Credit Cards

Credit Card Recommendations

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  • Sep 11th, 2019 3:35 pm
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[OP]
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Jun 21, 2008
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Credit Card Recommendations

Looking for some recommendations! I don't think any "no fee" cards will be part of the recommendations but I could be wrong.

I think in terms of rate of return, I'm interested in either cash back or travel rewards - I've noticed these are the only two categories that typically offer you the best return rates for your points.

1) The best value card - balanced between rate of return (ie. points per $ and what you can redeem), perks, and annual fee

AND

2) Card with best return rates and perks regardless of annual fee (realistic for average high income earners 100-200k annual gross income not millionaires lol)

Appreciate the insight!
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May 8, 2009
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Going to the Moon
There's a sticky on "what's the best grab for..." with a list of linked threads.

We can offer recommendations based on:
  1. spend broken down by category
  2. Amount that falls under forex spend
  3. Merchants you shop at the most
  4. Your rewards goals
  5. Your travel routes
  6. Your level of comfort with credit products and willingness/reluctance to bump that up

If you want a personalized recommendation, gotta leak your personal details. The more info you give, the more we have to crunch and recommend.

Because some people...
  1. Wanna only deal with one FI
  2. Wanna stick with no-AF cards
  3. Wanna minimize fees
  4. Are ready/not ready to churn
  5. Wanna BT
  6. Wanna setup cross-border (or don't want to do this)
  7. Etc.
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[OP]
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Jun 21, 2008
2944 posts
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titaniumtux wrote: There's a sticky on "what's the best grab for..." with a list of linked threads.

We can offer recommendations based on:
  1. spend broken down by category
  2. Amount that falls under forex spend
  3. Merchants you shop at the most
  4. Your rewards goals
  5. Your travel routes
  6. Your level of comfort with credit products and willingness/reluctance to bump that up

If you want a personalized recommendation, gotta leak your personal details. The more info you give, the more we have to crunch and recommend.

Because some people...
  1. Wanna only deal with one FI
  2. Wanna stick with no-AF cards
  3. Wanna minimize fees
  4. Are ready/not ready to churn
  5. Wanna BT
  6. Wanna setup cross-border (or don't want to do this)
  7. Etc.
Yea saw that thread already and it's got way too many details - so does this mean there pretty much isn't any best overall cards?

I can share some details:

1) Income 100k-200k gross (so annual fee should be $400 or less I think but not sure)

2) Intersted in cash back or travel rewards mostly as I'm pretty sure those are the only two types that offer the best return rates

3) Intersted in perks related to travel (insurance, maybe access to flyer lounges, etc) and buyer protection (warranty on goods, price protection, etc)

4) bulk of my spending would be on restaurants, groceries, gas,

5) Not looking to churn - a great sign-up bonus (like $200 in travel) would be welcome but I'm interested in best card AFTER the first year

Having said all that and already looked at the "sticky" I guess I should rephrase my question:

1) Best card for travel (redemption rate, FX fees, travel insurance, luggage, cancellation, etc)

2) Best card for cash back
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May 12, 2019
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Ticco wrote: Yea saw that thread already and it's got way too many details - so does this mean there pretty much isn't any best overall cards?

I can share some details:

1) Income 100k-200k gross (so annual fee should be $400 or less I think but not sure)

2) Intersted in cash back or travel rewards mostly as I'm pretty sure those are the only two types that offer the best return rates

3) Intersted in perks related to travel (insurance, maybe access to flyer lounges, etc) and buyer protection (warranty on goods, price protection, etc)

4) bulk of my spending would be on restaurants, groceries, gas,

5) Not looking to churn - a great sign-up bonus (like $200 in travel) would be welcome but I'm interested in best card AFTER the first year

Having said all that and already looked at the "sticky" I guess I should rephrase my question:

1) Best card for travel (redemption rate, FX fees, travel insurance, luggage, cancellation, etc)

2) Best card for cash back
Capital 1 Secured lol
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Mar 14, 2018
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Before I recommend something, I'll go over 'as many points' as I can.

