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 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.
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8 years ago

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?

Doug Hilderley
9 years ago

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.

10 years ago

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!

12 years ago

(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?

The Biz of Life
12 years ago

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.

12 years ago

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.

Zeno of Elea
12 years ago

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.

What’s your favourite credit card? | Ellen Roseman
13 years ago

[…] also found a useful discussion at Million Dollar Journey of cashback credit cards and reward credit cards with no fee. His favourite is the MBNA Starwood Preferred Guest credit card, described […]

Michael Wood
13 years ago

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, they charge way more points per dollar value of the kit being claimed.