Maximize Monday: The Best Canadian Credit Cards and Current Deals
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
I’m up in Toronto at the moment for a few media appearances including being a guest on The Social on CTV at 1pm today, so for today’s Maximize Monday post, I thought I’d put together a quick roundup of the best current Canadian credit card offers and other promos and deals. These are not my affiliate links, and I searched around for the best offers I could find, but if you know of any better ones, please feel free to leave a comment with them below and I can update the post.
Canada is its own market – both in terms of credit cards, loyalty programs and points, so even though you’ll find many of the same programs in Canada as you will in the US, such as American Express Membership Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest, sometimes the terms can be quite different, the travel partners vary and the credit card offers are not the same as their counterparts in the US. That’s why I suggest in addition to keeping up with blogs from the US, Canadian travelers also follow along on blogs based in Canada. Here are a few of my favorites.
Rewards Canada: This is the grand macdaddy of all the Canadian blogs, covering a ton of different programs, newsy items and deals from the north. It is probably the single most comprehensive resource for Canadian points and miles news.
Canadian Kilometers: A Canada-focused blog on Boarding Area with 1-2 posts per day about the general travel news of the day and some Canada-centric stories.
Canadian Travel Hacking: News, deals and personal reviews as well as mileage run ideas and low fares from Canadian destinations.
GreatCanadianRebates.ca.: Great site reporting on deals and rebates on everything including credit card applications.
Canada Miles Buzz on FlyterTalk: FlyerTalk is a robust online community of travelers and points enthusiasts posting on the latest news and deals, and answering each other’s questions. This thread is devoted to Canada news, so check back frequently to see what’s new and interesting up there.
BEST CURRENT CREDIT CARD OFFERS
While Canadian credit card offers and bonuses tend not to be as high as the offers on the American versions of travel credit cards in general, there are still plenty of decent deals and historically high sign-up bonuses going on at the moment.
Canada American Express Platinum Card: The public offer for this card is 50,000 points after $1,000 spent within 3 months, but if you get referred you can qualify for a 60,000 point offer when you spend $1,000 in 3 months – a historically high bonus for this card. This card has the same set of features and benefits as the US version but the annual fee is higher at $699, and it carries a whopping 30% interest rate, but if you don’t have any credit issues or trouble paying your bills off on time, that shouldn’t be an issue. This card also earns 1.25 points per $1.
Aeroplan Platinum American Express: 51,000 points when you spend $1,000 in 3 months. $499 annual fee. Earn 1.25 points per $1 up to $25,000 per cardmember year, then 1.5 points per $1 after that. Aeroplan has short-haul awards that start at 15,000 miles roundtrip and business class to Western Europe is only 90,000 miles (for now), so this card could easily pay for itself many times over. Note: Aeroplan now imposes hefty fuel surcharges on many Star Alliance awards.
Aeroplan Gold American Express: 30,000 points when you spend $500 in 3 months. Annual fee of $120 waived the first year. Earn 1 points per $1 up to $10,000 per cardmember year, then 1.25 points per $1 after that.
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card: 25,000 points when you spend $3,000 in 3 months. $180 annual fee, waived the first year. American Express Membership Rewards Canada points transfer to Aeroplan, Alitalia, British Airways, Delta, Priority Club, Hilton and Starwood (2:1 ratio).
American Express Gold Rewards Card: 25,000 points when you spend $500 in 3 months. $150 annual fee waived the first year. Earn 2 points per $1 on eligible travel purchases.
