These days there are a ton of different point programs available to Canadians, covering almost every market from airlines to hotels, groceries and so on. Ever since points program schemes were introduced as a way of building customer loyalty, the market has continually come up with new and innovative ways to reward customers for spending their hard-earned money.
On this page we take a look at some of the best ways Canadians can earn points to help them save money on travel, groceries, gas and other everyday expenses. The great news is all these programs are completely free to join so if you intend on spending any money at all with these businesses we highly recommend you take advantage of the free points they are offering.
Canadian Hotel Reward Points Programs
Marriott Bonvoy – as the largest hotel group in the world, the Marriott Bonvoy program is by far the world’s largest points program and includes the ability to earn points (and free stays) at brands like Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels and many many more.
The program is divided into 6 different tiers and you progress through tiers based on how many nights per year you stay at their properties, as well as money spent to reach the highest tier. The Marriott Bonvoy tiers are Member Status, Silver Elite, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite and Ambassador and benefits range from early check-in/check-out to free breakfast, etc.
In Canada, the best credit card for earning Marriott Bonvoy points is the Amex Bonvoy Card which features a signup bonus of 30,000 points, a free one-night stay at a Bonvoy property each year, as well as the ability to attain Gold level status after spending $30,000 on the card yearly.
Hilton HHonors – another massively popular program in the hotel points space is the Hilton HHonors program which encompasses all Hilton brands worldwide as well as Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, Double Tree, Embassy Suites, Garden Inn, Hampton, Homewood Suites and more.
With the HHonors program, members earn points for their spends at Hilton properties and these can be converted into free hotel stays at all their properties globally. The program is broken down into 4 tiers (Blue, Silver, Gold and Diamond) and benefits range from free upgrades on arrival to executive lounge access, free welcome gifts and a whole lot more.
In Canada, there is no co-branded Hilton credit card at the moment, however American Express Membership Rewards are easily transferred to Hilton so we’d recommend signing up for either the Amex Platinum Card or Amex Gold Card (25,000 points signup bonus) which can be directly transferred to the Hilton HHonors program as well as all additional points earned on spending.
Canadian Airline Reward Points Programs
Aeroplan – as the loyalty program for Canada’s largest airline Air Canada, Aeroplan is a staple rewards program in the Canadian market with a huge market share of points earners. Through this program, travellers earn points for each mile they fly on Air Canada (or Star Alliance) and these points can be redeemed for future free flights are members accumulate more points.
While there used to be tiers in the Aeroplan program (Silver, Black and Diamond) these are being phased out as Air Canada brings the loyalty program in-house (it was run separately for a number of years). This means that it’s very likely the Aeroplan benefits will become the same as Air Canada Altitude which is the loyalty scheme offered directly by Air Canada to fliers.
When it comes to earn Aeroplan points in Canada, there are a ton of options for credit card signup bonuses. TD Canada Trust offers a number of co-branded cards that specifically earn Aeroplan points, as does American Express. The current highest signup bonus for an Aeroplan credit card is the Amex AeroplanPlus Platinum Card which offers 40,000 points to cardholders.
WestJet Rewards – as the loyalty program for WestJet Airlines, WestJet Rewards is one of the most popular points programs in Canada allowing fliers to earn WestJet Dollars each time they fly which can be used towards future flight bookings. This program is a bit different than most as it essential offers cashback in the form of future flight credits, but if you’re a loyal WestJet flier it can be very valuable in helping you save money each time you book a flight with them.
The WestJet Rewards program has four tiers including Teal, Silver, Gold and Platinum and each tier comes with a different level of earning WestJet Dollars as well as other perks like upgrades, priority check-in, free baggage and expedited customer support. Progressing through the different WestJet tiers is based on annual spending with the airline at different thresholds.
The best credit in Canada to earn WestJet points is without a doubt the co-branded card from Royal Bank with two choices including the WestJet RBC Mastercard ($50 Welcome WestJet Dollars) and the WestJet World Elite Mastercard ($350 Welcome WestJet Dollars plus perks).
Dining, Grocery & Gas Reward Points Programs
Dining – while there is no specific credit card in Canada with specific restaurant points or dining perks, the American Express Cobalt Card is the clear winner when it comes to earning points for eating out at restaurants or bars. This card gives members 5X points for every $1 spent in dining establishments and these points can be used to redeem for statement credits, to book travel directly through Amex or can be transferred directly to Bonvoy and Hilton HHonors.
PC Optimum – by far the most popular rewards program when it comes to buying groceries, gas and anything from Shoppers Drug Mart, the PC Optimum program lets you earn points for purchases at a huge number of retailers in Canada. These include Loblaws, No Frills, Shoppers Drug Mart, Canadian Superstore, Zehrs, Value Mart, Fortinos, Joe Fresh and Esso Gas Stations.
Point earning in the program varies greatly as there are many targeted offers to buy specific products in the grocery categories, but generally it’s between 10-15 points per $1 spent in grocery or gas without using a co-branded PC Optimium credit card. Using the branded cards accelerates point earnings quite a bit up to 45 points per $1 spent so quite a large bump up. Points can be redeemed in-store for instant cash discounts on your total checkout amounts.
All of the best credit cards for earning Optimum points are offered by PC Financial and the cards include the PC Financial Mastercard, PC Financial World Mastercard and PC Financial World Elite Mastercard. These cards offers tremendous value since they all have no annual fee and allow you to leverage everyday necessary purchases into cash savings as you earn.