I have a love/hate relationship with my telecom provider Rogers.

Love the services. Hate the costs.

So if there’s a way I can reduce those costs – I’m open for business.

Enter the Rogers Platinum Mastercard with the following main features:

  • 1.75% cash back rewards on all purchases with no limits
  • 4% cash back on foreign currency purchases
  • A low $29 annual fee waived for the first year and in perpetuity if a Rogers bill is set up as a pre-authorized payment

All three of those benefits appeal to me on a personal level and if you’re a Rogers client they should be of interest to you as well. Especially if you travel and are able to charge your foreign spending on a credit card.

And if you need a little extra incentive? There’s a $25 welcome bonus when you make a purchase in first three months.

Unlimited 1.75% cash back provides immediate value

1.75% cashback is far better than the generic 1% most no fee cards offer.

In fact, at the time of launch back in the spring of 2016, Rogers could make the argument it offered the richest rate in Canada on all spending with no limits or gimmicks.

All for a $29 annual fee that could be waived.

Considering its competitors in the cash back rewards category offering more than 1% rewards all charge annual fees in the $100 range – the card is a net positive from the start.

4% cash back on foreign purchases

And that’s before you applied it’s best feature:

The bump up to 4% cash back for foreign purchases.

Why does that matter?

Credit card holders are typically charged foreign transaction fees when they purchase items while overseas or when they make purchases that use an overseas bank to process the transaction.

Generally that fee is between 2-3%. So think of it as an extra tax on every purchase made in a foreign country. Ouch.

Now consider that fee if you fall under any of these categories:

  • You’re a snowbird wintering in the US
  • A regular cross border shopper
  • You make regular online purchases from US vendors
  • Or like me, you wanted to finance a family trip to Europe on a credit card

Imagine spending $10,000 on any of those options above and then coming home to a statement showing an additional 2.5% foreign transaction fee of $250 on those purchases…

…and knowing the charges effectively wipe out whatever rewards you were earning and then some.

Double ouch.

That’s where the 4% foreign purchase cash back bump comes into play.

Rogers offers 4% cash back on foreign purchases, but like virtually all other major credit card providers it charges 2.5% in foreign transaction fees. The net cash back rate is therefore:

4% cashback – 2.5% foreign exchange fees = 1.5% in cash back rewards to you.

A net positive even after accounting for the foreign exchange fees.

Suddenly that $10,000 vacation just netted you $150 in rewards instead of $250 in extra fees – a reversal of $400.

In effect, the 4% waives the foreign transaction fees outright.

In fact, it’s cheaper than exchanging money at a bank or making cash withdrawals at an out-of-country ATM.

Need to exchange money? That’s a 2-3% fee.

Need a cash withdrawal? Another 2-3%.

No thanks.

Pay with your Rogers Platinum Mastercard and earn some rewards instead.

Rewards based on spending

Your foreign currency spending will determine whether this card is a true winner for your personal situation.

Check out the table below to get a feel for how you might be rewarded at different spending levels.

Domestic spend 1.75% rewards Foreign spend 1.50% rewards Total spend Total rewards
$12,000.00 $210.00 $0.00 $0.00 $12,000.00 $210.00
$12,000.00 $210.00 $1,000.00 $15.00 $13,000.00 $225.00
$12,000.00 $210.00 $6,000.00 $90.00 $18,000.00 $300.00
$12,000.00 $210.00 $12,000.00 $180.00 $24,000.00 $390.00
$24,000.00 $420.00 $0.00 $0.00 $24,000.00 $420.00
$24,000.00 $420.00 $2,000.00 $30.00 $26,000.00 $450.00
$24,000.00 $420.00 $12,000.00 $180.00 $36,000.00 $600.00
$24,000.00 $420.00 $24,000.00 $360.00 $48,000.00 $780.00

At a base level, if you are only using the card domestically and charging $1,000 a month on it or $12,000 annually, you would be rewarded at the 1.75% cash back level and earn $210 for the year.

Keep the domestic spending at $12,000 annually and add $6,000 in purchases abroad – and you would be rewarded with $300 in cash back rewards and waive paying $150 in foreign transaction fees.

$6,000 * 2.5% fees = $150

At the other end of the spectrum if you’re a heavier spender and had reason to charge $2,000 a month or $24,000 annually apiece on domestic and foreign purchases – you could be earning an additional $780 per year – and that’s after taking into account the foreign exchange fees you will be paying.

4% cash back minus 2.5% fees = 1.5% rewards

No annual fee!

The third noteworthy feature of the Rogers Platinum card is the fee structure.

At $29 it’s already on the low side for a card that offers more than 1% cashback. But if you set up a Rogers bill as a pre-authorized payment (PAP) – the annual fee is waived entirely and forever as long as you keep the PAP plan in place.

Now suddenly those rewards earned above are yours in full and not clawed back annually.

I have to admit – that’s probably the feature I liked best as I earned enough points to waive my Rogers internet charges for almost five months!

So what’s the downside?

There’s always a catch and in this case it’s that the cash back rewards is structured to be applied toward to Rogers services and products. Specifically services or products like:

  • Rogers, Fido and chatr monthly bills
  • purchases at Rogers, Fido and chatr branded stores
  • purchases at the Shopping Channel
  • subscriptions to Texture
  • Toronto Blue Jays tickets
  • Merchandise at Jays Shop online or in store
  • Merchandise at Rogers Centre concessions

That’s a real drawback from a flexibility perspective but totally understandable from Rogers point of view. It further connects you into their world of offerings.

An alternative option is for you to contact Rogers yearly to receive a statement credit to be applied against your credit card every January.

The other drawback is that on its own, none of the features make the card standout:

The card really only benefits users who can take advantage of all the cards combined features and having a Rogers service or product to redeem against.

There’s no benefit to the points if you can’t use them for something that provides you value.

But if you’re already a Rogers customer and spending money internationally…

Why not let Rogers pay you for a change?