Best Travel Credit Cards Canada 2021

Best Travel Credit Cards Canada 2021

Written by Priyanka Correia
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated September 27, 2021

When deciding which travel reward credit card you want, you’ll first have to figure out which type of travel credit card you need. There are two types of travel reward credit cards: 

  • General Travel Reward Credit Cards – A general travel credit card will allow you to directly use your points to book a flight or hotel or turn your points into credit which you can choose to use for travel or any other purchase. 
  • Co-branded Travel Reward Credit Cards – A co-branded travel credit card is a credit card that is in partnership with a particular airline or hotel. This card would provide you with special discounts and rewards for a specific airline or hotel.

If you have a preference, you may find co-branded credit cards that exclusively provide points with a certain airline such as Westjet or AirCanada. If you prefer having your options open, a general travel credit card will provide flexibility and variety in choice. 

What To Consider When Choosing a Travel Credit Card? 

  • Where is it Accepted?  – If you plan on using your credit card abroad you should find out where it is accepted. While Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, American Express less so. 
  • Foreign Transaction Fees – If you’re a frequent flyer and plan on using your card when travelling, be sure to understand the foreign transaction fees. Many cards charge between 1.5% to 3% per transaction. 
  • Annual Fee – Another cost you should consider before signing up for a travel credit card is the annual fee. You should always be aware of how much you need to spend in a year to cover the cost of the annual fee. If your spending habits won’t accumulate enough points to cover your fee, you should consider an alternative credit card.
  • Perks – Keep a lookout for travel insurance, travel credit, free flights and lounge access when choosing a travel credit card. Depending on the credit card and provider you may find all or some of these perks
  • Sign-up Bonus – Often credit card companies will offer great welcome bonus points that are worth a couple of hundred dollars. However, to earn them you will usually have to spend a certain amount of money within a certain period of time. It’s essential that you understand the terms and conditions of the offer as it’s easy to forget and lose out on such opportunities. 

5 Best Travel Credit Cards

  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
  • MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard
  • RBC British Airways Visa Infinite
  • Scotia Passport Visa
  • RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card

Annual Fee$599
APR19.99%
Cash Advance Rate22.99%
Welcome Bonus20,000 Aeroplan points

The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card is a credit card that lets you earn Aeroplan points. This card offers a great welcome bonus of 20,000 Aeroplan points when you make your first purchase and a one-time bonus Companion Pass/Buddy Pass when you spend $3,000 or more within the first 4 months of opening your account. You can continue earning 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on eligible purchases. This includes gas, groceries, dining, and travel purchases (2 points if you make travel purchases through Air Canada). All other purchases will earn you 1 Aeroplan point on every dollar spent. 

You can use your Aeroplan points to book trips, buy merchandise, pay down your credit card balance, and make contributions to other financial products such as a savings account, RRSP, or mortgage.

Extra Features 

  • Insurance coverage – Access to rental theft and damage insurance, medical insurance, flight delays insurance, baggage theft and damage insurance, mobile device insurance, hotel burglary insurance, and purchase protection. 
  • Annual fee rebate – If you have a CIBC Smart™ Plus Account, you can get up to $139 dollars off your annual fee.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You are a Canadian citizen
  • You have reached the age of majority in your province
  • You need a household income of at least 200,000 or 150,000 as an individual
  • You haven’t declared bankruptcy in the last 7 years

MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard

MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard
Annual Fee$99
APR19.99%
Cash Advance Rate22.99%
Welcome Bonus30,000 Miles

MBNA Alaska Airline World Elite Mastercard is catered to Canadians living in Alberta and British Columbia as you can only board the Alaska Airlines from a few select cities in those provinces.  They are currently offering a welcome bonus of 30,000 miles which you can earn by spending $1,000 within the first 3 months of opening an account. This bonus is easily equivalent to a one-way flight anywhere in Canada, the US, and as far as parts of Asia. You can continue to accumulate 3 miles per dollar spent when you use Alaska Airlines to book trips. All other purchases will earn you 1 Mile per dollar spent. 

Extra Features 

  • Companion Fare – Every year you can book a round trip for $99 USD plus tax anywhere on the Alaska Airline route.     
  • Price Protection – If the ticket you bought reduces in price within 60 days, you can get refunded the difference.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You are a Canadian citizen
  • You have reached the age of majority in your province
  • You need an individual income of at least $80,000 or a household income of at least $150,000  

RBC British Airways Visa Infinite

RBC British Airways Visa Infinite
Annual Fee$165
APR20.50%
Cash Advance Rate22.99%
Welcome Bonus50,000 Avios

RBC has partnered up with British Airways to create the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite credit card. When you’re approved for the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite card you’ll be rewarded with 15,000 Avios points. From there you have the opportunity to earn another 25,000 Avios if you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of signing up. Another 10,000 Avios can be earned when you renew your card after a year. In general, all purchases will earn you 1 Avios per dollar spent on eligible items, however, you can double those points when you make any British Airways purchases. 

