The Best Credit Cards in Canada for 2019

Best credit cards in CanadaShopping around for the best credit cards in Canada can be daunting. With so many options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when making a decision. There’s a lot to consider including:

How much are you willing to pay annually?

What type of credit card are you looking for?

Does the credit card offer a welcome bonus or a rewards program?

Are there special perks or benefits for cardholders?

Luckily, Young and Thrifty is here to help make your decision a cinch. From cash back cards to travel rewards cards to low-interest cards to the best card for balance transfers, we’ve scoured the market and selected the best credit cards in Canada for 2019. After extensive research, these eight credit cards stand out as the winners.

Remember, there is no such thing as one “best” credit card. You should pick a credit card that most suits your needs and lifestyle. With that in mind, here are our recommendations for the best credit cards in Canada.

Summary of the Best Credit Cards in Canada 2019

Credit CardBest ForSpecial Feature or Rewards
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite*Cash Back on Gas & Groceries4% back on gas and groceries
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite*Aeroplan MembersA sign-up bonus of up to 30,000 Aeroplan Miles
BMO® World Elite®* Mastercard®*Travel Rewards35,000 point welcome bonus
MBNA Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®Hotel RewardsWelcome bonus points are enough for a free 1-night stay
American Express Essential™ Credit CardLow-Interest Rate8.99% Interest rate is one of the lowest in Canada
MBNA True Line® Mastercard®Balance Transfers0% interest on balance transfers for 10 months

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite*: Best for Cash Back on Gas & Groceries

Scotia-Momentum-Visa-Infinite-Cash-Back_243x153

For cash back on your gas and grocery purchases, then look no further than the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card. With this card, Canadians can regularly earn 4% back on gas and groceries – a substantial amount that adds up over time.

Meanwhile, you can also get 2% cash back on drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, as well as 1% cash back on everything else.

While there is a cap on each category ($25,000), it's still one of the most generous cashback offerings on the market. Cardholders also receive the benefit of travel insurance, car rental collision insurance, and purchase insurance. There is a $99 annual fee (waived for the first year) and a minimum annual income of $60,000+ is required to apply.

What we like: 4% back on gas and groceries makes it one of the most generous cash back credit cards in Canada.

What we don’t like: High mandatory income requirement and supplementary cards come with an annual fee.

The Details:

  • 4% cash back on gas and groceries
  • 2% cash back on any drug store purchases and recurring bill payments
  • 1% cash back on anything else purchased on this credit card
  • Annual fee is waived for the first year
  • New cardholders will earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to a value of $2000)

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite*: Best for Aeroplan Members

aeroplan-visa-infinite-card-large_tcm341-234246Aeroplan collectors will definitely want the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* in their wallet. *This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

New cardholders get a generous welcome bonus of 30,000 miles – 15,000 upon sign-up and an additional 15,000 with $1,000 spent in the first three months.

That’s equivalent to two short-haul roundtrip flight rewards!

Cardholders also earn 1.5 Aeroplan Miles for every dollar spent on eligible grocery, gas, drugstore and Aircanada.com purchases – everyday spends that rack up quickly and easily. Plus, earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on everything else, and you can earn double the rewards on purchases made at Aeroplan partners.

The card also offers some awesome travel perks, such as travel insurance, car rental insurance, and exclusive VIP benefits, like priority boarding/check-in, 24-hour concierge services, and a free guest lounge pass. The annual fee of $120 is a bit steep, but new cardholders can take advantage of the first year rebate. Check out our comprehensive TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* review.

What we like: Welcome bonus of 30,000 points, double miles on Aeroplan partner spends, VIP perks,

What we don’t like: High annual fee

The Details:

  • A sign-up bonus of up to 30,000 Miles
  • First year Annual Fee Rebate for Primary Cardholder
  • 1.5:$1 spent on gas, grocery, drugstore, and purchases on AirCanada.com
  • 1:$1 spent on all other purchases
  • Twice the miles earned when you use your card at over 150 Aeroplan partners and more than 120 online retailers
  • Your Aeroplan Miles don’t expire as long as you’re a TD Aeroplan Credit Cardholder

BMO® World Elite®* Mastercard®*: Best for Travel Rewards

BMO-Rewards-World-Elite-Mastercard-243One of the best credit cards in Canada for travellers is the BMO® World Elite®* Mastercard®*. The excellent welcome bonus of 35,000 points (after spending $3000 in the first 3 months) is enough to cover a return flight from Toronto to Montreal. For perks, travellers also love the four free airport lounge passes annually and the comprehensive travel insurance included in the cardholder benefits.

All purchases made with the BMO® World Elite®* Mastercard®* will earn 2 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent and you can earn an accelerated rate of 3 points per dollar with eligible travel, dining, and entertainment purchases. This is only valid up to a maximum spend amount of $50,000 annually, but that’s still very reasonable.

