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A perennial standout among Canadian travel rewards cards thanks to its accelerated earn rates, the Scotiabank Gold American Express® card is especially prized among travellers for its flexible rewards program that lets you book and redeem your points for travel anywhere with no restrictions.

Though the card’s annual fee is $120, it shouldn’t be hard to easily make that back in earned rewards points and savings on foreign transaction fees, particularly for those that travel abroad frequently.

Earn up to $650* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points¹. Earn 20,000 bonus Scene+ points by making at least $1,000 in everyday eligible purchases in your first 3 months. Plus, for a limited time, you are eligible to earn a 20,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $7,500 in everyday eligible purchases in your first year. Offer ends July 1, 2024.

Here’s a look at the other new and (mostly) improved Scotiabank Gold American Express® card.

Scotiabank Gold American Express® card cardholders were formerly charged a fee of 2.5% on any purchase they made in a non-Canadian currency, but no longer. The revamped card joins the rare club of Canadian credit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees, providing major savings on international travel, as well as online shopping for websites that don’t offer sales in CAD.

Rewards structure

The card offers a sign-up bonus. Earn up to $650* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points¹. Offer ends July 1, 2024.

Sign-up bonus aside, the rewards structure is as follows:

  • You’ll earn 6X Scene+ points for each $1 CAD charged to your account on all eligible purchases¹ at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry and Co-Op.
  • 5X Scene+ points points for every $1 CAD spent on other eligible grocery, dining and entertainment purchases (one of the highest earn rates in Canada in these categories).
  • 3X Scene+ points for every $1 CAD spent on eligible gas, as well as daily transit and select streaming services.
  • 1X Scene+ point for every $1 spent on every other purchase.

Aside from redeeming for travel, points can also be redeemed for a variety of merchandise, gift cards and statement credits. Be warned: though you can redeem your points for a wide variety of items and experiences, each has a different redemption rate and not all are good bargains (like most credit card reward programs in Canada).

You get the most value for your points (1 point = $0.01) when you redeem them for travel. You can either book your trip through the Scotiabank’s Travel Service, for all-inclusive vacations, flights, rental cars and more; or, better yet, you are free to book your own eligible travel (including flights, rental cars, baggage fees and more) then redeem your points to cover your travel expenses once they appear on your card. There are no blackout dates and the redemption can includes taxes. Just be sure to redeem your points within 12 months of the purchase date, and for a minimum of 5,000 points.

Apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express

Travel insurance

The Scotiabank Gold American Express® card offers a wide spectrum of travel insurance coverage, including:

  • Travel emergency medical insurance: Generous coverage of 25 consecutive days for those under age 65. If you’re 65 and over, however, coverage is only for 3 days.
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance: eligible for coverage when you charge at least 75% of your trip costs to your card (note that you’ll only be covered $1,500 per person for eligible expenses).
  • You’ll also get: flight delay insurance, delayed and lost baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, rental car collision loss/damage insurance and hotel burglary insurance. Check Scotia’s website to ensure you’re aware of maximum dollar amounts and exclusions.

Other features

Aside from its primary travel benefits listed above, the card also has a package of additional benefits including:

  • Purchase security and extended warranty protection
  • Complimentary concierge service
  • Discounted Priority Pass membership. While certainly not as good as actually getting free passes to airport lounges, the card gives you a discounted membership.
  • American Express Invites. Get exclusive invites to events like movie previews, concerts, dining, fashion and shopping experiences.
  • Rental car discounts: Save up to 25% off base car rental rates at AVIS and Budget in Canada and the U.S. when you pay with your card.

How does it compare?

Annual Fee
$155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee)
Welcome Bonus
Earn up to $650* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points¹. Offer ends July 1, 2024
Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year (conditions apply)
Up to 40,000 points and $120 annual fee waived in first year (conditions apply)
Point Structure
6X Scene+™ points on every $1 CAD you spend in Canada at Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland, and more eligible grocers¹; 5X the Scene+™ points per $1 CAD spent on other eligible grocery stores, dining, and entertainment; 3X Scene+™ points per $1 CAD on eligible gas, daily transit, and streaming services; 1X Scene+ point for every $1 spent on every other purchase
5 points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, and food delivery; 3 points per $1 on streaming services;2 points per $1 on travel, transit, and gas; 1 point per $1 on everything else
5 points per $1 spent on groceries, gas, dining, and daily transit; 1 point per $1 on everything else
Key Features
No foreign transaction fees
Transfer points to other travel programs like Aeroplan and Avios; great value when you redeem points
$50 annual lifestyle credit; widespread card acceptance by merchants

The Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card edges out both the American Express Cobalt® Card and the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card in one key way: Its waived foreign transaction fees will save a lot of money for those who travel overseas frequently—the Cobalt and eclipse cards charge 2.5% for each transaction in a foreign currency, which can add up to quite a gouging over the course of a vacation.

That said, the American Express Cobalt® Card makes more sense for certain cardholders, particularly those who travel regularly with Air Canada and British Airways, since the Amex Membership Rewards points earned by the Cobalt transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Aeroplan and Avios. The Cobalt also has the added advantage of better point redemption values against its statement. Points earned by both the Scotia card and the Cobalt card can be redeemed against travel purchases at the same value (each point = $0.01), but the Cobalt card has a better redemption rate for non-travel purchases compared to Scotia+ points, at $0.01 versus $0.0067–$0.007 respectively. That might not seem like a huge difference, but it adds up to a lot when you multiply it across, say, 50,000 points.

Finally, don’t forget that both the Scotia and Cobalt cards are Amex cards, which means they are accepted at less merchants than a Visa. If you frequent a grocery store or gas station that doesn’t take Amex, you should probably go with the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card.

Who’s the card for?

Though the card is a solid all-around travel rewards card—particularly for those that spend a lot on groceries, entertainment and dining—it’s ideal for consummate travelers who could most benefit from not paying foreign transaction fees and redeeming points flexibly to cover travel expenses.

Apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express

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American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.¹ Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card to learn more.

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