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2022's Best Reward Credit Cards for Canadians

Compare the best rewards credit cards to get the perks you actually want.

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Rewards credit card 101

Looking to get more out of your credit card? Rewards credit cards help you earn back valuable cash rewards, point rewards, travel rewards, or a combination on every purchase you make through your credit card. Find out which of these credit card rewards match your lifestyle and compare the best Canadian rewards credit cards on RATESDOTCA.

The Best of Finance Winners for 2022: Best Rewards Credit Cards

  First year value* Credit score required Winner
$1,524 Fair American Express Cobalt® Credit Card
$1,194 Good Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card
$476 Fair President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®
$1,524 Fair American Express Cobalt® Credit Card

*The RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology assumes the cardholder spends an average of $2,000 a month on their card to determine the first-year value. The calculation includes all welcome bonuses and promotional offers at the time of publishing.

Best Overall Rewards Credit Card

Many credit cards offer travel points, cash back or low interest rates for making day-to-day purchases. However, some rewards programs stand out for their extensive redemption options and more ways for cardholders to potentially save money through exclusive offers and deals.

Our top picks feature flexible reward programs available to help cardholders get more in return for their daily spending. Additionally, extra perks and benefits provide users with access to comprehensive travel insurance coverage, exclusive deals and, most importantly, high earn rates for everyday purchases like gas and groceries.

We compared the leading rewards credit cards using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards with the highest first-year value, the most flexible rewards and robust benefits.

  First year value* Credit score required Top features
$1,524 Fair Flexible Membership Rewards® program and travel insurance.
$1,525 Excellent Enjoy a Priority Pass Membership with four free lounge passes annually. Get a NEXUS application fee rebate and travel insurance.
$1,194 Good Enjoy the flexible Scotia Scene+ rewards program, no foreign transaction fees and travel insurance coverage.
$926 Good Enjoy great travel benefits and insurance. You can redeem points for travel, statement credit and more.
$1,460 Good Travellers can earn points and redeem for flights through various airline rewards programs. Includes comprehensive travel insurance and mobile device insurance.

Winner: American Express Cobalt® Credit Card

For a monthly fee of $12.99, you can access the most rewarding cards on the market: The American Express Cobalt® Credit Card. Cardholders pay $12.99 a month to access top-tier rewards and exclusive offers.

Earn five points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery and food delivery purchases in Canada. Get three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions. Earn two points for every $1 spent on eligible travel and transit purchases and get one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Cardholders should notice their reward balance growing steadily from their typical everyday purchases, no major change in spending habits required.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn a staggering $1,524 in rewards in the first year.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$525
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1524
American Express Cobalt® Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$525
AMEX Rewards points
Annual rewards
$1155
AMEX Rewards points
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
2022 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$525
Annual rewards
$1155
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$525
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1524
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
21.99% on cash advances
2022 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details

Annual fee

$155.88 ($12.99 per month)

Annual fee for additional cardholders: $0

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points. Earn 2,500 points each monthly billing period in which you spend at least $500 on your card for 12 months. This could add up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year.

Offer expiry date: Ongoing offer

Rewards

  • Earn five points for every $1 spent at grocery stores, restaurants, cafés, bars and food delivery purchases.
  • Earn three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada.
  • Earn two points for every $1 spent on transit, gas, and other eligible travel purchases.
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = 96,000 Membership Rewards® points
Monetary value= $1,680
Annual fee = $156*
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $1,524

* The American Express Cobalt® Credit Card has a $12.99 monthly fee ($155.88 per year).

You can redeem your points for:

  • Flights through the Fixed Points Travel Program
  • Travel
  • Streaming services
  • Movie tickets
  • Retail purchases
  • Events
  • Amazon.ca purchases
  • Statement credits

Insurance

  • Out of province/country emergency medical insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost and stolen baggage insurance
  • Hotel burglary insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance
  • Mobile device insurance
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty

Want to learn more about how the American Express Cobalt® Credit Card stands up against the competition? Read more from our "In the Ring" series:

In the Ring: American Express Cobalt® Credit Card vs. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Runners-up: Best Overall Rewards Credit Card

2. CIBC Aventura® Visa InfiniteTM Card

For a limited time, new cardholders of the CIBC Aventura® Visa InfiniteTM Card have the potential to earn 40,000 Aventura Points when they sign up, a value of about $850. Cardholders regularly earn two points for every $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre, 1.5 points for every $1 spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores, and one point for every $1 spent everywhere else.

