The last time I posted about top cash back credit cards in Canada, I picked the MBNA Smart Cash Card credit card that returns 1.0% on all purchases, 3% on gas/groceries, and a comprehensive insurance package and $0 in annual fees.

As I typically only promote credit cards with no annual fee, there is a fee based card that has a significantly larger return that pays for itself if you spend at least $6667 every year. This card is called the Capital One Cash World Mastercard (link).

The Cash Back Details

  • 1.5% cash back on all net purchases.
  • 20% cash back bonus annually.
  • $100 bonus on first purchase
  • No maximum rebate
  • Cash back can be redeemed as you please

Comprehensive Insurance Benefits

  • Price Protection – Find a lower price on a purchased item with this card within 60 days, and get up to $100 of the difference.
  • Purchase Assurance – 120 days insurance in case of theft or damage.
  • Extended Warranty – Doubles warranty up to 2 yr.
  • Car Rental Collision and Damage Waiver.
  • Trip Cancellation
  • Trip Interruption
  • Flight Delay
  • Baggage Delay/Loss
  • $500,000 Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance.

How Do I Apply?

You can apply online(link).


If you spend $15,000 on this card per year, you will receive a rebate of $150 ($120 annual fee accounted for) which is equivalent to a 1% card. However, the rewards grow significantly as you cross the $15,000 threshold.

Combined with the “World” insurance benefits this card is a great choice for the bigger spenders (>$15k/yr).

The AMEX was my old pick, but this card has been discontinued..

Since then though, I have discovered a new cash back credit card that I believe beats out the rest and it’s also from American Express. It’s called the American Express Gold Cash Back Card and it returns 2% on purchases over $5000 for the year.

The Details

According to this thread on RedFlagDeals, here are the details on the American Express Gold card.

  • 0.5% cash back on the first $2,500 in purchases.
  • 1.0% cash back on the next $2,500 in purchases.
  • 2.0% cash back on any amount over $5,000.
  • No Maximum Rebate!
  • Purchase Protection – 90 days insurance in case of theft or damage.
  • Extended Warranty – Doubles warranty up to 1 yr.
  • No Annual Fee

This card used to be an “invite only” card, but apparently now it’s available to the general public with no annual fee. The only requirement being that you make at least $30,000 in annual income.

How do you apply?

Apparently, the only way to apply for this card is via telephone: 1-800-268-2639.


I think I will be applying for this card in the near future for my Costco purchases. Even though the SPG credit card has a special place in my heart/wallet, this card is a very close second.


  1. Blain Reinkensmeyer on September 12, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Hmm, I like how it is only 2% after you spend over $5,000 in a single year. How many people actually spend over $5k on a single credit card in a year? But, heck Id put a ton of business expenses on it and rack up the spending faster.

  2. FrugalTrader on September 12, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Hey Blain, I know that I spent over $30k on my single credit card last year. I typically funnel all expenses through a single credit card to reap the points. :) $30k spending with the AMEX would bring a return of:
    $25,000 x 0.02 = $500
    + $2500 x 0.01 = $25
    + $2500 x 0.005 = $12.50
    = $537.50 rebate.

    Pretty decent for money that you’re going to spend anyways.

  3. Never Stop Buying on September 12, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    FT: You should post a picture of the card, it looks really gold and shiny

    I like how you give credit to RFD, although I’m certain Ryan or Derek would prefer some money going their way too ;-P

    Never Stop Buying

  4. FrugalTrader on September 12, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Credit is given where it’s due. Traffic directed to them (link back) = money. They love it. :)

  5. EmperorCoder on September 13, 2007 at 12:03 am

    I don’t see the point of owning a credit card which is barely accepted anywhere I shop. American Express doesn’t have a wide installed base in Canada.

  6. FrugalTrader on September 13, 2007 at 8:44 am

    Emperor, I guess it’s individual to the person as to where they shop. For me it would be perfect, Sobeys, Walmart, Costco, Home Depot and Esso.

  7. Houska on September 13, 2007 at 9:05 am

    A bit of potentially unwarranted scepticism….this is an Amex card, right? Many fewer merchants take Amex than take Visa, Mastercard. If you have $30k flow, it means you need to be sure you will be able to funnel through at least $12.5k on the Amex to beat a flat 1% on e.g. a PCF Mastercard.

