Quick overview of the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has “Scene” better days. I was actually using this card for a secret point scheme to fly my wife’s friend to visit her in France. All was going well until… they migrated over to Scene points! Which, while not bad (we’ll dive into why below) are definitely nerfed in a big way for travel-fiends.

That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom, though. For every-day-purchasers, Scene+ points can pack a punch and are relatively valuable when applied to things like groceries, paying down your balance and (of course) movie tickets. Plus, one for my fellow travellers, the Scotiabank American Express Gold saves you 2.5% on foreign exchange fees when abroad, which adds up if you’re away for a while. Your savings might even help you pay off the not-insubstantial $120 fee. And on top of that, it offers wildly good travel-related insurance, including emergency medical, trip cancellation, flight delay, lost baggage and more.

Who’s the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card for?

There’s sort of a melange going on with the Scotia Gold Amex that makes it hard to pin to a certain type of person. The Scene+ points are earned on everyday purchases, with big bonuses on earning them from participating grocery stores, dining and movies. But then there’s the fact that it’s an Amex, making consistent daily spending tough (you’re out of luck Loblaws fans). And on top of that, though the waived foreign exchange fees are going to tempt travellers (plus a discount on Priority Pass for lounges), the Scene+ points aren’t nearly as good as Amex or Aeroplan for travel. In essence, the Scotia Gold Amex is a grab bag, with morsels that will appeal to several demographics without directly catering to one.

Pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • Lots of daily spend options to earn multiplied point bonuses

  • Swanky Amex perks like Front of the Line presale concert tickets

  • Save on foreign transaction fees when abroad

  • Fantastic insurance coverage, especially for travel

Cons

Cons

  • Relatively low-value welcome bonus

  • $120 annual fee that chews into your point value substantially

  • Scene points redeem poorly for travel

Scotiabank American Express Gold welcome bonus

  • Earn up to 45,000 bonus scene points in your first 12 months, a value of about $950

How to earn membership rewards points on Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

As I mentioned before, the best way to use this card is as your daily spender. You get a whopping 6x bonus on every $1 you spend at participating grocery stores (Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo and Foodland), and 5x on dining out or ordering in via the popular apps. This 5x multiplier also extends to Scene’s old bread and butter – the movies – plus, live theater and ticket agencies. A 3x bonus is offered for money spent on public transit, gas and even rideshares and taxis. This 3x bonus is also offered for eligible streaming services. 

That… is actually pretty good. While the welcome bonus isn’t exactly compelling, achieving minimum spend on basically all life-requirement purchases should be a cinch, and you’ll be racking up big points in the meantime. My advice? Before leaping in, check where you spend your money. That grocery bonus looks pretty sweet, but if your local store is a Loblaws, your SOL. Oh, and just like Loblaws, many places still don’t take Amex cards. Make sure your regular haunts do, or you might find the Scene point stream cut down to a trickle.

How to redeem membership rewards points on Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

If I’ve given Scene points a bit of a ribbing, it’s because they’re “meh” for travel. But what they are decent for is just about everything else. You can redeem them for gift cards to your local grocery store, movie tickets, participating restaurants, pay off your credit card – the list goes on. And it’s all super easy to do, the Scene Plus website is your one stop shop, and I’ve always found it pretty slick and easy to navigate.

As for travel, you have two options. One (and this is a bit better bang for your point-buck but limits your options) is to book through the Expedia (a Scotia partner) portal, accessible through Scene Plus. But if the trip you're planning is a bit too specific for an Expedia offering, your alternative is simply redeeming Scene+ points to pay off travel purchases on your credit card statements (like flights, hotels, car rentals, etc.) This is slightly more efficient than just paying down a standard balance, but still falls short of the value real travel cards offer.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card key benefits

  • 45,000 welcome bonus for meeting spending criteria in first year
  • Great earn multipliers on participating groceries, restaurants and movies
  • Save 2.5% on foreign exchange fees when spending in foreign currency

Scotiabank Gold American Express travel insurance coverage

This has to be one of the few cards I’ve actually been excited to write about the insurance for. If the points aren’t appealing to travellers, the insurance coverage definitely is.

  • Travel emergency medical insurance: $1 million of coverage for 25 consecutive days, for card holders under 65 plus their spouses and dependents, while travelling outside their home province.
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance: Card holders and their immediate family are eligible up to $1,500 each for travel expenses (up to $10k) when at least 75% of trip expenses were put on the Scotia Amex Gold.
  • Flight delay insurance: Charge 75% of your trip expenses to this card and you’ll be covered for hotels, meals and emergency items in the event your flight is delayed.
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance: If you pay the full cost of your travel ticket, you’re covered up to $1,000 in the event your luggage is lost or delayed.
  • Travel accident insurance: If three quarters of your trip was bought on the Scotia Amex Gold, you and your immediate family are insured against accidental loss of life up to $500,000 (or $1,000,000 total, per occurrence). 
  • Rental car collision loss/damage insurance: Rent a car fully on your Amex and you're fully covered (unless the vehicle you rented is valued at more than $65k).
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance: Use this card to book a hotel or motel and you’ll have up to $1,000 in coverage in case your room is broken into and your stuff is stolen.
  • New mobile device insurance: For devices purchased after October 1, 2022, you’ll be covered up to $1,000 if it's lost, stolen, damaged or breaks.
  • Purchase security and extended warranty protection: Most items (Scotia neglects to state the exceptions) purchased on this card receive 90 days of coverage from the date of purchase, and they also double the manufacturer's warranty for up to a year.

