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.
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.
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.
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.