This is a guest post by Elbyron – A credit card rewards fanatic.  I was in the process of writing about this new offering by Capital One when Elbyron contacted me with a detailed post on his thoughts.  Although this card has an annual fee, it’s perhaps the only card in the market that I’m considering paying for and this is why…

Earlier this month, Capital One launched a new MasterCard that has generated a lot of media buzz as it’s a real contender for being the #1 travel reward credit card –The Aspire Travel World MasterCard .

The Aspire Travel World card is very similar to phased out Capital One’s Miles Plus card, as they both earn 2 reward miles for every $1, which works out to a 2% return in most cases. These miles can be redeemed for any flights, hotels, vacations, car rentals, or travel of any kind that you charge to your card (much like the TD Infinite card). You can also redeem for cash, in the form of a cheque or statement credit, which will get you a 1.5% return.

The Rewards

  • Earn more reward miles – on everything you buy!
  • Earn 2 reward miles for every $1 – on all purchases
  • Get 35,000 bonus reward miles with your first purchase
  • Get 10,000 anniversary bonus reward miles every year
  • Redeem for travel, cash, merchandise and gift cards
  • World MasterCard benefits, including Travel Emergency Medical Insurance and Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • Add an authorized user for $0

Please Note: A requirement of this card is a minimum personal income of $60,000 or household income of $100,000.

  • $120 $150 annual fee.

Best in Class Insurance Coverage

The Aspire Travel World MasterCard offers the most comprehensive insurance coverage in the premium credit card market.  In addition to the usual Travel Accident Insurance ($500K) and car rental insurance, this card also offers insurance for:

  • Travel Emergency Medical: For trips up to 22 days if younger than 65, or 8 days if over 65.
  • Flight Delay: Flight delay is $250 per day up to $1000 per trip (includes you, your spouse and your dependent children).
  • Trip Interruption: Trip interruption is max $25,000 per trip (includes you, your spouse and your dependent children).
  • Trip Cancellation: Trip cancellation is max of $5,000 per trip (includes you, your spouse and your dependent children).
  • Baggage Loss: $1000/trip.
  • Baggage Delay: Baggage delay only up to 3 days (includes you, your spouse and your dependent children).
  • Price Protection:  Refunds up to $100/item if a lower price is found in 60 days. Max $500/year.
  • Extended Warranty:  Doubles manufacturer’s warranty for up to TWO additional years (typically 1 year with other cards).
  • Purchase Assurance:  Insures most purchases against theft, loss or damage for 120 days (typically 90 days with other cards).

Redemption System

Any flights, hotels, car rentals, train, bus, cruises, or vacation packages that you charge to the card can qualify for redemption. All taxes and fees on the travel charge are also eligible. Miles must be redeemed within 90 days of the charge, and you can do so online or over the phone.

You can book your travel with any website or travel agency, and with no seat restrictions or blackouts. The “No Hassle Rewards” do have one hassle though, and that is the redemption tiers:

  • Travel charges up to $150 require 15,000 miles
  • Between $151 and $350 require 35,000 miles
  • Between $350 and $600 require 60,000 miles
  • Over $600 is simply 100 points per dollar

These tiers may seem like a real drawback, but there is a simple workaround to ensure you always get 2% return: when charging the travel to your card, split the total cost into two charges, making one of them exactly $150 or $350.

Or if you have over 60,000 points but not enough for the full travel cost, then split it so that one of them equals 1/100 of the number of points you have. Most airlines and hotels will let you use multiple credit cards to pay with, so simply request this and give them the same card number for both parts.

The policies for the various trip insurances state that in order for the trip to qualify, the “full cost of the common carrier travel must be charged to your Capital One card”. But as long as both charges are put on your card, you should technically meet this requirement. However, I am currently trying to get confirmation from MasterCard about this.

There is also an option in the redemption process that lets you specify the “number of tickets in the transaction” and “number of tickets you want reimbursed”. What this does is divides the transaction price by the first number and multiplies by the second one, giving you the choice of any ratios with the denominator between 1 and 10.

For example, if my flight costs $450, I could say there are 9 tickets in my transaction and I want to redeem for 7 of them. So 450 * 7/9 = 350, which is what I want to be able to get the full 2% reward. It may not always work out perfectly, and calculating the optimal ratio requires some math skills, but it certainly helps.

