Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard Review

Editors note: Capital One has discontinued its Aspire Cash World MasterCard as of August 20th, 2013.

We now recommend the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite for groceries and gas purchases, as well as drug store spending and recurring bill payments.  For all other spending we recommend the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard, which offers 35,000 bonus points on your first purchase (worth up to $350 in travel, or $262.50 in cash back) and gives you two points for every dollar spent.

  • Apply now for the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite and get 4% cash back on groceries and gas purchases.
  • Apply now for the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard and get a 35,000 point welcome bonus on your first purchase

Capital One Aspire Cash

The Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard entered the Canadian market in August, 2011 and quickly took the rewards cards market by storm, offering a large sign-up bonus, anniversary cash bonus and a juicy redemption rate on every purchase.

Depending on your spending patterns, the Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard rivals the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard as one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.

The new Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard is now available with no annual fee.  Cardholders will still receive the same World MasterCard benefits as before, including travel medical insurance.

Cash back rewards cards have grown in popularity as people become more frustrated with travel rewards programs like Aeroplan and Air Miles offering less value for their points.

The Aspire Cash World MasterCard takes a straight-forward approach to delivering rewards to cardholders.  Simply request a cheque or statement credit at any time.  There is no minimum, your cash rewards never expire, and you can easily redeem online or over the phone.

Here are the benefits for using the Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard:

  • 1% cash rewards on all net purchases (used to be 1.5%)
  • 50% extra cash rewards every year (used to be 20%)
  • $100 bonus cash reward on your first purchase
  • No limit to the amount of cash you can earn
  • Free additional card
  • World benefits including Travel Medical Insurance

The 50% anniversary cash bonus is based on the amount of cash rewards earned that year on total net purchases.  If you earned $400 in cash rewards, you will receive an additional $200 on your membership anniversary date.

How Much Cash Back Can I Earn?

The Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard is a good choice for someone with an annual income over $70,000 who spends at least $2,000 per month on their credit card and pays off their balance in full each month.

I looked back at my personal budget last year and determined that I spend approximately $2,600 per month on my credit card.  Here’s what my potential cash rebate will be from the Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard in the first year:

  • First purchase bonus – $100
  • 1% cash rewards on all net purchases – $312
  • 50% anniversary bonus – $156

Total cash rebate in the first year = $568

After the first year, the cash back rewards drop to $468 per year.

Compare that to the cash rewards earned from the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard in the first year and beyond:

  • 5% rebate on gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months – $120
  • 2% rebate on gas and grocery purchases thereafter – $48
  • 1% rebate on all additional purchases – $264

Total cash rebate in first year = $432 (no annual fee)

After the first year, the cash back rewards drop to $360 per year.

Final Thoughts

I like that you can earn 1% cash back in every spending category rather than having different tiers.  Also, with Capital One Aspire Cash, you can redeem your cash rewards by cheque or statement credit, with no minimum.  With MBNA, you need to reach a minimum of $50 in cash rewards and they will only send cheques.

After TD purchased MBNA’s credit card division in December 2011, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Sure enough, they cut their Smart Cash rewards program by up to 50%.

Now there’s a new cash back king in Canada.  The Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard comes out ahead of Smart Cash and can now be considered the best no-fee cash back card in Canada.

18 Responses to Capital One Aspire Cash World MasterCard Review

    • @Diane – thanks for the tip. I ask them to take me off their list when they call, but I guess I need to put a call in specifically for that reason. I’m not interested in their balance protection and identity theft protection insurance.

  1. I don’t know… I always feel like those reward programs just aren’t worth it.

    IMO, they encourage people to buy stuff they don’t need to get “rewards”.

    Well, I could be wrong.

  2. Nice review I have heard many good things about the new card introduced into the market in Canada but had not heard anything really from those who had them.

  3. We signed up for the World travel version late last year and so far it’s been good. We get back $75 worth of points every year from the retention bonus so the card in theory only costs us $45.

    We were tired of the blackouts and hassle from aeroplan so hopefully Capital One will treat us better.

