I’m a bit of an enigma.
I love traveling, but I consider myself a homebody.
I love shopping, but I’m also fairly cheap.
I love being around people, but I’m definitely an introvert.
I hate tomatoes, but I love a good tomato salsa.
As you can image, keeping my many personalities happy isn’t always easy…but every once in a while, I find that perfect balance.
…Even when some of my interests butt heads.
When travel is expensive, no fee travel credit cards got your back
Travel is expensive and I’m
cheap frugal – so, where is the middle ground?
The answer to that, my friends, outside of spending hours scouring the internet for great travel deals, is a no fee travel credit card.
No fee travel cards are like little plastic keys that can open up the world of travel, WITHOUT forcing you to open your wallet.
If the thought of free travel has piqued your interest, keep reading, because I’m going to fill you in on which no fee card:
- is the best no fee travel card according to our algorithm (spoiler alert: you can even use this one at costco),
- is the best no fee travel card for anyone who has an AIR MILES card in their wallet,
- has no fees, not even that pesky 2.5% foreign transaction fee,
- has the highest sign-up bonus for a no fee travel card, and
- is going to give you the best return on spending…up to 3% in travel rewards.
Best no fee travel card for shopping at Costco
If you’re looking for the best no fee travel card on the market right now, the
This travel card will give you:
- 2 points for every dollar you spend on gas, groceries, and at restaurants (up to $5,000 spent annually in each category), plus…
- 1 point for every other dollar spent.
Although caps and tiers are never fun when you’re earning rewards, a $5,000 annual limit in each category is pretty generous.
$5,000 / 12 months = $417 spent per month
That means you’re able to spend over $400 each month, in each category, and you’ll still get your max rewards.
On top of these rewards? New cardholders will get 2,500 points just for making their first purchase and an additional 2,500 points for signing up for e-statements.
…an easy 5,000 points, which can be redeemed for:
- gift cards,
- charitable donations, and
- statement credits.
However, you will get the biggest bang for your buck redeeming for travel: 1 point = 1 cent.
Also, despite having no annual fee, this MBNA card comes with a pretty comprehensive suite of travel and purchase insurance – 7 different types in total – and if you’re trying to travel on the cheap, that insurance could save you some major dollars.
And since this card is a Mastercard, you’ll be able to earn rewards even on your bulk purchases at Costco.
Find out all the details here:
Best no fee travel card for AIR MILES lovers
If you’re an AIR MILES collector and you’re looking for a no fee travel card, the
Even though it has no annual fee, it’s still the second best AIR MILES card on the market, only beat out by the $120
It will give you:
- 1 mile for every $20 spent, plus…
- 2 miles for every $20 spent at participating BMO AIR MILES partners.
I realize that 1 mile for every $20 spent isn’t earth shaking, but if you pair this card with an AIR MILES membership card…
…then you’ll earn 2 miles for every $20 spent (3 at their participating partner locations).
That means you’re going to double your return on spending whenever you shop somewhere that AIR MILES cards are accepted – a 1.72% return when you redeem your AIR MILES for travel through Dream Miles. Quite impressive for a no fee card.
Another nice thing about this card is that it will give you a discount on car rentals. Fly for free with your AIR MILES and rent a car at a discount price – that’s travel that even I can get behind.
And as an added bonus, this is another card that you’ll be able to use on all those Costco purchases. Win-win.
Find out more information here:
Best no foreign transaction fee card with no annual fee
Cards that help you travel on a discount are great, but what about helping out when you get to your destination?
Foreign exchange fees are sneaky fees that get tacked on to every purchase you make in a foreign currency – often around the 2.5% mark.
Nothing like saving a bunch of money getting to your destination, only to realize that you’ve been charged an extra 2.5% on every dollar you spent during your vacation.
Want to get this fee waived?
And not only will it waive the foreign exchange fee on all your purchases in any currency outside of CAD, you’ll also get:
- 1% cash back on all your purchases (cash can be used for travel too!),
- car rental collision insurance, and
- roadside assistance
…all for no annual fee.
