Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada With No Annual Fee for 2018 award seal

No annual fee travel credit cards are a rare breed.

Travel credit cards often offer:

  • increased rewards,
  • comprehensive insurance coverage, and
  • great perks.

And annual fees often reflect that…because annual fees are one way credit card companies can justify giving you all those extras.

So, finding a travel credit card that has valuable travel rewards, any type of insurance, and a few perks … all with no annual fee? That’s kind of like looking for Bigfoot – sightings are pretty rare.

But no matter how rare, there are still a few Canadian no fee travel cards in the wild.

Let it be noted, however, that there are some no fee cash back credit cards that are better than no fee travel credit cards, so we included them in our list. They may not give you points or miles ... but the nice thing about cash is that it can be used for travel.

Compare No Fee Travel Credit Cards

Why Choose a No Fee Travel Card?

But first, here’s a simple fact: you’re not going to find a no fee travel card that spoils you as much as the top premium cards do. So why anyone would want to give up those “lap of luxury” cards and go with a no fee travel card? Here are 3 reasons why a no fee travel credit card can make sense:

  • If you’re new to credit cards – no fee cards are a great starting point if points and miles are completely new to you. You get to figure out how everything works without any risk.
  • If you don’t use your card for all your purchases – if you’re not using your credit card for the majority of your purchases, paying a steep annual fee may not make sense for you. Our general rule of thumb is if you spend $1,500+ a month on your card, you can easily justify an annual fee. However, if you’re unsure, feel free to enter your monthly spending into our spending calculator to see if the rewards you would earn would outweigh the annual fee you would pay. Otherwise, consider a no fee card.
  • If you already have a premium credit card – some people like to pair no fee cards with premium credit cards to make sure that they aren’t leaving any rewards on the table. Perhaps you have an American Express that isn’t accepted, or you love shopping at Costco, but your Visa isn’t accepted there either. If that’s the case, perhaps a no fee Mastercard would be a good addition to your wallet.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the best no fee travel credit cards on the market.

Plus a $150 travel bonus.
Offer ends December 21, 2018.

The Best Travel Visa Credit Card with No Annual Fee

Not only is the The CIBC Aventura Visa Card is the number one Visa travel credit card on the list and with good reason. For a no fee credit card it has quite a lot going for it.

  • It is one of a very limited number of no fee credit cards that give cardholders 24/7 Concierge Service.
  • You get 1 point for every $2 you spend, and that doubles when you are making purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores.
  • It will give you up to 5,000 points as a welcome bonus (until June 30th, 2018).
  • Finally, you’ll earn very flexible rewards that can be used on travel, gift cards, merchandise, financial products, charitable donations, and even statement credits.

One thing to note is that there is also an identical student version of this card, the . So, whether you’re a student looking for a starter credit card or you’re looking for the best no fee travel card on the market, these Aventura cards from CIBC are both pretty solid choices.

Click “Learn More” to get the full details:

The Best Travel Mastercard with No Annual Fee

The MBNA Rewards Mastercard is a card that gives you a 1% return on spending, when you redeem your points for travel.

While the does have a higher Genius Rating, it comes with a very high personal income requirement of $80K. However, the MBNA Rewards Mastercard has no income requirement.

Even more impressive is that you get 7 different types of purchase and travel insurance. In fact, all the MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercards cover you with the same insurance package…

So, if you’re looking for a no fee card and insurance is important to you, MBNA is definitely a good place to start.

Finally to top it off, this card will get you going fast with 5,000 sign up bonus points:

  • 2,500 when you make your first purchase and
  • 2,500 if you enroll for estatements in the first 90 days.

Who can say no to free rewards?

Read our full review as well as user reviews here:

Honorable Mention

It's not strictly a travel credit card, but the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a good one to consider if you’re looking for a no fee option, especially if the majority of your spending is done in a few purchases categories – say entertainment, restaurants, gas, or groceries.

This card allows you to choose up to 3 spending categories where you do most of your spending, and gives you 2% cash back for every purchase you make at stores that fall into those categories. And, if your spending habits change, Tangerine allows you to change your chosen spending categories at regular intervals. And although this card doesn’t give you points or miles, it gives you cash that you can use for whatever travel you like!

The Best Sign Up Bonus with No Annual Fee

The BMO Rewards Mastercard may not be on our list of best no fee travel cards, but it definitely has the best sign-up bonus for a no annual fee card. If you sign up before October 31st, 2018, you will receive 20,000 bonus BMO Rewards points worth $142 in travel – not bad for a no-fee card.

The rewards that you earn are also quite flexible – they can be redeemed for

  • merchandise,
  • gift cards,
  • flights,
  • hotels and more.

With this card you can travel with peace of mind knowing you get travel accident insurance and up to 25% off at select National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.

Best Credit Cards in Canada for No Annual Fee Travel

As a recap, here’s a summary of the top 5 no fee travel credit cards in Canada. We included a stand-out feature of each card and the average return on spending you can expect to get (assuming a reasonably optimal redemption).

Credit Card Avg. Reward Return Notable Features Apply for Card
CIBC Aventura Visa Card 1.57% Includes 24/7 Concierge Service – very rare for a no fee card. Apply
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard 1% Comes with 7 different types of purchase and travel insurance. Apply
Scotia More Rewards Visa Card 1.60% Highest average return of the top 5 cards. Apply
Rogers World Elite Mastercard 1.75% One of the few World Elite Mastercards in Canada that has no annual fee. Apply
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card 1.14% Allows cardholders to choose (and change) their 2% spending categories. Apply

The creditcardGenius algorithm calculates an estimated dollar value for all rewards and bonuses by using a typical point value a person can realistically achieve by redeeming their rewards in a reasonably optimized way. The "Welcome Bonus" is the dollar value obtained by combining of all one-time bonuses available to new cardholders within the first year. To qualify for the full bonus you may need to make purchases, meet minimum spending requirements, or complete special actions. Terms and conditions apply.

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