In this Scotiabank Gold American Express review, you’ll find out why it’s one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. The card has one of the best earning rates, a decent welcome bonus, and no foreign transaction fees. If you spend a lot on your credit card and like to travel, this card is a solid choice and a popular card for points enthusiasts.
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
Welcome bonus and earn rate
Although the welcome bonus of the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card often changes, it’s typically worth between 40,000 – 50,000 Scene+ points. The recent offers have had two parts. You’d get 20,000 – 25,000 Scene+ points after spending $1,000 in the first three months of cardmembership, and the rest after spending $7,500 in the first 12 months. The annual fee of $120 is sometimes waived for the first year as part of the welcome bonus.
As for the earning rate, you’ll get 6 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Empire owned grocery stores (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), 5 points on other grocery stores, dining, and entertainment purchases, 3 points on gas and daily transit, and 1 point on all other purchases.
That’s some pretty generous multipliers, but they have an annual spending cap of $50,000. That means for every dollar you spend over $50,000 in the 5X or 3X categories, you’ll only earn 1 point per dollar spent.
Benefits and perks
It’s time to go over the benefits of this Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card review. Admittedly, you don’t get as many perks as other travel credit cards, but when you combine the high earning rate with the insurance provided, you’ll quickly see why many people favour this card.
No foreign transaction fees
This card has no foreign transaction fees, which saves you 2.5% whenever you make a purchase in a foreign currency. That may not sound like a lot, but it certainly adds up. For example, if you spent $4,000 on foreign transactions, you’d save $100 with this card.
Mobile device insurance
When you purchase a mobile device (cell phone or tablet) with your card, you’re covered for up to $1,000 in the case of loss, theft, or damage. This mobile insurance benefit is decent, but note that depreciation does apply when you make a claim. If you’re on a subsidized plan, you need to charge the entire amount of your monthly bill to your card for the insurance to apply.
- Travel emergency medical – $1,000,000/25 days if 64 and under, 3 days for 65+
- Trip cancellation – $1,500 per insured person/$10,000 total
- Trip interruption – $1,500 per insured person/$10,000 total
- Flight delay – $500 per insured person, per trip/4 hours
- Delayed & lost luggage – Up to $1,000 per trip/4 hours
- Hotel/motel burglary – Up to $1,000 per occurrence
- Rental car collision loss/damage – $65,000/48 days
- Travel accident – $500,000
The Scotiabank Gold American Express travel insurance is not bad and pretty comparable to some of the best credit cards with travel insurance, but there are a few things I want to point out.
Like all travel medical insurance that comes with your credit card, you get that benefit no matter what. However, for your other travel insurance to be valid, you must charge at least 75% of your travel purchases to your card.
You’ll also want to take a close look at the days covered. If you’re 64 or under, you’re covered for 25 days, but if you’re 65+, you’re only covered for three days, which is pathetic. I understand that this is a common practice for most credit cards, but I still think it’s disappointing that’s all you get.
- Purchase security – 90 days
- Extended warranty – Up to one additional year
My Scotiabank Gold American Express review wouldn’t be complete without covering all the types of insurance included. Although purchase security is pretty standard, it’s a great type of insurance when needed. If one of your purchases gets lost, stolen, or damaged within the first 90 days of the purchase, you can get it fixed or replaced. As for the extended warranty, your manufacturer’s warranty is doubled up to one additional year.
American Express experiences
Anyone who holds an American Express credit card gets access to American Express experiences, which is a highly underrated perk. The things you can look forward to include:
- Offers – You’ll get cash back offers on dining, shopping, and more throughout the year.
- Front of the line – American Express has partnerships with many concerts, theatre products, restaurants, and live shows where cardholders get exclusive access to presale tickets.
- Invites – From advance movie screenings to live events, American Express Invites get you into exclusive experiences.
