The Best Credit Cards for Travel Hacking in Canada

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Here is where your Travel Hacking adventure will really start. Credit cards are the key to traveling for free, so here is our directory of the best Canadian Travel Hacking credit cards offers currently available in December.

Flytrippers’ main goal is to find great limited-time flight deals, often at over 50% off. However, we think that if you like cheap flights, you’ll love free flights too. So that is why we have launched a Travel Hacking section on our blog.

It’s important to understand that every single traveler’s situation and objectives are different, which means the best card for you is not necessarily the best card for another Travel Hacker. But either way, it will most likely be one of these, whether you are a big spender or less of a big spender, whether you travel to Europe or to the US… as these are really the best.

Even more importantly, no matter which type of Travel Hacking strategies and credit cards you will use, the basic rules for Travel Hacking credit cards always apply to all and you definitely need to read the basic rules before starting (and it won’t hurt to read our introduction to Travel Hacking too if you haven’t already).

And no matter what your specific travel goals are, by default if you are contemplating Travel Hacking, it means you are financially responsible (if not, do not get involved in Travel Hacking). And since you are financially responsible, you should apply for two credit cards at a time to maximize your free travel rewards, and then two more every six months, if you can reach the minimum spend (our article about how to do that will follow soon). If you can only reach the minimum spend for one, order one at a time every 3-4 months.

Here are the best credit cards currently available in Canada for Travel Hacking as of December 2nd. At the end of the article, I will recommend which two cards to get depending on a few scenarios, just to give you a few ideas.


Best Overall Welcome Bonus : American Express SPG

The welcome bonus on this card is 4 free nights in nice hotels, or two in more luxurious hotels, as explained in the article. You’ll get 20,000 SPG Starpoints, which you can also transfer to Aeroplan if you prefer, and they are worth 25,000 Aeroplan Miles. That is exactly what you need for a free flight to anywhere in North America. That’s what makes these points so valuable: they can be transferred to over 30 different airlines as well as two of the best hotel programs. So it is the best hotel credit card AND the best Aeroplan card out there right now.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE AMERICAN EXPRESS SPG CARD
or
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DETAILED ARTICLE

 

Best Free Credit Card : American Express Gold Scotiabank

This card has no annual fee for the first year, and it is the best free credit card in Canada currently. If you are getting started in the world of Travel Hacking, it is a great option because the welcome bonus is very flexible: you get a $250 travel credit that you can simply apply to any flight purchase or hotel reservation. That might not represent the most valuable welcome bonus, but it certainly is one of the easiest and simplest to use… and it’s free.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE AMERICAN EXPRESS GOLD SCOTIABANK
or
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DETAILED ARTICLE (coming soon)

 

Best Credit Card For Earning : American Express Cobalt

If your favorite grocery store allows you to pay with AMEX and you spend $500 monthly on food (groceries AND restaurants), this is by far the best credit card for you. It is a revolutionary card in Canada, with a earn rate of 5 AMEX Points per dollar spent on the food category. That is incredibly high, and has never been seen before in Canada in fact. And it is revolutionary because the welcome bonus (and fee) is monthly instead of upfront: spend $500 on the card every month to unlock the 2,500 AMEX Points welcome bonus for a total of 30,000 AMEX Points, which can be transferred to Marriott (45,000 Marriott Points) or used as a travel credit. And hurry because there is a special promo for December: you’ll earn 10x the points on food purchases, which is simply insane. It works for the first $2,000 in purchases only, then it reverts back to the usual 5x.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE AMERICAN EXPRESS COBALT
or
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DETAILED ARTICLE (coming soon)

 

Best Credit Card for Purchases Abroad : Rogers Platinum Mastercard

This one is interesting if you spend a lot abroad. You probably know that every credit card in Canada charges you a hefty 2.5% foreign transaction fee on every single purchase that is not in Canadian Dollars. That can add up pretty quickly if you travel a bit. This card is one of the very few who won’t charge you. Well, in fact you do pay the 2.5% fee, but you get 4% back on foreign transactions so it cancels out… but it is cashback that can only be applied to a Rogers bill or used in a Rogers store.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE ROGERS PLATINUM MASTERCARD
or
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DETAILED ARTICLE (coming soon)


