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Best Credit Cards for Urban Living in Canada for 2021

July 21, 2021
7 mins
A women sits on a set of steps and uses her phone

Canada’s biggest cities are a little quieter these days as many would-be commuters work from home — not to mention the record-breaking number of people who moved to the suburbs searching for affordable homes at the start of the pandemic.

However, the allure of the hustle and bustle of city life with its convenient transportation, endless culinary options, local character and overall vibrancy continues to attract many longtime residents and newcomers.

We’ve compiled a list of the top credit cards that reward city-dwellers from St. John’s to Whitehorse. These cards offer accelerated earn rates for transportation, dining and entertainment purchases and provide convenient discounts and benefits.

Our top picks

Credit card

Top features for urban living

Annual fee

First-year value*

1. American Express CobaltTM Card

  • 5X the points for restaurant, food delivery
  • 2X the points for transit, including rideshare services

$120

($10 per month)

$1,560

2. Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

  • 5X the points for food delivery, entertainment
  • 3X the points for transit, streaming services

$120

$1,024

3. BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

  • 5X the points for dining, transit
  • $50 annual lifestyle credit
  • Pay with Points for as little as $1

$120 (First year waived)

$862

4. Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

  • 4% cash back on recurring bill payments, subscription services
  • 2% cash back for gas, daily transit

$120 (First year waived)

$867

5. Tangerine World Mastercard®

  • Earn up to 2% cash back for public transportation and parking, restaurants, entertainment and more

$0

$409

6. Scotiabank American Express® Card

  • Get one Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent
  • Get basic travel insurance

$0

$290

*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.

1. American Express CobaltTM Card

First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$525
Annual rewards
$1155
Annual fee
$120
Total first year value
$1560
American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$525
AMEX Rewards points
Annual rewards
$1155
AMEX Rewards points
Annual fee
$120

2021 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
First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$525
Annual rewards
$1155
annualFee
$120
Total first year value
$1560
Welcome bonus
$525
Annual rewards
$1155
2021 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

New cardholders of the American Express CobaltTM Credit Card can earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards® points when you spend $500 on your card each statement period for the first 12 months.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Monthly fee: $10 ($120 per year)
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn five Membership Rewards® points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant and food delivery purchases.
  • Earn two Membership Rewards® points for every $1 spent on eligible travel and transit purchases, including rideshare services.
  • Earn one Membership Rewards® point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Cardholders can stay connected with American Express® Experiences for exclusive access to tickets and events, deals and onsite benefits. This card also features shopping and travel insurance.

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

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Find the best credit card for your lifestyle today!

2. Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$500
Annual rewards
$744
Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$1244
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$500
Scotia Rewards points
Annual rewards
$744
Scotia Rewards points
Annual fee
$120
First Year Waived

2021 Winner – Best Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees for Long Stay Travellers, and Best Credit Card for Staying Home and Ordering In
Strong travel perks and 0% foreign transaction fees compliment great reward value
Details at a glance Collapse details
First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$500
Annual rewards
$744
annualFee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$1244
Welcome bonus
$500
Annual rewards
$744
2021 Winner – Best Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees for Long Stay Travellers, and Best Credit Card for Staying Home and Ordering In
Strong travel perks and 0% foreign transaction fees compliment great reward value
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card offers cardholders up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in the first year. Earn 30,000 Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months of opening the account. Get an additional 10,000 points when you spend at least $7,500 in the first 12 months.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $29
  • Earn five Scotia Rewards points on eligible grocery, fast food, food delivery, food subscription and entertainment purchases.
  • Earn three Scotia Rewards points on eligible gas and daily transit purchases, as well as streaming services.
  • Earn one Scotia Rewards point on all other purchases.

This card features extensive travel insurance coverage, the Best Price Guarantee on airfare booked through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service and no foreign transaction fees. Cardholders can also access the best of American Express Invites® for special offers, discounts and events.

Offer expiry date: August 31, 2021

3. BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$284
Annual rewards
$578
Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$862
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$284
BMO Rewards points
Annual rewards
$578
BMO Rewards points
Annual fee
$120
First Year Waived

Designed for the lifestyle of the urban digital millennial
Redeem points for travel or cashback, including "pay with points" on any purchase
Details at a glance Collapse details
First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$284
Annual rewards
$578
annualFee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$862
Welcome bonus
$284
Annual rewards
$578
Designed for the lifestyle of the urban digital millennial
Redeem points for travel or cashback, including "pay with points" on any purchase
Details at a glance Collapse details

Cardholders can earn up to 40,000 bonus points with the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card. Get 25,000 points after you spend at least $3,000 in the first three months and an additional 15,000 points on your account anniversary. Plus, pay no annual fee for the first year.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $50
  • 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.

Cardholders can also earn 10% more points when they add an authorized user to the account. That means you can earn 5.5 points for every $1 spent on dining in or out.

This card also features a $50 annual lifestyle credit and various Visa Infinite* benefits for exclusive access to hotel and dining collections.

