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Guide to Credit Card Cash Back Liquidity Posted on March 31, 2020
Last updated April 24, 2020

 

For nearly a month now we have been looking at how you can use your loyalty programs and credit cards to help you out financially during these difficult times. In many of our articles we talk about the liquidity of your points, miles and even cash back as there is a lot of variation from each of the programs and card issuers. It is the latter where much of that variation comes in - that is how quickly or how easily can you access your credit card points or miles or cash back to help lower your credit card statement balance.

The reason we look at this is front and centre in our news and world today. Thousands of Canadians are being laid off from work or are working much less hours from home or at their workplace and this means lower to even no income. On the date of publishing this article a survey reported that 49% of Albertans were already feeling a financial pinch. That's where you can look at your credit card reward programs as source of financial aid by using the rewards or cash back to help pay down your expenses. We won't go into huge detail in this article since we have covered it in great depth in the following articles:

The one recurring theme you'll notice in many of those articles is our warning about many of the most popular cash back credit cards. They are being heavily promoted right now since travel is almost nonexistent but you have to be aware that a lot of them don't give you easy access to that cash back. Many of them only provide you your cash back return once annually - something that doesn't work for many who may need access to those rewards in the short term. That is why we developed the following chart so that you can see the liquidity of the points, miles and cash back provided by some of the more popular cards in Canada. We have also added in the cash back equivalent returns so that you can also compare those between the cards.

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FYI The chart is sorted by the 'Minimum Cash Out Level' then by 'Minimum Time'

If you are looking for a new card and are wondering about the cash back liquidity, ideally you'll want to look at the following:

  • A card that has a low cash out level
  • No time or date restrictions on when you can cash out.
  • You'll also want to take into account the minimum spend (And what you have to spend it on - some cards' best earn rates are on travel which is non-existent at this time) as well as the minimum and maximum cash back rate of return
  • You'll also notice that many of the 'Big Name' cash back cards aren't very liquid - they only award your cash back once per year or monthly.

    * American Express has launched a limited time promotion as of April 17 where you can redeem 1,000 points for $10 instead of $7!!
    * American Express has launched a limited time promotion for the Platinum Card as of April 21 where it earns double points and you can redeem 1,000 points for $20 instead of $7!!

Card

Minimum Cash Out Level

Minimum time to redeem for cash back

Minimum amount of spend required to reach the lowest cash back redemption level*

Maximum Cash Back Rate of Return

Minimum Cash Back Rate of Return


BMO CashBack Mastercard
$1 No time/date restrictions $34 3% 0.5%

Card

Minimum Cash Out Level

Minimum time to redeem for cash back

Minimum amount of spend required to reach the lowest cash back redemption level*

Maximum Cash Back Rate of Return

Minimum Cash Back Rate of Return


Brim World Elite Mastercard
$1
(100 Points)
No time/date restrictions $50 2% 1%

Brim World Mastercard
$1
(100 Points)
No time/date restrictions $67 1.5% 1%

Brim Mastercard
$1
(100 Points)
No time/date restrictions $100 1% 1%

The Platinum Card from American Express
$20
(1,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $167
Based on all spend made in
the dining category
12%** 4%**

American Express Cobalt Card
$10
(1,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $200
Based on all spend made in
the eats & drinks category

5%* 1%*

Card

Minimum Cash Out Level

Minimum time to redeem for cash back

Minimum amount of spend required to reach the lowest cash back redemption level*

Maximum Cash Back Rate of Return

Minimum Cash Back Rate of Return


American Express Gold Rewards Card
$10
(1,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $500
Based on all spend made in
the gas, grocery, drug store and/or travel categories

2%* 1%*

Scotia Gold American Express Card
$20
(3,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $600
Based on all spend made in
dining, grocery and entertainment categories
3.9% 0.67%

Rogers World Elite Mastercard
$20
No time/date restrictions $1,000
Based on all spend made on Rogers services
2% 1.5%

Rogers Platinum Mastercard
$20
No time/date restrictions $1,000
Based on all spend made on Rogers services
2% 0.5%

Fido Mastercard
$20
No time/date restrictions $1,000
Based on all spend made on Rogers services
2% 0.5%

Card

Minimum Cash Out Level

Minimum time to redeem for cash back

Minimum amount of spend required to reach the lowest cash back redemption level*

Maximum Cash Back Rate of Return

Minimum Cash Back Rate of Return


Scotia Passport Visa Infinite
$20
(3,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $1,500
Based on all spend made in
dining, grocery, entertainment & daily transit categories
1.56% 0.67%

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card
$25 No time/date restrictions $834
Based on all spend made on grocery, gas & recurring bill payments
3% 1%

Laurentian Visa DOLLARS Card
$25
No time/date restrictions $834
Based on all spend made on pre-authorized debits
3% 1%

TD® First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card
$25
(10,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $1111.11
Based on all spend made online via ExpediaForTD
2.25% 0.75%

