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Rogers World Elite MasterCard – Best Free Cash Back Card in Canada?

In a recent post announcing the new Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa (4% at restaurants), I hinted that the Rogers World Elite MasterCard may be a top contender for the best free cash back credit card in Canada.

My post comparing the best free cash back cards in Canada is a popular one with the Tangerine card holding the title for a couple of years now. However, with the new Rogers World Elite MasterCard, could the Tangerine card be dethroned?

The Tangerine card is popular because it’s a free credit card that offers 2% cash back on up to three categories of your choosing.  The categories include: entertainment; furniture; home improvement; hotels; public transportation and parking.  While 2% is great, 0.5% on the rest of your spending is not great.  This is where the Rogers World Elite Card can fill the gap.  More on this in a minute.

First, let’s take a look at some of the specs for the Rogers World Elite MasterCard.

The Benefits

For a no-fee credit card, the cash back benefits are surprisingly generous.  If you travel internationally or make foreign currency transactions, this card will charge you 2.5% but will give you 4% cash back (net: 1.5% cash back).  4% on FX transactions is great, but what really makes this card stand out is 1.75% cash back on all other spending.   

In addition to the higher than average cash back, they also offer a couple insurance perks that are useful – specifically the trip interruption/cancellation insurance.

Summary of their cash back benefits:

  • 4% unlimited cash back rewards on all eligible purchases made in a foreign currency;
  • 2% unlimited cash back rewards on Rogers™ products and services charged to your card; and,
  • 1.75% cash back rewards on all other eligible purchases.

Summary of their insurance benefits:

  • Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection;
  • Rental Car Collision/Damage;
  • Out-of-Province/Out-of-Country Emergency Medical; and
  • Trip Interruption and Trip Cancellation.

The Downside

Looking at the specs, it doesn’t seem like there would be any downside, but there are a couple! 

First, if you aren’t a Rogers customer (like me) and cannot claim your cash back on Rogers services, you can only get a statement credit once a year (in December).  To add a little more nuisance into the mix, you need to call their customer support in order to request the statement credit.  If you don’t call in before December, you’ll have to wait a full year in order to redeem all the cash back that you have accumulated throughout the year.  Update, you no longer need to wait a full year to redeem – see Final Thoughts below.

Second, Rogers hasn’t been around very long, and they reduced the benefits of the first Platinum card that they released a little while ago.  However, this may have been to pave way for the release of this World Elite card.  In my opinion though, if you pick this card as your main go-to card for spending, there is a risk in the future that Rogers may reduce benefits.

As this is a World Elite card, the minimum requirements are a bit higher: Minimum $80k income, or $150k household income.

The One-Two (maybe Three) Punch

As previously mentioned, the Tangerine card is great if you spend a lot in their 2% categories, but 0.5% cash back on all other spending is just not good enough.  A strong combination of free credit cards is to both the Tangerine and the Rogers card in your wallet/purse. That way, you can use the Tangerine card for your 2% categories, and the Rogers Mastercard (1.75%) for all of your other spending (even Costco). 

Even better, if you shop at Loblaws/Shoppers, throw the free PC Financial World Elite Mastercard into the mix that gives you 3% cash back (in PC points) when you shop at their stores.  Having these three cards together would likely bring your credit card cash back to over 2% per year. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the Rogers card offers a lot of value with no annual fee to pay.  It offers 4% cash back on foreign transactions (great for travel), and 1.75% on everything else.  You will be hard pressed to find another credit card in Canada that offers 1.75% cash back without any annual fees. 

The downside (no longer valid – see below), as mentioned, is that you can only redeem your cash back once a year (December), and you need to call into customer support to make that happen.  Not ideal, but perhaps not a deal breaker.

Update, Rogers World Elite card holders have received an email that solves the largest downside of this card:

Starting February 2019, if you make a purchase using your Rogers BankTM Mastercard® anywhere Mastercard is accepted, you can use your cash back rewards to pay yourself back for your purchase.  Your rewards. Your way. On your terms.

