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Scotiabank Gold American Express Card Review ($400 Bonus)

The Scotiabank Gold American Express card ranks as one of Canada’s best travel rewards cards, with a rewards rate of up to 5% on multiple spending categories, $400 in sign-up bonus points, and comprehensive travel insurance.

The Scotia Rewards points you earn with this card can easily be redeemed for travel bookings, merchandise, gift cards, and more.

For a limited time, when you obtain a new Scotiabank Gold AMEX card and spend up to $1,000 in your first three months, you will earn 20,000 bonus points ($200 value). And when you spend up to $7,500 in the first year, you get an extra 20,000 points, for a total of 40,000 points in the first year ($400 value).

This review of the Scotiabank Gold American Express card covers its features and rewards (now including zero foreign transaction fees), limitations, and why you may want to consider it for your wallet.

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Scotiabank Gold American Express Overview

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Best travel credit card in Canada

Annual fee: $120

Rewards: Earn up to 6x Scene+ points on groceries, 5x pts. on dining, food delivery, & entertainment, 3x pts. on gas, and 1x pts. on everything else.

Welcome offer: Get up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points in the first 12 months.

Interest rates: 20.99% for purchases, 22.99% for cash advances.

Minimum income requirement: $12,000

Recommended credit score:
660
900

Good

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

On Scotiabank’s website

  • Zero foreign transaction fees when travelling overseas or shopping abroad.
  • Earn 6x Scene+ points at select grocery stores, including Sobeys and Safeway.
  • Earn 5x points on dining or food delivery at select stores and restaurants as well as select movies, theatres and ticket agencies.
  • Earn 3x points on eligible gas and transit purchases.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 CAD spent on eligible purchases.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance benefits and extended warranty protection are included.
  • Priority Pass™ membership discount to access VIP lounges.
  • Amex Offers® including deals on shopping, travel and dining.
  • Access to Front Of The Line® presale tickets to concerts, restaurants and events.
  • Minimum annual income of $12,000 required.

Earn up to 6x Scene+ point

Lots of premium perks included

No foreign transaction fees

Low income eligibility at $12,000

Expensive annual fee

$29 fee for each additional card

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card provides a great opportunity to earn Scene+ points on all purchases and extra points on select purchases. Its zero foreign transaction fees and travel insurance coverage make it a good choice for travellers.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Benefits

1. Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus Scene+ points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months as a new cardholder. When you spend $7,500 or more in the first year, you get an additional 20,000 bonus points, for a total of 40,000 points or a $400 value.

2. Earn rewards on your spending: Earn 5 Scene+ points for every $1 you spend in three categories (groceries, dining, and entertainment) – up to 6x points at some grocers; earn 3 points for every $1 you spend on gas, daily transit and streaming services (Netflix and Cineplex); and earn 1 Scene+ point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases.

For purchases at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Co-Op, and other participating stores, you earn 6 points per $1 spent.

3. No foreign transaction fees: This card is now one of a few credit cards in Canada that waives the 2.5% foreign transaction fee when you make purchases in foreign currency online or abroad.

4. Comprehensive travel insurance with coverage including:

  • Travel emergency medical for up to $1 million. This coverage is provided to individuals who are under 65 years for up to 25 consecutive days, and if you are 65 years or older, your coverage is for up to 3 consecutive days.
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance – up to $1,500 per person and a maximum of $10,000 per trip.
  • Flight delay insurance.
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance up to a maximum of $1,000.
  • Travel accident insurance up to a maximum of $1 million per incident.
  • Rental car collision loss and damage insurance with coverage for up to 48 consecutive days and up to $65,000 MSRP value.
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance.

Note that you need to have used your card to pay all or part of your travel costs for these insurance coverages to apply.

5. Other perks offered by the Scotiabank Gold AMEX card are:

  • Purchase security for up to 90 days.
  • Extended warranty for up to an additional year.
  • Discounted Priority Pass membership (35% discount) for access to over 600 VIP airport lounges worldwide.
  • 24-hour Best Price Guarantee on airline tickets when you book through the Scene+ Rewards site or one of their representatives. Savings are also available on car rentals, vacation packages, cruises, and more.

The 5% rewards rate offered by this card on your groceries, dining, and entertainment spending is one of the best among travel rewards and cash back cards. The average household spends a lot of money on these categories every month, so it is easy to take advantage of the 5% rewards points.

