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The Ultimate No Fee Travel Points Credit Card Portfolio
Last Updated: June 21, 2016

 

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THIS PORTFOLIO IS OUT OF DATE AND WILL BE UPDATED SOON DUE TO TWO OF THE CARDS BEING PULLED FROM THE MARKET

In this feature of Rewards Canada's Ultimate Credit Card Portfolios we look at the ultimate one for earning travel points that you can use for virtually any travel and not have to pay any annual fees.We have always recommended that you should carry a Visa, a Mastercard and an American Express card in your wallet. The reason why is that there are benefits, promotions and earning potential unique to each brand of credit card. We won't go into detail here as you can read all about it in our feature on how to Maximize your Miles and Points but here we outline one card from each brand that will help you build up those travel rewards points faster than ever without having to worry about paying annual fees. Ultimately there are various options that could be utilized for such a portfolio but we look at one card from each issuing family that will provide strong travel point earning.

What is Rewards Canada's Ultimate No Fee Travel Points Credit Card Wallet? It is the following three cards

Mastercard - Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard®

American Express - American Express® Green Card

Visa - This card is no longer available (we'll update this shortly)

The card that is not an obvious choice but is the main card in this portfolio is The Scotiabank More Rewards Visa. The card was just released in May and while isn't get much coverage elsewhere, we crunched the numbers and the card is a travel point collectors dream. With returns between 1.695 and 2.54% for travel not only is it the highest earning no-fee travel rewards card in the market but it also competes direclty with fee based cards! The portfolio continues with the to be replaced Credit Card. This card has been ranked #1 by Rewards Canada in the Travel Points Credit Card with no annual fee category for many years and was the leader until the release of the More Rewards Visa. Rounding out the portfolio is the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard®. This card, with no annual fee, is the best option to fill up the Mastercard requirement of the portfolio. While there may not be much spend put on the card it provides a very strong insurance package to give travellers piece of mind while on the road.

Related: Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2019


How to maximize your Travel Points earning with these cards

The main card in this porfolio is the Scotiabank More Rewards Visa card. This may come as a surprise to many of you as More Rewards isn't very well known, especially outside of B.C. and Alberta. That being said, don't be swayed by this or even Scotia's own wording on their website that states the card is better suited for those out west. Simply put, this card is the highest earning no free travel points card in Canada. It earns 6 More Rewards points per dollar spent and More Rewards partners. This is where the wording for 'better out west' comes from since most More Rewards partners are located in the West like Save On Foods and Overwaitea. However Petro-Canada recently became a More Rewards partner so nationwide you can earn the 6 points per dollar when buying gas or goods in a Petro-Canada conveniece store. So what are the 6 points worth? A whoppping 2.54% when redeemed for travel via More Rewards! That's even more than the majority of fee based card in Canada! But what about when you use the card at non More Rewards partners? Well it earns 4 points per dollar anywhere you can use a Visa card, so most places and that 4 points per dollar equates to a 1.695% return. Still at that rate it is the highest earning no fee travel rewards point card in the Canadian market.

Related: The Scotiabank More Rewards Visa Card is now available! Now the strongest earning no fee travel points card in Canada

Finally you have the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard®. It may earn the least out of the three cards but is ideal to have for those places that only accept Mastercard like Costco . It only earns 1 mile per $1 spent which equates to a 1% return but the card has an insurance package that makes even many fee based cards envious. This is the strong point of this card and should be used for purchases where the insurance benefits like Price Protection and baggage delay can come in handy.

