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Scotia Rewards is one of the most popular credit card rewards programs in Canada. What makes it appealing is that it’s easy to earn points, your points are flexible and Scotiabank has some great credit cards. When compared to other bank travel rewards programs, many people believe Scotia Rewards is the best. The best might be a stretch, but there’s no denying that it’s an excellent program.

Like any rewards program, it’s important to understand how it works so you can get the most out of your points. Scotia Rewards doesn’t offer any hacks, but there are some redemptions that are better than others. You’ll also want to make sure you have the right credit card so you can earn Scotia Rewards quicker. Here’s everything you need to know about Scotia Rewards including what the value of Scotia Rewards is.

Scotia Rewards

Scotia Rewards points value

Since it costs 1,000 Scotia Rewards points to redeem $10 in travel, one Scotia Reward point is worth 1 cent. Unfortunately, even though Scotia Rewards has multiple redemption options, the maximum value you can get for your points is 1 cent each. Here’s a quick look at all your redemption options with Scotia Rewards.

Redemption typeRedemption value
Travel1 cent per point
Gift cards.75 cents per point
Apple and Best Buy online.75 - .80 cents per point
Merchandise.60 - .75 cents per point
Statement credit.67 - 70 cents per point

As you can see, the Scotia Rewards points value is best used for travel purchases. Using your Scotia Rewards points for anything else devalues your points so it’s best to avoid that whenever you can. 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. You would be better off getting one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.

How to redeem Scotia Rewards for travel

Many people like the Scotia Rewards travel portal since it’s easy to use and you can book vacation packages, flights, hotels, car rentals and cruises. You can either use points, cash, or a combination of both for your travel redemption which is convenient.

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 hotel selection can be tricky since there is no map and not many 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.

You can also apply your points to any travel purchase made on any travel website with a Scotiabank credit card that earns Scotia Rewards. This gives you 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. For example, if you book a Marriott hotel via Marriot.com, your Marriott Bonvoy status would apply. However, if you booked the same hotel via the Scotiabank Travel portal, you would not be able to use your status benefits. 

To redeem using Apply Points to Travel, there is a minimum of 5,000 points ($50) per transaction, but you can use points at a ratio of 100 points = $1 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

There is one downside to booking travel on your own and then applying points. You must have enough Scotia Rewards points to cover the entire cost if you want to make a redemption. There is no partial redemption for Scotia Rewards when using the book your own travel option.

How to redeem Scotia Rewards for gift cards

Similar to almost all other loyalty programs, Scotia Rewards allows you to use your points for gift cards. In most cases, it takes 13,400 Scotia Rewards points to get a $100 gift card. This is a decent value compared to other programs, but it’s still 25% less compared to travel. Some of the more popular merchants include:

  • Hotels.com
  • Costco
  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Metro
  • Sephora
  • Esso
  • Canadian Tire

How to redeem Scotia Rewards for merchandise

While Scotia Rewards has a lot of merchandise to select from, the average value for your points is .60 – .75 cents per point which is not very good. When shopping at Best Buy and Apple online, you can get slightly more value of your points, but it’s still not anywhere near the value of travel redemptions. Don’t waste your points on merchandise, but if you insist, some better items include:

  • Watches
  • Perfume
  • Headphones
  • Pots and pans
  • Coffee machines
  • Small appliances

How to redeem Scotia Rewards points for a statement credit

Finally, you can also redeem your points for a statement credit. How much credit you get depends on how many points you redeem.

  • 3,000 Scotia Rewards points = $20
  • 4,500 Scotia Rewards points = $30
  • 7,500 Scotia Rewards points = $50
  • 11,000 Scotia Rewards points = $75
  • 14,500 Scotia Rewards points = $100
  • 21,500 Scotia Rewards points = $150
  • 43,000 Scotia Rewards points = $300
  • 71,500 Scotia Rewards points = $500

As you can see, the more Scotia Rewards you redeem, the better value you get for your points. At the lowest value, your Scotia Rewards are worth .67 cents per point and .80 cents per point on the high end. That said, a statement credit is still a lower value compared to using your points for travel. Using your Scotia Rewards points for a statement credit would only be useful if you’re having cash flow issues.