Cardholders get access to the American Express concierge. With this service, you can have someone help you make restaurant reservations or help you find tickets to special events. While this benefit may sound great, it’s not like they can make miracles happen. If the Taylor Swift concert is sold out, the concierge won’t be able to find tickets at retail cost.
How to redeem your points
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card earns you Scene+ points, one of the best bank travel rewards programs. Not only can you use points on different types of travel, but you can also use your points on groceries, entertainment, restaurants, and more.
The base redemption rate is 1,000 points = $10 off travel booked through the Scotiabank travel portal, purchases made at Empire-owned grocery stores, Cineplex, and select restaurants.
Alternatively, one of the best benefits of the Scotiabank Gold Amex card, and one you don’t find on many cards, is the Apply Points to Travel option that lets you use your points to offset any travel purchase you booked on your own. This is valuable when you want to book directly with an airline or a hotel chain, as you will earn loyalty points, and your status benefits will apply.
The Apply Points to Travel option also adds flexibility as you can redeem your points for travel spending that you might not be able to book on a travel portal. Trailer parks, campgrounds, passenger railways or bus tickets are all eligible categories for which you can use the Apply Points to Travel option to offset costs. Note that there is a 5,000 points minimum redemption when using the Apply Points for Travel option.
Since you earn 5 points per dollar spent on gas, grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases, you get a 5% return for those categories.
Scotiabank Gold American Express eligibility
- Must be a Canadian citizen or are a permanent resident.
- Must be at least the age of majority in your province or territory.
- Must not have declared bankruptcy in the past seven years.
- Your home address matches your credit report home address
Since this is an American Express credit card, there’s no formal minimum income requirement. That said, American Express will examine your credit score as one factor to determine your approval. As a general rule, you’ll want your credit score to beat at least 700 since that would be a good standing.
How the Scotiabank Gold American Express compares
Scotiabank Gold American Express vs. American Express Cobalt Card
The American Express Cobalt Card is very similar to the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card. With the Cobalt Card, you earn 5 points per $ 1 spent on grocery and dining, 2 points on travel (gas, flights, hotels, etc.), and 1 point for everything else. Although the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has a higher earning rate, American Express Membership Rewards points can be worth more since you can transfer them to Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy.
The Cobalt Card is likely the better choice if you want to maximize your points. That’s because American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio. Since one Aeroplan point can easily have a value of 2 cents, your earning rate is potentially higher with the Cobalt Card. That said, the Scotiabank Gold American Express has no foreign transaction fees and better travel insurance.
Scotiabank Gold American Express vs. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Another card worth comparing is the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card. The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card has a lower earning rate compared to the Scotiabank Gold American Express at 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent on Empire owned grocery stores and 2 Scene+ points on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases. Both cards come with no foreign transaction fees.
You would pick the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card for the included airport lounge access. You get a Visa Airport Companion Program membership and six free annual passes per year. Those passes are worth $32 USD each. Although the Scotiabank Gold American Express advertises that you get airport lounge access, you only get a discount on a Priority Pass membership. Plus, you still need to pay for each individual visit.
My Scotiabank Gold American Express review is positive. Although the card may not offer the most generous signup bonus, it’s a great choice for people in the following situations:
- You shop a lot at Empire-owned grocery stores – At 6 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Empire-owned grocery stores, no other card earns you as many points.
- You want a card with no FX fees – Since this card doesn’t charge foreign exchange fees, you’ll save 2.5% on all foreign transactions.
- You want flexible travel rewards – Scene+ allows you to use your points on travel booked through the Scene+ travel portal or on travel purchases charged directly to your card.
- You want good insurance – You get an excellent travel and mobile device insurance package.
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. It offers solid travel insurance, one of the best earning rates, and you get access to American Express Experiences. With an annual fee of $120, this card is a winner.
Minimum application requirements:
- You’re a Canadian citizen or are a permanent resident
- You have a minimum annual personal gross income of $12,000
- You haven’t declared bankruptcy in the past 7 years
- You’re at least the age of majority in your province or territory
- Your home address matches your credit report home address