The options are endless! Mastercard is accepted at over 44 million locations worldwide, so it’s your choice how you wish to use your rewards, including:

  • Gas, groceries, restaurants and other everyday purchases
  • Birthday gifts, new outfits and other special occasion purchases
  • Flights, electronics and other big-ticket purchases – the choice is yours!

The redemption process stays the same. As long as you have a minimum of $20 in cash back rewards, you can start redeeming towards any eligible purchase – whenever and wherever you want. No need to wait once a year to redeem your cash back rewards.”

Another risk is that Rogers bank does not have a long track record, and has already devalued a previous version of this credit card in the past.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Rogers plays around with the benefits of this card in the near future.

While the Rogers Mastercard is pretty strong, it gets even better if you stack the card with other free cards like the Tangerine card and the PC Financial World Elite MasterCard.  Combining these cards would likely bring your credit card cash back to over 2% per year.  Not bad for not paying any annual fees! 

Here is a handy comparison on how this card stacks up against other top contenders in Canada.

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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.

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Tom November 19, 2018, 4:24 pm

    Capital One’s Aspire card still wins – it’s 2% for all purchases. Granted, non-grandfathered cardholders pay $120/year (vs. older cardholders who get $100 annual bonus points for effective annual fee of $20), but with enough spend, it can’t be beat.

    Also – the Rogers 4% back on foreign purchases doesn’t take into account their 2.5% foreign exchange fee, making effective returns just 1.5%. Still not bad, but I stick with Brim for foreign purchases (no annual fee, no exchange surcharge).

    • FT FT November 19, 2018, 4:27 pm

      Hi Tom, the cap one cards are great, but that 2% is no longer offered. I still have my 1.5% cash back card and use it daily. Very close to pulling the trigger on this Rogers card to replace my Amazon Visa.

      I didn’t know that Brim cards are now available! Thanks for letting us know.

      • Dean November 19, 2018, 7:59 pm

        Agree on the Cap One Card – you can’t get the 2% anymore, so it does not figure into this analysis.

        Also, I just cancelled my Brim card. Their points program is a joke (at least so far) and they are being really dodgy about how their exchange rate is going to be charged. They reserve the right to post their own rates, which means they can basically charge what they want. If no rate is posted, they will use the MasterCard rate, which is what they are doing now. However, this can change tomorrow.

        Also, Tom, not sure how Brim is better for foreign exchange purchases? You at least get 1.5% back from Rogers and you get 0% back from Brim. Both cards have no fee – so 1.5% is better than 0%, in my opinion.

        • FT FT November 19, 2018, 8:18 pm

          Dean you seem well versed in Canadian credit cards, which cards are you using?

          • Dean November 20, 2018, 11:55 am

            Thanks FT – not sure I am well versed, but certainly try to keep an eye on it.

            I have been using the MBNA for all Cdn currency purchases and the Rogers card for all US$ purchases – this maximizes my cash back on all purchases. My wife and I also each hold a WestJet World Elite Mastercard. We have 3 kids and do a substantial trip every year, so this allows us to get two $99 flight vouchers for 2 of our kids, and free baggage check for all 5 of us. Even with the yearly fee, we still come out ahead and we don’t use the cards for anything else. I did apply for the Brim card when it came out, as the points program seemed interesting and I was enticed by the claim of 0% on FX purchases. But as I said above, this has not panned out and I have cancelled the card.

            I also have a HIS – Happy Savings account at Hubert Financial. I use Envelope Budgeting in Banktivity so this allows me to put aside “spent” cash into the HIS, earning 2.5% while it’s waiting to pay off the credit card.

            I know all of these are small moves, but in the end, every little bit helps. With my spending habits, I have earned over $4,000 in cash back during the previous year. This always goes toward our yearly vacation.

            When the MBNA points get devalued in February, I will be switching to the Tangerine and PC Cards. As you said in the article, with the proper stacking, I can probably get back to close to 2%. I chose not to go with the Scotia card because my analysis of my previous years spending (based on my Banktivity records) shows that I would max out a few of the categories and would earn less cash back than the other approach.