Cardholders also get a complimentary complimentary visits at 1,200+ lounges globally through Visa Airport Companion Program, a NEXUS application fee rebate every four years, and a comprehensive list of travel insurance.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,525 in rewards in the first year.

Annual fee

$139 (First year rebated)

Interest rate

Purchase – 20.99%

Cash advance – 22.99% (21.99% for QC residents)

Balance transfer – 22.99%

Welcome bonus

  • Get a total of up to 40,000 Aventura Points (up to $850 in travel value):
  • 20,000 Aventura Points when you make your first purchase
  • 20,000 Aventura Points when you spend $1,000 monthly or more during the first year.
  • Get a one-time annual fee rebate ($139) for you (the primary cardholder) and up to three authorized users ($50 each): over $189 value.
  • Elevate your airport experience with 4 complimentary visits at 1,200+ lounges globally through Visa Airport Companion Program: over $190 in value.†
  • Plus, get a NEXUS◊ Application Fee rebate: A $50 value

Offer expiry date: Ongoing offer

Rewards

  • Earn two points for every $1 spent on travel through the CIBC Rewards Centre.
  • Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores.
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

3. Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card offers similar accelerated rewards categories to the American Express CobaltTM Credit Card, but with its own spin. Holders of the Scotiabank Gold American Express earn points that can be redeemed for movie tickets.  Earn five Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on grocery, restaurant, food delivery, food subscription and entertainment purchases. Get three Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on gas, daily transit and streaming services, and one Scotia Scene+ point for every $1 spent everywhere else.

This card also features excellent travel benefits. Get the Best Price Guarantee on airfare through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service. Access a full line of travel insurance coverage. Plus, pay no foreign transaction fees, usually around 2.5% of foreign currency purchases. Only the exchange rate applies.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,194 in rewards in the first year.

Annual fee

$120 (First year waived)

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn 25,000 bonus Scotia Scene+ points when you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months.
  • Get an additional 20,000 Scotia Scene+ points when you spend at least $7,500 in everyday purchases in the first year.

Offer expiry date: April 30, 2023

Rewards

  • Earn five Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, restaurant, fast food, food delivery and entertainment purchases.
  • Earn three Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, daily transit and select streaming purchases, including Netflix.
  • Earn one Scotia Scene+ point for every $1 spent elsewhere.

4. American Express® Gold Rewards Card

The American Express® Gold Rewards Card is a great rewards card with a generous bonus offer, complimentary airport lounge access, a NEXUS discount and travel insurance benefits. If you’re an avid traveller, this rewards card will help you rack up points and redeem them for travel discounts, air tickets and much more.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $926 in rewards in the first year.

Annual fee

$250

Welcome bonus

  • New American Express® Gold Rewards Cardmembers can earn a Welcome Bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards® points when you charge $3,000 in purchases to your Card in your first 3 months of card membership.
  • Plus, you can also earn an additional 10,000 points when you make a purchase between 14 and 17 months of card membership.

Offer expiry date: Ongoing offer

Rewards

  • Earn 2 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on gas, grocery, and drugstore and travel purchases
  • Earn 1 AMEX Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases

5. RBC Avion® Visa Infinite

With the RBC Avion® Visa Infinite, you can earn reward points and redeem them for a variety of great rewards such as travel tickets, gift cards, merchandise or cash back. With this travel credit card, you won’t need to worry about blackout periods or seat restrictions. If you find an open seat, you can use your rewards to book it, even during peak seasons. Best of all, flights start as low as 15,000 RBC rewards points. According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,412 in rewards in the first year.

Annual fee

$120

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Receive up to 55,000 welcome RBC Rewards points upon approval (up to a $1,100 value).

Offer Expiry Date: January 31, 2023

Rewards

  • Earn one RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent on the card.
  • Earn an extra 25% on eligible travel-related purchases.
  • Earn an extra 20% at Petro-Canada.

Best Credit Card for Staying at Home and Ordering In

Life has changed a lot since the start of the pandemic and it’s likely your spending habits have, too. You may be adding items to your cart using an app from the comfort of your couch instead of in-store, and ordering food straight to your doorstep with a delivery app. What you may not realize is that these habits might be taking a toll on your reward balance.

