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Fact Checked: Scott Birke

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Updated: December 04, 2023

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Best credit card sign-up bonuses and welcome offers in December 2023

Asad Photo Maldives / Shutterstock

Fact Checked: Scott Birke

šŸ—“ļø

Updated: December 04, 2023

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware this post may contain links to products from our partners. We may receive a commission for products or services you sign up for through partner links.

Getting a new credit card is a much sweeter experience when it comes bundled with a limited-time credit card offer for bulk bonus points, sky-high cashback levels, or accelerated rewards earning rates.

Missing one of these Canadian credit card offers means letting a lot of extra value slip by, so before applying for a new credit card check to make sure there isnā€™t a more lucrative opportunity on the list below.

Best credit card offers in Canada for December 2023

Card Sign-up offer
TDĀ® AeroplanĀ® Visa Infinite* Card Earn up to 50,000 Aeroplan points ($1,400 in value) and annual fee waived in first year
BMO CashBackĀ® World EliteĀ®* MastercardĀ®* Up to 10% cashback in first three months and annual fee waived in first year
SimplyCashĀ® Preferred Card from American Express Up to $400 in statement credits when you spend $750 in purchases in the first 10 months
WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard Get up to 450 welcome WestJet dollars (a value of up to $450 CAD) when you spend $5,000 min. in the first 3 months on your card

Best credit card promotion for Aeroplan:

TDĀ® AeroplanĀ® Visa Infinite* Card

1.5 points Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, grocery and direct through Air Canada purchases (e.g. Air Canada Vacations)

1 point Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases

2x Earn points twice with Aeroplan partner brands and on the Aeroplan eStore.

50% Earn 50% more Aeroplan points at Starbucks when you link your card to your account.

20.99% Purchase APR

22.99% Balance Transfer Rate

22.99% Cash Advance APR

$139.00 Annual Fee Additional cardholder is $75.

Excellent Recommended Credit Score

$60,000.00 Required Annual Personal Income

Welcome Offer Ends Jan 4

Earn up to $1,400 in value with up to 50,000 Aeroplan points, no annual fee in the first year, and a NEXUS application fee rebate

Claim offer

TDĀ® AeroplanĀ® Visa Infinite* Card Welcome offer

With the latest limited-time credit card promotion, you also receive substantial bonus points and other perks with theTDĀ® AeroplanĀ® Visa Infinite* Card :

  • Earn up to 50,000 Aeroplan points in total (a $1,400 in value) ā€” enough for a round trip to Los Angeles
  • Earn a welcome bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points when you make your first purchase
  • Earn 25,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $5,000 within 180 days of opening your account
  • Earn an anniversary bonus of 15,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $7,500 within 12 months of opening your account
  • An annual fee rebate for the first year (a $139 value) by making your first purchase within the first three months of opening your account

With the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card, you earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, grocery and direct purchases from Air Canada, including Air Canada Vacations. And you earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Other benefits of note for travellers include comprehensive travel insurance; an application fee rebate when you enroll in NEXUS (every 48 months); and free first checked bags on Air Canada-originated flights for you and up to eight of your travel companions travelling on the same itinerary.

Terms and conditions apply. Apply now or learn more by reading our complete TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card review. This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

Best credit card promotion for cashback:

BMO CashBackĀ® World EliteĀ®* MastercardĀ®*

5% Groceries: 5% cash back up to $500 spent per month ($25 in cash back)*

4% Transit: 4% cash back up to $300 spent per month ($12 in cash back)*

3% Gas: 3% cash back up to $300 spent per month ($9 in cash back)*

2% Recurring Bills: 2% cash back up to $500 spent per month ($10 in cash back)*

1% Everything Else: 1% cash back, unlimited*

20.99% Purchase APR

23.99% Balance Transfer Rate

23.99% Cash Advance APR

$120.00 Annual Fee

2.90% Foreign Transaction Fee

Good Recommended Credit Score

BMO CashBackĀ® World EliteĀ®* MastercardĀ®* welcome offer

With the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard, youā€™ll earn 5% back on groceries (up to $500 per month); 4% back on ground transit (up to $300 per month); 3% back on gas and electric vehicle charging (up to $300 per month); 2% back on recurring bills (up to $500 per month); and 1% back on everything else (unlimited). Plus, youā€™ll save up to 25% off rentals at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations, receive complimentary roadside assistance, travel and medical protection, concierge services and cashback offers when you travel and shop outside of Canada.

