For us to determine the best travel rewards credit cards for 2018, we need to take a look at what happened in 2017. The credit card market in Canada witnessed some significant changes last year.
Banks and other institutions stopped issuing some of the more sought-after cards, they made changes to rewards programs, and one new card, hailed as a game-changer, entered the market.
Most people like the idea of globetrotting at a discount, and so Canadians continue to seek the best travel rewards credit cards in 2018. With so many different programs and cards, however, it’s a challenge trying to work out which is the most suitable one for you.
To make your search easier, we’re pointing out Canada’s best travel rewards credit cards for 2018.
How far do you want to go this year with your Canadian travel rewards credit card? We’ve forecast what we believe will be the best travel rewards credit cards for 2018 to help you soar, whether you’re a snowbird, a bargain hunter, a bonus surfer, or a frequent flyer.
How We Picked The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
First, we calculated the value per point for each program to come up with our rankings for the best travel rewards credit cards 2018. We computed the exact cost per point of each of the rewards programs by checking the number of points needed to fly on fifteen different flights for each credit card. We then compared the cost per point to the lowest price of each flight. We did a similar computation for hotels.
To find out which were the deals for each category of travel card in Canada, we then assessed bonuses; earn rates, perks, annual and foreign transaction fees, insurance coverage, travel opportunities, and ease of redemption.
Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2018 – Our Top 3 Picks
Here’s the synopsis of the highest rated travel rewards credit cards in Canada (complete credit card reviews are below). For more categories besides travel, please see our Best Credit Cards in Canada page.
Scotiabank Gold American Express
The Scotiabank Gold American Express again ranks as one of the best travel rewards credit cards in 2018 in Canada due to benefits such as a 4% earn on groceries, gas, entertainment, and restaurants. If you spend $1,000 on everyday purchases during the first three months, you get a 25,000 bonus valued at $250. You can use this bonus towards any travel (hotels, flights, cruises, car rentals, or vacation packages), in addition to merchandise and gift cards from vendors such as Best Buy and Apple.
You can opt to use Scotia Rewards’ full-service travel agency when booking your flights and hotel, or use your card to cover your expenses and redeem your points afterward. You can book anywhere, anytime, and use points to pay for all fees and taxes – there are no limits when using your points towards travel. Scotiabank Gold American Express offers numerous other benefits including concierge service, comprehensive travel insurance, price protection, Priority Pass membership (renewed yearly), and much more.
Scotiabank American Express Card
The Scotiabank American Express Card does not have annual fees for extras or privileges. It works as both a standalone or as a secondary card for current Scotia Rewards collectors. You receive one Scotia Rewards point for each dollar you spend on the card, valid for travel (hotels, flights, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages), gift cards, merchandise (including Best Buy and Apple catalogues), or as a credit towards your monthly payment.
The insurance coverage is robust for a no-fee card. You get travel accident and travel interruption insurance (if you use your card to pay for at least 75 percent of the cost of your trip). You also get travel emergency medical (with a coverage ceiling of $1 million for a maximum of eight successive days of travel), and collision/loss damage for car rentals (up to forty-eight consecutive days of coverage for vehicles that cost less than $65,000).
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
These cards are still an excellent choice, in spite of the fact that Rewards Canada dropped the hotel category from the rankings because only two cards are currently available. In fact, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is pretty impressive. It offers excellent value for hotel stays within the Marriott and Starwood brands and lets you convert to more than thirty airline frequent flyer programs.
Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2018 – Conclusion
Your spending habits and travel needs will determine which are the best travel rewards credit cards for 2018 for you. To get the most out of your card, you should start with a good bonus offer. This offer can be your card’s rewards program. Also, you should pay your balance in full every month, and think about which fees you can best balance with perks, bonuses, and rewards.
As a Canadian, you’re in the best position to try new travel cards that provide more benefits, earn you more points, and offer better flexibility than the cards in your wallet right now. Explore the possibilities on CompareMyRates.ca, and get more bang for your buck starting today.