All about travelling credit cards!
We can understand the daunting choices of which credit card to get, and which ones are best to use when travelling. We have been there where asking ourselves do we use the BMO travel cards, AMEX, CIBC… it can become a hard decision and you may ask yourself why not choose all?! Well in this post let us outline what options are available to you and what are the benefits!
These are biased because we are only discussing 5 of the main cards out there that we have either used or worked with.
American Express Aeroplan Reserve
The American Express is a travel card solely focused on the Air Canada Aeroplan and partners rewards system. As Canadians and with the main airline in the greater Toronto Area, you get the idea why this is the first in the list.
Rewards Program: The Aeroplan card offers 3x Aeroplan points on all Air Canada. 2x on dining food and delivery. And 1.25 points on everything else. These points can be redeemed for flights and travel discounts as well as assists with reaching elite status under the Aeroplan loyalty program.
Sign-up bonus: Earn up to 85,000 welcome bonus points when you spend $6,000 in net purchases on your card within the first 6 months of Card membership. Additionally earn 5,000 Aeroplan points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $1,000 on purchases. This could add up to 30,000 Aeroplan points.
Perks: The American Express Aeroplan Card includes a range of perks, such as travel insurance, car rental discounts, and access to the Aeroplan loyalty program. You get access to all of the Maple leaf lounges worldwide and you also get Nexxus pass and travel credits annually along with first bags checked for free to any destinations flying with Air Canada.
Annual Fee: this comes in on the higher side of the annual fee at $599 annually. We would say if you are flying a lot from the greater Toronto area or from Canada in general, the perks does add up and you can earn up to $2,600 in value within the first year alone. Not accounting for future uses and rewards!
Overall, the Aeroplan American Express Reserve card is a well-rounded card for the Canadian traveler. It allows you to move up in Aeroplan status and redeem points for travel, hotels, and exclusive rates on car rentals.
American Express Platinum/Gold Cards
The American Express Platinum and Gold cards are premium credit cards that offer a range of benefits and rewards. Here is a comparison of some of the key features of these cards:
Rewards program: The Platinum offer 3x points for eligible dinning and food purchases in Canada 2x points for all eligible travel, and 1x points on all other purchases.
The gold is a lower in points accumulation but you are able to earn 2x points for eligible gas, groceries and drug stores in Canada, 2x points for all eligible travel, you may earn an additional 1x points for bookings made with American Express Travel at americaexpress.ca/travel and 1x points on all other purchases. You can redeem your points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, and other rewards.
Sign-up bonus: The Platinum card offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $6,000 in the first 3 months. The Gold card offers a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Additionally you can earn 20,000 points for purchases made between the 14th and 17th month for the platinum card and 10,000 points for the gold card. That’s up to $800 and $500 of reward points to use for hotels and travel.
Perks: The Platinum card includes a wide range of perks, such as access to airport lounges, a $200 annual airline fee credit, and a $200 annual Uber credit. The Gold card includes perks such as a $100 annual airline fee credit and access to the Amex Offers program.
Annual fee: The Platinum card has an annual fee of $699, while the Gold card has an annual fee of $250.
Overall, both the American Express Platinum and Gold cards are good choices for travelers who want a wide range of benefits and rewards. The Platinum card is a particularly good choice for those who want luxury travel perks, while the Gold card is a good option for those who want a lower annual fee and a more modest range of benefits.
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite
The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege is a premium travel credit card that offers a range of benefits and rewards. Here are some of the key features of this card:
Rewards program: This card offers 3 points per $1 spent on travel through the CIBC rewards center, and 2 points per $1 spent on all transportation, groceries dining and gas, and 1.25x points all other purchases. You can redeem your points for travel and statement credits or any other option of redemption from CIBC
Sign-up bonus: This card offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Perks: The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege includes a range of perks, such as travel insurance, concierge service, and access to airport lounges. It also offers a $200 annual travel credit towards eligible travel purchases and also 2 nexus passes that are credited to your card statement when purchased every 4 years.
Annual fee: This card has an annual fee of $499. But with the points earned the sign up bonus, you could earn up to $2,100 in the first year alone and If you already have a bank account with CIBC they will credit you $139 annually for maintaining a balance above $6,000 which is applied to the card statement.
Overall, the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege is a good choice for travelers who want a generous rewards program and a range of travel-related perks.
BMO Ascend World Elite
The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard is a premium travel credit card that offers a range of benefits and rewards. Here are some of the key features of this card:
Rewards program: This card offers 5x points per $1 spent on travel, 3x on dining and entertainment, and 1x points per $1 spent on all other purchases. Simiarly to above, you may redeem depending on the rate exchange for points for travel and charges on statements or any other offers provided by BMO.
Sign-up bonus: This card offers a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and an additional 2,500 points for each month after that you spend $2000 up to 30,000 points.
Perks: The BMO World Elite Mastercard includes a range of perks, such as travel insurance, mobile extended warranty, concierge service, and 4 annual passes to airport lounges. It also offers a $50 annual statement credit towards eligible travel purchases.
Annual fee: This card has an annual fee of $150 which is waived in the first year and by maintaining an account balance of $6,000.
Overall, the BMO World Elite Mastercard is a good choice for travelers who want a rewards program with a wide range of earning opportunities and a range of travel-related perks. This is one of our main travel cards, allows us to cover the cost of flights by points and smooth processing of phone repairs claims.
These are more suggestions and benefits we have found from the cards and not financial advice. Seek professional help for what suits you individually. It's important to consider the annual fee and your spending habits when deciding if this card is right for you.
You will notice that we did not outline the redemption rate for points in any of the comparisons above. This is because banks and institutions change the redemption ratio often its best to stay up to date by visiting online or calling them for updates.
Here are the links to cards mentioned above:
Until next time, more roaming on the way!