Itā€™s also offering one of the juiciest sign-up bonuses available in Canada for those who prefer cashback over travel rewards: up to 10% back on $2,600 in qualified spending during the first three months (a value of $260). The cashback rate for the welcome offer is annoyingly tiered by spending category rather than offered as a flat rate, but the average Canadian at this income level can probably earn close to the maximum cashback available nonetheless:

  • 10% back on up to $500 spent on groceries (up to $50)
  • 10% back on up to $500 spent on recurring bills (up to $50)
  • 10% back on up to $300 spent on gas and electric vehicle charging (up to $30)
  • 10% back on up to $300 spent on ground transit (up to $30)
  • 10% back on up to $1,000 spent on everything else (up to $100)
  • 10% back on up to $1,000 spent on everything else (up to $100)
  • Plus, an annual fee rebate for the first year (a $120 value)

Terms and conditions apply.

Apply now or learn more by reading our complete BMO CashBackĀ® World EliteĀ®* MastercardĀ® review.

Best credit card sign-up from American Express:

SimplyCashĀ® Preferred Card from American Express

4% Earn 4% cash back on gas in Canada.

4% Earn 4% cash back on grocery purchases in Canada, up to $1,200 cash back per year.

2% Earn 2% cash back on everything else with no limit.

20.99% Purchase APR

21.99% Cash Advance APR

$119.88 Annual Fee $9.99 per month. Additional cards are free.

Excellent Recommended Credit Score

SimplyCashĀ® Preferred Card from American Express welcome offer

With the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express, youā€™ll earn 4% back on eligible gas station purchases, 4% back on eligible grocery store purchases and 2% back on all other purchases (up to $1,200 back annually). Its $9.99/month fee (which equals a total fee of $119.88 annually) is slightly lower than the usual annual fee for other cashback cards at this level, and you can earn enough back to make up for that annual fee if you spend at least $5,000 with the card each year. 

As part of its welcome offer, you can earn additional credits

  • In the first 10 months, earn a $40 statement credit for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750
  • This could add up to $400 in statement credits in the first 10 months (compared to the $200 in maximum cashback for most cardsā€™ welcome offers)

Terms and conditions apply. Apply now or learn more by reading our complete SimplyCashĀ® Preferred Card from American Express review.

Best Westjet credit card offer

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

2% Earn 2% back in WestJet dollars on WestJet flights or WestJet vacation packages.

1.5% Earn 1.5% back in WestJet dollars for everyday purchases.

20.99% Purchase APR

22.99% Cash Advance APR

$119.00 Annual Fee

Good Recommended Credit Score

$80,000.00 Required Annual Personal Income

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard promotional offer

With the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard, youā€™ll receive 1.5% back in WestJet dollars on everyday purchases and 2% back on flights or packages with WestJet or WestJet Vacations. You can use WestJet dollars toward all or part of a WestJet flight or WestJet Vacations package.

As part of its welcome offer, youā€™ll get some additional perks:

  •  Earn 250 WestJet dollars on any initial eligible purchase
  •  Earn another 200 WestJet dollars for a total of 450 WestJet dollars if you make at least $5,000 in purchases within the first three month
  • Receive a round-trip companion voucher ā€“ provided annually ā€“ for a fee: A companion voucher within Canada or to the continental U.S. (excluding Hawaii) is $119, while travel to Hawaii, Mexico or anywhere else on the WestJet network is $399, plus applicable taxes and fees

Terms and conditions apply.

