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Best Credit Card for Each Financial Institution (January 8, 2017)

I have written posts ranking each financial institution, but I thought it would be fun to write a post listing the top credit card of each financial institution. I have listed the credit cards based on the most recent financial institution rankings. For this post, you won’t see me jumping around with the rankings, because I will not have any groupings.

Keep in mind that even though I listed the top credit card choice, it is still highly dependent on an individual’s personal preference. That being said, I selected the top pick based on my personal recommendation assuming that all else is equal. What I mean is for example, some people don’t like paying an annual fee, but I base my recommendation on the fact that the person will utilise all the features and benefits associated with a credit card, that would justify the annual fee. So I am taking an overall perspective on how valuable a credit card is.

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 offered in TD/MBNA’s portfolio. 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.

2) 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 (or 60,000 if referred)
  • 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

The features and benefits associated wit this charged card can easily cover the $699 annual fee if utilised to its potential. With all else equal, I would actually even rate this credit card as the top pick within the whole country.

3) Scotiabank / Tangerine

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

  • $99 annual fee
  • $29 annual fee for a supplementary cardholder
  • Earn 20,000 sign up bonus
  • Earn 4 points for every $1 you spent on gas, grocery, dining and entertainment purchases
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Often times, you may find a first year fee waived promotion. With Scotiabank, it is a toss up with the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card, which I ranked as the top choice last time around. I originally put the Momentum card as the top pick because cash back is much less hassle compared to travel rewards. However, the 4 points per dollar (which is essentially 4% cash back) on 4 categories with the Gold card is better than 2 (gas and groceries only) with the Momentum card.

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

I am a big fan of the RBC Visa Infinite Avion, but companion voucher with the WestJet card puts it over the top.

5) Bank of Montreal (BMO)

BMO World Elite MasterCard

  • $150 annual fee
  • No fee for supplementary cardholders
  • Earn 20,000 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

Watch for a first year fee waived promotional offer. But this credit card wins by a landslide within the BMO portfolio.

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

The CIBC Aerogold Visa Business Card and the CIBC Aerogold Infinite Visa are close 2nd choices when there is a first year fee waived promotion. But what puts the Dividend card is that it makes more sense to have this credit card for the long term because of the 4% cash back on gas and groceries, which can easily help justify the annual fee if you reach at least $600 in spending per month on those two categories. The reason is because at $600 x 4% x 12 months = $288. If you subtract the annual fee of $99, that’s still $189. If you have the MBNA Smart Cash (which is a close comparison without an annual fee), at 2% cash back, you would earn $400 (maximum limit for the 2% cash back assuming you only spend on gas and groceries) x 2% x 12 months = $96.

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

Leading by example, I actually have this credit card. However, without the anniversary bonus, that it used to have, the Capital One Platinum MasterCard has become a very close second. However, because the Platinum card is exclusively for Costco members, the exclusivity drops it just below the Aspire Travel World Elite card.

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 15 nights credit every year
  • Receive 1 anniversary bonus free night stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year
  • No foreign transaction fees

With the merger of Marriott with SPG, Marriott points have become even more valuable. So I would sign up for this credit card while it is still around. I am always scared that it will be discontinued.

9) National Bank

National Bank World MasterCard

  • $125 annual fee
  • $35 annual fee for supplemental cardholders
  • 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)

Watch for first year fee waived promotions. This credit card actually has some very hidden value in it. However, it makes the most sense for people travelling through the Montreal airport regularly, as the lounge access is what makes this credit card so valuable.

The Rest

There is very little to talk about for the rest, as they either have too few choices or too little to talk about. That being said, here is the list anyway:

10) President’s Choice Financial (PC Financial) – PC Financial’s World Elite MasterCard

11) Rogers Bank – Rogers Bank Platinum MasterCard

12) Desjardins – Odyssey World Elite MasterCard

13) Laurentian Bank – Laurentian Bank Visa Explorer

14) ICICI Bank – ICICI Bank Rubyx Visa Platinum

15) HSBC – HSBC Premier MasterCard

16) Canadian Tire – Canadian Tire Options MasterCard

17) Walmart Financial – Walmart Rewards MasterCard


  1. BMO dropped the world elite signup bonus from 30k to 20k.
    Chase dropped the category 1-4 night on signup, but the 50k offer is still easily available, especially if you have status (either through Marriott or matched through SPG)
    Amex Platinum is 60k through referrals.

    Your list isn’t showing the best offers at all…

  2. Chase Marriott card no longer offers – 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-4 location after account approval

  3. I agree that the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite is their best card. The Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite and Scotiabank Gold American Express are the only other credit cards in Canada that offer 4% cash back. I’m waiting for a good upgrade offer to product change my CIBC Dividend Visa (which only gives 2% cash back on your first $6,000 in net annual grocery purchases; 0.5% cash back on the first $6,000 in other purchases, 1% cash back on all other annual purchases over $6,000). Your comment regarding the MBNA Smart Cash needs corrected to reflect that you now only get 2% cash back gas & grocery spending up to $400/month and 1% thereafter on spending up to $1250/month (unless you have the World Elite MC or Infinite Visa which has no limit on the 1% cash back).

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