Get ready to start getting some cash back from your credit card purchases. Cash-back cards have gained an impressive amount of popularity lately, because they represent the easiest to understand and use rewards system. Cash-back cards are as popular as they are numerous, counting dozens that go from no-fee to high-fee cards, cards with high cash-back rates for specific categories, credit cards for new cardholders or students and more. In the following post, you’ll see how these cards compare to each other and how to choose the right one for you.

Overall, we believe that the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offers the best balance between earn rate and category flexibility at no annual fee, so it’s the best choice for most Canadians. The CIBC Visa Dividend Infinite Card, on the other hand, is a better choice if you spend most of your money on groceries or gas.

Using your credit cards and being rewarded for it sounds perfect, right? Especially if you’re getting cash back from every purchase you make. In this post, we’ve rounded up the best deals on cash back cards available for Canadians right now, and to make things even easier for you, we picked the best ones depending on different lifestyles.

So, whether if you are a student looking for a cash back card, you want to save up some money on groceries and gas, or even if this will be the first credit card you ever had, you can use this post to see which one suits you best.

In this post, you’ll find:

Best Cash Back Cards for New Cardholders

If you just turned 18 and you’re looking to have your very first credit card, sometimes it can be difficult to meet some banks’ requirements. The following cards give you the option to apply for them with no minimum personal income requirements and they do not have an annual fee to add up to your expenses, making them the best option for new cardholders.

The top three cards in this category are:

Card Annual Fee Min. Personal Income Additional Perks Purchase IR Cash Advance IR Recommended Credit Score
MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard $0.00 $0.00 Travel Accident Insurance. Car rental collision / loss damage waiver. Trip interruption. Baggage loss 19.99% 24.99% 660
SimplyCash Card from American Express $0.00 $0.00 Travel Accident Insurance. Car rental collision / loss damage waiver 19.99% 22.99% 660
Scotia Momentum Mastercard Credit Card $0.00 $0.00 N/A 19.99% 22.99% 660

Why we recommend them

MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard - The best cash back cards for new cardholders

First, the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard has the highest cash back rate of this category at 2% for gas and groceries and a 0.5% rate for other eligible purchases. Additionally, it also comes with a welcome rate of 5% on gas and groceries for the first 6 months (up to $500), and it includes extra travel insurance advantages that are very welcome in case of a trip.

The runner up, the SimplyCash Card from American Express, is also a good option when considering what card to apply for, since it offers a flat rate of 1.25% on all purchases with no limit on what you can earn back. Additionally, it has a welcome rate of 2.5% on all purchases for the first three months (up to $150), and it also includes limited travel insurance coverage (up to $100,000 in AD&D coverage) and a purchase protection plan for additional benefits.

Finally, the Scotia Momentum Mastercard Credit Card offers a 1% cash back on eligible gas, groceries and drugstore purchases, and recurring bill payments, and a 0.5% cash back on all other eligible everyday purchases. There’s also no limit to what you can get back. However, what really got it on this list is the 7.99% interest rate on eligible purchases for the first 6 months! There are also several benefits to the card like a zero liability program, a 25% discount on car rentals, and a very comprehensive insurance package, all without paying an annual fee.

Best Cash Back Cards for Students

So, you are still in school and want to manage some personal finances? You may have a low personal income and a very tight budget. Well, these cards will help you with a little bit of extra credit while you build your credit score to become eligible for better options:

Card Annual Fee Min. Personal Income Additional Perks Purchase IR Cash Advance IR Recommended Credit Score
Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa $0.00 $0.00 Travel emergency medical. Trip cancellation. Baggage loss. Baggage delay. Zero liability protection. 19.90% 19.90% 560
Meridian Visa Cash Back Card $0.00 $0.00 Mobile device insurance. Travel accident insurance. 19.50% 21.99% 660
National Bank Mycredit Mastercard $0.00 $0.00 Mobile insurance for two years 20.99% 22.99% 660

Why we recommend them

Best cash back cards for students - The Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa

Both the Desjardins Student Cash Back Visa and National Bank Mycredit Mastercard have the same offer of 1% cash back on preauthorized payments, and 0.5% cash back on all purchases. The main difference lies in the credit score required in order to apply for it. With a lower recommended credit score, the Desjardins card is the best option for students, especially if it is to be their first card.

The Meridian Visa Cash Back Card offers 1% cash back on gas, grocery and pharmacy store purchases and utility bill payments. It also offers a 0.5% cash back rate on all other eligible purchases with no cap on your earnings. With no annual fee, this is also a very flexible option for a student cash-back card.