Apply now or learn more by reading our complete WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard review.

Expert tip: How to compare credit cards with promotions and welcome offers

Welcome bonuses are a huge draw when it comes to getting a new credit card. However, they arenā€™t always offered and can frequently change. Some of the top tier cards have pretty hefty spending requirements in order to earn the full bonus, so itā€™s worth keeping an eye out on current credit card welcome bonuses when you know you have a big spend coming up. That being said, donā€™t get caught up on the sign-up bonus alone. You want to choose a credit card that, yes, has a decent welcome bonus but one that you can use regularly and benefit from in terms of perks, benefits, and rewards throughout the duration of your time with the credit card.

ā€”Hannah Logan, Money.ca credit card, saving and travel expert

What are credit card welcome offers and how do they work?

Credit card welcome offers are bonuses and perks that entice new cardholders to choose one card over another. For example, a welcome offer for a cashback card will often increase the rate youā€™ll earn during the promotional period. Card promotions might also award travel or rewards points in bulk, free vouchers for airport lounge entry or vouchers for companion flights ā€” and most waive the cardholderā€™s annual fee for the first year.

Many promotions provide these bonuses with no questions asked, but the most lucrative ones require the cardholder to fulfill specific criteria (like spending a certain amount or making an initial purchase) before receiving the bonus. Others may cap their rewards once a milestone has been reached. Some card issuers make a ā€˜welcome bonusā€™ part of their offering permanently, but the best package deals tend to be limited-time offers, with the clock ticking before the extra perks are off the table.

Sometimes a limited-time offer will be extended, but prospective cardholders shouldnā€™t bank on it. In the past, some promotions have ended due to relationship instabilities between rewards programs and card issuers, which was the case in 2017 when TD opted not to extend its Aeroplan promotions. So if you see an amazing deal, jump on it!

Methodology: Best credit cards offers Canada-wide

The best sign-up bonus offers are determined by the Moneywise editorial team and based on factors and features that everyday users care about most. We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. The products featured in this article were independently selected, but please be aware that some products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

We collect data from providersā€™ websites by researching the offerings, using their services and watching demonstrations as required. Our goal is to provide an independent review, and give you the information you need to make a decision on which product or service is best for you.

How much is your credit card sign-up bonus really worth?

Read the credit cardā€™s conditions and fine print to understand if you first need to meet a spending goal before earning the bonus, if the bonus rate only applies to a certain type of spending, or if thereā€™s a maximum amount you can earn at the accelerated rate. Chances are that multiple conditions apply at once, and these will all factor into how worthwhile the sign-up bonus is really worth.

For example, say a promotional credit card deal in Canada requires new cardholders to spend $3,000 in three months to earn 35,000 points and a $150 annual fee waiver, together worth $400. This is a 13.33% extra return on your money assuming you spend that much normally (about $1,000 per month).

The type of spending that the bonus rate applies to is relevant as well. If youā€™re comparing two hypothetical cards, the first of which offers 10% back on spending but only in its primary category (such as groceries) and the second of which offers 6% back on all spending, you might actually collect more cash back with the latter card, despite its seemingly low rate. For some, the decision may come down to the size of their monthly grocery bill.

The final component to consider is the maximum cashback you can earn at the bonus rate, if applicable. If you earn 10% on spending up to $2,500, for instance, the maximum cashback youā€™ll get during the bonus period is $250. Youā€™ll need to compare that to the benefits of the card once the promotional period is over.

Types of credit card offers in Canada

Not all credit card offers are alike. Hereā€™s a breakdown of the different types of credit card offers in Canada:

Cashback bonuses: Cashback bonuses often provide a boosted earning rate on the cardā€™s primary eligible spending category, but to a maximum amount of spending (and therefore accruable cashback) before the cardā€™s regular cashback rate resumes. The annual fee may also be waived in the first year.

Travel bonuses: Travel card bonuses typically offer bulk travel or rewards points for reaching a spending milestone within a certain number of months; they might have an annual fee waiver attached to the milestone as well.

