Compare Travel Credit Cards

Love to travel? Make travelling more affordable by earning travel rewards with a travel credit card.

What's your rewards preference?
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Annual fees?
Best Travel Credit Card in Canada for 2020

As part of our Best of Finance campaign, our team analyzed over 150 credit cards across 13 categories for the best value, to help take the guesswork out of shopping for a new card.

Our pick for Best Travel Credit Card in Canada for 2020 goes to the

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

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Today's best travel credit card offer

What are travel credit cards?

If you love to explore new places, experience cultures, and take on new adventures, a good travel credit card can make travelling more affordable by allowing you to earn travel reward points and perks with every transaction. Most travel credit cards reward you one point or mile for every dollar you spend. Sometimes more in certain categories of spend. Every travel credit card also comes with its own set of special features and perks that can be helpful when travelling. These can include lounge access, no exchange fees, trip cancellation insurance, travel discounts and more. See which travel credit card is the best for all your personal travel needs by comparing travel credit cards today.

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Each travel card comes with its own unique features. When looking at travel credit cards, make sure you know what kind of features you’ll most likely need for your travelling needs.

  • Co-branded and general travel cards: Several credit card providers offer both co-branded and general travel cards. A co-branded card is affiliated with a brand, such as a hotel or airline, and allows you to access offers specific to that brand’s services. A co-branded travel credit card may limit your rewards options, but these cards can also land you great exclusive perks like hotel suites and travel seat upgrades. A general travel credit card, on the other hand, rewards you with perks and points/miles that are not brand specific. This gives you more flexibility when it comes to choosing your travel rewards.
  • Sign-up bonuses vs. ongoing rewards and perks: Don’t get too caught up by sign-up bonus offers. You must also pay attention to the overall rewards and benefits of the travel credit card, as once the bonus offer expires, you’ll be stuck with the ongoing rewards. Make sure that these rewards and perks enrich your travel experience for many years to come.
  • Travel perks you’ll actually use: Everybody likes the sound of a long list of credit card perks, but it’s important to ask yourself if you’re really going to use them. For example, your travel credit card can offer you rental car coverage, lost luggage insurance, travel delay and accident insurance, concierge services etc. But if you’re looking for specific rewards like free checked bags and travel upgrades, make sure you check if they’re a part of the rewards program.
  • Payment network: Not all travel credit cards are widely accepted in every country. Your card’s payment network, rather than the card issuer, determines the acceptance. Visa or Mastercard are accepted almost everywhere including, Canada and US. For American Express and Discover cards, the places you can use them may be limited. Make sure you check if the travel credit card you’re interested in is widely accepted in your destination country. It’s advisable to have a couple cards from multiple issuers when travelling. Your primary travel credit card but also a secondary credit card from a different issuer.
What are the benefits of using a travel rewards credit card?

When you use a travel credit card to pay for your day-to-day credit card purchases, you earn travel rewards such as Air Miles or rewards points on every qualifying purchase. Not to mention the great sign-up bonuses that most travel credit cards come with! With a travel credit card, you can save hundreds of dollars in airfare and other travel related expenses, helping you travel more often,for much less and more comfortably with complimentary insurance and travel benefits. Travel credit cards can also have travel deals such as redeeming points at a discounted rate for a particular destination.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect from a good travel credit card:

  • Earn Air Miles, Aeroplan miles, or other travel rewards: Many Canadian travel credit cards come with the potential to earn Air Miles or Aeroplan miles, which can be used to purchase flight tickets or secure travel upgrades such as hotel suites, more leg room etc. Each mile has a certain dollar value that can be redeemed for travel rewards. A travel credit card can also be linked to certain air carriers, allowing you to enjoy greater benefits specific to those air carriers. A great example is the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card, which comes with Air Canada perks, such as Priority boarding.
  • Sign-up bonuses: Many credit card lenders offer great sign-up bonuses for travel credit cards. These bonuses can boost your potential of earning Air Miles, Aeroplan miles, or travel points which could mean free travel tickets for you take advantage of. Having said that, while a large sign up bonus is enticing, make sure you choose the right travel card that benefits you the most in long run. For this pay attention to the earn rate as well as the redemption rate.
  • Travel insurance: Travelling can be quite stressful at times with trip delays or cancellations disrupting your plans. With a travel credit card, you may be eligible for great travel insurance coverage that’ll make travelling less stressful and more secure for you and your family. For example, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card offers you a variety of travel insurances, including Flight Delay Insurance, and Delayed and Lost Baggage Insurance, when you make at least 75% of your trip purchases through the credit card. Coverage varies by credit card. To be able to use the insurance coverage that comes with your travel credit card, make sure that your travel purchases are paid through your credit card. Also, pay attention to how much the insurance covers, as you may need to get additional travel insurance coverage.
  • Discounted trip tickets: Many travel credit cards allow you to book discounted tickets through their travel partners or discount codes. Scotiabank, for example, offers you access to their Scotia Rewards Travel Service, which comes with the best price match guarantee feature when you choose one of their travel cards.
  • Lounge access: One of the most sought-after credit card perks is lounge access. As an avid traveller, you must know how useful airport lounge access can be. From relaxing, to making important calls or emails before a flight, and free snacks, having lounge access is a great advantage for any traveller. Many travel credit cards come with complimentary lounge access passes such as the Priority Pass.
  • Zero exchange fee: If you’re a frequent traveler who makes a lot of foreign currency purchases when abroad, look for a travel credit card with low or no foreign transaction fees. When you make a purchase in non-Canadian currency, you can end up paying an additional 2.5% on top of the actual price. By choosing a travel credit card with a zero exchange fee, you can save hundreds of dollars when travelling.
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Travel credit cards come with a lot of great features. Here’s what you need to know before choosing a travel credit card.

Am I be eligible for a travel credit card?

To be eligible for most travel credit cards, you need to have a credit score of 650 or higher. If you have poor or fair credit, you may want to improve your credit score before applying for a travel credit card. You can rebuild your credit before you start looking for a rewards credit card, with a balance transfer credit card, which makes it easier to pay off your bill faster if interest is piling up on you or another option is a secured credit card. Some travel credit cards also require a minimum income; either individual or household income. Be sure to check this required qualification before applying.

Do travel credit cards come with an annual fee?

Most travel credit cards come with an annual fee ranging from $100-$150. This is because travel credit cards yield high value rewards. Often the rewards value make up for the fee you pay annually given your spend or how cleverly you spend in the categories that earns you multipliers. Therefore, the annual fee is a small price to pay for the exclusive rewards and perks. Some banks and financial institutions may waive the first-year annual fee as part of a sign-up bonus.

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