These cards also have additional benefits that sweeten the deal like a mobile insurance in case of theft or damage, travel medical insurance and zero liability protection.

Best Cash Back Cards for Building Credit Score

If you have been hesitant to get a credit card before and therefore haven’t had the chance to build your credit score, here are some cash back options that will help. They will also be useful when requesting a loan or a bigger credit line.

Card Annual Fee Min. Personal Income Additional Perks Purchase IR Cash Advance IR Recommended Credit Score
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express $99.00 $0.00 Travel emergency medical Travel Accident Insurance. Flight Delay. Bagagge Loss 19.99% 22.99% 660
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card $0.00 $12,000.00 Money-Back Rewards are earned automatically and paid monthly, and can either be applied towards your Credit Card balance or redeemed into your Savings Account. 19.95% 19.95% 660
BMO CashBack MasterCard $0.00 $15,000.00 Car rentals discounts.1.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months, 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred. 19.99% 22.99% 660
Shell CashBack MasterCard from BMO $0.00 $15,000.00 N/A 19.99% 22.99% 660

Why we recommend them:

The first card in this category is the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express. The main highlights are a 2% return on all purchases, no limits on earning potential, and it has a welcome rate of 5% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $300 cash back) for the first 6 months of cardmembership. Its only downside is a $99 annual fee.

In second place, we present the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card. It’s definitely one of the best options to consider since it offers a 2% cash back rate on up to 3 categories of your choice. Moreover, the card comes with an introductory rate of 4% on the previously mentioned categories for the first three months. It doesn’t have an annual fee, but in order to qualify for a this credit card you must have a minimum personal income of $12,000, which is more than manageable for most Canadians.

Meanwhile the BMO CashBack MasterCard requires a $15,000 personal income in order to be eligible for it, and it doesn’t have an annual fee either. As for the cash backs, it offers a 1% rate on all purchases with no limit on how much you can earn. Additionally, it has one of the best welcome rates you’ll find, with 5% cash back for the first three months. This is definitely one card to consider.

As for the Shell CashBack MasterCard from BMO, the benefits are 1.5% cash back for every purchase made at Shell locations in Canada and a 0.5% on other purchases (also in Canada). There is, however, a welcome rate of 1% on all purchases for the first six months and a $50 Bonus when signing up, which is a net win, considering the fact that the card doesn’t have an annual fee.

Best Cash Back Cards for Saving on Groceries and Gas

In case you’re looking for an additional card that helps you save up on regular, everyday expenses like gas and groceries, there are a number of options available. Here are our top choices.

Card Annual Fee Min. Personal Income Additional Perks Purchase IR Cash Advance IR Recommended Credit Score
CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa Card $99.00 $15,000.00 Travel Accident Insurance. Car rental collision / loss damage waiver 19.99% 22.99% 660
MBNA Smart Cash World Mastercard $39.00 $60,000.00 A suite of comprehensive insurance 19.99% 22.99% 660
Meridian Visa Infinite* Cash Back Card $99.00 $60,000.00 Travelling benefits. 19.50% 21.99% 725

Why we recommend them 

Since the whole point is to get as much cash back from gas and grocery purchases, we will present these cards from the one with the highest benefits in these categories, to the lowest.

The winner is the CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa Card, which gives you a 4% return on gas and groceries and 1% on other purchases. Additionally you get a 10% cashback for the first 4 months (up to $200) as a welcome rate. With an annual fee of $99 and $15,000 minimum personal income to be eligible for one, this is definitely the best choice.

The runner up is the MBNA Smart Cash World MasterCard, whichstarts at 2% return on groceries and 1% on other eligible purchases. The upside to this card is that it has an introductory rate of 5% for gas and groceries for the first six months (up to $500), which has the potential to earn you more than twice of what you’d get with the former card. However, it does have a $39 annual fee, and it requires a $60,000 minimum personal income, which makes it a lot harder to get than the CIBC Dividend Visa.

As for the Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card, the cash back rates are: 4% on gas and groceries (up to $1000); 2% on pharmacy and utility bill payments (up to $500) and 1% on all other purchases. This cash back rate is at least as good as the one on the CIBC Dividend Platinum Visa, but unlike in the former case, those earn rates here are capped, limiting your earning potential. While there’s a $99 annual fee, the first year is waived. Additionally, keep in mind that you also need a minimum annual income of $60,000.

