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Ask the Readers: Favorite Rewards Credit Card?

I wrote about my favorite credit card, The MBNA SPG Credit card, a while back and now I’m wondering what is your favorite credit card?

I’m a fan of the no fee, high reward type cards.  The reason why I like the MBNA SPG credit card so much is because of the potentially high return on your dollars spend through the card.  From my reward redemptions thus far, I have returned around 3-5%.  Of course, this card is suited best for people who like to stay at hotels when they travel.

One particular redemption that they offer that I like is the flights and nights award.  For 70,000 points (approximately 2 yrs of spending for us), you can fly 2 people with their airline partners anywhere in North America, and get 5 nights in one of their 4 star hotels.  Their 4 star hotels can cost anywhere from $200-$500USD/night and a flight for 2 across the country would cost us at least $1800.  Assuming the hotel value is worth around $1,500CAD (5 nights x $300/night) + $1,800 = $3300.  Since the SPG credit card is a 1:1 point system after bonuses, my return is: $3300/$70,000 = 4.7%.

I’ve recently been asked by a reader about decent VISA credit cards in Canada.  In my opinion, there aren’t many decent NO FEE VISA cards in Canada.  The only exception being the CIBC Dividend card which gives 1% cash back after you spend $3000.  Other than that, in order to get a sensible return on your spending, you have to resort to fee based VISA’s like the CIBC Aerogold , or the RBC Avion both of which are $120/yr for primary and $50/yr for secondary cards..

Well, that’s my Saturday speel.  Back to my original question, what is your favorite rewards credit card and why?

Note that these rewards based credit cards are only effective if you pay off the balance in FULL every month.

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 56 comments… add one }
  • The Financial Blogger July 28, 2007, 7:57 am

    I personally hate Visa. When I was a student and did not want to increase my limit on my card that I had paid on time for the past three years. I then applied for a BMO Master Card that gave me twice the limit a previously had with Visa.

    My favorite card is BMO West Jet Gold Master Card with airmiles. Since it is part of the Mosaik family, you can custom made your card according to your needs.

    Since I used my card for all my wedding expense a couple years ago, I am good for a trip to Australia with my airmiles!

    The only downside? fees of $35 a year. Not too bad though!

    cheers,

    FB.

  • oOKitijimaOo July 28, 2007, 8:17 am

    I won’t say it’s my favourite but you might look into the Costco program. They have a deal with AMEX that allows the member to double dip. First with the AMEX 1% cash rebate card of course it is tiered to a max of 1%, but add to that the additional 1% for being a Costco Executive member. Mind you it costs $100(annual fee for membership) for the CEM but nothing for the AMEX cash rebate card.

    The card I used most often is my MBNA Sony Platinum card. I have yet to redeem the points but the merchandise you can redeem for are great. Link http://www.sonystyle.ca/

    Pardon my ignorance, I didn’t mean to join unannounced. You guys can call me Kitijima and I am located in Toronto, ON, I have stumbled upon FT’s site and I have enjoyed my read everytime I have visited so I was hoping I could join the bunch.

    FT: I have not forgotten about your email regarding ERP, I have been swamped at work. I will provide an indepth detail of my ERP for you.

    Cheers,

    Kit

  • oOKitijimaOo July 28, 2007, 8:41 am

    Just a quick note to add…

    I have not done any calculations until now. The Sony card works out to be almost 1% on all purchases that be can redeemed for Sony merchandise. Hmmmm Time to reconsider my choice of cards.

  • FrugalTrader July 28, 2007, 9:13 am

    FB, with the Westjet gold program, i’ve read that you can fly anywhere in north america for 1600? But is that only true from certain starting points?

    Kit, I haven’t looked into the sony program, thanks for the heads up.

  • FourPillars July 28, 2007, 11:01 am

    I have the Aerogold card ($170/yr) and I don’t like it at all – very hard to get rewards. The problem is that I have so many points, I need to use them up before I cancel the card.

    Mike

  • FrugalTrader July 28, 2007, 11:10 am

    FP, Yes, I agree Aeroplan has gone down hill since they went public. Points now expire if you don’t use them within 7 years.

    Question, even if you use points with Aeroplan, they still charge taxes and security fees correct?

  • BLAM July 28, 2007, 11:22 am

    The westjet card is at most 1600 points. You can get it for even less during off peak seasons. But of course there’s limits. I found out that for one its only applicable for westjet flights in north america, which is still good but not if they don’t go where you want to go. The other thing which bothered me is its on limited flights and when you go to book your flight you can’t say “When do you have flights to Calgary where I can use only 1600 points?”, you have to tell them a date and they have to look it up. Kind of annoying if you ask me.

