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Looking to earn travel rewards faster? The Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card is a quick route to getting you to the destination of your dreams. As part of the Scotia Rewards program, cardholders can earn four times the points on gas stations, grocery stores, dining and entertainment experiences, while earning one point per dollar on all other purchases wherever American Express is accepted. Points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise, experiences, charitable donations, investments and more.
Cardholders get access to the American Express Travel Privileges program and receive special offers including discounts on cruises, hotels, airfare, car rentals and even full vacation packages. And, if you’re new to Canada, it’s part of the StartRight program meaning you don’t necessarily have to have a credit history in Canada in order to use it. All in all, it’s a well-rounded piece of plastic that just happens to be one of the best travel rewards credit card with a fee in Canada.
- 4 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores, dining and entertainment.
- 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
Value of One Scotia Rewards Point:
- $0.04 for purchases made at eligible gas stations, grocery stores, dining and entertainment
- $0.01 for all other eligible purchases
Earning Potential: Excellent
How does this card compare to other rewards options? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology. Assuming $1,119.58 is spent on the card monthly in the following categories:
Approximate reward points earned over 2 years: 109,324
Approximate Total dollar worth of points: $1,093.24
In comparison to other cards, this earns rewards at a much faster rate. This means you could essentially purchase a round trip ticket for a medium-haul flight after two years (or even a long-haul if you happen to stumble across a sale!).
Note that you can only earn 4 times the points on the first $50,000 you spend annually. After that, you will only earn one point per dollar spent at eligible gas stations, grocery stores, dining and entertainment. You cannot earn points on cash advances, Scotia Credit Card Cheques, Scotia Rewards Dollars, returns, bill payments, casinos and gambling, or annual memberships.
Point Redemption: Great
The Scotia Rewards program is rather flexible, allowing users to start redeeming points through its online catalogue once the 5,000-point threshold has been reached. That’s more than enough for a $25 gift card to The Source, Sport Chek, Winners, HomeSense, Marshalls or any Cara restaurant, such as Harvey’s, Montana’s, Milestones and many more. You can also purchase some smaller electronics such as earbuds or a simple camera. Other categories include investments and credits, experiences, recreation, house and home, toys and games, accessories and charitable donations.
However, you get the best bang for your buck by putting your points towards travel – either through the Scotia Rewards travel site or with any other travel provider. You can combine the perks from both Scotia Rewards and American Express to bring your costs down even more. Note that you have to manually apply points to your trip expenses if you use another provider, and you have 12 months from the date of purchase to do so.
Sign-up Bonus: Good
For accounts opened prior to April 30, 2017, cardholders can earn 25,000 bonus points provided they charge $750 within the first three months. That’s worth about $250 in Scotia Rewards when put towards travel, or experiences such as an adult Toronto CityPASS or a two-day hop-on hop-off bus tour in New York City. This amounts to much less if put towards gift cards and electronics. Plus, there is a $99 first year annual fee waiver.
Once you’ve charged $750 to your card, the bonus points will appear as an adjustment on your billing statement within two cycles after the third billing cycle has passed. This means it will take approximately 3 to 5 months before you can redeem the points.
Here’s something to keep in mind, though. The sign-up bonus is only for brand new Scotiabank customers. That means if you currently already bank at Scotiabank or had an account in the past but have since closed it, you are ineligible for the extra 25,000 points.
Balance Transfer and Cash Advance Features: Average
This card carries the standard 22.99% rate on balance transfers and cash advances. For balance transfers, fees are 1% of the total amount for each transfer over $100.00. For cash advances, the fee is $4.00 for each transaction. If you’re late making the minimum monthly payment account twice or more within a 12-month period, the rate for both features rises to 27.99%.
Another thing to keep in mind: This card carries a $10 fee in addition to 19.99% interest each month if you don’t pay off your balance in every billing cycle. There are also dishonoured payment and Scotia credit card cheque fees of $48.00 which is charged on the date any payment is returned or dishonoured, due to insufficient credit available in your account. These extra charges can further add to your woes if you are using this card to pay off debt.
Additional Benefits: Excellent
The Scotiabank Gold American Express® card also has a few other features. This includes:
- Purchase protection and extended warranty
- Eligible for Apple Pay
- American Express Travel Privileges, with access to reduced rates, special amenities and a wide variety of worldwide destinations*
- Discounts and other special amenities on airfare, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages and at hotels
- Alerts on low price airfares
- Access to priority pass lounges all over the world
- Up to 25% discount on qualifying car rentals
- Travel emergency medical coverage for eligible travelers for up to 25 consecutive days
- Baggage, flight delay and rental vehicle insurance
- Travel accident insurance
- Trip interruption or cancellation insurance
*Blackout dates may apply
Our Final Word
If you’re looking to earn travel rewards quickly, the Scotiabank Gold American Express® card is highly recommended. It brings together the best of both worlds: Scotia Rewards and American Express Travel Privileges, while adding in an insurance package to cover off that dream vacation. However, it’s important to pay off your bill in full every month or else you’ll be facing interest charges and other fees that may cancel out the added value of any rewards you earn.
Are you carrying the best credit card for your spending habits? Check out the Credit Card Rewards Calculator and find out!
How to Qualify for the Card
- You are a Canadian resident or a permanent resident
- You must be the age of majority in your province or territory of residence
- You have not filed for bankruptcy in the past seven years
- You have an annual gross income of at least $12,000