Best All-Round Cash Back Credit Cards

After considering their potential and rewards, their pros and cons and everything else, we believe that the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is the best all-round choice, as it offers the best balance between earn rate and flexibility with no annual fee. The 2% cash-back rate on up to three categories of your choice, and double that during the first 3 months of cardmembership, can save you a lot of money, especially if you don’t spend most of your money in groceries and gas.

If you do spend most of your budget on groceries and gas, it’s best to choose a card that’ll give you more bang for your buck. The best choice in this case is the CIBC Visa Dividend Infinite Card, which gives you 4% cash back at the gas station and grocery stores and 1% on other purchases with no limit to how much you can get back. To top it off, the welcome rate is 10% for the first 4 months (up to $200), so you shouldn’t have any problems outweighing the $99 annual fee.

Travel easy with value for money deals by RBCs Avion Visa Infinite. A good welcome bonus, impressive insurance coverage that’ll give most premium cards a run for their money, decent points earn rates and a lot more benefits will make you look past the $120 annual fee. Read on for our review of the top 5 benefits this card has to offer, and decide if the RBC Avion Visa Infinite is credit card for you.

APPLY NOW

Looking for a travel credit card that is flexible and user-friendly? You may have found it with the RBC Avion Visa Infinite. The card is made to reward primarily for travel purposes. The annual fee might be a deal-breaker to many, but the travel benefits are enough to justify paying it. 

In this review, you will find:

RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card Features and Benefits

Annual Fee$120
Purchase Rate19.99%
Cash Advance Rate22.99%
Supplementary Card$50/card 
Up to 9 cards
Welcome Points15,000 RBC Rewards® point
Points Earn Rate • 1.25 RBC Rewards® point/$1 for eligible travel related purchases
• 1 RBC Rewards® point/$1
Point Transfer to 3rd Party Loyalty Programs
Comprehensive Insurance Coverage
Credit Card Lock

Requirements to Apply for RBC Avion Visa Infinite 

Or

The $120 annual fee is usually a put-off, but with the flexibility the card has on the RBC Rewards points for travel, it makes the card worth considering.

Lets deep dive into the card benefits/features below.

RBC Rewards® Point Redemptions

The RBC Rewards points (formerly Avion Points) are the currency for the RBC Rewards loyalty program. You earn 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent for all purchases. For eligible travel purchases, you earn 25% more, or 1.25 points per $1 spent. 

There are different ways to use (redeem) your points:

Detailed info on the RBC Rewards program terms and conditions can be found here.

Benefit #1 – Flexible Traveling

The great thing about holding a Avion Visa Infinite Card is you can book flights using your points at any given time – no blackout dates. If the seat is available during peak periods, you are allowed to book it – no restrictions! 

There are two ways to use your RBC points for airfare redemption:

  1. RBC’s very own Air Travel Redemption Schedule
  2. Transfer of your earned RBC Rewards points to other loyalty programs

RBC Air Travel Redemption Schedule

This is RBS’s own travel rewards program. It enables you to redeem your points directly for flights. The program includes short haul flights which require as little as 15,000 RBC Rewards points to book, all the way to across-the-world flights for up to 100,000 points.

Fly for Short-haul Canada & US between neighbouring provinces & states with 15000 points at maximum ticket price $350. 
Fly for Long-haul Canada & US not including Alaska & Hawaii with 35000 points at maximum ticket price $750. 
Fly from Western Canada to Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Caribbean & Central America with 45000 points at maximum ticket price $900
Fly from Eastern Canada to Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Caribbean & Central America with 55000 points at maximum ticket price $1100.
Fly from Canada & US to Europe with 65000 points with maximum ticket price $1300.
Fly from Canada & US to other continents Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Middle East, Africa, South America with maximum ticket price $2000

The only downside is that this redemption is only for the base ticket price. It does not include taxes, fuel and surcharge fees, so you’ll have to pay those in cash.

The RBC Air Travel Redemption Schedule will give you around 2 cents per point if you choose the selected flights in the program. If, on the other hand, you choose to pay for a flight outside it, you would get only 1 cent per point. As such, it’s not a recommended method of using your RBC Rewards points.

Transferring Your RBC Rewards Points To Other Loyalty Programs

The ability to transfer RBC Rewards points to other loyalty programs, on the other hand, is the biggest plus of the Avion Visa Infinite Card. 

Below are the partner brands that you’re allowed to transfer RBC Rewards points to:

Transfer RBC Rewards Points to Hudson's Bay Rewards,
American Airlines,
Asia Miles,
British Airways Avios

The RBC Rewards To Avios Transfer Bonus

One of the best transfer options would be to convert your RBC Rewards points to Avios (British Airways points).

