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With an ever-growing array of rewards credit cards available in Canada, it can be overwhelming to determine which is right for you. Each card has unique perks, earn rates, fees, and redemption options. To simplify your search, we’ve compiled the top rewards cards across categories spanning premium travel cards to retail and everyday spending options.

Whether you’re looking to earn free flights, score special discounts for shopping, or maximize returns on groceries and gas, we break down the key details like welcome bonuses, earn rates, annual fees, and cardholder benefits.

CardFeeEarn*Welcome Offer
Neo Credit$0 or $4.99 monthly0.5%-5% cashbackUp to 15% on first-time purchases with partners
American Express Cobalt Card$155.88 ($12.99 per month)1-5X points (2%-10%)Up to 15,000 Membership Rewards points ($750)
CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa Card$139 (First year free)1-2X points(1-2%)Up to 35,000 Aventura points ($350)
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Card$139 (First year free)1-1.5x points(2-3%)Up to 50,000 Aeroplan points ($1,000)
MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®$1201-5X points (1-5%)Up to 30,000 MBNA points ($300)
American Express®Green Card$01X point(2%)Up to 10,000 Membership Rewards points ($200)
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card$1201-6X points(1-6%)Up to 40,000 Scene+ points ($400)

*We’ve calculated the earn rate across networks to provide a direct comparison. The calculation uses the maximum point value, which may not always be available. 

Neo Credit

Neo Credit

The Neo Credit card is a versatile option that’s free to use unless you upgrade to a premium account. It’s a solid choice for many people, offering attractive cashback rates. You’ll get 1% cashback on gas and groceries and a guaranteed 0.5% monthly cashback with Neo’s partner stores. If you go for the Premium upgrade, which costs $4.99 monthly, your cashback increases to 3% on gas and groceries and 0.5% on everything else. Neo also offers a secured card variant for those having trouble getting a credit card.

Main Features

  • Annual Fee: $0 (Base), $4.99 monthly (Premium)
  • Purchase Rate: 19.99% to 29.99% (QC: 19.99% – 24.99%)
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99% to 31.99% (QC: 22.99% – 25.99%)
  • Card Earn Rate: 
    • 1% (3% for premium) on gas and groceries
    • 0.5% monthly minimum cashback with Neo partners (or on all purchases for Premium users)
    • 5% (6% for premium) on average at Neo-partnered restaurants, bars, and cafes
    • 3% (4% for Premium) on Netflix, Disney+, Crave, Apple, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, UberEats, DoorDash, and Skip the Dishes
    • 2%+ (3%+ for premium) at Neo retail partners
  • Welcome Bonus: Up to 15% cash back on first purchases at select partners
    • Plus get the first 3 months free when you sign up for the premium plan
  • Eligibility: No income requirements. Credit checks are also not required (except for Quebec)
  • Extra Features: 
    • Digital insights and a spending tracker
    • Virtual card
    • Flexible rewards subscriptions called Neo Perks for extra cash back and other perks

American-Express-Cobalt

American Express Cobalt® Card

The American Express Cobalt Card offers strong earning potential. It maximizes rewards in categories like dining and entertainment and has a solid welcome bonus. Additional perks include robust travel and shopping insurance, along with exclusive Amex benefits. With a reasonable monthly fee, it’s an excellent option for frequent spenders looking to maximize reward points.

Main Features

  • Annual Fee: $155.88 ($12.99 per month)
  • Purchase Rate: 21.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 21.99%
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • 5X points (10%) at restaurants, food delivery, and grocery stores (up to $2,500 monthly spend)
    • 3X points (6%) on streaming subscriptions
    • 2X points (4%) on travel and transit
    • 1X points (2%) on all other purchases
    • +1X additional point per dollar on eligible Amex Travel Online hotel or car rental bookings
  • Welcome Bonus: Up to 15k Membership Rewards points ($750 value)
    • 1,250 points per month you exceed $750 in spending
  • Travel Benefits: Travel insurance, car rental insurance, hotel discounts and upgrades, Point transfer partners
  • Eligibility: No income requirement stated, Fair (575-649) credit score 
  • Extra Features:
    • Front Of The Line® presale and reserved tickets for concerts, theatre productions and events
    • Mobile coverage if you purchased the device with your Amex card (Up to $1000)
    • Extended warranty coverage
    • Exclusive Amex offers on dining, shopping and retail purchases

CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card

CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa Card

The CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card is a versatile option catering primarily to frequent travellers and individuals who regularly spend on everyday categories. It combines a range of benefits like travel rewards, valuable perks such as airport lounge access, and practical features for daily spending. This card is especially appealing for its ease of point redemption, allowing users to convert spending into rewards effortlessly.

Main Features

  • Annual Fee: $139 (first year free)
  • Purchase Rate: 20.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99% (21.99% for Quebec residents)
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • 2X points (2%) on travel booked through CIBC Rewards Centre
    • 1.5X points (1.5%) at gas stations, EV charging stations, grocery stores, and drugstores (on first $80,000 in spending per year)
    • 1X point (1%) per dollar on other purchases
  • Welcome Bonus: Up to 35K Aventura points ($350)
    • 15,000 Aventura Points on first purchase
    • 20,000 Aventura Points after spending $3,000 within the first 4 months
  • Travel Benefits: 4 free lounge visits per year, rebate on NEXUS application fee, travel insurance coverage, and rental insurance coverage
  • Eligibility: Minimum $15,000 annual household income, +725 credit score
  • Extra Features:
    •  Link to Journie Rewards for gas savings of up to 10 cents off per litre
    •  Ability to convert purchases to installment plans at lower interest rates

TD-Aeroplan-Visa-Infinite

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Card

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is ideal for frequent travellers and everyday spenders. It offers significant Aeroplan points on purchases, especially on gas, groceries, and Air Canada expenses. It features a waived first-year fee, a substantial welcome bonus, free checked bags on flights, NEXUS fee rebates, and comprehensive travel insurance. This card suits higher-income individuals who combine travel benefits with everyday rewards.

Main Features

  • Annual Fee: $139 (waived for the first year)
  • Purchase Rate: 20.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99% 
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • 1.5X points (3%) on eligible gas, grocery, and Air Canada purchases
    • 1X point (2%) on all other purchases
  • Welcome Bonus: Up to 50K Aeroplan points ($1,000 value)
    • 10,000 Aeroplan points on first purchase
    • 25,000 points for spending $5,000 within 180 days of account opening
    • Additional 15,000 points for spending $7,500 within 12 months
  • Travel Benefits: 
    • Free first checked bags for up to 8 travel companions, NEXUS application fee rebate, access to Aeroplan Elite Status if spending requirement met, travel insurance, rental car insurance
  • Eligibility: $60,000 annual personal income or $100,000 household income, +660 credit score
  • Extra Features:
    • Visa Infinite Concierge service
    • Exclusive access to Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, Dining Series, Wine Country Program, Entertainment Access, and Troon Golf
    • Avis® Preferred Plus upgrades
    • TD Payment Plans
    • 50% more Aeroplan points at Starbucks
    • Earn points twice when you use an Aeroplan number

MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard

MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®

The MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard is ideal for those who frequently spend on dining, groceries, and utilities, offering a high point earn rate in these categories. It provides a substantial welcome bonus, comprehensive travel insurance, and unique features like a birthday points bonus and flexible points redemption. Targeted at higher-income individuals, this card combines a range of rewards and travel perks for active spenders.

