Best rewards credit cards in Canada for 2023
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Credit cards don’t exist solely to help you spend money. If you choose the right one for your lifestyle, you can earn just by doing your regular shopping. The key is to choose a credit card with a solid and worthwhile rewards program that suits you.
Best rewards credit cards in Canada
|Credit card||Best for|
|BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*||Travel Rewards|
|American Express Cobalt® Card||Welcome Bonus|
|MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®||No Annual Fee Rewards|
|PC® World Elite Mastercard®||Store Rewards|
|Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card||Everyday Spending|
|BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card||Dining Rewards|
Best travel rewards card
BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*
Minimum credit score: Excellent
Minimum income: $80,000 individual or $150,000 household
Age: Age of majority in your province or territory
The BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®* combines high rewards earn rates with stellar travel insurance and airport lounge access*, making it a major travel asset for upper-income Canadians who frequently find themselves outside their home province.
- Sign-up bonus: Get up to 60,000 points and the annual fee waived in the first year for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.*
- Earn rates: 5x the points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases,* 3x the points for every $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases and recurring bill payments,* 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else.*
- Airport lounge access: Complimentary membership in Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass,* with four annual complimentary passes.
- Travel insurance: Includes emergency medical, trip cancellation, flight delay, lost luggage, car rental, etc.*
- Global Wi-Fi: Access over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world – all at no added cost, and no added fees or roaming charges*
The huge 60,000-point bonus rewards work as follows: New cardholders get 30,000 BMO Rewards points if you make at least $3,000 worth of purchases with the card in the first three months of cardmembership*, plus get an additional 2,500 bonus points in each subsequent month that you spend at least $2,000, beginning 4 months from the account open date and ending 15 months from the account open date*. BMO Rewards points can be used to travel, shop, invest, or swap for cash to pay down your credit card balance, but you’ll maximize the points’ value by using them to purchase travel at bmorewards.com, where points are worth about $0.0067 each. Regular spending is most remunerative for purchases you make on travel where the card’s earn rate is the equivalent of an approximate 3.3% return.
The rewards points you can earn are complemented with one of the best lounge access packages in Canada and some of the most comprehensive travel insurance offered by Canadian credit cards*. The card’s $150 annual fee is on the high side, but those interested in bundling the card with a BMO Performance chequing account can shave off $40 from the annual fee each year* (same goes for the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®*).
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*.
*Terms and conditions apply
Best rewards card welcome bonus
American Express Cobalt® Card
Minimum Credit Score: Fair-Good
Minimum Income: N/A
Age: Age of majority in province/territory
Residency: Canadian resident
The American Express Cobalt® Card currently features a nice welcome offer: In your first year as a new Cobalt® Cardmember, you can earn 2,500 Membership Rewards® points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in purchases on your Card. This could add up to 30,000 points in a year. That’s up to $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets. Conditions apply.
- Annual Fee: $155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee)
- Accelerated Earn Rates: 5 points per $1 spent at stand-alone grocery stores, on food delivery services, and at restaurants, coffee shops and bars (up to $30K in annual spending); 3 points per $1 spent on eligible streaming services; 2 points per $1 spent at stand-alone gas stations, on travel (flights, rail transit, hotels, etc.), and on local commuter transit (subway, taxis, ridesharing services, etc.)
- Base Earn Rate: 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
- Welcome Bonus: Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year (conditions apply)
- Travel Insurance: Includes emergency medical, lost/stolen baggage, flight delay, car rental, etc.
The one Achilles heal of the Cobalt Card (or any Amex credit card) is that it is not as widely accepted by merchants as, say, a Visa or Mastercard. Before signing up for the Cobalt it’s recommended that you review our article about where Amex cards are accepted and double-check to make sure they’ll take it where you do the bulk of your shopping. If your favourite grocers, restaurants, gas stations, etc., are not on the Amex merchant acceptance list, it might be wise to go with a Visa or Mastercard featured on this page instead.
