Best flexible rewards credit card in Canada for 2020 award seal

If you want a credit card that has several different redemption options, including letting you use your points like cash, you're going to want what’s called a flexible rewards credit card.

Whether you want to use your rewards for travel, statement credits, or even charitable donations, flexible rewards credit cards put you in charge of how you use your hard-earned points.

Some of these cards are even cash back credit cards. We don’t exclude cash back cards from this category because we think cash is a pretty flexible reward too, don’t you?

Canada’s best flexible rewards credit cards for 2020

Here's our list of the best flexible rewards credit cards in Canada.

CategoryCredit CardCurrent Welcome Bonus Offer
Best flexible rewards credit cardScotiabank Gold American Express® Card CardUp to 20,000 points (terms)
Flexible rewards credit card with high value optionsAmerican Express Cobalt™ CardUp to 30,000 points (terms)
Best cash back Visa to use for flexible rewardsScotiabank Momentum Visa InfiniteFirst year free (terms)
Best cash back Mastercard to use for flexible rewardsBrim World Elite Mastercard$500 when you make your first purchase at participating retailers, first year free (terms)

Review all 10 top flexible cards here.

Why get a flexible rewards credit card?

Flexible rewards credit cards let you earn rewards without first having to worry about what you want to use them for. This takes a lot of pressure off trying to figure out which credit card to get, and which rewards program might be best for you.

Some of the options we have listed here even let you transfer your points to other rewards programs later, giving you full control over how and when you redeem them.

Canada’s best flexible rewards credit cards will also give you:

  • nice sign-up bonuses,
  • comprehensive insurance packages,
  • typically higher reward value than cash back, and
  • rewards that can be redeemed for a number of different things.

Something to keep in mind…while flexible rewards give you a few different redemption options, the value of your rewards can often depend on how you choose to redeem them.

The list we've compiled here is based on redeeming your rewards for any travel and using your flexible rewards to pay for the purchase.

Canada's best flexible rewards credit card

If you’re interested in using your rewards primarily for travel, the is our top credit card.

Why? It earns the most points of any flexible rewards card. Here's what you'll earn on all of your purchases:

  • 5 Scotia Rewards points per $1 on groceries, restaurants, and entertainment purchases,
  • 3 Scotia Rewards points per $1 on gas, transit, and select streaming services, and
  • 1 Scotia Rewards point per $1 on all other purchases.

It also comes with a great welcome bonus – earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

No other credit card offers 5 points per $1 on 3 categories, and then a still high 3 points per $1 on your gas and commuting expenses...

A Scotia Rewards point is worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel, giving a return on this card of up to 5%.

And if you decide you want to use your points for something else, there are plenty of other ways to redeem them:

  • transfer to Cineplex SCENE,
  • statement credits,
  • merchandise, and
  • gift cards.

Toss in the fact it also has no foreign transaction fees and 11 types of insurance, and you've got a great, well-rounded travel credit card in your wallet.

Best flexible travel rewards credit card with higher value options

The not only offers a lot of points, but many ways you can use them as well.

How many points can you earn? To start, you'll get a welcome bonus worth up to 30,000 points. Every month in the first year you spend $500, you'll earn 2,500 bonus points.

And it doesn't disappoint when it comes to earnings on your purchases as well:

  • 5 points per $1 spent on groceries and dining out,
  • 2 points per $1 spent on gas, travel, and transit purchases, and
  • 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else.

So what can these points get you? Amex Membership Rewards offers plenty of ways to make use of them.

The easiest way to use them for travel is redeeming for any travel purchase you like, from any provider you want. Each point is worth 1 cent each when redeemed this way.

But there are other ways to get even more value for your points – and these are what makes it not only a great flexible rewards credit card, but a top travel credit card as well.

The best value for your points? The American Express Fixed Points Travel Program. For a set number of points, you'll cover the base airfare for a certain distance. Your points are worth up to 2 cents on select flights, but for most redemptions you're looking at a value of up to 1.75 cents. Even though you'll still have to pay any taxes and fees for your airfare, this is the best redemption option.