Starwood Canada American Express Card: The current offer on this card is 21,000 points when you spend $1,000 in 3 months. This is a historically high bonus for this card, which is usually just around the 5,000-10,000-point mark, and was only supposed to last until April 2013, but the link still appears to be live. The card also comes with Gold status after $30,000 in spend and a free weekend night at $40,000 in spend. For each approved referral you could earn 8,000 Starpoints. Receive a 5,000 Starpoint bonus from the Starwood Preferred Guest program when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program. $120 annual fee
Starwood Canada American Express Business Card: The current offer on this card is 21,000 points when you spend $1,000 in 3 months. This is a historically high bonus for this card, which is usually just around the 5,000-10,000-point mark, and was only supposed to last until April 2013, but the link still appears to be live. The card also comes with Gold status after $30,000 in spend and a free weekend night at $40,000 in spend. For each approved referral you could earn 5,000 Starpoints. Receive a 5,000 Starpoint bonus from the Starwood Preferred Guest program when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program. $120 annual fee
Air Miles Platinum Card: Earn a Welcome Bonus of 500 AIR MILES reward miles the first time you use the approved Card. $65 annual fee waived the first year. Earn 1 reward mile for every $10 in Card purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors. Earn 1 reward mile for every $10 in Card purchases at other eligible gas, grocery and drugstores. Plus, earn 1 reward mile for every $15 in Card purchases everywhere else you use the Card.
Business Air Miles Platinum: Earn a 250 AIR MILES reward miles Welcome Bonus – just make $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of membership. Earn 1 reward mile for every $10 in Card purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors. Earn 1 reward mile for every $15 in Card purchases everywhere else. Annual bonus of 1,000 reward miles when you reach $50,000 in purchases each year. As a Cardmember, you can refer a friend and earn a referral bonus of 100 reward miles for each approved referral. $99 Annual Fee.
Air Miles Gold Card: Earn a Welcome Bonus of 150 AIR MILES reward miles the first time you use the approved Card. Earn 1 reward mile for every $15 in Card purchases at AIR MILESSponsors.Earn 1 reward mile for every $20 in purchases you charge to the Card everywhere else. No annual fee.
Business Air Miles Gold: Get 150 bonus AIR MILES reward miles when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of Cardmembership. Earn 1 reward mile for every $15 in Card purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors. Earn 1 reward mile for every $20 in Card purchases everywhere else. No annual fee.
Capital One Aspire Travel World Mastercard: 35,000 points with first purchase, 10,000 points on your anniversary every year. 2 points per dollar spent. $120 annual fee. These points can’t be transferred to any mileage programs, but they are worth about a cent each towards travel and the flights booked earn miles and elite miles.
Aspire Travel Platinum: 5,000 bonus reward miles on your first purchase. 1 reward mile for every $1 – on everything you buy. 25% extra reward miles every year. No Annual Fee
Capital One Delta Skymiles World Mastercard: 25,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in 90 days. $120 annual fee. The card also has some new perks including 3 miles for every dollar spent on Delta purchases, 2 miles for every dollar spent on all other net purchases, 10,000 bonus miles annually when you spend at least CAD$25,000, no annual fee for authorized users (currently CAD$49).
Chase Marriott Visa: You can read a full review of the card here. 30,000 Bonus Points after your first purchase. 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-4 location after account approval. No Foreign Currency Transaction Charges on international purchases in addition to the exchange rate. 5 points per $1 spent at over 3,500 participating Marriott locations. 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies & restaurants, 1 point per $1 spent on purchases elsewhere. Achieve your next Elite membership level faster with 15 Nights Credit every year. Receive one anniversary bonus free night stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year just for having the card!. No charge for additional cards. $120 Annual Fee is waived for the first year
Aerogold Visa Infinite: 15,000 Aeroplan Miles upon first purchase. Rewards for everyday spending, including 1 Aeroplan Mile for every $1 charged to your card. Additional earning opportunities, including: 50% more Aeroplan Miles at gas, grocery and drug stores. 1.5 Aeroplan miles for every dollar you spend at any Fairmont Hotels & Resorts worldwide (available on your first $80,000 in total annual account spending). Up to triple the Aeroplan Miles at select CIBC Bonus Rewards establishments. Car rental discounts of up to 25% at participating Avis and Budget locations with your CIBC credit card. Chip-enabled for enhanced safety and security against fraud. $120 Annual Fee.
Aerogold Visa: 15,000 Aeroplan Miles upon first purchase. 50% more Aeroplan Miles at gas, grocery and drug stores. 1.5 Aeroplan miles for every dollar you spend at any Fairmont Hotels & Resorts worldwide (available on your first $80,000 in total annual account spending). Earn 50% more miles at select CIBC Bonus Rewards establishments. Car rental discounts of up to 25% at participating Avis and Budget locations with your CIBC credit card. Chip-enabled for enhanced safety and security against fraud. $120 Annual Fee.