At present, British Airways is offering a deal where you can receive 50% more Avios when you convert your RBC Rewards® points. This gives you 1.5 Avios for every RBC Rewards points converted! 

A minimum of 10,000 RBC Rewards points must be converted in one transaction. Post transfer, it will take 4 weeks to show in Avios. This offer is valid until 15 December 2019.

Since we value Avios at 2 cents apiece, getting 50% more Avios than the original RBC Rewards Points you have is the same as getting 3 cents per RBC point.

The RBC Points to Avios transfer offer boosts your RBC points value to 3 cents apiece, or $3 per every 100 points, and it gives you the additional flexibility of Avios.

You can refer to our post on How To Use British Airways Avios Points In Canada for more information on how to get the most out of this loyalty program.

Redeeming RBC Rewards Points for Statement Credit

Besides paying for flights, use the ‘Pay with Points’ system to maximise your points to pay for:

A balance payment of $100 on your credit card would require 17,200 points which gives the value of 1 point = 0.58 cents.

You can use an eligible wallet app (iOS, Android and Samsung Pay) to make use of the ‘Pay with Points’ system with the steps below:

Benefit #2 – Instant Fuel Saving with Petro-Canada

Taking advantage of the RBC and Petro-Canada partnership with your Avion Visa Infinite

Link your Avion Visa to your Petro-Canada card and enjoy instant savings of $0.03 per litre + earn additional 20% Petro-Points. Linking takes 2 business days at most. 

Follow these steps to sccessfully link your Avion Visa to your Petro-Canada card:

  1. Sign-In to RBC Online Banking or the RBC Mobile app.
  2. Enter your Petro-Points card number or get a Petro-Points membership number today.
  3. Link your Petro-Points card to all of your RBC Avion Visa Infinite

Do take note that Petro-Points are not awarded on tobacco products, vaping products, gift cards, transit tickets and taxes on non-petroleum purchases.

Benefit #3 – Insurance Coverage 

The RBC Avion Visa Infinite card comes with a comprehensive insurance package provided by:

What’s great about this card’s insurance, is that the coverage is comparable to, and even better than the embedded insurance policies of higher-end cards such as the Amex Platinum in terms of the sum insured for the respective types. 

Here is a summary of the insurance coverage provided by RBC Avion Visa Infinite:

Insurance Type Details
Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical
Insurance 
Unlimited
Covers you, your spouse, any dependent children, any additional cardmember, for any number of trips with a maximum duration of 15 days for below ages 65.
**for ages 65 and above, coverage up to 3 days. 
Travel Accident Insurance Up to $500,000 CAD
Covers you, your spouse, any dependent children, any additional cardmember, in the event of an accidental bodily injury resulting in a loss, including death, while travelling on a common carrier 
Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance Up to the actual cash value of the damaged or stolen rental vehicle, as well as valid rental agency towing and loss of use charges 
Trip Cancellation InsuranceUp to $1,500 per person 
Max $5,000 per trip
Trip Interruption Insurance Up to $5,000 per person 
Max $25,000 per trip
Emergency Purchases and Flight Delay Insurance Up to $250 per person
if there is a (4+ hour delay)
Max $500 per trip
Baggage Delay Insurance Up to $500 per person 
if there is a (4+ hour delay)
Max $2,500 per trip
Lost Baggage Insurance $500 per person
Max $2,500 per trip
Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance $2,500 per occurrence in aggregate
Purchase Security Insurance Up to $50,000 
within 90 days of purchase
Extended Warranty Insurance Doubles the original manufacturer’s warranty, up to a maximum extension of one (1) year 
Mobile Device Insurance Up to $1,500  if your mobile device purchased with your RBC Avion Visa Infinite card and/or RBC Rewards®  points is lost, stolen, suffers accidental damage or experiences mechanical failure 

Considering the annual fee on this card, its insurance coverage is truly off the charts.

Yes – it will be subject to disclaimers, but those are fairly standard across all credit card insurance policies. To avoid any surprises though, you can click on this link for more information regarding the insurance coverage. Additionally, it’s always important to remember to read your insurance contract very carefully before every trip.

Benefit #4 – Credit Card Lock 

Another interesting feature for the safety of the credit card is you can temporarily lock your card if you feel you’ve lost your Avion Visa Infinite card or misplaced it. 

You can lock it while you look for it and, once you’ve found it, you can unlock it back and resume using your Avion Visa Infinite card. 

