6 Best Travel Credit Cards for Seniors in Canada

My in law had some health issues last year and after she got better, we were thinking of doing a spontaneous small road trip down to the US and some traveling overseas (this was before all this COVID-19 hullaballoo, there are probably zero seniors traveling right now, haha).  While she was looking at coverage for insurance through her credit card, we were shocked to find that coverage was actually very minimal especially for her pre-existing condition and age.  Here are the best travel credit cards for seniors in Canada.

6 Best Travel Medical Insurance Credit Cards for Seniors in CanadaThe content is not provided by the issuer. Any opinions expressed are those of the genymoney.ca alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see genymoney.ca’s disclaimer for more information.

In the end she decided not to do the small road trip down to the United States because she would not be covered for health issues related to her pre-existing condition should anything happen, and we all know how much medical costs can be in the US.

Last year, my husband was admitted for less than 24 hours and it cost around $10,000.  Thankfully we had travel insurance through my employer.  Your travel insurance will ask you if you have eligible credit card travel insurance and they will go after them first to try and collect money.

This goes without saying that it reinforces my desire to travel as much as I can before I am too old to enjoy my travels and also too aged to qualify for decent travel insurance without paying an arm and a leg.  I will still want to retire happy and travel though, but ideally I’d like to travel to my bucket list destinations before I turn 65 or even before I have to start reviewing my end of life financial checklist.

Also with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing and vaccinations available, I think if I were a senior I would be itching to travel again.  And they are.  I met some friendly seniors on a bus in Hawaii who were having a great time on a 30 day cruise of the South Pacific!

Emergency Travel Medical Benefits as a Senior

Many travel credit cards offer emergency travel medical benefits as part of their insurance benefits package.  This is a great perk with many credit cards.

However, after age 65, the length of coverage is usually drastically shortened.

Most credit card companies only offer 3 to 4 days of travel medical insurance. 

We all know that there are more health issues occur as you get older.

More strikingly, after age 75, the emergency travel insurance benefits on many credit cards do not exist. 

There’s not a big window to travel worry-free (and for cheaper)– between age 65 and 75.

After age 65, as a retiree and senior you may have more pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Emergency medical issues related to pre-existing conditions are not covered under the credit card travel insurance if you read the fine print.

Pre-existing Conditions and Travel for Retirees

The problem with many travel emergency medical insurance from credit cards is that there is limited coverage for pre-existing conditions.

What does a pre-existing condition mean?  Pre-existing conditions usually mean that a doctor, had investigated, diagnosed, or treated, changed or prescribed medications. 

For those under 75 years of age and older than 65, pre-existing conditions are typically not covered if anything was documented/ changed in the past 180 days (6 months).

If you are over age 75, then it is one year (365 days) prior to the date the trip was booked.

So if you have high blood pressure and your blood pressure medication was increased 2 months before your trip by your family doctor or cardiologist, any medical emergency that occurs during your trip related to high blood pressure is not covered.

I’m not an insurance underwriter or anything but to me when I read this, it seems like it can get to be a bit of a grey zone.

Though there are medical insurance packages that you can get that cover pre-existing conditions, and these come at an additional cost.

Anyway, here are the rare travel rewards credit cards that have extended medical insurance coverage (longer than the typical 3 or 4 days offered by other credit cards) if you are over the age of 65.

In this post about credit cards with travel insurance for seniors, I rank them from the highest number of days insured to the lowest.

It was interesting to see the differences in pre-existing coverage after reading the fine print in the Terms and Conditions.  Read the Terms and Conditions yourself and do your own due diligence for these credit cards.

National Bank World Elite Mastercard

The National Bank World Elite Mastercard is $150 annually.

NBC World Elite Mastercard
  • You need $80,000 minimum personal income or $150,000 household (I suppose you’ll have to be a rich retiree) OR you have to have at least $400,000 in investable assets
  • Coverage is up to $5 million emergency medical coverage
  • If you are age 65 to 75: 15 days consecutive days are covered
  • 76 and over: No coverage
  • A part or total cost of the trip must be charged to the card for insurance coverage
  • Pre-existing conditions for age 61 and over:  No changes or adjustments to your pre-existing condition treatment plan for the last 6 months.

