Best travel credit card for 2020 award seal
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Travel credit cards offer the best rewards value in Canada, as well as the best sign-up bonuses, insurance packages, and exclusive perks.

And while that all seems great, travel rewards programs can sometimes be complicated, often offering multiple ways to use your points. Getting the best value requires some research and strategic planning.

That's where we come in, giving you all the details to get the most out of your points.

Our comparison engine removes the tedious guesswork and reading all the fine print – we take 126+ features of each credit card into account to give them a Genius Rating out of 5. This way, you can find the best travel credit card for you, with the least hassle possible.

That being said, let's take a look at some of the best travel credit cards in Canada for 2020:

Best travel credit cards for 2020

Here are some travel credit cards you might want to take a closer look at:

CategoryCredit CardCurrent Welcome Bonus Offer
Best travel credit cardAmerican Express Cobalt™ CardUp to 30,000 points (terms)
Best Aeroplan credit cardAmerican Express® Card Gold Rewards Card25,000 points (terms)
Best airline travel credit cardTD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* CardUp to 30,000 miles, first year free (terms)
Best Airline MastercardAlaska Airlines Platinum Plus® Mastercard®20,000 miles (terms)
Best AIR MILES Mastercard BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®*Up to 3,000 miles, first year free (terms)
Best travel credit card with no foreign exchange feesScotiabank Gold American Express®20,000 points (terms)
Best no fee travel credit cardMBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®Up to 10,000 points, plus 4 points per $1 spent in the first 3 months (terms)

Review all top 10 travel credit cards here.

The perks of having a travel rewards credit card

If you want the best travel credit cards in Canada, paying an annual fee is pretty much inevitable. The top 10 range from $75 to $399 annually – but this is overshadowed by the valuable rewards, best in class insurance coverage, and drool-worthy perks like:

  • lounge visits,
  • concierge service,
  • hotel upgrades, and
  • special companion fare rates on flights.

And we’re just scratching the surface.

Best travel credit card

If you want the best card that will earn you the most points, the is an easy choice.

Watch the points pile up with these earn rates:

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

And with points being worth up to 1.75 cents each, that's a return of up to 8.75% on your grocery and restaurant spend – the highest in Canada right now.

If that wasn't enough, as part of signing up, you get a welcome bonus of 2,500 points every month you spend $500 for the first 12 months.

While earning lots of points is great, having multiple ways to redeem your points with great value is what puts this card on top.

The best way is to use the American Express Fixed Points Travel Program, where you can redeem a set number of rewards for a set flight distance.

Other ways that you can redeem your points include:

  • vacation packages and hotel stays,
  • any type of travel booked from any provider, and
  • cash back.

Any way you slice it, there's a way to use your points to suit your preferences.

And unlike Mastercards and Visas, all American Express cards have no minimum income requirements, making this card within the reach of most people with good credit.

Even the annual fee of $120 is more manageable as a $10 monthly payment.

And if that wasn't enough to convince you, this card comes out on top in 5 other categories in our 2020 rankings:

Best Aeroplan credit card

If you're an Aeroplan collector, the is for you. And while it doesn't earn Aeroplan miles directly, you have the ability to transfer your Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to Aeroplan.

This card comes out on top because it earns more miles than any other Aeroplan card:

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

Plus, with the uncertainty of upcoming Aeroplan changes, you'll be able to redeem your Membership Rewards points in other ways if things go sour.

From transferring them to British Airways Executive Club (also 1:1) or Marriott Bonvoy Rewards (5:6), for example, to using the Amex Fixed Points Travel program, redeeming against any travel purchase made to the card, or using your points for cash back.

You'll get truly valuable points with this card, and not just with Aeroplan either.

And like all other American Express cards, you'll get all this with no minimum income requirement and an annual fee of $150.

Best airline travel credit card

If you want a card that won't only earn airline miles, but get you some awesome perks as well, the is the card for you.

Earn Aeroplan miles on all of your daily spending:

  • 1.5 miles per $1 spent on eligible grocery, gas, drugstore, and purchases, and
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else.

In addition, you'll get these great Air Canada perks every time you fly on an Aeroplan rewards ticket:

  • 1st checked bag free,
  • priority check-in,
  • priority boarding, and
  • access to the Maple Leaf lounge (once per year only).

Plus, with a comprehensive suite of travel insurance, this is a great card for all travellers.

Best airline Mastercard

If you prefer a Mastercard (we see you, Costco shoppers), then the is the top Mastercard for earning airline miles.

But don't be fooled by the "Alaska" in the name, there's a lot of value to be found in this card even for Canadians.

The Alaska Airline Mileage Plan miles you earn can be used with many different airlines around the world, including:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways,
  • Cathay Pacific,
  • Emirates,
  • Korean Air, and
  • Qantas.

And flying with Alaska Airlines has its extra advantages, like getting an annual companion voucher for $99 USD plus taxes and fees – a great way to save on travel.

If you like travelling around the world, this card could be right for you.

Best AIR MILES Mastercard

If you collect AIR MILES for the travel, the will not only earn lots of miles, but let you make the most of them as well.

It has one of the best earn rate of any AIR MILES credit card on the market right now – 1 AIR MILE for every $10 you spend.

It also comes with a great sign-up bonus earning you up to 3,000 AIR MILES – 1,000 miles after making your first purchase, and another 2,000 after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Plus, get a 15% discount on the number of miles you need to redeem for a flight within North America, and 14 types of insurance coverage – among the best of all credit cards.

BMO and AIR MILES have a lot to offer in this card.

Best travel credit card with no foreign exchange fees

Lots of travel rewards are great, but if you travel frequently outside of Canada, every other credit card on our list here will charge you an extra 2.5% on purchases made in foreign currency.

Want to save on this fee? Then look at the . You'll save 2.5% on every purchase made in foreign currency because the fee is waived completely.

And you'll also earn plenty of flexible Scotia Rewards points on your purchases as well:

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

Throw in plenty of insurance coverages and a welcome bonus of 20,000 points, and it's a great overall travel credit card.

Best no annual fee credit card

Prefer not to pay an annual fee? Don't spend enough to justify one? Our top no fee alternative is the .

Why? It's all in the earn rates. For no fee, you'll still earn lots of rewards at these rates:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and restaurants ($5,000 annual cap on each category), and
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

With an MBNA Rewards point worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel, it's a return of up to 2% on your spending.

And even for a no fee card, it has good insurance as well, with 7 types of coverage, including rare rental car personal effects and accident coverages.

Compare Travel Credit Cards

How we get our point values

How do we get our points values? When it comes to travel rewards, there are lots of ways to redeem points, and it takes a lot of research to figure out the top travel reward value for each program.

We've compiled guides for 15 major travel reward programs in Canada, calculating the top travel point value for you.

Here's a summary of the best travel value for each of them.

Travel ProgramTop Travel Point Value
Aeroplan2.5 cents
AIR MILES17.2 cents
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan2.3 cents
American Express Membership Rewards2.5 cents when transferred to Aeroplan, 1.75 cents for the Fixed Points Travel Program
Best Western Rewards0.83 cents
BMO Rewards1 cent
CIBC Rewards2.3 cents
Marriott Bonvoy1.04 cents when transferred to Aeroplan, 0.97 cents for hotel stays
MBNA Rewards1 cent
National Bank À La Carte Rewards1 cent
RBC Rewards2.33 cents
Scotia Rewards1 cent
TD Rewards0.5 cents
WestJet Rewards1 dollar

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