How To Maximize Your Travel Rewards Credit Card
A travel rewards credit card is an incredibly powerful tool to both help you save money and give you peace of mind while travelling. Many people underestimate the benefits of travel credit cards, but with the right one, you can nab lucrative signup bonuses, save money on travel insurance and related expenditures, benefit from generous rewards programs, and get access to VIP airport lounges worldwide.
The best travel credit cards in Canada right now are the Scotiabank Gold American Express card and the BMO World Elite Mastercard, both of which include insurance benefits that let you travel worry-free. These cards pack a lot of punch when it comes to travel-related insurance benefits. If your baggage is lost or delayed, or if your flight is cancelled or delayed, they’ve got you covered — you’ll be reimbursed for all necessary expenses including hotel stays, meals and the purchase of essential items. These cards will also cover you in the event of any accidents or medical emergencies that occur while travelling for up to 25 consecutive days.
If you’d rather not pay an annual fee, a no-fee cash-back credit card card is your best option. When it comes to comparing no-fee credit cards, cashback is the way to go! A no-fee cashback card tends to have better sign up or spending bonuses and you’re more likely to receive a greater dollar value at the end of the year when compared with no-fee travel cards. The SimplyCash Card from American Express is currently one of the best cash-back credit cards in Canada, rewarding you with 1.25% cashback on all purchases. For a limited time, you’ll receive 5% cashback on everyday purchases. In addition to car rental insurance, this card also includes travel accident insurance.
While most Canadians are familiar with Air Miles and Aeroplan when it comes to travel loyalty programs, proprietary rewards programs such as Scotia Rewards and BMO Rewards are giving Aeroplan and Air Miles a run for their money. These programs are gaining in popularity due to the lack of blackout dates, not having to worry about taxes or fees, plus an easy redemption process: simply find the best flights and apply your points directly.
The Scotiabank Gold American Express card offers a 4% return on everyday purchases (gas, groceries, restaurants and entertainment) and a 1% return on everything else. Similarly, the BMO World Elite Mastercard offers a 2% return on all categories. The points earned using these cards can then be applied directly to flight purchases of your choosing. Although both these cards have annual fees ($99 and $149 respectively), these fees are waived for the first year and typically pay for themselves. For example, using the spending profile below and including sign up and spending bonuses, you would earn $915 in your first year with the Scotiabank Gold American Express card and $617 with the BMO World Elite Mastercard. The value of these points can then be easily redeemed on flight bookings. In the case of the SimplyCash Card from American Express, you would earn $405 in cashback, which is automatically applied to your credit card statement once a year.
Lastly, many premium travel credit cards provide the white glove treatment. From 24/7 on demand concierge services to Priority Pass airport lounge access, these cards provide some serious perks for the frequent flyer. The BMO World Elite Mastercard gets you a free membership to Priority Pass, which includes four complimentary passes to Priority Pass lounges per year, after which you have to pay $27 per use. With the Scotiabank Gold American Express card, you get a discount on a Priority Pass membership. If you find yourself in airports frequently, it is definitely worth taking advantage of these perks!
From one-time offers to reward programs and travel insurance, travel credit cards are loaded with perks and benefits if used properly. Before you take your next trip, head over to Ratehub.ca and compare the best credit cards in Canada.
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