March Break is just around the corner - and as schools close up for the week, airports will fill with an exodus of winter-weary Canadians. If you’re among those seeking beaches and balmy temps, be prepared to pay up: a 2019 Allianz Global Assistance study found that the average Canadian spends $2,573 on vacations each year.

How can you keep your family’s travel costs down? It’s always smart to have a dedicated savings fund set up for any planned getaway; however, many Canadians also earn their way to their vacation by using a travel rewards credit card for their daily purchases.

Travel rewards credit cards earn points or miles on purchases that you can redeem for flights, hotel stays, vacation packages, and other travel-related expenses. Not to mention, many cards offer free companion tickets and airport luxuries, so your family can travel carefree and save money.

Some of the top travel offerings also include big sign up bonuses for new cardholders (often enough to fly short-haul), which are a great incentive and can take a bite out of your travel budget from the start.

Keep an eye out for welcome bonuses when choosing a new travel card, along with these top features:

  • A flexible redemption process that won’t limit your travel plans
  • Built-in travel insurance coverage
  • No foreign transaction fees

What Are the Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards in Canada?

Are you searching the far depths of the internet for the best travel rewards card? Look no further! We’ve rounded up the top picks based on sign up bonuses, fees, insurance coverage, and other perks.

Our top picks

Credit card Great features Annual fee

1. American Express CobaltTM 
Credit Card

Membership Rewards, travel insurance $10 ($120 a year)

2. Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotia Rewards, travel insurance $120
3. TD® Aeroplan®Visa Infinite Privilege* Card Aeroplan Miles, travel insurance $399

4. American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card

Aeroplan Miles, travel insurance  $499

5. American Express® AIR MILES®* Reserve Card

AIR MILES, companion fare, travel insurance  $299

6. Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

Companion fare  $75

1. American Express CobaltTM Credit Card

The American Express CobaltTM Credit Card offers excellent membership rewards and flexible redemption options. New cardmembers can receive up to 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards within the first year. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards each billing period that you spend $500 on your card. This welcome bonus can earn you a free short-haul flight using the Fixed Points Travel Program!

Monthly fee:

  • $10 ($120 a year)

Membership perks:

Enjoy the Fixed Points Travel Program for easy redemption of points with no guesswork. Redeem a fixed points amount for flights, regardless of the season, popularity, or date.

Travel insurance:

  • Out of province/country emergency medical insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance
  • $250,000 travel accident insurance

You’ll earn five times the Membership Rewards on eats and drinks, including groceries, restaurants, and fast food delivery. Get two times the rewards on gas and daily transit, including public transportation, taxis, and rideshare services. And, collect one Membership Reward everywhere else you shop so you can get that much closer to the beach.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: N/A (subject to change without notice)

2. Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

For a limited time, the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card is offering new cardmembers 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when they spent $1,000 within the first three months.

Annual fee:

  • $120

Membership perks: 

Cardholders can use the full-service travel agency, Scotia Rewards Travel Service, to get the Best Price Guarantee on airfare. Also, get a preferred discount on Priority Pass membership and enjoy VIP lounge access at airports worldwide.

Travel 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

Earn five Scotia Rewards points on eligible grocery, restaurant, fast food, and food subscription purchases, as well as at drinking establishments and on entertainment buys. Get three Scotia Rewards points on eligible gas, transit, and streaming services, and one point on everything else. You’ll be able to redeem your points for experiences, flights, vacation packages, and more, in no time.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: July 1, 2020

3. TD® Aeroplan®Visa Infinite Privilege* Card

Apply for the TD® Aeroplan®Visa Infinite Privilege* Credit Card and earn up to 40,000 Aeroplan Miles. Get 25,000 Aeroplan Miles when you make your first purchase. Earn 5,000 points each month you spend $1,000 within the first three months, up to a total of 15,000 Aeroplan Miles. That is enough for two premium economy short-haul roundtrip flights!

Annual fee:

  • $399

Membership perks: 

Enjoy Air Canada Benefits, including a complimentary checked bag, Priority Check-in and boarding, four annual guest passes to an Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (when travelling on an Aeroplan Flight Reward), and a 50% discount on a Companion Ticket. Not only that, receive exclusive Visa Infinite Privilege perks, including airport lounge access across the globe, as well as deals on hotel, food and wine experiences.

Travel insurance:

  • Travel medical insurance
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance
  • Flight/trip cancellation insurance
  • Common carrier travel accident insurance
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision/loss damage insurance
  • Emergency travel assistance services

You’ll earn 1.5 miles per dollar on grocery, gas, drug store, and Air Canada purchases. Get 1.25 miles per dollar you spend everywhere else. Plus, earn more miles when you use your Aeroplan Membership Card at participating retailers.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: May 31, 2020

4. American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card

The American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Platinum Card offers new members 40,000 bonus Aeroplan Miles when they spend at least $3,000 in the first three months. Not only that, this card provides priority check-in, lounge access and more.

Annual fee:

  • $499

Membership perks: 

Enjoy a yearly Partner Ticket benefit when you redeem 15,000 Aeroplan Miles for a short-haul roundtrip Fixed Mileage Flight Reward in economy class. You’ll receive an identical ticket for your partner for free. Relax in Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges and access Air Canada Priority Check-in for the VIP treatment at the airport.

Travel insurance:

  • Emergency medical insurance
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Trip interruption insurance
  • $500,000 travel accident insurance
  • Travel emergency assistance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance

You’ll earn 1.25 Aeroplan Miles per dollar spent on the card annually, up to $25,000. After that, earn 1.5 miles per dollar. Plus, you can double-dip on points when you provide your Aeroplan number at over 150 partners.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: N/A (subject to change without notice)

5. American Express® AIR MILES®* Reserve Card

New American Express® AIR MILES®* Reserve cardholders can earn 2,400 bonus AIR MILES when they spend $3,000 within the first three months. Plus, access the exclusive AIR MILES FlexFly Redemptions option, only available to American Express® AIR MILES®* Reserve members.

Annual fee:

  • $299

Membership perks: 

Enjoy annual companion flight benefits through the Air Miles Flight program, extra options through Air Miles FlexFly Redemptions, and automatic Onyx status. Redeem Miles for flight taxes and fees, enjoy waived AIR Miles flight administration fees, the Toronto Pearson Priority Security Lane, and airport lounge access worldwide.

Travel insurance:

  • Out of province/country emergency medical insurance
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance
  • $100,000 travel accident insurance
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Hotel burglary insurance

You receive 1 Mile for every $10 you spend at eligible AIR MILES Partners. Earn 1 Mile for every $10 you spend on eligible gas, grocery, and drug store purchases in Canada. And, earn 1 Mile for every $15 you spend everywhere else.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: N/A (subject to change without notice)

6. Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus® Mastercard®

Apply for the Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus® Mastercard® and receive 20,000 bonus Miles after you spend at least $1,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, save on rental cars with Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car across the U.S. and Canada.

Annual fee:

  • $75

Membership perks: 

Benefit from Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare annually on the anniversary of the account opening. Buy one round trip flight and get a second from $121 USD ($99 plus taxes and fees starting at $22).

Travel insurance:

  • Not applicable

Earn 3 Miles per dollar you spend on tickets, vacation packages, and cargo services from Alaska Airlines, and 1 Mile on all other eligible purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: N/A (subject to change without notice)

RATESDOTCA Team

The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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