  8. FrugalTrader on September 13, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Houska, I love skepticism. :) Yes, it’s an AMEX card, and yes, it’s not as widely accepted as VISA and Mastercard. For me though, I would use the amex for my bill prepayments from my telephone/cable provider, all my gasoline, groceries, home repairs, household essentials, and electronics. Yes, many of the smaller shops don’t accept AMEX, but for me, they represent a very small percentage of my spending.

    In terms of comparing this card to a 1% card, 1% on $12.5k is $125 back, $12.5k on this card would represent:
    $7500 x 0.02 = $150 + 37.50 = $187.50.

    The only way a 1% card beats this card is in the first $5000 of spending. After that, the AMEX takes the lead (providing acceptance of vendors).

  9. Houska on September 13, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Ah! My bad on the arithmetic – but you do have to spend *more* than $5000 to make up for the *lower* than 1% Amex rebate on the first $2500. But the breakeven is $6250 not $12500 as I first wrote.

    I’m surprised you can route your bills, groceries, etc. through Amex. While I haven’t looked into it, my experience from way back when I tried to route as much as possible through my corporate Amex was that beyond travel, more than half of my spending didn’t work on Amex. To each his own.

  10. oOKitijimaOo on September 13, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    At this time I think it’s a brilliant card. I have since applied for the new card and will most likely stop using my Costco AMEX rebate card. The tier system on that one is not so good compared to the American Express Gold Cash Back Card , but they did up the max to $675.

    There is one thing you should keep in mind, they don’t send you a cheque for that amount, it just reduces your balance on an annual basis.

  11. Canadian Capitalist on September 13, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks for the heads up. I have a Costco Amex card and might consider this new card. I’ll have to check back on our spending patterns to decide if it will be worthwhile to switch.

  12. on September 14, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    It is a cool looking card (to me at least). Aeroplan Plus/Platnium isn’t bad either

    I just love being asked by clerks about my AMEX card as most people have never seen a clear-see-through card.

    Note: annual rebate comes out every January, so don’t start using it until 2008 January (keep using whatever you’re using now), UNLESS you can put lots of balance on it in the next 3 months! (> $5000)

  13. EmperorCoder on September 15, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    My point was that if you end up changing your shopping habits to concentrate where the AMEX card is accepted (which is very few places), maybe you end up paying more than you should for your goods as these shops probably have to up their prices a bit to recoup the AMEX fees which are higher than Visa & Mastercard. Maybe it’s just a false impression on my side, but I did found out that prices where higher where the Air Miles was accepted, so I figure it would (eventually) be the same with higher fee credit cards.

  14. EmperorCoder on September 18, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    I just called them and they told me the card was not available in Quebec.

  15. This and That on September 20, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    […] I am thinking about replacing our trusty American Express Costco card with the one suggested by Million Dollar Journey – the American Express Gold Cash Back card. […]

  16. Elliot on September 22, 2007 at 11:18 am

    American Express Gold Cash Back

    Hi All, I cannot find the recommended card on the Amex Ca site. Is there a specific institution that issues this card?

  17. FrugalTrader on September 22, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Elliot, the card used to be invite only thus the reason why it’s not on their site. However, now anyone can join by phoning the number indicated in the article.

  18. Steve on September 24, 2007 at 11:12 am

    This card sounds very good. But if you work out the rate of return it is still not as good as the mbna spg rewards card. In order to get the most for your purchases shouldn’t you pick one card and stick with it? The only reason I see to have a secondary card is if your primary card isn’t accepted at the retailer you are trying to make a purchase at. With this in mind why would I get a AMEX card when it is accepted at fewer places that MasterCard. It seems that a good Visa card would be a better secondary card to the MBNA SPG card than this AMEX card.

