Scene+ Guide | Formerly Scotia Rewards

**This post may contain affiliate links. I may be compensated if you use them.

Previously, Scotia Rewards and SCENE were two different programs, but they merge to become Scene+. This was an interesting play by Scotiabank, as they’re clearly trying to attract more people to their loyalty program with more rewards.

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

Scotia Rewards

Scene+ points value

Since it costs 1,000 Scene+ points to redeem $10 in travel, one Scene+ 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 Scene+.

Redemption typeRedemption value
Empire owned grocery stores1 cent per point
Travel1 cent per point
Cineplex 1 cent per point
Participating restaurants1 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 Scene+ 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 Scene+ 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 Scene+ for groceries

Scene+ is now the official loyalty program for Empire-owned grocery stores, which includes:

  • Sobeys
  • Foodland
  • Voilà by Sobeys
  • FreshCo
  • Safeway
  • IGA
  • Co-Op

At participating stores, you can redeem 1,000 Scene+ points for $10 off your groceries. This gives your points a value of 1CPP, which is tied for the highest redemption you’ll get.

How to redeem Scene+ for travel

Many people like the Scene+ 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. It’s also worth noting that you’ll earn 3 X the Scene+ points on hotels and car rentals when booked through the Scene+ travel portal. That effectively gives you a 3% return which is not bad at all.

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 Scene+ 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 Scene+. 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 agency 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 Scene+ points to cover the entire cost if you want to make a redemption. There is no partial redemption for Scene+ when using the book your own travel option.

How to redeem Scene+ at Cineplex

Now that SCENE and Scotia Rewards have merged, you can now use your points at Cineplex theatres and cineplex.com at 1 cent per point value. The specific redemptions are as follows:

  • 1,250 Scene+ points = Free General Admission or 3D Movie Ticket
  • 2,000 Scene+ points = Free Enhanced Movie Ticket
  • 2,500 Scene+ points = Free VIP Cinemas Movie Ticket
  • 500 Scene+ points = $5 Off Your Food & Drink at the Movies
  • 100 Scene+ points = $1 Off at the Cineplex store
  • 1,000 Scene+ points = $10 off at The Rec Room
  • 500 Scene+ points = $5 Off at Playdium

When redeeming your Scene+ points for movie tickets at the theatre, only do it when paying full price since that’s what maximizes your value. If your local theatre has lower prices at certain times of the day or week, then you’re better off paying cash.

With food, cineplex.com, Rec Room, and Playdium redemptions, it doesn’t matter how you use your points since they all have the same value.

How to redeem Scene+ at restaurants

Scene+ also has a few restaurants where you can use your points. The value is exactly the same at 500 points for $5 off, which works out to a value of 1 cent per point. The following restaurants are where you can redeem your Scene+ points:

  • Swiss Chalet
  • Harvey’s
  • East Side Marios
  • Montana’s
  • Kelseys
  • Bier Markt
  • Fionn MacCools
  • D’Arcy McGee’s
  • Paddy Flaherty’s
  • Tir nan Og

How to redeem Scene+ 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 Scene+ 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 Scene+ for merchandise

While Scene+ 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 Scene+ 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 Scene+ points = $20
  • 4,500 Scene+ points = $30
  • 7,500 Scene+ points = $50
  • 11,000 Scene+ points = $75
  • 14,500 Scene+ points = $100
  • 21,500 Scene+ points = $150
  • 43,000 Scene+ points = $300
  • 71,500 Scene+ points = $500

As you can see, the more Scene+ 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 Scene+ points for a statement credit would only be useful if you’re having cash flow issues.

Do Scene+ points expire?

What’s interesting about Scene+ is that it’s acting like a third-party loyalty program. This is an odd move by Scotiabank, but it actually benefits collectors. You see, since Scene+ points are no longer tied directly to a credit card, you would retain your points even if you cancel your card. In the past, you would have had 60 days to redeem your points from the time you cancel your card. That said, Scene+ points expire after 24 months of inactivity.

How Scene+ compares to others

Scene+ is one of the most flexible and easiest programs to use in Canada. Unlike American Express Membership Rewards, CIBC Rewards and RBC Rewards, Scene+ doesn’t have a fixed points flight program from which you can get more value than $0.01 per point.

Scene+ points have a maximum value $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 Scene+ 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. ALternatively, book your hotels through the Scene+ travel portal to earn 3X the points.

How to earn Scene+ points

The easiest way to earn Scotiabank Rewards is from sign up bonuses and your everyday spending with a Scotiabank credit card that earns you Scene+ points. There are quite a few credit cards that allow you to earn Scene+ points, but two cards stand out and are worth applying for if you plan on collecting Scene+ points.