If your current rewards card isn’t specifically designed for online shopping, these small lifestyle changes may decrease the number of rewards or cash back you would otherwise earn. Luckily, our top picks reward cardholders for their takeout and delivery purchases and offer some great perks for staying at home.

We compared the best credit cards for delivery and takeout purchases using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest first-year value.

  First year value* Credit score required Top features
$1,194 Good Earn five Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on fast food, food delivery and food subscriptions. Earn three Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible subscription purchases like Netflix.
$862 Excellent Earn five points for every $1 spent on dining in or dining out.
$1,460 Good Get $0 delivery fees on Door Dash.

Winner: Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card rewards cardholders for their everyday purchases, from takeout and delivery to streaming services. Get five Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, takeout, food subscription boxes, and entertainment purchases. Earn three Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on gas, transit and select streaming services, like Netflix. Get one Scotia Scene+ point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Rack up rewards quickly and redeem them for thousands of options, including travel, merchandise, gift cards and statement credits. Plus, pay no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad or online in foreign currency. Only the exchange rate applies.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,144 in rewards in the first year.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Gift card
$200
+ Welcome bonus
$450
+ Annual rewards
$744
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
$0
Total first year value
$1394
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$450
Scotia Scene+ Points
Annual rewards
$744
Scotia Scene+ Points
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
$200 Cash Bonus from RATESDOTCA
2022 Winner – Best No Foreign Transaction Fees Credit Card for Long Stay Travellers and Best Credit Card for Staying Home and Ordering In
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$450
Annual rewards
$744
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Gift card
$200
+ Welcome bonus
$450
+ Annual rewards
$744
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
$0
Total first year value
$1394
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
$200 Cash Bonus from RATESDOTCA
2022 Winner – Best No Foreign Transaction Fees Credit Card for Long Stay Travellers and Best Credit Card for Staying Home and Ordering In
Details at a glance Collapse details

Annual fee

$120

Annual fee for additional cardholders: $29

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn 25,000 bonus Scotia Scene+ points when you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months.
  • Get an additional 20,000 Scotia Scene+ points when you spend at least $7,500 in everyday purchases in the first year.

Offer expiry date: April 30, 2023

Rewards

  • Earn five Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, restaurant, fast food, food delivery and entertainment purchases.
  • Earn three Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, daily transit and select streaming purchases, including Netflix.
  • Earn one Scotia Scene+ point for every $1 spent elsewhere.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = 119,400 Scotia Scene+ points
Monetary value = $1,194
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $1,194

You can redeem your points for:

  • Travel
  • Experiences
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Statement credits
  • Convert to SCENE points

Insurance

  • Travel emergency medical insurance
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Rental car collision loss/damage insurance
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty
  • Scotia Credit Card Protection (optional)

Want to learn more about how the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card stands up against the competition? Read more from our "In the Ring" series:

In the Ring: American Express Cobalt® Credit Card vs. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Runners-up: Best Credit Card for Staying at Home and Ordering In

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card offers cardholders five points for every $1 spent on groceries, gas, dining in or out and transit. Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, get a $50 annual lifestyle credit to use however you want.

Cardholders can earn 10% more with an authorized user. That is 5.5 points for every $1 spent in the accelerated categories and 1.1 points for every $1 spent elsewhere.

This card also features basic shopping coverage and mobile device insurance.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $996 in rewards in the first year.

Annual fee

$120

Limited time offer/bonus: Earn up to 60,000 points. Get 30,000 points after you spend at least $3,000 in the first three months.  Receive an additional 2,500 BMO Rewards bonus points for each subsequent month during which at least $2,000 in net purchases are posted to your account. Plus, pay no annual fee for the first year.

Offer expiry date: December 6, 2022

Rewards:

  • Earn five points for every $1 spent on grocery, dining, gas and transit purchases.
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

RBC Avion® Visa Infinite Card

When you have the RBC Avion® Visa Infinite card you can easily earn points and redeem them for flexible rewards such as travel tickets, gift cards, merchandise or cash back. Avoid any food delivery fees with the complimentary Door Dash DashPass subscription. According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,460 in rewards in the first year.

