Best rewards credit card for 2020 award seal

Are you looking for a great rewards credit card that will give you the biggest bang for your buck?

Maybe you're the type of credit card user who's all about maximizing your rewards – you have multiple cards in your wallet, and you know which cards to use at what stores to max out your rewards earn rate.

Here we give you our top 10 best rewards credit cards in Canada. These 10 cards are premium credit cards, and have the best reward earn rates on the market. They'll give you a major net return on your spending, and many of them come with some pretty impressive perks to cap it off.

Canada's best rewards credit cards for 2020

Here are a few of our best rewards credit cards to take a closer look at:

Category Credit Card Current Welcome Bonus Offer
Best rewards credit card American Express Cobalt™ Card Up to 30,000 points (terms)
Valuable travel rewards credit card American Express® Gold Rewards Card 25,000 points (terms)
Credit card rewards at the lowest fee Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite First year free (terms)

Compare the top 10 rewards cards.

Best overall rewards credit card in Canada

Take our #1 rewards credit card for instance – the .

It will give you:

  • 5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent at grocery stores and restaurants,
  • 2 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on gas, travel, and transit, and
  • 1 Membership Rewards point for every other $1 spent.

These are some of the best rewards on the market right now, and can be redeemed for essentially any purchase you make on your credit card.

But the best way to redeem them is through the American Express Fixed Flights Program. With this option, you'll get a value of about 1.75 cents per point.

If you're earning 5 points at grocery stores and restaurants, you'll be getting an 8.75% return.

5 points * 1.75 cents per point = 8.75 cents

These numbers make it pretty easy to see why the Cobalt Card is our top rewards credit card.

Plus, the benefits don't stop there. You'll also get:

  • 2,500 bonus points every month you spend $500 for your first 12 months (up to 30,000 points),
  • an easier-to-swallow monthly fee of $10 (instead of a steep annual fee),
  • access to American Express Invites, Front of the Line, and The Hotel Collection,
  • 9 different types of purchase and travel insurance,
  • no minimum income requirements, and
  • 24/7 Concierge Service.

There's a reason why this card comes out on top in many different categories.

One of the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada

Second on our list is one of the best travel credit cards on the market, the .

This is a super flexible travel rewards credit card that allows you to redeem for any type of travel you like, or transfer your points to a number of different frequent flyer programs.

Armed with the Gold Rewards card, you'll earn:

  • 25,000 welcome bonus points when you spend $1,500 in your first 3 months,
  • 3 points per $1 spent at on car rentals and hotels,
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on gas, groceries, travel, and drugstore purchases, and
  • 1 point for every other $1 spent.

And these are the same super flexible, high value American Express Membership Rewards you earn with the Cobalt card.

But the Gold Rewards card also gives you the option to transfer your points to 6 airline programs, including 1:1 to Aeroplan or Avios – which the Cobalt card doesn't, making this card even more flexible.

Because this is a charge card, you're not faced with any pre-set spending limits, and because it's an American Express, you don't need to worry about high personal income requirements.

Similar to the Cobalt card, you'll enjoy:

Canada's best low fee rewards credit card

While all the cards in our top 10 have higher annual fees, the not only comes in under $100, it’s also the only card on our list that waives the annual fee for the first year you have the card.

Obviously, a credit card that rewards you with GM dollars isn't going to be the best fit for everyone, but if you're in the market for a GM vehicle, this card is a must-have.

With an annual fee of only $79 and 1 GM dollar being worth $1 towards your next GM vehicle, you'll be earning:

  • 5% back on the first $10,000 spent annually, and
  • 2% back on everything you spend over $10,000 annually.

A 5% return on all your purchases (up to $500 earned annually) is unheard of – so it's easy to see why this GM card shows up on our list.

As an added bonus, you'll get 8 different types of credit card insurance, a 20% discount at Avis car rental locations worldwide, and premium Visa Infinite perks.

And since you get your first year free, you're able to try the card out for a year and see if your spending makes the annual fee worth it.

Tip: To truly find what card will give you the most rewards for your specific spending, be sure to try out our creditcardGenius Challenge. That way we can be sure to match you with a card that will be the best fit for you.

Compare Canada's Best Rewards Credit Cards

How we get our rankings

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

Rewards 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 rewards 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.


What’s the best way to maximize my credit card rewards earn rates?

The best way to maximize your credit card rewards is to first figure out what your spending patterns look like. Where do you shop? What do you buy? What rewards are most valuable to you? Once you sort that out, you can probably find a combination of 2 or 3 credit cards that you can use to buy different things in different stores to ensure you’re always getting the most rewards for your spend. This can take a bit of research and thinking, but you can save loads of money over time.

I’m not interested in GM rewards, which is the best cash back rewards card I can get?

We don’t mention a best cash back rewards card in this list, but we do have a whole page that talks about Canada’s best cash back credit cards. You’re sure to find something to suit your tastes there.

How do I figure out which rewards credit card is best for me, specifically?

Trying to research the best credit cards can be a little daunting, given the huge number of cards, huge variety of perks and benefits, and crazy amount of fine print that needs to be sifted through. But you’re in luck. We’ve already taken that bullet, and have distilled all that research down into a simple 3 minute quiz that should help you find a credit card (or 2) that best suits your spending and lifestyle.

Featured In:

The Globe and Mail
Toronto Star
Financial Post
New York Times