That said, keep in mind that unlike most credit cards the Cobalt charges a monthly fee rather than a lump-sum that adds up to a total of $155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee). So, if you’re on the fence you can simply give the card a low-cost trial period of a month or two, allowing you to test out how often you’re really able to use the card based on where you shop.
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete American Express Cobalt® Card review
Best no annual fee rewards card
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
Minimum Credit Score: Fair-Good
Minimum Income: N/A
Age: Age of majority in your province or territory
The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard® is an overlooked gem among rewards cards in Canada and could be an ideal fit for anyone who is averse to paying an annual fee and whose biggest spending categories are groceries, restaurants, subscriptions, and utilities.
- Annual fee: $0
- Welcome offer: Up to 10,000 points†† ($100 travel value or $50 “Cash” Bonus Points value) + 4 points†† for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, restaurant, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases in the first 90 days
- Regular earn rates: 2 points‡ per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, digital media, memberships, and household utilities after the first 90 days ($10,000 annual spending cap in each category); 1 point‡ per $1 spent on everything else
- Birthday Bonus Points: In your annual birthday month‡ you’ll receive an extra 10% of the total points you earned in the previous year (max 10K Birthday Bonus Points annually)
- Interest rates: 19.99% Purchase APR; 22.99%✪ Balance Transfer APR; 24.99% Cash Advance APR
The MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard’s welcome offer is very generous for a no annual fee card. New cardholders can earn the maximum 10,000 points†† by making at least $500 in purchases with the card (5K points††) and enrolling in paperless e-statements (another 5K points††) within 90 days of opening the account. Cardholders are also treated to an accelerated earn rate within the first 90 days, where they’ll earn 4 points†† per $1 spent on eligible groceries, restaurant bills, digital media, memberships, and household utilities. After 90 days the rate drops to a still-high 2 points‡ per $1 spent in those categories. These enhanced earn rates are applicable for up to $10,000 in purchases annually in each of those individual spending categories, after which all purchases will earn 1 point‡ per $1 spent until the beginning of a new year.
MBNA Rewards points earned from this card never expire and can be redeemed for a value of $0.01 per point via the MBNA Travel Portal, or for cash back against the card balance at $0.005 per point. Points can also be redeemed for merchandise and gift cards as well, though redemption rates vary from one item to the next.
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard review.
‡, ††, ✪, ***, Terms and Conditions apply
This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here.
Sponsored advertising. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and TD is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this MBNA credit card, please click on the “Apply Now” button.
The Toronto-Dominion Bank is the issuer of this credit card. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ®MBNA and other-trademarks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.
Best store rewards credit card
PC® World Elite Mastercard®
Credit score required: Fair-Good
Min personal income required: $80,000
Annual fees: $0
When you compare rewards credit cards in Canada — particularly those with no annual fee — you’ll find that few cards offer a meaningful points rate outside of the promo period. With the PC® World Elite Mastercard®, you earn 45 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, and 30 points per $1 spent at Loblaw Banner Grocery Stores. For families and shoppers who regularly shop in these stores, this might be worthwhile, particularly because the card comes with a $0 annual fee.
Redeeming your points is refreshingly simple. Once you’ve earned 10,000 points or more, all you need to do is present your credit card to the cashier when you go to pay and ask him/her to take $10 (or more) off your bill. Since you get the money directly off your bill, we consider it to be a ‘cash equivalent’ credit card.
It should be noted that a PC Optimum point is worth relatively little compared to, say, offerings from a cash back credit card with an accelerated earn rate for groceries. Because 1 PC Optimum Point = $0.001 redeemable at one of the aforementioned stores, this might end up being less valuable than, say, a cash back credit card that earns 3% on all grocery spend. That said, the PC Financial card does come with an impressive array of insurance and extended warranty perks, so it might be more beneficial for some than a cash back card.
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete PC® World Elite Mastercard® review.