Now we go on to the fun part. Redeeming! Two of three of these cards provide the utmost in redemption flexibility. You essentially book your travel with whomever you want and when the charge shows up on your account you redeem points against the charge. The cards for that option are the Capital One card. The More Rewards Visa is slightly less flexible as you have to book via More Rewards Travel either online or by phone so an issue may arise where they aren't showing the best price on their site. However in our experience it just takes a phone call to have them try to find a deal you may have found elsewhere and book it for you. All three allow partial redemptions, so you don't need the full amount of points but rather if you paid $1,000 for your hotel and have $500 worth of points, you can redeem those points for what amounts to a $500 discount on your hotel stay. The minimum amounts needed to redeem are 100 points on the More Rewards Visa and no minimum redemption amount on the Capital One card. Now, chances are you'll have points spread out across at least two of the cards here, so when it comes to booking travel, put your flights onto one card and your hotel or other travel expenses like a car rental on the other so that you can redeem points from both cards towards the eligible charges. That is the beauty of these cards, you are not stuck to one airline or one hotel, you are not at the whim of a loyalty program that may route you through multiple cities to get to your destination nor have any rooms left to redeem hotel points for. Not to mention with the Amex and Capital One cards, these points are good for any travel, all inclusives, ferry rides and even whale watch excursions (read more about that here). Even if booked while on vacation, the Amex card gives you 12 months after the charge posts to your account to redeem points for it and Capital One cards give you three months. That means you can travel without even having the points and collect afterwards to eventually redeem for it.

Related: Not all Travel Points and Hybrid Credit Cards are created equal

The Ultimate No Fee Travel Points Credit Card Portfolio:

Card Card Features

American Express® Green Card
American Express® Green Card

Card Type: Credit Card   
Annual Fee: $0
Additional Card Fee: $0
Annual interest rate 20.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances; Missed payment applicable rates, 23.99% and/or 26.99%

• Get the Card that lets you live in the moment while getting ready for the future. The American Express® Green Card lets you go for it with every swipe or tap of your Card
•As a new American Express® Green Cardmember, you can earn a Welcome Bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards® points when you charge $1,000 in purchases to your Card in the first 3 months of Cardmembership
• Earn 1x the points on Card purchases
• Charge an eligible purchase to your Card and redeem your Membership Rewards points for a statement credit (All eligible purchases: 1,000 points = $10 statement credit)
• With American Express Experiences and Front Of The Line®, American Express Cardmembers get access to amazing events in Canada
• Transfer points 1:1 to several frequent flyer and other loyalty programs
• 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 Apply now link. Conditions apply

Apply Now



MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®
MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®

• 20,000 bonus points†† (approximately $165 in cash back value) after you make $2,000 or more in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
• 10,000 bonus points†† (approximately $80 in cash back value) once enrolled for paperless e-statements within the first 90 days of account opening.
• Earn 5 points for every $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases until $50,000 is spent annually in the applicable category. 1 point for every $1 on all other eligible purchases.
• Each year, you will receive Birthday Bonus Points equal to 10% of the total number of Points the Account earned in the 12 months before the month of your birthday, to a maximum Birthday Bonus each year of 15,000 Points.
• Redeem points for cash back, brand-name merchandise, gift cards from participating retailers, charitable donations, and travel.
• Standard Annual Interest Rates of 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on balance transfers, and 24.99% on cash advances.
• Mobile Device Insurance***
With Mobile Device Insurance, you’ve got up to $1,000 in coverage for eligible mobile devices in the event of loss, theft, accidental damage or mechanical breakdown.
• $120 annual fee. $50 Additional Card Annual Fee for one authorized user (if you have one).
• To qualify, your personal annual income must be greater than $80,000, or your household annual income must be $150,000 or greater.††††
• This offer is not available for residents of Quebec.  For residents of Quebec, please click here.


Apply Now

Sponsored advertising. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and TD is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this MBNA credit card, please click on the "Apply Now" button.

‡ These are highlights of the credit card rewards program (the "Program") associated with this credit card account. Points will be awarded on eligible transactions charged to your account as set out in the Program terms and conditions. The account will earn five (5) points per dollar spent on eligible restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases until you spend $50,000 annually (per calendar year) in the applicable category. Other eligible purchases will earn a Base Earn Rate of one (1) point per dollar. Each year, the account will receive Birthday Bonus Points equal to 10% of the total number of Points the account earned in the 12 months before the month of the primary cardholder's birthday, to a maximum Birthday Bonus each year of 15,000 Points. The Birthday Bonus Points will be added to the account before the end of the primary cardholder's birthday month. The redemption rate for Points earned may differ depending on the redemption option chosen. Complete terms and conditions describing Program eligibility, accrual, earn limits, and redemption of Points, and other important conditions will be sent after your account is opened. Please read the terms and conditions carefully upon receipt.