Next up is transferring to hotel partners. There are 2 you can choose from – Marriott Bonvoy, which transfers at a 5:6 rate, and Hilton Honors at a 1:1 rate. Let's focus on Marriott Bonvoy as it provides better value.

A typical Marriott point is worth 0.97 cents when redeemed for hotel stays. With this transfer giving a 20% bonus, you're looking at a Membership Rewards value of 1.16 cents per point. Or, once transferred to Marriott, transfer them again to over 40 airlines, most of them at a 3:1 ratio, including Aeroplan.

If you want a cash statement credit, each point is worth 0.7 cents each.

All for an annual fee of $120, divided into 12 monthly payments of $10.

It's really a remarkable flexible rewards card.

Best cash back Visa to use for flexible rewards

Last time we checked, you can use cash to pay for anything you like, making it a pretty flexible option.

And the best cash back credit card is the .

You'll earn up to 4% cash back on your purchases:

  • 4% cash back on recurring bills and grocery purchases,
  • 2% cash back on gas and transit purchases, and
  • 1% cash back on everything else.

No other cash back credit card gets you 4% cash back on 2 common categories.

Throw in the fact it also has 11 types of purchase and travel insurance, including rare mobile device coverage, and it's a well-rounded card for travelling as well.

It's for an annual fee of $120, which is currently waived for the first year.

Best cash back Mastercard for flexible rewards

If you want a Mastercard with cash back, or one that has a flat rate, the top option in this regard is the .

You'll earn a straightforward 2 points for every $1 spent on the first $25,000 in spend (1 point per $1 after that).

You can use Brim Rewards points to pay for any purchase made to the card. With each point worth 1 cent each, you're looking at a return of up to 2% on your purchases.

And there are plenty of bonus rewards to be had as well. Brim has partnerships with over 150 retailers, where you can earn anywhere from 3% to 30% on your purchases, depending on the retailer.

And there also plenty of other great Brim perks with this card as well, including no foreign exchange fees. It has a high annual fee of $199, but it's also waived for the first year.

Compare Canada's Best Flexible Rewards Credit Cards

How we get our rankings

How do we decide what the best flexible credit cards are? We take into account over 126 features of each card, broken down into 7 main categories:

Flexible page genius rating scoring

We then take those features and put them through our algorithm, which calculates a score out of 5. And since we're talking about flexible credit cards, we give extra weight to the rewards category, as it's the primary feature we're after for cards on this page.

Learn more about our Genius Rating methodology.

FAQ

Why would I want a flexible rewards credit card?

Flexible rewards credit cards let you earn rewards and then figure out how you want to use them later on. You're not stuck with just cash back or just travel – you can redeem for either option, plus several other options (like gift cards and merchandise) to boot. Also, if your lifestyle changes for whatever reason, you don’t have to worry about getting a new credit card or rewards program later. What’s not to love about that sort of worry-free simplicity?

Which is the best flexible rewards credit card for frequent travellers?

Our best flexible rewards credit card also happens to be the best for frequent travellers. The Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card has a great rewards earn rate, a very generous welcome bonus that lets you earn 20,000 points, and a return of up to 5% when you redeem your points for travel. If travel isn’t your thing, you can also redeem the Scotia Rewards points for statement credits, merchandise, or gift cards. You can also transfer them to the Cineplex SCENE rewards program.

I don’t travel much, which flexible rewards credit card is best for saving money on everyday purchases?

The Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite is a cash back credit card that will give you 4% cash back on recurring bills and grocery purchases, 2% cash back on gas and transit purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else. Not many cash back credit cards get you 4% back in 2 categories, and both the 4% and 2% cash back rewards are for everyday purchases, giving you a chance to save some serious money.

How can I figure out which flexible rewards credit card is best for me?

The only person who can decide which credit card is best for you, is you. But we can help. We’ve compiled a comprehensive database of credit cards and have built an unbiased math-based algorithm that will evaluate these and make recommendations to you based on your financial requirements and preferences. You can get started by heading over to our creditcardGenius quiz, and in 3 minutes you’ll have some recommendations in hand to help you figure out which credit cards are best for you. There may even be $25 in it for you.

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