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The Ultimate "I have no idea what travel rewards I want" Credit Card portfolio!


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Alright, you have the means. You have a great credit rating, you can get pretty much any credit card you want and can spend tons of money on it and pay it off each month. However you have no idea where or when you want to travel but you know you want to eventually since you love to travel. What do you do? The answer is simple. You stick to credit cards that give you multiple redemption options for when that time eventually comes. The best route is to go with one or two hybrid credit cards and one hotel credit card.

What is Rewards Canada's Ultimate "I have no idea what travel rewards I want" Credit Card portfolio? It is the following three cards:

American Express - American Express Gold Rewards Card

Visa - RBC Visa Infinite Avion

American Express - Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

Hybrid cards give you best of both worlds in the world of travel rewards. They give you the ability to use a frequent flyer program like Aeroplan or the ability to book travel yourself with places like Expedia and allow you to use the points to pay for that travel. By collecting points with a hybrid credit card program you are leaving yourself open to most possible booking options and travel rewards for your points. We recommend grabbing two of Canada's favourite hybrid cards, the American Express Gold Rewards card (RC 2017 #1 Overall & Hybrid Card) and the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card (RC 2017 #2 Hybrid Card & #4 Overall). The American Express Gold Rewards Card allows you to redeem for any travel at a rate of 1,000 points for $10. Say you have an Expedia booking of $500 you can use 50,000 points to pay for it or 20,000 points for a $200 credit toward it and so on. But then you also have the option of converting the Membership Rewards Points earned on the card to Aeroplan and British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 basis. That way you can take advantage of some of the great offerings provided by frequent flyer programs like flying in business class or only having to redeem 26,000 British Airways Avios for a round trip economy class flight between Toronto and Dublin. The RBC Visa Infinite Avion card is similar, you can use points to book travel via RBC Rewards on virtually any airline at anytime however unlike the Amex Gold card you have to book via RBC Rewards and they use a set amount of points towards flights based on their Avion Airline Redemption chart. But the card like the Gold Rewards card also provides options to convert those points to airlines like British Airways and Cathay Pacific (and often have bonuses when you do!)

The one hotel card you'll want to grab is the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (RC 2017 #1 Hotel Card & #3 Overall) This card is a little different than the hybrid card but it still gives you a lot of redemption options. You can redeem for hotel stays within the Marriott brands (Marriott, Residence Inn, Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis etc.) or convert to well over 40 airlines including Aeroplan, British Airways, American Airlines and so on. So you can see why this card can be ideal as you can redeem for free nights at over 5,000 hotels or fund an airline account, in particular Aeroplan and British Airways since the other two cards in this portfolio can fund those as well.

How you'll want to split the spending on the cards
Seeing that the American Express Gold Rewards Card gives you 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on Gas, Grocery, Drug Store and travel purchases you'll want to be pulling this card out for all those type of purchases. Two Membership Rewards points equals 2% back for your travel anywhere option or equals 2 Aeroplan Miles or British Airways Avios or even 1.5 Delta SkyMiles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles or 1 Starpoint! Outside of those categories you're probably better off pulling out one of the other cards.

For other spending outside of those four categories listed above where you can use an American Express Card pull out the SPG card. You're getting no less than about 2 to 2.5% back on each dollar spent if you were to redeem those points for a hotel stay or it earns up to 1.25 airline miles per dollar spent since Starwood pumps in 5,000 bonus airline miles when you convert 20,000 Starpoints at a time to an airline program.

For places that don't accept American Express bring out the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card. 1 point per dollar spent with a return as high as 2.3% if you redeem the maximum for any flight via the Avion Airline Redemption Chart or at a minimum 1 British Airways Avios, American AAdvantage Miles or Cathay Pacific Asia Mile.



Here are the redemption options

Card Travel Anywhere or Hotel Stays Conversion Options
American Express Gold Rewards Card 1,000 Points = $10 Travel Credit Aeroplan
British Airways Executive Club
Alitalia MilleMiglia
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Delta SkyMiles
Etihad Airways Guest
Hilton HHonors
Starwood Preferred Guest
RBC Visa Infinite Avion Up to a 2.3% return on your spending depending on which reward ticket you book American AAdvantage
British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
WestJet Rewards
Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card Free nights range from 2,000 to 35,000 Starpoints Aegean Airlines Miles&Bonus
Aeromexico Club Premier
Aeroplan/Air Canada
Air Berlin topbonus
Air China Companion
Air New Zealand Airpoints
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Alitalia MileMiglia
ANA Mileage Club
American Airlines AAdvantage
Asia Miles
Asiana Airlines Club
British Airways Executive Club
China Eastern Eastern Miles
China Southern Sky Pearl Club
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
Emirates Skywards

Etihad Airways Guest
Flying Blue (Air France KLM)
Gol Smiles
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank
Jet Airways JetPrivilege
Korean Air SKYPASS
LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass
LifeMiles of Avianca
Miles and More
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Saudia Alfursan
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin Australia Velocity

Card Details

Card Card Features

American Express® Gold Rewards Card

Card Type: Credit Card
Annual Fee: $250 Additional Card Fee: $0 for first additional a card, $50 for all others
Annual interest rate 20.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances; Missed payment applicable rates, 23.99% and/or 26.99%