Sponsored advertising. President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard® is provided by President’s Choice Bank. The PC Optimum™ program is provided by President's Choice Services Inc. President’s Choice Bank is not responsible for the contents of this site, including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information regarding the PC® Mastercard®, PC® World Mastercard®, or PC® World Elite Mastercard®, please click on the “Apply Now” or other applicable button.
Best for everyday spending
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card
Credit score recommended: Excellent
Annual fees: $120
The Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card is one of the few rewards cards that really pays you back for the everyday spending you make at home, as well as cutting you a break on what you spend while travelling overseas.
Why we like the card
It offers very high earn rates on what are likely your biggest daily spending categories, nabbing 6X Scene+ points for each $1 CAD spent at eligible grocers like Sobeys¹ (as well as 5X per $1 CAD on dining, other grocery stores, and entertainment) and 3X points for every $1 CAD spent on eligible gas, daily transit, and select streaming purchases. It’s also one of the few cards in Canada that waives foreign transaction fees, saving you money every time you make a purchase in a foreign currency.
The card offers a lot of flexibility when the time comes to redeem your points, allowing you to book a trip through their Travel Service, or make a travel purchase independently and then redeem accumulated points *after* the charges show up on the card. Plus, it comes with other travel goodies, like a comprehensive suite of travel insurance and a discount on Priority Pass lounge membership.
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn up to $650* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points¹. Offer ends October 31, 2023.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees: Most rewards cards charge 2.5% every time you make a purchase in a foreign currency
- High Earn Rates: Earn 6X Scene+™ points on every $1 CAD you spend in Canada at Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland, and more eligible grocers.¹ Earn 5X the Scene+™ points for every $1 CAD spent on other eligible grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, and drinking establishments (including food delivery and food subscription services), as well as on eligible entertainment purchases (movies, theatre, and ticket agencies). Plus, you’ll get 3X the Scene+™ points for every $1 CAD spent on eligible gas, daily transit, and eligible select streaming purchases, and 1X point per $1 spent on every other purchase.
- Comprehensive Travel Insurance: Includes standout coverage like up to $1,000 for lost or delayed luggage
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card review.
¹ Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card to learn more.
Best for dining rewards
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card
Minimum Credit Score: Good-Excellent
Minimum Income: $60,000 individual or $100,000 household
Age: Age of majority in your province or territory
If you’re a fan of saving big on restaurants and groceries, look no farther than the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card. This new card is making a big splash on Canada’s credit card scene thanks to its incredibly high accelerated earn rate categories for groceries and dining. The card gives you 5 BMO Rewards for every $1 spent on items that fall within the card’s grocery and dining categories*.
The dining and grocery categories include things like specialty food stores, fast-food restaurants, bars and even subscription food services like Hello Fresh — which pretty much covers all the food bases imaginable and is enough to satisfy even the most fervent foodie. The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card also features two more high-earn categories of gas and transit that will get you 5 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent*. Cardholders earn 1 BMO Reward point per $1 for all other purchases*. The points can then be redeemed for a variety of things like merchandise, travel, gift cards, and statement credit.
- Annual fee: $120 (rebated in the first year)*
- Sign-up bonus: Get up to 60,000 points worth $400 in travel rewards, a $50 lifestyle credit and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year — a $570 value in your first year.*
- Earn rate: 5 BMO Reward points per $1 for groceries, dining, transit and gas*. 1 BMO Rewards point per $1 for all other purchases*
- Other Perks: Bonus of 10% in earnings for supplementary cards*, an annual lifestyle credit of $50* and mobile phone insurance*.
Another standout feature of the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card is its welcome bonus — one of the most generous on offer in Canada presently. Cardholders can get up to 60,000 BMO Rewards points* and get the $120 annual fee rebated in the first year. Cardholders get 30,000 BMO Rewards welcome bonus points after spending a minimum of $3,000 in the first three months of having the card. Cardholders also get an additional 2,500 bonus points in each subsequent month that you spend at least $2,000, beginning 4 months from the account open date and ending 15 months from the account open date (as long as your account is in good standing). You can redeem all those points for gift certificates to some great restaurants, or better yet, redeem your points for a flight to a foodie capital like Paris and dine at some of the world’s best restaurants. Oh, la, la!
