Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2012
Where is Canada's Choice?
You may recall that last year we also had Canadian's vote for their favorite credit cards and we published the results with our rankings. Not to worry, we have just decided to run Canada's Choice later in the year as an entirely separate Top Credit Card feature.
Click here to see the results!
Welcome to Rewards Canada's fourth annual Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards feature. I am proud to say that this feature has become Canada's most highly regarded ranking that is not only used by our readers but also by the media (our 2011 rankings were featured on CTV's Canada AM, Global News and numerous other radio and print outlets) as well as the credit card issuers themselves who make use of the rankings in their marketing materials and annual reports.the Internet only look at the credit card itself and not the associated loyalty program or partners. For example, in the Airline
Despite an onslaught from Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards, Travel Rewards Credit Cards continue to be the most popular type of credit card in Canada. The past year saw the actual launch of the Priority Club MasterCard from Capital One®, the new Sears Voyage MasterCard, MBNA being taken over by TD and a few other changes! In terms of our rankings the biggest changes came in the Travel Points (with fee), Airline card and Hotel card categories all due to changes to some credit cards and/or their associated co-brand loyalty program.. There was only one slight change in the Hybrid Card with annual fee category and there were no changes in the Travel Points with no annual fee category for the second year in a row.
What is the best card? Well it is practically impossible to give that question a perfect answer, however we do breakdown the market of Canadian Travel Rewards credit cards into five major categories and pick the best in each one.How do we come up with our picks for the best cards? We look at various factors including cost of ownership, rate of return, the associated loyalty program (co-brand), ease of redemption, card acceptance, partnerships, issuing bank and benefits. Couple this with over ten years of research, answers to hundreds of email questions from readers plus the charts and articles that we have written provides us the insight into the pros and cons of each card. As always this has allowed Rewards Canada to form an opinion as to which ones are the best. That's right, it all boils down to opinion. The top cards listed here, are in our opinion, after looking at all of their details, the best cards for travel rewards in Canada. Will people agree? Some yes, some no. Will we make some credit card issuers mad? Yes. Happy? You bet. However, like we stated above it is nearly impossible to pick a single best card due to the vast majority of factors that can be considered when choosing one.
As we have stressed in the past, choosing a card is a difficult decision based on many factors including but not limited to rewards offered, benefits offered, cost and the issuing bank. We hope that with this fourth annual ranking, we will help guide consumers to finding the right credit card for them .
What makes Rewards Canada's rankings different from the rest? At Rewards Canada, we are deeply entrenched in the loyalty industry, not just credit cards, so we take this into account for the rankings where it is applicable. Most other rankings on
Cards category we take into account what cities the airlines and/or their partners serve in Canada, whether you can redeem for
premium class travel, what the redemption availability is like with their frequent flyer program and much more. For Hotel Cards we look at elite benefits from the programs, how many properties they have, where they have those properties and much more. For Travel Points and Hybrid cards we look at the flexibility of redemption, where you can redeem, partnerships and many other factors of course. This is why the Rewards Canada rankings are some of the most highly regarded in Canada with the media, loyalty programs and the credit card issuers.
With very few additions and deletions from last year, there are still over 70 travel reward credit cards available to Canadians. Some are airline only cards that put miles directly into your airline frequent flyer accounts. Some are hybrid cards where you collect points that can be used to book travel through the credit card or put the points into a frequent flyer/guest account. Some are travel points cards, where the points are redeemed for travel through the credit card company while a small number are hotel only cards that put the points directly into your frequent guest program accounts.
It is from these variations of cards that we have created the five main categories of cards in Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2012.
1. Top Travel Points Credit Card (with annual fee)
2. Top Travel Points Credit Card (with no annual fee)
3. Top Hybrid Travel Credit Card (with annual fee)
4. Top Airline Credit Card
5. Top Hotel Points Credit Card
To see some the factors behind the placements or movements of cards please see here.
You can find each individual card's ranking from 2011 in parentheses.
1. Capital One® Aspire Travel World MasterCard®* (2011: 1)