As a follow-up to our article on credit cards for beginners, it is important to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint! It is necessary to calm down at the beginning to avoid negative repercussions on your credit rating.
When starting, the norm is to apply for 1 or 2 credit cards every six months. Then, apply for two cards every four months when you are more used to it.
This list was compiled based on our analysis, personal experiences and those of Milesopedia readers. When you have experience with credit cards, these are the best cards we recommend most often.
We assume you already have one or two cards from the Beginner Level article : Which credit card(s) to get? These best mid-level credit cards are for people with a little experience were chosen based on:
- their profitability
- medium and long term benefits
- and the ability to earn rewards at an higher level than the previous ones
In summary, here are our picks for the best credit cards to start with:
|Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card||Thanks to its points that give free nights and its annual free night certificate|
|For example, aeroplanTD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card||For its Aeroplan points and benefits that make travel easier|
|HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®||One of the few credit cards that avoids the 2.5% foreign conversion fee. In addition, it is accepted at Costco.|
|American Express Platinum Card®||For its refined travel benefits such as unlimited access to airport lounges|
Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card
Why hold the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card?
- Excellent 50,000 point welcome bonus with reasonable minimum spend
- One free night at a Marriott Bonvoy hotel after one year of card ownership (more than offsets the $120 annual fee)
- Benefits for Marriott Bonvoy members
- No minimum income required
- Excellent customer service from American Express
It’s perfect for a long weekend in Las Vegas, breakfast included!
The myth that American Express cards are not accepted anywhere is very persistent. However, this is not true and you can check in our article where these cards are accepted. Don’t miss out on significant savings because of an urban legend.
For example, aeroplanTD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card
To book flights with Aeroplan points, there is this very interesting card.
Why apply for the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card?
- 10,000 Aeroplan Points earned on just the first purchase made with this card
- 30,000 additional Aeroplan points can be earned with an average spend of $834 within 180 days of opening the card
- To get one free checked bag on Air Canada flights
- First year’s annual fee waived
- Exclusive benefits and experiences with Visa Infinite
- TD Auto Club Membership for Roadside Assistance
For example, these 40,000 Aeroplan points allow 2 people to vacation in Orlando.
The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card requires an annual income of at least $60,000. For a card that doesn’t require a minimum income, you can apply for its cousin, the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Platinum Card.
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
Why apply for this HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®?
- 20,000 points earned only by making a first purchase
- 90,000 points earned after the first 6 months
- $100 annual travel credit
- Points with great flexibility for travel expenses (flights, airport parking, hotel rooms, etc.)
- One of the few credit cards that avoids the 2.5% conversion fee when traveling outside the country
- Perfect to use at Costco (because it’s a Mastercard!)
Tip: Include your social insurance number in your application for this card. You will have a better chance of being approved.
Here’s an example of how to spend money with Undercover Tourist, which allows you to buy tickets to the Disney parks:
The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® require a minimum annual income of $80,000.
Here are two other options that offer to avoid conversion fees:
- Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* card (minimum annual income requirement of $60,000 or minimum household income of $100,000)
- Earn Scene+ points at IGA, Les Marchés Tradition, Foodland, Sobeys, etc. (1,000 points gives you $10 off your bill at the cash register)
- Gives 6 free visits to airport lounges
- Scotiabank® Gold American Express® Card ($12,000 minimum annual income required)
American Express Platinum Card®
If 2023 is going to be a busy year of travel for you, treat yourself to the Platinum Card® from American Express. Step up to a higher level as a traveler and be a VIP wherever you are.
- No minimum income required (it is the only premium card in Canada that does not require a minimum income)
- Unlimited access to airport lounges for the cardholder and one guest
- Gold status at Hilton and Marriott Bonvoy hotels
- Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program
- $200 Annual Travel Credit
- $100 credit for NEXUS
- Transfer points to airline and hotel partners (a good complement to the American Express Cobalt® Card recommended at the beginner level)
- Very advantageous travel insurance
But most importantly, whatever you choose, you must pay your credit card balances in full every month! Otherwise, all your profits will be wiped out by interest charges.
Also, be sure to read all credit card terms and conditions carefully.