9 Reasons to Apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has become one of the most intriguing credit cards in the Canadian market. 

As its rewards program, Scene+, continues to emerge as a stronger player in the loyalty landscape, the value proposition and the ways to maximize this card are greater than ever before.

With heightened category multipliers and a time-sensitive elevated welcome bonus, let’s look at nine reasons why the Scotiabank Gold Amex should be in your wallet.


In This Post

1. 40,000 Scene+ Points Welcome Bonus

By applying prior to October 31, 2022, you’re eligible to receive a total welcome bonus of 40,000 Scene+ points. The process of earning the welcome bonus involves two easy steps:

  • 20,000 Scene+ points upon spending $1,000 in the first three months
  • Another 20,000 Scene+ points upon spending at least $7,500 in your first year

In other words, you’ll only need to spend an average of $625 per month to receive the full welcome bonus of 40,000 Scene+ points.

40,000 Scene+ points is equivalent to $400 towards travel expenses, and is one of the highest signup bonuses we’ve seen on the Scotiabank Gold Amex Card.

Even though the spending requirement of $7,500 in the first year might appear high at first glance, there are quite a few compelling reasons why you’ll organically want to put a lot of spend on this card, as we’ll discuss below. 

2. First Year Free

Typically, the Scotiabank Gold Amex Card comes with a reasonable annual fee of $120. However, if you apply before October 31, the annual fee is waived for the first year.

Meanwhile, we’ve recently seen comparable credit cards in the mid-range travel market increase their annual fees from $120 to $139. This is the case with a number of cards, including the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card, and the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card.

Even Scotiabank’s own Passport Visa Infinite Card will see its annual fee jump from $139 to $150 on October 1, 2022.

Considering the current rate of inflation, being able to try out the Scotiabank Gold Amex for no first-year annual fee is certainly a nice bonus. Furthermore, many historical welcome offers have not come with an annual fee waiver, making this another reason why you should consider applying this round before October 31.

Note that if you have an Ultimate Package banking bundle with Scotiabank, you’ll enjoy continued annual fee waivers on this card.

3. 5x Points on Groceries & Dining + 6x Points at Sobeys

The Scotiabank Gold Amex has always offered a generous 5 points per dollar spent on all purchases at Canadian grocery stores, as well as on food and dining purchases. As of October 1, 2022, the multiplier will further increase to 6 points per dollar spent at all Sobeys-affiliated grocery stores.

Grocery stores that will be eligible for the 6x earning rate include Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry, and Co-Op.

Although these are all grocery stores, it’s not just fruits and vegetables that will earn 6x Scene+ points. In fact, anything bought at these stores, including gift cards, will trigger the higher category bonus, too.

Since Scene+ points can easily be redeemed at 1 cent per point (cpp) against travel purchases, this means that you’ll essentially receive an astounding 6% back on all purchases at eligible Sobeys-affiliated locations.

Earn 6x points at Sobeys-affiliated grocery stores as of October 1, 2022

The increase to a 6x multiplier is unprecedented on the Canadian credit card scene. It even nominally surpasses the laudable American Express Cobalt Card, which offers 5x MR points on those same grocery and dining purchases.

The Amex Cobalt Card is still very strong, but the Scotiabank Gold Amex may have a slight advantage for some individuals with high annual spends.

On one hand, the Cobalt Card earns Membership Rewards points, which can then be transferred to airline and hotel transfer partners. Unfortunately, Scotiabank’s Scene+ program doesn’t have this same option.

On the other hand, the Cobalt Card caps the 5x bonus at $30,000 per year, while the Scotiabank Gold Amex has a much higher cap of $50,000 per year.

If transferring points to airline partners is your thing, but you’ve maxed out the Cobalt Card’s annual cap, then you’ll want to further supercharge your earning at grocery stores with the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

4. 5x Points on Entertainment

In addition to the elevated category bonuses on groceries, food, and dining, you’ll also earn 5x Scene+ points on select entertainment expenses with the Scotiabank Gold Amex Card.

Earn 5x Scene+ points at movie theatres with the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Eligible entertainment expenses for 5x Scene+ points include theatres, ticket agencies, and, of course, movies.

This is an industry-leading multiplier among Canadian credit cards. Other cards that target millennials, such as the Amex Cobalt Card and the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card, exclude entertainment from their 5x multipliers.

5. 3x Points on Gas, Transit, and Streaming

Continuing with the category bonus dominance, the Scotiabank American Express Gold Card further offers 3x Scene+ points on all gas, transit, and streaming expenses.

Eligible transportation expenses include gas, rideshare services, buses, taxis, subways, and anything else that has a Merchant Category Code of “transit”.

