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You may have seen some advertisements for various Capital One credit cards that are available in Canada. And they have a few, covering a range of purposes from cash back to credit building.

But are these cards any good? Or are there better cards available?

We decided to take a closer look, pitting each Capital One credit card against our top pick in each category. Let’s take a look at how these cards measure up.

Overview of Capital One credit cards available in Canada

Spoiler alert: it turns out that Capital One cards, while good, really don’t hold a candle to the best credit cards in Canada. Here’s a rundown of how things looked when they were compared, head-to-head.

Type Of Credit Card Capital One Credit Card Better Alternative Why It’s Better
Flat rate cash back Aspire Cash Platinum Mastercard * Double the cash back earn rates
* Significantly more insurance coverage
* Loads of perks
* 0% foreign transaction fee
Travel Aspire Travel Platinum Mastercard * More valuable welcome bonus
* Much better rewards earn rate
* More insurance coverages
* Loads of perks
Costco shoppers The Capital One Mastercard, exclusively for Costco members * Great welcome bonus
* Best AIR MILES earn rate of any credit card in Canada
* More insurance coverages
* Great travel perks
Low interest Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard * Lower annual fee
* Much lower interest rates (except for cash advances)
Secured Guaranteed Secured Mastercard * Higher maximum credit limit
* Complimentary purchase protection

So, with that out of the way, let’s dig into some of the details.

Capital One vs. The Best Flat Rate Cash Back Card in Canada

We start with an examination of Capital One’s cash back offering.

Aspire Cash Platinum Mastercard Brim World Elite Mastercard
Welcome bonus None None
Annual fee $0 $199 (1st year free)
Rewards earn rate Unlimited 1% cash back for every $1 spent 2% cash back for every $1 spent (up to $25,000 spent annually)
Insurance coverage 6 types 15 types
Special features None * No foreign transaction fees
* Earn bonus rewards for shopping online at over 150 retail partners
* Complimentary LoungeKey membership
* Free Boingo Wi-Fi access worldwide
* World Elite benefits
Verdict? Winner

Welcome bonus

Neither of these cards really have an advantage in terms of the welcome bonus, because neither currently offers one. There are some cash back cards that have some pretty sweet welcome bonuses, so this is a bit of a drawback for both.

That said, you can get up to $500 in bonus points on your first purchases at select partners with the Brim card, but it’s hard to earn the full bonus.

Annual fee

This is the only place where the Capital One card scores any points. It’s hard to compete with a $0 annual fee, although the currently waives the fee for the first year you have the card.

So, Capital One’s $0 annual fee is only a real advantage after you have the card for a full year, and, really, the Brim card’s perks and earn rate more than make up for that.

Rewards earn rate

This is where the Brim World Elite Mastercard really shines. With its 2% cash back for all purchases, you’ll be earning twice as much cash back than with the Capital One credit card on your first $25,000 spent. Then afterwards you’ll still earn 1% cash back on everything.

Insurance coverage

If you’re interested in the complimentary insurance coverage that comes with your credit card, the Brim World Elite Mastercard is again the clear winner here, with one of the best complimentary insurance packages available:

The Capital One card’s 6 types of insurance don’t even come close.

Special features

The Capital One Aspire Cash card has no special features to speak of, and it charges the normal 2.5% foreign transaction fee.

The Brim World Elite Mastercard, on the other hand, offers:

  • 0% foreign transaction fee,
  • bonus rewards for shopping online with over 150 retail partners,
  • complimentary LoungeKey access to airport lounges, and
  • all those sweet World Elite benefits.

Obviously there’s no contest on special features here.

Verdict

While the Capital One card wins in terms of its $0 annual fee, it falls short in all other respects. The Brim World Elite Mastercard simply offers more perks, more insurance, and a much better rewards earn rate.

Another cash back option to consider

If the Brim World Elite Mastercard isn’t of interest to you, or if you’re looking for a cash back card with no annual fee, there’s another card you might want to consider.

Better cash back with a no annual fee

If you’re looking for a basic, higher earning cash back Mastercard that has no annual fee, the is worth considering.

Its welcome bonus of 5% cash back for the first 3 months (up
to $2,500 spent) is a great start, and on top of that, you’ll earn:

  • 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 spent per month),
  • 1% cash back on recurring bill payments (up to $500 spent per month), and
  • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.

You can also get 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months, which can help with any nagging high interest debt you have hanging around on another credit card.

Capital One vs. The Best Travel Credit Card in Canada

More interested in travel rewards? Here’s how Capital One measures up against our top travel rewards credit card.

