Pointshogger

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

Blog

Putting Together a No Annual Fee Credit Card Portfolio

Due to the government lockdowns that occurred throughout the past 12 months (already? … gasp!), I find that I have dramatically reduced spending. The reduction in spending inspired me to write up this post. I’m sure that I’m not the only person to have reduced spending, so I thought I’d put together what I think would be an ideal no annual fee credit card portfolio.

Keep in mind that this post focused on credit cards with no annual fees whatsoever. This is important because I am thinking longevity (i.e. retaining the same card long term), so I will not be factoring churning, which would be a post for another day. For this post, you may notice some of the more lower profile cards, but do have some hidden value in them.

So let’s get going. I have broken down this post into categories of spending. Depending on individual spending habits, each person will want to pick and choose specific cards to optimise earning rewards across the board.

American Express Card (AMEX)

Keep in mind that the overall proposal involves keeping your wallet diversified so that you can take advantage of different offers. If you’re going to have one no annual fee AMEX card in your wallet, I would go for the American Express Choice Card. American Express Membership Rewards Select points can always come in handy, especially with the ability to transfer to Marriott and Hilton.

American Express Choice Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 12,500 sign up bonus points after spending $1,250 in the first 3 months (if you apply before May 5, 2021)
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on or eligible hotel and car rental bookings with American Express Travel Online
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all purchases

Retail Cards

If you are a fan of any of these retailers, I would definitely recommend having these cards in your wallet as you can earn points faster with each respective stores due to the multiplier bonuses. However, unless you are the multiplier bonuses, I would put other purchases on another credit card to earn more rewards.

Scotiabank Scene Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2,500 sign up bonus Scene points after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 5 Scene points for every $1 spent at participating Cineplex Entertainment theatre or online
  • Earn 1 Scene point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Have at least $12,000 personal annual income

Canadian Tire Triangle World Elite MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 7¢ per litre cash back on premium fuel at any Gas + location
  • Earn 5¢ per litre cash back on regular fuel at any Gas + location
  • Earn 4% cash back on qualifying purchases made online and in-store at Canadian Tire, Mark’s, Sport Chek and Atmosphere
  • Earn 3% cash back in Canadian Tire Money on grocery store purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Have at least $80,000 in personal annual income

President’s Choice Financial World Elite MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 20,000 sign up bonus PC points
  • Earn 45 PC Optimum points for every $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix
  • Earn 30 PC Optimum points for every $1 spent at PC stores, pctravel.ca and PC mobile (excluding PC mobile prepaid services)
  • Earn 30 PC Optimum points per litre of Esso Supreme (Octane 91) and Esso SUPREME+ (Octane 93)
  • Earn 20 PC Optimum points per litre on other gasoline or diesel
  • Earn 10 PC Optimum points for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Have at least $80,000 in personal annual income or $150,000 household income

MBNA Amazon.ca Rewards MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 5% back at Amazon.ca, grocery stores, and restaurants (for 6 months on the first $3,000 in eligible purchases)
  • Earn 2.5% back (Prime members) on Amazon.ca, Whole Foods Market purchases, as well as foreign transactions
  • Earn 1.5% back (non Prime members) on Amazon.ca and Whole Foods Market purchases
  • Earn 1% back other purchases

Airline and / or Hotel

I am happy to see that we have a no annual fee airline (finally) and hotel co-branded card in Canada. This allows people to accumulate direct travel points without incurring any fees.

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 10,000 sign up Aeroplan bonus points after the first purchase
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on Air Canada, gas and grocery purchases
  • Earn 1 point per $1.50 spent on all other purchases
  • Save 3 cents off per litre at participating gas stations with Journie Rewards
  • Have at least $15,000 in personal annual income

MBNA Best Western MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 20,000 sign up bonus points (after the first purchase)
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Best Western properties
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 on all purchases
  • Receive Best Western Gold status (after the first purchase)
  • Receive Diamond status (after spending $10,000 in a calendar year)

Cash Back

In terms of cash back, I would have these two cards in your wallet to optimise your return on the multiplier bonuses. What’s great about the Tangerine card is that if other members of your household also have this card, they can issue supplementary cards to other members of the household, which means they can cover more 2% cash back categories overall.

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 10% cash back on restaurants and bars (up to $500 in spending or within the first 4 months) (no time limit specified)
  • Earn 4% cash back on restaurants and bars (after the bonus offer expires)
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on gas, groceries, drugstore purchases and pre-authorized payments
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • Have at least $15,000 in personal annual income

Tangerine World MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Up to 5 supplementary cardholders
  • Earn 2% cash back on choice of 2 categories (3rd choice if you deposit the cash back into your Tangerine Savings Account)
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • Receive Boingo Wi-Fi

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a wide variety of cards to choose from. So if you are someone who never wants to worry about fees (i.e. keeping track of first year fee waived promotions), I suggest combining several of the cards mentioned above (depending on personal spending habits). There is sufficient diversity to maximise the rewards that can be earned on all spending.

Did I miss any cards in the list above? Please let us know in the comment section below!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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
    BoardingArea

    Subscribe To Our Newsletter

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

    You have Successfully Subscribed!

    %d bloggers like this: