Quick overview

The Scotiabank American Express Card is a no-fee entry-level rewards card aimed at Canadians who want to earn Scene+ rewards without having to shell out extra cash for a yearly fee. For a fee-free card, it offers an impressive rewards structure that rivals some of its costlier and more luxurious cards: Users can earn three points for every dollar spent at certain grocery stores (such as Foodland, Sobeys and FreshCo), and two points for every dollar spent on takeout, restaurants, good delivery, eligible entertainment, gas and ride sharing, and streaming services. 

The Scotia Amex Red card, as it’s colloquially named, also comes with mobile device insurance – a perk usually reserved for higher-end cards – car rental discounts and a welcome bonus of 7,500 Scene+ points. 

Who’s this card for?

This card is designed for someone new to the credit card game. Maybe they’re in their early twenties and have been building credit with their first credit card, usually a bare-bones offering from their bank. They’ve heard about credit card rewards and want to get in on the action without shelling out too much for a yearly fee. The welcome bonus may be one of the lowest around, but that’s not what this card is about: it’s for those curious and want to start earning points on the cheap. 

Pros and cons



  • Earn 7,000 welcome bonus rewards points.

  • Earn up to three Scene+ points on everyday spending.

  • Earn points across five different categories, including food, travel, entertainment and streaming.

  • No annual fee.



  • The welcome bonus is lower compared to other rewards cards.

  • American Express isn’t accepted everywhere.

  • Limited insurance coverage.

Welcome bonus

  • Earn a total of 7,500 Scene+ points.
  • Earn 2,500 bonus Scene+ points by making at least $250 in everyday eligible purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Then, you are eligible to earn a 5,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $1,000 in everyday eligible purchases in your first 3 months. 
  • Points are paid out in two to three business days after eligibility is met. 
  • Offer ends July 1, 2024.

How to earn Scene+ points on the Scotiabank American Express Card

  • The first way you’ll earn points with the American Express Scotiabank card is with its welcome bonus, which offers up to 7,500 bonus Scene+ points within your first 3 months. From there, everyday spending will help rack up additional rewards. The card has five categories for earning points, and here’s how it breaks down:
  • Earn three points for every dollar spent at Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland and others.
  • Earn two points for every dollar spent eating in and dining out.
  • Earn two points for every dollar spent on movie entertainment, including at theatres.
  • Earn two points for every dollar spent on gas and ride-sharing.
  • Earn two points for every dollar spent on streaming services.

In addition to the card’s spending categories, the Scene+ program has made great strides recently with retailers, allowing users to earn additional points with various Scene+ partners. They include various restaurants and grocery stores, travel companies and pharmacies. Have a look at which ones are included and make a point of shopping there to earn extra rewards with your daily spending. Rakuten, a cash back app that allows users to earn cash back when they shop online, is another way to earn additional points. Scene+ members can earn up to 20% more points than non-users when using Rakuten.

How to redeem points

The process for redeeming Scene+ points is simple. You can redeem points online by logging into the Scene+ website and clicking the rewards tab. 

You can also redeem Scene+ points in person at various retailers, including grocery stores, movie theatres, restaurants and pharmacies. 

For restaurants, points can be redeemed in person, through drive-thru, or for take-out. Cineplex movie tickets can be redeemed online or in person. To redeem points for a statement credit, navigate to the Rewards tab, select "Points For Credit" and follow the outlined steps.

For travel redemption, access the dedicated Scene+ travel portal on the main Scene+ website. Click on "Rewards," select the travel option, and choose to redeem points for travel or apply them to a travel-related purchase made with a Scotiabank credit card.

There are two ways to redeem Scene+ points for travel:

Scene+ Travel Portal (powered by Expedia): Book flights, hotels, or rental cars through the portal at a redemption rate of 100 points per $1 reward.

If you don’t have enough points, you can pay for travel using a combination of points and another payment method.

Apply points to travel: Use a Scene+ Scotiabank credit or debit card to independently book eligible travel products like flights, car rentals, or hotels.

Key benefits

  • Earn up to three points per dollar spent
  • No annual fees
  • Mobile device insurance 
  • Extended warranty protection and purchase security

Insurance coverage

  • New mobile device insurance: Coverage for up to $500 if your cell phone, smartphone, or tablet is lost, stolen, or broken.
  • Purchase security and extended warranty protection: Some items purchased with your card are covered for up to 90 days in the event of theft, loss, or damage; warranties are extended for up to one year.

The American Express Scotiabank card also offers optional insurance with its Scotia Credit Card Protection Program. There are two options to choose from, but they both come at a cost.

Basic protection:

  • Life benefit
  • Critical illness benefit  
  • Hospitalization benefit

Comprehensive protection:

  • Life benefit
  • Critical illness benefit
  • Hospitalization benefit
  • Disability benefit
  • Job loss benefit
  • Strike or lockout benefit

Extra benefits

  • Use your card to book travel through Scene+ Travel, a full-service travel agency.
  • Get access to exclusive American Express experiences.
  • Save up to 25% on car rentals through AVIS and Budget.

What people have to say about this card

It appears the Scotiabank American Express Red card used to be a more feature-rich travel card, according to one user in this Reddit thread about the card, claiming it used to offer travel insurance. 