Not only that, but cardholders can also use their BMO Rewards to Pay with Points for as little as $1. That means paying for a latte or taxi fare is now possible with points — perfect for any social urbanite.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

4. Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$153
Annual rewards
$564
Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$717
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$153
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$564
Scotia Cash Back Rewards
Annual fee
$120
First Year Waived

2021 Winner – Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card
Includes comprehensive travel insurance and rare mobile device insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details
First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$153
Annual rewards
$564
annualFee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$717
Welcome bonus
$153
Annual rewards
$564
2021 Winner – Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card
Includes comprehensive travel insurance and rare mobile device insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card offers 10% cash back on all purchases for the first three months, up to $2,000 in total purchases. Plus, Scotiabank will waive the annual fee for the primary and additional cardholders for the first year.

Apply by July 31, 2021, and get a $150 e-Gift Card from RATESDOTCA upon approval.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $50
  • Earn 4% cash back for grocery purchases, recurring bill payments and subscription services.
  • Earn 2% cash back for gas and daily transit purchases, including taxis, buses and rideshare services.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Cardholders can save on rental cars at participating AVIS locations across the U.S. and Canada and access travel and mobile device insurance.

Offer expiry date:

  • Scotiabank offer: August 31, 2021
  • RATESDOTCA offer: July 31, 2021

5. Tangerine World Mastercard®

First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$100
Annual rewards
$309
Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$409
Tangerine World Mastercard®

card image
Welcome bonus
$100
Money-Back Rewards
Annual rewards
$309
Money-Back Rewards
Annual fee
$0

Flexible no fee card that gives you the ability to choose what categories earn you the most cash back
Includes rare mobile device insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details
First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$100
Annual rewards
$309
annualFee
$0
Total first year value
$409
Welcome bonus
$100
Annual rewards
$309
Flexible no fee card that gives you the ability to choose what categories earn you the most cash back
Includes rare mobile device insurance
Details at a glance Collapse details

The Tangerine World Mastercard® offers 10% cash back on up to $1,000 in total purchases for the first two months. That is up to $100 cash back. Also, get a 1.95% promotional interest rate on balance transfer made in the first 30 days of opening the account for six months. A 1% balance transfer fee does apply.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn 2% cash back in up to three Money-Back Categories of your choice, including but not limited to restaurants, transportation and parking, recurring bill payments and entertainment. Start with two categories and get the third when choosing to deposit your rewards into a Tangerine Savings Account.
  • Earn 0.50% cash back on all other purchases.

This card also features rental car collision and damage loss insurance and mobile device insurance.

Offer expiry date: August 16, 2021

6. Scotiabank American Express® Card

First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$50
Annual rewards
$240
Annual fee
$0
Total first year value
$290
Scotiabank®* American Express® Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$50
Scotia Rewards points
Annual rewards
$240
Scotia Rewards points
Annual fee
$0

Flexible rewards can be redeemed for travel, statement credtis and more.
Includes strong travel perks for a no fee card, including full service travel agency
Details at a glance Collapse details
First Year Value is the estimated dollar amount of benefits you will accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
Welcome bonus
$50
Annual rewards
$240
annualFee
$0
Total first year value
$290
Welcome bonus
$50
Annual rewards
$240
Flexible rewards can be redeemed for travel, statement credtis and more.
Includes strong travel perks for a no fee card, including full service travel agency
Details at a glance Collapse details

New cardholders of the Scotiabank®* American Express® Card can earn 5,000 Scotia Rewards points when they spend at least $500 in the first three months of opening the account.

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Annual fee for additional cards: $0
  • Earn one Scotia Rewards point for every $1 you spend on everyday purchases.

Cardholders can get the Best Price Guarantee on Airfare through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service and redeem rewards for any flight, any time. Also, save on car rentals at participating AVIS locations across the U.S. and Canada, and access basic travel insurance and shopping coverage.

Offer expiry date: October 31, 2021

Related read: Insurance Changes Coming to Scotiabank Credit Cards in July

Rates, product information and reward estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice. This post was not sponsored. RATESDOTCA may receive a referral fee from our partners or affiliate links featured on the site; however, our editorial choices are objective and free from bias. The opinions expressed in this article are purely those of RATESDOTCA; thus, the credit card issuers and partners are not responsible for any editorials or reviews that may appear. Please visit the associated website for complete and current terms and conditions on any product or service mentioned. The information in this article is accurate as of the date of this posting, July 21, 2021. Read our full disclaimer.

This article was originally published on June 9, 2021, and has since been updated.

Hayley Vesh

Hayley Vesh is a creative, resourceful, and knowledgeable content producer who is passionate about financial literacy, storytelling, and generating ideas. She writes about credit cards, savings, debt management, and personal finance. In her spare time, Hayley can be found wandering in the woods, hunting for second-hand treasures, or curled up with a steeped tea and a good podcast.

Find Hayley Vesh on LinkedIn.

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