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Credit Cards Beginner

Beginner level: Which credit card(s) to apply for?

To the point Just starting out with Reward Points? Here are the best cards to start with and the ones we recommend most often.

First of all, there is no such thing as the best default-free credit card. You need one or two extra in your wallet to optimize your spending and points earning.

So? Which credit card(s) should I choose from the 200 credit cards available in Canada?

Based on our analysis and personal experiences, Milesopedia readers and our community, the best credit cards for beginners have been chosen based on:

  • their ability to get the points quickly
  • their ease of use for beginners
  • to learn how to manage your monthly expenses
  • and to slowly learn how to manage a few credit card accounts

In summary, here are our picks for the best credit cards to start with:

Card Why
American Express Cobalt® Card For its very fast earning of points and its great flexibility of redemption
National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard® For its travel insurance, guarantees and benefits
TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card For its easily redeemable points
Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® For its welcome bonus within the reach of all

And if you have some experience with points, check out our article dedicated to the intermediate level!

Get started with this American Express credit card

It’s the perfect credit card for those who hesitate between travel points and cash back.

Here are 8 reasons why you should have the American Express Cobalt® Card in your wallet:

  1. Earn 5X the points at grocery stores, restaurants and Couche-Tard/Circle K
  2. Flexibility to use points as you wish: cash back for all your expenses (including travel), transfer to other rewards programs such as Marriott Bonvoy or Aeroplan, use American Express fixed chart for flights
  3. Perfect for learning how reward points work
  4. Welcome bonus of 2,500 additional points per month
  5. Regular online promotional offers to recoup a large part of the monthly card fee
  6. Excellent customer service from American Express
  7. No minimum income required
  8. Monthly fee: you can better spread your card fees over your annual budget or cancel your card if it doesn’t suit you without being charged a full annual fee

A few months ago, we surveyed to find out the community’s favourite fast-earning credit card (5X).

Out of 247 votes, 236 chose the American Express Cobalt® Card!

Amex Cobalt Community Survey

Here is an example of using points to pay off your credit card. Every purchase counts!

  • Grocery
  • Public transportation ticket
  • All travel expenses
  • Drugstore, etc.
use cobalt points max rate

The myth that American Express credit cards are not accepted in stores is persistent. However, this is not true, and you can check on this site where these cards are accepted. Don’t miss out on significant savings because of an urban legend!

Get started with this National Bank credit card

As a complementary credit card, there is this great Mastercard credit card.

Here are 8 reasons why you should apply for up for the National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard®:

  1. 5X the points for groceries and restaurants(effective September 1, 2022)
  2. Welcome bonus easy to get
  3. Annual fee refunded in the first year via this welcome offer
  4. Great simplicity in the process of getting travel expenses refunds each year
  5. Among the best travel insurance in the industry, giving you peace of mind
  6. Extended warranty on your items purchased with the card up to 2 additional years
  7. Unlimited access to the National Bank VIP Lounge at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport
  8. It’s a Mastercard: perfect for Costco

Here’s how I used my NBC points so that my hotel room at the Chateau Frontenac didn’t cost me much.

This card requires a minimum individual income of $80,000 or a $150,000 household income.

If you don’t meet this criterion, here is another interesting option:

Get started with this TD credit card

Here are 8 reasons why you should apply for the TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card:

  1. Welcome bonus easily earned (and quickly deposited to the account)
  2. Low minimum spending required to earn the welcome bonus
  3. First-year annual fee refund via this welcome offer
  4. Good travel insurance
  5. Points can be redeemed simply as travel credits via ExpediapourTD.com (the best way to book hotels, Disney theme park tickets, car rentals, etc.), for purchases at Amazon, as gift cards or as cash back.
  6. 6X points at grocery stores and restaurants (effective October 30, 2022)
  7. $100 annual travel credit(effective October 30, 2022)
  8. 10% TD Rewards Anniversary Bonus(effective October 30, 2022)

For example, the current welcome bonus of 100,000 points gives you the chance to get 5 free nights in Lisbon. This was during Spring Break 2023 and in an Accor hotel.

Lisboa Td Rewards

This card requires a minimum income of $60,000.

If you do not meet this criterion, here is another option available to all:

Get started with this Best Western MBNA credit card

Here are 8 reasons why you should apply for the Best Western Rewards® Mastercard:

  1. No annual fee
  2. No minimum income required
  3. Mastercard accepted at Costco
  4. Excellent chances of being approved
  5. Welcome bonus easily earned with a single purchase of $1+, after the monthly statement is issued
  6. No expiration of Best Western Rewards points
  7. Perfect for learning about rewards points without the obligation to spend them over a long period of time
  8. Points can be redeemed simply on the Best Western website, for a free night or for Best Western gift cards

With 20,000 points, for example, you can get a free night at a few Best Western hotels in the Orlando area this holiday season. Convenient for Disney fans!

Best Western Orlando


At first, choosing the best credit cards for your needs can be confusing and disorienting. First of all, it is a good idea to read the Beginner’s Guide.

But most importantly, whatever you choose, it is crucial to pay your credit card balances in full every month! Otherwise, all your profits will be wiped out by interest charges.

Also, take screenshots of your application, so you can note the terms of the card offer.

Happy hunting for points!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!

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