Balance transfer bonuses: These types of promotions will, for a set amount of time, reduce the interest rate charged to balances youā€™ve transferred onto the card. Sign up before the promotion expires and youā€™ll consolidate your balances to save a bundle on interest fees.

Credit card bonus conditions

You should always read the fine print when it comes to credit cards ā€” including bonus or promotional offers. For example, a credit card issuer might offer a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points, but the fine print will explain that you need to meet various spending goals throughout the year to achieve those points. Here are some credit card bonus conditions to be aware of when choosing a card:

Spending goal: Many bonuses will require the cardholder to spend a certain amount before they receive their bulk points or annual fee waiver.

Account in good standing: Bonuses may only apply to accounts that maintain their good standing with the bank (such as accounts that donā€™t have delinquent balances).

Spending caps: Accelerated cashback or higher earning rates typically have a spending cap ā€” on overall spending or category spending ā€” so you canā€™t game the system.

Bonus time windows: This means that credit card promotions are only available for a limited time, and once the deadline has passed youā€™re out of luck. Also, cashback at an elevated rate or balance transfers at a low rate usually only applies for the first few months after an account is set up.

Purchase categories: A promotional cashback offer may apply to overall spending, but it may apply only to specific purchase categories, such as groceries or gas.

How to compare the best card bonuses for cashback credit cards

With a cashback credit card, you get cash back on eligible purchases, based on a percentage of what youā€™ve spent. Eligible purchases could include spending categories such as groceries, gas, travel and even bill payments.

Some of the best card bonuses for cashback credit cards include:

  • An elevated cashback rate or statement credit during the promotional period
  • An accelerated rewards earning rate
  • An annual fee waiver for the first year

How to compare the best credit card offers for rewards credit cards

Rewards credit cards commonly offer bulk travel or rewards points for reaching a spending milestone within a certain period of time after opening an account.

Some of the best credit card promotional offers for rewards credit cards include:

  •  Bulk bonus travel or rewards points when you join and/or when you reach a spending milestone
  • Additional travel or rewards points when you make a qualified spend with a partner (such as an airline or retailer) during the promotion period
  • An accelerated rewards earning rate
  • An annual fee waiver for the first year
  • Additional perks, such as a travel enhancement credit or companion voucher

How to compare the best credit card promos for balance transfer credit cards

A balance transfer credit card allows you to use one credit card to pay off another credit card, which you might consider if youā€™re looking to move an existing balance to a card with a lower interest rate.

Some of the best credit card promos on balance transfer credit cards include:

  • A low introductory rate on transfers, sometimes as low as 0% (often for 12 to 24 months)
  • A low introductory rate on purchases (during the promotion period)

How to compare the best credit card promotional offers for premium credit cards

Premium credit cards come with a higher annual fee, but they also come with premium perks ā€” but when choosing a card, make sure it will still meet your needs after the promotional period is over. For example, if a promotional offer on a travel rewards card waives the annual fee of $500 for the first year, youā€™ll need to consider if you travel enough to justify paying $500 every year thereafter.

Some of the best credit card promotional offers for premium credit cards include:

  • Bulk travel or rewards points for joining and/or when you reach spending milestones ā€” sometimes enough to cover a roundtrip flight
  • Additional travel or rewards points when you make a qualified spend with a partner (such as an airline or retailer) during the promotion period
  • Additional perks, such as a travel enhancement credit or companion voucher
  • An accelerated rewards earning rate
  • An annual fee waiver for the first year

How to compare promo offers to choose the best credit card sign-up bonus

If a card's rewards, low interest rate or other lures seem really appealing, and if your wallet could use a change of plastic, maybe you should applyā€”after you consider a few things.

What's the purpose of credit card sign-up bonuses?

Credit card sign-up bonuses are designed to make a new credit card attractive to new potential credit card holders. In general, the more premium a credit card, the better the welcome offer usually isā€”but there are exceptions.