    I use the esso rewards for free car washes. My car takes premium so you get 3X the points. Plus you link it to your credit card so you get points there too. I link it to my amex air miles. Not sure if air miles is the best rewards card out there but I seem to be trapped with collecting them.

  • Sue July 28, 2007, 11:59 am

    FT,

    Even if you use points with Aeroplan, they will still charge you taxes and security fees which in our case comes to approximately $300 per person for a trip to France. You also have to redeem 5000 aeroplan points if you decide to take your baby with you…

    I totally agree with MDJ regarding his his choice of credit card. I have yet to find a better no fee/high reward credit card…

  • guinness416 July 28, 2007, 12:12 pm

    We use the SPG card too. I had its Amex incarnation in the US too; I don’t think we’ve paid for a hotel room in a major city in three years, which included a great luxury suite in Florence a few months ago.

  • Daniel M, July 28, 2007, 12:35 pm

    I have a MBNA Manulife Bank Platinum Master Card credit card as part of the Manulife One. It as $29 a year fee even if you have more than 1 card.

    I get 1% WorldPoints® and a one year extended purchase insurance on most purchases.

    (They dont cover the loss of golf balls. Go figure. ;-))

    I combine my credit card with other reward cards such as airmiles to double dip on the savings and I pay everything I can with the credit card. I just make sure I pay my balance on time and do not pay a cent in interest fees.

  • Jerry Hung July 28, 2007, 2:15 pm

    We have
    AMEX Aeroplan Gold ($120/yr), plan to switch to CIBC Aerogold VISA once renewal is up
    2xTD Gold Elite 1% cashback ($120/yr, waived)
    2xTD Gold Travel 3~5% travel rewards ($120/yr, waived)

    I suppose I should look into the SPG card since I’ve heard some good things on RFD, now just gotta use up my current rewards first

  • FourPillars July 28, 2007, 2:30 pm

    FT – last time I flew on points I didn’t pay taxes as far as I can recall. I think I had to pay some airport security tax which wasn’t very much.

    I haven’t claimed a flight for a few years so maybe the taxes are extra now.

    Mike

  • The Financial Blogger July 28, 2007, 2:50 pm

    FT, last time I checked it for Montreal – Vancouver, it was 1600. I guess you can fly from your location for the same amount of points!

    Just a quick note, the fees are $90… not $35…

    Cheers,
    FB.

  • A.J. - IAmFacingMillions.com July 28, 2007, 3:27 pm

    Well, I can’t speak for Candian cards, but I use 2 rewards cards here in the U.S. The first isn’t a credit card, but I have a PayPal Preferred Debit card which gives me 1% cash back on all purchases. I like it because it is no fee and the 1% cash back is instant. No saving up, waiting for an annual check, redemptions or otherwise. Just an instant cash back.

    The second is the American Express Blue Cash card. It is no annual fee. It pays 0.5% on regular purchases and 1% on gas, pharmacy and grocery store purchases. Additionally, if you exceed $6500 in a year, that bumps up to 1% on every and 5% on gas, pharmacy and grocery store purchases.

    My prescriptions are $2400/yr alone and gasoline is another $2400/yr that I spend so I put all of those purchases exclusively on the American Express Blue Card. I put most other purchases on my PayPal card.

    Next year, when I’m more likely to hit $6500 pretty easily on the card, I will probably put everything on the American Express Blue card.

  • FrugalTrader July 28, 2007, 3:33 pm

    So, with the Wesjet card, you need 1600 points to fly anywhere in North America, but it takes $20 for 1 Airmile. So you need to spend around $32,000 on the card before you can get a flight? Or is $15 for 1 airmile? If that’s the case, then you would only have to spend $24,000 for a free flight, which is on par with Aeroplan. Aeroplan has the upper hand with international flights though, but i’m not so sure with flight availability.

  • The Financial Blogger July 28, 2007, 3:51 pm

    FT, it is $15 for 1 airmiles. The trick is, when you start with a point system, you accumulate so much that you do not want to start the same thing over!

  • FourPillars July 28, 2007, 4:29 pm

    Aerogold Visa – another fee I remember now was $35 per ticket “service charge”. Again that might out of date.

    Sue – you get dinged 5000 pts for bringing the baby? Even though they don’t use a seat??

    I knew the card wasn’t a great deal but I’m starting to think it’s a ripoff.

    Mike

  • FrugalTrader July 28, 2007, 6:35 pm

    FP, I don’t think Aeroplan is a rip off, esp since they now offer 1.5 points for groceries and gas. But it does have a lot of fees that most people don’t know about. Where aeroplan really shines is when you use the points for executive class. Although it requires more points, the return is much much higher. I believe the last time I did a calculation, it was close to a 8% return.

