $350), and this card is worth every penny. Lastly, you can easily transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to several other frequent flyer programs in exchange for miles.

Apply Now

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

2. TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card

The TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite comes loaded with 80,000 TD Points and a full annual fee rebate for the first year.

  • $120 annual fee
  • Get up to 80,000 bonus TD Points (a travel value of $400)
  • Earn 9 TD Points for every $1 spent on travel through Expedia for TD (4.5% reward rate)
  • Earn 3 points for every $1 spent on everything else (1.5% reward rate)
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Discounted Priority Pass membership
  • Up to 10% off car rentals at participating Avis and Budget locations

The TD First Class Travel Visa’s 80,000 bonus points are worth $400 in travel. Add in the $120 fee waiver, a 4.5% reward rate on travel through Expedia For TD, travel insurance, and the luxurious benefits that come with a Visa Infinite card make this card a winner.

Note that a personal income of $60,000 or $100,000 household income is required for eligibility.

Apply Now

TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite

Best Aeroplan and Air Miles Travel Credit Cards

Check out these cards for accelerated travel rewards.

1. TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is one of the best cards for collecting Aeroplan miles.

  • $120 annual fee (waived in the first year)
  • Get up to 30,000 Aeroplan Miles
  • Earn 1.5 miles for every $1 spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and aircanada.com purchases
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else
  • Double up your miles when you pay with the card and also present your Aeroplan membership card at participating retailers and brands
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Purchase security and extended warranty protection
  • Complimentary Visa Infinite Concierge service and luxury hotel privileges
  • One complimentary free checked bag, priority check-in and boarding, and access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge every year

The 30,000 bonus Aeroplan miles offered by the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card is worth 2 short-haul roundtrip flights from within Canada or the continental U.S.

Add in the first year fee waiver, a suite of comprehensive travel benefits, high rewards earn rate, and ease of redemption and you see the true value of the card.

The Aeroplan Visa Infinite requires a minimum personal income of $60,000 per year.

Apply Now

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

2. BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard

The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard has one of the best earn rates of any AIR MILES credit card in Canada. Here’s how it stacks up:

  • $120 annual fee (waived in the first year)
  • Get up to 3,000 AIR MILES bonus miles
  • Earn 1 reward mile for every $10 spent anywhere
  • 15% flight discount on all AIR MILES flights in North America (no blackout periods)
  • Complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences with access to VIP airport lounges and including two free passes per year
  • Earn 2x the miles at participating AIR MILES partners
  • Up to 25% discount at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-a-Car
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection

When you sign up, you receive 1,000 Bonus Miles after your first purchase with the card. An additional 2,000 bonus miles is awarded when you spend at least $3,000 within the first 3 months.

The $120 annual fee for the BMO AIR MILES World Elite is waived in year one. Since there is no limit to how many miles you can earn with the card, you could easily accumulate several free flights each year.

Similar to other World Elite cards, you need a minimum personal income of $80,000 to qualify. An alternative card without the income requirement is the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard.

Apply Now

BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard

Best No Fee Travel Rewards Cards

If you don’t like the idea of paying annual fees in exchange for travel rewards, these cards charge $0 annual fees, offer travel insurance, flexible rewards, perks, and more.

1. MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus takes top-tier status in the no-fee cash back and travel rewards categories.

  • No annual fee
  • Earn up to 5,000 welcome bonus points ($50 value)
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Flexible rewards redemption including travel, cash back, and merchandise
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

This card has a cap of $5,000 on each purchase category eligible for the 2% earn rate.

Apply Now

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard..

2. Rogers World Elite Mastercard

The Rogers World Elite Mastercard often features among the best cards with no foreign transaction fees. This card charges the regular 2.5% on foreign currency purchases, however, its 4% cash back offer on purchases made in foreign currencies and $0 annual fee qualifies it for this list.

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 4% unlimited cash back on FX purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back on Rogers products and services
  • Earn 1.75% cash back on all other purchases
  • $25 welcome bonus
  • Comprehensive travel insurance including car rental collision/damage, emergency medical, trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Redeem your cash back rewards as a statement credit at any time (minimum $20), against your phone bill, for Toronto Blue Jays tickets, and more

For a no annual fee card, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard’s 4% and 1.75% cash back categories are almost unbelievable. When you make purchases outside Canada, you still gain 1.5% after the 2.5% FX fees have been applied.

The minimum personal income to apply for this card is $80,000 per year.

Apply Now

Rogers World Elite Mastercard

Two additional no-fee travel rewards cards that are worth checking out include:

More Travel Rewards Cards For Canadians

There are a few other travel credit cards which are worth checking out if you plan to travel frequently within and outside of Canada.

1. CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card

  • $120 annual fee
  • get up to 20,000 Aventura points (worth up to $400) and $120 in travel credit
  • Complimentary Priority Pass membership (worth $99) with four free VIP airport lounge passes (worth $108)
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on trips purchased through CIBC rewards centre
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases
  • Comprehensive travel and purchase insurance
  • Nexus card application fee rebate every fourth year
  • Mobile device insurance (up to $1,000)

Apply Now

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card

2. WestJet RBC World Elite Card

The WestJet RBC World Elite card is a great card for maximizing your WestJet Rewards.

  • $119 annual fee
  • Earn a $250 WestJet dollars welcome bonus
  • Earn 2% back on all WestJet flights and travel packages
  • Earn 1.5% on your general spending and save 3 cents per litre when you buy gas at Petro Canada
  • Free checked bags on WestJet flights (up to 8 bags)
  • Annual round-trip companion voucher
  • Comprehensive travel and purchase insurance coverage
  • Complimentary 24/7 concierge service

Apply Now

RBC WestJet World Elite Card

Conclusion

Check out this list for some of the best travel credit cards available in Canada. The cards vary in many ways including annual fees, types of rewards and earn rate, income eligibility, travel insurance coverage, and more.

Depending on what your travel preferences and needs are, one or two of these cards should be able to satisfy your wanderlust requirements and save you money while you are at it!