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 comes with an excellent earn rate, a good sign up bonus, and it has no foreign transaction fees. Basically, if you spend a lot on your credit card and you like to travel, this card is a solid choice. Admittedly, American Express cards aren’t accepted everywhere, that’s why you need to read my Scotiabank Gold American Express review to find if the perks included make up for it.
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card
- $120 annual fee – First year free
- 25,000 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
First off, this card has an annual fee of $120 (sometimes waived for the first year), but that’s offset by the welcome bonus, which is typically worth between 40,000 – 50,000 Scene+ points. Since 1,000 Scene+ points are worth $10 in travel, your welcome bonus is typically worth between $400 – $500 in travel.
With the Scotiabank Gold Amex (referral link), you’ll earn 6X Scene+ points for every dollar spent 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 are earned per $1 spent on other grocery stores, dining, and entertainment purchases. 3X Scene+ points are given for every $1 spent on gas, and daily transit, and 1X Scene+ point for 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.
As an added bonus, 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. You don’t earn additional points when making purchases in a foreign currency. You’d earn the base rate of 1 point per $1 spent regardless of what you’re spending money on.
The additional travel benefits included are limited. You get concierge access, which sounds nice on paper, but you’ll likely never use it. You also get a preferred discount on the Priority Pass membership. While that discount is nice, you might as well get one of the best credit cards with airport lounge access if that’s a benefit you want.
Since this is an American Express credit card, you still get access to American Express Invites which gives you exclusive access to concerts, dining, shopping and more. You also get Amex Front Of The Line access that allows you to buy tickets to movies, theatre shows, restaurants, and special events before the public.
Scotiabank Gold American Express insurance
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has one of the better insurance packages available. You get a comprehensive travel insurance package that includes travel medical and extended coverage. In addition, you get the standard purchase insurance.
- 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 need to charge at least 75% of your travel purchases to your card. This isn’t as bad as the 100% that some cards require, but the BMO World Elite Mastercard states that you can charge any travel purchase amount to your card and you’d still be covered.
You’ll also want to take a close look at the days covered. 25 days is great if you’re 64 or under, but if you’re 65+, you’re only covered for 3 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
- Extended warranty
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 you need it. 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.
How Scene+ works
The base redemption rate is 1,000 points = $10 in travel.
Since you earn 5 points per dollar spent on gas, grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases, you’re effectively getting a 5% return for those categories.
Your travel can be booked online via Scotia’s travel booking portal which has a wide selection of flights and hotels. 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 will apply if you book directly with them. This also means you can book with no date or award availability restrictions.
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 the cost. Note that there is a 5,000 point minimum redemption when using the Apply Points for Travel option
You can also use your Scene+ for a variety of other rewards:
- 14,400 points = $100 Esso or Amazon gift card
- 14,000 points = $100 statement credit
- 62,5000 points = $500 statement credit
The value of the gift card and statement credits are much lower than using them for travel rewards so I would advise avoiding this option.
How the Scotiabank Gold American Express compares to others
The Scotiabank Gold American Express has one main competitor in the Amex Cobalt 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. When deciding between the two, you should look at the categories where you spend the most money.
One major difference between the card is the no foreign transaction fees that the Scotiabank Gold Amex has. Since the Cobalt card doesn’t have that feature, you’re paying 2.5% more whenever you make a purchase in a foreign currency. This may not matter for many people, but it’s something to consider.
The American Express Cobalt Card has a better sign up bonus since it’s worth $300 or more depending on how you use your American Express Membership Rewards points. That said, you need to spend a lot more to get the bonus.
My Scotiabank Gold American Express review is positive. Although the card may not offer the most generous signup bonus of all travel credit cards, this card is definitely one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. The Scotiabank Gold American Express card offers solid travel insurance, a great earn rate, and the ability to book on your own travel for a decent annual fee of $120.
Minimum application requirements:
- You’re a Canadian citizen or are a permanent resident
- You have a minimum annual personal gross income of $60,000
- 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