 

Best Credit Card for Serious Travelers : American Express Platinum

If you travel a lot, you need this card. We both have one and we’ll never be able to live without it. You’ll get access to over 1,000 VIP lounges in airports around the world (free and unlimited access for you and one guest), including the amazing American Express Centurion Lounges. It also gives you Elite Status at Marriott, Hilton and Starwood. Best of all, if you travel a lot, it nets you $300 in profit in year one.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE AMERICAN EXPRESS PLATINUM
or
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DETAILED ARTICLE

 

Best Free Credit Card with Lounge Access: BMO World Elite Mastercard

This one is free too, and you get a $200 travel credit for signing up. But more importantly, you get 4 free passes for airport lounges, which isn’t as great as the Platinum’s unlimited access, but is amazing for a card that is free the first year. However, a minimum income of $80K is required for this one, so it’s not accessible to everyone.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE AIR MILES BMO WORLD ELITE MASTERCARD
or
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DETAILED ARTICLE (coming soon)

Best Credit Card for WestJet Fliers: RBC WestJet Mastercard

I wouldn’t recommend this card, unless you are an avid WestJet flier. The welcome bonus is a nice 250 WestJet Dollars, but it comes with a $119 annual fee. So it’s not the best value, and I can’t say I’m very well-versed in the WestJet loyalty program, but from what I hear the new Delta Air Lines partnership offers more interesting redemption opportunities than before.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER RBC WESTJET MASTERCARD
or
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DETAILED ARTICLE (coming soon)

 

Best Aeroplan Credit Card That Isn’t An AMEX: TD Visa

To be clear, the AMEX SPG card gives you more Aeroplan Miles than this card. The AMEX Gold too as a matter of fact (25,000 instead of the 15,000 this card gives you). But if you are a big Aeroplan / Air Canada user and want to max out, this one is still a good way to earn, especially for places where AMEX is not accepted. We both have it for that exact reason. It also has great perks, like 14 days of free travel medical insurance.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE TD VISA AEROPLAN
or
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DETAILED ARTICLE (coming soon)

 

 

Best Air Miles Credit Card: BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

This one is free too, so it could be a nice option if you like the Air Miles program. But pleaseeeeee, whatever you do, don’t use your Air Miles for anything else than travel, that’s the #1 rule of Travel Hacking. I must say that I do not know the Air Miles program as well as Aeroplan, but honestly it does seem a bit better than what I thought… By the way, it is a World Elite card so it requires a higher income to be approved. It also has more perks because of that.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE AIR MILES BMO WORLD ELITE MASTERCARD
or
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DETAILED ARTICLE (coming soon)

 

To compare all other cards available in Canada (or almost), you can check out our useful credit card comparison tool.

 

Our Recommendations

The best combo right now is the American Express SPG and American Express Cobalt, because of the great signup bonus on the SPG card and the category earn rate on the Cobalt. But that is you already have a Visa or Mastercard to earn points everywhere AMEX is not accepted.

If you are new to Travel Hacking, it’s probably best to get the American Express SPG and either one of the TD Visa, WestJet Mastercard to earn where AMEX is not accepted. But if you prefer a simpler welcome bonus, get the AMEX Scotiabank Gold instead of the SPG. In that case, I’d make sure to get the AMEX Cobalt in 6 months, with another card depending on the best offers at that moment.

If you need a card for foreign transactions (although if you’re starting, I’d wait and get the other ones first), the Rogers Mastercard is the best option, coupled with one of the AMEX SPG, Cobalt or Scotiabank Gold.

If you travel a lot and want free lounge access, get the AMEX Platinum and also the Cobalt for every day use.

 

Bottom Line

These are the best credit cards as of December 2017. Don’t forget that these offers change all the time, we’ll be updating the article monthly. And please don’t hesitate to ask any questions in the comments, we’ll be glad to help!

Any questions?

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