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Scotiabank Gold American Express Card Review

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Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Best: Rewards card

Our Rating:

5.0 stars

Open Account

On Scotiabank’s secure website.

Top Perks
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Additional rewards possibilities with Amex Offers
  • Multiple useful insurances including trip cancellation, flight delay, and rental car
Rewards

5x Scotia Rewards on eligible dining, grocery, and entertainment
3x Scotia Rewards on eligible gas, transit, and streaming services
1x Scotia Rewards on everything else

Welcome bonus

Up to 40,000 Scotia Rewards points (worth up to $400 towards travel)

Learn more

Click here to learn more about the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Annual fee:

$120

Eligibility:

Credit rating: Good
Minimum income: $12,000

Top features

  • 5 Scotia Rewards points per $1CAD on eligible grocery, dining, and entertainment spending
  • 3 Scotia Rewards points per $1CAD on eligible gas, transit, and streaming services
  • 1 Scotia Rewards point per $1CAD on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Welcome bonus: up to 40,000 Scotia Rewards points in the first year (worth up to $400 towards travel, terms apply)

Good to know

  • $120 annual fee ($29/year for supplementary cards)
  • Complimentary concierge services for help booking restaurants or shows
  • Amex Offers program to earn even more from shopping, dining, and travel (registration required)
  • A variety of insurances, including flight delay insurance and rental car collision insurance

If you’re ready to step up your credit card game, then it may be time for the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card. The Scotiabank Gold card comes with a $120 annual fee, but features a rewards program and benefits that, if used correctly, could pay for that annual fee many times over.

The headline benefit of this card is the generous rewards program. The card gives you 5 points per $1 of spending on groceries, restaurants, bars, fast food, food delivery, movie theatres, theatres and ticketing agencies, and other entertainment venues. You then get 3 points per $1 on spending at gas stations; a wide variety of transport including trains, ferries, taxis, and rideshare (though note not flights); and certain streaming services, like Netflix. Basically all other spend earns 1 point.

There are certain things you need to keep in mind with the rewards program. One is you only earn accelerated rewards on spending in Canadian Dollars. This card is a very good choice for spending abroad (more on that in a moment), but if you use it in another currency, note that you won’t earn rewards at the higher 5x or 3x rates. Instead, all spending in a foreign currency earns at a 1 point per $1 rate (after the spending has been converted back to CAD).

Also, you earn those bonus points based on the categorization of the merchant. That’s determined by how a merchant is registered with its merchant account. For instance, a merchant registered with a merchant code 5411 is classified as a grocery store and therefore will qualify for 5x points. A merchant under 5812 is a restaurant — so again, you’d get 5x points.

The “trick” is that if a merchant’s classification doesn’t match the category that pays bonus points, you may end up with 1 point per $1. With large, obvious merchants (Loblaw, Esso, Metro, Tim Horton’s, Mr. Sub) you’re unlikely to run into a problem. Sometimes it gets trickier when shopping online. So if you’re counting on bonus points for a big purchase, it may be a good idea to make sure that the merchant code matches up to one in a bonus category.

On the rewards, it’s also worth noting that bonus rewards can be earned on the first $50,000 in total spent on your account during the calendar year. After $50,000, all spending earns at the 1 point per $1 rate.

Naturally if you’re earning rewards points, you’ll also need to understand how much they’re worth. As with most rewards cards, the most accurate answer is: it varies. With the Scotia Rewards program, the minimum each rewards point is worth is roughly $0.0067, or a rewards rate of 0.67%. We get to this by looking at the rate to convert the smallest number of points a statement credit. It goes up from there. If you wait and convert 37,500 points for a credit rather than 3,000, you get $0.008 per point (0.8%). Convert points to an Amazon gift card and you’ll get around $0.0075 per point (0.75%).

But these are just the easiest, and lowest-yielding ways to convert points. Sometimes good conversion offers can come up on merchandise and other deals, but typically the best way to maximize rewards points is to use them for travel. Scotiabank rewards can be redeemed with the Scotia Rewards Travel Service where you can potentially get even more benefits. Or you can simply spend on travel and use points to get a credit to your account against that spending. Doing this you get $0.01 per point (1%). Though note, as we talked about above, the merchant code for where you spent the money has to be a travel-related code (like airline, airport, hotel, rental car agency, etc).

If you travel often, even just over the border into the U.S., this could also be a great card for you. Most cards on the market carry a “foreign transaction fee”. That means that after the currency is converted for a purchase, an additional fee is tacked on. This is typically 2.5%. Which means that all of your purchases while abroad are 2.5% more expensive. The Scotiabank Gold Amex does not have a foreign transaction fee. So while we mentioned that you won’t earn accelerated rewards while spending in a foreign currency, you won’t get whacked with extra fees.

There are almost too many other benefits and insurances that come with this card to cover. Amex Offers allows you to sign up for additional points-earning opportunities. Concierge services can help booking restaurant reservations or show tickets. And there are a variety of mostly travel-focused insurances included with the card — including flight delay insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and rental car collision loss/damage insurance. It’s worth the time to explore these insurances and benefits in detail. Depending on your lifestyle, some of them could save you quite a bit of money.


Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Best: Rewards card

Our Rating:

5.0 stars

Open Account

On Scotiabank’s secure website.

Top Perks
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Additional rewards possibilities with Amex Offers
  • Multiple useful insurances including trip cancellation, flight delay, and rental car
Rewards

5x Scotia Rewards on eligible dining, grocery, and entertainment
3x Scotia Rewards on eligible gas, transit, and streaming services
1x Scotia Rewards on everything else

Welcome bonus

Up to 40,000 Scotia Rewards points (worth up to $400 towards travel)

Learn more

Click here to learn more about the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Annual fee:

$120

Eligibility:

Credit rating: Good
Minimum income: $12,000


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