We previously wrote an analysis on the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard. This is actually a credit card that I recently renewed and paid the annual fee at the renewal. There are not too many credit cards out there that I am willing to pay an annual fee for, but this is definitely one of them.
Here are the highlights of the credit card:
- $120 annual fee
- Earn 35,000 sign up bonus points after your first purchase
- Earn 10,000 anniversary bonus points
- Earn 2 points per $1 spend on anything
- Points can be redeem for a variety of rewards
- Tiering system when redeeming travel rewards
- Points do not expire as long as the account remains open
Earn point you earn is worth 1 cent in travel rewards. You can also redeem your points for other types of rewards, but if you use your points towards travel, it comes out to a 2% return. Therefore, the 35,000 sign up bonus comes out to $350 and the anniversary bonus comes out to $100. Not counting the first year sign up bonus, you are essentially paying $20 ($120 annual fee – $100 anniversary bonus) per year to keep this card. Not a bad deal for a card that can yield 2% return.
The hard part is to get the 2% return. This credit card has a very complicated redemption tiering system. You can redeem your points as follows:
- Up to $150 = 15,000
- $150.01 to $350 = 35,000
- $350.01 to $600 = 60,000
- $600.01 and greater = Travel cost x100
Just to give you a few examples. If you paid $140 for a flight, you will need to use 15,000 points. If you paid $355 for a flight, you will need to use 60,000 points. So you want to get as close as possible (but not slightly over) to a tier to get as close to a 2% return as possible. In some cases, try asking the retailer to help you split your bill.
For example, if you only have 20,000 or so points and your bill was $515.40, you can ask the retailer to split the bill in two transactions: $150 and $365.40. This way you can redeem 15,000 of your points for $150 and get the full 2% value on the one transaction.
If your bill is more than $600, then the math is much simpler. For example, if your bill is $635.25, you will need exactly 63,525 points.
What I like most about the credit card is the travel insurance and benefits coverage. This is the list of benefits:
Travel Emergency Medical
Provides emergency medical coverage anywhere in the world. As the primary cardholder, you, your spouse and your dependent children, when travelling with either parent, are covered for trips up to 22 days, if under 65 years of age, and for trips up to 8 days, if 65 years of age or older. This benefit is subject to an exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions.
If an illness, injury or other covered cause prevents you from starting your trip, you’ll be covered for up to $1,000 of eligible cancellation expenses per insured person, to a maximum of $5,000 per trip. Trip Cancellation covers you, as the eligible cardholder, your spouse and your dependent children when travelling with you and/or your spouse. It also covers up to two travelling companions. The full cost of the trip expenses must be charged to your Capital One credit card.
If an illness, injury or other covered cause prevents you from continuing your trip, you’ll be covered for up to $5,000 of eligible trip interruption expenses per insured person, to a maximum of $25,000 per trip. Trip Interruption covers you, your spouse, your dependent children and up to two other travelling companions when the full cost of the trip expenses are charged to your Capital One credit card.
You may be reimbursed for eligible reasonable living expenses incurred during the period of a delayed flight or missed connection which lasts four hours or more to a limit of $250 per day and $1,000 per trip for all insured travellers. Simply charge the full cost of your tickets to your Capital One credit card.
If your checked baggage is lost by an airline you can be reimbursed up to $1,000 per trip for all insured travellers. The full cost of your tickets must be charged to your Capital One credit card.
If your checked baggage is delayed for more than four hours at your away-from-home destination, you, your spouse and your dependent children may be eligible for reimbursement of up to $100 per day for up to three days to purchase essential items. The full cost of your tickets must be charged to your Capital One credit card.
Travel Accident Insurance
Receive up to $500,000 automatic travel insurance coverage for you, your spouse and your dependent children when you charge the full cost of your common carrier tickets to your Capital One credit card.
Car Rental Collision/Loss Damage Waiver
Charge the full cost of your car rental to your Capital One card and decline the collision damage waiver insurance offered by the rental agency (you could save $20-$30 per day) and you’ll be insured if your rental car is damaged or stolen when you rent the car for a period of up to 48 days.
MasterAssist Travel Assistance
Provides 24/7 assistance for medical referrals, emergency cash transfers, lost documents and ticket replacements, lost luggage assistance and legal referrals when travelling outside your province of residence. Any costs incurred in connection with these services are charged to your Capital One credit card.
When you use your Capital One credit card to buy a new item in Canada that is advertised for sale at a lower price within 60 days of purchase, Price Protection refunds the price difference up to $100 per item and $500 per calendar year.
When you use your Capital One credit card to purchase most personal items (and the full cost of the item is charged to your card), Extended Warranty coverage automatically doubles the original manufacturer’s warranty for up to two years.
Most personal items purchased are automatically insured against theft, loss or damage anywhere in the world for 120 days from the date of purchase when the full cost of the item is charged to your Capital One credit card.
One-call assistance with arrangements for travel, entertainment, business and shopping. Any costs incurred in connection with these services are charged to your Capital One credit card.
In addition to the 10,000 anniversary bonus, I value all of these travel insurance and benefits to help me justify the $120 annual fee. As a result, this is easily my favourite travel credit card in Canada.
Message to Capital One: Of course, even though this is my top credit card recommendation, there is still room for improvement. Some people have recommended that you waive the foreign transaction fee so that this can be considered a clear cut top travel credit card in Canada.
However, if I can only choose one upgrade to the card, I would prefer getting ride of the tiering redemption system instead. I don’t often compare Canadian credit cards with the American ones, but for this case I will because it is within the same company. In the US, there is a very similar credit card also issued by Capital One called the Venture Rewards Credit Card. Capital One actually waives the foreign transaction fees AND you do not have a tiering system in place when redeeming the points. I am hoping for only doing away with the tiering, without compromising something else of course.
I know that the hassle in redeeming the points is discouraging customers from signing up in the first place. I would think that more new customers would be more beneficial than not.