Get all the information here:
Best sign-up bonus on a no fee travel card
Sign-up bonuses and no fee cards don’t often go hand in hand.
But every once in a while, a no fee credit card comes along that will give you a sign-up bonus that rivals some premium credit cards.
This card will give you:
- 10,000 welcome points after you make your first purchase,
- 10,000 when you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months, plus…
- 2 points for every dollar you spend at National and Alamo car rental locations, and
- 1 point for every other dollar spent.
When you redeem your rewards for travel, those 20,000 bonus points are worth $142. That’s $142 dollars of free travel that can be used at any time, with no blackout dates and no restrictions.
You will also get up to 25% off your car rentals and 3 types of insurance to give you peace of mind when you shop and travel.
Find out more details here:
Best return on spending with a no fee travel card
This last card might be a little surprising… But the more I looked at this card and the rewards that it offers, the more impressed I was with it.
- 15,000 Scotiabank More Rewards points when you make your first purchase,
- 6 Scotiabank More Rewards points for every dollar spent at participating More Rewards locations, and…
- 4 Scotiabank More Rewards points for every other dollar spent.
Without knowing how much one of these points is worth, that might not sound overly impressive, so let me break it down for you.
1 point is worth 0.43 cents in travel.
Again, not super impressive.
0.43 cents * 4 points for every $1 = 1.72 cents
However, you’ll be getting 4 of those points on every dollar you spend – that’s a 1.72% return!
And on top of that, when you sign up for More Rewards you will be given a loyalty card that will give you an extra point on every dollar you spend at participating more rewards locations.
0.43 cents * 5 points for every $1 spent = 2.15 cents
2.15% return on your spending! There aren’t many premium credit cards that will give you that… let alone a no fee card.
Plus, to sweeten this deal even more, Scotiabank has a few More Rewards partners where you can earn even more rewards.
0.43 cents * (6 points per $1 at More Rewards Partners + 1 point for having a loyalty card) = 3.01 cents
For every dollar you spend at any of the following locations, you can earn up to 3.01 cents of travel!
Many of these More Rewards partners are on the west coast, but there are a few on the list that should be good no matter where in Canada you live.
This card will also cover your purchases with purchase insurance, including price protection which will reimburse you if your purchase happens to go on sale within 60 days of buying it – not many cards give you that.
Get all the details here:
Quantities are limited.
Top no fee travel credit cards in Canada
And there you have it…
A few of the best no fee travel credit cards in Canada.
Do you have any of these cards in your wallet already?
Or, if you want another look, here’s a table roundup for a quick recap:
|Do you…||Your credit card||Why you want It||Apply|
|…Spend a good portion of your budget on gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases?||MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard||* 2% back on gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases.
* Sign-up bonus worth $50 in travel.
* Impressive insurance package for a no fee card.
* Can be used at Costco.
|…Love collecting AIR MILES?||BMO AIR MILES Mastercard||* Ability to earn extra rewards at BMO AIR MILES partners and by carrying an AIR MILES card in your wallet.
* 500 bonus miles after your first purchase.
* Can be used at Costco.
|…Frequently make purchases in another currency, and hate paying the 2.5% fee?||Home Trust Preferred Visa||* 1% cash back on all purchases.
* No foreign exchange fee – a 2.5% savings on each foreign purchase.
|…Want a card that will give you a nice big sign up bonus?||BMO Rewards Mastercard||* Highest sign-up bonus of any no fee travel credit card.
* Up to 25% discount at National and Alamo car rental locations.
* Can be used at Costco.
|…Want the biggest bang for your buck?||Scotiabank More Rewards Visa Card||* Highest return on spending potential of any Canadian no fee travel card.
* Ability to earn even more rewards with a More Rewards card in your wallet.
* Sign-up bonus worth $60 of travel