 

Cash and Other Rewards

As an alternative to redeeming for travel, you can redeem for cash at a 1.5% return, with a minimum of 10,000 miles ($75) and in increments of 3,333 miles ($25). You can also redeem for gift cards, but the best one only gives you 1.4% return so the cash is still better. They also offer a tiny merchandise catalog, but the return is terrible, at approximately 0.5%.

Eligibility

The Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard requires a household income of $60k, and with a interest rate of 19.8% (as of June 15), this card is definitely not for those who carry a balance!  As well, if you have two Capital One cards, or have applied for a Capital One account within the last 45 days, you will not be approved.

For those who don’t meet the income requirement, and don’t want to pay the annual fee, there is also the Aspire Travel Platinum MasterCard. The Platinum version only earns 1 mile per $1, 5,000 point start-up bonus, and 1,000 point anniversary bonus. It has no annual fee, but lacks most of the higher end travel insurance benefits.  However, it does still offer travel accident, car rental, baggage delay, price protection, purchase assurance, and extended warranty.

How Does Aspire Compare to Other Travel Cards?

The closest competitor is the TD Infinite, which offers a similar hassle-free rewards program but without the redemption tiers, and has very similar benefits, except medical is only for up to 8 days. It only has a 1.5% return, but travel booked with their travel agency earns 4.5%. This means that if more than 16.7% of your credit card purchases are for travel through TD, you can get better than a 2% return. There is no option to redeem for cash though. The TD Infinite costs $120/year but if you have Select Service (keep $5000 in your account) you can have this waived.

It is difficult to compare with any other travel cards, because they have redemption systems based on the distance you fly. With these cards, the value of your miles varies widely due to the huge differences in ticket prices between different times of year or the size of the city you fly to/from.

Collecting Aeroplan or Air Miles may also result in redemption hassles, such as limited seat availability or blackout dates. RBC’s Avion card avoids those problems, but restricts you to using their travel agency. For those who are willing to put up with the hassles, and who frequently fly on dates or between locations that are more expensive, these cards can really pay off, with returns of 4% or more.

Most of the insurance coverage on Capital One cards are underwritten by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, and this same company is used by TD and RBC too.

Editors note: Here is an updated post on the top cash back credit cards and the top rewards credit cards, all cards listed have no annual fees.

Conclusions

The combination of 2% return, hassle-free rewards (well almost), option of 1.5% cash back return, and extensive insurance benefits makes the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard one of the best travel reward cards ever. And with the 35,000 miles sign-up bonus, they are effectively giving you a $200 bribe (after annual fee) to take this card.

For those of you who are also travel rewards enthusiasts, how does this new card stack up against your favorite program?

Update Feb 2015

Unfortunately, this card has been grandfathered, and replaced with their new World Elite card.  Basically the same card with higher annual fee ($150) and without the 10,000 ($100) annual bonus.

The bright side is that there is still a $75 cash back rebate offered here.

 

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I personally feel it’s hard to be the Aerogold Infinite card. The Hassle-Free cards do give you a better points earning power so that you can get more points faster but you have to consider the other side of the equation.

Nothing beats Aeroplan for points redemption because of two things. Flight Zones and stopovers. While the other cards offer a points for dollar exchange with the Aeroplan you can do some pretty amazing things.

Ex: I live on the east of Canada and for 80,000 points I can fly to Sydney Australia (as a stop over of several days) then fly to Hong Kong and back to Halifax. If you were “paying with points” that would be huge, but it’s a flat rate with Aeroplan.

Hassle yes. But if you have the time, totally worth it.

I currently have a Capital One Platinum No Hassle Rewards card. I have to say redeeming my points truly has been no hassle. I have only redeemed them once for booking a hotel stay. I clicked on redeem for rewards –> it gave me a list of possible purchases I had made that could be redeemed –> I selected the hotel bill and it was paid off the card.

Any body know if 2 people have separate cards/accounts if they can pool their points? I would like to have my wife get this card.
I have tried different reward cards in the past, but this one is super easy.

I carry around a CIBC dividend card VISA and the Capital One M/C.

I am completely clueless on travel reward cards. Can you buy a ticket, hotel room or vacation package on expedia or travelocity and still use the reward points on a card like this one?

PawDoc, you can simply call Capital One and get a second card issued on your account for your wife to carry. If you want separate accounts, you can still transfer points between the accounts, though two accounts means two annual fees. Simply log in to the rewards center, click on the “Transfer Rewards” tab, and fill out the account number and name of the person you want to transfer to.

steve_jay, the answer is yes. Absolutely anything classified as travel is eligible for redeeming points. I’ve booked a hotel with Expedia.ca and can confirm that they consider this to be travel. I haven’t tried travelocity, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t qualify.