Main Features

  • Annual Fee: $120
  • Purchase Rate: 19.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 24.99%
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • 5X points (5%) on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and utility purchases (up to $50,000 annually)
    • 1X point (1%) on all other purchases
  • Welcome Bonus: Up to 30k MBNA points ($300 value)
    • 20,000 points for spending $2,000 in the first 90 days
    • 10,000 points for enrolling in paperless e-statements in the first 90 days
  • Travel Benefits: Travel insurance, rental car insurance
  • Eligibility: Minimum personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000, +660 credit score
  • Extra Features:
    • Birthday Bonus Points: 10% of the points earned in the 12 months before the cardholder’s birthday, up to 15,000 points
    • Flexible redemption options for points, including cash back, merchandise, and travel
    • Points never expire as long as the account is open and in good standing
    • MBNA Payment Plan for purchases over $100
    • Mobile device insurance
    • Discounts at Avis and Budget Car rentals
    • Mastercard benefits like Price Protection and World Elite Travel and Lifestyle services

American Express® Green Card

American Express® Green Card

The American Express Green Card, with no annual fee, offers a simple rewards program, earning points on daily purchases and extra points for Amex Travel Online bookings. It features a notable welcome bonus, extensive travel insurance, and point transfers to different loyalty programs. Additional benefits include purchase protection, exclusive event access, and special offers, making it ideal for those seeking a straightforward and rewarding credit card.

Main Features

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase Rate: 21.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 21.99%
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • 1X point (2%) on everyday purchases
    • +1X additional point per dollar on eligible Amex Travel Online hotel or car rental bookings
  • Welcome Bonus: 
    • 10k Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 in the first three months ($200 value)
  • Travel Benefits: Point transfer partners
  • Eligibility: No income requirement stated, +670 credit score
  • Extra Features:
    • Extended warranty protection plan
    • Access to American Express Experiences and Amex Offers
    • Installment program option with Plan It™

Scotiabank Gold American Express (1)

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is an excellent choice for individuals who frequently spend on groceries, dining, entertainment, and travel. It offers attractive earning rates and a significant welcome bonus. Ideal for regular travellers, it eliminates foreign transaction fees and includes perks like airport lounge access, concierge service, and special event access via American Express. Its benefits and moderate annual fee make it a strong contender for those seeking rewards and travel advantages.

Main Features

  • Annual Fee: $120
  • Purchase Rate: 20.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • 6X points (6%) at grocery partners
    • 5X points (5%) on entertainment, eating, and other eligible grocery stores
    • 3X points (3%) on gas, daily transit, and streaming services
    • 1X point (1%) everywhere else
  • Welcome Bonus: Up to 40k Scene+ points ($400 value)
    • 20,000 Scene+ points after spending $1,000 in the first three months
    • 20,000 Scene+ points once you spend $7,500 in the first year
  • Travel Benefits: No foreign transaction fees, Access to over 1200 VIP airport lounges with Priority Pass, rental insurance, travel insurance
  • Eligibility: $12,000 personal income, +760 credit score
  • Extra Features:
    • Special offers through Amex Front Of The Line® and American Express Invites®
    • Mobile device insurance
    • Extended warranty protection
    • Amex Offers for shopping, dining, and travel
    • Complimentary concierge services

Pros And Cons Of Reward Credit Cards

ProsCons
Earn rewards on everyday purchasesLosing rewards through account closure or inactivity
Welcome bonusesHigh annual fees that might offset rewards
Flexible redemption optionsSome have complex points systems and restrictions on redemption options
Access to exclusive deals or discountsDifficult minimum spend requirements for bonuses
Access to additional perks like insurance options and warrantiesLow base rates for non-bonus categories

How Reward Credit Cards Work

Reward credit cards are somewhat of a mixture of cashback, and travel credit cards. In most cases, you’ll earn points which you can redeem through a rewards portal. In other circumstances, you can redeem rewards through a booking site, cashier, or eligible purchases made on the card. Each reward system has a different portal, offering different redemption options and restrictions. 

Furthermore, the value of your points changes across reward programs. For example, RBC Avion rewards carry a different value than Scotiabank Scene+. Their ability to earn one point per dollar spent is not the same value. We’ve valued points for you in this article to provide a direct comparison across cards. 