Extra benefits

  • Amex perks like Amex Front of the Line for presale tickets and American Express Invites for access to special offers and events
  • Complimentary concierge service for making reservations, booking tickets and more
  • Priority Pass discount and access to 1,200 VIP lounges worldwide

What people have to say about this card

I would say the biggest reasons to take the Scotia card are if you will spend a lot in the 5x entertainment category, and if you really value the trip cancellation and interruption insurance. No foreign exchange fee is nice but if you are travelling outside of North America, Amex is pretty bad for acceptance.

/u/bohemian_plantsody

The sentiment here is more or less how I feel. If you can really maximize your spending in the big earning categories (/u/bohemian_plantsody only mentions entertainment, but groceries is even better at 6x) you can clean up on this card. 

Where it gets weird is if you’re looking at it for travel. Yes, Amex is bad abroad (though it can be used for tickets, hotels, and basically anything online) and yes, its travel redemption isn’t stellar. But damn if the foreign exchange fees waived and the high-unmatched travel coverage won’t tempt some folks. Really, it’s a matter of assessing your individual needs.

How Scotiabank Gold American Express Card compares

Scotiabank Gold American Express vs. American Express Gold

The Amex Gold was, is and probably will remain the king of the (relatively) accessible travel card. It's a big ole welcome bonus (currently at 60k points in your first year for spending at least $1k per month). Plus it has tons of perks, great lounge access, a $100 travel credit and insurance that rivals or surpasses the Scotiabank Gold Amex.

That said, it’s a $250 annual fee, more than double that of American Express Gold Scotiabank. So – is travel twice as important to you compared to, say, groceries and movies? If so, the Amex Gold is the clear winner. But for a daily collector and a lukewarm traveler, I might give the nod to Scotiabank on this one.

Scotiabank Gold American Express vs. Scotiabank Platinum American Express

The best points, the best perks, and a sexy metal card to boot. For point-heads, it's hard to beat Scotiabank Platinum American Express. But all that comes with an $800 annual fee, something anyone but the travel-obsessed or incredibly well-to-do would grow squamish at. 

Basically, if you’re looking at the Scotia Amex Gold, you’re probably not considering the Platinum. I think this is essentially a Venn Diagram where the only comparison in the middle is, “I like a concierge service attached to my credit card.”

Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card to learn more.*See Card Provider's website and Card Application for complete card details, terms and current offers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accuracy of information.

Scotiabank Gold American Express vs. American Express Cobalt

Feature Scotiabank Gold American Express American Express Cobalt
Annual fee $120 $155.88 ($12.99/month)
Welcome offer 40,000 Scene+ points for making spend targets 1,250 bonus reward points for spending $750 per month in first year
Insurance Excellent comprehensive travel coverage, plus mobile phone and purchase protection Great (though less so than the Scotia) travel coverage, comparable purchase protection and mobile coverage
Benefits Great earning potential on daily spend categories, no FX fees, welcome bonus points accessible within a month Referral bonuses, hotel perks, Amex points which are flexible and valuable

Is the Scotiabank Gold American Express worth it?

You know what? Yes! I think this card offers a lot for $120 a year, even if it’s target audience is a little vague. It’s a grab bag with a lot that will appeal to a lot of people, and while in and of itself isn’t going to allow you to pull off an incredible point scheme, I think it could definitely find a place in a lot of wallets.

Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card to learn more.*See Card Provider's website and Card Application for complete card details, terms and current offers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accuracy of information.

FAQs

  • Do Scotiabank Gold American Express points expire?

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    Nope! Scene+ points are good as long as you have your card, so just make sure to use them in the event you want to cancel it.

  • What grocery stores accept the Scotiabank Gold American Express card?

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    All grocery stores that accept American Express cards will take it for payment, but Foodland, FreshCo, Sobeys and Safeway offer 6x the Scene+ points on purchases.

  • Where to collect points for the Scotiabank Gold American Express?

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    You can collect points on almost all purchases made with the Scotia Amex, but the best for collecting are groceries, movies, dining out/ordering in, and at participating partners.

Cameron Smonk Freelance Writer

Cam is a content marketer with a passion for saving, financial independence, and pulling off elaborate credit card point schemes. He has worked in Fintech and Finserve (specifically Group Retirement) and loves researching and writing about finance.

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