October 11, 2015
Hello fellow savers:
I now have 2 No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee cards: the New Scotia Passport Infinite (which includes lounge passes, etc) and the Home Trust Visa, which offers 1% cashback.
Has anyone done the calculation of which is better--the points with Scotia (to be used for travel or goods) or the cashback @ 1%? If I looked correctly, the Scotia card uses 25,000 points = $250 so if my math is correct, that is the same 1% from Home Trust. So the decision is cash now or reward yourself later!
A couple of details specifically around Scotia Rewards points that make a direct comparison tricky: the Scotiabank Passport Visa infinite gives you 2 points back on grocery store, restaurant, entertainment, and daily transit purchases. As well, you can redeem 1 point per dollar only against travel purchases. You get a lower value if you do a general statement credit (0.67 points per dollar if you redeem for $20; 0.7 points per dollar if you redeem for $100; 0.8 points per dollar if you redeem for $500).
December 12, 2009
Based on your math, dentgal, it looks like both cards offer full 1%, untiered cash back and no FX fees. However, in your calculation, I assume the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite has an annual fee (likely at least $100 or $200, possibly waived for the first year, which is a gimmick so you can't count that). Assuming the annual fee were $200, that would mean you'd have to earn $200 in cash back (200,000 points) before you have a dollar-for-dollar equivalency with the Home Trust Preferred Visa. That's not so great! On that basis, I'd stick with my contention that the following are the two best, no annual fee, full 1% FX-free credit cards in Canada:
- Home Trust Preferred Visa
- Brim Financial MasterCard
The latter includes free Boingo Wireless hotspot access with no additional charge.
I've left off the Rogers and Fido cards because the cash back is redeemable for Rogers bill credits, possibly including one's Rogers credit card bill. And, they're technically not FX-free - they just offer premium rewards rates that, effectively, subsidize the FX fee. That's sneaky and can be changed at any time, without even a 30-60 day notice. Changing the fee requires advance notice; changing the rewards ratio does not (though most do provide notice as a courtesy).
If you have your investments with HSBC, I'd also add to my above two list the HSBC Premier World and World Elite MasterCard (whichever one has no annual fee). However, since you need at least $100,000 in investments or deposits to qualify for Premier, I leave it off my general list. The latter offers airport lounge access globally, if that sort of superficial thing matters to someone (to me, it's a nicety, but nowhere in my key priorities). It's a status thing. However, to qualify for the airport lounge access, you'd need to be an existing Premier client who is invited to HSBC Jade, which requires $1 million in investments with HSBC Bank Canada and/or its subsidiaries.