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What's the most point-to-dollar ratio Travel credit card out there?
March 20, 2019
6:25 am
Max
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Hi guys,

I used to be a frugal spender and surfed on my MBNA cash back credit car, my Tangerine cashback credit card over the years but now that we have 4 kids, school tuition, hockey equipment, tournaments, travels, plane tickets are becoming overwhelming for my small credit cards. Just maxed my credit card last mount with the $15,000 credit limit because of my Tesla down payment, kids sports subscription, school fees, conference fees, etc...

We are traveling to Italy this summer for bike trip and we have to buy 6 plane tickets including the kids. I travel in the US for work about 10 times a year, flying to Vancouver or Toronto twice a year and traveling with the family to Florida with 6 plane tickets about twice and Europe once a year.

I need the credit card which offer the highest rewards for saving on plane tickets of any of the cards out there. Regardless of annual cost. I will also be renovating my real estates in the next months so annual spendings of >$200,000 and the company income is >$1M

I had a few friends who suggested these cards, if you agree or have any better suggestion please let me know!

https://milesopedia.com/programmes-aeriens/avantages-associes-a-carte-visa-infinite-privilege-td-aeroplan

https://milesopedia.com/carte/carte-de-platine-american-express

https://www.americanexpress.com/ca/fr/cartes-de-credit/carte-marriott-bonvoy/?CPID=100332393&PID=15-13594840-8111982-&cjevent=857bfc174b1311e981da01b10a240613
https://flytrippers.com/fr/taux-daccumulation-de-la-carte-marriott-bonvoy/

Thanks for the help

The day you become free is the day you work for fun.

March 23, 2019
7:44 am
Peter
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I have had all of those cards you mention at one point, either personally or for my business. Here are some thoughts on cards I have experience with. The presumption is that you pay off your balance every month.

In short, I used to swear off any cards with annual fees, but once travel is in the mix and there are category multipliers, a strategy with multiple cards for different purposes (earnings categories, card features like insurance) pays off multiple times the fees.

For purchases in foreign currencies, consider cards that waive (or effectively waive) the foreign currency exchange transaction fee. The Rogers World Elite Mastercard has no annual fee and gives you 1.75% back on non-foreign currency purchases, and an effective 1.5% back (4% back minus 2.5% fee) on foreign currency purchases. The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite has a $139 annual fee but a nice sign-up bonus, 2% back on groceries and restaurants, and some nice insurance.

For grocery store purchases and restaurants, if you frequent places that take American Express, the Amex Cobalt is a leader in my opinion. 5% back made on the card in that category. The points are not straight cash back -- they have to be redeemed against travel purchases, or are convertible for Marriott at a 5:6 ratio. Not directly convertible to Aeroplan, but effectively a 2.5:1 ratio since you can convert from Marriott to Aeroplan at 3:1. The Cobalt also earns 2% back on travel purchases.

The Amex Gold Rewards earns 2% back on travel purchases as well, but those points can be directly redeemed against purchases or transferred to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio.

If your grocery store and restaurant purchases don't take Amex, then there is the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite, which gives you 4% cash back in that category. I know technically this has nothing to do with travel, but when cash back is 4% I feel like it has to be considered alongside the travel plan.

Proprietary travel programs can be a pain in terms of managing the best value for redemptions, points expiry, and more. I find it's not worth the hassle to optimize too many of them, but it is worth the hassle when focusing on a couple of them. Thus, for purchases in categories that don't have big multipliers on other cards, consider the Amex Marriott Bonvoy cards, the WestJet World Elite Mastercard (yearly $99 companion fare, free checked bag for up to 8 people on every flight), and all of the Aeroplan or Amex cards where you can convert to Aeroplan points. You can consider cycling through all of the Aeroplan-affiliated cards for their sign-up bonuses. Just look out for whatever will happen in 2020 when Aeroplan merges back in to Air Canada. The Alaska Airlines Mastercards are worth considering if you will fly any routes in their partner program.

Aeroplan is talked about the most, but WestJet's "member exclusive fares", which are valid regardless of whether you hold an affiliated credit card or not, are a bit of a hidden feature with fixed WestJet dollar redemptions (which have to be 100% covered by WestJet dollars) that I've found can be significantly cheaper than the main fares.

March 25, 2019
4:34 am
Loonie
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If you belong to Costco, their Capital One MC gives 3% for restaurants and has no fee. Suitable for restaurants anywhere in Canada.
It's not good for much else, least of all shopping at Costco. However, if you already belong or were considering it, the extra return over a 2% card will help, completely cover, or exceed your membership fee.
Costco membership is valid anywhere in the world where Costco is located (as well as online, where, occasionally, you can find desirable deals).
Costco also has some other services related to travel but I have never looked into them so can't report on that. I know that some people like their car rental discount rates, but I don't know how they compare to others.

March 31, 2019
6:46 pm
Max
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Right now I have the Smartcash, Tangerine and NB Platine Business card.
I’ve been a costco member for the last 10 years but never bothered to get the card.

Which one are you using right now Peter, are you still in the no fee card state of mind? Just paid $129 for my Mastercard NB Platine but the rewards suck so much and the insurance for car rental when I travel are terrible so I’m ready to pay upfront to boost the multiplicater.

The day you become free is the day you work for fun.

March 31, 2019
7:07 pm
Peter
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For personal use, I currently have the Amex Cobalt and Rogers World Elite Mastercard. For business or mostly business use I have the Amex Marriott Bonvoy, WestJet World Elite Mastercard, and Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite.

I'll hold an annual fee card as long as the ongoing benefits are worth it. For me, it does happen but it's not often that it makes sense after the first year (after the sign-up bonus is no longer a factor). Make sure that when you calculate the value of a card, you are very strict -- for example, a lounge pass has a $0 value to me because I wouldn't have used it were it not free.

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