Aerogold Business: Receive a Welcome Bonus of 1.5 Aeroplan Miles for every dollar you spend at travel establishments. A guarantee from CIBC that ensures you will not lose your Aeroplan Miles due to 12 months of account inactivity. Earn Bonus Aeroplan Miles with CIBC Bonus Rewards, when you use your card at participating establishments. Car rental discounts of up to 25% vehicles at participating AVIS and Budget locations. $180 Annual Fee.
Aero Classic: An everyday card with the benefit of travel rewards, including a Welcome Bonus of 2,500 Aeroplan Miles. Rewards for everyday spending, including 1 Aeroplan Mile for every $2 charged to your card. 50% more miles for card purchases at select CIBC Bonus Rewards establishments. Additional cardholder benefits, including car rental discounts of up to 25% at participating Avis and Budget locations with your CIBC credit card. Chip-enabled for enhanced safety and security against fraud. $29 Annual Fee.
Best Western Rewards MasterCard: 50,000 points – receive 20,000 bonus BWR Points after your first eligible purchase. Spend $1,000 before November 30, 2013 on your new card and receive additional 30,000 bonus points. No annual fee. The usual bonus on this card is just 40,000 points.
Royal Bank of Canada
RBC Avion Infinite: 15,000 bonus miles upon approval. Earn 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent on all purchases. Earn 25% more RBC Rewards points on travel related purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals, etc.). No blackouts, seat restrictions or points expiry, redeem for flights on any airline with flights starting at 15,000 RBC Rewards points. Points can be transferred to British Airways (at frequent 50% bonuses), American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and WestJet. $120 Annual Fee. You can read a full review of this card here, and check out this post for strategies to maximize your Avion points for travel.
Visa Platinum Avion: 15,000 points after first purchase. Earn 1 RBC Reward Point for every $1 spent. Points can be transferred to British Airways, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and WestJet. $120 Annual Fee.
British Airways Visa Infinite: 45,000 Avios – receive 15,000 Avios upon approval, plus, for a limited time, get an extra 30,000 Avios if you spend $3,000 in each of the first 3 months using your RBC British Airways Visa Infinite card. The usual bonus on this card is just 15,000 Avios. 1 Avios for every $1 CAD spent on the card. Double Avios for every $1 CAD spent on the card on British Airways flights. Receive a complimentary Companion Award Ticket when you spend $30,000 or more on your card in any calendar year. $165 Annual Fee.
Cathay Pacific Platinum: Receive a welcome bonus of 10,000 Asia Miles upon approval. 1 Asia Mile for every $1 CAD spent on the card.. Double Asia Miles for every $1 CAD spent on the card on Cathay Pacific tickets purchased online at www.cathaypacific.com. 2 Asia Miles for every $5 HKD spent on in-flight purchases (minimum net purchase of $500 HKD). $150 Annual Fee.
WestJet Mastercard: Welcome bonus of $50 WestJet Dollars with first purchase. 1% in WestJet dollars for every $1 spent on the card. 1.5% in WestJet dollars for every $1 spent on the card for WestJet flights or WestJet Vacations packages. Every WestJet dollar is worth $1 Canadian toward travel with WestJet or WestJet Vacations. Use your WestJet dollars just like cash towards all or part of your next WestJet flight or WestJet Vacations package whenever you want, wherever WestJet flies. No blackout periods. No seat restrictions. No advance booking requirements. Save – even on WestJet seat sales. $39 Annual Fee.
For more information, check out these posts:
CURRENT DEALS AND PROMOTIONS
Here’s just a smattering of some of the new and exciting offers coming out of Canada these days. Remember these are only the ones going on at the moment, so I’d encourage you to check back here for future Canada coverage to make sure you’re getting in on the best points and miles promos at the time.
Hotels.com Canadian Fall Sale: For bookings made now through October 7, 2013, on stays between now and October 21, 2013, Hotels.com is offering travelers who book a stay at a participating Canadian hotel a coupon code for a one-time discount of $10 (when you spend $100), $15 (when you spend $150), or $20 off (when you spend $200) off a future booking at a participating Price Match Guarantee hotel. The coupon code must be used between November 18, 2013 and 11:59 p.m. CST on December 17, 2013 for a stay to be completed by December 31, 2013.
