I <3 MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus MasterCard

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a favourite product of mine. I’ve hesitated to do a post about my favourite credit card as I believe a lot of people treat these as an additional cash source, and not just a financial tool to earn rewards. I’ve worked with people who believe that they are okay financially if they have cash in the bank earning 1% or so, and use their credit cards to finance their everyday life at 20% interest.  So this post is for those who are beyond Step 2 of my Financial Well-being game.

There are A LOT of credit cards out there, with endless promotions and rewards arriving in your mailbox every month. Credit card companies are making a killing, and are eager for your business. I mentioned in a previous post that my credit card pays me for the honour of using it, and I’m currently anticipating another $50 cheque as we speak.

The MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus MasterCard carries no annual fee. (Of course!) What I ❤ about it is the cash rewards that is provided:

  • Get 5% cash back on net gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months (up to spending $600 per month, 1% thereafter)
  • Get 3% cash back on net gas and grocery purchases thereafter (up to spending $600 per month, 1% thereafter)
  • Get 1% cash back for all other net retail purchases
  • 1.99% introductory annual interest rate on balance transfers and cheque cash advances for 10 months

The 1.99% should not be an issue if you’re past Level 2 of the Financial Well-being game, but it is something to keep in mind.

I currently also carry Presidents Choice Financial MasterCard. They pay out 1% on all purchases, and you can use the rewards at Superstore or in their online store. I keep this one around as it is my oldest card (good for credit history!), but MBNA is definitely my main card. The best thing about this card is that once you accumulate 5,000 points, they issue you a cheque for $50. This money will be sent right to your house, and you can spend it on whatever you want. Depending on your spending habits, the cheques can come pretty frequently; I have clients who receive cheques every 6-8 weeks!

One tip that I use requires a bit of planning. If you are planning to make bigger purchases at, for example, Future Shop or Best Buy, you would earn 1%. If you know how much the item will end up costing, I would head over to Superstore to purchase as many gift cards as required to purchase the item, and then head over to Future Shop to buy the item with your gift cards. You end up earning at 3% (or 5% within the first 6 months) on the purchase instead of the 1%! Easy way to rack up your points more quickly! This also works if you plan on heading out to The Keg or other restaurants for dinner. Superstore offers a decent selection on gift cards, so you can head over there to check it out. This also works at Safeway and Co-op. Even though most of the Walmarts in Calgary are now Supercentres, I’m not sure if they count as groceries with the MBNA credit card.

Another tip is to make sure you go through your transactions to see which ones are earning the 3% vs. the 1%. I have noticed that if you fill up at the Petro-Canada gas stations that are attached to the 7/11s, you will only receive the 1%. Pretty easy to just cross the street to get your 3% instead of the 1%.

I know there are those who swear by their travel rewards cards; I’m unable to recommend them at this time as I personally would not accrue enough points to make up the annual fee as well as how much the free trips would have otherwise cost me. It would require a bit more analysis to see if these cards are actually worth it; any volunteers? 🙂 I’d be up for calculating it if you’re willing to supply the data!

Which cards are in your pocket? Are you loyal to the company? Does your card carry annual fees and/or rewards that are comparable to my favourite credit card?

Note: TD has actually bought MBNA Canada back in November 2011, so it will be interesting to see if they continue to offer this card as is. I will definitely update if new information arises.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Angie
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 22:16:39

    We have a TD Platinum Travel Visa. Annual fee is $99. You basically earn TD points everytime you use the card and points get redeemed for cash towards any travel expenses eg. hotel, flights, car rentals, etc. Point redemption procedure is very easy. TD has also recently partnered with Expedia to provide more TD points if you book your travels through Expedia (which we often do). On an annual basis (as we charge almost everything to this card), we probably earn ~$500-600 cash back per year. Now that there is that link with Expedia, hopefully we can earn even more. I think it’s a decent card.


    • Vicky Vo
      Jan 18, 2012 @ 16:17:38

      Hey Angie, that does sound like a decent travel card. It would help if we knew how much was spent on certain categories and, as a result, what percentage was earned on your purchases, but $500 – $600 (minus the $99 annual fee) is a decent return. Especially if you are the type to travel a lot. 🙂


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