Annual fee

$120

Limited time offer/bonus: Receive up to 55,000 welcome RBC Rewards points upon approval (up to a $1.10 value).

Offer Expiry Date: January 31, 2023

Rewards

  • Earn one RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent on the card.
  • Earn an extra 25% on eligible travel-related purchases.
  • Earn an extra 20% at Petro-Canada.

Best Family Credit Card for Gas and Groceries

The right credit card can benefit the entire family. Whether it’s redeeming points for groceries at your favourite store or putting them towards streaming services, Canada’s top credit cards can save you money where you least expect it.

We compared the leading credit cards for grocery and gas purchases using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest first-year value.

However, sometimes, there are other, more important, characteristics that make a credit card great. That’s why our top pick for the best family credit card may surprise you.

Despite not having the best value by our own standards, we feel that the President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard® is the best credit card for families. Why? This no-fee offers families the ability to combine their PC Optimum points into a household pool, meaning families can earn and spend their rewards together. Plus, you can get supplementary cards for free.

With that in mind, your total for rewards earned on the President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard® could eclipse the earning potential of the other cards on the list.

Keep reading to see the full ranking.

  First year value* Credit score required Top features
$476 Fair Free additional cards + combine points with family.
$1,194 Good Earn points on groceries, dining, entertainment, gas, streaming services and public transportation purchases. Enjoy travel benefits.
$1,524 Fair Earn 5 AMEX Membership Rewards for every $1 spent on food and groceries. Free supplementary cards.

Winner: President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®

Cardholders of the President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard® can earn and redeem points on their purchases at President’s Choice banner brands including, Loblaws, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore and Zehrs, as well as their drugstore purchases at Shoppers Drug Mart. Earn at least 30 points per litre at Esso and Mobil gas stations. You can now also redeem your points at Esso.

Cardholders also have two ways to earn rewards faster. The first way is to present their PC Optimum card at the checkout and double dip on points. The second is by creating a “household” within the PC Optimum app and pooling points to earn and redeem rewards as a family.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $476 in rewards in the first year.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$20
+ Annual rewards
$456
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$476
PC® World Elite Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$20
PC Optimum™ points
Annual rewards
$456
PC Optimum™ points
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
20.97% on purchases • 22.97% on cash advances
2022 Winner – Best Family Credit Card for Gas and Groceries
Great card for fans of the PC Optimum™ rewards program looking to save even more on groceries
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$20
Annual rewards
$456
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$20
+ Annual rewards
$456
- Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$476
Annual fees:
$0
Interest rates:
20.97% on purchases
22.97% on cash advances
2022 Winner – Best Family Credit Card for Gas and Groceries
Great card for fans of the PC Optimum™ rewards program looking to save even more on groceries
Details at a glance Collapse details

Welcome bonus

20,000 PC Optimum™ points after your first purchase.

Offer expiry date: Ongoing offer

Rewards

  • Earn up to 45 PC Optimum™ points for every $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Earn 30 PC Optimum™ points for every $1 spent at participating grocery stores, PC Mobile and PC Travel purchases
  • Earn 10 PC Optimum™ points for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period + Welcome bonus= $456 + $20 = $476
Annual fee = $0
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $476

Benefits

  • 24/7 concierge
  • Insurance coverage
  • Travel medical - 10 days
  • Purchase protection - 90 days
  • Extended warranty - 1 year
  • Rental car insurance

Runners-up: Best Family Credit Card for Gas and Groceries

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card offers  rewards and benefits that are well-suited for families. Get rewarded with bonus points for meal kits like HelloFresh and Chefs Plate or streaming services like Netflix. Earn five Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on grocery, fast food, food delivery, food subscription and entertainment purchases.

Earn three Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on gas, transit purchases and select streaming services. Get one Scotia Scene+ point for all other purchases.

This card also features travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees — both fantastic perks for a family on vacation.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,194 in rewards in the first year.

Annual fee

$120

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn up to 20,000 bonus Scotia Scene+ points in the first year. Get 25,000 Scotia Scene+ points when you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months. Get an additional 20,000 Scotia Scene+ points when you spend at least $7,500 in the first 12 months.

