Let’s have a little bit of fun as we approach the end of 2020 and begin looking back on the year.
Allow me to introduce you to the inaugural 2020 Prince of Travel Awards, where we as a community take a moment to look back on everything that has happened in the landscape of travel, loyalty programs, and credit cards over the past year, and pick out some of the best performers in each category.
I’d like to recognize the work of some of my forerunners, such as Rewards Canada, who has compiled lists of Canada’s top travel rewards credit cards for 12 years running now.
Here at Prince of Travel, though, I take real pride in the community of avid travellers and points collectors that we’ve been able to build over the years, and so I’d like the Prince of Travel Awards to be entirely based on the thoughts and opinions of our readers themselves.
Across 16 different categories over three weeks of voting, I invite you to make your voice heard on which issuers, programs, airlines, hotels, products, and promotions here in Canada have impressed you the most over the course of this year as you’ve progressed along your journey with travelling the world on points.
Together, let’s take stock of how things have played out over the past year and which loyalty offerings are looking the most appealing as we head into 2021.
(And just for fun, after the Awards are doled out, we’ll also host the “Anti-Awards” and vote on some of the most disappointing twists and turns over the past year, too.)
The 16 categories for the 2020 Prince of Travel Awards are as follows:
- Best Premium Travel Credit Card
- Best Travel Credit Card
- Best Business Travel Credit Card
- Best Lifestyle Credit Card
- Best Credit Card Signup Bonus
- Best US Credit Card Signup Bonus
- Best Credit Card Perk
- Best Transferable Points Currency
- Best Fixed-Value Points Currency
- Best Airline Loyalty Program
- Best Hotel Loyalty Program
- Best International Award Sweet Spot
- Best Domestic Award Sweet Spot
- Best Promotion
- Best Business Class in Canada
- Best Economy Class in Canada
(The choice of categories reflects the fact that none of us have done much travelling in 2020, and it’s very much been a year of prioritizing earning over redeeming. In future years, I’d like to vote on categories like Best International First Class, Best Points Hotel in Canada, etc.)
In Week 1 of voting, it’s time to cast your vote on the following six categories, with four or five nominees among each category for you to choose from.
Best Premium Travel Credit Card: Among travel rewards credit cards that command a $399+ annual fee in exchange for stronger travel benefits, which one is the best?
- American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
- American Express Platinum Card
- BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege
- RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
Best Credit Card Signup Bonus: What was the best credit card signup bonus this year? There are some heavy-hitting names here, as well as a few wildcard choices whose issuers’ sheer generosity might count in their favour.
- Aeroplan co-branded credit cards: Air Canada Buddy Pass
- American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card: 75,000 Aeroplan points
- American Express Business Platinum Card: 75,000 MR points
- HSBC World Elite Mastercard: 100,000–130,000 HSBC Rewards points
- MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard: 30,000 Alaska miles
Best US Credit Card Signup Bonus: With US credit cards delivering sky-high bonuses late in the year, which has been the most impressive of them all? If you’ve just gotten started with US cards, then the offer you picked may well be your top choice.
- American Express Bonvoy Brilliant Card: 125,000 Bonvoy points + Platinum Elite status, US$450 annual fee
- American Express US Gold Card: 60,000 US MR points, US$250 annual fee
- American Express Green Card: 50,000 US MR points, US$150 annual fee
- American Express US Platinum Card: 100,000 US MR points, US$550 annual fee
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: 80,000 Chase UR points, US$95 annual fee
Best Credit Card Perk: Travel rewards credit cards are coming up with all sorts of creative perks these days to entice people to sign up. Which perk has been the best in your eyes? Which one have you gotten the most value from?
- Aeroplan premium cards: Maple Leaf Lounge access
- American Express Bonvoy cards: Anniversary free night certificate worth 35,000 points
- American Express Platinum & Business Platinum Card: Priority Pass access
- BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege: $200 lifestyle credit
- WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard: WestJet companion voucher
Best Transferable Points Currency: Of the four points currencies we have easy access to here in Canada that can also be converted into other points currencies, which one do you find the most value in?
- Amex MR points
- HSBC Rewards points
- Marriott Bonvoy points
- RBC Avion points
Best Business Class in Canada: Of the four leading types of business class seats that you’ll find on Canadian airlines, which one do you prefer most?
- Air Canada 777/787/A330 Signature Class (review)
- Air Canada A220 business class (review)
- Air Canada A330 “old” business class (review)
- WestJet 787 business class (review)
As part of the voting process, you are invited to rank the candidates in each category from 1–4 or 1–5.
If you have personal experience with a certain candidate in a category, then go by that personal experience; if you do not, then feel free to vote based on your impressions of each candidate as a savvy points collector.
To rank the candidates, either use the icons on the left side each row to drag them into the correct order, or use the drop-down menus to specify your chosen ranking of 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.
The order of the candidates is randomized as part of the survey to avoid introducing bias into your vote. After you’ve completed your vote and ranked the candidates in all six categories, hit the Submit button and your vote will be counted!
Without further ado, you can submit your vote for Week 1 of the 2020 Prince of Travel Awards below:
Week 1 of voting will close at the end of Sunday, December 6.
Weeks 2 and 3 will take place the following weeks, and the winners will be announced on Monday, December 21. Happy voting!