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card review.
*Terms and conditions apply
Summary of best rewards credit cards in Canada
|Credit card||Reward points structure||Bonus||Annual fees|
|BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*||5x the points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases,* 3x the points for every $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases and recurring bill payments,* 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else.*||Up to 60,000 pts*||$150|
|American Express Cobalt® Card||5 pts/$1 on groceries, dining, and food delivery3 pts/$1 on eligible streaming services2 pts/$1 on gas, transit, and travel1 pt/$1 on the rest||Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year (conditions apply)||$155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee)|
|MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® Mastercard®||2 points‡ per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, digital media, memberships, and household utilities; 1 point‡ per $1 spent on everything else||Up to 10,000 pts††||$0|
|PC® Financial World Elite Mastercard®||45 pts p/$1 at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix; 30 pts p/$1 on Loblaw banner groceries and PC travel; 30 pts p/litre at Esso™ or Mobil™ stations; 10 pts per $1 on everything else||N/A||$0|
|Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card||6X pts p/$1 CAD at Sobeys and more eligible grocers; 5X pts p/$1 CAD on other eligible grocery stores, restaurants and entertainment; 3X pts p/$1 CAD on eligible select streaming purchases, gas and eligible daily transit; 1 pt p/$1 on everything else||Earn up to $650* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points¹. Offer ends October 31, 2023.||$120|
|BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card||5 BMO pts/$1 spent on eligible groceries, dining, transit and gas*1 BMP pt/$1 on all other purchases*||Up to 60,000 pts* + First Year Annual Fee Rebate*||$120|
How to choose the best rewards credit card
When trying to determine the best rewards card for you, consider your spending patterns. Your card should allow you to earn points when buying the items you would be purchasing anyway. For example, if you are a frequent traveller, then a hotel rewards card that earns extra points on hotel stays would be a smart choice. A large family would do best with a rewards card that earns points at the grocery store they shop at most frequently, while anyone who covers a lot of miles would benefit from a card that gives good rewards on gas.
What credit score do you need to get a rewards card?
In most cases, your credit score will need to range from fair to excellent in order to get approved for a rewards credit card. The exact range this needs to fall into will highly depend on the card issuer. In Canada, a fair credit score begins at a base rating of 575 and extends to 650, while a credit score of 760 and above is generally considered to be excellent.
It’s important to remember that applying for a credit card can hurt your credit score initially — but only temporarily. Every time you apply for a new credit card, your credit score drops by 5 points or less. While this may seem like a lot, a newly opened credit card won’t hurt your score as much as a missed or defaulted payment, and its effect on your credit score will wear off after one year. As long as you have not applied for several new credit cards in a short period of time, a credit card application should have minimal negative impact on your ability to receive additional credit in the future.
Should you own more than one rewards credit card?
While this is entirely up to your own preference and how many credit cards you are comfortable with, owning more than one rewards credit card is not a bad thing — but only if they offer different types of rewards. Ideally, you should own two different rewards credit cards from different providers (i.e., Visa, Mastercard, American Express) that offer the best rewards rates on travel, shopping, cashback, etc. While many credit cards are now allowing customers to redeem their points towards a range of benefits, there will always be rewards credit cards that offer a better return on particular types of rewards. Therefore, the best credit card combination for you might come in the form of a travel reward card and a cash reward card.
Rewards credit cards: The gifts that keep on giving
Canadians have some of the world’s best rewards credit cards to choose from, whether they want the immediate gratification of a big intro cash bonus, the chance to earn valuable rewards over time, or to make their travels more comfortable. While any of the highly reviewed credit cards here would likely serve you well, it’s vital to find a rewards model that’s in sync with how you live your life.
- Best travel rewards credit cards
- Best credit cards for gas rewards
- Cash back vs. rewards points: Which is worth more?
BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.