Rewards Canada: Top Bonus Offers
Rewards Canada: Tips and Tricks
Rewards Canada: Blog Features
LinkedInFacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+YouTubeInstagramBloggerRSS Feed
The Ultimate No Fee Travel Points Credit Card Portfolio
Last Updated: June 21, 2016

 

Share this feature:

-


In this feature of Rewards Canada's Ultimate Credit Card Portfolios we look at the ultimate one for earning travel points that you can use for virtually any travel and not have to pay any annual fees.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 travel rewards points faster than ever without having to worry about paying annual fees. Ultimately there are various options that could be utilized for such a portfolio but we look at one card from each issuing family that will provide strong travel point earning.

What is Rewards Canada's Ultimate No Fee Travel Points Credit Card Wallet? It is the following three cards

Mastercard - Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard®

American Express - American Express Blue Sky Credit Card

Visa - Scotiabank More Rewards Visa

The card that is not an obvious choice but is the main card in this portfolio is The Scotiabank More Rewards Visa. The card was just released in May and while isn't get much coverage elsewhere, we crunched the numbers and the card is a travel point collectors dream. With returns between 1.695 and 2.54% for travel not only is it the highest earning no-fee travel rewards card in the market but it also competes direclty with fee based cards! The portfolio continues with the American Express Blue Sky Credit Card. This card has been ranked #1 by Rewards Canada in the Travel Points Credit Card with no annual fee category for many years and was the leader until the release of the More Rewards Visa. Still with a 1.25% return, the Blue Sky Card is nothing to balk at and gives you the Amex component of the wallet. Rounding out the portfolio is the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard®. This card, with no annual fee, is the best option to fill up the Mastercard requirement of the portfolio. While there may not be much spend put on the card it provides a very strong insurance package to give travellers piece of mind while on the road.

Related: Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2016


How to maximize your Travel Points earning with these cards

The main card in this porfolio is the Scotiabank More Rewards Visa card. This may come as a surprise to many of you as More Rewards isn't very well known, especially outside of B.C. and Alberta. That being said, don't be swayed by this or even Scotia's own wording on their website that states the card is better suited for those out west. Simply put, this card is the highest earning no free travel points card in Canada. It earns 6 More Rewards points per dollar spent and More Rewards partners. This is where the wording for 'better out west' comes from since most More Rewards partners are located in the West like Save On Foods and Overwaitea. However Petro-Canada recently became a More Rewards partner so nationwide you can earn the 6 points per dollar when buying gas or goods in a Petro-Canada conveniece store. So what are the 6 points worth? A whoppping 2.54% when redeemed for travel via More Rewards! That's even more than the majority of fee based card in Canada! But what about when you use the card at non More Rewards partners? Well it earns 4 points per dollar anywhere you can use a Visa card, so most places and that 4 points per dollar equates to a 1.695% return. Still at that rate it is the highest earning no fee travel rewards point card in the Canadian market.

Related: The Scotiabank More Rewards Visa Card is now available! Now the strongest earning no fee travel points card in Canada

So what if you are shopping at a place that doesn't accept Visa like Walmart? You'll want to funnel all that spending onto the American Express Blue Sky Credit Card. It earns 1.25 points per dollar spent which equates to a 1.25% return when redeeming for travel. Finally you have the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard®. It may earn the least out of the three cards but is ideal to have for those places that only accept Mastercard like Costco . It only earns 1 mile per $1 spent which equates to a 1% return but the card has an insurance package that makes even many fee based cards envious. This is the strong point of this card and should be used for purchases where the insurance benefits like Price Protection and baggage delay can come in handy.

Now we go on to the fun part. Redeeming! Two of three of these cards provide the utmost in redemption flexibility. You essentially book your travel with whomever you want and when the charge shows up on your account you redeem points against the charge. The cards for that option are the Capital One and Amex Blue Sky. The More Rewards Visa is slightly less flexible as you have to book via More Rewards Travel either online or by phone so an issue may arise where they aren't showing the best price on their site. However in our experience it just takes a phone call to have them try to find a deal you may have found elsewhere and book it for you. All three allow partial redemptions, so you don't need the full amount of points but rather if you paid $1,000 for your hotel and have $500 worth of points, you can redeem those points for what amounts to a $500 discount on your hotel stay. The minimum amounts needed to redeem are 100 points on the More Rewards Visa, 10,000 points on the Blue Sky and no minimum redemption amount on the Capital One card. Now, chances are you'll have points spread out across at least two of the cards here, so when it comes to booking travel, put your flights onto one card and your hotel or other travel expenses like a car rental on the other so that you can redeem points from both cards towards the eligible charges. That is the beauty of these cards, you are not stuck to one airline or one hotel, you are not at the whim of a loyalty program that may route you through multiple cities to get to your destination nor have any rooms left to redeem hotel points for. Not to mention with the Amex and Capital One cards, these points are good for any travel, all inclusives, ferry rides and even whale watch excursions (read more about that here). Even if booked while on vacation, the Amex card gives you 12 months after the charge posts to your account to redeem points for it and Capital One cards give you three months. That means you can travel without even having the points and collect afterwards to eventually redeem for it.