The Verdict

If you are a traveler, it’s safe to say that this card is an excellent deal, as it gives you an easy way to earn points and solid flexibility to redeem them, especially via point transfer to other loyalty programs. By charging your travel bookings to this card, you would have a worry-free trip with the generous insurance coverage that comes along with it.

These perks with another credit card could cost several hundred dollars, making the RBC Visa Infinite Card an exceptional value and an all-round winner.

Will you be the one who gets more for less? Try it today!

Image of travelers at an airport. Airport Lounge Program

Airport Lounges are all the rage among frequent travelers and nomads of all sorts. They provide an opportunity to lay back and relax on those tiresome and long layovers, and they’ll completely change the way you experience travel once you try them.

There are a number of airport lounge clubs that you can sign up to in order to gain access to the most exclusive establishments in airports all around the world. Big names like Priority Pass and Dragon Pass stand out from the rest, but there are plenty of other options to choose from. In this post you’ll learn everything you need to know about the top airport lounge programs in the world, and how you can take full advantage of the confort and perks they provide.

Here is your one stop guide to what are the pros and cons of the available airport lounge programs. It’s a simple summary of what you need to know to decide which program better suits your lifestyle.

In this article, you will find 

What Is It About Airport Lounges?

We can’t stress enough why airport lounges are no longer a luxury commodity but a necessity during your flight travel plan. Simply put – you would enjoy your layovers and pre-departure time a lot more with the addition of an airport lounge facility at your disposal.

Imagine this – sipping on your favorite beverage on your personal massage chair in a quiet environment with high speed Wi-Fi available for you to get up to speed on your social/news media update.

At certain lounges, you can even get shower facilities along with the provision of soap, shampoo and towels. It’s no longer an exclusive benefit where airport lounges are only available to first class ticket holders. Today, it’s pretty much available to any departing flight ticket holder with the right credit card or membership plan. 

Read on to find out about how to become eligible and gain access to the best airport lounges in the world.

How Do I Gain Access to Airport Lounges?

As mentioned above, airport lounges used to be an exclusive benefit that came with purchasing a first-class ticket. Today, however, things have changed. There are three major ways to walk into a lounge:

  1. Buy a membership plan if the program allows you to. It could be an annual, monthly or even daily membership
  2. Get a credit card that comes with a complimentary airport lounge program membership or a discounted membership at your preferred airport lounge program. 
  3. Find out which airport lounges are available at your departing or stopover airport and purchase a walk-in airport lounge pass

We will elaborate more on the different membership plans available below. 

Types of Airport Lounge Programs Available

To make it easier for travellers, many different airport lounges have joined under a common banner in the form of airport lounge programs or lounge clubs. This gives you, as a traveler, the possibility to access lounges at different airports with one single membership plan. 

What makes each lounge program special?

We have done a deep analysis on the top lounge programs and provide here our review score for each. Individual scores go from 0 to 20 points, which makes the total score go from 0 to 100. Here is a summary of the top airport lounge programs available:


Priority PassDragon PassLoungeKeyMaple Leaf ClubPlaza Premium Lounge
Global Lounge Coverage202020168
Canadian Lounge Coverage2020201814
Hours & Amenities911101212
Food & Drink161617819
Value for Money20882014
TOTAL8575757467

Read on below for details on the lounge program scoring

Priority Pass 

Priority Pass Airport Lounge program logo
Scoring CriteriaPriority Pass Score
Global Lounge Coverage20
Canadian Lounge Coverage20
Hours & Amenities9
Food & Drink16
Value for Money20
TOTAL85

Global Lounge Coverage: Priority Pass

Priority Pass comes with more than 1,200 lounges globally across 7 continents. It is known to be one of the biggest in the world, with the highest number of available airport lounges under its wing. You can find the list of available lunges here.

Even so, it is still key to check if your preferred airport lounge is a part of Priority Pass before jumping the gun and immediately getting your pass membership.

Canadian Lounge Coverage: Priority Pass

From the Priority Pass program, there are 21 lounges available across 7 Canada airports:

Food & Drinks: Priority Pass

The food selection has been said, by user reviews, to be ‘good’, as hot food is available at most establishments. At selected airports such as YWG, complimentary beer and wine beverages are also available for consumption.

Hours & Amenities: Priority Pass

On average, Priority Pass lounges in Canada are open 18 hours per day. In the following table, you will find the amenities available at the Canadian airport lounges in the Priority Pass program.