The BMO® World Elite®* Mastercard®* has plenty of great perks, but keep in mind that it comes at a price. There is an annual fee of $150 (waived for the first year) and a minimum income of $80,000 to apply. 

What we like: Welcome bonus of 35,000 points, 4 free airport lounge passes per year, accelerated earning rate for eligible merchants

What we don’t like: High annual fee and high-income requirement to apply

The Details:

  • Welcome bonus of 35,000 points (when you spent 3000 in the first 3 months)
  • 2 BMO points for every $1 spent
  • 3 BMO points at eligible travel, dining, and entertainment merchants (maxed out at $50,000 per year)
  • 4 free airport lounge passes per year
  • Annual fee is waived for the first year

MBNA Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®: Best for Hotel Rewards

Best-Western-MasterCard®-credit-card_243x153While not an all-around travel credit card, the MBNA Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® is ideal for cardholders who frequent hotels and are looking to score some free stays. *This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here.

Cardholders earn 5 Best Western Rewards® points for every $1 spent at Best Western hotels and 1 BWR® point for every $1 spent elsewhere. BWR® points can then be redeemed for future stays, dining, or even gift cards.

Some of the perks: new cardholders earn a welcome bonus of 20,000 BWR® points (that’s enough for 1 free night!). For travellers, there's also car rental insurance coverage included on this card, saving you even more dough. This credit card also offers fast-track Gold Elite Status, entitling you to an extra 10% in BWR® bonus points for eligible stays as well as perks like room upgrades (when available) – all you have to do is make a qualifying purchase with the card.

Above all, the MBNA Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® is ideal for budget travellers, as there is no annual fee and no minimum income requirement to apply. 

What we like: Welcome bonus of 20,000 BWR® points, no annual fee, no minimum income requirement

What we don’t like: limited rewards program compared to other travel cards

The Details:

  • Welcome bonus of 20,000 BWR® points is enough for a free 1-night stay
  • No annual fee
  • Every $1 spent at Best Western properties earns you 5 BWR® points
  • Every $1 spent elsewhere earns 1 BWR® point

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here.


American Express Essential™ Credit Card: Best for Low-Interest Rates

American-Express-Essential-Credit-Card_243x153For a low-interest credit card, the American Express Essential Credit Card is your best bet. With a promotional interest rate of 1.99% for the first six months for balance transfers, then a firm rate of 8.99%, the American Express Essential™ Credit Card has one of the lowest interest rates in Canada.

Additionally, there is no annual fee – making this the perfect plastic for emergencies or times when you may need to carry a balance. To apply for the American Express Essential™ Credit Card, there's no minimum income requirement.

What we like: Low-interest rate of 8.99%, no annual fee, balance transfer promo

What we don’t like: No rewards

The Details:

  • 8.99% interest rate (one of the lowest in Canada)
  • 1.99% interest rates for the first 6 months for balance transfers
  • Purchase protection plan
  • Travel accident insurance up to $100,000
  • No annual fee

MBNA True Line® Mastercard®: Best for Balance Transfers

MBNA-True-Line-MasterCard-243Canadians looking for a balance transfer credit card should look no further than the MBNA True Line® Mastercard®. The big draw is that cardholders won’t have to pay any interest on balance transfers for the first ten months. After the promo period ends, the regular purchase interest rate is 12.99%, which is still considerably lower than most credit cards in Canada. This card is a great option for those seeking to pay off debt fast.

What makes the MBNA True Line® Mastercard® even more attractive is that fact that there is no annual fee and no minimum income requirement – making it easy for anyone to apply. Additional perks include around the clock fraud protection and 24/7 customer service.

What we like: 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 10 months, no annual fee, no minimum income requirement

What we don’t like: No rewards

The Details:

  • 0% promotional annual interest rate for 10 months on balance transfers completed within 90 days of account opening, with 3% transfer fee (minimum fee of $7.50)
  • Regular purchase interest rate of 12.99%
  • No minimum income requirement to apply
  • No annual fee 

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here.

Final Word

With so many credit cards on the market, finding the best one can be tricky. Just remember that there’s no “best” credit card for everyone, and finding a credit card that works for you requires a little research. Luckily, our in-depth analysis of the best credit cards in Canada will give you a bit of guidance and help you find one that suits your lifestyle.

The following two tabs change content below.

Hannah Logan

Hannah Logan is a freelance writer and blogger based in Ottawa. She has a passion for travel that has led her on adventures around the world and her stories have appeared online at Fodor’s Travel, Livestrong, World Nomads, Intrepid Travel, O Magazine, and more. You can keep up with her travels at Eatsleepbreathetravel.com.

Leave a Comment