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The top credit cards for everyday non-category bonus spending Updated on December 18, 2019

 


A lot of the focus on Rewards Canada is about credit cards as they are the easiest and number one way to earn loyalty points and miles in Canada. When it comes to spending your hard earned money on credit cards most of what we discuss revolves around the category bonuses awarded on those cards. Five times points this, three times points that but what about non-category bonus spending? Which cards stand out when it comes to your spending outside of things like groceries, gas, travel and other typical categories that are bonused? That's the focus of this feature and hopefully it can help you out especially if you are someone who does have a lot of spend on your card(s) that don't fall into category bonuses.

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Rewards Canada's picks for the best cards to maximize the value earned on everyday spending outside of non-category bonuses are as follows:

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

Non-Category spend earn rate: 2 Marriott Bonvoy Points per dollar

This is the card that we here in the Rewards Canada family actually use the most on non-category spending. The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card earns 2 points per dollar spent on everyday non-category bonus spending. We value Bonvoy points at no less than 1 cent each. That means the return on spending is 2% - however the value tends to be higher. Our most recent redemption with Marriott saw a return of around 1.4 cents per point or a 2.8% return. In the past we have written about pulling value out of the Marriott and shown examples where you could redeem points for a value of 1.6 to over 4 cents each. Those amounts equate to a 3.2% to 8+% return on your everyday non-category bonus spending.


Non-Category spend earn rate: 1 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Mile per dollar

Similar to the Marriott card - Mileage Plan miles from Alaska Airlines are worth about 2 cents per mile on average. As the card earns 1 mile per Canadian dollar spent this equates to a 2% return. Again, like the Marriott card above - and in fact most of the cards in this list - that value can go much higher. Since you can redeem Alaska Airlines miles for as little as 5,000 miles for one way flight from Western Canada to Seattle or for business class and first class flights on airlines like Japan Airlines the value can grow exponentially. It is very common to be able to achieve returns over 4 cents per mile equating to a 4% return or higher return on your everyday non-category bonus spending.


TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card

CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege Card

Non-Category spend earn rate: 1.25 Aeroplan Miles per dollar

Again you will have a varying return on these cards as it all depends on what you redeem your Aeroplan miles for. But as a baseline I would use a value of 1.8 cents per mile for an Aeroplan mile - which means these card's 1.25 miles per dollar equates to a 2.25% return. Just like the others in this list that return can grow - and grow a lot. We have shown in multiple posts on our blog on how you can redeem for business class flights and enjoy a big return. From 2.6 cents per mile to 5.8 cents and higher! At 5.8 cents per mile the everyday non-category earn of 1.25 miles on these cards equates to a 7.25% return!


American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card

Non-Category spend earn rate: 1.25 to 1.5 Aeroplan Miles per dollar

Similar to the cards listed just above, this card earns 1.25 Aeroplan miles per dollar on non-category spending until you hit $25,000 in spending annually. All spend above that earns 1.5 Aeroplan miles per dollar. At a minimum 1.8 cents per mile this card's non-category spend hits a return of 2.7%. Take that 5.8 cents from the above example and you have a return of 8.7%. Not too shabby!



TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Card

American Express Gold Rewards Card

The Platinum Card from American Express

Non-Category spend earn rate: 1 Aeroplan Mile per dollar

Again you will have a varying return on these cards as it all depends on what you redeem your Aeroplan miles for. But as a baseline I would use a value of 1.8 cents per mile for an Aeroplan mile - which means these card's 1 miles per dollar only equates to a 1.8% return. That may seem low but that return can grow. When you value the miles for a business class redemptoin from 2.6 cents per mile to 5.8 cents you can see how it grows! At 5.8 cents per mile the everyday non-category earn of 1 mile on these cards equates to a 5.8% return!


RBC Visa Infinite Avion Card

RBC British Airways Visa Infinite Card

American Express Gold Rewards Card

The Platinum Card from American Express

Non-Category spend earn rate: 1 Avios per dollar

With British Airways Executive Club you have varying return on these cards as again it all depends on what you redeem your Avios for. But as a baseline I would use a value of 1.6 cents per Avios - which means these card's 1 Avios per dollar only equates to a 1.6% return. Again this is low but that return can grow. When you value the Avios for a business class redemptoin from 2 cents to 5 cents or more you see another great return valuation! At 5 cents per Avios the everyday non-category earn of 1 Avios on these cards equates to a 5% return!


You'll notice that all of the cards don't include programs that are proprietary to the credit card issues themselves. The reason why is the ability to redeem points and miles from airline and hotel programs for rewards that provide outsized value. Most credit card proprietary programs have a flat rate redemption and most for most of them this means their everyday non-category spending only equates to a 1% return. Of course this non-category spending is only one part of the equation and you should take all of a card's earning and benefits into account when selecting on. However we hope this feature helps you out, especially if you are someone who puts most of your spending into those categories that aren't covered by various card's bonus offers.

If I was to pick one card of the bunch it is the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. Why? It is the card that the Rewards Canada family has in our wallets for all of our non-category bonus spending. The main reason is that we find great value in the program even though there are cards in our wallets like the American Express Gold Rewards card and The Platinum Card from American Express that can achieve similar or better returns. For us the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is providing us those points for stays in far flung locales where the cash outlay is crazy - not to mention we have a really healthy Aeroplan balances!

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Do you have any other tips for everyday non-category bonus spending? Do you use any of the cards listed above? Did we miss a card that should be listed as well? Tell us in the comments section below or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

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