In the table, every numerator (the number at the top) represents how many of the PP lounges in that airport offer each amenity, and the denominator (the number at the bottom) represents the total number of PP lounges in that airport. For example, in Toronto Pearson (YYZ), 3 out of 6 Priority Pass lounges offer showers, and 2 out of six offer Printers & Copiers.

Canadian Airports with Priority Pass LoungesShowersPrinters & Copiers
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)3/62/6
Vancouver International Airport (YVR)3/50/5
Calgary International Airport (YYC)2/31/3
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)0/11/1
Edmonton International Airport (YEG)0/20/2

Value: Priority Pass

Annual membership options:

  1.  $99 USD for the Standard plan (occasional) – $32 USD per member visit and $32 USD per guest visit
  2. $200 USD for the Standard Plus plan (regular) – 10 FREE visits, then $32 USD per member visit. $32 USD per guest visit
  3. $429 USD for the Prestige plan (frequent) – unlimited FREE member visits and $32 USD per guest visit

Membership Options: Priority Pass

  1. Get yourself an American Express Platinum card / AeroplanPlus Platinum Amex / AeroplanPlus Reserve Amex and enjoy complimentary Priority Pass membership as long as you have your card active. 
  2. Get the Scotia Gold Amex for a 35% discounted Priority Pass membership.

Final Thoughts: Priority Pass

The wide range of airport coverage and unlimited access in may Amex credit card options makes this airport lounge program a winner and favourite pick in many traveller’s checklist. This would be your best bet. If you don’t already have one, get yourself an Amex Platinum card today with optimised benefits along with complimentary unlimited access to Priority Pass lounges.

Dragon Pass

Dragon Pass Airport Lounge program logo
Scoring CriteriaDragon Pass Score
Global Lounge Coverage20
Canadian Lounge Coverage20
Hours & Amenities11
Food & Drink16
Value for Money8
TOTAL75

Global Lounge Coverage: Dragon Pass

Dragon Pass comes with 970 lounges globally across 115 countries. It draws the second largest number of lounges available within the program after Priority Pass.

You can check the listing of Dragon Pass lounges here and Priority Pass lounges here to compare.

Canadian Lounge Coverage: Dragon Pass

From the Dragon Pass program, there are 20 lounges available across 7 Canadian airports:

Food & Drinks: Dragon Pass

Similar to Priority Pass on the lounges available, the food selection has also been said to be ‘good’ in user reviews. At selected airports such as YWG, complimentary beer and wine beverages are also available for consumption.

Hours & Amenities: Dragon Pass

On average, DragonPass lounges in Canada are open 18 hours per day. At the Canadian airports below, you will find the amenities available at the lounges in the Dragon Pass program.

Canadian Airports with Dragon Pass LoungesShowersPrinters & Copiers
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)3/62/6
Vancouver International Airport (YVR)3/50
Calgary International Airport (YYC)2/20/2
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)0/11/1
Edmonton International Airport (YEG)0/20/2

Value: Dragon Pass

Annual membership options:

  1. $99 USD for the Standard plan (occasional) – 1 FREE visit, then $31 USD per member visit and $31 USD per guest visit
  2. $219 USD for the Preferential plan (regular) – 8 FREE visits, then $31 USD per member visit. $31 USD per guest visit
  3. $399 USD for the Prestige plan (frequent) – unlimited FREE member visits and $31 USD per guest visit.

Membership Options: Dragon Pass

There is a 50% discounted membership plan for Visa cardholders issued in Asia Pacific, but unfortunately not for holders of Canadian Visa cards like the RBC Avion Visa.

Otherwise, there aren’t any credit cards available that can provide complimentary unlimited access to DragonPass program.

Final Thoughts: Dragon Pass

Dragon Pass is an alternative to the Priority Pass program. It does have slightly less airport lounge coverage compared to Priority Pass, but it’s not always the most coverage that matters. With Dragon Pass, you’ll also get access to world class lounges.

The Standard and Prestige plans in the Dragon Pass program are less expensive options to the corresponding membership plans in the Priority Pass program. So if you’re an infrequent traveler, or a very frequent traveler, Dragon Pass may be a better option. However, for regular travelers, Priority Pass’ Standard Plus plan offers much better value since it’s cheaper, it gives you 10 free visits instead of 8, and it offers better airport coverage.

Either way, it is still important to make sure your preferred airport has a Dragon Pass (or Priority Pass) lounge before signing up to a membership plan.

