Have you ever wondered if your credit card is worth keeping? What exactly is its value?

Even if you don’t charge any money to it – is it still giving you something in return for its annual fee?

I’ve compiled a list of the credit cards that I believe are ALWAYS worth the annual fee.

For these cards, I didn’t take into account any:

What did I look at?

Permanent perks that you’ll get no matter the circumstances.

Let’s dive in.

Credit Card Annual Fee Built-In Card Benefits Apply
MBNA Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard $75 * Annual companion voucher
* Average savings: $300
* See rates & fees
Apply
MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard $99 * Annual companion voucher
* Average savings: $300
* See rates & fees
Apply
National Bank World Elite Mastercard $150 * Traveller reimbursements
* Average savings: $250
* See rates & fees
Apply
American Express Marriott Bonvoy $120 * Free night stay
* Average savings: $339
* See rates & fees
Apply
American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business $150 * Free night stay
* Average savings: $339
RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard $119 * Annual companion voucher
* Average savings: $191
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite $139 * 6 free Priority Pass lounge passes
* Average savings: $387
* See rates & fees
Apply
American Express AIR MILES Reserve $299 * Annual companion voucher and free lounge access
* Average savings: $592
* See rates & fees
Apply
BMO World Elite Mastercard $150 * 4 free Mastercard lounge passes
* Average savings: $170
* See rates & fees
Apply
Plus up to $300 travel bonus.
Ends October 25th.

MBNA Alaska Airlines credit cards

Credit cards that come with annual companion fares are hidden gems.

The first set of cards to grace my list are the two unjustly underrated MBNA Alaska Airlines credit cards.

Related: How To Maximize The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Program

MBNA Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus Mastercard – $75

The comes with an annual fee of $75 which is easily looked over when you factor in its annual companion fare on Alaska Airlines flights that only costs $99 USD plus taxes and fees

Based on the flights we surveyed in our guide, this companion voucher would save you $300.

And don’t be fooled. This card isn’t only for Alaskans.

Alaska Airlines has an extensive partner list that includes British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Korean Air, and Icelandair. If you fly internationally, this card is worth looking into.

For rewards, this card will allow you to earn:

  • 1 mile per $1 spent and
  • 3 miles per $1 spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, cargo purchases, in-flight purchases, and vacation packages.

And with each point being worth 2.3 cents, you could get a return of up to 6.9% on your Alaska Airlines purchases.

Get all the details here:

MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard – $99

As MBNA’s more premium offering for Alaska Airlines, the also offers an annual companion fare that costs $99 USD plus taxes and fees. You’ll get the same average savings of $300 as well.

Plus, you’ll get:

  • your first checked bag free on Alaska Airlines flights for yourself and up to 5 passengers travelling on the same reservation,
  • Mastercard World experiences, and
  • Mastercard World Elite Priceless Cities.

You’ll also earn the same rewards as the Platinum Plus version with the same return on spending.

For more details, click here:

National Bank World Elite Mastercard – $150

I dislike unnecessary fees as much as the average person.

That’s why the is here on my list. With this card, you’ll get $250 in travel fee reimbursements annually, which you can use for:

  • airport parking (up to $100 per year),
  • checked baggage fees (up to $100 per year), and
  • seat selection (up to $50 per year).

All you have to do is charge the eligible expenses to your Mastercard and keep the receipt. You can then submit a claim to National Bank and get reimbursed up to the maximum amount.

And the perks don’t stop there:

As the primary cardholder, you and 1 guest will get access to the National Bank Lounge – located in the international departures area of Montreal-Trudeau airport.

Plus, get a comprehensive suite of insurance with 10 different types of purchase and travel coverages.

For rewards, you’ll be earning:

  • 1.5 points per dollar spent on the first $40,000 in purchases,
  • 2 points per dollar spent after the first $40,000 for up to $80,000 in purchases,
  • 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything after that, and
  • a bonus 1.5 points per $1 spent on flights and vacation packages booked through the À La Carte Rewards Travel Agency.

Get the details here:

Related: 3 National Bank Travel Mastercards Reviewed & Compared

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit cards

Although the rebranding of the new Marriott credit cards might not tickle everyone’s fancy (have you been Bonvoyed?), whether you love it or hate it, they’re still the best hotel rewards credit cards in Canada – and here’s why.

Related: How To Maximize The Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Program

American Express Marriott Bonvoy – $120

The , in exchange for its $120 annual fee, offers a free night stay on the card’s anniversary.

