Often called “Canada’s second currency,” Canadian Tire Money is a very popular rewards program in Canada.

Personally, I was never a collector as you had to use cash or debit to get any ‒ and I always found myself opting to pay with my credit card because credit card rewards outperformed the money you received.

Then in 2012, the program saw its first big change with the program – Canadian Tire went plastic – moving to an electronic system where you scanned your card with each purchase.

This shift in the program meant two things:

  • No more piles of Canadian Tire Money scattered throughout the house.
  • You could now accumulate Canadian Tire Money even when paying with a credit card.

But now, 6 years later, Canadian Tire has rolled out the next step for their loyalty program – Triangle Rewards.

With the announcement of this new loyalty program, Canadian Tire has introduced two new credit cards:

Let’s dive into the new program and its credit cards, to see if they’re worth adding to your wallet.

Related: Debit vs. Credit: Which Card Is Better?

Triangle Rewards Program

Canadian Tire has rebranded and revamped their loyalty program which is now called Triangle Rewards. Now, you can earn and redeem Canadian Tire e-money (CTM) at the following stores:

  • Canadian Tire,
  • Gas+ (Rewards can be earned, but not redeemed, at Gas+ locations),
  • Sport Chek,
  • participating Mark’s/L’Équipeur locations, and
  • participating Atmosphere locations.

As a loyalty member, you will earn 4% CTM on the pre-tax amount of your purchase (at all the above locations) with the exception of Gas+, where you will earn between 3 to 4.5 cents per litre (depending on the grade of gas purchased).

Please note: In order to earn any CTM at Gas+, purchases have to made with either cash or debit (no credit cards).

The program does have a feel really nice features, including:

  • Personalized bonus rewards. Log into your account online (or open the app on your phone), and you can activate bonus offers on select products, giving you the ability to receive anywhere from 10 to 50 times the CTM for those products.
  • No receipt returns. As long as you scanned your Triangle card, you don’t need a receipt to return anything.
  • Use your rewards at any time. There is no minimum amount of CTM in your account required to help pay for a purchase.

One last note ‒ there are some items which do not allow you to earn or redeem CTM. A full list can be found on their terms and conditions page, but gift and prepaid cards are two big items you might want to take note of.

But don’t worry – for those of you who still love your paper money, it’s still issued and accepted at Canadian Tire stores with a cash or debit purchase.

Triangle Mastercard

The entry level, no annual fee card, is the Triangle Mastercard and is the replacement for the previous Options Mastercard. This card will give you:

  • 4% at Triangle Rewards stores,
  • 5 cent/litre discount at Gas+ locations,
  • 0.8% everywhere else, plus…
  • access to 12 month, no fee no interest financing on purchases of $200 or more made at Triangle stores.

The downside?

Rewards and Perks

Unfortunately, when it comes to the Triangle Mastercard, 4% is a little misleading.

The 4% mentioned above is actually earned on the PRE-TAX AMOUNT only.

All other credit cards, on the other hand, issue rewards based on the total transaction amount.

And so, to properly compare this card to others, the earn rate will need to be adjusted to account for not earning rewards on sales taxes.

If you spend $100 pre-sales taxes, you will earn $4. Assuming an average sales tax rate of 13% in Canada, you would have spent $113 to earn that $4, giving you an actual return of 3.54%.

Unfortunately, the deductions do not stop there…

The Triangle Mastercard doesn’t allow you to earn any extra rewards with your Triangle Rewards card, meaning in order to properly compare this card to another, I will take into the account the CTM you would earn while using any other credit card and your Triangle Rewards card.

As stated earlier, you earn 0.4% through your Triangle Rewards membership. Spending the same $113 would earn you 40 cents on any credit card as long as you have your rewards card with you – giving you a net return of 0.35%.

$100 * 0.4% rewards = $0.40

$100 + 13% tax = $113

$0.40 CMT earned / $113 spent = 0.35% return

With these two deductions, your actual net earn rate at Triangle Rewards stores is 3.19%.