Earn 3x Scene+ points per dollar on transportation with the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Streaming services that qualify for the 3x multiplier include the usual suspects of Netflix and Spotify, the Cineplex store, as well as a wide range of other streaming services.

3x points represents a strong 3% return on gas, transit, and streaming, although it isn’t necessarily an industry-leading earning rate in any of the three categories. Still, for an all-in-one solution towards many of life’s common expenses, the Scotiabank Gold Amex packs quite a punch. 

6. No Foreign Transaction Fees

Almost all Canadian credit cards impose a hefty 2.5% foreign transaction fee on purchases made in currencies other than the Canadian dollar. You won’t encounter this cash grab with the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

In fact, Scotiabank is the only bank out of Canada’s Big 5 to offer credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. If you often travel outside of Canada, or if you make many purchases in other currencies, this feature can equal huge savings.

However, there’s a caveat: foreign transactions on the Scotiabank Gold Amex will uniformly earn 1x Scene+ points, rather than 5x or 3x Scene+ points based on the spending category.

That’s a factor that could count against this card when comparing to, say, the Amex Cobalt Card, whose elevated multipliers (anecdotally) extend to foreign purchases as well. 

7. Access to Amex Offers

Even though the Scotiabank Gold Amex Card is issued by Scotiabank, it’s still a part of the American Express payment network. Luckily, this means that cardholders have access to the many Amex Offers that often pop up.

While not all Amex Offers are always available, many of the most popular ones are open for manual registration, including recent promotions such as Marriott and Shop Small.

To view and register for Amex offers, just head to the dedicated landing page for Scotiabank-issued American Express cards. These offers are sometimes quite juicy, and can certainly add up over the course of the year.

Both primary and supplementary cardholders can register for Amex Offers, so be sure to look at adding cards for anyone else in your household in order to stack the Amex Offers.

8. Flexibility of Scene+ Points

Scene+ points are some of the most flexible travel rewards points when compared to other Big 5 banks’ loyalty programs. You can redeem them at 1cpp for any travel expense charged to your Scotiabank Gold Amex Card.

The Scotia Rewards and SCENE loyalty programs merged in December 2021 and became Scene+. The merger has resulted in largely positive changes, and since then, Scene+ has established itself as a program worth your attention in Canada.

Compared to the old Scotia Rewards program, one unique perk of Scene+ is that if you were to cancel your Scotiabank Gold Amex Card, you won’t lose your Scene+ points or face a shortened window to spend them. Instead, they’ll remain safe in your Scene+ account long after you cancel your card.

The most attractive aspect of Scene+ points, though, is the ease of redeeming points for travel purchases.

After paying with your Scotiabank Gold Amex Card, you simply apply your Scene+ points at 1cpp against travel expenses once they’ve posted to your account. Similar rewards programs require you to redeem points through dedicated portals, which are often clunky and cumbersome.

Use Scene+ points to cover stays at independent hotels, such as the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

If you don’t have enough Scene+ points to cover the whole travel expense right away, don’t fret, as you can still use points you earn in the future. You’ll have up to one year from the date of purchase to redeem points for an eligible travel expense.

The flexibility of Scene+ points makes the program a great option for minimizing out-of-pocket expenses on cruises, independent hotels, or any other travel purchases that can’t be otherwise booked with points.

9. Strong Insurance Coverage

As you’d expect for a travel credit card, Scotiabank Gold American Express Card comes with a strong suite of travel insurance.

By charging expenses to your Scotiabank Gold Amex Card, you’ll be eligible for the following types of insurance coverage: 

While the above inclusions are more or less standard these days, the Scotiabank Gold Amex Card ups the ante by offering a generous 25 days for emergency medical insurance for eligible persons under the age of 65.

Most emergency medical insurance offered on similar credit card products is capped at 15 or 21 days. Having an extra period of coverage can come in handy if you tend to travel for more than two or three weeks at a time.

Travel insurance of up to $1,000,000 per person is available for cardholders, their spouse, and dependent children. As with all types of emergency medical insurance on travel credit cards, the insurance applies even if the card wasn’t used to book any portion of the trip.

Other Scotiabank American Express Cards

While the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is certainly the best pound-for-pound American Express product offered by Scotiabank, some travellers may be well-suited to other products in the same family. 

Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card

With a higher annual fee of $399 that isn’t waived for the first year, the Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card comes with some better benefits than the Scotiabank Gold Amex.

The Scotiabank Platinum Amex offers a higher welcome bonus of 60,000 Scene+ points. The bonus is structured as 50,000 Scene+ points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months, and an additional 10,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first 14 months.

In addition, the Scotiabank Platinum Amex Card includes 10 complimentary lounge visits to Priority Pass and Plaza Premium lounges per year.