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. This conversion rate actually isn’t bad, but why earn Scotia Rewards if you’re just going to convert those points to SCENE? You’d almost be better off getting the Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card since it has no annual fee.

Do Scotia Rewards points expire?

Many people wonder do Scotia Rewards points expire? The good news is that they don’t as long as you have an active account with Scotiabank that’s in good standing. To be more specific, you need to have an active credit card account. If you’re thinking about cancelling a credit card that earns Scotia Rewards points, be sure to use them up first as you’ll lose them when you close your account.

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 Rewards 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 5 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.

How to earn Scotia Rewards

The easiest way to earn Scotiabank Rewards is from sign up bonuses and your everyday spending with a Scotiabank credit card that earns you Scotia Rewards. 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 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
  • Annual bonus of 10,000 points ($100 value) if you spend a minimum of $40K per year
  • Included travel emergency medical, delayed and lost baggage, and trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance
  • Rental car collision / Loss damage insurance included
  • Hotel / Motel Burglary insurance included

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada since it comes with a generous sign up bonus and 6 free airport lounge passes. The earn rate is respectable, so it’s a good everyday card. 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.

Scotiabank Gold Amex

  • $120 annual fee – first year free
  • 10% cash back on all purchases for 3 months (up to $2,000 in spending)
  • 4% cash back on groceries and recurring bill payments
  • 2% cash back on gas and transit purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Mobile device insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Concierge service

The Scotiabank Gold Amex has quickly become one of the most popular credit cards in Canada due to the high earn rate. You’ll get 5 points per $1 spent on grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases; 3 points per $1 spent on gas, public transportation, rideshares and eligible streaming service purchases; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. For those who spend a lot on a regular basis, this card could really benefit them. The current sign up bonus has a value of $200 and the card has no foreign transaction fees.

Final thoughts

Scotia Rewards is a great travel rewards program that’s worth collecting. 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.

Scotia Rewards Guide | How to maximize your points
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About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

22 Comments

  1. Avatar Mike on March 1, 2019 at 11:00 AM

    Awesome article Barry. Gets right at answering my remaining questions about the workings of Scotia Rewards. I’ve now submitted my application, and been approved, for a Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card. Looking forward to soon avoiding forex transaction fees and getting a predictable and decent value for the points we earn on our spending.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on March 1, 2019 at 11:06 AM

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for the feedback. I had this post in mind but your comments gave me that extra push. Hopefully you signed for the Scotiabank Passport card today because they just increased the sign up offer to 30K points.

  2. Avatar Karl Foehner on March 24, 2019 at 8:33 PM

    OK all looks good, but I am really interested in the rental car insurance coverage. Scotia’s fine print does not mention what happens if you need the car for more than 48 days. Other cards that offer car insurance coverage state that you can start a new 48 day cycle AFTER ONE FULL DAY. Do I need to call them to see why Scotia does not mention this in the fine print?

    • Avatar Barry Choi on March 25, 2019 at 8:02 AM

      Karl,

      I don’t know the answer to your question. I advise calling Scotiabank’s insurance provider.

  3. Avatar Tom Graham on April 30, 2019 at 10:27 AM

    RE. Travel Ins. I believe If u are over 65 yrs. credit cards wont cover u, is this correct.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on April 30, 2019 at 10:29 AM

      Tom,

      It depends on the card. The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card gives you 10 days of coverage per trip if you’re over the age of 65. You need to read the certificate of insurance for each card to see what you get.

  4. Avatar jeremy hawkins on July 9, 2019 at 6:09 PM

    Thanks for all the details and break down! Just got my passport and know I know the best way to redeem the points. do you know if there a certain time limit from when you can redeem on purchases, say you purchased a flight in May, can you redeem in August?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Avatar Barry Choi on July 9, 2019 at 8:38 PM

      Jeremy,

      You can claim your points right away.