Aspire Travel Platinum Mastercard American Express Cobalt Card
Welcome bonus 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $500 in the first 3 months (a $100 value) 30,000 bonus points in the 1st year when you spend $500 every month (a $300 value)
Annual fee $0 $120
Rewards earn rate Earn 1 reward mile for every $1 spent on all purchases * 5 points for every $1 spent on restaurant and grocery purchases, including food delivery
* 2 points for every $1 spent on gas, travel, and transit purchases
* 1 point for every other $1 spent
Insurance coverage 6 types 9 types
Special features None * Fixed Points Travel Program
* Cobal Perks Program
* Front Of The Line access
Verdict? Winner

Welcome bonus

At first glance, the has a welcome bonus that seems to be the obvious winner, but that’s really just when you’re looking at its raw value. You earn 2,500 points every month you spend $500 in the first year, for a total of 30,000 points. So if you don’t spend at least $500 every month, you won’t get the full bonus.

This isn’t a huge stretch, really, particularly if you set up automatic payments for recurring bills and subscriptions on the card, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Annual fee

The Capital One card scores some points here again. The American Express Cobalt card’s $120 annual fee isn’t waived for the first year you have the card, so that will cut into the overall value of the card a bit. The Capital One card, however, has a $0 annual fee, which is hard to beat for this category.

Rewards earn rate

Here’s where American Express takes the lead. With the Cobalt card you’ll earn American Express Membership rewards at 5x and 2x the rate in categories that include grocery, restaurant, food delivery, gas, travel, and transit purchases. With this you can earn significantly more rewards than the Capital One card, whose earn rate simply pales in comparison.

Insurance coverage

In terms of insurance coverage, the race is a little closer, with the American Express Cobalt Card having only 3 more types of coverage than the Capital One. But, let’s take a closer look.

Insurance coverage Aspire Travel Platinum Mastercard American Express Cobalt Card
Extended warranty 2 years 1 year
Purchase protection 120 days 90 days
Price protection Yes No
Travel accident $250,000 $250,000
Emergency medical term No 15 days
Flight delay No $500
Baggage delay No $500
Lost or stolen baggage $300 $500
Hotel burglary No $500
Rental car theft and damage Yes Yes

Side-by-side, it turns out that the American Express Cobalt card takes this one easily, particularly if you’re in need of travel insurance.

Special features

The Capital One Aspire Travel Platinum Mastercard has no special features. The American Express Cobalt card, however, has several that are worth digging into:

  • The American Express Fixed Points Travel Program is hugely valuable in terms of travel rewards, because it allows you to fly to specific regions for a set number of points, rather than having to worry about the varying cost of different flights.
  • The Cobal Perks Program is exclusively available to American Express Cobalt cardmembers, and gives you regular additional perks, bonus rewards, and access to special events.
  • Amex’s Front Of The Line access gives you the opportunity to get advance access and reserved tickets for concerts, theatre productions, restaurants, and special events, among other things.

Verdict

It’s really hard to compete with the American Express Cobalt Card. Not only is it our 2020 pick for best travel credit card, it’s also our best overall credit card pick. The Capital One card really never had a fighting chance.

Other travel rewards credit card options to consider

Not interested in an American Express card? Here are a couple of our other favourite travel credit cards you might want to take a look at.

No annual fee and great rewards

With a 10,000 point welcome bonus and no annual fee, the is a solid contender for all your Costco shopping.

This credit card earns valuable and super flexible MBNA rewards.

You’ll earn:

  • 4 points for every $1 spent on gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases for the first 90 days,
  • 2 points for every $1 spent in those categories after that (up to $5,000 spent in each category annually), and
  • 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

The value of MBNA Rewards points depends on how you redeem them. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Travel: 1 cent per point (CPP)
  • Cash: 0.5 – 1 CPP
  • Gift cards: 0.92 CPP
  • Merchandise: 0.86 CPP

You also get 7 types of insurance coverage, including 3 types of rental car insurance.

Our best AIR MILES Mastercard

We go over the details of the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard below, as it’s a great credit card to use while shopping at Costco, but it turns out that it’s also 1 of our top picks for a travel rewards Mastercard.

Not sure if you would be earning cash back or travel rewards? Dig into the differences here.
Cash back or travel rewards?

Capital One vs. The Best Costco Credit Card in Canada

If you like to save money, you probably spend some time at Costco. And Capital One has a credit card specifically designed for people like you. But, is there a better credit card to use when shopping at Costco?