Have been using the MBNA Smart Cash for quite a while but just applied for this new Rewards card. Thanks!

how do you compare with the 2% american express gold card — I know it’s no longer offered but quite a few people have it . thanks.

I could get a second card for my wife, but I use my card for business purchases only. I would like to have one of these for her personal purchases and have her redeem all of the biz reward points. My fear is otherwise CRA would view this as a taxable benefit with the rewards.

I have had the CIBC Dividend platinum for years. the dividend rewards are pretty good – we get back about $800 / yr – don’t know how much we spend, but it’s insane maybe $50k/yr.
BUT, it’s not really “fun”, and I’m cheap when it comes to travel so wondering about switching just to force me to spend a bit on travel or other things.
When I’ve done the math in the past it just didn’t seem to add up though by how many points you get and what they are worth. Can anyone tell me if they’ve had the dividend and switched to points?

Even if you redeem all the points on a personal-use card, it is still a taxable benefit, isn’t it?

@ Elbyron, my understanding is that if the card is used for personal use, then the rewards are not taxable. However, an accountant should be consulted for the official word.

I thought that I read that points must be redeemed within 90 days of charge, does this mean I can’t stockpile the points?

chuck, your dividend platinum card only gives you 2% return once you’ve spent $35k on the card, and it gives you 0% (nothing) once you’ve spent 50k. Thus, if I did the math correctly, the highest you can possibly earn in a year is $656 cashback (after deducting the $79 fee). For someone who only spends 30k, this card would only pay you back $281 after fee. Furthermore, the only non-typical travel insurance is a 15-day medical coverage.
If you switched to the Aspire card, you could get $980 (after fees) per year on 50k of spending, (30k gets you $580) and there is no limit on how much you can earn. But in order to claim this cashback, you have to travel and charge it to the card. And when you do travel, you’ll have much better insurance coverages, as listed in my review. About 1.5 years ago, I switched from CIBC’s crappy no-fee dividend Visa to the Capital One Miles Plus Platinum Mastercard, and have not regretted it! I still carry the old Visa as a backup though, since it’s free.

colin49, you can stockpile unlimited miles for as long as you like. They never expire. The 90-day thing is that you can only redeem the points on a travel charge that was put on your card in the last 90 days.

Elbyron, really? didn’t know there was some limit over $35k!
What I’ve always been confused about is whether I would actually get better value from travel redemption than cash back? Would seem that it would be better to have $500 cash over a $500 credit towards travel. Or is my comparison wrong?

I agree that $500 cash is better than $500 that can only be redeemed for travel. But the comparison here is $656 in cash vs $980 worth of travel. In that case, which do you think is better? I chose the latter.

if that’s the case then I think I’m sold. that plus it gets me to start thinking about vacations rather than just seeing a small amount deducted once a year from my monthly bill. thanks for your help

Great review! Any information on how they determine which purchases qualify as “travel”? You mention in the opening that the reward miles can be redeemed for car rental, does this have to be associated with an airline ticket purchase? Can I rent a car locally and pay for it with reward miles?

I attempted to find this information online but couldn’t find any specifics.

SavingMentor, if your flights are always so expensive, then you’ll probably have plenty of them costing more than $600 after taxes & fees, right? In that case, you’ll never have to worry about tiers, as they disappear after $600 and the redemption becomes 100 points for each dollar of credit.

Kevin, I’ve always wondered that myself, but I haven’t been able to find any specific criteria for determining what is considered “travel”. I’ve never tried renting a car locally (and probably never will), but I did stay at a local hotel on my wedding night and it was eligible for redemption.

Just to clarify:
I have never been on any big trips or vacations where I needed to purchase travel insurance. I know that when I do plan one soon, I should purchase insurance for the entire trip correct? And that can cost hundreds $$.

How can I check what insurance or coverage my current credit cards cover?

I also am not really interested due to the fact this card gives points on dollars spent. Whenever I fly or stay in hotels, I ALWAYS find super cheap deals. This has made me stick with mastercards that offer airmiles for every few dollars spent.

What is the best card to use to get points/mile travelled?

Yes I lack much knowledge when it comes to this catagory. And since I am always eager and willing to learn anything about money and finances, I think this is important.