Enjoy 10 complimentary lounge visits with the Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card

With regards to the spending category multipliers, the Scotiabank Platinum Amex Card has a 2x bonus for all categories. This is a higher earning rate than the Scotiabank Gold Amex on non-categorized everyday purchases, but is much weaker compared to the Gold version’s 5x and 3x multipliers. 

Scotiabank American Express Card

The Scotiabank American Express Card is a good option if you have lower monthly expenses and are looking for a no-fee card, but still want access to Amex Offers.

The current welcome bonus is 10,000 Scene+ points, structured as 5,000 points upon spending $750 in the first three months, and another 5,000 points upon spending $5,000 in the first year.

You’ll still get a slight category spending boost of 2x Scene+ points on groceries, dining, entertainment, gas, transit, and select streaming services (as well as 3x Scene+ points at Sobeys-affiliated grocery stores starting October 1, 2022).

Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about any annual fees, making it a decent starter credit card for building credit history while loading up on lucrative Amex Offers.

Conclusion

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is an excellent credit card with some of the highest earning rates available in Canada, which are set to become even stronger at Sobeys-affiliated grocery stores.

With a strong current welcome bonus, a first-year fee waiver, no foreign transaction fees, and competitive travel insurance, it’s easy to see why this card is a must-have among Canadian points collectors.  

As Scene+ continues to emerge as a contender in the Canadian loyalty landscape, you’ll definitely want to pick up this card and start earning flexible Scene+ points before its current welcome bonus ends on October 31, 2022.

12 Comments
  1. Nicola

    I’d just flag for folks looking at the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card that the scene points valuation seems to be different from the way the Scotia Visa Infinite approaches it. You can’t use the points in the same way as the valuation works on the Visa, to your disadvantage- so for example if you book on Airbnb vs their Expedia Scene+ site you miss out on the better aspects of the savings. Doing the math on how the points are calculated, and where they can be useful, I actually don’t think this is a card that’s super helpful for travel, and I likely won’t renew.

  2. Kemila

    I have a Scotia Passport Visa card. I guess I am not applicable, either to cancel the Visa or keep it…

  3. Fil YYZ

    Just an FYI for anyone looking at this card, it seems that it was just part of a large security breach that Scotiabank appears to be refusing to acknowledge, so I would just be cautious of that before applying. My gold card and many other people’s had fraudulent charges show up at the same time, from the same vendor (Joybuy) in Hong Kong.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/PersonalFinanceCanada/comments/wh1bom/scotiabank_credit_card_fraud_investigation/

    https://www.reddit.com/r/PersonalFinanceCanada/comments/wh5zzp/scotia_amex_comprised/

  4. Lyon

    Sobeys and scene both said you won’t earn bonus points for any cash equivalent purchases (gift cards) at their banners at a launch event last week…. They said lotto purchases aren’t considered cash purchases

  5. FIL

    Aren’t MR points worth more than double scene points? And more flexible.

  6. matt

    ricky i think your info on gift cards may be wrong…. scene app used to say you wouldn’t get x6 for certain items said including gift cards and cash reload (you’ll earn x6 points on lottery) won’t get x6 starting oct 1st, cant find that since they update app last week…. idk for myself but my discord server says they are already clawing back points for gift card purchases for some people that used a scotia the scotia gold

  7. Matthew

    If you are a current client of ScotiaBank, there is a clause that you need to be aware of before applying for this card. “Individuals who are currently or were previously primary or secondary cardholders of a Scotiabank personal credit card in the past 2 years, including those that switch from an existing Scotiabank personal credit card, as well as employees of Scotiabank, are not eligible for this offer.

    — This means that you will not get the signup bonus or first year annual fee waiver if you are an existing card holder (any credit card) or you HAD a card in the past two years, even if you were simply an authorised user on the account.

    A lot of people get caught in this ‘trap’, apply or product switch and then get the bad news of no bonus lol. ScotiaBank is by far the stingiest with its bonuses. —

  8. wells

    @ricky….. they clawed back grocery points after i purchased a gift card at an empire brand…. only on scotiagold not amex cobalt… i guess they’re tracking now 🙁 makes sense though considering it is their program and they dont want people “stealing” … id do the same lol

  9. Taylor

    I bought groceries the other day and also purchased gift card…. I earned full but 2 days later they clawed back x4 only for the gift card so I only earned x1 with gold (its still x5)…. didn’t scan scene card either

  10. Omar Battistella YYZ

    never mind! I figured it out! 🙂

  11. Omar Battistella YYZ

    You mentioned that Scotia rewards are worth 1 cent. Yet when I try to redeem them towards a hotel booking, the value is much less. Am i doing it wrong? They are offering $150 off for 21500 points.

    1. wells

      apply points to travel purchase not apply point to statement

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