Best overall credit card in Canada for 2020 award seal

Trying to pick the overall best credit card in Canada is never an easy job, and is definitely one we don’t take lightly. We spend a lot of time on these "best card" decisions, making sure all our data is correct and our algorithm is working correctly and is tweaked perfectly.

But it’s done. The math is final. And here we present…

This credit card has it all: rewards, insurance, cash back, perks, low interest, good reviews ...they ALL sound good, right? Right!

Top 10 best credit cards in Canada

But we didn’t stop there. We’ve actually compiled a list of our top 10 best credit cards in Canada, which you can find below.

Genius Rating methodology

So, how’d we come up with this list?

Well, it’s the secret sauce known as our Genius Rating.

We come up with our Genius Rating by looking at all of the cards in our database and calculating their rewards at the max possible earnings, while also considering things like insurance, perks, interest, and anything else that makes a credit card stand out (for better or worse).

In total, we analyze over 126 features for each credit card we track, and after we crunch some numbers, we’re able to show you the annual rewards in real dollars, and to calculate our Genius Rating out of 5.

And what’s more? Our top 10 list has nothing to do with affiliate relationships or personal preference. Our algorithm is strictly independent and completely math-based, so you can know we stand behind our picks.

So while we know that there's no "one size fits all" credit card…

We do believe that the cards on this list are the best cards in Canada right now.

The #1 overall best credit card in Canada

The best overall credit card in Canada for the 3rd year in a row is the .

Why this card? Well for starters, it won 5 other awards as well:

How did it win all of these awards? By earning plenty of valuable American Express Membership Rewards points, which is one of the most valuable and flexible rewards programs around.

Earning American Express Membership Rewards points

Here's what you’ll earn with this credit card:

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

As a welcome bonus, you'll also earn 2,500 points for every month you spend $500 in the first 12 months. That's up to 30,000 points right there.

Redeeming American Express Membership Rewards points

And after you’ve earned all those points, this card offers great value and many ways to use them. The value you get for each point depends on how you redeem them, but they hold their value well, no matter what you choose.

Here’s a rundown of ways you can use your American Express Membership Rewards points, and the average point value you’ll get for each:

  • Flexible Points Travel Program – 1 cent per point (CPP)
  • Transfer to airline partners – 2.5 CPP
  • Flights using fixed points program – 1.75 CPP
  • Transfer to hotel partners – 1.16 CPP
  • Redeem through Ticketmaster – 1 CPP
  • Donations to charity – 1 CPP
  • Gift cards – 0.82 CPP
  • Statement credits – 0.7 CPP
  • Shopping on Amazon.ca – 0.7 CPP
  • Merchandise – 0.68 CPP

As you can see, you have lots of options, and lots of ways to maximize your rewards value.

And with an insurance package that features 9 types of purchase and travel protection, you're covered if something happens during your travels.

Add it all up, and American Express has a clear winner for our overall best credit card of 2020.

Here's our list of the best credit cards in Canada that almost made it to our top spot:

Compare The Top 10 Overall Best Credit Cards in Canada

How we get our rankings

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

Overall 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 the best overall credit cards, we don't give extra weight to any category.

Learn more about our Genius Rating methodology.

FAQ

Which is the overall best credit card in Canada, and why?

In 2020, our top pick for overall best credit card in Canada is the American Express Cobalt Card. With it’s great rewards, perks, benefits, and insurance, it just bubbled up to the top when we tweaked our ratings algorithm to max out rewards when crunching the numbers.

What if I don’t want an Amex card? What’s the next best credit card in Canada for me?

Our overall best Mastercard is the Brim World Elite Mastercard, which earns 2% cash back on all purchases (up to $25,000 spent annually), 1% cash back on all purchases over that. It also has an exceptional complimentary insurance package, charges no foreign exchange fees, and your 1st year is free.

How do you decide which are the best credit cards in Canada?

We rate credit cards using a proprietary, unbiased, math-based algorithm. We consider over 126 different features of every credit card in our database, including some of the less appreciated features like insurance, rewards flexibility, and acceptance. At the end, after crunching a whole lot of numbers, we come up with a simple score for each card, with a possible maximum of 5 points. This is our Genius Rating, and you can learn more about it here.

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