Future Money Bags: I have been looking into Trip Insurance myself. I found buying trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance to be complicated due the huge number of exception clauses on the contracts. I would just use one from your credit card, but one should not be surprised if some of the claims are denied.

On the other hand, travel medical insurance is pretty important and one must get it regardless of the situation. It is unlikely that one’s claim will be rejected like an emergency visit to the hospital. I found there were two competitive options for a single trip:

1) Kanetix.ca: offers the cheapest travel insurance I could find with a 2 million dollar coverage
2) Travel Cut travel agency: offers a 1 million dollar coverage that includes emergency medical services due to outdoor adventures

Other options are more expensive due to high coverage limits like 10 to unlimited coverage. I find such high coverage limits are unnecessary in a single trip.

I have been using the ScotiaGold Passport VISA card from Scotia Bank. It’s also points based but I only get 1 point per dollar spent. Redeeming has been really easy as well. No blackouts. They pretty much have a mini-travel agency. Anything you book through them using your credit card gives you an automatic discount.

I will have a look at the MasterCard since it would appear that I could accumulate points at twice the speed. With ScotiaGold, the 50,000 points is 500$ (last time I used it anyways). Looks like the same applies to the Capital One but you get 2 points per dollar.

100 points for $1 of credit seems quite expensive – no?

That means that it would cost you $30,000 of spending for a domestic flight while something like Aeroplan would cost you only $24,000 worth of spending. I suppose though an advantage over an Aeroplan like program is that trips to Europe would offer greater value for your points – as those tickets cost 60,000 with Aeroplan while you can purchase such tickets for nearly the same price as a Canadian domestic flight.

I’ve got the MBNA Platinum Plus Travel Rewards. $1 per point with a similar point system to Aeroplan. No blackouts. 2500 points on your anniversary. The fee is normally $89/year, but they waived it for me since I’ve been with them for nearly a decade.

I haven’t been able to find out any details on the MBNA Travel Rewards card’s redeption system, but it seems like you can get close to 2% return. However, like the Avion card, you are restricted to using their travel agency to book your free travel. That means no hotwire or priceline, and so even if you get a $600 rebate from $30,000 of spending, perhaps that ticket could have been purchased for $500 elsewhere. Also, there is no travel medical insurance, no baggage insurance, and limited trip interruption insurance. No price protection either, but that’s a rare benefit: currently only available on Capital One and Citibank cards.
Overall, there’s nothing about the MBNA Travel Rewards card that beats the Aspire card, even with the MBNA fee waived, since most people would argue that the medical insurance alone is worth the $120/year.

Scotia’s card are hardly even worth comparing. Though it has good insurance coverage (almost as good as Aspire), it only earns 1% return and their travel agency is too expensive.

Does anybody know if they charge extra for a second card?

@ Pete, there is no charge for supplementary cards.

From what I understand, the best two options for a travel reward card are the Aspire World MasterCard from Capital One and the TD First Class MasterCard.

Any thoughts on which has better value?
Thanks

I thought it was pretty clear in the section “How Does Aspire Compare to Other Travel Cards?” that the TD First Class Infinite Visa was a close competitor, but as it only offers 1.5% on most purchases, it gets trumped by Aspire. The only way Infinite beats Aspire is when more than 16.7% of your credit card spending is for travel booked through the TD travel agency. And since TD doesn’t give you points on your free travel (believe it or not, Capital One does), you actually have to have more than 18.7% of your annual expenditures to be for travel, in order to beat Aspire.

Elbyron, you certainly know a lot about this card! Have you received yours yet?

Most of what I know comes from having the Miles Plus Platinum card, plus a fair bit of research. I haven’t applied for the Aspire card yet, because they currently cannot upgrade my existing one. They told me I can still apply for the Aspire, but I would not get any credit for the annual fees that I have already paid on my current card. So, rather than paying fees on two cards, I’ll wait until my current card is up for renewal before I apply. Or, maybe they’ll fix their system and get the upgrades working before then! I am a bit worried that by going with an upgrade I won’t get the 35,000 bonus miles, and that once an upgrade process is in place I won’t be able to apply as a new customer anymore to get that bonus!

I have an Amex SPG card (free for the first year), an MBNA Travel Rewards Elite (from my previous MBNA SPG MC), and an RBC Visa Gold No Fee card. How does the MBNA and Amex compare to the Aspire?

I gave a comparison of the MBNA Travel card in comment #24 above. Basically it lacks insurance coverages and forces you to use their travel agency.