You can use your Avios points for all travel-related expenses. However, the downside with this card is that you can only use your Avios points on British Airways and their airline partners in Oneworld Alliance.

Extra Features 

  • Protection – When travelling you’ll be equipped with purchase, medical, car rental, hotel burglary, and trip cancellation insurance
  • Extra Points – Earn 20% more petro points and save 3 cents per litre when you link your card to petro Canada. 
  • eVoucher – Get a companion eVoucher when you spend 30,000 in a year. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • You are a Canadian citizen
  • You have reached the age of majority in your province
  • You need an individual income of at least $60,000 or a household income of at least $100,000

Scotia Passport Visa Infinite

Scotia Passport Visa Infinite
Annual Fee$139
APR19.99%
Cash Advance Rate22.99%
Welcome Bonus30,000 Scotia Reward points

The Scotia Passport Visa offers flexible rewards and a great welcome bonus that has a value of up to $300. You can earn 2 Scotia Reward points per dollar on eligible grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, transportation, and entertainment purchases. All other eligible purchases will earn you 1 point on every dollar spent. The 30,000 welcome bonus is earned by spending $1,000 on your account within 3 months of signing up.

You can redeem your Scotia Reward points to purchase merchandise, prepaid cards, gift cards, or to pay down your credit card. You can also convert your scotia reward points to SCENE points which you can redeem for movies. Lastly, you can use your points for all your travel expenses no matter who the provider is.

Extra Features 

  • Insurance coverage – Provides classic travel protection such as medical insurance, flight delays insurance, trip cancellation insurance, baggage insurance, and purchase protection.  
  • Lounge Access – 6 free airport lounge visits and access to priority pass membership.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees – No foreign transaction fees

Eligibility Requirements

  • You have reached the age of majority in your province
  • You need a personal income of at least 60,000 or a household income of $100,000

RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard 

RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard
Annual Fee$119
APR19.99%
Cash Advance Rate22.99%
Welcome Bonus350 Westjet Dollars

RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard is a co-branded credit card that offers great perks and value for Westjet travellers. The RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard offers one of the easiest and fastest ways to earn the welcome bonus of 350 Westjet dollars which is equal to $350 Canadian dollars. You can earn 250 Westjet dollars when you are approved for the RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard and another 100 Westjet dollars when you make your first purchase. You can continue earning 1.5% WestJet dollars on every dollar spent on all eligible purchases. Extra WestJet dollars (2%) can be earned when you book trips using WestJet. You can redeem your Westjet dollars for any ticket, trips or vacation packages through WestJet. 

Extra Features 

  • Insurance coverage – Provides classic travel protection such as flight delays insurance, trip cancellation insurance, baggage insurance, and purchase protection.  
  • Extra Points – Earn 20% more petro points and save 3 cents per litre when you link your card to petro Canada. 
  • Travel Perks – Gain a round trip companion voucher anywhere on Westjet’s route network. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • You are a Canadian citizen
  • You have reached the age of majority in your province
  • You need an individual income of at least $80,000 or a household income of $150,000  

Bottom Line

The featured cards all provide great welcome bonuses and perks when you open an account. However, based on your income, spending habits, and needs, some will provide you with more benefits than others. For example, if you value flexibility and variety the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite will be more preferable to the RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard as you can use it to not only make travel-related purchases but you can use to pay down your credit card, purchase merchandise or convert it to SCENE points. As such, you should always evaluate and compare your options to choose a credit card that best matches your needs. 


Rating of 5/5 based on 2 votes.

Priyanka is a personal finance expert at Loans Canada. She is passionate about money management and educating Canadian consumers about how to take control of their financial lives. She has taken financial control of her life by using Mint to budget and track her expenses while growing her wealth by investing through Wealthsimple. She also believes in having an emergency fund, so she keeps a good sum of money in an easily accessible high-interest savings account. She also uses the American Express Cobalt Card to earn points on all her purchases, further fueling her savings goal. She also uses Loans Canada’s lender directory whenever she wants to compare rates from different lenders.

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