  • There is no income / annual fee rule. Higher fees can be an excellent way to earn more versus a no-fee card.
  • If your goal is the best return rate, you are likely looking at an Amex product, either cash-back or travel rewards.
  • The perks you are asking for come with a price, except for buyers protection, which is mostly standard nowadays. How often do you fly? Do you bring the kids? What are your typical destinations? How long do you stay generally? All those matter when discussing perks as the benefits vary considerably.
  • Restaurant / Groceries / Gas is probably the most common spending categories, so there is a good selection of products in this genre.
  • Since your goal is long-term hold and no interest in churning, do you have a redemption goal or certain "requirements" in terms of how / when / what you travel like?

Long-term hold, a favourite of many would the Cobalt from American Express, especially with its 5x multiplier for food and drinks (includes groceries and restaurants), though it is limited to 25k per year. HOWEVER, it doesn't stop you from having one for yourself and one for the SO. Depending how you use the points, you can easily obtain close to 3-5% in returns depending on your actual purchase mix. Decent insurance too, though no lounge access. If applied though Perkopolis, welcome bonus is 40,000 points, which is at least 400$ if used on a 1c per point basis.

If you don't travel that often, something with a 'partial' priority pass membership might be worth the annual fee. CIBC Aventura includes 4 priority pass visits per year for 120$, decent insurance and a "relatively good points system", though it really depends where you fly to and how much flexibility you want for what you obtain from your points. NEXUS credit is also quite nice if you go to the US often.

I'd still make a case for the Amex Platinum, likely more the personal version, simply because of the unlimited Priority Pass, 200$ annual travel credit, excellent insurance for the most part, and good earning rate on restaurants and travel. You can use points on any transaction, or use them through Amex's transfer partners (Aeroplan and others) which can net you a lot more returns depending on your flexibility. The most expensive for sure, but there is no card that offers as much perks as this one.
Last edited by thefusio15 on Aug 27th, 2019 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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thefusio15 wrote: If you want your information insecured, sure! ;)
He gave us half of it already
And frankly: as a lender, would I want to extend credit to someone who's at that specific level of lazy where they can write a paragraph of detailed personal information, but simply refuse to read multiple stickies for more than 30 seconds?
[OP]
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Jun 21, 2008
2944 posts
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Toronto
Cheapmaestro wrote: He gave us half of it already
And frankly: as a lender, would I want to extend credit to someone who's at that specific level of lazy where they can write a paragraph of detailed personal information, but simply refuse to read multiple stickies for more than 30 seconds?
I already said I did and there's just way too many cards out there each with their own set of benefits.

If it were me - I would just look at "best card for travel" and pick the one with the highest points per $ spent but then there might be other factors to consider (like FX fees) that I usually don't look at.

Thus why I'm asking for help from people who are "experts" with credit cards.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 21, 2008
2944 posts
384 upvotes
Toronto
thefusio15 wrote: Before I recommend something, I'll go over 'as many points' as I can.

  • There is no income / annual fee rule. Higher fees can be an excellent way to earn more versus a no-fee card.
  • If your goal is the best return rate, you are likely looking at an Amex product, either cash-back or travel rewards.
  • The perks you are asking for come with a price, except for buyers protection, which is mostly standard nowadays. How often do you fly? Do you bring the kids? What are your typical destinations? How long do you stay generally? All those matter when discussing perks as the benefits vary considerably.
  • Restaurant / Groceries / Gas is probably the most common spending categories, so there is a good selection of products in this genre.
  • Since your goal is long-term hold and no interest in churning, do you have a redemption goal or certain "requirements" in terms of how / when / what you travel like?

Long-term hold, a favourite of many would the Cobalt from American Express, especially with its 5x multiplier for food and drinks (includes groceries and restaurants), though it is limited to 25k per year. HOWEVER, it doesn't stop you from having one for yourself and one for the SO. Depending how you use the points, you can easily obtain close to 3-5% in returns depending on your actual purchase mix. Decent insurance too, though no lounge access. If applied though Perkopolis, welcome bonus is 40,000 points, which is at least 400$ if used on a 1c per point basis.