  • Warren July 28, 2007, 7:42 pm

    I have 2 no-fee reward cards that I use regularly:

    1. Costco Platinum Amex with cash back. It gives me something like .25% on my first $2000, .5% on the next $3000, and 1.5% on anything after that (annually). Not bad for free. My Costco membership is automatically billed to the card, it has the added peace of mind of my picture on the back. More credit cards should have a picture in my opinion… its a pretty easy way to help eliminate the massive fraud out there.

    2. Starbucks Visa (from RBC). This is another free card, obviously for coffee drinkers only. It gives me 1% worth of Starbucks product (updated every month). The card itself also has a Starbucks gift card “built-in”, and that is where your 1% gets added every month, you can look up the current balance online, etc. So far I’m very happy with this card. They also give me bonus $$$ based on my quarterly spending, and sometimes a free 1/2 pound of coffee. I figure this card’s rewards are closer to 1.3-1.5% when you factor in the bonuses. I never carry a balance, so the bonuses must be based on spending.

    Regarding the travel cards that seem to be so popular, I do a lot of travel for work, and so I have my own hotel/air points. I find that sometimes redeeming Aeroplan can be difficult, and there’s always the taxes. I also have United points via work and they are easier to use but not perfect. Hotel points are better.

    Obviously individual circumstances differ, but based on the totally unpredictable pricing and availability of airfare, I prefer to do my own research and pricing when I plan my holidays rather than jumping through the reward hoops.

    Half the time I end up using my airline points for other goods, gift cards, etc.

  • FourPillars July 28, 2007, 11:25 pm

    Thanks FT – I’ll see if I can glue my card together again :)

    What do you mean by 8% return – for every dollar you charge you get 8 cents worth of flight tickets (rewards)?

    Mike

  • Gates VP July 29, 2007, 6:45 am

    Hey FT, I got in on this one late, but I’ll give you the low-down as I was probably one of the first Westjet Gold Mastercard members (I was already with BMO and responded to like the first mailer :)

    Here’s how it works: it costs $75/year. Some people have signed on for less, but that’s the recurring fee. It offers 1 Air Mile/$15 which is basically the best deal around. It provides cheap flights on Westjet at around 1/2 price with a max of 1600 Air Miles to anywhere Westjet flies. It’s limited, but it does include all of the major Canadian cities.

    The other bonus that no one is talking about is the free bank account. Yeah, the card gives you get a free Air Miles chequing account with BMO (worth about $8.50/month) while you use the card. And the account itself gives you Air Miles for direct-deposit transactions, debit card purchases and average monthly balances.

    All of my bills (except for rent) go through the card. That includes my shopping at Safeway! (and Shell when I rent cars and Zellers which converts HBC points to Air Miles). I’m basically the ultimate Air Miles whore, but it’s paid off. All in, I’ve brought in 2k+ Air Miles each year since I’ve had the card. Which has cashed in for like 4 flights (and I still have 2800 sitting around).

    The only downside to the whole deal is planning. You must book Air Miles months in advance. I called last week to get a flight from Edmonton to Winnipeg for the August 10th (so 2+ weeks in advance) and they didn’t have anything. Not just “no Westjet flights”, no “any flights” period.

    Of course, the system is far from perfect as well: it’s all done by phone, you’re still paying fees and taxes on the order of $100-200 for every flight and they’ll try to upsell you on their flight insurance, b/c it’s all non-refundable, non-transferable.

    Then again, Air Miles are “cashable” for so many other things, that sometimes the flight isn’t actually the best option. Some people just use this mess of miles to fund Gift Cards as birthday gifts.

    I can cash in my 2k miles for ~10 gift cards in the $20-25 range across a huge range of stores. The card values tend to vary by profit margin, so you’ll get a smaller card from zellers than say HMV or the Gap. (can’t confirm exact numbers, airmiles.ca site is down :(

    The card does not seem quite as profitable as the MBNA SPG card. But it’s effectively zero-fee for me (I was already a BMO customer) and it’s definitely been “rewarding”. Air Miles do have the benefit of being quite liquid and very well supported, so if you’re not raking in the “big miles”, you also won’t be stuck with unusable points.

  • FrugalTrader July 29, 2007, 8:52 am

    FP, yes, if you worked out the cost of a first class ticket across the country or international compared to the amount you had to spend to obtain it, it would work out to be high percentage. So yes, % return = value of ticket/dollars spent to obtain points for ticket.