Lounge Key

Lounge Key ariport lounge program logo
Scoring CriteriaLoungeKey Scoring
Global Lounge Coverage20
Canadian Lounge Coverage20
Hours & Amenities10
Food & Drink17
Value for Money8
TOTAL75

Global Lounge Coverage: LoungeKey

Lounge Key gives you access to 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, so it’s definitely in the same league as Priority Pass and Dragon Pass.

Canada Lounge Coverage: LoungeKey

From the LoungeKey program, there are 21 lounges available across 7 Canada airports:

Food & Drinks: LoungeKey

Similar to Priority Pass & Dragon Pass, the food selection has been said to be ‘good’ in user reviews, as hot food is available. Again, at selected airports, you will also get complimentary beer and wine beverages.

Hours & Amenities: LoungeKey

On average, LoungeKey lounges in Canada are open 18 hours per day. In the table below, you will find the amenities available at the LoungeKey lounges in Canadian airports.

Canadian Airports with LoungeKey LoungesShowersPrinters & Copiers
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)3/62/6
Vancouver International Airport (YVR)3/50
Calgary International Airport (YYC)2/21/2
Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG)0/10/1
Edmonton International Airport (YEG)0/20/2

Value: LoungeKey

There are no passes that you can purchase aside from complimentary access with select credit cards.

Membership Options: LoungeKey

  1. You can gain complimentary access to these airport lounges through select Mastercard products from BMO, RBC, HSBC, or Rogers. However, it’s also key to know that the lounges in this program are a subset of the Priority Pass as well.
  2. Considering that LoungeKey is part of Priority Pass, you might as well get yourself an American Express Platinum card / AeroplanPlus Platinum Amex / AeroplanPlus Reserve Amex and enjoy complimentary Priority Pass membership as long as you have your card active. 
  3. Get the Scotia Gold Amex for a 35% discounted Priority Pass membership.

Final Thoughts: LoungeKey

An interesting fact about LoungeKey, is that most of the lounges are already part of the Priority Pass program, so that signing up to the latter gives you access to the former. LoungeKey can be seen as a way to give Mastercard cardholders a similar level of lounge access compared to Amex premium cardholders.

The only downside to this is that it takes time to gain access solely to the LoungeKey lounges, due to credit card application times, since signing up to a Mastercard from BMO, HSBC, etc., is the only way to become a member.

Maple Leaf Club

Maple Leaf Club airport lounge program logo
Scoring CriteriaMaple Leaf Club Scoring
Global Lounge Coverage16
Canadian Lounge Coverage18
Hours & Amenities12
Food & Drink8
Value for Money20
TOTAL74

Global Lounge Coverage: Maple Leaf Club

The Maple Leaf Club is an independent lounge program which allows access to 230 lounges globally including Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges.

Canada Lounge Coverage: Maple Leaf Club

From the Maple Leaf Club program, there are 18 lounges available across 11 Canada airports, making it one of Canada’s widest reaching lounge club:

Food & Drinks: Maple Leaf Club

Many user reviews on food in Maple Leaf lounges have rated it as unsatisfactory, and in some cases even bad. However, it is great that complimentary alcoholic beverages are available at most Maple Leaf Lounges.

Hours & Amenities: Maple Leaf Club

On average, Maple Leaf Club lounges in Canada are open 19 hours per day. In the table below, you will find the amenities offered at the Maple Leaf Club lounges available in Canadian airports.

Canadian Airports with Maple Leaf Club LoungesShowersPrinters & Copiers
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)3/33/3
Vancouver International Airport (YVR)2/33/3
Calgary International Airport (YYC)0/11/1
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)1/33/3
Edmonton International Airport (YEG)0/11/1

Value: Maple Leaf Club

The Maple Leaf Club offers three annual membership plans for either one or two people:

Membership Options: Maple Leaf Club

Get the AeroplanPlus Platinum American Express Card or AeroplanPlus Reserve American Express Card for complimentary unlimited access to the Maple Leaf Club lounges.

Final Thoughts: Maple Leaf Club

For Canadians travelers who would expect lounge access at every Canadian airport, this would be the best option to opt for. However, you will need to manage your expectations on the less than average food options and flavours.

Plaza Premium Lounge

Plaza Premium Lounge Airport Lounge program logo

Awarded the StarTrax World Airline Awards for 3 consecutive years (2017-2019) as the top independent airport lounge in the world.

Scoring CriteriaPlaza Premium Lounge Scoring
Global Lounge Coverage8
Canadian Lounge Coverage14
Hours & Amenities12
Food & Drink19
Value for Money14
TOTAL67

Global Lounge Coverage: Plaza Premium Lounge

There are 120 lounges in the Plaza Premium Lounge program across 30 airports globally.

