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Monday, July 6, 2020

The cards Rewards Canada recommends to replace the devalued Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard


Last week news broke that one of the best long running travel rewards cards in Canada was being devalued. That card is the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard and although it hasn't been available to new customers for nearly three years now, those who did have the card were able to keep it and continue earning and burning on it like before with it's 2% return on all spending and the 10,000 point anniversary bonus being grandfathered in. That 2% and 10,000 points made it worthwhile for the majority of cardholders to keep the card in their wallets but that has changed now.

As reported last week the card will be devalued as of August 5. The earn rate will drop to 1.5% which is still respectable however in the grand scheme of looking at the whole picture of what cards provide and how the competitors ramp up against the card it makes the card weaker. Then by taking away the 10,000 point anniversary bonus cardholders are losing out on a $100 value - which many competitors offer in another form. Whether its the first bag free on the WestJet RBC Mastercard, to the $100 in travel credits on the HSBC World Elite Mastercard or Priority Pass lounge visit passes on the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card, the market is ripe with better options than the Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard.

Here are the top travel cards Rewards Canada recommends as replacement options for the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard:

HSBC World Elite Mastercard
This card also earns 1.5% back on spending that can be redeemed towards any travel however that gets boosted to 3% on travel purchases which puts it ahead of the Aspire card. On top of that the card has no foreign transaction fees - which means purchases in US$ or other currencies will be 2.5% cheaper than the Aspire card plus the card provides an annual $100 travel enhancement credit that can be used towards things like seat selection, baggage fees and more. Finally the other big bonus this card has over the Aspire card is the ability to convert the points earned to British Airways Executive Club, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. Learn more about and apply for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard here.



MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard
The MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard is the closest replacement to the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard in terms of earn rate. The card earns 2 points per dollar spent and those points can be redeemed for any travel booked via MBNA Rewards at a rate of 5,000 points to $50 which means it is a full 2% return. For cash back redemptions it drops a little to 1.67% but we're more concerned with the travel redemption rate and that is equal to the old Cap One rate. Learn more about and apply for the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard here.



WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard
This card provides a 1.5% return on all spending except for purchases with WestJet which will earn 2%. So on the earn side it is pretty equal with Capital One however if you are someone who flies WestJet the extra benefits this card provides over Capital One are what you need to look at such as the first checked bag fee being covered for you and up to 8 people on the same reservation and then the coveted annual companion voucher where someone can travel with you for only $119 to $399 depending on where you are flying to. Both those benefits provide a ton of value when compared to the Aspire card. Learn more about and apply for the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard here.

American Express Cobalt Card
This is the number one travel rewards credit card in Canada and if you are good to go with Amex then this is the card to get. It has super strong earn rates ranging from 1 to 5 points per dollar spent which translates to a 1% to 5% return towards any travel you book by yourself. Redeem those points via Amex's Fixed Travel Points program and that return can be as high as 10%! You also have the option to convert points to Marriott Bonvoy which can then be converted to over 40+ airline frequent flyer programs. Learn more about and apply for the American Express Cobalt Card here.


Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Another big earner like the Cobalt Card, the Scotiabank Gold American Express card provides returns of 1% to 5% when you redeem your points towards travel that you book from any travel provider. It will also save you 2.5% on foreign currency transactions since the card has No Foreign transaction fee.  Learn more about and apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express card here.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card provides a 1% to 2% return on spending when you redeem for travel booked via any travel provider so on average you may come out at about the same earn rate as the newly devalued rate on the Cap One card. Like the HSBC card this card has no foreign transaction fees meaning it will save you 2.5% on any non-C$ purchases then add in the fact the card provides 6 free airport lounge visits per year and you should be pulling more value out of this card than the Cap One card. Learn more about and apply for the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card here.

TD First Class Visa Infinite Card
This card also allows you to use your points for booking travel via any provider at a minimum return of 1.2 to 1.5% - so not as good as the Cap One Aspire card however that rate gets boosted if you make purchases or end up redeeming your points to book travel via ExpediaForTd. That's the key to this card is utilizing TD's partnership with Expedia to extract the most value out of the points.  For example booking travel via ExpediaForTD online earns you 9 points per dollar and those points when redeemed on ExpediaForTD would net you a 4.5% return. Learn more about and apply for the TD First Class Visa Infinite Card here.



Now these aren't the only options to replace the Capital One Aspire World Elite Travel Mastercard - you have a whole slew of other travel rewards cards, cash back cards from the big banks, little banks and credit unions but the above list does represent the best overall options for anyone reading this post from coast to coast to coast. As always we do recommend that you do your research and find the card that will work best for you.

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