Pointshogger

"Get the best return possible for every $ you spend."

Blog

Top Credit Cards to Use on Road Trip (updated June 20, 2017)

I have been on the road quite a bit for the past month; thus, the slowdown on posts. Since I have been on the road so much, I thought it would be a great time to update the list of top credit cards to for road trips.

See Also: Top Reasons to go on Road Trips

A lot has changed since I last created this list, so there will be lots of updates.

On a road trip, the biggest expenses are generally: restaurants, gas, grocery and accommodations expenses. If you are Canadian, there are only so many places that you would travel to by car. I would say, within Canada, throughout the United States and possibly Mexico. Beyond that, you may be better off flying. Therefore, I will suggest two types of portfolios. One within Canada and one for travel to Mexico and the United States.

For Travel within Canada

There are many more features to each credit card, but I am only going to focus on those that are relevant to a road trip. If you are looking to build a no annual fee portfolio, I would look at combining these two cards:

Capital One Platinum MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Exclusive to Costco members
  • Earn 3% cash back on restaurant purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back on gas purchases

AND/OR

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on a select group of categories (choice of 2 categories, a 3rd choice if you deposit the cash back into your Tangerine Savings Account)

I would select the 3 relevant categories to your road trip. Ideally, you would have the Capital One card, so you do not have to choose restaurant and gas with the Tangerine card.

If spend enough to justify paying an annual fee (or a client of Scotiabank with banking products and they are generous enough ongoing waive your fee), then I would get the:

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

  • $99 annual fee (often has a first year fee waived promotion)
  • $29 annual fee for a supplementary cardholder
  • Earn 4 points for every $1 you spent on gas, grocery, dining and entertainment purchases

AND combine it with one or more co-branded hotel credit card(s). Though there are very slim pickings in Canada:

MBNA Best Western MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Best Western properties

AND/OR

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa

  • $120 annual fee (first year fee waived)
  • No annual fee for supplementary cardholders
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels
  • Receive 1 anniversary bonus free night stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year

AND/OR

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

  • $120 annual fee
  • $50 annual fee for a supplementary cardholder (first year fee waived)
  • Earn 2 Starpoints for every $1 spent at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels (between November 15, 2016 and November 15, 2017)

For Travel to Mexico and the United States

Generally, credit cards charge a 2.5% foreign transaction fee. The following credit cards mitigate that fee.

Fido MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 4% cash back on foreign exchange purchases
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

OR

Rogers Platinum MasterCard

  • $29 annual fee (waived the first year and continually waived by setting up pre-authorized Rogers, Fido or Chatr monthly bills payments)
  • Earn 4% cash back on foreign exchange purchases
  • Earn 1.75% cash back on all other purchases

If you are a Rogers, Fido or Chatr client, then I would go with the Rogers card, because they have a higher earning ratio on all other purchases. If not, I would go for the Fido MasterCard. Note that the cash back can only be redeem for specific rewards.

AND

If you happen to be a fan of the Marriott chain, I would also include this credit card in my portfolio.

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card

  • $120 annual fee (waived the first year)
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Marriott hotels
  • Receive 1 anniversary bonus free night stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year
  • No foreign transaction fees

Even though the above credit cards minimize the hit on foreign transaction fees, I would still considering the following credit card on foreign purchases.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

  • $99 annual fee (often has a first year fee waived promotion)
  • $29 annual fee for a supplementary cardholder
  • Earn 4 points for every $1 you spent on gas, grocery, dining and entertainment purchases

One point is worth 1 cent. So even with a 2.5% foreign transaction fee, you are still coming out with 1.5% ahead (4% – 2.5%), which is the same value as the Fido MasterCard. The main difference is that the annual fee.

Per the comments below, the Scotiabank card would only be a second option to one of the two Rogers Bank cards. 

Any other credit cards that should have made the list?

Leave a Reply

Follow us on Social Media and keep up-to-date on our latest posts!

About Us

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!

  • Ottawa | Vancouver
  • @pointshogger

    Contact Us

    Send

    Subscribe To Our Newsletter

    Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

    You have Successfully Subscribed!