    Gates, thanks for the thorough analysis of the airmiles program One thing I didn’t know was that you can convert HBC to airmiles. Do you do the exhange through a third party? Or can HBC do that internally?

  • David July 29, 2007, 12:32 pm

    Don’t forget that some of these plans only cover a ticket up to a certain value. I think Aeroplan allows up to a $700 airfare. So if you are traveling from St. John’s to Ski at Sun Peaks, or to Houseboat on Shushwap Lake, here in BC you might be SOL.

    Travel between major centres may be easier.

    David

  • Gates VP July 29, 2007, 3:20 pm

    The HBC transfer can be done on-line as needed or it can even be set up to “automatically roll-over”.

    You see, before Zellers and The Bay were all advertised under the same umbrella (like 2003), The Bay offered Air Miles on purchases. When they got rolled up and created the whole “HBC thing”, they basically continued the Zellers rewards program, so they threw a bone to the Air Miles crowd and gave them an option to transfer points.

    The ratio of earned points isn’t great, but Zeller’s is a low-margin place so that’s par for the course. If you’re planning on cashing in for Zeller’s rewards (i.e.: new eggbeaters) then it’s not worth transferring to Air Miles. Of course, if you want to fly, then Air Miles is the call.

    I have used the feature before, but I haven’t done it in a few years, so YMMV.

  • nobleea July 30, 2007, 1:06 am

    I’m also a BMO Westjet Gold card carrying member. The free banking is a nice benefit as Gates VP pointed out. The 1600 air miles is for anywhere in North America that Westjet flies, except carribean and hawaii. Planning is required, but in the 8 months that i’ve had it, I’ve booked 2 flights from EDM-Palm springs and 1 flight from Edm – Ottawa over xmas (actually open jaw: EDM-TO, OTT-EDM)

    What was an even better card, I think, was the one I had before. It was called BMO FirstHome Dollars. For every $20 you spent on the card, you would get $1 deposited into an account that you could use against the downpayment on your first home. I got it as soon as I graduated univ and by the time I bought my condo, I had $2500 saved up. The only catch is you have to have your mortgage with BMO (which I do). They also say that you have to take the posted rate. A couple phone calls and nasty letters to Mosaik headquarters and they waived that requirement (for the posted rate, since I’ve yet to hear someone take the posted rate!).
    I don’t think they offer it anymore.

  • GlobexInvesting July 31, 2007, 5:21 pm

    From a percentage return point of view, here in Ontario at least, the Canadian Tire Gas Mastercard gives you the highest return. If you put at least $1000 on the card every month (not that hard), you save $0.10 per litre of gas at the Canadian Tire gas bar, for up to 750 litres per month. The maximum reward therefore works out to:

    ($0.10 * 750 litres) / $1000 * 100% = 7.5%!

    This blows away most other cards, which are around 1% to 1.5% reward ratio. Of course, 750 litres a month is a lot of gas. Our family goes through about 200 litres a month on 2 cars. Our return therefore is:

    ($0.10 * 200 litres) / $1000 * 100% = 2%

    This still beats the other cards. The important thing is if you want to maximize your return that once you hit the $1000 mark, you should switch to a different card (say one that gives you 1% cashback), otherwise your return % will diminish.

  • nobleea July 31, 2007, 5:36 pm

    I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the country, but here in Alberta, all gas stations will knock 3.5 cents off per litre just for getting one of their free rewards cards (like Petropoints). Superstore gives you 7.5 cents per litre in money to use at Superstore. This doesn’t require anything (I always try and fill up there).

    I forgot to mention that BMO will give you 10% extra air miles every month if you have the following with them: high interest savings account, line of credit, mortgage. I have 2 of them, so they give me 20% extra.

    With the gold mastercard, instead of 1 air mile/15$, it works out to 1 air mile/12.50$. Depending on where and when you are going to use your 1600 air miles flight reward, the fare alone could be worth up to 650$. This works out to 3.25% reward rate. A cheaper fare might have a reward rate of 1.5%.

  • Bootsie August 1, 2007, 11:35 am

    I like the TD Gold Elite (1% cash back – NOT tiered). The annual fee is $99 but it includes autoclub membership / roadside assistance for all cars and household members (so we canceled our CAA membership which was more expensive) & double warranty extension.

    We switched from the Aerogold which we weren’t very happy with.

  • Jackboot August 3, 2007, 8:42 pm

    First comment on this blog…

    I’m very surprised that nobody has mentioned the no-fee Canadian Tire (CTFS) Mastercard!

