Best Rewards Programs in Canada

Rewards programs are mutually beneficial for retailers and customers alike. Companies want your business and are willing to offer huge incentives to maintain your loyalty to their brand. In turn, customers can benefit from accumulating rewards and using them for purchases or free items. Fortunately, Canadian consumers have many rewards programs to choose from. In fact, you can be apart of many loyalty programs to access all the benefits. But at the same time, it can be overwhelming to choose from all the options. Plus, no one likes having a million rewards cards in their wallet or phone. Rather, it’s better to find the best rewards program for you, your family and your needs. Explore the best rewards programs in Canada below so you can choose which one to sign up for. Keep reading to learn more!

Best Rewards Programs Canada

What is a rewards program?

A rewards program is used by companies to attract and retain customers. Most often, rewards programs are offered by retailers, but they might also be offered by other entities. These programs offer incentives for individual consumers with a particular company. There is usually some kind of point or reward system for spending with the retailer. When enough tokens are collected, the consumer can use them to facilitate purchases, save money, or obtain free items. They are often known as loyalty programs as well.

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Reward programs have been around for over a hundred years in some form. In their most basic form, deals like “buy 6, get one free” is a kind of reward program. It is designed to make a customer want to shop at a particular business through an incentive. Additionally, people may shop more frequently or eagerly to get the reward. All these factors allow for profitable situations for the business and the customer.

Rewards programs have evolved greatly over the years. Now there are multi-tiered VIP programs, points programs, and credit card rewards. The exact type of reward or the system for issuing rewards varies from company to company. Canada has many rewards programs. It is important to explore the best rewards programs in Canada. This will allow you to maximize your dollar and savings.

Related Reading: Best Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada

Aeroplan is one of the most popular Canadian rewards programs. It is a Canadian-owned and operated program. It was created and owned by Air Canada in 1984, marketed initially as a frequent flyer program. The program and points system has grown to include retail, bank, and credit card partners.

While Aeroplan Rewards is a true Canadian rewards program, many other national and international rewards programs are popular. Some of the other best rewards programs in Canada include Air MilesScene+McDonald’s RewardsTims RewardsTD RewardsMarriott Bonvoy,  PC Optimum, and many more.

What is the oldest loyalty program in Canada?

Canadian Tire Money is considered Canada’s oldest loyalty Program. It is also considered the most successful loyalty program in Canadian retail history. It was originally introduced in 1958 by Canadian Tire. Part of every purchase over $2 was credited with Canadian Tire Money.

Furthermore, Canadian Tire Money was a physical paper note similar in look and style to Canadian currency. This money could be used on purchases on a cash equivalent basis. The program shifted to a digital currency in 2014. Today, while the old paper Canadian Tire Money is still valid, it is no longer created and distributed.

The only way to collect new Canadian Tire Money is through Canadian Tire’s updated digital rewards program, now named Triangle Rewards. The updated program expanded Canadian Tire Money to all stores in the Canadian Tire Corporation family. These include Mark’s, Sport Chek, Sports Experts, PartSource, and the Canadian arm of Party City.

What is the best rewards program in Canada?

There are many popular rewards programs in Canada. Ultimately, each rewards program is loved for different reasons and is often chosen based on lifestyle choices. For instance, if you love to cook, you’ll probably choose a rewards program with a grocery store. Or if you drive a lot, you’re more likely to choose a rewards program with a gas station.

Here are some of the best rewards programs in Canada:

PC Optimum

PC Optimum allows you to earn points through the purchase of groceries, gas, or a partner credit card. This rewards program optimizes and personalizes points according to your purchase history. You can take advantage of these personalized options on the mobile app.

In terms of value, 10,000 points is equal to $10. However, the program offers increased redemption promotional days. On these days, points can be redeemed for higher value. Typically, the more points redeemed, the higher the promotional increase. This program is free to get started with. There are paid upgrades to maximize points earned. Participating stores where you can earn and redeem points include:

  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • No Frills
  • Loblaws
  • Real Canadian Superstore
  • Zehrs
  • Valu-Mart
  • Fortinos
  • Joe Fresh
  • Pharma Prix
  • Esso
  • Independent Grocer

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Air Miles

Air Miles has long been a Canadian favourite in rewards programs. But in recent years, the company has faced turbulence (pun intended!) It faced the loss of major retail partners. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2023. Then, they entered a purchase agreement with the Bank of Montreal. The full effects and changes because of this purchase have not yet been realized. Major shifts and improvements are anticipated.

Air Miles still has many partners you can redeem and collect points with, but they vary by province. Here is a full list of partners and possible incentives from each. The value of Air Miles varies depending on the redeeming partner.


Aeroplan rewards are typically considered a frequent flyer rewards program. However, the program has grown significantly and includes many partnerships. You can now redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift cards and more. Also, you can link your Aeroplan account to Starbucks Rewards, and Uber+Uber Eats. This will allow you to earn more points on your day to day purchases. You can also earn points when shopping in-store at the LCBO. Aeroplan has partner credit cards that allow you to earn double the points. Here is a full list of how you can redeem points.


