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On the hunt for a Mastercard? The credit company -- one of Canada’s big three -- offers a huge selection of credit card types, designed to suit your specific spending needs and reward preferences. Which one is best for you? Read on for our top five Mastercard picks.

What’s included with every Mastercard

Every Mastercard, regardless of lender, is outfitted with the following features:

Mastercard Global Service: Every Mastercard cardholder has 24/7 telephone help access for their card, whether they require emergency card replacement, a cash advance, or referral to the closest ABM.

Zero Liability: You won’t be on the hook for any charges if your card is stolen, or if payments are processed without your authorization.

What’s included with a World Mastercard

Bumped your card up to the next level? Here are the perks you can expect to receive.

Price Protection: This coverage will pay for the difference of a new purchase should it go on sale within 60 days. Up to $100 per item is covered, with a maximum of $500 every calendar year.

Extended Warranty: This coverage automatically doubles the manufacturer’s original warning for up to two years.

Purchase Assurance: This protects your purchases from theft, loss or damage for up to 120 days after buying.

Concierge: Cardholders can call in at any time for assistance with travel, entertainment, shopping or business needs. All services and expenses associated with concierge assistance are charged directly to the card.

Top 5 Mastercards in Canada

  1. Capital One Aspire Travel World Mastercard
  2. MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard
  3. BMO World Elite Mastercard
  4. Capital One Platinum Mastercard for Costco Members
  5. MBNA Platinum Plus

Earnings over 24 months, including bonus periods

Total rewards earned per card over 24 months

*Excludes the Platinum Plus, which does not collect rewards.

Capital One Aspire Travel World Mastercard

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While at first glance this card appears to have a lower-than-average interest rate, note the addition of “plus prime” - this means the lender’s Prime rate (currently 3%) is added on top, meaning this card’s APR totals 19.20% at time of writing. This means the card’s rate could drop or rise depending on the next Bank of Canada interest rate announcement.

Rewards earned over two years: $604.91

Annual fee: $120

Required household income: Applicants must have excellent credit and a minimum personal income of $60,000 or household of $100,000 to qualify for this card.

Earning Rate: Good: This card features a respectable 2% on every dollar spent, with full earning flexibility; there are no category or retailer restrictions or exclusions. There’s also no cap on the amount of rewards that can be earned.

Bonus: Great: New cardholders will get 35,000 points (a $350 value) with the first purchase made on the card. Capital One will also reward cardholders on their anniversary with an annual gift of 10,000 ($100).

Reward Redemption: Great: This card offers fantastic ease of redemption, allowing customers to choose their reward type. Rewards can be used for travel (starting at 15,000 points), and are simply redeemed post-purchase; airfare, hotels, car rentals, etc. need only be purchased with the card for rewards to apply, meaning no blackout periods, restrictions or per-capacity seating limits.

In addition to travel, rewards can also be redeemed for merchandise or gift cards through Capital One’s No Hassle Rewards online program. Even better - cardholders can choose to turn rewards into cash by arranging for mailed cheque payments, or a credit to be applied to their overall balance.

Insurance and Other Benefits: Great: This is a solid travel option with a comprehensive suite of built-in travel coverage. It includes full Travel Emergency Medical for Cardholders, spouses and dependent children for the first 22 days of the trip (8 if cardholders are over the age of 65).

Other travel benefits include:

  • $1,000 trip cancellation per day, up to $5,000
  • $5,000 per day, $25,000 cap trip interruption
  • $1,000 flight delay
  • $500,000 travel accident
  • Rental car and collision
  • MasterAssist Travel Insurance

BMO World Elite Mastercard

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Annual Fee: $150

Rewards earned over two years: $644.91

Required household income: A minimum $70,000 (individual) or $120,000 (household) annual income is required to qualify for this card.

Earning Rate: Good: The BMO World Elite earns 2% on the dollar, and all purchases are eligible, with no retailer or category restrictions or rewards cap.

Bonus: Good: Get 30,000 points ($300) after the first purchase on card. Rewards can be used for travel redemption, or for merchandise through BMO’s Rewards Centre.

