Best Travel Credit Cards for Canadians: Top Picks and Tips 2024

by | Sep 20, 2023

Choose the right credit card that fits your needs!

Travel credit cards are an essential tool for frequent travellers, providing numerous benefits and travel rewards to enhance your travel experience. With countless options available, identifying the best travel credit cards requires evaluating factors such as rewards programs, travel perks, annual fees, and foreign transaction fees. In this article, we focus on some of Canada’s top travel credit cards to help you make a well-informed decision.

Canadian travellers have a plethora of options when it comes to finding the perfect travel credit card. Each card offers unique features and benefits tailored to different travel preferences. For instance, some travellers prioritize a card that delivers high reward rates for purchases both at home and abroad. In contrast, others value robust travel insurance packages and additional perks like lounge access.

To make the selection process easier, we have researched and compiled a list of Canada’s best travel credit cards. By comparing various cards, their rewards programs, and additional benefits, this article aims to provide a comprehensive guide for finding the credit card best suited to your travel needs.

Understanding Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards are specifically designed for individuals who frequently travel for business or leisure. These cards offer a variety of rewards, such as points or miles, that can be redeemed for travel-related expenses like flights, accommodations, and car rentals. They also often include additional perks, such as travel and purchase protection, access to airport lounges, and in-flight discounts.

Choosing the right travel credit card depends on the individual’s spending habits, travel preferences, and reward redemption goals. For instance, some credit cards focus on providing rewards for specific airlines or hotel chains, while others offer more flexible reward options, enabling cardholders to redeem points or miles across a wide range of travel providers.

One of the key factors to consider when comparing travel credit cards is the reward rate, often expressed as a percentage of every dollar spent on eligible transactions. It’s essential to weigh the potential rewards against the card’s annual fees and other associated costs. Higher reward rates and additional perks typically come with higher annual fees, but the benefits can outweigh the costs for frequent travellers.

In addition to the reward rate, consider the card’s reward program and redemption options. Some travel credit cards offer flexible rewards that can be transferred to various airline and hotel loyalty programs. Others have a more limited selection of redemption partners or require booking through a specific travel agency. Understanding these limitations can help ensure you are selecting a card that best suits your travel needs.

Furthermore, travel credit cards may offer valuable travel protection, such as emergency assistance, travel accident insurance, and baggage delay coverage. These benefits can provide peace of mind and financial protection during unforeseen travel situations. It’s important to thoroughly review the card’s terms and conditions to understand the extent of the coverage provided.

In summary, travel credit cards can be an excellent way for frequent travelers to earn rewards, access additional perks, and enjoy a more convenient and rewarding travel experience. When selecting a travel credit card, consider factors like reward rates, redemption options, travel protection, and associated fees to find the best option for your unique travel needs.

Top Travel Credit Cards in Canada

American Express Cobalt

The American Express Cobalt card is popular for travellers as it offers a great opportunity to earn Membership Rewards points. Cardholders can earn up to 5 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases. These Membership Rewards points can be used for travel, dining, merchandise, and more.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card offers impressive travel benefits, such as travel insurance coverage and no foreign transaction fees. Cardholders can also earn 2 Scene+ points per dollar spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases, making it a favourite among globetrotters.

BMO World Elite Mastercard

The BMO World Elite Mastercard is a top choice for travellers seeking robust rewards. Cardholders can earn points for flights and hotel stays, ideal for frequent globetrotters. The card offers comprehensive travel insurance coverage and peace of mind for unforeseen events. With benefits like concierge services, lounge access, and discounts on car rentals and vacation packages, this card enhances the travel experience.

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is another top travel credit card in Canada. It focuses on earning Aeroplan points. With this card, travellers can earn up to 35,000 Aeroplan points as a welcome bonus. The earn rate on eligible purchases ranges between 1 and 1.5 points per dollar spent, providing excellent value for frequent flyers.

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite

The Aventura Visa Infinite card is ideal for travellers, offering rewards and travel insurance coverages for peace of mind. Benefits include trip cancellation/interruption, flight delay, baggage delay, and emergency medical coverage. Exclusive travel experiences and concierge services enhance the overall travel experience. It’s a valuable companion for frequent flyers and adventure-seekers.

Key Features of Travel Credit Cards

Rewards and Perks

Travel credit cards often come with generous rewards programs and perks to enhance cardholders’ experiences. These can include earning points on every dollar spent on travel purchases, like flights, hotels, and car rentals. Some cards offer higher earn rates for purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores. Points can typically be redeemed for various options like travel-related purchases, merchandise, gift cards, or statement credits. In addition, cardholders may enjoy benefits like airport lounge access, welcome bonuses, discounts on hotel stays, restaurant dining, and entertainment. For instance, the Amex Cobalt is considered one of the best travel credit cards in Canada.

Insurance Coverage

A significant feature of travel credit cards is their comprehensive insurance packages, providing coverage for emergency medical insurance, travel medical insurance, trip cancellation, interruption, flight delay, and rental car collision. For example, some cards offer flight delay insurance that covers expenses incurred during a delay. Cardholders also benefit from purchase protection, which insures eligible purchases against theft or damage for a certain period after the purchase.

Fees Structure

When choosing a travel credit card, it’s crucial to consider the fees structure. While some cards charge no annual fees, others may have monthly or yearly fees, which could be offset by the card’s rewards and benefits. For instance, the Amex Cobalt has an annual fee of $155.88 ($12.99 per month), which some cardholders find justifiable due to the card’s rewards and features.

Additional Benefits

Besides rewards, insurance coverage, and fees, travel credit cards may offer extra advantages to cardholders. These could include priority pass membership to get airport lounge access, free checked bags and airport parking, discounts on airport accommodations, rebates on select travel purchases, and even streaming services. Some cards, like the TD Travel Credit card, grant cardholders a certain amount of points or credits each year to redeem on travel booking sites for added savings. Moreover, many travel credit cards provide cardholders with access to exclusive events and experiences, elevating their travel adventures.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which credit card offers the most travel benefits?

The American Express Platinum Card is known for offering excellent travel benefits. Cardholders can earn up to 90,000 MR points upon spending $7,500 in the first three months and enjoy perks such as airport lounge access, travel insurance, and accelerated points on dining and travel purchases.

What is the most widely accepted credit card for international travel?

Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards for international travel. Both have extensive global networks, making them suitable options for travellers who need a reliable credit card while exploring different countries.

Should I use Visa or Mastercard while travelling?

Both Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted and offer various travel benefits. The specific card you have and the perks associated with it ultimately depend on your travel needs. When choosing between Visa and Mastercard, consider rewards, fees, and additional benefits like insurance and airport lounge access to determine which card best suits your needs.

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