    I got in on their ‘pilot program’ for this card at 3% cashback. Their ‘platinum’ card for the pilot program period was an amazing 5% cashback. During the year-long pilot program I received about $1,000 cashback!

    They recently ended their pilot program and anybody can now sign up. Unfortunately, they reduced their cashback reward to 1% cashback. However, there is NO cap on the annual reward you can earn. The only requirement to get 1% cashback in any given month is to spend $1,000 that month. Purchases at CDN Tire (including the gas bar) earn double cashback. You also get paid your reward each quarter rather than only once per year. This is a way better card than the CIBC dividend or any other cashback card in Canada that I’m aware of.

    Look here for more information:
    http://www.ctfs.com/english/cashadvantage/index.html

  • FrugalTrader August 3, 2007, 10:34 pm

    Hey Jackboot, thanks for the heads up! I thought that Canadian tire had canceled their cash back program, I had no idea that they came up with a new 1% version. I will look into it.

  • Jackboot August 4, 2007, 2:11 am

    It’s too bad that it is no longer 3% or 5%…that was incredible :)

    I think this straight cashback card beats any other offering out there – cashback or not. When people do their calculations for what % their non-cashback card earns them (travel rewards etc) they never seem to figure in the fact that they would never pay full price for flights and hotels which makes their calculations much less valid and their actual % reward much smaller. I would rather have a plain cashback card and use my cashback to purchase greatly reduced flights and hotels rather than use a travel rewards card.

  • MoneySheep August 4, 2007, 12:18 pm

    I frequently heard this – we should use this card, and buy more stuff to build up points so we can fly. That is exactly what the card co. want you to do, to benefit them, but you think you benefited. The best thing to do is “give me back my money” and I will spend it the way I wanted. I had Aerogold Visa for over 10yr, I switched to the Dividend Card several months ago.

    FourPillar, you can buy FutureShop Gift card, but it will cost you 30%.

    For a previous post, aeroplan point and aerogold card are separate entities. You can cut the card without affecting your points.

  • FourPillars August 4, 2007, 2:03 pm

    MoneySheep – I need to keep adding points in order not to lose the points I have. I thought having an aerogold card was the only way to do this?

    Mike

  • Nick August 9, 2007, 10:22 am

    TD Travel Visa – 1.5% return to use for travel. Travel must be booked through the TD Travel site which I would normally see as a downside but the site is actually really well designed (as is TD Easyweb – TD’s online banking) and the flights cost the same as booking direct from the airline (in my experience). Even better, I don’t have to go to each airline site to check all it fares.

    Annual cost: $99. Right now you get 15,000 bonus points for signing up which will cover your first two years of fees at $99.

  • Fazooli August 17, 2007, 10:17 pm

    I use the Citibank Driver’s Edge Mastercard. No fee, and you get 2% of all your purchases back when someone in your household buys a car within 5 years of earning your rewards.

    I used to use Dividend cards but didn’t like that I had to spend x per year before reaching the maximum % reward level.

  • NICHOLAS SEAN September 2, 2007, 5:17 pm

    I HAVE BEEN USING THE RBC STARBUCKS SINCE JUNE,2007.I AM HAPPY WITH THE CARD.HOWEVER,I HAVE NOTICED THE CANADIAN VERSION OF THE CARD DOES NOT HAVE THE COLLISION / DAMAGE WAIVER FEATURE WHEN RENTING A CAR.THE AMERICAN VERSION OF THE CARD ALLOWS ONE TO RENT A CAR AND SAVE A DOLLAR OR TWO ON CAR INSURANCE.ALSO,WHY IS THE AMERICAN CARD, REFERRED TO AS A “PLATINUM CARD?”
    AT THE MOMENT,I HAVE A SLIGHT PROBLEM WITH THE ROYAL BANK OF CANADA. UNBEKNOWNST TO ME,THE STATEMENT DATE WAS CHANGED.THE BANK’S REASON FOR DOING SO WAS RELATED TO THE FACT THE USUAL STATEMENT DATE FELL ON A SUNDAY.THE BANK,DECIDED THE STATEMENT DATE WOULD BE ON THE FRIDAY.SINCE
    WHEN DOES A BANK CARE WHEN THE STATEMENT DATE ENDS? I THINK I AM BEING PUNISHED FOR PAYING BY ACOUNT IN FULL EACH MONTH.