            Anyway, that’s my 2 cents (or 2%). I think the key thing to remember is everyone’s spending habits and determination of value (cash back or insurance benefits, etc) is different. I prefer net cash back and structure things to achieve the best return.

            BTW – I have no affiliation with IGG Software or Banktivity. However, if you use a Mac, this program is amazing. The envelope budgeting feature is incredible and has absolutely changed the way we manage our money. I highly recommend it.

          • FT FT November 20, 2018, 1:20 pm

            Dean, did you mean $400 instead of $4000 cash back??

          • Dean November 20, 2018, 5:00 pm

            Sorry FT – it’s not letting me reply to your last comment, so I had to reply up here. No, I meant $4000. This is based on my spending habits – I travel for business and spend a bit of time in the US every year.

            Also, remember, with the Rogers Mastercard, your cash back on US$ purchases is actually reflected as 4.5% of your purchase. You’re paying 2.5% out of pocket when you pay the credit card balance for US purchases, but your cash back rewards balance reflects 4.5%. So that $4000 is slightly inflated and would not be a “net” rewards balance.

          • FT FT November 20, 2018, 5:49 pm

            Wow, that is quite the business perk – it sounds like the perfect card for your scenario!

          • Dean November 20, 2018, 5:06 pm

            Sorry…4%, not 4.5%

  • Jeff November 19, 2018, 6:29 pm

    You don’t mention the minimum gross income requirements that are associated with the Elite card? Minimum income requirement of $80,000 annual personal income or $150,000 annual household income.

    • FT FT November 19, 2018, 7:38 pm

      Great point ! Will add to the post.

  • Ray November 19, 2018, 7:21 pm

    On my last trip to Europe I tried out the Stack MasterCard. It’s a prepaid card so you do have to preload it. But there’s no foreign transaction fee and no ATM fees so you can take out cash. I found it pretty handy

    • FT FT November 19, 2018, 7:37 pm

      Any issues with the stack card ? Would you recommend ?

      • Jigme November 20, 2018, 3:45 pm

        I recently signed up for the STACK pre-paid Mastercard, only because they give you 1 free year of Amazon Prime or Netflix. Now that I’ve actually started reading about it, this seems like maybe the best option for use on foreign vacations.

  • Future money November 19, 2018, 7:25 pm

    Nice review.
    I lucked out when i switched banks for my mortgages. I was offered Scotiabank visa infinite. I think you did a review on it last year.

    It was free, but now I pay 100/year. I got back over $500 last month (they pay out every November in cash)

    • FT FT November 19, 2018, 7:36 pm

      Are you going to keep the Scotia card ? It’s a clear winner if you have big gas and grocery expenses.

      • Future money November 19, 2018, 7:47 pm

        I have had for 4 years now, still a keeper. Also I’ll mention it’s 60k annual income required, but I used my rental income to qualify ?
        I use it for gas, groceries, but also for 99% of my spending, including property taxes, insurance, renovations for rental properties, etc.

  • Laura November 20, 2018, 1:16 pm

    Thanks for the review. I like to travel with two credit cards as a percaution. The Rogers credit card is always one of those two! My partner has the tangarine card and combined we get pretty good cash back!

    We always pay our balance in full so I am not worried about having a couple credit cards.

    • FT FT November 20, 2018, 1:21 pm

      Sounds like you two have a good credit card setup! Do you call in once a year to get a statement credit with Rogers?

  • GYM November 22, 2018, 3:07 am

    As a previous grandfathered MBNA World Elite card holder I jumped ship when I found out I would be charged an annual fee.

    I jumped ship to the Rogers World Elite. So far I’m happy. Less 0.25% cash back but not bad!

    I called in to get my statement credit (I’m not a Rogers customer either) and it was very very easy and straightforward. Took around 5 minutes. They said my statement credit would show up in January 2019.

    • FT FT November 22, 2018, 7:35 pm

      Thanks for letting us know! I may be getting the Rogers card soon for FX purchases – but may take my time as I like to spread out my credit hits.

  • Carlos November 23, 2018, 3:08 am

    I thought you can get the statement credit via the app as well, isn’t that the case? Did anyone try? :-)

  • Chris November 23, 2018, 12:44 pm

    I always love your credit card posts. Always so informative and ensures we all benefit from savings and highest point accrual/cash back. Thanks for all you do!! Happy Holidays!!

