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The Best Rewards Credit Cards In Canada 2021

Barry Choi

Jan 01, 2020 7 min read

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The Best 2021 Rewards Credit Cards In Canada
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    When people think about reward credit cards, they typically focus on travel or cash-back - while both of are great for your spending, you might be wondering if there is anything else? While it really depends on the rewards program, a few allow you to redeem rewards for things like merchandise, gift cards, or points with other loyalty programs.

    Someone who loves movies will be attracted to a credit card that gives you SCENE points, while others may prefer a program that allows you to redeem for different types of merchandise.

    Regardless of which credit card you go with, it’s important to understand how you can get and how you can spend those hard earned points. Here's a roundup of the best 'reward' based credit cards out there right now.

    American Express Cobalt™ Card

    The American Express Cobalt™ Card
    • $10 monthly fee ($120 total annually)

    • Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards each month when you spend $500 in purchases on your card for the first year (30,000 total points)

    • Earn 5 American Express Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at eligible restaurants, bars, grocery stores and food delivery in Canada

    • Earn 2 American Express Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and transit

    • Earn 1 American Express Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on everything else

    • 19.99% annual interest rate

    • Cash Advance Rate: 21.99%

    • Additional Card Fee $0

    • Penalty APR: 23.99%-26.99%*

    The American Express Cobalt Card is one of the best rewards credit cards in Canada because it gives you a generous signup bonus, it’s easy to earn points, and there are so many different ways to redeem your points. With this card, you’ll be given 2,500 American Express Membership Reward points when you charge $500 to your card every month, for the first 12 months. That gives you a total of 30,000 points as your welcome bonus.

    You’ll be amazed how quickly your points rack up since you’ll earn 5 points for every $1 spent on eats (restaurants, bars, cafés, food delivery, etc.), 2 points per $1 spent on travel (flights, hotels, car rentals, transit, rideshares), and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

    When you’re ready to redeem your points, you have many options. Most people use their points for flights via the American Express Fixed Point Travel Program or they transfer their points to Marriott Bonvoy, but you also have a few other options to redeem your points. You can use your points on just about any purchase you made on your card, on purchases, on merchandise or gift cards via the Membership Rewards Catalogue, and even on Ticketmaster.

    You can find which credit cards match your profile and your likelihood of approval when you sign up or log in to Borrowell. It only takes a few minutes and it's free.

    Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

    Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card
    • $120 annual fee

    • 19.99% on purchases

    • 22.99% on cash advances

    • Up to 30,000 Scotia Rewards points signup bonus

    • Earn 5 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases

    • Earn 3 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on gas, public transportation, rideshares and eligible streaming service purchases

    • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases

    • No foreign transaction fees

    The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card recently saw some changes which most people will say are for the positive. Although the annual fee is $120, you’ll get 25,000 Scotia Rewards points after you charge $1,000 to your card in the first three months of cardmembership. You can earn an additional 5,000 points when you charge $10,000 to your card within the first year of owning the card. That may sound like a lot of spending, but it works out to just over $833 a month in purchases. Oh, those 30,000 Scotia Reward points have a value of up to $300 so you’re not doing too bad.

    When you want to redeem your points, you have a lot of options. Travel rewards give you the most value since you can redeem 10,000 points for $100 in travel. Gift cards aren’t as valuable as 10,000 points only give you about $74. There’s also the option to claim a statement credit, but the value is even lower since you’ll only get $67 – $80 depending on how many points you claim (it takes 3,000 points for $20 and 37,500 points for $300). If you prefer to redeem for merchandise, Scotia Rewards has a huge catalogue of product that you can choose from, but the value of those redemptions usually aren’t very good.

    What also makes this credit card such a great choice is the travel benefits it comes with. You’ll pay no foreign transaction fees, so you can save quite a bit of money during your travels. You also get a comprehensive travel insurance package which includes travel medical, trip cancellation/interruption, lost/delayed luggage, flight delay, travel accident, and rental car collision loss/Damage insurance. 