Rewards Redemption: Great: this card features full redemption flexibility, and one of the best models available for travel rewards; points can be redeemed on any airline, hotel, etc., and are applied post-purchase, meaning no airline restrictions, blackouts or per capacity limitations. Points can also be used to cover additional airfare fees and taxes. A great feature is the rewards top up ability - if short on the required points to book, cardholders can simply pay the difference on their card - no markups or the need to buy additional travel points. However, travel must be booked through BMO’s Rewards Centre either online, or over the phone. BMO includes a Price Match Guarantee on bookings should cardholders find a better deal elsewhere.

Insurance and Other Benefits: Great: In addition to BMO’s comprehensive $2 million travel medical, interruption, cancellation and baggage coverage, travellers receive a free Priority Pass membership, granting access to VIP airport lounges, and four complimentary lounge visits annually.

MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard

Annual Fee: NA

Rewards earned over two years: $603.20

Earning Rate: Great: This card is all about no-fuss cash earnings, offering one of the market’s highest earning rates for gas and groceries. It’s a great option for those who enjoy earning rewards on their everyday purchases.

Bonus: Good: Cardholders earn 5% on the dollar for all gas and grocery purchases for the first six months, and 1% on all other purchases (up to $400 monthly). Earnings fall to 2% on gas and groceries after the welcome earning rate.

Reward Redemption: Great: The Smart Cash is known for taking convenience one step further - you’ll be mailed a cheque for $50 when your earnings hit that mark. Rewards mail-out is automatic - there’s no need to pre-arrange as one may need to do with other card options. It’s also a good alternative to cash back cards that redeem cash rewards as a credit toward the card’s balance; after all, there’s no greater flexibility than cash.

Insurance and Other benefits: Good: The basic version of card includes Zero Liability, Fraud Monitoring, Password Protection. Cardholders have the ability to bump up to the Platinum version of card which also includes Mastercard Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, Auto Rental Insurance.

Capital One Platinum Mastercard for Costco members

This card caters to specifically to Costco customers, but it’s also a cash back-earning heavy hitter. In addition to doubling as a Costco membership card, it also offers flexible earning potential and a competitive all-around earning rate.

Interest Rate: 19.75%

Balance Transfer: NA

Cash Advance: 19.75%

Credit Score: Good

Rewards: 6%

Rewards earned over two years: $364.91

Annual Fee: NA

Earning Rate: Good: This card earns 3% on restaurant purchases, 2% on gas and 0.5% on first $5,000 spent on all other purchases, and 1% after that, with no earning cap after the welcome bonus expires.

Bonus: Great: The cash back earning rate is doubled for the first three months , earning 6 per cent at restaurants (the highest on the market), 4% on gas, and 2% on everything else, up to a $8,500 spending cap.

Rewards Redemption: Great: Cardholders can choose how cash back rewards are applied - whether a mailed cheque, credit applied to Mastercard balance, etc. Rewards can also be saved until January, and redeemed as a rebate to be used when shopping at Costco.

Note: Costco membership fee will be charged automatically to card unless otherwise indicated.

Insurance and other Benefits: Good: Includes Price protection, purchase protection, extended warranty, travel accident insurance, car rental collision, baggage delay, MasterAssist Travel.

MBNA Platinum Plus

Annual Fee: NA

Interest Saved Over two Years: $951.30

Earning Rate: Trying to get your credit card balance under control? This card offers the most competitive balance transfer feature on the market, with ZERO interest charged on transferred balances for the first 12 months.

Cardholders will also enjoy full suite of Platinum card benefits such as customer service, accessible line of credit and cash advances.

However, cardholders should take heed - once the balance transfer feature is activated, it waives all other interest perks, such as the usual grace period on purchases - anything additionally charged to the card will incur the full interest rate immediately.

Bonus: NA

Reward Redemption: NA

Insurance and other Benefits: Good:  This card includes a few surprise travel perks including lost document and ticket replacement, lost luggage assistance, legal assistance, $1 million in Common Carrier Accidental Death and Dismemberment Benefits, $2,000 for unexpected return home, balance protection and rental collision coverage.

Penelope Graham

A first-time homeowner and newbie investor, Penelope Graham is the quintessential millennial, navigating the world of personal finance and wealth management. A self-professed monetary policy nerd, she follows the often-controversial housing market closely and specializes in mortgage, credit card and personal finance news.

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