The SPG card cannot be compared directly because its points are usually converted to Aeroplan or other airline miles, and redeemed for flights based on distance, not cost. If you usually fly out of a small town or from the East coast, or if you fly during peak times then the costs can climb very high while the # of Aeroplan miles remains the same. First class flights usually have high value for the miles too. So if you are among the minority who can benefit from using airline miles (and are willing to put up with the hassles of such programs), then the SPG card is better for you than Aspire. It also has the nice bonus of a free weeknight stay at any Starwood hotel once you reach 40k spending, and you can get good value for your points by redeeming for Starwood hotel upgrades.

I think most people fly economy and can get pretty good deals on their flights and hotels, especially if you use priceline. For these people, the Aeroplan miles don’t have as much value and thus the return from the SPG card would be less than 2%. And I personally don’t care much about the Starwood benefits, as I’ve never stayed at one (even though I’ve travelled to the U.S. many times) and I probably never will.

A quick question about the tiers: I chatted online with a C1 rep (“Stan”) and asked him how many points a flight at $250 would be – would it require 35 000 pts? His reply: No, it would require 25 000, with the other 10 000 being credited back to my account. Have I misunderstood something here? It seems to contradict what was said above.
Thanks,
Steve

Steve, that definitely contradicts the redemtion tier system that is clearly outlined on their website. I seriously doubt that you would get 10,000 credited back. My experience with the reps who handle “new sales” leads me to believe that they have not been very well informed about the products they are selling. Not once have they been able to answer one of my questions without putting me on hold and consulting with a supervisor or some kind of documentation. Fortunately, the customer service (for existing cardholders) is much better.

Yes, I called this morning and the person I spoke to confirmed that the tiers are in effect. But while I’m at it, here are two other questions: (1) I will usually be buying several flights (usually 4) at a time, so the total cost will almost always be over $600 (the top tier). Does this mean that, in effect, I will never have to bother with that tier structure? And (2), do you know how competitive the TD travel agency is? 9x for points seems to be a pretty good deal (except, there is the pesky issue of the annual fee – see below). Here’s how I have worked it out as far as a quick comparison of the TD and Cap 1 cards go assuming annual spending of $30 000:

Capital One

• $1 spent = 2 points
• Putting $30 000 on the card gets you 60 000 pts = $600 for travel (not including sign up bonus in first year, or the $20 fee in subsequent years, which makes it $580)

TD First Class Travel Infinite Visa

• $1 spent = 3 pts
• 20 000 pts = $100 for travel
• Putting $30 000 on the card gets you 90 000 pts = $450 for travel. But, if you buy your tickets with the TD travel agency (not required), you get 9 pts for every $1 spent. So, if you spend $4000 on travel out of the $30 000, that comes to 126 000 pts in total = $630 for travel (so, at first slightly better than Cap One, except that there is the $120 annual fee, which knocks it down to $510)

Does this look about right to you?

Thanks again.

@steve – this is Laurel from Capital One. First, I want to apologize for the misinformation that you received from our call centre. I can confirm for you that you would need all 35,000 reward miles to redeem a ticket costing $250.

Elbyron,

good review. you have mentioned that the renewal bonus of 10000 points can be used up as 100$ towards annual fee. but 10000 points can be redeemed as only 75$. is annual fee treated different compared to cash back? how sure are you about this?

I personally haven’t used the TD Travel Agency, but I’ve heard from others who have said that they can offer you any flight that you are able to find on Expedia or Kayak or an airline’s website. So they’re pretty flexible and can probably get you good value most of the time. You can’t use priceline via TD though, and it could potentially save you a fair bit on hotels (not so much for flights).

I like your example, it makes the differences very obvious. The way the math works out, you have to spend over 23.4% of your total credit card expenses on travel with TD’s agency in order for it to beat the return of the Aspire card (with annual fees factored in). Actually, you need to have 25% of your expenses as travel when you include the free travel (the higher % is because you don’t get points on the free portion). Let’s say I spend $4000 each year on a vacation via TD and $26,000 on other stuff. After the first year I would have 126,000 points which I can use to reduce the price of the vacation to $3370. But now I only earn 3370*9 + 26000*3 = 108330 points, giving me only a $542 credit the next year (less $120 for the annual fee makes it only $422).

With Capital One, you get points when you buy the travel, and you redeem for a credit later on. Unlike TD, you get to earn points on the free travel (the redemption amount). In the example above, I would get a $700 travel credit (counting the 10K annual bonus), for a net of $580, every single year!

