Fixed Value Rewards Cards
With “Fixed Value” Cards the value of your reward can be easily calculated, but often requires some stipulation such as having a travel purchase to redeem rewards against. This limits the ability to extract extreme value from these programs and also is difficult enough for lazy people to not redeem. As a result, these programs are likely to stick around for a while. In this category, we have the Scotia Amex Gold card well ahead of the competition, then a few cards that are pretty much neck and neck as 2% return cards. The top 5 get rounded out with the TD First Class Infinite Visa, which can be a competitive card if you bank with TD and you can get your annual fee waived.
The Top 5 Fixed Value Rewards Credit Cards in Canada are:
Top 5 Fixed Value Rewards Credit Cards
|1. Scotiabank®* Gold American Express®
-4% back towards travel on gas, grocery, restaurant and entertainment
-1% cash back everywhere else
-15,000 bonus points with your first $1000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months
-$99 annual fee
|2. RBC Avion Visa Infinite|
|3. BMO World Elite|
|4. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite|
|5. TD First Class Visa Infinite|
Cash Back Cards vs Fixed Value Rewards Cards
Something to think about is that the Fixed Value Rewards cards are very similar to the Cash Back credit cards. Since the value of the points is fixed at a certain dollar value, you always know exactly what the points are worth. Sometimes, the rewards come back in the form of a statement credit, which makes it feel very similar to “cash back”. Sometimes “cash back” cards will accrue points that will need to be turned into a statement credit through some request by the cardholder. As a result, I have decided to put together some restrictions.
A cash back card has the following requirements:
- You don’t need a specific purchase to release your rewards
- $50 or more in rewards can be redeemed for the best rate
Examples of Fixed Value Rewards cards:
- The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® card requires a travel purchase to release the rewards
- The MBNA World Elite points can be redeemed against a minimum $100 travel purchase at the best rate but can be redeemed for $250 statement credit at the best rate
Examples of Cash Back cards:
- The American Express Costco card accrues points until the end of the year when all rewards are paid out in the form of a cheque
- The Amazon.ca card accrues points for each purchase. When $20 of rewards are accrued (2000 points) a statement credit is automatically issued
1. Scotiabank®* Gold American Express®
My Card Review
|Rewards:||4 pts / dollar on gas, grocery, restaurant & entertainment 1 pt / dollar on everything else|
|Sign-up Bonus:||15,000 bonus points ($150) with your first $1000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months|
|Point Value:||1 pt = $0.01 towards travel (no restrictions)|
This is far and away the best credit card in Canada for a very large percent of people. You have the freedom to redeem your rewards for a credit any travel that you book independent of their program. You get a great return of 4% on gas, grocery and restaurant purchases. The insurance and benefits are great and the annual fee is lower than most cards in this category. The signup bonus of $150 (15,000 points) with your first $1000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months makes this an easy choice as a card to apply for.
2. RBC Avion Visa Infinite
RBC Avion Visa Infinite
|Rewards:||1 RBC Avion Points / dollar spent, 1.25 RBC Avion Points / dollar spent on Travel|
|Sign-up Bonus:||15,000 RBC Avion Points|
|Point Value:||1 pt = $0.017 towards travel|
Previously one of the better cards available to Canadians. Normally, you could convert at a 1:1 ratio with a minimum of 5,000 RBC Rewards points to American Airlines. It now has dropped to a 10:7 ratio, which is a 30% decrease. On the bright side you can transfer points from this card to other programs such as WestJet (mediocre value), British Airways Avios at 1:1 (occasionally 1:1.25 during bonus periods) and Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles at 1:1. Points can also be redeemed directly through rbc for it’s own travel booking system at a rate of 1 to 1.5 cents per point which is not the best but could be acceptable on certain occasions and this is why it qualifies here as a “fixed point” card at #3.
3. BMO World Elite
Application Link |My BMO World Elite Mastercard review
BMO World Elite
|Rewards:||2 pt / dollar on everything else|
|Sign-up Bonus:||35,000 pts ($250) & First year free|
|Point Value:||1 pt = $0.007 towards travel through BMO Travel|
This is another great card as a primary spender on non-category spend. This one also gets you 2 BMO points per dollar spent, which can be used towards travel booked through BMO’s travel agency. As long as you are willing to book through the BMO travel, which should have the same prices as Travelocity, you will earn 2% of your purchases back in rewards. This card is great on the travel insurance and benefits including 4 airport lounge passes every year. The annual fee is high at $150, but if you value the lounge passes, this easily pays for itself. In the first year, you get your fee waived and $300 of points after your first purchase.
4. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite
|Rewards:||2 pt / dollar on groceries, dining, entertainment, and daily transit, 1 pt / dollar on everything else|
|Sign-up Bonus:||25,000 pts with first $1000 purchase in the first 3 months|
|Point Value:||1 pt = $0.01 towards travel (no restrictions)|
One of the highlights of this card is that there are no foreign FX fees on your purchases. The Scotia Rewards points program allows you redeem points on travel at a fixed rate of 5,000 points = $50 or 1 cent per point. This is essentially 1% return on your credit card spend so unless you’re taking advantage of the bonus categories this card would not be anywhere near our first choice. They also allow you to convert points to statement credit at a rate between 0.67 and 0.80 per point, a bad value in comparison to redemption for travel.
Another important highlight of the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is the complimentary Priority Pass™ membership, which includes 6 free visits per year from the date of enrolment.
5. TD First Class Visa Infinite
Application Link | My TD First Class Infinite review
TD First Class Visa Infinite
|Rewards:||3 pts / dollar on everything|
|Sign-up Bonus:||20,000 pts ($100)|
|Point Value:||1 pt = $0.005 towards travel (within various restrictive tiers)|
I have very mixed feelings about this card. This card has all of the insurance offerings and benefits of the higher tier cards mentioned above. The returns are lower than the above cards at 1.5% towards travel as a statement credit. The card comes with $100 worth of travel as a sign-up bonus. The reason that this card gets mixed reviews from me is that the annual fee is $120 and the benefits simply don’t warrant that, given the other cards out there. If you have an all-inclusive banking package with TD, then your $120 annual fee will be waived. Most people who are applying for the cards in this category should likely be able to fulfill the requirements of the all-inclusive banking package. If you are thinking of getting this card, I strongly suggest also setting up an all-inclusive banking package with TD and get your annual fee waived.
One benefit that you do get with this card is that flights booked through TD travel and charged to this card will earn you an extra 3% return (3% + 1.5% regular purchases = 4.5% return total). This would lock you into purchasing your airfare from TD travel, which is run by Expedia. This may sway this card to be the best one for you. Personally, I see this as a nice perk, rather than a real differentiation. As I mention in my travel basics section, there are ways to reduce your travel costs by using the right booking engine. The TD First Class travel bonus conveniently gives you the booking engine credit I allude to, and likely gives you a bit more than you could otherwise get. If travel is a major part of your budget, and TD travel is not more expensive than the price you could get elsewhere, then this perk is going to be valuable to you.
19 comments on “Best 5 Fixed Value Points & Rewards Credit Cards in Canada Compared”
Your price point on the First Class card is wrong…it’s $120. Also, why is 1.5% not good? Your Amex review says the return on that card is 1% and you list it as the best. Also, what are the restrictive tiers that you’ve listed about the points? I get 4.5% back when I spend on TD Expedia…that’s pretty good in my books for something I spend alot on each year. You information seems inconsistent and incomplete…as a consumer, this doesn’t give me confidence I’m getting good advice from your site. Thanks.
1.5% is not a bad return at all. Especially if you are paying no annual fee since you bank at TD.
If you do not bank at TD, then you are paying the annual fee ($120 as you mentioned). If you are interested in getting straight fixed return, then you should go with the MBNA World Elite which offers 2% (with annual fee of $89) or the BMO World Elite which offers 2% (annual fee of $150). Both the MBNA and BMO World Elite are going to give you a better return on all your spending than the TD First Class card.
Now, what will put the TD First Class above the others is 2 situations:
First, if you spend a lot of money on travel, through TD Expedia only. Then you will be getting an extra 3% back from your travel purchases. This locks you into their booking agent, and although my experience has been that TD Expedia is quite good, it still requires you to use their engine.
Second, if you are banking with TD, and you get your annual fee waived, then teh TD First Class will be more valuable to you. In this situation, (as compared to the MBNA World Elite), you would be getting your extra 2.5% on purchases at TD Expedia (vs the 2% from MBNA), saving $89 annual fee (that you would otherwise pay to MBNA) but you are giving up .5% on all your purchases (taking 1.5% First Class instead of the 2% from MBNA). You would have to run the numbers on that one to see if it makes sense.
BTW, the 1.5% from TD First Class is not a BAD return. It is simply not the best return that you can get for all your spending. Personally, I would take the 2% unrestricted cash from MBNA, instead of 1.5% towards travel from TD First Class, but that is what works for me. For you, the benefits of the TD might outweigh the benefits of the MBNA. THat is great and why we have different products.
I just read it over and fixed it. I found the typo. Sorry.
Hello, I’m wondering if you’ve done any detailed comparison of the insurance coverage and benefits of the BMO World Elite Mastercard vs. TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite vs. the new Capital One Costco Mastercard? If you haven’t, any suggestions where I may find this? Thank you.