If you don't travel that often, something with a 'partial' priority pass membership might be worth the annual fee. CIBC Aventura includes 4 priority pass visits per year for 120$, decent insurance and a "relatively good points system", though it really depends where you fly to and how much flexibility you want for what you obtain from your points. NEXUS credit is also quite nice if you go to the US often.

I'd still make a case for the Amex Platinum, likely more the personal version, simply because of the unlimited Priority Pass, 200$ annual travel credit, excellent insurance for the most part, and good earning rate on restaurants and travel. You can use points on any transaction, or use them through Amex's transfer partners (Aeroplan and others) which can net you a lot more returns depending on your flexibility. The most expensive for sure, but there is no card that offers as much perks as this one.
Thanks for the insight, appreciate it.

Fly usually once every 2-3 years, no kids, usually within Canada or USA, stays 3-10 days duration.

No requirements really in terms of how/when/what - just want the best bang for buck.

I used to have the Scotia Amex Gold and that was great.
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Ticco wrote: Yea saw that thread already and it's got way too many details - so does this mean there pretty much isn't any best overall cards?
Correct!
Ticco wrote: I can share some details:

1) Income 100k-200k gross (so annual fee should be $400 or less I think but not sure)

2) Intersted in cash back or travel rewards mostly as I'm pretty sure those are the only two types that offer the best return rates

3) Intersted in perks related to travel (insurance, maybe access to flyer lounges, etc) and buyer protection (warranty on goods, price protection, etc)

4) bulk of my spending would be on restaurants, groceries, gas,

5) Not looking to churn - a great sign-up bonus (like $200 in travel) would be welcome but I'm interested in best card AFTER the first year

Having said all that and already looked at the "sticky" I guess I should rephrase my question:

1) Best card for travel (redemption rate, FX fees, travel insurance, luggage, cancellation, etc)

2) Best card for cash back
1) Based on what your wants are, a good option would be the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite. Points are easy to redeem, no f/x fees, excellent travel insurance, six Priority Pass lounge passes, it's not an Amex so better acceptance, and an annual fee of $139. But, as always, when you are trying to fit everything into one card, there are compromises. The earn rate is 2% on groceries, gas, transit, dining and entertainment, and 1% on everything else. A little subpar relative to other cards, but that's the compromise.

2) Can't help you there, as I don't have any pure cashback cards. Many folks like the Rogers World Elite MC for its 1.75% earn rate on everything, but you may fare better with cards that have higher "category" earn rates (such as gas, groceries, etc), but lower "everything else" earn rates.
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OP, for "no churn", you'd probably need min 4-6 keeper cards to map out maximizing rewards.
  1. AmEx Cobalt /$120 AF 5x food
  2. Simplii VISA no-AF for 4%/resto caps at $5k/yr
  3. While you travel, you should grab Rogers MC, HomeTrust Preferred or Brim MC. They're all no-AF and no-FTF. Canadian no-FTF cards are generally cashback except for the ones with AF (HSBC & BNS). Rogers can also be your base/uncategorized earn rate
  4. Travel to the US a lot? Consider TD Cash VISA. Note that you'd do best opening a US bank account to pay the card. 3/2/1% resto/grocery/else in USD, no-AF, no-FTF, and available to Canadians (no SSN or ITIN)
  5. HSBC Travel WE if you want their accelerators and no-FTF
  6. CTFS ∆ WE for no-AmEx grocery, exotic bill pays (property tax), partner stores and gas bars. I know you said cashback or travel pts, but CTFS is a nice hidden gem even though their ∆ cards earn in "store pts"
  7. Prepaids Stack and Koho for forex ATM's