$9.99 Weekend Specials With Enterprise: Now through May 14, 2014, participating Canadian Enterprise car rental locations are offering a rate of $9.99 per day on Economy or Compact cars rented on Friday or Saturday and ending the following Monday. Rentals include 100 kilometers per day. For certain locations, including but not limited to Winnipeg, Regina, Thunder Bay, Saskatoon, and the Province of Quebec, rates of less than $9.99 may be available.
Earn 3X Aeroplan Miles Shopping on eBay.ca: When you shop through eBay’s Canada site by clicking through from the Aeroplan eStore, you’ll earn 3X Aeroplan miles up to 4,000 per transaction. eBay sells practically everything so you might as well earn triple miles on your purchases through it. Miles are not awarded on eBay for Charity, items purchased through classified ads or items in your watch list.
Earn up to 75,000 Aeroplan Miles With New Volvo Purchase or Lease: Volvo is Aeroplan’s latest mileage partner and to celebrate, the two companies are offering new car owners and lessees a big potential bonus. Here’s how it breaks down:
So to earn the full 75,000 miles you have to buy or lease an S80, or you can earn 40,000 miles on other models. Even a test drive will earn you 250 miles, and you can earn bonus miles on service and parts expenses.
Earn up to 9,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles With Starwood: Starwood has partnered with Aeroplan this fall to offer Air Canada flyers up to 9,000 bonus miles for stays between now and December 15, 2013.
Here’s how it breaks down:
-Stay 5 qualifying nights and earn 5,000 bonus Aeroplan miles
-Stay 2 more qualifying nights (7 total) and earn 2,000 more bonus miles
-Stay 2 more qualifying nights (9 total) and earn 2,000 more bonus miles
All up to a maximum of 9,000 bonus miles. You must be a member of SPG and register for the promotion in order to earn the bonus miles. You can accrue qualifying nights across stays and properties (so they are cumulative, not consecutive), but you only get bonus miles for paid stays (those that accrue Starpoints), not award nights or cash & points stays.
2,500 Bonus Amex Membership Rewards Canada Points on Hotel and Car Rentals: Basic Cardmembers enrolled in the American Express Membership Rewards Program that book travel through the American Express Travel website can earn a one-time bonus of 2,500 Membership Rewards points on eligible hotel and car rental bookings made through September 30th, 2013. A one time bonus of 2,500 Membership Rewards points will be awarded per Membership Rewards account on purchases of $250 or more (after taxes and fees) charged to an eligible card for eligible hotel and car rental bookings booked through americanexpress.ca/travel where American Express (not the hotel or car rental company) is the merchant. The purchase must be in a single transaction of at least $250 and cannot be cumulative purchases. Eligible Cards include: The American Express Card, American Express Gold Rewards Card, Platinum Card, Centurion Card, Choice Card from American Express, ChoicePlus Card from American Express, Business Platinum Card from American Express, American Express Business Gold Rewards Card, American Express Corporate Card, American Express Corporate Gold Card, American Express Corporate Platinum Card, and the Platinum Credit Card. Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings do not count.
25% Bonus On Transferring Hotel Points to British Airways Avios: Now through October 15, 2013, British Airways is offering a 25% bonus when you transfer points from its hotel partners into Avios. So for instance, for each Starwood Starpoint exchanged you normally receive 1 Avios. There is a minimum point transfer of 2,500 for SPG Preferred Guests and a 1,500 minimum points transfer for SPG Gold members. Plus, when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints in to Avios as part of one complete transaction you will also receive a bonus of 5,000 Avios. So if you were to transfer 20,000 Starpoints with this promo, you’d actually end up with 31,250 Avios instead of just 25,000. British Airways also partners with Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards, Hyatt Gold Passport and Shangri-La Golden Circle. If you have a few stray points hanging around that you’re not going to put to use, you could consider this, though I don’t usually advise such point conversions since they do not yield very high values.
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