Best First-Year Free Credit Cards | 2023 | Milesopedia
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The Best First-Year Free Credit Cards – February 2023

To the point Are you looking for the best credit cards with a first-year annual fee waiver? Here is our selection of the best credit card offers.

The credit cards on this page offer travel points or cash back. And right now, they all have a welcome offer that includes a first-year annual fee rebate!

These are often the best offers on the market as they are credit cards that usually charge an annual fee.

These credit cards offer:

  • Elevated points or cash back earning rates
  • Premium insurance for your travels or purchases
  • Benefits such as travel credits and airport lounge access
With or without annual fee

These first-year free credit cards should not be confused with no-annual fee credit cards.

These cards have no annual fee, year after year, but are generally less rewarding than the credit cards on this page!

Best First-Year Free Credit Cards - Summary

Two tables summarize the different offers (travel or cash back). For more details, read on or click on the name of a card.

Here are the best first-year free travel credit card offers:

Here are the best first-year free cash back credit card offers:

Best First-Year Free Credit Cards - Travel Points

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card

With the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card, you can earn up to 55,000 Aeroplan points and a first-year annual fee rebate:

  • A welcome bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points when you make your first purchase with your new card
  • 30,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $5,000 within 180 days of Account opening
  • 15,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $7,500 within 12 months of Account opening
  • Plus, get an annual fee rebate for the first year (instead of $139)
  • Annual fee rebate for the first year for up to 3 additional cardholders (instead of $75 per additional card)
  • $100 NEXUS fee rebate
  • Up to eight passengers travelling on the same reservation will all enjoy their first checked bag free (up to 23kg/50lb) when your travel originates on an Air Canada flight

It’s the best TD credit card for occasional Air Canada travellers.

With the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card, you earn 1.5 points per dollar of eligible purchases for:

  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Air Canada purchases, including Air Canada Vacations

National Bank's World Elite Mastercard®

The National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard® is the Best National Bank Mastercard credit card.

With this exclusive welcome offer for Milesopedia readers, you can get up to 70,000 points, and the first year’s annual fee is waived for the primary cardholder. Here’s how:

  • 30,000 points after $5,000 in Card purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 30,000 points if $12,000 or more in net purchases are charged to the credit card within 12 months of account opening
  • 10,000 points if you sign up for Credit Card Payment Protection for a minimum of 3 months

With this card, you earn up to 5 points per dollar on your purchases:

  • 5 points per dollar on grocery and restaurant purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on gas and electric recharge purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on recurring bills
  • 2 points per dollar on À la carte Travel
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

And since it’s a National Bank Mastercard credit card, you can use it at Costco. With this card, you have access to a $150 annual travel credit that you can use in any of these categories:

  • Airport parking
  • Baggage fees
  • Seat selection
  • Access to airport lounges
  • Flight upgrades

In addition, you can enjoy access to DragonPass airport lounges and free Wi-Fi with Boingo. And unlimited access to the National Bank Lounge at Montreal-Trudeau.

Finally, Milesopedia voted the National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard® as the Best Travel Credit Card and Best Credit Card for Insurance in 2023.

This promotion is intended for individuals who do not have a National Bank Mastercard credit card and have not held a National Bank credit card within the last 24 months.

CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card

The CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card is one of the best Visa credit cards with travel rewards.

CIBC has an exclusive offer for Milesopedia readers, with which you can earn up to 40,000 Aventura points:

  • 20,000 Aventura Points when you make your first purchase†
  • Then get 20,000 Aventura Points when you spend $1,000 or more in the first 4 monthly statement periods.†

Plus, you can get a first-year annual fee rebate (a $139 value). With this CIBC Aventura Credit Card, you get:

  • 2 points for every $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre†
  • 1.5 points for every $1 spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores†
  • 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases†

The CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card also offers:

  • Airport lounges access: Visa Airport Companion Program membership with 4 complimentary visits per year
  • A NEXUS application fee rebate (a $50 value)

The minimum annual income required for this card is $60,000 (personal) or $100,000 (household).

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card only requires a minimum income of $12,000.

For a limited time, you can earn up to 45,000 points in the first year, which is a $450 value for travel purchases including Airbnb. Plus, the first year is free!

With the Scotiabank® Gold American Express® Card, you earn 6X Scene+ points on every $1 you spend at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry and Co-Op.

Also, you earn 5 points per dollar for:

  • grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Entertainment

And 3 points per dollar on gas, transit and streaming services purchases.

You can redeem your points on travel purchases (flights, hotels, all-inclusive and even Airbnb). You can also use your points as cash back rewards with Scene+.

The Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card is a no foreign transaction fee card. It has Premium travel and purchase insurance, Concierge services, Exclusive Benefits American Express (Front of the Line Program).

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

With the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card, you earn 30,000 points on just $1,000 in purchases, a value of $300. And each year, if you make at least $40,000 in Card purchases, you’ll earn 10,000 additional points ($100 value).

In addition, there is no annual fee for the first year.

With the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card, you earn 3X Scene+ points on every $1 you spend at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry and Co-Op.

Also, you earn 2 points per dollar for:

  • grocery purchases
  • dining purchases
  • Entertainment
  • Transportation

The Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card is an excellent Visa credit card for these types of purchases.