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

  • $150 annual fee
  • 30,000 Scene+ points when spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • 10,000 points when spending $40,000 in the first year
  • Earn 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Empire owned supermarkets
  • Earn 2 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases
  • Earn 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Visa Airport Companion Program membership + 6 passes per year
  • No foreign transaction fees

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 American Express® Card

  • $120 annual fee
  • 20,000 Scene+™ points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • 20,000 Scene+ points when you spend $7,500 in the first year
  • Earn 6 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Empire owned supermarkets
  • Earn 5 Scene+ points per $1 spent on grocery, dining, and entertainment
  • Earn 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent on gas, and daily transit purchases
  • Earn 1 Scene+ point on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

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 welcome bonus is typically worth at least $200.

Scotiabank Scene+®* Visa* Card

  • No annual fee
  • 5,000 Scene+ points when you spend $750 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 2 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Cineplex™ theatres, cineplex.com and Empire owned grocery stores
  • Earn 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Traditionally, the Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card is seen as one of the best student credit cards in Canada. However, now that you can earn Scene+ points with the card, it could easily qualify as one of the best no fee credit cards in Canada. Basically, this is an entry level card that allows you to earn points that can be redeemed for travel.

Scene+ Rakuten

Members can link their Scene+ and Rakuten.ca accounts for instant access to exclusive offers and start earning Scene+ points instead of Rakuten “cash back” from hundreds of online retailers including Gap, Sephora, Indigo, and Sport Chek. What’s interesting is that Scene+ members can earn up to 20% more “cash back” in points with exclusive offers delivered to their Scene+ inbox. This could be a highly lucrative way to earn Scene+ points. I’ve been using Rakuten for years, so this partnership is very exciting.

Final thoughts

Scene+ 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.

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

32 Comments

  1. 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.

    • 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. 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?

    • 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. 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.

    • 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. 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!

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

      Jeremy,

      You can claim your points right away.

  5. 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.

    • 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. 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

    • 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. 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!

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

      Greg,

      Good luck, that’s like a closely guarded secret

  8. Secured vs Unsecured Credit Cards - Money We Have on December 14, 2019 at 2:10 PM

    […] no foreign transaction fees. This is one of the best Scotiabank credit cards in Canada and you earn Scotia Rewards points which can be […]

  9. Scotiabank Chequing Accounts - Money We Have on March 20, 2020 at 2:37 PM

    […] Ultimate Package and you MomentumPLUS Savings account, then the monthly fee will be waived1. Scotia Rewards is one of the best bank travel rewards programs in Canada so make sure you choose that over SCENE […]

  10. 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

    • 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. 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. 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. 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.

    • 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.

  14. Geri on June 14, 2021 at 12:45 PM

    What would cause an adjustment in reward points?
    New points earned 10,230 and then adjustment of -6,820.
    Did not purchase anything and then return.

    • Barry Choi on June 14, 2021 at 12:54 PM

      Geri,

      You’d have to contact Scotiabank to find out.

  15. LauraH on August 11, 2021 at 6:26 PM

    Very helpful, especially since certain details seem to be lacking on the Scotia website. In particular, I can’t find any information about the number of points required to redeem a specific dollar amount of travel. I know you have provided the numbers but it would be reassuring to be able to find it online. Can you point me in the right direction?

    As for earning points, I found this which surprised me….

    Earning Scotia Rewards Points
    1. General
    You are awarded one (1) Scotia Rewards point (or “point”) for every $5.00 in purchases of goods and services made with a Program Card from a Program Card Account, provided that each such purchase is for a minimum of $2.50.†

  16. Amy on April 4, 2022 at 3:41 PM

    Barry,
    My Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card has 25,000 points ( equivalent to $250). I hope it’s still the same dollar value under the new Scene+ program.
    If I used the above credit card to buy an air ticket at $1,000 through Air Canada website, would I get a credit of $250 after Scene+ credit redemption? In other words, I only require to pay $750 (1000 – 250) to my credit card statement.
    Thanks!

    • Barry Choi on April 4, 2022 at 5:48 PM

      Hi AMy,

      Scene+ points have the same value as Scotia rewards so you would indeed get $250 off.

  17. Alexandra on May 21, 2022 at 11:17 PM

    Hi there, great article, very helpful. One thing I am unclear on. You said this.. “There is one downside to booking travel on your own and then applying points. You must have enough Scene+ points to cover the entire cost if you want to make a redemption. There is no partial redemption for Scene+ when using the book your own travel option.”

    But then just above, Amy’s comment, you advised her that she could use 25,000 points to get $250 off a $1000 flight that she booked on her own. Basically a partial redemption. Can you do this now?

    • Barry Choi on May 23, 2022 at 6:29 AM

      Alexandra,

      You have to call in to get the partial redemption.

  18. Shelley on October 6, 2022 at 2:29 PM

    Hi, on the old Scotia card I could transfer from one visa card to another to put the points all in one place. I don’t see that anywhere. Also, on the account it only shows my scene points and my husband’s are seperate scene points. How do we get them together? It shows a full amount on the visa bills.

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