  19. […] Update:  I have a new pick for the Best Cash Back Credit Card in Canada.  […]

  20. […] Top Cash Back Credit Card in Canada II – New Pick (19 […]

  21. Jordan Clark on November 26, 2007 at 6:10 am

    I’ve had the American Express Gold Cash Back Card for a couple of years now, so here’s some advice:

    The appearance of the card is not as good as you think. Because it doesn’t have the recognizable blue American express logo on the front I’m always having to tell the checkout clerk that it’s American Express, many think it’s Interac and screw up the transaction.

    I use it all the time without having to change my spending habits or stores I shop at all. I find it’s accepted at most places besides Superstore / Urban Fair.

    Another cool thing is with the 2% cash back you basically cancel out the 2% exchange surcharge that you get with virtually every card when shopping in the states/online.

    This is probably the case for all American Express card, but don’t be late laying it! They take longer then most cards to process a payment, so send it in with time to spare or you could get a $50 charge + interest. (BTW You can dispute the first one and get it credited back)

    Just one more month and I should be getting a $375 rebate for spending ~$22,000 on it.

    I like when the bank pays me.

  22. EmperorCoder on November 27, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    I’ve been calling them once a month to ask if the card was now available in Quebec. Until now I always got a polite “No but call back later, this may change soon”.

    I got the surprise today on the phone that it is now possible for us Quebecers to get the card ! Perseverance pays off !

  23. kenny on March 4, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    MDJ…I was looking back at some of your older postings and came across this one. Is this credit card for real? is it still available? did you end up applying for it? if so do you know if there is an additional fee for a spouse card? Thanks

    • FrugalTrader on March 4, 2008 at 3:30 pm

      Kenny, as Elliot mentioned, the AMEX 2% cash back card is for real with no extra charge for spousal cards. I will be applying in the next couple months.

  24. Elliot on March 4, 2008 at 3:26 pm


    I have applied, and recd the rebate .. 2% is what they pay you (based on the scales above).

    No fee for additional cards!


  25. kenny on March 4, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    FT/Elliot, Thanks for your responses! This card sounds good. I think I’ll be applying for one.

  26. Maxime Boucher on March 28, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Emperor Code: I just called them and they told me they don’t offer it in Quebec. What did you told them to obtain it?

  27. OxHead on April 2, 2008 at 2:38 am

    I’m amazed that FrugalTrader is able to use the credit card to pay household expense like cable/phone. Do you have any link to share that? I’m sure most of us use pre-authorized payment through our banks. If you don’t mind giving us some tips, that will be much appreciated. Cheers!

  28. Elliot on April 2, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Hello All,

    I benefited from the information relating to the Amex 2% cash back card and now I am happy to give back .. to those of you that purchase fuel at Shell (at least).

    I noticed at my local shell station that they have a new cash back card. There are two options: (1) No Annual fee & (2) Annual fee of $49

    1. No Annual fee of $49
    No Fee CashBack (0.5%) Reward Option

    * Get 2.5% CashBack on purchases at Shell locations across Canada for the first three months up to a monthly maximum of $2,5006.
    * Get 1.5% CashBack on purchases at Shell locations across Canada after the first three months up to a monthly maximum of $2,5006.
    * Get 0.5% CashBack on all other purchases7.
    * No annual fee.

    2. Annual fee of $49
    Premium CashBack (1%) Reward Option

    * Get 5% CashBack on purchases at Shell locations across Canada for the first three months up to a monthly maximum of $2,5006.
    * Get 3% CashBack on purchases at Shell locations across Canada after the first three months up to a monthly maximum of $2,5006.
    * Get 1% CashBack on all other purchases7.
    * Free Roadside Assistance Program – fuel delivery, battery boost, lockout service, towing and more8.
    * Annual fee of $49.

    My personal choice is Option 2, the card with the annual cost of $49:
    * I spend $60 per week on average
    * Assuming the 3% on Shell purchases, that will be a cash back value of $1.80 per week
    * For my spending, that will amount to an annual cash back of $86.40 (this is not considering any additional fuel purchase, and we plan on some road trips..)
    * There is the added benefit of the Road Side Assistance with the card with the Annual Fee

    I would only use this card for my fuel purchases at Shell and continue to use my Amex (2% reward) for non-Shell expenditure

    I look forward to any comments .. or (hopefully not) but corrections.

    Cheers and keep the posts coming ..