3.54% – 0.35% = 3.19%

While not as attractive as the 4% advertised, it is still the highest return you could get at these 5 stores. Since these are classified as general merchants, there aren’t any credit cards that would have a bonus category for shopping at them.

Please note: No adjustments were made to the Gas+ earnings since you cannot earn CTM using a credit card at these locations (other than some Canadian Tire branded cards). The 0.8% earned everywhere else is based on the total transaction amount.

The Triangle Mastercard vs Other No Fee Credit Cards

Now it’s time to see how this card stands up against some of it’s no fee competitors.

I have used a monthly spend of $1,000 and will hold it up against two of our top no annual fee cash back cards – the American Express SimplyCash and the Tangerine Mastercard (with the two higher earning categories set to gas and groceries.)

Please note: The below table uses a monthly spend of $75 at Triangle Rewards locations and assumes you can get 80% of your gas at a Gas+ location for a price of $1.30/litre, which works out to 3.85% return. Rewards shown are for a full year.

Triangle
Mastercard
Amex
SimplyCash
Tangerine
Mastercard
Spend Category (monthly amount) Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards
Grocery ($300) 0.8% $28.80 1.25% $45 2% $72
Gas ($100) 3.85% at Gas+,
0.8% else
$38.88* 1.25% $15 2% $24
Triangle Stores ($75) 3.19% $28.71 1.25% $11.25 0.5% $4.50
Everything else ($525) 0.8% $50.40 1.25% $78.75 0.5% $31.50
Total $146.79* $150 $132

Assuming you are able to get gas regularly at a Gas+, this card compares quite favourably to the top no annual fee cash back cards.

*Keep in mind: A Gas+ may not be available where you live, as there are only approximately 300 Gas+ locations in Canada (compared to approx. 1,800 Esso, 1,300 Shell, and 1,500 Petro-Canada stations). If that is true for you, your CTM earned at other gas stations would only be $9.60 ‒ bringing your total rewards down to $117.51, putting it below it’s top competitors.

However, if you’re able to get most of your gas at a Gas+ location, and if you visit any of the Triangle Rewards locations at least on a monthly basis, this card’s earn rate is on par with some of its top competition.

Related: Best Canadian Credit Cards of 2018

Triangle World Elite Mastercard

The biggest change to Canadian Tire’s Mastercard lineup up is the addition of their first World Elite Mastercard.

World Elite Mastercards often come with high annual fees because of the perks that come along with it, but the Triangle World Elite Mastercard is one of the few in Canada that has no annual fee.

Rewards and Perks

This World Elite Mastercard will give you:

  • 4% at triangle stores (which equates to 3.19% as described above),
  • 3% at grocery stores, up to $12,000 per year,
  • 5 cents/litre at Gas+ on regular/mid-grade fuel, and 7 cents/litre on premium fuel,
  • 1% at all other stores,
  • Canadian Tire Gold Plan Road assistance (worth $99.95/year plus taxes),
  • purchase security and extended warranty protection, plus car rental insurance,
  • 24/7 concierge service,
  • priority queuing on calls to customer service, and…
  • access to 12 months no fee, no interest financing on purchases of $200 or more made at Triangle stores.

The downsides?

  • As a World Elite Card, you will need a personal income of $80,000 or $150,000 household to qualify for the card.
  • Walmart, Walmart Supercenters, and Costco stores do NOT qualify for the 3% back grocery store spending (normally, Mastercards count Walmart Supercentres as a grocery store, but this card specifically excludes them from the accelerated grocery earnings).
  • There is a limit on the amount of rewards earned on groceries (although to be fair, $1,000/month is still quite a lot to spend at grocery stores).

Related: Best Low Income Credit Cards

The Triangle World Elite Mastercard vs Other Premium Credit Cards

Curious how this card stacks up against its competitors?

Let’s compare it to a few other options:

  • the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite – a big gas and grocery earner which also includes roadside assistance similar to the gold plan,
  • the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite – the top card for earnings on gas and groceries, and…
  • the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard ‒ our top-rated cash back card and People’s Choice credit card winner.