  5. Avatar KEMILA on October 3, 2019 at 1:18 AM

    I have this card for 6 months now. Today when I was trying to redeem my 50,000 for a flight, no matter how I change my dates, and destinations, all I ever got was Sorry, we could not find any results. Please try expanding your search”. There’s no other way I knew how to “expand my search”. Very frustrating.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on October 3, 2019 at 7:48 AM

      KEMLIA,

      Note that with Scotia Rewards you can book any travel on your own and then claim points after. You don’t need to go through the Scotia portal.

  6. Avatar Harry on October 25, 2019 at 9:58 AM

    What would be the most economical. I have around 70000 points accumulated, and I am looking to buy a new Apple Watch Series 5.
    Option 1: Redeem my Scotia Rewards for the watch
    Option 2: Redeem Scotia Rewards for Cash by applying to past travel expenses and the use the same Amex Card to buy the Apple Watch

    • Avatar Barry Choi on October 25, 2019 at 5:13 PM

      Harry,

      Always redeem your points for travel as that gives you the best value. So option 2 is the best value.

  7. Avatar Greg on November 6, 2019 at 4:24 PM

    Great read!!! Now, if I could only find a list of the places “eligible grocery stores and dinning purchases” for the 2 for 1 points!

    • Avatar Barry Choi on November 6, 2019 at 9:44 PM

      Greg,

      Good luck, that’s like a closely guarded secret

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  10. Avatar John on April 6, 2020 at 4:36 PM

    Hi Barry,
    Great article and great website. I have 2 questions for you:
    1. Have you compared the scotia debit card options for collecting scene points vs scotia reward points? Do you have a recommendation? There also seems to be an option to have a scotia iTrade debit card but not sure if that collects any points.
    2. I believe that when you use the scotia passport visa or american express Gold above for foreign currency transactions that although you don’t pay an exchange fee, your point collection is only at 1% back even if it is on the categories that are supposed to have 5Xthe points like restaurants. Is that your experience too?
    Thanks,
    John

    • Avatar Barry Choi on April 6, 2020 at 5:15 PM

      Hey John,

      I haven’t done a deep dive into Scotia Debit cards, but I know Scotia Rewards transfers to SCENE at a fair value. Not sure what the earn ratios are for their debit cards.

      As for foreign purchases on their credit cards, it does seem to be common now for most credit cards to offer only the base earn rate regardless of what category they fall under.

  11. Avatar Philippe on June 28, 2020 at 2:22 PM

    Hi! Thanks for all the useful information!
    I’d add two points related to applying the points to past travel expenses:
    – you have up to one year, so there’s plenty of time to accumulate enough points
    – Uber trips and hotel restaurants are showing up in the list of elligible expenses, which is convenient if you don’t have that many points (since you need enough points to cover the full expense)

  12. Avatar Vera Smit on July 27, 2020 at 7:36 PM

    Great article. I have one complaint though, I consistently find better pricing for hotels on other sites and the scotia rewards travel service does not honour those rates. It also does not let you benefit from the discounts offered by BC hotels right now to vacation locally. They want to charge $50 to cancel a booking I did minutes before I saw the better rates (was quite a bit cheaper even with free parking and $50 dinning credit) and contacted them to ask if they could match that price… Not impressed and not inclined to rely on scotia rewards to book travel!

  13. Avatar Mary Latorre on August 25, 2020 at 1:36 PM

    Hi,
    I’d like to share with you my experience in redeeming Scotia Rewards. I have a Scotia Passport Infinite Visa Card and with 77K points I filed a request to redeem 2 units of $250 Visa Prepaid card and 1 $50 dollar Winners gift card. The Order request was done June 28,2020 and in 2 days the Winners gift card was sent. But until this writing, the Visa prepaid has not been processed. I have followed up numerous times and the rewards customer service will promise you that a ticket to this request was done. It is almost 2 months of wait…. Just sharing my experience in redeeming Scotia Rewards.

    • Avatar Barry.Choi on August 25, 2020 at 1:56 PM

      Hi Mary, thanks for sharing. You would think that gift card redemptions would be automated so a delay makes no sense.

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