Offer expiry date: April 30, 2023

Rewards

  • Earn five Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, fast food, food subscription and entertainment purchases.
  • Earn three Scotia Scene+ points for every $1 spent on eligible gas and daily transit purchases, as well as select streaming services.
  • Earn one Scotia Scene+ point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

American Express Cobalt® Credit Card

The American Express Cobalt® Credit Card is a great option for families because you can earn five points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery and food delivery purchases in Canada. If you use Instacart to order groceries, this is a great benefit to have. Entertainment-loving families can earn three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Best of all, there’s no fee for supplementary cards.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn $1,524 in rewards in the first year.

Annual fee:

$155.88 ($12.99 per month)

Annual fee for additional cardholders: $0

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points. Earn 2,500 points each monthly billing period in which you spend at least $500 on your card for 12 months. This could add up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year.

Offer expiry date: N/A subject to change without notice

Rewards

  • Earn five points for every $1 spent at grocery stores, restaurants, cafés, bars and food delivery purchases.
  • Earn three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada.
  • Earn two points for every $1 spent on transit, gas, and other eligible travel purchases.
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Best Credit Card for Young Professionals

Young professionals today are tech-savvy, ambitious individuals looking to make their mark on the world — working hard during the day and spending as much time as they can with friends in the evenings (albeit virtually these days).

Our top picks for young professionals reward them with cash back or perks for everyday purchases like trips to the store, rideshares to meetings and interviews, takeout and even binge-watching movies or TV shows on Netflix.

We compared the best credit cards for dining, entertainment and transportation using our Best of Finance methodology and ranked the cards that provided the highest first-year value.

  First year value* Credit score required Top features
$1,524 Fair Enjoy the flexible Membership Rewards® program, exclusive perks and travel insurance.
$862 Excellent Enjoy BMO Rewards, mobile device insurance and a $50 annual lifestyle credit.
$717 Excellent Get cash back, travel insurance and mobile device insurance.

Winner: American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

The American Express CobaltTM Credit Card rewards cardholders for an urban lifestyle. Get five points for every $1 spent on restaurant and food delivery purchases in Canada. Earn three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions. Get two points for every $1 spent on eligible travel and transit, including rideshare services. Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Members can access Cobalt Perks and American Express® Experiences for exclusive offers, presale tickets and curated events.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,874 in rewards in the first year.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$525
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1524
American Express Cobalt® Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$525
AMEX Rewards points
Annual rewards
$1155
AMEX Rewards points
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases • 21.99% on cash advances
2022 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$525
Annual rewards
$1155
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$525
+ Annual rewards
$1155
- Annual fee
$156
Total first year value
$1524
Annual fees:
$156
Interest rates:
20.99% on purchases
21.99% on cash advances
2022 Winner – Best Overall Rewards Credit Card, Best Credit Card for Young Professionals, and Best Credit Card for Earning Travel Points.
Particularly great for individuals who live in the city, eat out often or order in.
Details at a glance Collapse details

Annual fee

$155.88 ($12.99 per month)

Annual fee for additional cardholders: $0

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points. Earn 2,500 points each monthly billing period in which you spend at least $500 on your card for 12 months. This could add up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year.

Offer expiry date: N/A subject to change without notice

Rewards

  • Earn five points for every $1 spent at grocery stores, restaurants, cafés, bars and food delivery purchases.
  • Earn three points for every $1 spent on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada.
  • Earn two points for every $1 spent on transit, gas, and other eligible travel purchases.
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Earning potential

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 12-month period.

Rewards earned over a 12-month period = 116,000 Membership Rewards® points
Monetary value= $2,030
Annual fee = $156*
Total earned over the first year (rewards minus annual fee) = $1,874

* The American Express CobaltTM Credit Card has a $12.99 monthly fee ($155.88 per year).

You can redeem your points for:

  • Flights through the Fixed Points Travel Program
  • Travel
  • Streaming services
  • Movie tickets
  • Retail purchases
  • Events
  • Amazon.ca purchases
  • Statement credits

Insurance:

  • Out of province/country emergency medical insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost and stolen baggage insurance
  • Hotel burglary insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance
  • Mobile device insurance
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty

Want to learn more about how the American Express CobaltTM Credit Card stands up against the competition? Read more from our "In the Ring" series:

In the Ring: American Express Cobalt Credit Card vs. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Runners-up: Best Credit Card for Young Professionals

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

Cardholders of the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card earn five points for every $1 spent on groceries, gas, transit and dining purchases. Get one point for every $1 spent everywhere else. Plus, earn 10% more rewards with an authorized supplementary card user — that’s 5.5 points for purchases like gas and groceries and 1.1 points on all other purchases.