The first table shows a typical $2,000 monthly spend with $100 per month at Triangle stores and $350 per month on groceries.

The second table also shows a typical spend of $2,000 a month with $650 per month on groceries, while reducing the “Other” category.

Each table will also take into account the value of roadside assistance including a sales tax of 13%, and add it to the total rewards.

Please note: The tables below use a monthly spend of $100 at Triangle Rewards locations and assumes you can get 80% of your gas at a Gas+ location for a price of $1.30/litre, which works out to 3.85% return. Rewards shown are for a full year.

Typical $2,000 Monthly Spend

Triangle World Elite Mastercard TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite MBNA World Elite Mastercard
Spend Category (monthly amount) Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards
Grocery ($350) 3% $126 3% $126 4% $168 2% $84
Gas ($200) 3.85% Gas+, 1% else $78.72* 3% $72 4% $96 2% $48
Bills ($300) 1% $36 3% $108 2% $72 2% $72
Pharmacy ($100) 1% $12 1% $12 2% $24 2% $24
Triangle Stores ($100) 3.19% $38.28 1% $12 1% $12 2% $24
Everything Else ($950) 1% $114 1% $114 1% $114 2% $228
Annual Fee $0 ($120) ($99) ($89)
Rewards on Spending less Annual Fee $405* $324 $387 $391
Roadside Assistance Value $112.94 $112.94 0 0
Total $517.94* $436.94 $387 $391

*Keep in mind: If you are unable to get your gas at Gas+ locations, the gas earnings for the Triangle World Elite Mastercard is $24, a deduction of $54.72 ‒ bringing your total rewards down to $463.22. (And the Rewards on Spending less Annual Fee at $350.28.)

Increased Grocery Spend

Triangle World Elite Mastercard TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite MBNA World Elite Mastercard
Spend Category (monthly amount) Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards Annual Earn Rate Annual Rewards
Grocery ($650) 3% $234 3% $234 4% $312 2% $156
Gas ($200) 3.85% Gas+, 1% else $78.72* 3% $72 4% $96 2% $48
Bills ($300) 1% $36 3% $108 2% $72 2% $72
Pharmacy ($100) 1% $12 1% $12 2% $24 2% $24
Triangle Stores ($100) 3.19% $38.28 1% $12 1% $12 2% $24
Everything Else ($650) 1% $78 1% $78 1% $78 2% $156
Annual Fee $0 ($120) ($99) ($89)
Rewards on Spending less Annual Fee $477* $396 $495 $391
Roadside Assistance Value $112.94 $112.94 0 0
Total $589.94* $508.94 $495 $391

*Keep in mind: If you are unable to get your gas at Gas+ locations, the gas earnings for the Triangle World Elite Mastercard is $24, a deduction of $54.72 ‒ bringing your total rewards down to $535.22. (And the Rewards on Spending less Annual Fee at $422.28.)

From the above numbers you can see that even if you don’t end up taking advantage of the roadside assistance, this is one of the best gas and grocery cards available ‒ assuming you have access to a Gas+.

If you don’t have access to a Gas+ and the roadside assistance has no value to you, then the Scotiabank or MBNA cards offer better value.

It should be noted that in both cases, it outperforms the TD card unless you have the TD All-Inclusive bank account, in which case you don’t have to pay the annual fee.

Conclusion

Canadian Tire has not only upped their rewards game, but they have made some improvements to their credit cards as well.

The Triangle Mastercard has a very good earn rate at Triangle stores, and IF you can get gas regularly at Gas+, then it is a great all around no annual fee option. Meanwhile, the World Elite Mastercard is one of the best gas & grocery cards out there IF you have access to a Gas+ location or if roadside assistance is valuable to you.

However, if you rarely (or never) venture into a Triangle Rewards store ‒ then these cards won’t be of much value to you, and one of the other cash back cards would be a better alternative.