Travel Rewards Credit Cards are the prized possession of the vast majority of Canadians, providing would be travellers with thousands of dollars worth of travel perks and privileges each year. For over 10 years Rewards Canada has been helping Canadians sift through the more than 75 travel rewards credit card offerings with its annual Travel Rewards Credit Card Ranking.
This year’s ranking reflects some significant changes that swept across the industry in 2017. The biggest and most exciting came with the introduction of the new ‘Millennial’ themed American Express Cobalt card.
“The Cobalt card exploded onto the scene in late September and is an absolute game changer,” says Patrick Sojka, founder of RewardsCanada.ca. “No other card offers the same combination of sign-up bonuses, conversion options, premium insurance benefits and an exceptionally high earn rate on the Food and Drink category. It’s a no brainer for this year’s Best Overall travel rewards card and knocks its sibling — the American Express Gold card, off the throne.”
In addition to the Cobalt card, this year’s ranking has been modified to capture other changes. For example, the hotel category has been eliminated since industry consolidation has reduced the number of hotel offerings down to just two dedicated credit cards. The ‘no fee’ category has expanded to include all ‘no fee’ rewards cards (travel points, airline, hotel etc.) not just travel points. And finally, a new Coalition category ranks all reward credit cards associated with the country’s top Coalition programs including AIR MILES and Aeroplan. This change reflects the pending divorce of Aeroplan from Air Canada and formally reclassifies Aeroplan as a true coalition program (multiple earning and redemption partners) rather than primarily an airline program, which we’ve viewed it as since the inception of our ranking.
The remaining four categories are: Travel Points (with annual fee), Hybrid (flexible currency), Airline and Best Overall Card. The credit cards are evaluated by key factors including cost, co-brand partnerships, rate-of-return, benefits and redemption options.
And The Winners Are:
Best Overall Travel Rewards Card:
American Express Cobalt Card
Travel Points (with annual fee):
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Travel Points (with no annual fee):
Scotiabank More Rewards Visa Credit Card
American Express Cobalt Rewards Card
WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard
Coalition Program Credit Card:
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
Other highlights include the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard crowned as the best airline card in Canada. There are several reasons behind this – the move of Aeroplan to the new Coalition program category and the WestJet Rewards program getting significantly stronger in 2017 by adding redemption options on Air France, Delta, KLM and Qantas.
“The purpose of our annual ranking is to make choosing the right travel reward card easier”, adds Sojka. “It’s also about staying on top of trends and keeping Canadians informed of how industry changes may impact their enjoyment of these cards.”
The Top Travel Rewards Card feature, with complete rankings and background, can be found online at rewardscanada.ca/topcc2018