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Best Credit Card for Each Financial Institution (March 13, 2016)

I have written posts ranking each financial institution, but I thought it would be fun to write a post listing the top 1 credit card per institution.

I have listed the credit cards based on the most recent financial institution rankings. Maybe one day I will list the top credit cards, but it highly depends on a person’s needs, so it is very subjective.

But I will take a wack at it. If I had to pick only 1 credit card per institution, this is what it would look like:

1) Toronto Dominion (TD) / MBNA

MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard

  • $75 annual fee
  • Earn 25,000 points upon approval
  • Earn 3 points for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 1 annual coach Companion Fare
  • $50 off a new Board Room membership initiation fee

This is by far the best credit card. Alaska Airlines MileagePlan is one of the best frequent flyer programs out there. This credit card also offers a very reasonable $75 annual fee, which can be justified by the Companion Fare. The cherry on the cake is the sweet 25,000 sign up bonus. This is a must have card especially for people living in the West Coast.

2) Scotiabank / Tangerine

Scotiabank Momentum Infinite Visa

  • $99 annual fee
  • $30 fee for each supplementary cardholder
  • Earn 4% cash back on gas and grocery purchases (on your first $25,000 of annual spending on these categories)
  • Earn 2% cash back on drug store purchases and recurring bill payments (on your first $25,000 of annual spending on these categories)
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, as well as purchases made above the $25,000 threshold on the categories listed above

The annual fee is generally waived or they may have a $100 sign up bonus promotion, effectively offsetting the first year fee anyway. The 4% cash back on gas and grocery spending is what makes this credit card so sweet.

3) American Express (AMEX)

AMEX Platinum Card

  • $699 annual fee
  • $175 fee for supplementary cardholders
  • Earn 50,000 sign up bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months
  • Earn 1.25 point for every $1 spent on all purchases
  • Receive a $200 Annual Travel Credit
  • Receive a complimentary and discounted companion tickets and upgrades
  • Airport lounge access worldwide
  • Premium hotel program membership
  • Extensive insurance coverage

So long as you can take advantage of all the perks associated with this credit card, this is probably the best current travel credit card to have for frequent travelers in Canada.

 4) Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

RBC WestJet World Elite MasterCard

  • $99 annual fee
  • $49 for supplementary cardholders
  • Earn $250 WestJet dollars on your first purchase
  • Earn 2 WestJet dollars when you purchase WestJet flights or WestJet Vacation packages
  • Earn 1.5 WestJet dollar for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Receive 1 annual round-trip companion voucher with choice of: $99 for Canada and the Continental United States, $299 for Hawaii, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean or $399 for Europe (not including taxes, fees and charges)
  • Earn 1 free checked bag on all WestJet flights

This isn’t a clear winner for RBC, but I will give it the edge. An argument can be made for the RBC Visa Infinite Avion, but I am going with the WestJet card. What made it go over the hump is the companion flight. Though I personally prefer the Avion points that as a transferable points program.

5) Bank of Montreal (BMO)

BMO World Elite MasterCard

  • $150 annual fee
  • No fee for supplementary cardholders
  • Earn 30,000 sign up bonus points
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all purchases
  • Receive 4 free Priority Pass lounge passes
  • Concierge Service, with 24-hour access to travel, dining, leisure and entertainment recommendations

I don’t think that there is too much debate here, as they are the clear winner.

6) Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card

  • $99 annual fee
  • Earn 4% cash back on gas and grocery purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back on Tim Hortons and TELUS purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

I actually had a hard time choosing between the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite CardCIBC Aerogold Visa Card for Your Business and the CIBC Aerogold Infinite Visa. In the end, I went with the cash back card. The other 3 credit cards that I listed are good during the first year fee waived promotions. But if I had to retain a credit card long term, the 4% cash back won me over.

7) Capital One

Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard

  • $150 annual fee
  • Earn 40,000 sign up bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all purchases

From Capital One onward, it is pretty slim pickings as the new few credit card companies have very few choices to choose from anyway. The Capital One Platinum MasterCard is a close second, but I will give the edge to the Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard because of the extensive travel insurance and concierge service.

8) Chase

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card

  • $120 annual fee (waived the first year)
  • No charge for additional cardholders
  • Earn 30,000 points after your first purchase
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Marriott hotels
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets, car rental agencies and restaurants
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-4 location after account approval
  • Earn 15 nights credit every year
  • Receive 1 anniversary bonus free night stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year
  • No foreign transaction fees

This is a no-brainer choice anyway, though the Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card is a pretty sweet card too.

9) National Bank

National Bank World MasterCard

  • $125 annual fee
  • $35 annual fee for supplemental cardholders starting on July 1, 2015 (no fee before that)
  • Earn 1.5 point for every $1 for purchases between 0 to $20,000 annually
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 for purchases between $20,001 to $30,000 annually
  • Earn 1.5 point for every $1 for purchases of $30,001 or more annually
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Access to concierge service
  • Access to National Bank World MasterCard to Montréal-Trudeau Airport’s National Bank World MasterCard Lounge (with a guest)

There is a current promotion where you can get the first year fee waived if you apply before July 12, 2015. This credit card has been recently upgraded.

Conclusion

That being said, this is where I am going to stop my list. The rest of the companies don’t really have much to brag enough. Ideally they would step up their game to make it to a list like this.

As I was building the list, I did not feel to impressed with what’s available in the market. Though I honestly don’t believe that we will see too much further added competition, as financial institutions are racking in record profits.

I actually have the opposite worry. I’m more scared that some of these credit cards will be discontinued or devalued, rather than increasing the competition. Hopefully I’m wrong.

I’m curious, how would your rankings look like?

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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