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By Credit Card Company Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2013 - FACTORS

Go back to the Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2013 Posted June 11, 2013

Here we look at the factors taken into account and some of the reasons why some rankings changed from last year

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. Coupled with nearly 12 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.

New Cards added to the Rewards Canada rankings
American Express Air Miles Reserve Credit Card
The Choice Plus Credit Card from American Express
The Choice Credit Card from American Express
BMO IGA Air Miles Mastercard
Bridgewater Bank CAA Rewards Mastercard
CUETS Choice Rewards World Elite Mastercard
National Bank Of Canada World Mastercard
Scotiabank American Express Card
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card

Cards that have been updated since the last rankings
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa
WestJet World Elite Mastercard

Reasons for the ranking changes from 2012

Travel Points Credit Cards (with Annual Fee)
The Travel Points Credit Card with Annual Fee once again saw the most new cards added and had one of the biggest changes. Iin second place, the new Scotiabank Gold American Express card knocks out the TD First Class Infinite Visa which only held second place honours for 1 year. The stronger earning capabilities and insurance package that comes with the new Scotiabank Gold American Express card coupled with the same reward flexibility as the TD card is the reason this card jumps to second place. It didn't take first because it earns less than the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ World Mastercard® in most earning categories and isn't as bountiful in terms of sign up and renewal bonuses. Plus there is always the issue that American Express cards aren't as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard.

This change in second place also means that last years 3rd and 4th place cards have also moved down. Last year's 3rd place card, the CUETS Platinum Class Mastercard is still available but they have come out with a slightly better card, the CUETS Choice Rewards World Elite Mastercard which does not cap the amount of points you can earn in a year like the Platinum Class card. 5th place goes to last year's 4th place card, the BMO World Elite Mastercard. An amazing card in its own right with lots of fans, the reason it doesn't place higher is that it comes with a higher annual fee than most cards in the top 5, is less flexible in terms of rewards booking than the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place cards and has a slightly lower rate of return in terms of points earning than 1st and 4th place.

Travel Points Credit Card (with no annual fee)
The top 4 cards did not change at all in this category. The newly revamped CAA Rewards Mastercard that gets released on June 12 does however replace the Citizen Bank Visa's that took 5th place last year. The card offers your typical 1% return seen with no fee travels points credit cards but adds some nice insurance benefits inluding trip interruption which is only offered by one other card in this category..

Hybrid Travel Rewards Credit Card (with annual fee)
The Hybrid category sees no change from 2012 despite the addition of the Choice Plus and Choice Credit Cards from American Express. While these cards have their place they don't match the earn and burn potential of the cards that take up the first 5 spots. We still anxiously await the re-release of the Diners Club Club Rewards Mastercard to the Canadian public! There are a few hundred thousand of us here in Canada who do hold the card but since it is not publicly available yet (soon I keep getting told by BMO but that has been going on for 2+ years) but when it does this category will see changes.

Airline Credit Card
Just like the Hybrid category, the Airline Credit Card category did not see any changes from the 2012 rankings. The only card to be changed/enhanced during the past 12 months was the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard (previously wasonly a World card) but even with those upgrades the WestJet Rewards program cannot match the sheer size of Aeroplan nor does WestJet offer the reach of Air Canada which is the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite remains number one and the lack of business class access or the ability to redeem on partners keeps the WestJet card from taking over second spot from the Capital One® Delta SkyMiles® World Mastercard®

Hotel Credit Card
The big change in the hotel category came from the revamped Chase Marriott Rewards Visa. In September 2012 Chase decided that it needed to enhance their Marriott card offering in Canada to better compete with the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Priority Club® World Mastercard® from Capital One®. A stronger sign up bonus, better free nights, continued Silver Elite status made the card better but the biggest and best change to card was the removal of the foreign transaction fee. The Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa is the only major travel rewards credit card in Canada without one. These enhancements brought the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa closer to second place but still not close enough. The Priority Club® World Mastercard® from Capital One® with its Platinum Elite status and better insurance package is still a bit stronger than the Marriott Silver Elite status and no foreign transactoin fee on the newly updated Chase Marriott Rewards Visa.

The other change in this category came from MBNA and the enhancements to the Choice Privileges Mastercard. With a new anniversary bonus, automatic Gold status and additional spend bonuses, the card moved ahead of fellow MBNA candidate, the Best Western Rewards Mastercard.

Go back to the Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2013

“The interest rates, fees, rewards details, benefits and other details of the Capital One product(s) described in the article may have changed since the time of publication. Please consult the product information pages on the Capital One website for accurate product details. In the event of any conflict between the product details in this article and the Capital One website, the details on the Capital One website shall prevail.”
"American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website For full details and current product information click the applicable link."
"Chase is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the applicable link. Conditions apply

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