There are over 200 credit cards on the market today – enough to make your head spin as you try to determine which one is best. Frankly, there is no perfect credit card, so if you’re looking to maximize your credit card rewards you’ll need to find the card (or cards) that best matches your spending habits.
First, you’ll need to answer these questions:
- Do you want cash back or travel rewards?
- How much do you spend on your card each month?
- Which categories do you spend the most (grocery, gas, travel)?
- Which retailers (if any) do you frequent most often?
For most of us, the answers can vary widely. That’s why, more often than not, the best way to maximize your rewards is to carry a variety of cards and use the one that gives you the best return on your spending, depending on the purchase.
I’ve had as many as five credit cards in my wallet at one time, and they’ve all played a different role in the quest to maximize my rewards.
This year, I’ll get nearly $900 in credit card rewards this from spending $3,500 per month on my cards. That’s a return of just over 2% on my spending. That doesn’t include the $150 travel credit I got as a sign-up bonus when I applied for a card earlier this year.
Once you figure out which cards are best, you’ll still need to find out where to apply. With websites like Rate Supermarket, Great Canadian Rebates, and RedFlagDeals, it literally pays to shop around.
Okay, so which cards am I talking about and where can I find them?
Here’s where to find the top rewards credit cards today:
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite
Why get it? – This cash back credit card gives you the most back of any card on groceries and gas spending (4%), plus gives you 2% back on drug store purchases and on recurring monthly payments like your cell phone and internet bill.
Where to get it? – Get a free $100 gift card when you sign up for this card through Rate Supermarket. The $99 annual fee is also waived in the first year.
Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard
Why get it? – This card is marketed as a travel rewards card but can actually double as a cash-back card (at a slightly reduced value). Earn 2 miles for each $1 spent and then use Capital One’s no hassle rewards to erase the travel purchases from your credit card statement.
A generous 10,000 bonus miles gets you started with up to $100 in travel (or $75 in cash back) right off the bat.
Where to get it? – Again, Great Canadian Rebates is the best place to get this card. Not only will you get the huge bonus miles from Capital One, you’ll get an extra $75 cash back from GCR when you sign up through their portal.
Amazon.ca Rewards Visa
Why get it? – One of the best-kept secrets in Canada, the Amazon Rewards Visa is one of the only cards that doesn’t charge a 2.5% fee for foreign currency conversion on purchases made outside the country.
Not only that, you’ll earn 2 points for every dollar spent online at Amazon.ca and 1 point for every dollar spent elsewhere. Every 2,000 points earned are automatically redeemed for a $20 statement credit. There’s no annual fee.
Where to get it? – Why, Amazon, of course. Sign up for the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa online and get a $20 Amazon gift certificate.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Why get it? – This travel rewards card pays a whopping 4 points for every dollar spent on groceries, gas, dining, and entertainment. Its comprehensive travel insurance coverage can’t be beat, including up to 25 days of travel emergency medical.
Where to get it? – Apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express card at Rate Supermarket and you’ll get 15,000 bonus points with your first purchase – that’s good for $150 in travel. The $99 annual fee is also waived in the first year.
American Express Gold Card
Why get it? – Arguably the top pure travel rewards card on the market, the American Express Gold card gives you 2 points for every dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores, and on travel. You’ll get 25,000 bonus points when you spend $500 in the first three months – that’s enough for a round-trip flight anywhere in North America.
The flexible redemption options allow you to book any travel and pay with points (including taxes and fees), or you can transfer your points 1:1 to Aeroplan or Avios.
Where to get it? – The best place to find this card is at Great Canadian Rebates because you’ll get an extra $50 cash back rebate in addition to getting the $150 annual fee waived in the first year and getting a free supplementary card ($50 value) in the first year.
Once you figure out which rewards credit card best fits your lifestyle you’ll want to shop around to see if there are any extra incentives for signing up.
An extra $50 or $75 in cash back can boost your overall returns and sweeten an already sweet deal.