  4. I have the MBNA Platinum card mentioned here. They seem to be having problem mailing the $50 cheque against redeemed points. They did a redemption in November 2011 but a cheque did not come. When I inquired, I was told that I should get it by the end of Dec. When this did not happen, I call again last week and the representative said they were having some issues and that I should wait till at least Feb 10, and inquire again if the cheque does not come!

    I wonder if I can claim an interest payment at 19% pa on the outstanding amount! I am sure they’d not hesitate to charge me on outstanding balances. But yes, the tracking of redemptions of points is not transparent on their website.

    • @Be’en – I received one $50 cheque back in September. My October rebate didn’t quite reach $50, but by the end of November I had accumulated $100. The website says they automatically redeemed the $100 in December, but I have yet to receive a cheque either.

      I would prefer the ability to apply the rewards as a statement credit, like with this Aspire Cash card.

      • I agree, a credit at the end of every year would be great. CIBC Dividend card does this, and every statement shows accrued dollar amounts – very transparent.

  5. @Echo this is Laurel at Capital One.

    Thanks for reviewing the Aspire Cash MasterCard! I can confirm for you that you can also redeem for cash with the Aspire Travel World MasterCard.

    Based on your spend of $2,600 per month on the Aspire Travel World MasterCard:

    You’d earn 35,000 reward miles for first purchase bonus
    Earn 62,400 reward miles for your spend
    Earn 10,000 reward miles for the anniversary bonus

    Total of 107,400 reward miles in the first year worth $685.5 in cash back after netting off the annual fee
    Total of 72,400 reward miles in subsequent years worth $423 in cash back (net of the annual fee)

    For your consideration, if you used these reward miles for travel, the value could be even higher, up to $954 in year one and $604 in year 2+ (again net of annual fee).

  6. Aside from the initial rates bonuses, the Capital One Aspire card basically gets you 1% cash back on every purchase with no limit and has no annual fee. With the MBNA SmartCash MasterCard benefits being cut to 2% (up to $400/mo) on groceries and 1% on everything else (up to $1250/mo), if I am young and rarely spend over $1,250 a month anyway, there would be no point in using the Capital One card in tandem with the MBNA card right? Or am I missing something?

    I currently use the $39/year Scotia Momentum VISA with 2% cash back on all groceries/gas/drug stores and 1% on everything else with no limits and I get more than the annual fee in return.

    • @Neil – you actually get 1.5% back on every purchase with Aspire Cash, because you’ll get a 50% bonus on your cash back rewards each year. So, if you spend $1,000 a month, you’ll get $120 cash back a year, plus an extra $60, for a total of $180.

      That beats the Smart Cash card, where you’ll earn a maximum of $168 a year when you spend $1,000 a month and max out the grocery and gas multiplier.

      Check out this post for a more detailed breakdown –

      • Yes you are correct thank you. I read the post late at night when my brain had already reached it’s saturation point.

        In that case, I will likely do the MBNA SmartCash Mastercard for groceries and use the Capital One Aspire Cash for everything else since it’s effectively 1.5% cashback. How sticky do you think they are on the minimum salary requirement? I was earning 55K and was recently laid off, I anticipate being hired again before the year is over and should be at the 60K mark. Do they see what you effectively make when you apply (let’s say someone just got hired at 60K), or do you have to have a year on file that you made 60K gross on a T4 already? FWIW I do have a stellar credit history.

        Only to complicate matters is that I do shop at Costco quite a bit. Aye carumba.

        • @Neil – not sure if you want to go to these lengths or not, but you can purchase Costco gift cards online with a non-Amex card. So if you do this with your Cap One card, you’d earn 1.5% on the purchase.

          FYI – I’ve done this with the Smart Cash card and MBNA does not code the Costco gift card purchase as ‘grocery’ so you’ll only earn 1% back.

        • @Neil – I couldn’t say how sticky they would be on your income/credit check. Best to speak with someone there directly, or wait until you’re back at work just to be safe.

  7. great post Echo!!. I just have a question. Why do you recommend this card for expenses of at least $2000?…My montly expenses come to $1500 and I just got my MBNA card; so I was thinking in getting the Capital one card to pay everything but groceries and gas (as you recommended) there a minimum balance for this card?..could I still apply your strategy with my spending level?

    Thank you!

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