The 5 Best Credit Cards for Your Next Road Trip or Getaway

Although you can go on a getaway all year round, the summer season usually heralds more people in Canadian parks and elsewhere. The number of nature lovers in Canada and the United States is growing from year to year. Canadians are waiting for the return of sunny days to go on the road, lie down on the beach or climb mountains. When you travel a lot, change your outdoor gear regularly and frequently grab a quick bite to eat, these getaways can quickly become costly. By using the right credit card responsibly, you can take full advantage of sunny days without breaking the bank. Using our credit card comparison tool, you can choose the most advantageous ones for you.

Credit Card
Best For
Avoiding credit inquiries
Travelling to the United States
Renting a car

BMO CashBack Mastercard World Elite – Best for gas and EV charging

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Being on the road involves covering many kilometers and you’ll need energy to get to your destination. Whether you have a gas or electric car, the BMO CashBack World Elite card offers very attractive cash back. You actually get 3% on gasoline and electric vehicle charging. If you leave a major urban center to go to a nearby place, traveling approximately 260 kilometers round trip, you will pay between $30 and $50 for gas, depending on vehicle consumption. We are talking about a $1.50 cash back on a $50 gas bill. Added to this is a discount of up to 7 cents per liter for fueling at Shell.

That’s not all. If you choose to take trips by bus, BMO offers a 4% cash back on public transportation. Its other advantages are numerous: 5% on groceries, 2% on recurring bills and 1% on any other purchase. You also get free roadside assistance services, including battery boosting, changing a flat tire, unlocking the doors and towing the vehicle.

BMO CashBack Mastercard World EliteDescription
Estimated Credit Score725
Minimum Annual Income$80,000 per person or
$150,000 for the household

KOHO Essential – Avoid credit inquiries

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With inflation not letting up, many people are having budgetary problems and difficulty making their payments, which can damage their credit score. If you are in such a situation, consider using a prepaid card instead of a credit card.

The KOHO Essential plan requires no credit check, so you can get it even if your credit score is poor. This plan costs $4 per month. You have to put money on the prepaid card to use it, so you’re not using credit because you’re spending money you’ve already earned. This feature can help you keep control of your budget.

KOHO Essential offers 1% cash back on groceries, food and drinks as well as transportation, then 0.25% on other purchases. You can get up to 5% extra cash back at select merchants. In addition, if you keep money in your KOHO account, it earns 5% interest.

KOHO prepaid cardDescription
Credit ScoreNone
Minimum Annual IncomeNone

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite – No FX fees

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Your little getaway may take you to the United States. There are indeed some very beautiful places to visit while camping just a few hours from Canada! For purchases in another country, you must always pay attention to the foreign transaction fees that apply with a Canadian card!

Scotia Visa Infinite Passport does not charge foreign transaction fees, including for online and foreign purchases. Only the exchange rate applies. It allows you to accumulate Scene Plus points. You get 3 points for every $1 spent at Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland and participating co-ops, 2 points in restaurants and other grocery stores, 2 points on public transport tickets and entertainment, then 1 point on other purchases. When traveling, if you prefer hotels to your van, use these points to book via Scene+ Travel.

For travelers, this card is ideal. It offers six free airport lounge visits per year and a fairly comprehensive range of travel insurance.

Scotiabank Passport Visa InfiniteDescription
Estimated Credit Score660
Minimum Annual Income$60,000 per person or
$100,000 per household

BMO US Dollar Mastercard – Travel to the U.S.

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Aside from cards with no foreign transaction fees, the other option for your getaways to the United States is a US dollar credit card. BMO’s US dollar card has a low annual fee that can be waived the following year if you make $1,000 in purchases in a year.

This card doesn’t give you any rewards, unfortunately. On the other hand, it comes with an extended warranty and purchase insurance as well as Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection, in the event of unauthorized use.

BMO US Dollar MastercardDescription
Estimated Credit Score600
Minimum Annual IncomeNone

Avion Visa Infinite RBC – Rent a car

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Even though other credit card issuers sometimes offer attractive discounts on vehicle rentals, the RBC Avion Visa Infinite card offers a nice combination: take advantage of a 20% discount on car rentals from Hertz, fill up with a discount of 3 cents per liter and 20% more Petro-Points and Avion points at Petro-Canada (when you link your card) before heading to the destination of your choice! Don’t forget to book a hotel using your Avion points.

Earn 1 Avion point per dollar spent, and 1.25 points on travel-related purchases, including car rentals and hotels. This card also comes with other benefits, such as a DashPass subscription to have food delivered with DoorDash. If you don’t plan to use your Avion points to redeem rewards, you can convert them to other loyalty programs, like WestJet dollars and Hudson’s Bay Rewards, or use them to make a card payment.

BMO US Dollar MastercardDescription
Estimated Credit Score660
Minimum Annual Income$60,000 per person or
$100,000 per household

Which credit card is the best is entirely up to you

With or without fees? Cash Back or points? Insurance? The ideal credit card depends on your needs and what you’re looking for in a getaway.

Some banks offer very interesting promotions as a welcome offer. These promotions should not overshadow their longer-term benefits. Think about your lifestyle: Do you often rent a car? Are you attracted to the idea of traveling for free? How much could you save on gas?

Some credit cards seem optimal for travelers, while others are more suitable for smaller budgets. One of these might be the perfect candidate for your next trip to the United States or your next flight to British Columbia to travel down the West Coast to California. Dream big!

Maude Gauthier is a journalist for Hardbacon. Since completing her Ph.D. in communications at University of Montreal, she has been writing about finance, insurance and credit cards for companies like Fonds FMOQ and Code F. As a responsible user of credit cards, she can spend hours reading the fine print to fully understand their benefits. Because of their simplicity, she developed a preference for cash back cards. After suffering steep increases with her former insurer, she can now proudly say that she saved hundreds of dollars by shopping around for her auto and home insurance. In her free time, she reads novels and enjoys streaming popular shows (and possibly less popular shows, like animal documentaries).