The Scotiabank Gold American Express card is often ranked as the best travel credit card in Canada and it’s not hard to see why. It has an excellent earn rate, a good sign up bonus and no foreign transaction fees. Basically, if you spend a lot on your credit card and you like to travel, this card is for you. When you look at all the additional benefits, it’s not hard to see why this card is one of the best Scotiabank credit cards in Canada. Read my Scotiabank Gold Amex review now for all the details.
Scotiabank Gold Amex benefits
- $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
First off, this card has an annual fee of $120, but that’s offset by the sign up bonus which is worth a few hundred dollars. To be honest, the sign up bonus is secondary to the earn rate which is incredible. With the Scotiabank Gold Amex (referral link), you’ll earn 5 Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent on purchases made on grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases and 3 points for every $1 spent on gas, public transportation, rideshares and eligible streaming service 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 $50,00 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.
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.
Scotiabank Gold American Express travel insurance
- Travel emergency medical – $1,00,000/25 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.
How Scotia Rewards work
The best thing about the Scotia Rewards program is how flexible and easy it is to understand. This flexibility is part of the reason why Scotiabank ranks high on my list of the best bank travel rewards programs.
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 Scotia Rewards 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 Amex 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, the best earning rate of all travel cards with the ability to book on your own travel for a decent annual fee of $120. With a sign-up bonus of $150, there is no reason to not test this card at least for one year to see how beneficial this card can be for you.
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