National Bank World Mastercard

National Bank World Mastercard

The National Bank World Mastercard is $115 annually.

  • You need $60,000 minimum personal income or $100,000 household OR at least $250,000 in investable assets
  • Coverage is up to $5 million emergency medical coverage
  • If you are age 65 to 75: 15 days consecutive days are covered
  • A part or total cost of the trip must be charged to the card for insurance coverage
  • Pre-existing conditions for age 61 and over:  No changes or adjustments to your pre-existing condition treatment plan for the last 6 months.
  • More information here in the Certificate of Insurance

Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card

Meridian Visa Infinite

The Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card boasts travel insurance for up to 48 days (48 days if you are under age 59).

It is $99 annually but currently there is first year free!

  • You have to be an Ontario resident
  • You need $60,000 minimum income or $100,000 household income to be eligible.
  • Coverage is up to $5 million emergency medical coverage
  • Coverage is provided by Desjardins
  • I called Meridian and they say you don’t to book travel on the card to be eligible for the emergency medical coverage.
  • If you are age 65 to 75: 15 days consecutive days are covered
  • If you are over age 75, you are not covered
  • Pre-existing conditions for age 55 and over:  No changes or adjustments to your pre-existing condition for the last 6 months otherwise illness related to your pre-existing is not covered.  You have to have had your pre-existing condition for the last six months.  If you are 55 and under it is 3 months.
  • Also has mobile device insurance if you charge your plan to your card or you pay for your mobile device in full on the card

Desjardins Odyssey World Elite

Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard

The Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard is $130 annually.

You get 8 free passes to the Desjardins Odyssey lounge but this is in Montreal’s airport so unless you live in Montreal I don’t find this very useful.  Cook perk though.

  • You need $80,000 minimum personal income or $150,000 household income to be eligible.
  • Coverage is up to $5 million in emergency medical coverage
  • The unique thing is that your grandchildren also benefit from complimentary intergenerational insurance coverage when they travel with you!
  • Coverage is provided by Desjardins Financial Security
  • It doesn’t appear that you have to book your travel using this card
  • If you are over age 75, you are not covered
  • If you are age 65 to 75, 15 consecutive days are covered.
  • Your trip must begin and end in Canada in your province of residence though it doesn’t appear that you have to book travel using this card
  • You have to call Assistance Service before you go to hospital or clinic otherwise you will have to pay 30% of service up to a maximum of $3000.
  • Pre-existing conditions for age 55 and over:  No changes or adjustments to your pre-existing condition for the last 6 months otherwise illness related to your pre-existing is not covered.  It has to be stable.  If you are 55 and under it is 3 months.

National Bank Platinum Mastercard

National Bank Platinum Mastercard

The National Bank Platinum Mastercard is $70 annually.

  • There is no stated minimum personal income
  • You and your spouse and dependents are covered for up to $5 million emergency medical coverage
  • Up to 10 days if you are under age 76
  • If you are 76 and over, there is no coverage
  • A part or total cost of the trip must be charged to the card for insurance coverage
  • Pre-existing conditions for age 61 and over:  No changes or adjustments to your pre-existing condition treatment plan for the last 6 months.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is $150 annually but it is free for the first year right now if you sign up before July 1, 2024.

It is also free for the first year if you have the Preferred Package.

It is free ongoing if you have the Ultimate Package chequing accounts.

You can even pair it with a Canadian bank promotion application and you’ve just made $350!

You get 6 free Visa Airport Companion Program visits (that’s a lot, typically it is 4) and 30,000 Scene Rewards points if you spend $1000 in the first 3 months (that’s about $300 worth in travel).

Here’s my recent airport lounge visit (free) thanks to the Passport Visa Infinite.

Passport Visa Airport Lounge Access

There’s also no foreign exchange mark up, you just pay the exchange rate. 

Also, it’s $0 for supplementary card holders.

Usually the credit card’s foreign exchange fee is 2.5%.