Scene+ began as a partnership and rewards program for Cineplex. It has long been a favourite rewards program for movie-goers and film buffs. The program has grown to include grocery, dining chains, travel, retail, entertainment and more. Further, a substantial partnership with Scotiabank allows you to collect Scene+ points quickly through partnership debit and credit cards. Here is a full list of redemption and earning partners.

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What is the best gas rewards program in Canada?

Many of the above rewards programs allow you to earn points at some gas stations. Below we will explore the best three methods of earning points at gas stations in Canada.

Petro Points at Petro-Canada

Petro Points is a points system unique to the Petro-Canada gas station brand. The brand is soon going to be merging with Triangle Rewards. The details of this merger are not yet known, but members of each should stay tuned for rewards opportunities. However, with an expanded partnership it will likely be easier to earn points for your gas. You can further link your Petro-Points account with applicable RBC products or Hudson’s Bay Rewards to earn more points. 

Air Miles at Shell

Air Miles has a partnership with Shell gas stations. You accumulate points slower through Air Miles and Shell’s partnership. However, this may not be a bad thing. If you are an Air Miles user you may be able to optimize your points in other ways. You do not have to use your points on Shell gas. If you subscribe to one of BMO’s credit cards, you may be able to earn points even quicker.

PC Optimum at Esso

PC Optimum has a partnership with Esso. You accumulate points at the same rate you do Petro Points, both are faster than Air Miles at Shell. This may be the better choice for gas and points if you already collect PC Optimum points at a grocery store. 

What is the best travel rewards program in Canada?

Some of the best travel rewards are linked to credit cards. We will explore bank rewards a little later on in this article. For now, let’s explore the best travel rewards that could be considered “free”. Even with no-annual fee travel credit cards, there is the risk of accumulating debt. An additional benefit of free rewards programs is that they can often be linked to bank programs. This increases points earned. 

We’ve already mentioned Air Miles and Aeroplan a couple of times. These are both staple travel rewards programs in Canada. Their points can be used to redeem flights, hotels and much more. Let’s take a look at two others below.

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy may be considered one of the best hotel rewards programs. It offers multiple tiers depending on yearly nights stayed at Marriot owned properties, each tier with increasing benefits. Points can be redeemed or transferred to a partner reward program with relative ease. Marriott Bonvoy is a staple rewards program for hotel rewards.


Scene+ has grown to be one of the best and most versatile rewards programs in Canada. The program has expanded its travel redemption offerings. In other words, you can use your Scene points to facilitate travel purchases.

Which bank in Canada has the best rewards?

Banks offer some serious rewards through debit and credit card programs. These are considered riskier than the free loyal programs. However, if you have brand loyalty or are very diligent with your credit card use, you should take advantage of these programs.

Here are the names of the rewards programs for each of Canada’s major banks and their credit cards. Different credit cards have different reward offerings and earning rates. Most banks also have partnerships with other rewards programs mentioned above.

  • BMO Rewards is the Bank of Montreal’s rewards program.
  • TD Rewards is TD Bank’s rewards program.
  • Scotiabank offers rewards through cashback credit cards and its partnership with Scene+.
  • Aventura is a CIBC reward program.

Related Reading: Banking vs Financial Services: What’s the difference?

Other rewards programs to consider

Here’s some other rewards programs not mentioned above that you may want to consider:

Which points program is the best?

The best rewards programs in Canada would be subjective to the consumer. It is best to sign up for the rewards program that suits your lifestyle and most frequent purchases. Although, two versatile and free options are the PC Optimum and Scene+ programs. They allow you to accumulate points at a decent speed. Their rewards system is accepted at very common grocery stores and retailers which most Canadians shop at.

Other classic options include Air Miles and Aeroplan, especially for Canadians who enjoy travelling. While both these programs have many partners, they are not as up-to-date as the newer PC Optimum and Scene+ programs. Although, Air Miles will likely go through some interesting and exciting changes in the near future, as it is now under new BMO ownership.

Finally, credit cards and banks offer amazing points programs. But these credit cards can come with annual fees. It is best to stack your points with some of the free options. This way, you can maximize your earnings and redemption. Be sure to use the credit card rewards program wisely and always spend within your budget.

Related Reading: Best Rewards Credit Cards In Canada

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Are reward programs worth it?

It is a great idea to take advantage of points programs to access savings and incentives, especially for necessities like gas and groceries. The free programs offer an easy, low barrier entrance to loyalty shopping. It is best to tailor your specific rewards program to where you currently shop.

There is no need to sign up for every program. Signing up for every program may take away from your ability to maximize points earned. Plus, it can be irritating to juggle multiple programs. Choose the reward program that aligns with your current spending habits and lifestyle.

Read More: The Best Credit Cards in Canada

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