Time for Cash Back?

The longer this pandemic (COVID-19) drags on, the more some people may be wondering whether they should take a pause with earning airline miles or hotel points. So what’s the alternative? Cash Back?

If you are thinking about constructing a cash back portfolio, there are some options to work with in Canada. I am going to provide a general strategy.

10% Cash Back Offers and Above

The idea is you want to target the highest cash back cards first to get the ball rolling. The following 3 cards are examples that have or currently offering 10% cash back bonuses and first year fee waived:

  • Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card
  • Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card
  • Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

The idea is to get the highest cash back bonuses first before looking at other cards. You may want to use a combination of these at the same time to cover all categories of spending.

You can refer this our top current cash back credit cards page for more details on current details on most of the cards.

5% – 8% Cash Back Offers

However, higher cash back bonuses have a time limit or spending limit. So then you will need to start up new cards. The following batch of cards have typically offered at least 5% cash back, while waiving first year fees:

  • TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card
  • CIBC Cash Back Visa Infinite Card
  • BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard
  • Laurentian Bank Visa Dollars

The idea is that every time you pull out a credit card, you want to earn as much cash back as possible.

Rotate and Repeat Cycle

For all cases mentioned above, the higher spending cash back bonuses only lasts for a certain period of time (e.g. first 3 months of having the card) and / or a maximum spending limit (e.g. first $2000 in spending), typically whichever comes first.

Once you reach the limit on a specific card, you will want to start a new card to optimise your bonuses. Eventually, when you run out of cards to sign up for, you might have to start the process over again with cards that you previously had.

Yes, this is what we call churning, which is frowned upon by credit card companies; so I will explain how to mitigate issues in the next few paragraphs.

Avoid Annual Fees

The point of this post is to show a very aggressive approach to optimise cash back earnings without incurring any annual fees.

The strategy is to sign up for credit cards offering first year fee waived promotions to avoid fees. Upon renewal, ideally, you want to negotiate another fee waiver, especially with credit card companies that you have a pre-existing relationship with.

Another option is to do a product switch, where you switch the annual fee card to a no annual fee card to keep the credit history. This would improve your relationship with the credit card company because you are retaining the card.

Keeping a card longer would slow down your multiplier bonuses, because you cannot rotate back to the card so soon to take advantage of the sign up bonus again. But at least you develop a better relationship with the credit card company by keeping your overall portfolio balanced.

So the next step is to keep track of as many credit cards as possible so you have more options to work with.

Tracking List

The 7 credit cards that I listed above are some of the more recent offers that we have seen. Ideally, you want to have a large (as large as possible) tracking list of cash back cards where you can monitor ongoing limited time offers.

The more cards being tracked, the more options you have to rotate with, so that you can minimise how often you end up churning. The less you churn, the less frowning you will have to worry about from credit card companies.

Again, you can refer to our top cash back credit cards page for more details on current details on most of the cards.


This post was written to show a very optimal plan to earning cash back bonuses with ways to approach this in moderation. The idea is to keep the best relationship possible with credit card companies, so that you can keep on going.

Proceed with caution, while earning as much cash back as you can!


  1. Yes.

    The hotel and airline industry is going to have MASSIVE promotions in the future to get some business. Let them woo you with sweet deals. Until then, collect your cashback.

    Cancel all points cards now, so you can qualify for the next promo later.

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