Best travel credit cards in Canada with no annual fee for 2019 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.

While all these extras more than compensate for the higher annual fees, sometimes it just doesn't make sense to pay one.

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 credit card market.

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 anything – including travel.

Best no fee travel credit cards for 2019

Here are some no fee travel credit cards you should consider:

Best no fee travel credit card Rogers World Elite Mastercard
Best no fee travel Visa Home Trust Preferred Visa
Best no fee travel Mastercard MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
Best no fee travel sign-up bonus BMO Rewards Mastercard
Honourable mention Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Review all top 10 no fee travel cards here.

Why choose a no fee travel card?

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 would anyone 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 $1,200+ 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.

Best no fee travel credit card

The best no fee travel card right now is the . And although it's a cash back card, last time we checked cash can be used for everything, including travel. Earn a cool 1.75% cash back on all of your purchases.

But what really makes it stand out as a great travel card is earning 4% back on any purchases made in foreign currency. This offsets the foreign currency transaction fee of 2.5% and leaves you with 1.5% cash back on your foreign purchases – tops amongst cards on this list.

One drawback – unlike other cards here, this one has high income requirements – either $80,000 personal or $150,000 household. So if you don't meet them then the other cards are better for you.

Best no fee Visa travel credit card

The card is our number one Visa travel credit card with no annual fee on our list and for good reason: for a no fee card, it has quite a lot going for it.

The biggest reason? It charges no foreign exchange fees on any purchase made in a foreign currency – saving you 2.5% instantly.

But it doesn't end there. You'll earn a straightforward 1% cash back on all purchases with no caps or tiers.

It also includes some basic insurances like car rental theft and damage, as well as purchase protection. To top it off, you'll also get a basic roadside assistance plan included.

This card packs quite a punch for no annual fee.

Best travel Mastercard with no income requirements

This offer is not available to residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please go here.

The is a no fee card that gives you a 1.35% return on a typical spend (when points are redeemed for travel). With this card you'll earn:

  • 2 points for every $1 spent on gas, grocery, and restaurant purchases (up to $5,000 spent annually in each category), and
  • 1 point for every other $1 spent, including any overages in the categories.

And since 1 point = 1 cent of travel, you'll earn up to 2% back on your spending.

While the does have a higher Genius Rating, it comes with a very high personal income requirement of $80K. The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus 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 10,000 sign up bonus points:

  • 5,000 when you spend $500 in the first 90 days, and
  • 5,000 if you enroll for e-statements in the first 90 days.

Plus, you'll also earn 4 points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases in the first 90 days.

Who can say no to free rewards?

Best no fee travel credit card sign up bonus

The 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 March 31st, 2019, 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.

Honourable mention

It's not strictly a travel credit card, but the 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 purchase 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!

Compare No Fee Travel Credit Cards

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