Canada Lounge Coverage: Plaza Premium Lounge

From the Plaza Premium Lounge program, there are 14 lounges available across 4 Canada airports:

Food & Drinks: Plaza Premium Lounge

Similarly to the Priority Pass, Dragon Pass and LoungeKey, the food selection has been said to be ‘good’, according to user reviews. At selected airports, such as YWG, complimentary beer and wine beverages are available for consumption.

Hours & Amenities: Plaza Premium Lounge

On average, Plaza Premium lounges in Canada are open 18 hours per day. In the table below, you will find the amenities offered at the Plaza Premium lounges available in Canadian airports.

Canadian Airports with Plaza Premium LoungesShowersPrinters & Copiers
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)3/62/6
Vancouver International Airport (YVR)2/40/4
Edmonton International Airport (YEG)0/20/2
Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG)0/10/1

Value: Plaza Premium Lounge

Plaza Premium Lounges are also a part of the Priority Pass program, but in this case, you can purchase daily passes without having to sign up to an annual plan. There are three daily pass options:

Membership Options: Plaza Premium Lounge

  1. Get yourself an American Express Platinum Card / AeroplanPlus Platinum Amex / AeroplanPlus Reserve Amex which comes with the complimentary Priority Pass membership perk which partners with Plaza Premium Lounges in the list of airport lounges covered.
  2. Get the Scotia Gold Amex for a 35% discounted Priority Pass membership. 

Final Thoughts: Plaza Premium Lounge

The program is rather limited and its lounges do not have very diverse styles. The biggest upside is the possibility to purchase a one-day pass, which means you can decide to visit one of these lounges even if you hadn’t planned to ahead of time.

The other silver lining is that you can get complimentary access to this program thanks to the Priority Pass membership that comes with many Amex cards.

The Centurion Lounge

The Centurion Lounge airport lounge logo

Exclusivity at its finest! An elite lounge program which allows unlimited access to Amex Centurion ‘Black’ Card and Amex Platinum Cardholders only. 

Pros

Cons

Our Recommendation:

Get your Amex Platinum to enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge along with Priority Pass lounge coverage as well. It’s also a great kickstart to earn your way to the Amex Centurion Card as well, since it’s an invitation only card. 

International American Express Lounges

The International American Express Lounges are comprised of 10 lounges within South America, Asia and Australia.

Pros

Cons

Our Recommendation:

Enjoy unlimited access to the lounges with the American Express Platinum Card, AeroplanPlus Platinum Card, or the AeroplanPlus Reserve Card.

Delta Sky Club Airport Lounges

The Delta Sky Club has 250 lounges with flexible annual membership plans you can opt to pay for in 12-monthly installments.

For annual membership, 

$545/year or $50/month for individual membership

$845/year or $75/month for executive membership

The following cards can enjoy complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club lounges. All you have to do is show your card and you are good to enter. 

Pros

Cons

Our Recommendation:

You can enjoy complimentary unlimited access to the lounges by being a cardholder of American Express Platinum card / AeroplanPlus Platinum Amex / AeroplanPlus Reserve Amex

Escape Lounges

Gain access to 17 world-class lounges across the US and the UK. You can click here for more details on this lounge service

Pros

Cons

Our Recommendation

You can enjoy complimentary unlimited access to the lounges by being a cardholder of American Express Platinum card / AeroplanPlus Platinum Amex / AeroplanPlus Reserve Amex

Airspace Lounges

Probably one of the cheapest lounges you will find. You can click here for more details on the Airspace lounge service and amenities

Pros

Cons

Our Recommendation

You can enjoy complimentary unlimited access to the lounges by being a cardholder of American Express Platinum card / AeroplanPlus Platinum Amex / AeroplanPlus Reserve Amex

The Bottom Line Of Airport Lounges

If you are an avid traveller with a minimum of a few flights every year, your best choice is to get yourself an American Express Platinum card. It does come with a $699 annual fee, but it comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership which covers more than 1200 airport lounges across all 7 continents. This includes Plaza Premium Lounges, Lounge Key, Lounge Club, Delta Sky Club, Airspace Lounges and Escape Lounges. Additionally, you also gain exclusive access to The Centurion Lounge. A less expensive option would be the American Express AIR MILES Reserve credit card, which includes four complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits per year, along with other great travel perks for less than half the Platinum’s annual fee. 

However, if you are not a frequent traveller and go for the occasional impromptu trips, then it would make better sense to get single pass entries as and when you travel.