Scotia Rewards is one of the most popular credit card rewards programs in Canada. What makes it appealing is that it’s easiest to earn points and it’s one of the most flexible programs in Canada. When compared to other rewards programs from other major banks, many people believe Scotia Rewards is the best.
In this Scotia Rewards review, I’ll go over how to earn and redeem Scotia Rewards points and everything you need to know about the program.
How to earn Scotia Rewards
You can earn Scotia Rewards points from Scotiabank by using a few of their credit cards. The easiest way to earn Scotiabank rewards is from sign up bonuses and your everyday spending. There is currently a total of 6 credit cards that allow you to earn Scotia Rewards points, but two cards stand out and are worth applying for if you plan on collecting Scotia Rewards.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
- $139 annual fee
- No foreign transaction fees
- 30,000 Scotia Rewards points ($300 value) when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
- Priority Pass Standard Membership + 6 free visits per year
- Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining, entertainment, and transit purchases
- Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Comprehensive travel insurance package included
The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada since comes with a sign up bonus worth $300 (when you apply by June 30, 2019) and 6 free airport lounge passes. What many people love about this card is how it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees so it’s an ideal all-in-one card for travellers. If you want to learn more about the card, you can read my full review here.
Scotiabank Gold Amex
- $99 Annual fee
- 15,000 Scotia Rewards points ($150 value) when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
- Earn 4 points per $1 spent on gas, grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Comprehensive travel insurance included
- Concierge services and specially targeted offers
Although you don’t get lounge access and no foreign exchange fees with the Scotiabank Gold American Express card, you do earn 4 points per $1 spent on gas, grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases which can be quite lucrative if you spend a lot on those categories. 4 points per $1 spent is equivalent to 4% cash back so you can see why some people love this card. In my Scotiabank Gold Amex review, I go over all the details of the card.
Scotia Rewards points value
The Scotia Rewards Points value varies depending on what you redeem. Here’s a list of all the redemptions you can make and how much 10,000pts would be worth:
- Booking travel through Scotia Rewards travel portal – $100
- Booking travel on your own – $100
- Gift cards – about $74 (a $100 Amazon.ca gift card would cost 13,400pts)
- Statement credit – $67 – $80 depending how many points you claim (3,000pts = $20 and 37,500pts = $300)
- Merchandise – varies depending on item, usually not a good value
- Apple and BestBuy online stores – Value varies but 10,000pts would be worth approximately $75-$80
- SCENE points – 10,000 Scotia Rewards = 7,700 SCENE points
As you can see, the Scotia Rewards points value is best used for travel purchases. Using your points for anything else is not a good value at all. If you don’t like to travel, then you shouldn’t collect these points since your scotia rewards points value will be quite low for other redemptions.
How to redeem Scotia Rewards points
Redeeming Scotia Rewards is easy, but since you have so many different ways to use your points, you need to understand how to actually use them. Note that I’ve left out the lower value redemption options since they’re really not a good use of your points.
Scotia Rewards travel portal
The Scotia Rewards travel portal is easy to use since you can book vacation packages, flights, hotels, car rentals and cruises. You can either use just points (100pts = $1), cash, or a combination of both for your travel redemption. There are no blackout dates and you pay the market price for all redemptions so the prices you find on the travel portal should be about the same as any other travel website. Finding flights is easy but the hotels selection can be tricky since there is no map and few filters. It may be easier to do your hotel search on a different site before using the Scotia Rewards travel portal. Car rentals are limited to a few companies and you need to call for cruises.
Apply Points to Travel
The ability to apply your points to any travel purchase is without any doubt the best feature and the most valuable way to redeem your Scotia Rewards points. Just charge your travel purchases to your Scotiabank credit card and apply your points to the purchase later. This means there are no blackout dates and you get more options since you’re not restricted to the choices available on the travel portal. Booking directly also allows you to earn points and elite qualifying activities for airlines, hotels and/or travel agencies loyalty programs.
To redeem using Apply Points to Travel, there is a minimum of 5,000pts ($50) per transaction, but you can use points at a ratio of 100pts = $1.00 for any expense (including taxes and fees). Your travel purchase must fall into one of the following categories:
- airlines & air carriers, airports, flying fields, and airport terminals
- lodgings, hotels, motels and resorts
- trailer parks and campgrounds
- passenger railways, bus lines
- steamship and cruise lines
- travel agencies and tour operators
- automobile rental agency
- motor home and recreational vehicle rentals
- include related taxes, booking fees, airport fees and travel insurance premiums
Merchandise, gift cards and experiences
Similar to almost all other loyalty programs, Scotia Rewards has a merchandise catalogue from which you can order electronics, travel related objects, kitchen accessories, and even experiences such as aquarium tickets.
You can also redeem for a large variety of gift cards. 13,400pts would give you a $100 gift card while it would give you a $134 value on travel credit. Remember, gift cards are not the best value for your points. You get the best Scotia Rewards Points value when redeeming for travel.
Converting Scotia Rewards points into SCENE points
Scotiabank has a close partnership with Cineplex and its loyalty program SCENE. You can convert Scotia Rewards points into SCENE points at 1,000:770 rate. Note that SCENE points will be devalued starting April 17, 2019, and a free general admission ticket cost will increase from 1,000pts to 1,250pts. In other words, you would need the equivalent of 1,623 Scotia Rewards points for a free general admission at Cineplex which is not a great value.
How Scotia Rewards compares to others
Scotia Rewards program is one of the most flexible and easiest programs to use in Canada.
Unlike American Express Membership Rewards, CIBC Aventura and RBC Rewards, Scotia Rewards doesn’t have a fixed points flight program from which you can get more value than $0.01 per point.
Scotia Rewards points value is topped at $0.01 per point, but this is easily compensated by the fact that you can earn 2 points per dollar spent on several categories with the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite card and up to 4 points per dollar spent with the Scotiabank Gold American Express card.
To get the best value out of your Scotia Rewards points, use the Apply Points to Travel option since it allows you to book your travel on your own directly and then you can claim your points later to offset your costs.
My Scotia Rewards review is positive. The points are easy to accumulate with some of the best Scotiabank credit cards which have high earn rates. The fact that you can use the points at full value to book your own travel is what makes the Scotia Rewards program stand out as one of the best in Canada.