You may be tempted by a promotional offer such as a huge bonus of airline miles or rewards points if you reach a certain spending limit quickly on the new card. But you have to weigh whether you'll be able to pay off the balance quickly, without accruing interest charges. Other sign-up offers for balance transfer cards focus on low or zero-rate balance transfers, but could incur transfer fees as well.

Understand the terms of the credit card after its bonus offer expires

To determine how much the card will cost and how generous its promo offer really is, you need to look at these four important terms of the credit card after the welcome bonus period ends: APR; cash advance APR; grace period; and annual fee.

The APR is essentially the interest rate. Most cards charge no interest if you pay off the balance each month by the due date. A lower APR means lower interest charges if you do have to revolve, or carry over, debt from one month to the next.

If you plan to use your credit card for cash advances (meaning you withdraw cash from the card at an ATM), you might face a higher APR for cash. That cash advance APR may kick in immediately ā€” no matter how fast you pay off the withdrawal.

If you don't usually pay your bills promptly, you'll want to know about the card's grace period. It's the amount of time you have to pay off a new balance before finance charges are applied.

About a quarter of credit cards have an annual fee that must be paid no matter how often the card is used or how much interest is accrued. Rewards credit cards tend to come with annual fees, and you may decide the fee is worth the benefits.

Sign-up bonuses aside, look for credit cards with terms that will be acceptable if you do find yourself carrying over debt and incurring interest charges. The best strategy is to get a mix of cards with different terms for different goals: paying everyday bills, taking care of emergencies, collecting frequent-flyer miles, and so on.

Recommended Reads:

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.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.

FAQs

  • How do I get a credit card welcome bonus?

    +

    You wonā€™t necessarily get a credit card welcome bonus just for signing up. Often, there are conditions attached to that welcome bonus, such as spending a certain amount of money within a certain timeframe, or spending money in particular categories (such as groceries or gas).

  • How do I compare credit card offers?

    +

    While you could look for a card with a large sign-up bonus, you should also consider your priorities when comparing credit card offers, for example, if you want rewards or cash back. You should also read the fine print. Many credit card offers have conditions or limitations.

  • Do welcome bonus points expire?

    +

    Welcome bonus points typically donā€™t expire, so long as your account is active and in good standing. However, in some cases, they could expire if your account is dormant for a specific period of time ā€” usually from one to three years ā€” so be sure to read the fine print.

  • What is a welcome bonus on a credit card?

    +

    A welcome bonus on a credit card is an incentive that credit card issuers offer to entice consumers to sign up for a new credit card and usually comes in the form of additional travel or rewards points, an elevated cashback rate, waiving of the annual fee or a combination of these offers. But, in most cases, welcome offers also come with minimum spend requirements, time limits and other conditions to earn those rewards.

  • What are the dangers of credit card promos / credit card offers?

    +

    One of the biggest dangers of credit card promos is racking up credit card debt by trying to maximize a promotional offer, such as overspending to meet your bonus requirement or buying products you donā€™t really need to get your cashback promotion. Overspending could lead to carrying a balance which, in turn, could hurt your credit score.

About our author

Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach, Freelance Contributor

Vawn Himmelsbach is a freelance writer and editor who has been working in the industry since 2001. Her work has been published in a wide variety of publications, including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, CBC, Moneywise, Zoomer, Wheels, CAA Magazine, Explore Magazine, Canadian Traveller, Travelweek, WestJet Magazine, Ottawa Life, Flare and Consumer Reports, among others.

In addition to her freelance work, Vawn is a senior contributing editor of BOLD Magazine. She also works as a custom content writer and copy editor, creating blogs, case studies, web copy, white papers and eBooks for corporate clients, and writes custom content for Pagemasters North America and The Canadian Press.

Vawn has previously worked as a freelance page designer for Metro News, where she designed, edited and proofread news and entertainment pages. She is also a co-founder of Chic Savvy Travels, where she wrote articles, edited contributed articles and managed a travel website for women.

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