True, the redemption tiers do add some restrictions, but so does having to book everything through the TD travel agency. Everyone can have their own opinion on which is worse, but you can’t dispute the math: Aspire pays back more dough unless you spend more than a quarter of your annual expenses on travelling!

Rookie, this is not a cash-back card. It does have the convenient benefit of giving you a 1.5% return in cash if you should want that, but really this is a travel card and most people are going to use it to redeem for travel. Those interested in cashback should look at Capital One’s other cards (you can get a “up to 2%” card whose earning tiers are better than most competing cards).

Of course, 10000 miles by themselves isn’t enough to redeem on travel, but consider the example in my comment above. Spending $30,000 plus the bonus gets you a total of 70,000 points, worth $700. Minus the $120 fee, you have a net gain of $580. The formula is 2% – $20 no matter what your annual spending is. The only caveat is that the points are only worth 2% if you travel enough, and can work around the redemption tiers.

A quick addendum: I got interested in all this because my CIBC visa aventura is up, and I am a little put off by the $170 annual fee (for two cards). Aventura also has a tiered redemption schema, but not annual bonus to offset the annual fee. Also, pts are accumulated on a 1 to 1 basis (except on groceries and gas, I believe). Suffice to say, it turns out it pretty much blows….

Oops, I asked the question on RFD and it was here the whole time. My concern was that if I booked a really expensive trip, say a $2k cruise, and only had 100k points, would I be able to use the points?

The answer is in the online redemption system where they’ll allow you to split the cost of travel up into “tickets”. So in this case, I can split the trip into “2 tickets”, thus allowing me to claim my full 100k points in exchange for 1 of the tickets.

The more I look at this program, the more I like it!

Thanks again Elbyron!

Any worry that they will just cancel the annual bonus at some point in the future?

Dom, since they created the program, they can always change it. However, if big changes are made, typically existing card users are grandfathered, meaning they retain all the benefits they signed up for, but new users would get the new rules.

Have a membership at Costco? Try this combo:

Aspire (1.5 cash back on all, or 2% on travel) + Smart Cash (3% cash towards groceries and gas) + Costco TrueEarnings American Express (3% cash for eligible restaraunts)

Oh yeah there is nothing like going all out to save small amounts of cash. Haha.

Cheers.

What would be the best rewards card if you wanted to save up for a first class trip to europe or australia? It doesn’t seem that the TD first class or Capital One Aspire are the best for that…? thanks

@ susan, if you want to travel first class, I think Aeroplan will give you the best bang for your buck.

Thanks…so would CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite be the best choice? The Amex has a 499. annual fee… I am just around a couple of thousand a month shopper on my card…sometimes more, sometimes less, but will be putting more on it for sure.. Again, thanks so much for your input

@susandee, I believe AMEX has a lower cost version as well (~$120 annual fee). Another option would be going with the AMEX spg card which can transfer 20k spg points for 25k aeroplan points. Personally though, I have the AMEX spg free for the first year, and there are a lot of retailers that do not accept AMEX. If I wanted to be dedicted to aeroplan, then Visa is probably a better bet.

Though the Amex (either AeroplanPlus or SPG) has a potentially higher earning rate, it is much harder to accumulate large enough amounts of spending due to its limited acceptance. I agree that Visa Infinite is the best choice for Susan, because of her desire to redeem for first class travel. She could easily get 4% or better return.
But Susan, please be aware that a round-trip flight to most parts of Europe requires 85,000 miles. If 10% of your charges are for gas, groceries, and drug stores, then you would need to spend $81000 to earn this much… about 2 – 3 years of saving up your Aeroplan miles based on your current spending.

ok, so when one redeems through TD Infinite can you book first class? If so, then it sounds like the advice is to go with them. I agree that Amex is risky, given that not all merchants accept it, so I will rule Amex out. How is it to book through the TD Centre? Also, I currently bank with BMO and have accounts with RBC Dominion Securities… My plan is to save for a long time and take a nice trip overseas, so a couple of years of savings or more, is ok with me :) appreciate the advice…as it’s a tough decision to make.

@susan, you can redeem for first class with TD and the Capital one card. The difference is your return on spending where you would get 1.5% or 2% respectively. With an aeroplan card, you’d get around 4%-8% return (from my experience) by using first class.

So would CIBC aerogold be the best? How about Avion…. again, keeping in mind that I want to book a first class trip and am willing to wait.. i am also open to td infinite and capital one aspire…. decisions, decisions..