  29. oOKitijimaOo on April 2, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Elliot,

    That’s great news, thanks for sharing. I decided awhile ago to boycott Shell. I was a long time purchaser of Shell gas for the longest time and after switching I notice that my car gained more milage with switching to Esso. Now I am not saying go switch but I just noticed it on my last car and I stuck with esso with my current car. I can’t remember why I switched but it must have been customer service related.

    Anyways I just thought I would throw in my 2 cents worth.



  30. jebster on April 14, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    I have the AMEX Gold Card after switching from the Costco Platinum Card. It took me several tries at Customer Service to get them to find this card…but keep trying. One thing Amex offers is to switch your Bank auto debits for cable, telephone, cell phone, etc over to AMEX gold card with no hassle. Give them the details and they do all the work and you get 2% off on these monthly payments. Too bad they don’t seem to accept car leasing payments at this time.

  31. OxHead on April 15, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Thank Jebster for the tips on the Bank-authorized payment. I applied for the Amex Gold and the person who received my call was awesome. He knew about the card very well. Great service compared to the call centres of other credit card company!


  32. AJ on May 23, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I just called Amex. The card has been discontinued as of May 16.

  33. FrugalTrader on June 23, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    A quick note there guys, unfortunately, this card has been discontinued.

  34. […] written about top cash back credit cards in Canada before, and even modified my top pick. However, there are an abundance of other rewards based credit cards out there that deserve a look. […]

  35. nobleea on July 17, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Anyone have any experience with the MBNA 1% cash back card? I don’t know what it’s called, but there’s no fee, no tiers and no maximum. An application showed up in the mail this week.

  36. FrugalTrader on July 17, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Hey Nobleea, there is a thread of RFD about the 1% mbna card, apparently it’s a “retentions” type card and not openly advertised. I guess they changed their policy!

    Apparently, it’s a 1% card with no tiers and no fee like you mentioned along with platinum benefits like car rental insurance.

  37. on September 7, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    This post was the starting point for the eventual creation of a full article analyzing 7 Canadian Cashback credit cards, which can be found here:

    I also include a free excel file which will allow the reader to input their own variables into the model: readers will be able to put in their own values for purchases, gas, groceries, cashback rate on the card, annual fee etc. It is necessary that our readers download and use the free excel model, because it may change which card is best for them.

    For example, the AMEX costco card that was so good for your purchasing habits came in dead last of 7 cards for my habits!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  38. Rick D on September 14, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Just saw an ad for this card on… Any thoughts? 2% sounds good, but…

  39. Elliot on September 15, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Hey Rick,


    In my opinion, this is not a good deal – their terms are pretty high because you would only earn 2% on your charges from the $20, 000 mark onwards. My Amex 2% (which I believe is not being offered anymore), starts awarding 2% at $2500 and I know that other cash back cards do the same.

    For gas, I like the Shell Cashback Mastercard .. I got it with a 3% cashback on purchases at Shell but I’m not very sure but it seems like their latest offer is as much as 5%!! (1% on other purchases, i think) – I have made a post on the details of this card above .. but keep in mind I believe their latest offering is slightly different.

    For those too lazy to go to the site, here are the details of the Captial One cashback card from:
    * 1% cash back annually on total purchases up to $10,000
    * 1.5% cash back annually on total purchases between $10,000.01 and $20,000
    * 2% cash back annually on total purchases above $20,000

    Happy deal hunting everyone!


    PS: In response to oOKitijimaOo’s post, I do respect your decision to boycott Shell.
    I have been watching the difference in price between Shell and the others after your post but I have not seen any in my area of the GTA. Even if there is a cent or two difference I’m still ahead with 3% cashback.

  40. Pierre on November 11, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    I like citi master card ( driver’s edge). Pays back flat 2%, which you can accumulate upto 5 years that can be used to buy any vehicle.

  41. Nelson on February 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Too bad the American Express Gold Cash Back Card is no longer available. Sounds like it was the best card out there. Amex told me that it was not popular. I think it wasn’t making them too much money and that’s why they discontinued.