Related: Not all Travel Points and Hybrid Credit Cards are created equal

The Ultimate No Fee Travel Points Credit Card Portfolio:

Card Card Features

Capital One Aspire Platinum Mastercard
Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard®

Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard®
• Earn reward miles – with no annual fee!
• Earn 1 reward mile for every $1 spent – on all purchases
• Get 10,000 bonus reward miles when you spend $500 on net purchases in the first 3 months after account opening – a value of $100 in travel
• Annual interest rate of 19.8%

• Redeem for travel, cash, or gift cards
• Valuable Platinum Mastercard benefits, including Purchase Assurance and Extended Warranty
• Add an authorized user for $0

Platinum Travel Benefits
• Baggage Delay
• Travel Accident Insurance
• Travel Assistance
• Car Rental Collision/Loss Damage Waiver

Everyday Platinum Benefits
• Price Protection Service
• Extended Warranty
• Purchase Assurance

Mastercard Benefits
• Mastercard Global Service™
• Zero Liability

Apply now for the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard®

American Express Blue Sky Credit Card
American Express Blue Sky Credit Card

American Express Blue Sky Credit Card
• New Blue Sky® Credit Card Cardmembers, earn 10,000 Blue Sky® Points after you charge $500 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership.
• Earn 1.25 Blue Sky Points for every $1 in purchases charged to the Card
• You can start redeeming with as little as 10,000 points towards any travel purchase charged to your Card
• Enjoy the convenience of no blackout dates, no advance purchase requirements, no seat restrictions and no travel restrictions.
• $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance
• You can use Apple Pay on your eligible device to pay for goods and services at participating American Express contactless merchants
• 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.
Apply now for the American Express Blue Sky Credit Card

Conditions Apply.


Scotiabank More Rewards Visa

Scotiabank More Rewards Visa
  • Earn 6 More Rewards points for every $1 spent on purchases at participating More Rewards locations1
  • Earn 4 points for every $1 on other purchases everywhere else1
  • Get 1 additional point for every dollar you spend when you also use your More Rewards loyalty card at partner locations1
  • Flexible redemption options and reward choices. Visit morerewards.ca for details.
    Apply now for the Scotiabank More Rewards Visa

  • Other Card Options:

    There are quite a few other options to change up this portfolio a little bit. The first option is on the Mastercard side, you can choose to go with the mbna Rewards Mastercard as it is also 1% back just like Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard® but it has virtually no insurance benefits.You could always jump on one of BMO's no fee AIR MILES card options as well. On the Visa side, the no fee travel points options have always been very weak and if for some reason the More Rewards Visa doens't do it for you your next best option is the RBC Rewards Visa Gold but it only provides a 0.5% return. The only other no fee American Express card to consider would be the American Express AIR MILES credit card.

    Related: Why proprietary credit card reward programs are the best option for most Canadians

    Talk to us!

    What do you find works best for you for earning the most no fee travel points? 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!

    Rewards Canada can be found on the following social media channels:

    LinkedIn Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google+ YouTube Instagram Blogger RSS Feed

    “The interest rates, fees, rewards details, benefits and other details of the Capital One product(s) described in the article may have changed since the time of publication. Please consult the product information pages on the Capital One website for accurate product details. In the event of any conflict between the product details in this article and the Capital One website, the details on the Capital One website shall prevail.”

    LinkedInFacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+YouTubeInstagramBloggerRSS Feed
    About Us  Media  Consulting  Advertise  Contact Us  Book Travel
    Terms of Use / Privacy Policy ©2001 - 2017 Rewards Canada. Part of the FFB Group Inc. All rights reserved.