  • NICHOLAS SEAN September 2, 2007, 5:27 pm

    I ALSO HAD THE CANADIAN TIRE” MONEY ON THE CARD”
    MASTER CARD.CANADIAN TIRE WOULD ALSO PLAY WITH MY STATEMENT DATE.I HAD NEGLECTED TO MENTION,THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I WOULD OVER PAY MY ACCOUNT.FOR INSTANCE ,IF THE BALANCE OWING,WAS $100.00 AND I KNEW I WOULD BE USING THE CARD OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS,THEN I WOULD USUALLY MAKE THE PAYMENT FOR $200.00. PAYMENT WAS MADE TWICE A MONTH;USUALLY AFTER THE DAY MY PAYCHEQUE WAS DESPOSITED INTO MY ACCOUNT.I HAVE NEVER WAITED UNTIL THE STATEMENT ARRIVED BEFORE PAYING THE BILL.I THINK THIS COULD BE A REASON FOR THE BANK PLAYING WITH MY STATEMENT DATE. I HAVE READ ABOUT ANOTHER MAJOR BANK PUNISHING THEIR CARDHOLDERS WHO PAY THE BALANCE IN FULL EACH MONTH

  • NICHOLAS SEAN September 2, 2007, 5:43 pm

    ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH THE CANADIAN TIRE MASTERCARD
    CONCERNS THE EXTENDED WARRANTY AND THE 90 DAY LOSS/STOLEN FEATURE OF THE CARD.FOR WHATEVER REASON,CANADIAN TIRE EXPECTS ITS CARDHOLDERS TO PAY FOR THIS FEATURE;ROUGHLY $0.99 CENTS PER $100.00 CHARGED TO THE CARD.BANK ISSUED VISA AND
    MASTERCARDS DO NOT CHARGE FOR THIS FEATURE.WHY SHOULD CANADIAN TIRE? I HAVE HAD SOME LOVELY ?CONVERSATIONS WITH THE CUSTOMER CARE DEPARTMENT OVER THIS ISSUE.THIS WAS THE REASON FOR ME SWITCHING TO THE RBC STARBUCKS VISA.BY THE WAY,AFTER RECEIVING THE RBC VISA,A TELEPHONE CALL WAS ISSUED TO CANADIAN TIRE MASTERCARD.THE CARD WAS CANCELLED AND BOY,I CERTAINLY DID GIVE THEM A PIECE OF MY MIND. TOO,BAD,BECAUSE THE CARD ITSELF IS ONE OF THE BETTER CARDS.ONCE A CHARGE HAS BEEN MADE,THE 1 % IS APPLIED IMMEDIATELY TO THE ACCOUNT,UNLIKE OTHER CASH REBATE CARDS,THE CANADIAN TIRE ALLOWS ONE TO REDEEM THE ACCUMULATED CASH IMMEDIATEDLY.NO MINIMUM REQUIRED NOR DOES ONE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE MONTH BEFORE THE MONTH’S CASHBACK IS CREDITED TO THE CARD. IN A SENSE,I AM DISHEARTENED TO HAVE CANCELLED THE CARD,BUT AFTER REALIZING,THE COMPANY WAS TREATING ME LIKE A FOOL,THEN SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE.
    BECAUSE I FEEL THE RBC IS GETTING GREEDY,I WILL BE RETURNING TO THE BANK OF MONTREAL MOSAIK CASH BACK MASTERCARD. NO PROBLEMS WITH THE CARD. KEEP IT SIMPLE!! AS FOR STARBUCKS,I STILL HAVE THEIR COFFEE CARD WHICH IS LINKED TO MY BANK OF MONTREAL MASTERCARD. THE AUTOLOAD FEATURE IS VERY PRACTICAL.

  • NICHOLAS SEAN September 16, 2007, 6:18 pm

    I HAVE DECIDED TO REMAIN WITH THE RBC STARBUCKS VISA.I ENJOY GETTING THE STRANGE LOOKS FROM SALES
    STAFF WHENEVER THE CARD IS USED.I HAVE JUST ENDED
    A CALL WITH CUSTOMER CARE AT THE RBC VISA;THE STA
    -TEMENT DATE WAS CHANGED. I WANTED A DATE OF MY
    CHOOSING.AGAIN,I WAS TOLD IF THE STATEMENT DATE
    ENDED ON A WEEK END DAY,THE STATEMENT WOULD THEN
    END ON THE FOLLOWING FRIDAY.I DO NOT SEE THE LOG-
    IC IN THIS.I WOULD LIKE TO MEET THE INDIVIDUAL WHO DREAMT THIS ONE UP.I HAVE BEEN ASKING AROUND
    THE ROYAL BANK OF CANADA ( I HATE THE TERM “RBC”) APPEARS TO BE THE ONLY BANK WITH THIS PRACTISE.ALSO,IT IRKS ME TO LEARN,THE US VARIANT OF THE CARD IS REFERRED TO AS A “PLATINUM” CARD.WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT IT?MIND YOU,THE US VARIANT DOES ALLOW ONE TO RENT A
    CAR AND THE COLLISION/DAMAGE WAIVER IS COVERED BY THE STARBUCKS CARD.AM I ASKING TOO MUCH FOR THE CANADIAN CARD TO HAVE THIS FEATURE AS WELL?
    TOO BE CONTINUED……….