As you can see, the list can stretch longer if you want to maximize on each category and minimize on fees. When you travel, you'll want 2+ no-FTF cards plus your prepaids in case any cards get compromised or locked.
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efrant wrote: Based on what your wants are, a good option would be the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite. Points are easy to redeem, no f/x fees, excellent travel insurance, six Priority Pass lounge passes, it's not an Amex so better acceptance, and an annual fee of $139. But, as always, when you are trying to fit everything into one card, there are compromises. The earn rate is 2% on groceries, gas, transit, dining and entertainment, and 1% on everything else. A little subpar relative to other cards, but that's the compromise.
Gotta agree with the Passport as a good option. Points are not worth as much as some other platforms, but still really versatile and good value with the PP passes.
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titaniumtux wrote: When you travel, you'll want 2+ no-FTF cards plus your prepaid in case any cards get compromised or locked.
This is probably the best advise for 99% of people, especially if they don't have cellular service enabled while roaming, or even in the event they lock themselves out of their accounts.
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thefusio15 wrote: Gotta agree with the Passport as a good option. Points are not worth as much as some other platforms, but still really versatile and good value with the PP passes.
I would not recommend Scotia Passport Infnite for the OP. The $139 AF is too high for earnings on spending with that card, which frankly are crap. The big value in that card are the 6 included lounge passes per year, great value for frequent fliers but pretty useless to the OP who said he flies once every 2-3 years.

OP says the bulk of his spending is on groceries, restaurants, and gas. I'd go with $120 Scotiabank Amex Gold, earns 5% in the first two and 3% on gas. Elevate the gas return to 5% by buying gas gift cards at the grocery store.

$120 Amex Cobalt is another good one, 5% in the first two and 2% on gas. Gas gift cards at the grocery store again will elevate the gas earnings to 5%.

If he doesn't want Amex, consider $99 Meridian Cash Back Visa Infinite, 4% on groceries/gas and 1% restaurant/other. Supplement with the free Simplii Visa for 4% at restaurants.
Last edited by Kiraly on Aug 28th, 2019 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Kiraly wrote: $120 Amex Cobalt is another good one, 5% in the first two and 1% on gas and other. Gas gift cards at the grocery store again will elevate the gas earnings to 5%.
Minor correction: Cobalt is 2x on travel & transit, including gas.
[OP]
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Kiraly wrote: I would not recommend Scotia Passport Infnite for the OP. The $139 AF is too high for earnings on spending with that card, which frankly are crap. The big value in that card are the 6 included lounge passes per year, great value for frequent fliers but pretty useless to the OP who said he flies once every 2-3 years.

OP says the bulk of his spending is on groceries, restaurants, and gas. I'd go with $120 Scotiabank Amex Gold, earns 5% in the first two and 3% on gas. Elevate the gas return to 5% by buying gas gift cards at the grocery store.

$120 Amex Cobalt is another good one, 5% in the first two and 1% on gas and other. Gas gift cards at the grocery store again will elevate the gas earnings to 5%.

If he doesn't want Amex, consider $99 Meridian Cash Back Visa Infinite, 4% on groceries/gas and 1% restaurant/other. Supplement with the free Simplii Visa for 4% at restaurants.
Thanks for the insight! Answers like this is pretty much why I asked in the first place - I would never get this just from looking through the sticky thread that just presents all the cards in summary form.

Thanks really appreciated!
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jtfrogger wrote: Minor correction: Cobalt is 2x on travel & transit, including gas.
Also, it is the only Amex card which counts transit (Presto reload for example) as 2x. Most limit it to travel only, or gas, but not that broadly.
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You can pair the Amex Cobalt and Scotiabank Passport and keep the ROGERS WE when you travel and that way you have everything. $120 AF for cobalt and $139 for Scotia.
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Did nobody but me notice that he says he flies once every 2-3 years? That makes Scotia Passport Infinite a terrible choice. Paying $139 for that card is good value only for frequent fliers who would otherwise pay outright for the included six airport lounges per year. He'd use two over a two year period and the other ten would be wasted. Not worth it at all.
[OP]
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Kiraly wrote: Did nobody but me notice that he says he flies once every 2-3 years? That makes Scotia Passport Infinite a terrible choice. Paying $139 for that card is good value only for frequent fliers who would otherwise pay outright for the included six airport lounges per year. He'd use two over a two year period and the other ten would be wasted. Not worth it at all.
Yea thanks for the help - I'm starting to pretty much narrow it down to the Scotia Amex Gold and maybe the Rogers WE (for overseas) so that whenever the Amex is not accepted I'll have the WE handy.

Already on the Tangerine cash back card and it's not bad for what it is

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