You can redeem your points for any travel purchases (flights, hotels, all-inclusive and even Airbnb). You can also use your points as cash back rewards with Scene+.

The Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card also offers:

  • no foreign transaction fee
  • 6 complimentary passes to airport VIP lounges
  • Premium insurance for your travels or purchases
  • Concierge services

BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard

The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard is one of Canada’s best travel Mastercard credit cards. With our exclusive offer, you can get up to 70,000 Welcome Bonus Points:

  • 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • 2,500 points per month after $2,000 in monthly purchases from the 4th to the 15th month, up to 30,000 points

Plus, the annual fee is waived in the first year for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.

With the BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard, you earn:

  • 5 points per dollar on travel purchases
  • 3 points per dollar on dining purchases
  • 3 points per dollar for entertainment purchases
  • 3 points per dollar on recurring bill payments

And 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else, including at Costco. You can use your points for travel purchases on the BMO Rewards website (flights, hotels, car rentals, all-inclusive).

The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard also offers:

  • Four annual complimentary passes to airport VIP lounges
  • Premium insurance for your travels or purchases
  • Concierge services

Best First-Year Free Credit Cards - Cash Back

BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*

The BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* is one of the best cash back Mastercard credit card in Canada.

For a limited time, you will earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first three months (up to $260 cash back). Besides, the annual fee is waived in the first year!

With the BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®*, you earn between 2% and 5% cash back on many spending categories:

  • 5% on grocery purchases (on the first $500 you spend monthly)
  • 4% on transit (on the first $300 you spend monthly)
  • 3% on gas and electric vehicle charging (on the first $300 you spend monthly)
  • 2% on recurring bill payments (on the first $500 you spend monthly)

Everywhere else, you’ll earn 1% cash back, including at Costco.

Finally, it is one of the only credit cards in its category to offer an extended warranty of 2 additional years.

CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

The CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card is one of the best Visa credit cards with cash back in Canada. The minimum annual income required for this card is $60,000 (personal) or $100,000 (household). With this CIBC Cash Back Credit Card, you get:

  • 4% cash back on eligible gas and groceries purchases
  • 2% cash back on eligible transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments
  • 1% on all other purchases

For a limited time, get a 10% cash back welcome bonus of up to $250. And you’ll get a first-year annual fee rebate!

And this CIBC Cash Back Credit Card offers many insurance coverages:

  • Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
  • $500,000 Common Carrier Accident Insurance
  • Flight Delay and Baggage Insurance
  • Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Out-of-Province Emergency Travel Medical Insurance
  • Purchase Security and Extended Protection Insurance

Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* Card

The Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* Card is recognized year after year as one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.

Currently, there is no annual fee in the first year, including on additional cards. And you can earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first three months (up to $2,000 in total purchases).

With the Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card, you get:

  • 4% on groceries and recurring payments
  • 2% on gas and daily transit
  • 1% on all other purchases

The Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card is an excellent Visa credit card for cash back rewards.

And its insurance benefits are excellent!

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card

With the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card, you earn 3% cash back on:

  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Recurring bill payments

And 1% cash back on all other purchases.

It’s the best TD cash back credit card.

With this new welcome offer, you could earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to a total spend of $2,000). After your first $2,000 in Purchases, Gas Purchases, Grocery Purchases and Pre-Authorized Payments will continue to earn 6% up to a total spend of $3,500 for the first 3 months. That’s a total cash back of $290!

Plus, a first-year annual fee rebate for the Primary and Additional Cardholders.

BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®*

With this exclusive offer for the BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®*, you can earn 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles after $3,000 in Card purchases, representing a $310 cash value. Besides, the annual fee is waived in the first year!

With this card, you earn 3 miles for every $12 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners. Everywhere else, you’ll earn 1 Mile for every $12 spent, including at Costco and Walmart. And it’s the only AIR MILES credit card in Canada to offer a 15% discount on AIR MILES flights within North America with no blackout periods.

The BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®* card also offers:

  • Premium insurance for your travels or purchases
  • Double the miles for car rentals with National or Alamo
  • Concierge services

CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa* Card

If you don’t meet the income requirements for the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card, you could apply for the CIBC Dividend® Platinum Visa* Card. The minimum annual income required for this card is $15,000 (household).

With the CIBC Dividend® Platinum Visa* Card, you get:

  • 3% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases
  • 2% cash back on eligible transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments
  • 1% on all other purchases

Currently, you get 10% cash back (up to $250)*. And a first-year annual fee rebate!† And this CIBC Cash Back Credit Card offers some insurance coverage:

  • Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
  • $500,000 Common Carrier Accident Insurance
  • Purchase Security and Extended Protection Insurance

Best First-Year Free Credit Cards - Conclusion

These first-year free credit cards are great for getting started with rewards points or taking advantage of elevated welcome offers.

But be aware that some credit cards on the market charge a first-year annual fee and have outstanding welcome offers! This is, for example, the case of this HSBC credit card offer or all American Express credit cards.

Check out the best credit card offers available in Canada this month.

Best First-Year Free Credit Cards - Frequently Asked Questions

Here are frequently asked questions in the milesopedia community about credit cards in Canada.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!

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