  • Skippy March 27, 2008, 5:19 pm

    Besides the Starwood Program, MBNA has an excellent Travel Rewards card. It comes with the same benefits and insurance (car rental, warranty extension etc.) as the SPG card, but has very rewarding travel benefits.
    The annual fee is $89 and you can add supplementary cards.
    You get 2000 bonus points a year and 1 point for every dollar that you spend.
    The redemption works out like Aeroplan and is for flights only:
    15,000 pts for neighbouring province, territory or state
    25,000 pts for anywhere in North America
    40,000 Canada, US, Carribean and Hawaii
    60,000 Canada to South America, Central America and Europe
    75,000 Canada to Asia, Middle East, Africa, Australia
    the best part is that there are no blackout dates, no cap to the cost of the flight, and it will be with any airline flying the day you want to go.
    I recently flew from Montreal to Aspen Colorado which cost me 25000 pts (about $22,500 in spending on the card after bonuses). Purchasing that same flight was $1050.
    I had to pay taxes which came out to $140. I saved $900 on the flight. That was a return of 4%!! Aspen is an expensive place to fly, but I have also flown to Halifax and earned about 2.5% return on that flight.
    What I really love about it is that it`s with any airline, so you are not stuck with the locations that WestJet goes to, or the limited flights that are offered for Aeroplan points.
    Check out the MBNA Travel Rewards!!

  • TJ April 5, 2008, 11:36 am

    I loved the PC Financial Mastercard-until it dumped its travel rewards, without much notice. My wife and I got a trip to France with that card/plan. We still use it, almost exclusively-we buy groceries from September to December with the points earnedfrom the first eight months of the year.
    I’d previously earned #3300 on my TD GM Visa which we used towards a new car back in ’02. We still have that but use it sparingly.

  • NICHOLAS SEAN April 6, 2008, 12:12 am

    I still have the RBC STARBUCKS visa.However,the card is rarely used for purchases.It is kept for Starbucks only.For
    the time being,I am using the DESJARDINS visa.A gold card that has the optional 1% cash back.A $20.00 annual fee.The
    money earned can be transferred to a DESJARDINS rrsp or can
    be used to defray the bank fees.For the time being,the card
    suits my needs.
    The other day,I received a replacement card from PC Financial Mastercard.I had 15 days inwhich to activate the new card.I did not ask for a replacement card.The person with whom I had spoken with,did not answer my question concerning the reason for the card.The new card had a different expirory date.The account remained the same.I have not used this card for a while. The other month I realized the card is not worth using. In order to redeem the 20,000 points for the $20.00,it had dawned on me that I would have to charge $705.00 on the card to get that $20.00.

  • paulette June 8, 2008, 2:38 am

    I prefer HSBC Card because it has a good system. It mails statement of accounts 2 weeks before the cut off date.

  • nobleea June 16, 2008, 2:17 pm

    FYI, for those of us with the BMO Westjet gold card, they are cancelling their collaboration. No more sweet 1600 air miles flights on Westjet. You have to book by Jul 31. I think flights have to be taken by Feb 09.

    It’s ashame as that was the best rewards value for travellers (returning 2-3.5%).

    I have one more flight to book using the 1600 airmiles deal and then I’ll be cancelling and going to another card.

  • Gates VP June 17, 2008, 12:40 pm

    Hey nobleea;

    I’ll have to double-check my files, but they’re not completely hosing us. They’re just changing it to 10% (or is it 20%) off all flights instead of just the WestJet deal.

    Honestly, it may be a good compromise. B/c of the sheer popularity of the card I’ve had ridiculously difficult times getting any Air Miles flights actually booked on a Westjet plane. I kept having to defer to a more expense Air Canada flight b/c it didn’t matter how far in advance I booked.

    Of course, for anyone getting off the Air Miles treadmill, don’t forget that they can be cashed in for gift cards as well. Great way to spend that left overs :)

  • Michael Wood September 11, 2008, 3:51 am

    Re: AEROPLAN Points – one great way to “spend” these without having to pay the dreaded TAXES is to redeem for “GIFT CARDS”. I did some calculations with an AeroplanPlus Gold Amex Card, acquiring points at 1.25 points per dollar spent (w/ charter bonus etc) – and I figured these out to be pretty near to 1% “CASH BACK” or very near to it… with the same flexibility to use for Air Canada if/when it makes sense.