•  New American Express® Gold Rewards Cardmembers can earn a Welcome Bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards® points when you charge $3,000 in purchases to your Card in your first 3 months of Cardmembership 
•  Plus, you can also earn an additional 10,000 points when you make a purchase between 14 and 17 months of Cardmembership
•  The Card is now available in your choice of Gold or Rose Gold metal options
•  60,000 points is enough to redeem for a round-trip flight to almost anywhere in Europe with the American Express Fixed Travel Points Program
•  Earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores in Canada
•  Earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases for eligible travel purchases, including flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more
•  Earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else
•  Receive a $50 CAD statement credit when a NEXUS application or renewal fee is charged to your American Express Gold Rewards Card
•  You have access to an annual $100 CAD Travel Credit, compliments of your American Express Gold Rewards Card. Use the credit once annually towards any single travel booking of $100 or more charged to your Gold Rewards Card through American Express Travel Online
•  As a Gold Rewards Cardmember, you can receive complimentary membership in Priority PassTM  – one of the world’s largest independent airport lounge programs. Escape the chaos of airports and relax in an oasis of calm and simply enjoy the fact that the travel experience has begun before your plane has even left the ground. Enrollment is required and entry fees apply
•  Enjoy four (4) complimentary visits per Calendar year to Plaza Premium Lounges across Canada. Entry fees apply once complimentary visits have been used
•  Charge any eligible purchase to your credit Card then log in to redeem your earned points for a statement credit
•  Transfer points 1:1 to several frequent flyer and other loyalty programs
•  1 Free Additional Gold Rewards Card (a $50 value) to help you earn points faster
•  Subject to approval. The preferred rate for purchases is 20.99% and funds advances is 21.99%. If you have Missed Payments, the applicable rates for your account will be 23.99% and/or 26.99%. See the information box included with the application for the definition of Missed Payment and which rates apply to charges on your account and other details
•  *American Express is not responsible for maintaining of monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.

Apply Now

RBC Avion Visa Infinite

Annual Fee: $120
Additional Card Fee: $50

  • Get 35,000 welcome points – enough to fly anywhere within Canada and the US – that’s up to a $750 value!
  • Earn 1 RBC Rewards® point for every dollar you spend* and an extra 25% on eligible travel purchases.
  • When you are ready to travel again, Avioners can book flights with points on any airline, on any flight, at any time, early or last minute, with no blackout periods or restrictions.
  • Avioners earn points that never expire so your points will be waiting for your next adventure.
  • Redeem your points for travel and more. Use points for anything from paying bills and paying your card balance to redeeming for Gift Cards and Merchandise at top brands like Apple. The RBC Rewards program gives you the freedom of choice to use your points your way, and helps you make the most as an Avioner.
  • Eligible RBC Rewards members can also convert points to other loyalty programs including WestJet dollars, British Airways Avios points and Hudson’s Bay Rewards points.
  • Link your RBC card with a Petro-Points membership to instantly save 3₵ per litre on fuel at Petro-Canada stations and earn 20% more Petro-Points and 20% more RBC rewards points
  • Link your RBC card with a Rexall Be Well account and get 50 Be Well points for every $1 spent on eligible products at Rexall. Redeem Be Well points faster for savings in store on eligible purchases where 25,000 Be Well points = $10
  • Get access to RBC offers which provides access to earn points faster at specified brands
  • Extensive insurance including: mobile device insurance, travel insurance (trip cancellation, interruption and emergency medical) and other eligible purchases to protect you and your family
  • Avioners get access to luxury Visa Infinite benefits including first in line for exclusive events, and hotel and dining benefits.
  • Avioners no longer need 14-days to book travel using the RBC grid
  • Up to a 2.3% return on your spending depending on which reward ticket you book
  • Unwritten ability to redeem for Business Class tickets although at a lower rate of return when compared to the Avion Reward chart
  • Get $0 delivery fees for 12 months from DoorDash17 - Add your eligible RBC credit card to your DoorDash account to:
    • Get a 12-month complimentary DashPass subscription18 – a value of almost $120
    • Enjoy unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees on orders of $12 or more when you pay with your eligible RBC credit card
Apply Now

Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express®* Card

Card Type: Credit   
Annual Fee: $120 Additional Card Fee: $0
Annual interest rate 19.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances; Missed payment applicable rates, 23.99% and/or 26.99%

• New Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Cardmembers earn 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points after you charge $1,500 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership. Subject to change at any time

  • Earn 5 points for every dollar in eligible Card purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy®* properties
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 in all other Card purchases
  • Receive an Annual Free Night Award for up to 35,000 points at eligible hotels and resorts worldwide every year after your first anniversary
  • No annual fee on Additional Cards
  • Redeem points for free nights with no blackout dates at over 7,000 of the world’s most desired hotels
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status membership 
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card. These can be used towards attaining the next level of Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • Enjoy an automatic upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status when you reach $30,000 in purchases on the Card each year
  • 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

There you go. With these three cards you are pretty much covered for any travel reward. Travel anywhere (flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, all inclusive and so on), airline frequent flyer programs and hotel frequent guest programs! This way you can really travel how you want when you want. Just remember that if you do plan on converting from cards or SPG to an airline that sometimes the transfer is instantaneous but in other times it can take up to two weeks so be sure you plan accordingly!

Relevant Links to help you with choosing one or all of these cards, how to redeem with them etc.:

Other Card Options:

You may have noticed we stepped away from our usual methodology of one Visa, one Mastercard and one American Express card for this portfolio and that is because there isn't a really good Mastercard out there that provides you with a variety of options. Sure you can grab the mbna Best Western Rewards Mastercard as you can redeem those points for BW hotel stays or convert to 8 airline programs but all 8 of those programs are covered by the SPG card with a much better conversion rate! You could also grab Mastercards like the mbna Rewards World Elite Mastercard which provide excellent travel anywhere rewards but do not have any conversion options. Now you can see why we didn't include a Mastercard card into the mix of our three main picks.

Talk to us!

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