    • FT FT November 23, 2018, 2:10 pm

      Thanks for the kind feedback Chris! Happy Holidays to you and yours as well!

  • Martin November 23, 2018, 3:34 pm

    I have the Scotiabank Visa infinite. it has $99 annual fee. But Scotia bank has been offering first year fee free for a few years. The break even point on the fee between the Visa and any other 2% cash back fee free card is $4950 yearly spending on gas & grocery. I also use the Visa to buy $500 Onevanilla prepaid Master card from 7-11 store that also sell gas. All purchases from the 7-11 qualify as gas purchase. So I get 4% cash back. The fee for the Onevanilla prepaid card is $7.95 + taxes. The total fee is under $9 for a $500 card. So the net cash back after fee is more than 2%. Then I can use the Onevanilla card to spend on everything else that I normally get 1% cash back. So it is better than the 1.75% cash back from Rogers World Elite MasterCard.

  • Sheldo November 27, 2018, 7:16 pm

    If my experience is of any value, I’m currently using this card together w/ the Scotia Visa Infinite card + Scotia Gold Amex (discussed on MDJ’s Nov 26 post). This is about the best payback combination I could find at <$200 per yr in fees (credit back: 4% grocs, gas, restaurants, event tickets, liquor stores; 2% recurring, drugstores; 1.5% foreign currency; 1.75% everything else + good/great travel insurance coverage).
    Have had the Rogers card for a couple of months, no problems & the statement credit is coming in January (took a 5min customer service call; not otherwise a Rogers customer). The Rogers card takes the place of the previous MBNA Rewards card (which used to be awesome) which I cancelled this month due to increased fees & devalued payout (to 1.67% from 2%).

    • Sheldo November 27, 2018, 7:25 pm

      Interesting add: just as I finished posting this, I received a customer email from Rogers Bank indicating that the redemption flexibility for receiving cash back rewards is soon being improved as an “exciting change to the program”. Stay tuned–I guess?

  • Dean November 27, 2018, 7:22 pm

    Rogers just changed their policy so that starting February 2019, you can use your rewards to pay for any purchase. I imagine this will make the card attractive to more users.

    Here is the snippet from the information email they sent me:

    “Starting February 2019, if you make a purchase using your Rogers BankTM Mastercard® anywhere Mastercard is accepted, you can use your cash back rewards to pay yourself back for your purchase.

    Your rewards. Your way. On your terms.

    The options are endless! Mastercard is accepted at over 44 million locations worldwide, so it’s your choice how you wish to use your rewards, including:

    Gas, groceries, restaurants and other everyday purchases
    Birthday gifts, new outfits and other special occasion purchases
    Flights, electronics and other big-ticket purchases – the choice is yours!
    The redemption process stays the same. As long as you have a minimum of $20 in cash back rewards, you can start redeeming towards any eligible purchase – whenever and wherever you want. No need to wait once a year to redeem your cash back rewards.”

    • FT FT November 28, 2018, 9:31 am

      Thanks for the update Dean! This is big news considering that redeeming the cash back was the biggest drawback. I wonder if someone at Rogers is reading MDJ… :)

  • Cris November 28, 2018, 7:56 pm

    Great review. I have the card and as is now it is the BEST option on the market!
    Come on guys, you have 10 cards, one for each store, one for each type of purchase (groceries, restaurants, gas…), cash and points rewards, limit of spending, membership fees… you need a secretary all the time you go shopping!!!
    Just to add to the review… you can have a free card for your wife and your kids and having the same perks.
    My daughter is going abroad for 6 months and is perfect for her travel. You have to buy anything in the USA dollars you will get 1.5% back… I love it.
    Just keep in mind 1.75% for all purchases, no limit, insurance, no fee and multiple cards.
    I have a Capital One which give me 1.5% but now I use it only for Costco.
    I have one from MBNA which let me transfer money with 0% or 1% for one year.
    Simple and efficient.
    Take care!

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