    American Eagle, chapters, GAP, Linens n Things, Pier 1 – $50 for 6k points

    Starbucks, body shop, Esso, HBC, Home Hardware, M&M Meat, Toys’r’Us – $50 for 6500 pts – not quite as good but close to 1% still

    The list continues with $100 cards from banana republic, best western, birks, danier, long and Mcquaid, cadillac fairview, costco, future shop, yorkdale, and more. The points cost per card varies a little bit (the more flexible cards seem to be more expensive, in general). But surely something can be found that’s OK.

    Another comment – buying electronics directly from Aeroplan seems STUPID – you’re far better off claiming a $250 Future Shop card for 31,000 miles, again nearly 1% cash back equivalent, rather than to buy the gear over aeroplan.com, they charge way more points per dollar value of the kit being claimed.

  • Zeno of Elea November 30, 2008, 9:07 pm

    I used the CIBC Aeroplan Gold for years, but got sick of the poor value on flight redemptions. I could almost always find an alternative airline that was cheaper than the taxes and fees on the Air Canada redemption. The only good value was on Executive Class tickets.
    I decided to skip airline rewards and stick to cash and staples. I’ve switched to the Amex Gold Cash Back (2% on purchases over 5k). For those places that don’t take Amex, I use the PC Mastercard as my backup.

  • Gene August 26, 2009, 12:10 pm

    I use the Alberta Treasury Branch Platinum Rewards Card. It does have a $140.00 fee, but gives you 3% Cashback on Groceries, Gas, Drug Stores and Home improvement centres and 1% everywhere else. I covered my fee in the first 2.5 months and expect a possible net $1000.00 rebate check. I can hardly find it mentioned anywhere but thing it’s great. You can still use it and show your Aeroplan, Airmiles or such points card at the same places. I have linked it to my speedpass at Esso whereI can save an additional 1.5 cents per litre at certain stations as well as gaining Esso extra points on top of all that.

  • The Biz of Life August 26, 2009, 5:03 pm

    In the US, I use the Amex Blue Card for the cashback awards…. up to 5% on gas and groceries…. 1% on other purchases. Pay it off religiously every month. My annual cashback award is typically large enough to put a big dent in one month’s charges.

  • harry September 30, 2009, 1:04 pm

    Folks,
    (thinking about ditching my Aerogold CIBC VISA) I came across this on-line discussion, in search of a better (meaning more aligned with my own real needs) card. I found it very interesting/quite enlighting. Great place to improve on my financial knowledge.
    Up to one point though (a question) – which is related to the practicality/feasibility of continous hunting for the best card deal. Is it any problem when switching every so often (cancel, and aply for new) from one card/bank to another? I guess one’s personal credit rating may suffer, perhaps?

  • Dean November 16, 2010, 4:53 pm

    Sears Rewards are the worst. You get 1 point for every dollar you spend, but in order to get a 50 dollar (Sears) Gift Card you have have to redeem 5000 points. Saving 1% for spending 5000 dollers is not being very frugal imho. The worst thing is the points expire, and so do the gift cards!

  • Doug Hilderley July 15, 2012, 9:46 am

    Canadian Tire Gas Card (MC) -no fee- get gas discount at CTC stations ONLY
    -based on card usage – I buy EVERYTHING on the card up to $1000 each month and then get 8 cents a litre off , directly at the pump as it rolls back
    the price upon inserting the card (Has limit of $700 gas per month) Between my daughter and I, we reach the max.

    After reach $1000 on above card, I switch to CIBC Aerogold for Aeroplan miles as I fly to Thailand twice a winter. Combined with flying Air CANada (shorter flight as only one changeover) plus the miles given by A/C, I get the fourth flight almost free ($300 administration fees) instead of average of $1400. I buy all items at Aeroplan stores if prices comparable and then build up double points.

    Like you, I never pay interest. In 50 years, I paid a couple of bucks once as I missed the pay date.

  • TJ November 3, 2012, 12:44 pm

    I’m hearing a lot lately about this (low) fee rewards Scotiabank Gold American Express Card which offers 4x Scotia Rewards points for every $1 you spend at gas stations, grocery stores, on dining and entertainment. Any readers/card users who can share some insight on it?

  • FT FrugalTrader November 3, 2012, 1:51 pm

    @TJ, the only issue with AMEX is acceptance. When I had the SPG amex, I tried to put as much as i could on the card, but could only get up to $1k/month on average, which is less than half of our normal spend.

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