There are quite a few good credit card promotions out there, but some stand out above the rest for their impressive welcome bonuses, promotional cash back rates, and excellent rewards. I constantly keep up with the latest promo rates and policy changes and make my recommendations below based on years of experience.
I recommend the American Express Cobalt Card as the #1 credit card promotion in Canada due to its 30,000 points welcome bonus, low monthly fees, and access to exclusive American Express Experiences. You can transfer your points to other loyalty programs, and it comes with comprehensive insurance.
What Are Credit Card Promotions?
Credit card promotions are welcome (or sign-up) bonuses that credit card issuers use to entice users to apply for their credit cards. Credit card promotions can be very generous, and it's common to earn $100 or more worth of benefits. However, it's important to note that these offers are usually short-lived – promotional rates usually have an expiration date, a built-in limit (a maximum you can earn), or a time limit. It's very common for cash back credit cards to offer a very high cash back rate for the first 3-6 months, but it's not the only type of card that offers welcome bonuses; travel and low-interest credit cards offer bonus points and introductory rates respectively.
It's important to not be blinded by credit card promotions – eventually, they end, and you can end up with a credit card that that doesn't fit your long-term goals. It's important to check the rates after the period ends before picking one of these.
Without further ado, here are the best credit card promotions Canada has to offer:
The Best Credit Card Promotions In Canada
- American Express Cobalt Card: Best for the generous welcome bonus and high earn rate on Eats & Drinks
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card: Best for earning Aeroplan points
- BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard: Best for no annual fee for the first year
- BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard: Best for promotional cash back for the first 3 months
- MBNA True Line Mastercard credit card: Best for no annual fee
- American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card: Best for comprehensive travel and medical insurance
- Scotiabank Gold American Express Card: Best for no foreign transaction fees
- Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card: Best for access to Visa Infinite Hotel Collection plus Visa Infinite Dining & Wine
- American Express Platinum Card: Best for access to American Express Experiences
- American Express Gold Rewards Card: Best for complimentary Priority Pass membership
- RBC Avion Visa Infinite: Best for booking flights with no blackout periods
- Tangerine World Mastercard: Best for customizable cash back categories
- Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card: Best for booking hotel stays with no blackout periods
- BMO CashBack MasterCard: Best for no annual fee cash back
Pros & Cons Of Credit Card Promotions
Pros: Why Credit Card Promotions May Be Worth It
- Earn rewards on every purchase and access unique benefits
- Choose from dozens of credit cards with different perks
- Establish a solid credit history and build your credit score
- You can borrow money and make purchases instantly
- Pay your balance on time and you won’t pay interests
- Extended warranty and purchase protection
Cons: Why Credit Card Promotions May Not Be Worth It
- It can be harder to budget and you might overspend
- If you fall behind on payments you will have to pay higher interest than other forms of credit
- Can damage your credit score if you pay on time
How To Choose Credit Card Promotions In Canada
The most important thing you should consider when shopping for a credit card is the type of card it is. In Canada, there are many types of credit cards with excellent promotions, but not all will fit your long-term goals. In general, a good starting point is a cash back credit card. These are easy to incorporate into your day-to-day spending like trips to the grocery store or gas stations, and there are many good options with little-to-no annual fees. If you travel often, you may want to look into specialized cards like travel or low-interest credit cards.
Another important fact to consider is the annual fees – a high annual fee can impact how effective a credit card is for you, all will determine if it's the right fit for you. If you end up paying more from the annual fee than all you earn from the benefits, that's a sure thing that card is not for you. Planning ahead is paramount when choosing a premium credit card, especially for travel or other points-based credit cards.
Considering how cash back credit card rates are usually in the 1%-5% range, and interest rates are around 19.99%-22.99%, if you fall behind on your credit card payments, the interest rates can start eating at any potential benefit. Make sure you can keep up with the payments or choose a dedicated credit card with low-interest rates.
Welcome Bonus And Promotional Rates
All credit cards listed here come with very generous welcome bonuses and promotional rates to entice users, but don’t be blinded by them. Check the rates after the promotional period ends – because ultimately, it will end – and decide if it’s worth applying for the card and keeping it open even after the promo period ends.
Credit Bureau Reporting
If you’re looking to build your credit, you want your credit card issuer to report to as many credit card bureaus as possible. The two biggest bureaus in Canada are Equifax and TransUnion, and those are the first two institutions that credit card issuers check. This is particularly relevant if you’re looking for a secured card, as the main purpose of these is to build your credit.
The two biggest credit card networks in Canada are Visa and Mastercard. Both are acceptable options and are accepted almost universally. You will have no trouble using either of these when making online purchases or travelling abroad.
Credit Card Insurance & Purchase Warranties
Some credit cards offer comprehensive travel and medical insurance. This type of card usually has the highest annual fees but is a great option if you travel often and want to make sure your family is also protected.
Credit Card Promotions FAQs
Are Credit Card Promotions Worth It?
When credit card promotions might be worth it for you:
- If you are looking for the most cost-effective credit cards
- If you find yourself making a lot of purchases and spending a lot of money every year at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores
- If you have no trouble keeping up with your monthly credit card payments and are very unlikely to fall behind on payments
- If you have a high credit score and can access the best credit cards with the best benefits
- If you are looking to make a large purchase and need a line of credit
- If you want to start earning points for a vacation or cash back on regular purchases
When credit cards promotions might not be worth it for you
- If you often fall behind on payments a credit card is not for you
- If you don’t make enough from the perks and benefits to pay off the yearly fee of a credit card
- If you are likely to build up more debt than you can handle, a credit card might not be for you
- If the rates after the promotional period ends are unacceptable for you
What Is The Best Free Credit Card Promotion In Canada?
The best free Promotion Credit Card in Canada is the MBNA True Line Mastercard credit card. It offers a 0% introductory interest rate for the first 12 months plus discounts at car rentals in the US and Canada.
How Do I Get The Best Deal On My Credit Card?
If you want to get the best deals you will need to look for referral links, in-account upgrade offers (if you already have a card), or even emails from the issuer. Credit card promotions can usually be found directly on the card issuer's website – but these are seldom the best offers. It's worth taking some time and doing research to make sure you get the best deal. Keep in mind all our links offer the best credit card promotions available.
What Are Welcome Offers?
Welcome offers are time-limited bonuses or credit card promotions designed to entice users to apply for a credit card.
What Are The Hardest Credit Cards To Get?
The American Express Centurion Card – also known as the American Express Black Card – is the hardest and most prestigious American Express credit card to get. Not everyone can apply for this card because it requires an invitation to be eligible. Individuals with annual spending of at least $100,000 typically qualify for this card.