  • $60,000 minimum personal income, $100,000 minimum household income to qualify
  • You, your spouse are covered up to $1 million emergency medical coverage
  • If you are over 65 it covers for the first 10 consecutive days
  • If you have pre-existing conditions these are not covered if anything changed with your treatment plan by the doctor or if you had an investigation done in the past 6 months (180 days) if you are under 75.
  • If you are over 75, there’s no coverage for pre-existing conditions if anything changed with your treatment plan for 1 year (365 days)- that means no increase or decrease or addition of medications.
  • You are not eligible for the travel emergency insurance if you participate in professional sports, speed contests, dangerous sports or events including recreational scuba diving 🙂
  • You need to book 75% of your trip expenses on this credit card to be eligible for the medical insurance

Here’s my review of the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite.  We recently got it.

Genymoney.ca’s Verdict

Personally I think many of these credit cards are similar and offer great benefits for travel medical for seniors.  Most of them are first year free right now, and you get 15 days of coverage. 

If you were to buy 15 days of coverage and have pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure, or a previous stroke, this would probably cost you around $900.  

Of course, you could get an annual medical insurance coverage through something like CAA as well, but the trip limit is still 15 days of coverage.

If you are a retiree with low income but high investable assets, the National Bank Mastercards are all pretty good.

Finally, The Scotia Passport Visa Infinite is a great option if you are over 75 and healthy and active- the no foreign exchange fee is a huge draw.

Related: Transunion vs Equifax, Why the 100 Point Difference Between the Scores?

Credit Card Travel Insurance for Seniors Summary

You don’t have to worry too much about the best credit card for travel insurance over 65, but after 75 it’s different.

To summarize, here are the credit cards that provide credit card travel insurance over 65 but under 76.  They are over the typical three to four days travel insurance coverage.

Unfortunately, If you are over 75 your options are very limited.

Here are the credit cards that have long duration travel insurance for seniors, the best credit cards for seniors in Canada:

If you are under 75 and older or are 65 but have pre-existing conditions (especially recent pre-existing conditions) you may want to consider purchasing separate travel insurance that covers pre-existing conditions to cover you on your trip.

Hope you found this list of best Canadian credit card for seniors travel insurance helpful!

Related:

I would think this is especially relevant for Canadian snowbirds who travel to a warmer destination for 6 months of the year, no credit card covers that much travel insurance for that duration of time.

In the end, my Mother In Law decided to go for a multi trip travel insurance policy which gave her coverage for up to a 2 week trip anywhere in the world and for unlimited trips for one year.  The quote for this was slightly higher than a quote for a two week trip, so this is more of a ‘deal’.

Alternatively, you could get one of these cards and limit yourself to a 2 week trip abroad.

I tend to apply for a number of credit cards at once (definitely do not have a minimalist wallet) and when I do, I usually check my credit score to make sure it hasn’t taken too much of a beating.  You can get a free credit score check with Borrowell.  Here’s my review of Borrowell.

Do you use travel insurance through your credit card or do you usually buy separate travel insurance?

What are the best credit cards with travel insurance for seniors in Canada in your opinion?

Get the Young Money Bootcamp PDF FREE

Free Dividend Yield Spreadsheet Tracker Download and Blog Updates

5 thoughts on “6 Best Travel Credit Cards for Seniors in Canada”

  1. Hi Geny –
    I’m 58, newly retired and spent my first winter as a Canadian snowbird. Thanks for bringing my attention to the insurance options thru credit cards. Here’s a couple of comments.
    I brought my Mom to Florida in 2018 for a week. She was 80, diabetic and self-administered her own insulin, but otherwise in relatively good health. We did research and she bought travel insurance thru the TD Bank for a reasonable price!

    For me, my retirement health package, included decent travel insurance for up to 90 days, whereupon I was to “come back to Canada for a day” and renew for another 90 days. Instead, I bought add-on insurance for $4.96 per day,30 extra days for $150. Cheaper than traveling home!

    Reply
    • @Carly- Congratulations on the retirement! $10 million is excellent coverage. Yes, it can be quite reasonable to buy extra medical insurance, and some even cover pre-existing conditions that are ‘not stable’ for an added cost. Personally if I were over 65 I would still buy medical insurance because I would not feel 100% comfortable relying on credit card medical insurance, but that’s just me. I think I saw in the news recently a COVID patient who survived but has a $1.9 million bill because of a 6 week hospital stay (they had insurance).

      Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.