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The Ultimate Cash Back Credit Card Portfolio
Last Updated: March 16, 2016

 

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In this feature of Rewards Canada' Ultimate Credit Card Portfolios we look at the ultimate one for earning cash back. We have always recommended that you should carry a Visa, a MasterCard and an American Express card in your wallet. The reason why is that there are benefits, promotions and earning potential unique to each brand of credit card. We won't go into detail here as you can read all about it in our feature on how to Maximize your Miles and Points but here we outline one card from each brand that will help you build up those cash back returns faster than ever. Ultimately there are various options that could be utilized for a cash back portfolio but we look at one card from each issuing family that won't totally break the bank on annual fees but will provide strong cash back earning along with very strong insurance benefits.

What is Rewards Canada's Ultimate Cash Back Credit Card Wallet? It is the following three cards

American Express - SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express®

MasterCard - mbna rewards World Elite MasterCard

Visa - Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite is an obvious choice as it is many magazine, blog and financial writers favourite cash back card providing high returns with a strong insurance package. The mbna rewards World Elite MasterCard may surprise some as many would pick the mbna Smart Cash as the MasterCard choice. Yes the mbna reward World Elite MasterCard is technically categorized as a travel points card by Rewards Canada and mbna, they do allow you to convert the points to cash back at the same rate as travel which means it gives a 2% return on all spending. This straight 2% on the mbna Rewards card outweighs the 2% the mbna Smart Cash card provides on the Gas and Grocery stores as that is eroded by the 1% in other categories. Plus you should have the Scotia card as well as it has much better earn for Gas and Grocery anyway! The final card filling in the American Express spot is the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express. This card fills the need of having an Amex card in your wallet and should be used for your initial spending to reach its bonus levels and those places where only Amex is accepted or for special Amex benefits like Front of the Line.

Related: Cash Back Credit Card Comparison Chart


How to maximize your Cash Back earning with these cards

Let's look at category bonuses first. Both the Scotia Momentum Visa gives you extra cash back at Grocery Stores, Drug Stores and Gas Stations. How much extra? The SimplyCash gives back 5% for the first 6 months you have the cards then 1.5% after that while the Scotia Momentum provides 4% up to $25,000 of annual spend on gas and grocery purchases and 2% on drug store purchases and recurring bill payments up to $25,000. You'll want to take advantage of these when you first get the cards.

Here is how you will want to break down your spending to maximize your cash back earning:

For the first six months you'll want to put as much as you can on the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express. You earn 5% on everything until you hit 6 months of cardmembership or max out at $20,000 in spending ($400 cash back). Once you've done that you'll want to spend on the various cards as follows:

Gas and Grocery: Use the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card to 4% back until you hit the annual $25,000 category limit. If you hit this limit then move your spend to the mbna rewards World Elite MasterCard to earn a straight 2% back on all purchases.

Recurring Bill Payments: Use the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card to get 2% back until you hit the annual $25,000 category limit. If you hit this limit then move your spend to the mbna rewards World Elite MasterCard to earn a straight 2% back on all purchases.

Drug Store: You could use either the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card or the mbna rewards World Elite MasterCard as they'll both get you 2%. The Scotia Momentum is limited to an annual $25,000 category limit that is combined with the recurring bill payments. If you hit this limit then move your spend to the mbna rewards World Elite MasterCard to earn a straight 2% back on all purchases.

All the other spending you have will be at non-category bonus retailers so those purchases can be put on the mbna rewards World Elite MasterCard so that you are earning 2% on all of these purchases.

The Ultimate Cash Back Credit Card Portfolio:

Card Card Features

Premium Cash Back
Scotia Momentum
® VISA* Infinite card

Scotia Momentum® VISA* Infinite card
$99 first year annual fee waiver when you apply by May 31. Apply Online
• 4% on eligible gas station and grocery store purchases
• 2% on drug store purchases and recurring bills
• 1% cash back on all other
• VISA Infinite Complimentary Concierge Service – available 24/7
• Access to VISA Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
• VISA Infinite Dining Series – Unique dining experiences in some of Canada’s top restaurants
• Special access to unique offers and experiences
• Rental car collision insurance
• Purchase security and extended warranty protection
Apply Online


mbna rewards World Elite MasterCard

mbna rewards World Elite MasterCard
• Earn 2 MBNA Rewards point for every $1 in eligible purchases‡ Apply Online
• Get 10,000 bonus points after your first eligible purchase††
• No limit to the points that can be earned in a year, points don’t expire
• Enjoy price protection** and concierge services**
• $89 annual fee waived for the first year of the account
• Price Protection***
• Concierge Service***
Apply Online


SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express

SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
• New SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express Cardmembers can earn 5% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $400 cash back) for the first 6 months of Cardmembership
• Earn 1.5% cash back when your Welcome Rate ends (up to $100,000 annually) and 1.25% after
• No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn
• No annual fee for Supplementary Cards
• Access to memorable experiences with American Express Invites®
• Extensive insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service
• Insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service
• Enjoy a special 0% introductory interest rate on transferred balances in the first 6 months if you choose to transfer your other credit card balances to this American Express card at time of online application. A 1% balance transfer fee will be charged on the transaction amount and interest is payable on the amount of this fee at the applicable rate for purchase.
• American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Offer subject to change without notice.
Apply Now 
Conditions apply

Related: SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express® Review

Other Card Options:

To save some money on annual fees you could look at downgrading your SimplyCash Preferred Card to the SimplyCash Card as the latter has no annual fee. Even right off the bat you can the 5% back with the no fee SimplyCash card however it is limited to Gas, Grocery Stores and restaurants up to a maximum of $250 back. You could also look at the mbna Smart Cash MasterCard as it also doesn't have any annual fees and gives you 5% back on eligible gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months then 2% back after that however all other purchases only earn 1%.

Talk to us!

What do you find works best for you for earning the most Cash Back? Do you use these three cards exactly as laid out above or do you use a different combination? Tell us in the comments section below or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

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