Disgruntled Aeroplan customers – now is the perfect time to shop for a new travel rewards card.  Several banks and credit card companies have spent the better part of a year revamping their travel programs to vie for space in your wallet.

CIBC and TD fought for the right to issue Aeroplan credit cards last summer and when the dust settled the two banks split the business down the middle.  CIBC got to keep the customers with broader ties to the bank while the rest were shipped over to TD, which launched a new suite of Aeroplan credit cards in January.

CIBC’s Aventura program got a facelift and the bank pushed out an aggressive marketing campaign to target its lost Aeroplan customers.  BMO’s World Elite MasterCard also saw an overhaul with an increased sign-up bonus and a better rate of return on spending.

The entire travel rewards landscape is full of rich incentives today, with many premium credit cards handing out juicy sign-up bonuses and/or offering to waive the annual fee in the first year.

The card that best suits you depends on how you like to travel.  Some cards give you points when you fly on preferred airlines or stay with a certain hotel chain, while others offer travel points and let you choose how to redeem them.

Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard

When it comes to the top travel cards on the market, Capital One’s Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard is worth a look.  This card offers two miles for every dollar spent, plus a generous 10,000 point bonus on your first purchase.

With Capital One’s no hassle rewards, you book your own trip – including hotel, airline, or rental car of your choice – then redeem your reward miles for your travel expenses.   You’re able to use your miles to pay for any taxes on your travel, and there are no blackouts or hidden fees.

Click here to sign up for the Capital One Aspire World MasterCard

BMO World Elite MasterCard

The BMO World Elite MasterCard comes in second with a two percent return on all purchases, plus a 30,000 point sign-up bonus and no annual fee in the first year (if you apply by June 1st).

Redeem your rewards anytime with no blackout periods or seat restrictions.  BMO rewards points cover all flight charges including taxes and fees.

Click here to sign up for the BMO World Elite MasterCard

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Rounding out the top three is Scotiabank’s Gold American Express card, which offers four points for every dollar spent on groceries, gas, dining, and entertainment.  The card offers a 15,000 point sign-up bonus and waives your annual fee in the first year.

Flexible point redemption means you can purchase travel from any provider and then redeem your points online.

Click here to sign up for the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

American Express Gold Rewards Card

The American Express Gold Rewards card might be the most flexible of the bunch.  A cross between an airline or hotel points card and a travel points card, American Express Gold Rewards offers a 25,000 sign up bonus, two points per dollar spent for gas, groceries, drug store and travel purchases, and one point per dollar on all other spending.  The annual fee is waived in the first year.

You can book travel how you want and then redeem membership rewards points against that charge on your monthly statement.

Membership rewards are a hidden gem in that you can convert points instantly 1:1 to Aeroplan and Avios and you can also transfer points to other frequent flyer and hotel rewards programs like Delta SkyMiles, Asia Miles, and Starwood Preferred Guest.

Your points can cover taxes and fees, and you can also redeem points towards a travel charge up to 12 months after your trip or purchases.

Click here to sign up for the American Express Gold Rewards Card.

Final thoughts

There’s no doubt that long-time Aeroplan and Air Miles collectors have grown frustrated with their rewards program – particularly when it comes to redeeming points for flights.

The best travel programs not only help you earn points faster, but they let you redeem your points when and how you want to without any annoying fees, surcharges, restrictions, and blackouts.

So what are you waiting for?  Now is the time to weigh your options and switch to a more rewarding program.

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