    Triangle™ World Elite Mastercard®

    Triangle™ World Elite Mastercard®
    • No annual fee

    • 19.99% on purchases

    • 22.99% on cash advances

    • Earn 4% in CT Money at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Atmosphere, Hockey Experts,  participating Mark’s and Sports Experts stores

    • Earn 2% in CT Money at grocery stores

    • Earn 1% in CT Money on all other purchases

    • Earn 7¢ per litre in CT Money on premium fuel or 5¢ per litre on all other fuel types at Gas+/Essence+ locations and participating Husky stations

    • Roadside assistance gold plan

    Canadian Tire is one of the most recognizable brands in Canada and their credit card/loyalty program does not disappoint. The Triangle World Elite Mastercard doesn’t come with a welcome bonus, but it gives you a huge return of 4% in CT Money at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Atmosphere, Hockey Experts, participating Mark’s and Sports Experts stores. You’ll get 2% back in CT Money at grocery stores but keep in mind that there’s a yearly spending cap of $12,000 and it does not apply to Walmart or Costco purchases. All other purchases get you 1% in CT Money.

    Redeeming your CT money is easy as you can redeem any amount you currently have at any participating store. Your CT money can be applied to any product sold at the participating stores which range from hockey gear to winter tires.

    The Triangle World Elite Mastercard also comes with a few extra benefits that aren’t well known but can be quite popular. At participating stores, you can choose to do no fee, no interest financing on qualifying purchases of $200 or more. You also get a Roadside assistance gold plan which has a value of over $100 per year, but it can be invaluable if you ever run into car troubles while on the go. Note that this card does have a minimum income requirement of $80,000 or a household income of $150,000 for you to qualify. If you don’t reach those thresholds, you would be considered for the Triangle Mastercard, which is a lower-tier version of the Triangle World Elite Mastercard.

    SCENE®* Visa* Card

    SCENE®* Visa* Card
    • No annual fee

    • 19.99% on purchases

    • 22.99% on cash advances

    • 2,500 SCENE points welcome bonus

    • Earn 5 SCENE points for every $1 you spend at Cineplex theatres and

    • Earn 1 SCENE points for every $1 you spend on all other purchases

    If you love movies, then the SCENE Visa Card is for you. You’ll earn 5 SCENE points for every $1 you spend at Cineplex theatres. All other purchases give you 1 SCENE point for every $1 you spend on your card. There’s simply no other card out there that will allow you to collect points that can be redeemed for free movies.

    The sign-up bonus of 2,500 SCENE points when you spend $500 in the first three months is enough for two free movies, but you need to understand the different redemption values so you can get the most out of your points. It takes 1,250 SCENE points to claim a free general admission or 3D movie ticket. If you want to watch an enhanced movie such as UltraAVX 3D, DBOX or Imax for free, it’ll cost you 2,000 points. Finally, VIP tickets will set you back 2,500 points. The cash price of those tickets vary depending on what province you live in, but generally speaking, you get the most bang for your buck when redeeming 3D or DBOX movies.

    You can also use your SCENE points on Cineplex products such as concessions where 500 SCENE points will get you $5 off or if you use 1,000 points, you can get $10 off digital movie downloads at In addition, you can claim 1,000 SCENE points for $10 off at the following restaurants: Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, Montana’s, East Side Mario’s, Milestones, Bier Market, and Kelseys.

    The Bottom Line 

    So many rewards, so little time! The good news is that Borrowell has more than 50 financial partners on on their financial marketplace and can help you find the best credit cards in Canada. If you get your free credit score with Borrowell, they'll show you products that you have a high-likelihood of being approved for. 

    Editorial Note: Our editors’ opinions are their own and content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it is posted. Borrowell does receive compensation from third-party advertisers, but it does not affect our editors’ opinions.

    The credit card companies featured in this article are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the application link above for the most up to date information.

    Barry Choi
    Barry Choi
    Personal Finance Expert
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    Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert. His work has been featured in The Financial Post, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, and other publications. He's also made appearances on Global News and the CBC. Barry's goal is to make money easy to understand for all Canadians.

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