†† To qualify for this offer, an applicant must be approved for the specific credit card account described in the offer. Welcome bonus of 20,000 points will be awarded if $2,000 in eligible Purchases are made on your Account within the first 90 days of account opening that are not subsequently rescinded, the subject of a charge back request(s) or otherwise disputed. In order to obtain a "Paperless Bonus" of 10,000 bonus points, you must enroll in online banking at www.mbna.ca and consent to Paperless Statements for the account within the first 90 days of account opening, and not subsequently rescind such enrollment throughout this period. Please allow 8-10 weeks for the applicable bonus points to be posted to your points account. Limit one-time bonus point offer (no cash value) per new account for each bonus point offer. This offer is not available to residents of Quebec. This promotion is offered by MBNA and may be amended or cancelled at any time without notice.

†††† To be eligible for a World Elite account, your personal annual income must be greater than $80,000, or your household annual income must be $150,000 or greater. Additional account qualification criteria apply as set out in the application.

✪ Balance transfers will be fulfilled in the order listed and are treated as balance transfers in accordance with your Account Agreement. The total value of balance transfers cannot exceed your authorized credit limit. If the value is greater, MBNA may send a partial payment to the named creditor/designated account. THERE WILL BE A TRANSACTION FEE EQUAL TO 1.00 % OF THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF EACH BALANCE TRANSFER INITIATED WITH THIS APPLICATION. A MINIMUM FEE OF $7.50 WILL APPLY TO EACH BALANCE TRANSFER TRANSACTION. A balance transfer may not be used to pay off or down your account balance or any other balances with us (including our affiliates, which would include any member of the TD Bank Group).

***Insurance coverage is underwritten by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida (ABIC) under Group Policy MBNA-0620. To be eligible for Mobile Device Insurance you must use your Account to pay all of your monthly mobile bill payments and any upfront costs or pay at least 75% of the purchase price with your Account when paying the full cost of your mobile device up front. Benefits, features and coverages are subject to conditions, limitations and exclusions that are fully described in the Certificates of Insurance included with your Guide to Coverage. ABIC, its subsidiaries, and affiliates carry on business in Canada under the name of Assurant®. ®Assurant is a registered trademark of Assurant, Inc.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank is the issuer of this credit card. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.


CIBC Aventura® Visa* Card
CIBC Aventura® Visa* Card

Annual Fee $0 Additional Cards (Up to 3): $0
Annual interest rate 19.99%† on purchases and 22.99%† on cash advances and 22.99% † on balance transfers
$15,000 household annual income †

Join and get up to $100 in travel value for no annual fee†

Here’s how:
• Get 7,500 bonus Aventura Points when you make your first purchase. Plus, earn up to 2,500 additional Aventura Points for a total of 10,000 points.

• 1 point for every $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre†
• 1 point for every $1 spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores†
• 1 point for every $2 spent on all other purchases†

• Travel when it’s right for you – your Aventura points don’t expire†
• Redeem your Aventura points for more than travel with our Shop With Points/Pay with Points features†
• Travel local - Aventura points can be redeemed for more than just flights – use your points for hotels and car rentals for a weekend getaway

Apply Now

†Conditions Apply



Other Card Options:

There are quite a few other options to change up this portfolio a little bit. The first option is on the Mastercard side, you can choose to go with the mbna Rewards Mastercard as it is also 1% back just like Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard® but it has virtually no insurance benefits.You could always jump on one of BMO's no fee AIR MILES card options as well. On the Visa side, the no fee travel points options have always been very weak and if for some reason the More Rewards Visa doens't do it for you your next best option is the RBC Rewards Visa Gold but it only provides a 0.5% return.

Related: Why proprietary credit card reward programs are the best option for most Canadians

Talk to us!

What do you find works best for you for earning the most no fee travel points? Do you use these three cards exactly as laid out above or do you use a different combination? Tell us in the comments section below or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

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“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.”

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