The Capital One Mastercard,
exclusively for Costco members
BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®*
Welcome bonus None 2,000 bonus AIR MILES in the first 3 months
Annual fee $0 $120 (1st year free)
Rewards earn rate * 3% cash back on restaurant purchases
* 2% cash back on gas purchases
* 0.5% cash back on all other purchases, up to $3,000 spent annually
* 1% cash back on all purchases after that
* Earn 1 Mile for every $10 spent on all purchases
Insurance coverage 6 types 14 types
Special features Doubles as your Costco membership card * 15% discount on AIR MILES flights within North America
* VIP access to airport lounges worldwide, plus 2 complimentary passes annually
* 24/7 access to concierge services
* World Elite benefits
Verdict? Winner

Welcome bonus

Again, the Capital One credit card in this head-to-head battle doesn’t offer any sort of welcome bonus. Compared to the offer of 2,000 bonus AIR MILES, that’s a bad miss.

Annual fee

With no annual fee, the Capital One card wins this category again, but the BMO AIR MILES World Elite’s annual fee is waived for the 1st year you have the card, giving you the chance to take the card for a year-long test drive to see if its perks and rewards are worth it to you.

Rewards earn rate

It’s a little tricky to compare the rewards on these 2 cards. The Capital One card is a cash back card, while the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard obviously earns AIR MILES.

The nice thing about AIR MILES, however, is that there are loads of ways to redeem them, depending on what’s most important to you. We cover the AIR MILES rewards program in detail elsewhere, but here’s a quick rundown, with the cents per mile (CPM) value for each:

  • Flights: 17.2 CPM
  • Car rentals: 16.2 CPM
  • Hotels: 12.3 CPM
  • Vacation packages: 11 CPM
  • Attractions: 13.4 CPM
  • Concerts: 21.6 CPM
  • Merchandise: 7.7 CPM
  • Cash rewards: 10.5 CPM

Obviously, the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard is designed primarily for people who are interested in travel, but there are lots of ways to use these rewards.

Insurance coverage

Here the Capital One takes another hit, having only 6 types of included insurance coverage compared to 14 types available with the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard.

Special features

If you’re deeply into shopping at Costco, the Capital One may be of interest since it doubles as your Costco membership card.

On the other hand, if you travel at all, the perks that come with the BMO AIR MILES World Elite are hard to beat, including:

  • 15% discount on AIR MILES flights within North America,
  • VIP access to airport lounges worldwide, plus 2 complimentary passes annually,
  • 24/7 access to concierge services, and
  • World Elite benefits.

It has a premium annual fee because it really is a premium travel card.

Verdict

Compared side-by-side, the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard wins this fight, hands down. Against its generous earn rate, flexible rewards, and loads of perks, the Capital One Mastercard for Costco members didn’t really stand a chance.

Other credit cards to consider for shopping at Costco

Not into collecting AIR MILES, but you still want a great credit card for shopping at Costco? Here are a couple of other alternatives.

1% cash back and no annual fee

If you’re not super into travel or just prefer the simplicity of straight-up cash back, you should take a look at the .

No only will you earn 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases, you’ll also get:

  • 0% foreign transaction fee, saving 2.5% on those purchases,
  • 5 types of complimentary insurance, including ultra-rare Event Ticket Cancellation coverage, and
  • bonus rewards for shopping online at over 150 retail partners.

And the Brim card has relatively low eligibility of $15,000 personal income.

Supercharged airline rewards for a lower annual fee

Love to travel, but aren’t super interested in the whole AIR MILES thing? The might be just what you’re looking for.

With this credit card you’ll earn Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan rewards, and you’ll start with a generous 20,000 mile sign-up bonus worth around $500 when redeemed for flights.

On top of that you’ll get:

  • an annual companion fare voucher for travel on Alaska Airlines for reduced cost tickets,
  • 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines purchases,
  • 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases, and
  • a wide range of partner airlines you can use your miles with.

And you get all of this for a lower-than-average annual fee of $75.

Capital One vs. The Best Low Interest Credit Card in Canada

Looking to kill some sticky high interest credit card debt, or just have a tendency to occasionally carry a balance? A low interest credit card might be right for you. Let’s see how Capital One’s offering holds up.

Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card
Welcome bonus None None
Annual fee $79 $39
Interest rates * Purchases: 14.9%
* Balance transfers: 14.9%
* Cash advances: 19.8%
* Purchases: 8.99%
* Balance transfers: 8.99%
* Cash advances: 24.99%
Insurance coverage 6 types 7 types
Verdict? Winner

Welcome bonus

Low interest credit cards aren’t really considered “premium” credit cards, so the perks and extras don’t usually add up to much.

In this case, neither card has a welcome bonus.

