This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

A comparison between the American Express Cobalt Card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express shows that these two credit cards offer some of the best combinations of travel rewards in Canada.

While the Scotiabank Gold AMEX comes out on top overall as the better-rated card, the AMEX Cobalt also does really well and is worth checking out.

Read on to see how they compare.

AMEX Cobalt vs Scotia Gold AMEX Comparison

The American Express Cobalt and the Scotiabank Gold American Express are both on my list of the best credit cards for travel rewards in Canada.

Annual Fee

Both cards will cost you $120 annually. The Scotia Gold Amex’s annual fee is paid once, while for the Amex Cobalt, the annual fee is spread over 12 months at a $10 per month fee.

If you are looking to get supplementary cards for family members, each one will cost you $29 for the Scotiabank Gold Amex. Supplementary Amex Cobalt cards do not cost an additional fee.

Welcome Points

The Scotiabank Gold Amex offers a sign-up bonus of 20,000 points  ($200 value) when you spend $1,000 in your first three months. This bonus easily covers your annual fee for the first year.

For the American Express Cobalt, you get 2,500 Membership Rewards (MR) points every month you spend $500 or more, for a total of 30,000 bonus points in the first year.

The value of Amex MR points varies based on what you redeem for. As a statement credit towards travel purchases, each point is valued at 1 cent, for a total value of $300.

If you use your points for flights through the Amex Fixed Points Travel Program, you could potentially double the value of your rewards.

For the welcome points, the Scotia Gold Amex offers access to your free rewards easily within 3 months after spending a total of $1,000. The Cobalt Card requires at least a 12-month commitment (and at least $6,000 in spending) to earn the full 30,000 points. It is worth at least $100 more in value.

Foreign Transaction Fees

When you use your card to make purchases abroad or to make payments in a foreign currency, a 2.5% foreign transaction fee is charged.

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card waives this foreign exchange fee, while you will pay the 2.5% fee when you pay with the Cobalt Card.

Frequent travellers can save a lot of money with this perk.

Earn Rate

For the Scotiabank Gold Amex, you earn:

  • 5x points for every $1 spent on groceries, restaurants and entertainment
  • 3x points for every $1 spent on gas, daily transit and streaming services
  • 1x point on everything else

There is an annual limit of $50,000 per year for the 5x rewards earn rate. Additional spending gets you 1 point per $1.

American Express Cobalt cardholders earn:

  • 5x points per $1 spent on groceries and restaurants
  • 2x points per $1 spent on travel and transit
  • 1x point on everything else

A maximum cap of $30,000 per year applies to the 5% earn rate categories.

Overall, you can earn more in rewards annually from the Scotiabank Gold American Express.

amex cobalt vs scotiabank gold amex

Travel Insurance and Benefits

Both cards offer comprehensive travel insurance benefits, with the Scotia Gold Amex offering 11 types of insurance coverage and the Amex Cobalt offering nine.

The Cobalt Card offers a travel emergency medical of up to $5 million for the first 15 days of each trip; the Scotia Gold Amex offers up to a $1 million coverage for trips up to 25 days.

Travel accident insurance: The Scotia Gold Amex provides up to $500,000 coverage against accidental loss of life or dismemberment (maximum of $1 million per occurrence). For the Cobalt Card, this coverage is up to $250,000.

Car rental insurance: You are covered up to an MSRP of $65,000 and for 48 days with the Scotiabank Gold Amex, while the Cobalt Card provides coverage up to $85,000.

Both cards also offer coverage for flight delays, baggage delays, hotel/motel burglary, purchase protection, lost or stolen baggage and extended warranty.

In addition, the Scotiabank Gold offers trip cancellation, trip interruption, and emergency medical for travellers over 65 years for up to 3 days.

The Scotiabank Gold Amex is better overall with regards to travel insurance benefits.

Other perks

Both cards also offer perks in addition to the basic rewards.

Scotiabank Gold American Express

  • Discounted Priority pass membership and access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Amex Front Of The Line
  • 24/7 complimentary concierge service
  • American Express Invites
  • Amex offers

American Express Cobalt Card

  • Up to $100 hotel credit to cover eligible amenities
  • Complimentary room upgrade when available
  • Amex Front Of The Line
  • Amex Invites

Redemption Options

You can redeem your Scotia Rewards points for travel including flights, hotels and car rentals at a rate of $1 per 100 points.

The Amex Cobalt Card offers a few redemption options.

  1. Redeem for flights using the Amex Fixed Points Travel Program
  2. Transfer you points to other loyalty programs such as Aeroplan, Delta SkyMiles, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, and redeem for hotel stays or travel
  3. Redeem for travel purchases through American Express Travel Online
  4. Use to pay for purchases on membershiprewards.ca or Amazon.ca

Fixed points travel programRelated reading

Final Thoughts

The Scotiabank Gold Amex and Amex Cobalt Card are great credit cards to have in your wallet if you are looking for a premium travel credit card that does not break the bank.

In this faceoff, the Scotiabank Gold American Express takes the upper hand when you look at the combined benefits they have to offer. 

It stands out by waiving the foreign exchange fee and offering a 5% earn rate on up to $50,000 in spending.

Cardholders who redeem their Amex Membership Rewards via the Fixed Travel Points Program may be able to stretch the value of the Amex Cobalt Card’s welcome bonus.