For example, if you spend a realistic $700 monthly on groceries, restaurants and entertainment, your annual rewards points at 5% are 42,000 points or a $420 value.

There is an annual cap of $50,000 that you can earn 5 points/$1 on when spending on the above categories. After you exceed this annual spending, you start earning 1 point/$1.

The Scotiabank Gold Amex has a $120 annual fee. The initial sign-up bonus of 25,000 Scene+ points (worth $250) more than covers your annual fee for the first year.

Most cardholders can claim the $200 bonus based on the reasonable offer requirement to spend $1,000 within the first three months.

The foreign transaction fee waiver of 2.5% is a great addition to the card and makes it a full-fledged travel credit card.

Lastly, this card’s comprehensive travel insurance package is similar to what you find on some cards with heftier annual fees.

Redeeming Scene+ Rewards Points

Scene+ points are straightforward to redeem for travel purchases (hotels, flights, car rental, etc.). You can book travel using Scene Plus at 100 points = $1. The minimum redemption is 5,000 points which is equivalent to $50.

You can still use your points if you prefer to make your travel bookings through a different travel service or agency. Pay as you normally would using your card and then pay off your credit card balance using your points.

In addition to travel, points can also be redeemed for gift cards or a statement credit.

Downsides of the Scotiabank Gold American Express

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has a $120 annual price tag. If you would rather not pay fees on a card, check out my list of the best no-fee credit cards in Canada.

Another downside is that Amex cards are not as universally accepted as Visa or Mastercard.

For a Visa card by Scotiabank with some similarities to this card, check out the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite.

It is also worth noting that supplementary cards cost $29 each.

Lastly, don’t forget you pay 20.99% interest APR for purchases if you carry a balance and 22.99% APR for cash advances.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card Alternatives

Some alternatives to the Scotiabank Gold American Express Cards are shown below. You should note that none of them waive foreign currency transaction fees.

American Express Cobalt Card

Rewards: Earn 5x pts per $1 spent on food & drinks; 3x pts on streaming subscriptions; 2x pts on travel; 1x pts everywhere else.

Welcome offer: Get up to 30,000 bonus points in the first year.

Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases and 21.99% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $155.88

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

Rewards: Earn 5x the points on purchases at Marriott Bonvoy; 2x points everywhere else; 1 free night each year; Elite Night credits.

Welcome offer: Get up to 50,000 bonus points in the first year.

Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases and 21.99% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $120

Is the Scotiabank Gold AMEX Card For You?

This card is worth considering if you are looking for a travel card that offers an excellent rewards rate and if you spend a decent amount on groceries, gas, restaurants, and entertainment every month.

At a 5% earnings rate on these four categories, your $120 annual fee will be paid for in no time (not including the $200 to $400 sign-up bonus).

Also, the annual income requirement for the Scotiabank Gold American Express card is minimal, at $12,000.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card Review
  • Rewards
  • Annual fees
  • Insurance benefits
  • Eligibility
  • Other perks
Overall
4.5

Summary

The Scotiabank Gold American Express card is a top travel credit card in Canada, offering up to a 5% earn rate, a $400 signup bonus, no foreign transaction fees, comprehensive insurance, and more. This review of the Scotiabank Gold AMEX card covers all its pros and cons.

Pros

  • Competitive sign up bonus
  • Waives FX transaction fees
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Up to 6x points per $1 spent
  • Low-income requirement
  • Several premium perks

Cons

  • $120 annual fee
  • Amex credit cards are not accepted everywhere

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in Forbes, The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, CBC News, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, and many other personal finance publications. You can learn more about him on the About Page.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

3 thoughts on “Scotiabank Gold American Express Card Review ($400 Bonus)”

  1. Gravatar for Brenda

    Really appreciate the Canadian perspective on credit cards, points, TFSAs, etc.! I’ve been binge reading a lot of your stuff and trying to get more into travel hacks with points. In the massive amount of American blogs out there on the subject, it’s great to find a Canadian one. Just wanted to say thanks!

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      Glad you find the blog useful and thanks for your feedback!

  2. Gravatar for Ray

    Unlike the Scotiabank Infinite Visa (For Travel) this one does not give you 5% or 3% when using the card in currency not in Canadian Dollar. You will only receive points at the rate of 1% when spending abroad (or in other currencies) although you still win avoiding the 2.5% fx markup. The other Scotiabank Infinite Visa (for travel) will still reward you the 2% if spending in the category mentioned.

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