Another Reddit user mentions having trouble qualifying for the card as a student in this Reddit thread entitled credit card application rejected by Scotiabank. “They said if I really wanted the card they would need a letter of enrollment from my university and would have to see my schedule,” the user claims. “Even then, they said I wouldn't get approved because American Express does not want to give students credit cards.”Another user replies that Amex does, in fact, issue cards to students as long as they have credit history. This suggests some students may have difficulty applying for the card and that it’s best to have a backup card in case their application is rejected. 

How the card compares

Scotiabank American Express vs. Scotiabank Gold American Express

You can think of the Scotiabank Gold American Express card as the older brother (or sister) of the red card. They’re similar, but the gold does everything just a bit better – at a cost, of course. 

The Gold card costs $120 a year, but it will also earn you a lot more points than its free version. With the Gold, you’ll earn six Scene+ points for every dollar spent at grocery stores such as Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland and others (vs. three with the red card), five points for every dollar spent on eating in and dining out, eligible entertainment (vs. two points), and three points for every dollar spent on gas, transit and streaming (vs. two points). 

The Gold card also has a more lucrative signup bonus, offering up to 40,000 Scene+ points, compared to just 7,500 with the red card. The Scotia Amex Gold also comes with travel insurance, a perk that’s lacking with the red version, as well as lounge access.However, the Red Scotia card has no annual fee and a slightly lower interest rate of 19.99% compared to the Gold’s rate of 20.99%.

Scotiabank American Express vs. American Express Green Card

Both the Scotiabank American Express and American Express Green Card are no-fee, basic rewards cards. They both offer small welcome bonuses of 7,500 Scene+ points and 10,000 Amex points, respectively, and both offer ways for the users to earn points. With the Scotia card, you can earn up to three points per dollar spent, whereas the Amex Green offers one point on everyday spending and two points on Amex Travel. Neither card comes with travel insurance, but with no fees, who can complain? Overall, both are good options for a second credit card if you want to start earning rewards. While both are eclipsed by others that charge a yearly fee and offer more robust rewards and higher earning potential, you won’t go wrong with either the Scotia Red or Amex Green. 

Scotiabank American Express Vs. CIBC Aeroplan Visa

Interested in a no-fee rewards card? You might not need to look any further than the Scotiabank American Express or the CIBC Aeroplan Visa. Both offer welcome bonuses (7,500 Scene+ points with the Scotiabank Amex and 10,000 Aeroplan points with the CIBC Visa) and ways for users to earn points with everyday spending (up to three points per dollar with the Amex and up to one point with the Visa).

Both cards are no-frills and lack some of the features that come with premium cards, such as lounge access and travel insurance. When it comes down to it, the type of rewards you’d like to earn might be the deciding factor: The Aeroplan card is meant for people interested in travel rewards whereas the Amex card is a more general rewards program. 

Compare Scotiabank American Express Credit Cards

Scotiabank American Express credit cards Scotiabank American Express® Card Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card Scotiabank American Express Green Card
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card
Card Scotiabank American Express® Card Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card American Express Green Card CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card
Annual fee $0 $120 $0 $0
Welcome bonus 7,500 Scene+ points 40,000 Scene+ points 10,000 Amex points 10,000 Aeroplan points
Travel insurance No Yes No No
Lounge access No Yes No No
Benefits Earn up to 3 points per dollar spent.
Mobile device insurance.
No fee
Earn up to 6 points per dollar spent.
Travel insurance.
Lounge access.
Earn up to 1 point per dollar spent.
No fee.
Earn up to 1 point per dollar spent.
No fee.
Apply now Apply now Apply now Apply now Apply now

Is the Scotiabank American Express Card worth it?

The Scotiabank American Express card is a great option if you’d like to earn points with a card with no annual fee. You’ll earn up to three points per dollar spent and up to an additional 7,500 bonus points in the first year. The mobile insurance it comes with is a nice bonus as well. 

However, if you’re looking for premium features, such as travel insurance, lounge access, or no foreign exchange fees, you’ll have to consider something a little pricier. 


  • Is the Scotiabank American Express a student credit card?


    The Scotiabank American Express card is not a student credit card. Scotiabank does offer a few student credit card options, though, including the Scotiabank Scene+ Card (for students), Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card (for students), and the Scotia Momentum Visa Card (for students). Even though the Scotiabank Amex isn’t a student card, it’s still a good option because it has no annual fee.

  • Is the Scotiabank American Express Card a travel card?


    While not technically a travel card, the Scotiabank Amex does allow you to redeem points toward travel. However, it lacks some of the features often found with travel credit cards, including travel insurance, lounge access and no foreign exchange fees.

  • Can I use my Scotiabank American Express Card abroad?


    Yes, you can use your Scotiabank American Express Card worldwide, wherever Amex is accepted. You’ll also be able to earn points on purchases while travelling. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay foreign exchange fees with your Scotiabank Amex when spending outside of Canada.

Justin da Rosa Freelance Writer

Justin is a writer and editor who has been covering personal finance for over 10 years. He's written for companies such as KOHO, Ratehub, BMO, Zoocasa, and Questrade, among others. Justin also created a course in Content Creation, which he taught at York University for four years. When not writing, Justin can be found at a live concert, on the golf course, riding a motorcycle, or sailing.


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