10 Best Travel Credit Cards In Canada 2022: Get Fantastic Perks

According to a Canadian Bankers Association study, 82% of Canadians say that rewards are a priority when picking a credit card.

And apparently, this is specifically because it makes vacations more attainable, saves them money with cashback rewards and allows them to make donations to their favourite charity.

In today’s post, we will be focusing on credit cards that are specifically advantageous when it comes to travel.

With perks including extra points earned, extensive travel insurance, money saved on foreign exchange (FX) fees, lounge benefits, and more, these credit cards can be a fantastic tool to reap travel-related benefits while making everyday purchases.

So, here are the ten best travel credit cards in Canada. Let’s get started.

Best Overall
American Express Cobalt® Card
American Express Cobalt® Card
  • Up to 5x Membership Rewards points
  • Extensive travel and mobile device insurance 
  • Hotel credits and free room upgrades at more than 600 hotels
Best No FX Fee
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite
  • No FX fees (normally 2.5%)
  • Fantastic travel insurance
  • 6 free airport lounge passes per year
Best No-Fee
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
  • Earn and redeem AIR MILES
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Additional cardholders are free 
  • Get discounts on car rentals
  • $0 fee per year

Features You Should Look For Before Choosing A Travel Credit Card

Travel credit cards come at various price points and offer different types of benefits to their users. Depending on your expectations, spending habits and lifestyle, some cards will be better for you than others.

Before choosing a card, here are some things you should consider.

1. How much are you planning on spending on your card each month?

If you are looking for a relatively small spending limit and will only spend a few hundred dollars per month, I would recommend going with a no or low annual fee credit card and purchasing your travel insurance separately.

Why? Because most of the rewards that are associated with travel cards (such as points and cashback) are linked directly to how much you spend. The more you spend, the more points you can get.

If you are not planning on spending that much in the first place, choosing a high annual fee card with high rewards may not necessarily make sense for you.

2. Will you be making a lot of transactions overseas?

If so, it may be a good idea to opt for a card that charges no foreign exchange (FX) fees, which are typically marked somewhere between 2% to 3% per transaction with most credit cards. I would also advise you to be wary of the exchange rate used, as banks tend to put a big markup on these rates. 

3. Is travel insurance important to you?

Some cards offer better insurance than others (such as medical travel insurance, lost baggage, hotel burglary, etc.) Make sure you take a look at your chosen cards’ insurance offers before signing up.

4. Planning on carrying over a high balance on a month-to-month basis?

If so, consider your options for lower-interest credit cards.

5. Sign-up bonuses

Competition is high between credit card providers in Canada. This means many financial institutions offer great sign-up bonuses and perks to incentivize their products.

If you are not in a rush, I would recommend waiting for a sign-up bonus period. Most of these offers will include extra points to be redeemed for travel, cashback and more.

6. What are your travel and booking habits?

Your lifestyle may affect which type of travel credit card is appropriate for you. Are you an avid Expedia user? Air Canada flyer? AIR MILES collector? Different cards will suit each of these habits differently, so I recommend choosing wisely.

The Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada

The Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada

Here are the top ten travel credit cards in Canada.

With such a wide range, I’m confident that you can find the right one for you.

1. American Express Cobalt® Card: Best Overall

American Express Cobalt Card

Standout Features:

  • Collect up to 5x Membership Rewards® points to redeem on purchases, travel, and more
  • Receive up to USD $100 of hotel credit to use on amenities and get a free room upgrade at more than 600 hotels/resorts
  • Get extensive travel and mobile device insurance

The American Express Cobalt® Card is one of the best travel cards out there. Not only is the American Express Membership Rewards® system fantastic, but you also have the chance to earn extra points with this card to redeem on practically anything.

This card is also equipped with an extended warranty and purchase protection, American Express® Experience perks (such as presale access and preferred seating) and amazing insurance, which includes:

  • Travel medical insurance (up to $5,000,000)
  • Flight and baggage delay insurance (up to $500)
  • Hotel Burglary Insurance (up to $500)
  • Travel Accident Insurance ($250,000)
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage ($85,000)
  • Mobile device insurance (up to $1,000 in the event of theft, loss or accidental damage)

This card costs $12.99 per month ($155.88 per year.) Learn more and sign up for this card here.

2. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite – No FX Fees and Free Lounge Access

Standout Features:

  • No FX fees
  • The first supplementary card is $0 ($50 for others)
  • Earn and redeem points through the Scene+ program
  • Complimentary airport lounge access (six per year)
  • Extensive travel insurance

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card is our top pick for no FX fee cards with lounge access.

This card is $139 per year, charges no FX fees, offers complimentary airport lounge access for the primary cardholder and has amazing travel insurance benefits, including:

  • Travel Emergency Medical Insurance + Travel Accident Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
  • Flight/Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Hotel Burglary Insurance
  • Rental Car Collision Loss/Damage Insurance
  • Purchase Security & Extended Warranty Protection

The minimum credit limit for this card is $5,000. You also have the option to add extra insurance packages to this card to include insurance in the event of death, critical illness or hospitalization.

Sign up for this amazing card here.

Check out this review of Scotiabanks’ premium banking account, where you can get the fee for this card waived if you have a minimum balance of a certain amount.

3. BMO AIR MILES Mastercard: Best No-Fee

BMO

Standout Features:

  • $0 annual fee
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Additional cardholders are free (maximize your AIR MILES)
  • Get 25% off rentals at partaking National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-a-Car branches

Don’t want to pay an annual fee but still want to collect AIR MILES for travel? Look no further.

This card has no annual fees and allows you to have additional cardholders at absolutely no cost. And more purchases translate to even more AIR MILES.

Here is how the AIR MILES program works:

  • Earn 1 Mile per $25 spent
  • Earn 3x Miles at AIR MILES partners (such as Shell, Safeway and Thrifty Foods)
  • Boost your points when you show your AIR MILES card in conjunction with using your BMO AIR MILES card
  • Redeem your Miles for travel (including hotels, flights, cruises, packages or car rentals) and more

Do keep in mind that this card does not offer any travel insurance. If you only travel a few times per year, you may still be able to save money if you purchase your travel insurance separately.

Learn more about this card here.

4. Koho Premium: Best Prepaid

KOHO Logo

Standout Features:

  • No FX fees
  • Gain 2% instant cashback on three categories and 0.5% on everything else
  • 30-day free trial ($84 per year after that)
  • One free international ATM withdrawal per month

We are big fans of Koho here at Wealth Awesome.

Koho’s Premium account is a fantastic option for a prepaid travel card, specifically because it charges no FX fees, offers cashback and comes at a really good annual price.

You also do not have to worry about interest rates, making monthly payments or your credit score with this card. If you are keen to build your credit score with this prepaid card anyway, though, you still have the option to do so at a monthly cost of $7.

Read our in-depth review of Koho here.

And sign up for Koho Premium here.

5. Wise Multi-Currency Card: Best for Exchange Rates (Prepaid)

Wise

Standout Features:

  • The mid-market exchange rate used (no markup)
  • Can convert to 53 different currencies
  • Take out 350 CAD/Month in cash at international ATMs with no fees
  • No FX fees
  • $0 annual fee
  • No income requirement
  • Backed by Visa

Although it is not technically a credit card, this is one of the best travel cards in my opinion, so I had to include it in this list.

The Wise debit card just recently became available in Canada. It is backed by Visa, so it is accepted everywhere Visa is.

The best part about this card is that it converts your money to the local currency of where you are using the mid-market exchange rate. That means no hidden markups and fees that you are unaware of.

It also has no annual fees and very few income requirements. Although you won’t be getting any cashback or insurance perks with a card like this, your savings on exchange and FX fees combined can be really beneficial if you travel regularly.

Wise is also great for sending and receiving money across borders. You can learn more about this card here.

6. TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card: Best Aeroplan card

TD Logo

Standout Features:

  • Up to eight people on the same Air Canada booking get their first checked bag free
  • Earn and redeem Aeroplan points (get more at Aeroplan partners and Starbucks)
  • Fee rebate for NEXUS
  • Extensive travel insurance
  • Save 10% at Avis and Budget Rent-a-Car

Want exclusive travel benefits and partake in a great points program that allows you to redeem your points for travel, merchandise, experience and gift cards?

This TD card might be a fantastic option for you.

This card has an annual fee of $139 and is equipped with fantastic travel insurance perks and Air Canada benefits that can help you reach Aeroplan Elite Status quickly.

You can learn more about this card here.

7. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card: No FX Fees

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Standout Features:

  • No FX fees (normally 2.5%)
  • Fantastic insurance coverage for travel
  • Earn and redeem points through the Scene+ Program: up to 6x extra points on food and entertainment, 3x extra points on gas, transit and streaming services 
  • Special Amex offers

Scotiabank’s Scene+ program is quite popular in Canada. With this Gold American Express Card, you can take advantage of the rewards system on a whole new level.

You also get access to fantastic insurance protection in Canada and beyond, including travel emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation/interruption/delay insurance, rental car insurance, luggage insurance, travel accident insurance, hotel/motel burglary insurance, mobile device insurance, purchase security and extended warranty.

This card has an annual fee of $120. You can learn more about it and sign up here.

8. BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard: Best for AIR MILES

BMO

Standout Features:

  • Earn 1 Mile per $12 spent and 3x points at partaking AIR MILES locations
  • Get 25% off of one AIR MILES flight per year
  • Travel and medical protection, extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Free access to one million Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots

I would highly recommend this card to you if you are already an AIR MILES collector.

The card offers fast-tracked AIR MILES accumulation along with great travel insurance perks, money off flights and other fantastic Mastercard benefits. This BMO World Elite Mastercard has a $120 annual fee.

Don’t forget; you can also get double the points if you use your AIR MILES card in conjunction with your AIR MILES credit card.

Learn more about this card here.

9. Vancity enviro Visa Infinite Privilege card: Best for Visa Infinite Privilege Perks

Standout Features:

  • Lowest annual fee for Visa Infinite Privilege in Canada ($245 per year)
  • Up to 10x points on Vancity Rewards program
  • Fantastic travel perks including hotel benefits, complimentary airport lounge visits, complimentary Priority Pass membership and express security lane access at Canadian airports
  • Extensive travel insurance
  • First cardholder free
  • 5% of Vancity’s annual credit card profits go back to environmental initiatives each year

Visa’s Infinite Privilege cards are top tier. Equipped with immense travel and lifestyle benefits and perks, the card’s annual fee ranges from $245 to $600 at various Canadian financial institutions.

If you are keen to take advantage of the Visa Infinite Privilege perks, Vancity is your best bet. They not only have the most reasonable annual fee for this card in Canada, but they also give 5% of their profits from this card (and all others) back to environmental and community initiatives.

Learn more about and sign up for this card here.

You can learn more about Vancity, and many other Canadian credit unions, in this post.

10. TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card: Best for Expedia Customers

TD Logo

Standout Features:

  • Extensive travel insurance
  • Earn and redeem TD Points: 3x at Expedia and 2x at Starbucks
  • The first additional cardholder is $50, others $0
  • $5,000 minimum credit limit

This First Class Travel Visa by TD is a great one, especially if you regularly use Expedia to book your vacations. With extra points to be earned, you can then redeem your points for things such as cashback, gift cards, travel and more.

A $60,000 personal or $100,000 household annual income is required to be eligible for this card. The minimum credit limit is $5,000 with a standard interest rate of 19.99%.

The annual fee of the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card is $120. You can learn more about this credit card here.

What Is The Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Card In Canada?

What Is The Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Card In Canada?

The best no-annual-fee travel credit card in Canada is the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard. Here is what it offers:

  • No annual fee
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Earn and redeem AIR MILES for flights, experiences, and more
  • Additional cardholders are free (maximize your AIR MILES)
  • Get 25% off rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-a-Car branches

Want another option?

A close runner-up to the BMO AIR MILES card is the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard, which also has no annual fee and great perks, including:

  • Up to four points per $1 spent to redeem for cash back, merchandise, gift cards, charitable donations and travel
  • Up to $1,000 mobile device insurance
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Up to 10% off at Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car

You can learn more about this no-annual-fee MBNA card here.

Conclusion

Best Travel Credit Cards in Canada

Those were the ten best travel cards in Canada.

With options ranging from no annual fee, Aeroplan perks, AIR MILES, no FX fees, and prepaid cards, I’m confident that at least one of these cards can make your travels a bit easier.

If you are a regular traveller, there are many resources on Wealth Awesome to help you out with saving more money and making the best of your time, money and resources.

For instance, you can start with this post on Practical Ways To Save Money For Travel or this post about the Best Low-Cost Airlines In Canada.

Photo of author
Selin is a seasoned personal finance and sustainable banking expert with several years of experience working in Canadian credit unions, both in the branch networks as well as the head office. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, she's also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers youth community and is either working with kids or travelling when she is away from her computer.

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