You’ll earn rewards either in a flat-rate or variable category structure. With a flat rate, you earn the same points per dollar spent regardless of the type of purchase. For example, 2 points per $1. 

In contrast, a variable category structure means your ability to earn points changes with the spending category. For example, there is usually a base rate for general spending and accelerated earning rates on specific categories like groceries, gas, travel, etc. Choosing a card with bonus categories that align with your spending is key to maximizing value.

It’s also important to know that your points may expire with prolonged inactivity. As such, It’s smart to make a small redemption once a year or so, if you don’t use your points often. However, it’s essential to understand the value of your points at redemption to ensure you don’t devalue them. 

Trying to find the best credit card combination for your needs?

How To Calculate Point Value

In most cases, rewards carry a value of 1 to 2 cents per point. However, this changes across rewards programs and redemption options. In general, you’ll maximize the redemption value of your points with travel-related options. Inversely, statement credit redemptions, or cash-like redemptions tend to offer the lowest value. 

Knowing if you’re redeeming at a good value is essential when making a redemption. To determine if redemption is worthwhile, use a simple formula:

Cash Value of Redemption x 100 / Number of Points to Redeem = Value Per Point

  • Cash Value of Redemption: The value of the item you want to redeem. If redeeming a flight, you’ll usually need to use an external travel-booking portal to reference the value.
  • Number of Points to Redeem: The number of points your rewards program requires to redeem the item. 

For example, if a $100 gift card costs 20,000 points, the math is:

$100 x 100 / 20,000 = 0.5 cents per point

Things To Consider When Selecting A Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards Type: Choose a card matching your preference for flexible points, airline/hotel miles, cash back, or retail discounts, ensuring it fits your spending habits and reward goals.
  • Welcome Bonus: Lucrative one-time sign-up bonuses can offset the annual fee for the first year or longer. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of the sign-up bonus before applying for a card.
  • Interest Rates: It is important for those carrying a balance to assess purchase, cash advance, balance transfer rates, and any promotional APRs to manage costs effectively.
  • Annual Fees: Evaluate whether the card’s benefits, like earn rates and perks, justify the annual fee, ensuring it aligns with your expected usage and value gained.
  • Earning Rates: Estimate the rewards from routine spending in key categories like groceries and dining to select a card that maximizes returns based on your spending habits.
  • Additional Perks: The top-tier flexible travel cards also pack privileges and insurances to enhance your trips, like airport lounge access, elite hotel status, trip delay and interruption protection and more. 
  • Spending Caps: Many credit cards have spending caps on top earn categories. Check to see if the cap spending might make the offer less lucrative than other card offerings.

Bottom Line

With new credit card rewards programs launching every year in Canada, keeping up with the options can get overwhelming. By breaking down the key details like earn rates, fees, bonuses, and redemption details on leading cards across categories, our guide simplifies picking the best one for your lifestyle.

Best Rewards Credit Cards In Canada FAQs

What is the best credit card for rewards?

The American Express Cobalt Card is often renowned as Canada’s best rewards card, offering 5x points on groceries, dining, and transit for rapid point accumulation. Points are versatile, usable as fixed-value Member Rewards for travel or transferable to airline/hotel partners. 

How to get an American Express card?

To apply for an Amex card, choose your card and complete the online application accurately. Provide personal, income, and employment details and review card terms. After submitting for review, activate your card once you receive approval. Once activated, start using your new Amex and earning rewards.

What are credit card reward points worth?

Credit card points usually average 1 to 2 cents per point. However, the value of points changes across rewards programs and redemption methods.
Lucas Elliott avatar on Loans Canada
Lucas Elliott

Lucas, a Toronto native, holds an Honours BBA (Finance) degree obtained from Wilfrid Laurier University. His career has spanned venture capital and blockchain startups. Aside from writing at Loans Canada, Lucas is a Hardbacon contributor, and content specialist at Croton Content. Additionally, his passion for exploring the world has taken him to an impressive 28 countries across Europe, North America, Asia, and Central America.

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