A good loyalty program allows you to double-dip on the rewards you collect by using a retail rewards credit card (think of Canadian Tire Money or PC Points).  It’s as simple as signing up for the rewards card at your favourite grocery store, gas station or other retail shop and finding the affiliated credit card to go along with the program.  It’s great to get free stuff back to help subsidize your regular spending.

In the latest MoneySense Magazine they ranked the best retail rewards credit cards on the market.  Here’s a look at the overall top 8:

Best Retail Rewards Credit Cards

  1. Capital One Aspire World MasterCard
  2. Canadian Tire Options MasterCard
  3. PC MasterCard
  4. National Bank Platinum MasterCard
  5. CIBC Petro-Points MasterCard
  6. National Bank Ovation Gold MasterCard
  7. Scotiabank Scene VISA
  8. Capital One Aspire Gold MasterCard

In order to determine the best retail rewards credit card for your own situation, you need to analyze your shopping habits and figure out how much money you spend each month.  Basic retail rewards credit cards typically offer 1.00% or less in rebates back to the cardholder and they are ideal for shoppers who spend less than $2,000 a month.

With that in mind, MoneySense worked out a few scenarios to determine which credit card comes out on top based on your monthly spending.

Annual retail rewards if you spend $1,000/month

  • Canadian Tire Options MasterCard – $132.00
  • Capital One Aspire World MasterCard – $131.61
  • CIBC Petro Points MasterCard – $131.25
  • PC MasterCard – $121.00
  • Scotiabank Scene VISA – $96.40

Annual retail rewards if you spend $4,000/month

  • Capital One Aspire World MasterCard – $596.13
  • National Bank Platinum MasterCard – $529.55
  • Canadian Tire Options MasterCard – $528.00
  • PC MasterCard – $481.00
  • National Bank Ovation Gold MasterCard – $450.45

Apparently the methodology used to rank the best retail rewards credit cards in Canada took into account the annualized amount of gift cards  you could receive in the first 5 years after paying any annual fees.  Any sign-up bonuses were also included in the rankings.

This category of rewards credit cards surprised me more than the best cash back credit cards and the best travel rewards credit cards.  To be honest I didn’t know very much about the National Bank offerings, and both of them faired quite well in the rankings.

I used a PC Financial MasterCard for years and was disappointed that it didn’t stack up as well as I thought it did.  A pleasant surprise was the Scotiabank Scene VISA showing up in the top 8.  I reviewed the Cineplex Scene Card a few weeks ago and enjoyed the unique offering of free movie rewards.

What do you think of the list?