    Probably the best card out there right now: I have been using the Canadian Tire Vacation Advantage MasterCard for quite some time now. Accepted pretty much everywhere, which the Amex card is not. It gives you 1.5% on all purchases as long as you spend $2000 or more monthly which I do. You get the rebate right after you purchase anything vacation related (trip, flight, book hotel, etc). I don’t have to wait a whole year to receive the rebate. I can even you use the rebate if I bought the vacation related product a few months ago. Basically you can use the rebate pretty much any time.

    For gas purchases: I think that the Canadian Tire Gas Advantage MasterCard is still the best one for me. I have cards on the same account for me, my wife, my father-in-law and my brother-in-law. We get 8 cents off every month because we have a monthly purchase balance of at least $1000 (about $700 gas and $300 for other purchases). This represents about 9% OF AN INSTANT REBATE. It used to be 10 cents off not too long ago. The only issue is that I have to call customer service every month and calculate how much users used – it takes me about 15 minutes every month to do so.

  42. Nabeel Jafferali on March 1, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Technically, ~$21K is where the Capital One Cash Back Platinum has a better benefit than a straight 1% cash back card, taking into account the annual fee ($270 – $59 = $211, vs. $210).

  43. FrugalTrader on March 1, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Nabeel, thanks for the heads up, I will make the changes!

  44. Nabeel Jafferali on March 3, 2009 at 3:14 am

    Also, I realize it’s not straight cash back, but their Miles Plus card is 2% back in travel dollars with no tiers, 250 travel dollars to sign up, with a $99 annual fee. The travel dollars can be spent on any flight purchased from anywhere.

  45. Robert on March 16, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    First, thanks for all your work on this blog, FT.

    Have you had a chance to look at the new Scotiabank Momentum Visa? I would be interested in your opinion. Here are some highlights I got from their website:

    $39 Annual Fee
    2% on first $25,000 at Gas/Grocery/DrugStore or Recurring Payments
    1% at other locations or the above locations over $25000
    No maximum on 1% rebate.
    20% AVIS Discount
    Purchase Protection – 90 Days
    Extended Warranty – doubles up to 1 year

    The difficult part in calculating the benefit would be determining what percentage of your money you spend at qualifying stores and what you could switch to a recurring payment on visa. Some changes in shopping habits might be necessary to get the best benefit.

    List of Merchants at 2%:
    There is also a thread on RedFlagDeals about this one:
    Apparently some people have had success getting the fee waived at their branch, and there may be a no-fee version coming without the warranty/protection perks.

  46. Steve on March 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    What about the ATB Platinum Mastercard? It gives 3% cash back on expenditures in gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and drug stores and 1% on everything else. Although the annual fee is $120, I got $350 cash back in only 6 months.

  47. HyeProfile on April 7, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    BTW, as per their website, the Capital One Cash Back Plus Platinum Mastercard (2% cashback) is not available to residents of QC, NT, NU, or YT. So all us Quebecers can are out… Might be worthwhile calling them to see if they plan on offering it in Quebec.

  48. j0dan on April 10, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    From the Capital One website:
    1 Only earn cash on purchases up to $50,000.

    I found the CIBC Dividend Platinum was better for me since it comes with credit monitoring (you get an e-mail if anything changes). Actually the e-mail notifications are great for going over-limit, etc.

    PLUS you get 15 day travel insurance which is worth around $50-$100.

    PS. I spend ~50k/yr on mine.

  49. Qman on June 27, 2009 at 2:29 am

    The Capital One 2% is the best card in canada. I get over $700-800 cash back every year. I cash in my rewards before every statement. I put everything on it (… can’t remember last time I used cash for anything)

    Also have Costco Amex but i) amex isn’t accepted everywhere ii) has a $500 rebate cap, so I use the Capital One 2% as my primary (only really use amex at costco)

    FYI: The Capital One 2% doesn’t have a rewards cap or limit. The $50,000 limit above is on the CIBC Dividend card.

  50. Miguel on September 20, 2009 at 10:51 am

    LOOK AT THE FINE PRINT. When you click on the link for this CapitalOne 2% card and scroll to the bottom, there is a footnote that states:

    1. Only earn cash on purchases up to $50,000.

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