Annual fee

The Capital One Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard has a $79 annual fee, fully $40 higher than the MBNA True Line Gold’s low annual fee of $39.

Interest rates

Credit card interest rates generally hover around the 20% range, so the Capital One’s 14.9% interest rate isn’t really that much of an improvement, particularly when compared to MBNA’s significantly lower 8.99%.

Insurance coverage

Here the cards are neck and neck, both offering a middling amount of complimentary insurance coverage. This is not terribly unexpected for low interest, low fee credit cards, however.

Verdict

With its lower annual fee, and significantly lower interest rates, it’s obvious that the MBNA True Line Gold Mastercard takes the crown here.

Another low interest credit card to consider

Want a low interest card that will also earn you some rewards? Look no further.

Low interest plus travel rewards

With the , you’ll earn valuable HSBC Rewards and get a low permanent interest rate of 11.99%, and all for a low $25 annual fee.

It also has a generous welcome bonus of 10,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 6 months you have the card.

Not sure exactly how credit card interest works? We’ve got an in-depth article just for you.
How credit card interest works in Canada

Capital One vs. The Best Secured Credit Card in Canada

If you have less-than-stellar credit and want a credit card that can help you rebuild your credit score, you’ll want to take a look at getting a secured credit card. Capital One offers one of these as well, but is it the best available?

Guaranteed Secured Mastercard Home Trust Secured Visa Card
Welcome bonus None None
Annual fee $59 $0
Interest rates * Purchases: 19.8%
* Balance transfers: 19.8%
* Cash advances: 19.8%
* Purchases: 19.99%
* Balance transfers: 19.99%
* Cash advances: 19.99%
Insurance coverage None 1 type
Maximum credit limit $2,500 $10,000
Verdict Winner

Welcome bonus

Neither of these credit cards offer a welcome bonus, but that’s not unusual for a secured credit card. They’re tied on this one.

Annual fee

While the Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard has a $59 annual fee, the has none. This round goes to Home Trust.

Interest rates

Both of these cards have a fairly average standard interest rate around the 20% mark. Your best bet is to never carry a balance, which really is best if you’re using one of these cards to rebuild your credit rating.

Insurance coverage

Neither of these secured credit cards offer much for insurance, but the Home Trust Secured Visa does offer 90 days of purchase protection. It’s a little thing, but it can come in handy.

Maximum credit limit

This is where the Home Trust Secured Visa takes a solid lead. While you can eventually bump your credit limit on the Capital One card up to $2,500, you can immediately get up to a $10,000 credit limit with the Home Trust Secured Visa. Keeping in mind that you have to actually pay that much as a deposit first, of course. Still, it gives you a lot more flexibility if you need it.

Verdict

Secured credit cards tend to have minimal features, since their whole purpose is to give you an easy way to start rebuilding your credit score. The Home Trust Secured Visa gives you much more flexibility here, however, and all for no annual fee.

Do you want to know more about credit scores and what they mean? Read our credit score study here.
What is a good credit score?

Another secured credit card to consider

There aren’t a lot of secured credit cards available in Canada, but if you’re looking for one that has a lower permanent interest rate, you might want to take a look at the .

While you’ll pay a $59 annual fee for this secured credit card, you’ll save money on interest payments with its lower 14.9% rate. You can also pay your annual fee in more manageable installments of $5 a month.

It also includes 90 days of purchase protection, like its no fee sister card that we talk about above.

Bottom line

While Capital One offers a range of different credit cards, it turns out that there’s a better alternative for each. Whether you’re looking for straight-up cash back, hoping to earn travel rewards for a future trip, or shopping at Costco, there’s a better credit card for your wallet.

Need help finding a better credit card? Take our 3 minute quiz, and we’ll help you get started. There may even be $25 in it for you.

FAQ

Is the Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum Mastercard a good cash back credit card?

The Capital One Aspire Cash Platinum Mastercard has a flat 1% cash back earn rate. There are other cash back credit cards that have higher earn rates, better insurance coverage, and significantly more perks.

If I want to collect travel rewards, should I get the Capital One Aspire Travel Platinum Mastercard?

If you want flexible travel rewards, the American Express Cobalt Card is our top pick for best travel rewards credit card in Canada. If you’re not interested in getting an American Express card, there are still some better travel rewards credit cards you might want to consider.

I shop at Costco a lot. Is the Capital One Costco Mastercard the best credit card for shopping at Costco?

While the Capital One Costco Mastercard does double as your Costco membership card, its rewards earn rate pales in comparison to some other credit cards, especially if you also collect AIR MILES or want any other sorts of credit card perks and benefits.