This free night stay can be used for a free night valued at 35,000 points. We value a Marriott point at 0.97 cents when redeemed for hotels, giving this free night stay worth up to $339.

That alone is enough to make it worth keeping in your wallet.

And that’s not all. You’ll be able to enjoy:

  • 15 elite night credits every calendar year and
  • automatic Marriott Bonvoy Preferred Silver Elite status, which gets upgraded to Preferred Gold status when you spend $30,000 on the card annually.

You’ll earn rewards at the following rate:

  • 2 points per $1 spent and
  • 5 points per $1 spent at Marriott locations.

For more details, click here:

American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business – $150

Even with its slightly higher annual fee, the free night stay offered by the still makes it worth the annual fee in most cases.

On top of that, you’ll get:

  • 15 elite night credits every calendar year,
  • automatic Marriott Bonvoy Preferred Silver Elite status, which gets upgraded to Preferred Gold status when you spend $30,000 on the card annually, and
  • dedicated customer service from specially trained Small Business service specialists.

For your business purchases, you’ll be able to earn rewards at the following rates:

  • 2 points per $1 spent.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on gas, dining, and travel, and
  • 5 points per $1 spent at SPG and Marriott locations.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite – $139

Aside from the fact that the waives all foreign exchange fees (which is a huge perk on its own), what makes this card worth its annual fee is the 6 free Priority Pass visits you’ll get annually.

With each visit being worth $32 USD and the Standard membership coming in at $99 USD, that’s a total of $387 CAD in savings.

Plus, earn Scotia Rewards points on all your spending:

  • 1 point per dollar spent and
  • 2 points per dollar spent on groceries, restaurants, entertainment, and daily transit.

As a Visa Infinite card, you’ll also have access to Visa Infinite perks like:

  • Visa Luxury Hotel Collection,
  • Visa Infinite Dining Series,
  • complimentary concierge service,
  • Visa Infinite Wine Country Program,
  • and more.

Get all the details here:

RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard – $119

The also made its way on my list, but there’s a catch…

It comes with an annual round trip companion voucher for anywhere WestJet flies, but its value only surpasses its annual fee when used for flights used outside North America.

Here’s what you’ll be charged to use the voucher:

  • $99 + fees & taxes for flights within Canada and the Continental U.S.
  • $299 + fees & taxes for flights to Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America.
  • $399 + fees & taxes for flights to the rest of the WestJet network.

Based on our flight research, you’re looking at an average savings of $131.

As for points, you’ll get:

  • 1.5% WestJet dollars on all purchases.
  • 2% in WestJet dollars on WestJet flights or WestJet Vacations packages.

Plus, as the primary cardholder, you’ll get one free checked bag for every person flying on the same itinerary, up to a maximum of 8 bags. Just taking advantage of one free checked bag per year will save you an additional $60.

Related: WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard: Deep Dive Review

American Express AIR MILES Reserve – $299

You might be surprised to see the on my list simply because it has one of the highest annual fees on the credit card market, and the highest annual fee of this list.

But the Amex AIR MILES Reserve card makes up for it by offering great value:

  • a companion flight voucher worth 1,700 AIR MILES and
  • 4 free Priority Pass visits annually.

With an AIR MILE carrying an average value of 17.2 cents when redeemed for flights, the companion voucher alone is worth $292.

Throw in the priority pass membership and 4 lounge passes, and that’s an average value of $594 per year.

Plus, you’ll get all the regular American Express perks, like Front of the Line, and automatic AIR MILES Onyx status.

Learn more here:

BMO World Elite Mastercard – $150

The makes it on our list as a close honourable mention.

With this card, you’ll get 4 free passes to Mastercard lounges each year. Along with the , these are the only cards that’ll get you free access to this lounge.

And with each visit being worth $32 USD, that makes this card worth its annual fee.

For rewards, you’ll earn:

  • 2 points per dollar spent and
  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel, dining, and entertainment, up to $50,000 combined per year.

And if you value insurance, you’re in luck. You’ll be getting 14 out of 16 possible types of insurance:

Click here for more details:

And there you have it

Since my picks are all travel credit cards, these will only be of good value to you if you travel at least once per year.

That being said, I think anyone deserves a good get-away once in a while…and having one of these credit cards could be the perfect excuse to stretch out your legs and explore the world.

Let us know what you think

Did I forget your favourite credit card?

Do you think you would be able to get enough value out of the cards mentioned to justify their annual fees?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.