I haven’t done an analysis comparing the insurance benefits, but that is a great idea. I will definitely put it on my list of things to write about.
Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone else who would do that kind of analysis and havent really seen it anywhere. RewardsCanada.ca would be the best bet, but I dont think I have seen something like that over there. Thanks.
I would also like to see the comparison with Costco capital one credit card. Please look into it and add it to your lists.
Just received a convoluted update on redemption “flexibility” (?!?) from TD First Class. They basically devalued their redemption points from $50 for every 10,000 points to $40 for every 10,000 points. Extremely disappointed as I had done a ton of research due to our disappointment with Aeroplan redemption on their TD Aeroplan card.
With this devaluation – now I have to research and move our family spend to another card. Even worse – haven’t even received my 2nd bonus points for signing up for the card – 20,000 points. Apparently I won’t receive them until Sept – which is 2 weeks past their change date.
Looks like we will be cxl this card too after the 1 year mark (annual fee was waived for the 1st yr).
For BMO World Elite Mastercard for travel, the first year fee is NOT WAIVED. I signed up for it in Aug or Sept 2015 and they charged $150 on the first bill. They refuse to remove it because they say they have not had this promotion in the past two years. I can find a few secondary websites claiming their first year fee is waived, but nothing direct from BMO. Is there any evidence they have offered this promotion in 2015? So far, not pleased.
I know for a fact that it has been waived in 2015, since my wife applied for this and had this fee waived. That was in April.
Unfortunately, I cant find a current shot of this with the fee waived. I am very surprised they are being so stingy about that fee waiver in first year which is a well known promotion. If they are telling you that there has been no promotion in 2015, then definitely call them out on that. Unfortunately, I only have my own experience and nothing public to show you.
Very interesting article. Thank-you for the detailed rundown of these cards. As a current TD banker with the All-Inclusive plan already, would you then say that the TD First Class is worth it? You said in the comments that you have used the Expedia with TD service, are all of the flights there available that would be on Expedia.ca on a normal flight search? 4.5% would be great!
Also, does the 1.5% back include all purchases made in Canada AND abroad?
I always compare ExpediaForTD and Expedia.ca before ordering and they seem always to be the same. Never saw any price discrepancy.
In many cases, it is the same. Multiple comments on this site claim that they have noticed discrepancies, though I have never personally experienced it.
I alluded to the fact that you can get referral credits by linking through another site if you go to Expedia.ca. If you use TD for Travel then you cant get that credit. It is minor but may sway some folks.
How do you compare BMO Elite card with CapOne Aspire Elite card? Both have $150 in annual fees.
I think they are fairly similar. Excluding singup bonuses, I thnk the Capital One has a slight edge in that you can book travel as you wish and then get it reimbursed later on with your points. You can even earn the points after the booking if you are short. They even let you redeem your points against a travel charge twice if you knwo how to do it.
The BMO gives you money that you can only use at their booking engine. So if you find a great deal on a flight that BMO travel agency doesnt have the sale on, then you cant use the points for it. While Capital One allows you to.
In terms of annual fees, they are the same but BMO has a new plan that if you bank with them, then you can get hte fee waived. So you can see the BMO annual fee as $150 OR bank with BMO. The Capital ONe is a set $150.
I still say MBNA WOrld Elite is actually better than either as it has a lower fee and the rewards can come out as cash straight with no restrictions.
One point to note with the TD Infinite that was left out is that “TD Expedia” will price match. All you have to do is call them when you are about to book and they will book it for you at the cheaper price you found elsewhere and still make sure you get the 9 points per dollar (4.5%). Additionally, and my personal fave, is using TD Expedia to book and then going to another travel site where it is cheaper and submitting a “Price Protection Guarantee” claim. This means that you were still able to to book through TD and get your 4.5%, as well as get the cheapest price (they credit you the difference once you take the trip) AND you get a $50 travel voucher for your troubles. I helped my parents find a cheaper flight and hotel elsewhere recently which helped them save $ on the difference in price and get a $100 future trip voucher!!
Great. This is great to know and if you can get it approved that is amazing!
Hi I bank with Capital One and they don’t do rewards by tier anymore. You just get 1 cent for every point and I have redeemed very small amounts with no difference noticed versus redeeming large amounts. By the way, you can redeem for taxi rides as well as plane tickets..
Have you made a comparison between the TD First Class Travel card and the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card? I’ve got the TD First Class Travel card with an all inclusive account, but was wondering if the Aeroplan card is worth more. Which one would you suggest? You opinion will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
TD Aeroplan if you can get good value from your Aeroplan points. Otherwise the TD First Class is better. I think most people would benefit from cash / cash eque programs over travel points (like aeroplan) but to each their own.
Here is a discussion of ti.