Cardholders also get a $50 annual lifestyle credit to use however they like.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $862 in rewards in the first year.

Annual fee

$120

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn up to 60,000 points. Get 30,000 points after you spend at least $3,000 in the first three months.  Receive an additional 2,500 BMO Rewards bonus points for each subsequent month during which at least $2,000 in net purchases are posted to your account.  Plus, pay no annual fee for the first year.

Offer expiry date: December 6, 2022

Rewards:

  • Earn five points for every $1 spent on grocery, dining, gas and transit purchases.
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

The Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card rewards cardholders for their everyday purchases, like groceries, streaming services and Uber rides. Get 4% cash back for every $1 spent on grocery purchases, recurring bill payments and subscriptions; earn 2% cash back for gas and daily transit purchases, including buses and taxis; get 1% back on all other purchases.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $717 cash back in the first year.

Annual fee

$120

Limited time offer/bonus

  • Earn 10% cash back on up to $2,000 in purchases for the first three months. Plus, pay no annual fee for the first year. Get a 2.99% introductory interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for the first six months.

Offer expiry date: April 30, 2023

Rewards:

  • Earn 4% cash back for every $1 spent on groceries, recurring bill payments and subscription purchases.
  • Earn 2% cash back for every $1 spent on gas and daily transit purchases.
  • Earn 1% cash back for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

*Rates, product information, and reward estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice. This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely those of RATESDOTCA. Information in this article is accurate as of the date of this posting, May 18, 2021. Read our full disclaimer.

Compare cashback and reward points to see which one suits your needs

Both cashback and rewards/travel points have benefits. This table breaks down some of the pros and cons for both types of cards.

Rewards Type Cashback Rewards/ Travel points
 Pros
  • Versatile - Use cashback to pay off your credit card bill or make new purchases
  • Holds a 100% cash value, meaning that you can use the instant cashback as money
  • Cashback can be based on a fixed flat-rate or bonuses for certain categories like gas, groceries etc.
  • Earn more cashback on regular purchases like groceries and gas
  • Rewards points are usually more valuable that cashback, because you can only use them for certain purchases
    May offer accelerated ways to earn in loyalty programs you may be using already (For example, PC Optimum)
  • Rewards are accumulated in your rewards account
  •  Allows you to access perks like discounted travel tickets, gift cards, credit card partner services like SCENE points, etc., depending on the card
  • Some of the redeemable rewards are hard to get otherwise such as the Priority Pass, which allows you to access the airport lounges around the world
 Cons
  • Cashback cards often have less perks such as travel insurance or access to discounted companion airfare tickets
  • Can only be redeemed on items/services that are part of the rewards program

What type of credit card rewards can I earn?

Each rewards credit card comes with a unique rewards program. Depending on the card, the rewards points can be redeemed for travel rewards, instant cashback, gift cards and much more. The type of rewards credit card you choose greatly depends on the kind of rewards you want to ultimately redeem for.

Here are the most popular credit card rewards and perks:

  • Travel rewards: If you’re a frequent traveler, travel rewards will be highly useful to you. A travel rewards credit card can earn you Air Miles or points that can be redeemed for flights, train tickets, hotel stays, travel upgrades and much more. See our travel cards.
  • Cash back rewards: Cashback rewards are great for the thrifty shopper. These cards give you instant cashback based on a specific percentage of your retail purchases, instantly saving you money. Cashback rewards can be based on a flat-rate, bonus, or flexible bonus structure. Learn more about cashback rewards.
  • Gift rewards: Some banks offer credit card rewards programs that allow you to use your points to redeem gift cards or items from their catalogues such as perfumes, vacuum cleaners, tablets etc. If you like to cash in your rewards frequently, you can use your points for multiple smaller rewards, like movie tickets or gifts cards for a dinner out. For example, the Scotiabank Rewards Points program allows you to browse through their rewards product catalogue to redeem your rewards points and select anything from coffee makers to a Swiss Chalet gift card.
  • Gas rewards: Do you spend a lot on gas every month? A gas rewards credit card can help you earn rewards or get cashback on your gas purchases. You can find two categories of gas rewards credit cards on the market: a rewards credit card with gas rewards or a loyalty gas credit card. A rewards credit card with gas perks allows you to purchase gas from anywhere and earn rewards each time you buy gas. In contrast, a loyalty gas rewards credit card will be tied to a specific gas retailer, allowing you to only earn rewards if you fill up your gas at their specified locations.