RBC Cash Back Mastercard
$25 No time/date restrictions $1,250 2% 1%

Card

Minimum Cash Out Level

Minimum time to redeem for cash back

Minimum amount of spend required to reach the lowest cash back redemption level*

Maximum Cash Back Rate of Return

Minimum Cash Back Rate of Return


RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard
$25 No time/date restrictions $1667 1.5% 1.5%

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
$25
(4,000 Points)
No time/date restrictions $2,000
Based on all spend made on travel
1.25% 0.62%

CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card
$25
(4,000 Points)
No time/date restrictions $2,000
Based on all spend made on travel
1.25% 0.62%

TD Cash Back Card
$25 No time/date restrictions $2,500
Based on all spend made on grocery, gas & recurring bill payments
1% 0.5%
Desjardin Cash Back Visa / Mastercard $25
No time/date restrictions $2,500 1% 0.5%

Card

Minimum Cash Out Level

Minimum time to redeem for cash back

Minimum amount of spend required to reach the lowest cash back redemption level*

Maximum Cash Back Rate of Return

Minimum Cash Back Rate of Return


RBC Visa Infinite Avion
$25
(4,300 points)
No time/date restrictions $3,440
Based on all spend made on travel
0.73% 0.58%

CIBC Aventura® Visa* Card
$25
(4,000 Points)
No time/date restrictions $4,000
Based on all spend made on travel, gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores
0.63% 0.32%

RBC Rewards+ Visa Card
$25
(4,300 points)
No time/date restrictions $4,300
Based on all spend made on travel
0.58% 0.29%

MBNA Smart Cash® World Mastercard®
$50 No time/date restrictions $2,500
Based on all spend made on gas stations and grocery stores
2% 1%

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus® Mastercard®
$50 No time/date restrictions $2,500
Based on all spend made on gas stations and grocery stores
2% 0.5%

Card

Minimum Cash Out Level

Minimum time to redeem for cash back

Minimum amount of spend required to reach the lowest cash back redemption level*

Maximum Cash Back Rate of Return

Minimum Cash Back Rate of Return


Desjardin Cashback World Mastercard
$50
No time/date restrictions $2,500 2% 1%

mbna Rewards World Elite Mastercard
$50
(6,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $3,000 1.67% 1.67%

BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
$50 No time/date restrictions $3333.33 1.5% 1.5%

BMO World Elite Mastercard
$50
(15,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $5,000
Based on all spend made in
dining, travel and entertainment categories
1% 0.67%

Card

Minimum Cash Out Level

Minimum time to redeem for cash back

Minimum amount of spend required to reach the lowest cash back redemption level*

Maximum Cash Back Rate of Return

Minimum Cash Back Rate of Return


BMO Rewards Mastercard
$50
(15,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $15,000 0.33% 0.33%

HSBC World Elite Mastercard
$75
(25,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $4,167
Based on all spend made on travel
1.8% 0.9%

Laurentian Bank Visa Infinite
$100
(10,000 points)
No time/date restrictions $3334
Based on all spend made on pre-authorized debits
3% 1%

Meridian Visa Infinite* Cash Back Card
No Minimum
Monthly
(On statement date)
N/A 4% 1%

Meridian Visa Platinum Cash Back Card
No Minimum
Monthly
(On statement date)
N/A 2% 1%

Card

Minimum Cash Out Level

Minimum time to redeem for cash back

Minimum amount of spend required to reach the lowest cash back redemption level*

Maximum Cash Back Rate of Return

Minimum Cash Back Rate of Return


Meridian Visa Cash Back Card
No Minimum
Monthly
(On statement date)
N/A 1% 0.5%

Tangerine World Mastercard
No Minimum
Monthly
(On statement date)
N/A 2% 0.5%

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
No Minimum
Monthly
(On statement date)
N/A 2% 0.5%

American Express SimplyCash Preferred
No Minimum Yearly
(September)
N/A 2% 2%

American Express SimplyCash
No Minimum Yearly
(September)
N/A 1.25% 1.25%

Card

Minimum Cash Out Level

Minimum time to redeem for cash back

Minimum amount of spend required to reach the lowest cash back redemption level*

Maximum Cash Back Rate of Return

Minimum Cash Back Rate of Return


Scotia Momentum® VISA* Infinite card
No Minimum Yearly
(November)
N/A 4% 1%

CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card
No Minimum Yearly
(December)
N/A 4% 1%

CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa Card
No Minimum Yearly
(December)
N/A 4% 1%

CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card
No Minimum Yearly
(December)
N/A 2% 0.5%

* Does not take into account any welcome bonus offers and is calculated based on the highest possible earn rate for each card. For example, the American Express Cobalt is taken at the 5x points level ($200 x 5 = 1,000 points)

Be sure to check this page frequently as it will be continually updated when new offers come out on any of the above card or other cards. I would recommend you bookmark it!

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

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