Credit card perks

In addition to rewards, you can also enjoy a variety of perks from most rewards credit cards.

  • Travel perks: Travel rewards credit cards often offer travel related perks such as discounted airfare prices and VIP airport lounge access with membership to services such as Priority Pass or LoungeKey. Almost every travel card also includes additional travel insurance perks which can save you time, money and peace of mind on short trips. Travel rewards over all make travel much more convenient and can save you a lot of money use all these features.
  • Insurance perks: Your rewards credit card can also come with a variety of insurance coverages such as travel, auto and accidental insurance. These can come in handy when you face unexpected situations like trip cancellations and roadside car issues. If you rent cars often, you might want to look for a rewards credit card that offers car rental insurance. As somebody who loves to travel, find a rewards credit card with travel insurance perks like trip cancellation insurance. Here’s an example of a credit card that comes with several insurance benefits:

Tip: You can also use a combination of rewards credit cards to take advantage of multiple rewards programs. For example, you can use a bonus cashback card and a travel rewards card to save money and at the same time earn travel rewards for your trips. This strategy will help you maximize your annual credit card rewards and perks.

Trying to figure out which rewards will work for you? These common questions about rewards credit cards can help you decide.

How do I know which rewards credit card is for me?

When choosing a rewards credit card, remember to look for rewards and perks that complement your lifestyle. There are many different types of rewards cards. Some offer travel rewards, while others cater to cashback, retail discounts, gift cards and much more. Look for cards that have rewards and ways to earn that better suit your financial and lifestyle goals.

Two things to consider when choosing a rewards card

1) How will I earn points/cash back (Or what / where do I spend money): Cards have different earn rates on different spend categories – get a card with a high rate on the thing you buy the most (if you are a big family, maybe this is groceries – if you are a young urbanite, maybe this is entertainment)

2) What do I want to spend (redeem) my points on: Some credit card users want cash back or statement credits because it’s the most flexible. However, cards that offer only cashback usually have lower reward rates than say their travel point counterparts. Even if the card has a flexible points rewards option (you can redeem earned points for cashback or travel) it is common for the redemption value of cash reward to be less than if the points were redeemed on travel.

To be eligible for most rewards credit cards, you must have good to excellent credit. If you need to work on your credit score, opting for a low interest credit card or a no-fee credit card can help you get there.

What is the annual fee for a rewards credit card?

Rewards credit cards typically come with an annual fee ranging anywhere from $100-$200. Some credit card companies waive the first year fee. Choose your rewards card strategically so the advantages outweigh the annual fee.

Why do rewards credit cards have annual fees?

Most rewards credit cards come with an annual fee due to the high-value benefits that come with the card. When choosing a rewards program, pick one that will help you get the most out of your credit card. For example, say you choose a cashback rewards credit card that has an annual fee of $100, comes with a 2% instant cashback on groceries and gas purchases, and 0.5% on other purchases. If you spend an average of $900 a month on groceries and gas alone, you’ll earn at least $216 in cashback by the end of the year, which offsets the annual credit card fee.

Similarly, most travel rewards credit cards come with bonuses. For example, say you choose a travel rewards card that comes with a welcome bonus of 2,000 Air Miles and a promise of an additional 4,000 Air Miles when you spend more than $10,000 in the next six months. You also can earn one Air Mile for every $10 spent. This offers you the potential to earn more than 6,000 Air Miles within six months of holding the card. These Air Miles are worth a few or more domestic trips, helping you save up on travel costs.

Looking for great offers on rewards credit cards? Check out the latest offers on credit cards.

RATESDOTCA may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services. however, our content and calculations are objective and free from bias. The opinions expressed are purely those of RATESDOTCA; thus, partners are not responsible for any editorials or reviews that may appear. For current term and conditions on any advertiser or partner’s product, please visit their website.

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