For many years, Scotiabank has maintained close ties with Cineplex and the SCENE loyalty program by issuing SCENE co-branded credit and debit cards.
As of November 22, 2021, the Big 5 bank and the cinema giant will take their relationship to the next level by combining their respective points programs: Scotia Rewards and SCENE will merge to become Scene+.
Everything’s largely staying the same, and the features of Scotia Rewards program that we’ve come to appreciate will still be around.
However, there are a few minor changes to take note of, as well as a few mildly interesting new opportunities that arise.
Scotia Rewards Will Become Scene+
The Scotia Rewards and SCENE loyalty programs will merge to become Scene+ as of November 22, 2021.
During the period from November 15–22, certain functionalities in both programs will be disabled – for example, you won’t see Scotia Rewards points being posted from your Scotiabank credit cards purchases during this time; instead, they’ll post as Scene+ points after November 22.
Once the merger is complete, the Scotiabank travel credit cards will simply earn Scene+ points, rather than Scotia Rewards points. Your existing Scotia Rewards points and SCENE points will all convert to Scene+ at a 1:1 ratio:
- If you currently have a Scotiabank credit card but don’t have a SCENE account, a new Scene+ account will be created for you automatically when your Scotia Rewards points transfer over.
- If you do currently have a SCENE account, that’ll become your Scene+ account and your Scotia Rewards points will transfer over.
Going forward, you’ll be able to earn Scene+ points in the exact same ways that you can currently earn both Scotia Rewards points or SCENE points: by making purchases with a Scotiabank credit card, by seeing movies at a Cineplex, etc.
|Credit Card||Best Offer||Value|
|50,000 Scotia Rewards points||$875||Apply Now|
|40,000 Scotia Rewards points||$425||Apply Now|
|30,000 Scotia Rewards points||$176||Apply Now|
|5,000 Scotia Rewards points||$55||Apply Now|
|30,000 Scotia Rewards points||$-99||Apply Now|
Scene+ Is a Third-Party Loyalty Program
Here’s an important distinction to make: Scene+ won’t be Scotiabank’s in-house rewards currency like Scotia Rewards is now; instead, it’ll be treated like a third-party loyalty program for most intents and purposes.
The practical implications of this include:
- Instead of having a separate Scotia Rewards account for each Scotiabank credit card that you hold (and having to transfer points among accounts if you wish to pool your balances), all the points earned from different Scotiabank credit cards will be pooled into a single Scene+ account going forward.
- If you were to cancel a Scotiabank credit card, you currently have 60 days to redeem your Scotia Rewards points or they’ll be forfeited; in the future, these points will remain safe with Scene+ even if you cancel your card.
- Presumably, the points you earn from your Scotiabank credit card would post to your Scene+ account along with your monthly statements, rather than instantly after each purchase (as is the case with most co-branded credit cards).
This arrangement also makes Scotiabank unique among Canada’s Big 5 banks as the only bank that doesn’t issue their own in-house rewards currency.
Scotiabank will have no counterpart to RBC Avion, TD Rewards, CIBC Aventura, or BMO Rewards. Technically speaking, they’ll only have co-branded Scene+ credit cards, even though they function very much like an in-house rewards currency and are joint-owned by Scotiabank along with Cineplex.
Scene+ Will Remain a Useful Secondary Points Currency
As things currently stand, Scotia Rewards points are considered one of the most powerful secondary points currencies that a Canadian traveller can collect.
They’re of secondary importance because their redemption value is limited to 1 cent per point (cpp) against travel purchases. If you have 50,000 Scotia Rewards points from signing up for the Scotiabank Gold American Express, you can only redeem them for stuff that’s worth $500 – and not a cent more.
On the other hand, they’re powerful because it’s extremely easy to redeem them for 1cpp against travel purchases. Simply pay for travel using your Scotiabank credit card of $500 or more, and you can redeem your 50,000 Scotia Rewards points directly against the purchase.
Unlike rival in-house points programs from TD, CIBC, and BMO, there’s no need to book through a dedicated portal or anything like that. This also allows you to redeem your Scotia Rewards points towards stuff that can’t otherwise be booked on points in the traditional sense, such as car rentals, train tickets, or cruises.
The good news? None of that will be changing when Scotia Rewards becomes Scene+.
You’ll still be able to redeem Scene+ points at a flat rate of 1cpp against travel purchases, and you’ll still be able to do so seamlessly and retroactively against the travel purchases on your Scotiabank credit card.
Earn 3x Scene+ Points on Hotels and Car Rentals
Here’s the other interesting wrinkle: as of Scene+’s launch on November 22, you’ll be able to earn 3x Scene+ points on hotels and car rentals booked through the Scene+ Travel.
As long as the price you see with Scene+ Travel is the same as what you’d otherwise pay, it could make sense to book through Scene+ Travel for an extra 3x Scene+ points (equivalent to a 3% return) on top of the points you earn from your credit card.
Keep in mind that booking hotels through third-party travel agencies is rarely a good idea. You’re usually better off booking directly with a loyalty program like Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors to earn points, rack up elite qualifying nights, and enjoy your elite benefits.
Even if you’re staying with a non-chain property, you could book luxury hotels through third-party booking services like Virtuoso or Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, or cheaper properties using Hotels.com for an average 10% return.
On the other hand, booking car rentals through Scene+ Travel could be a good idea for that extra 3% return.
However, you’ll still want to weigh this against booking directly with the car rental agency for elite status benefits, or against booking portals that you could use – for example, Aeroplan Elite Status members are entitled to 3x Aeroplan points on car rental bookings made through the Aeroplan portal, so that would be more valuable than Scene+ Travel’s 3x Scene+ points.
Nevertheless, it’s a useful option to have around for Scotiabank credit card holders, keeping in mind that they’d be able to use the Scene+ points they earn from booking a hotel or car rental to partially offset the cost of that hotel or car rental right away.
Scotia Rewards and SCENE will be merging to become Scene+ as of November 22, 2021. You can find all the details on the Scotiabank website.
The changes are mostly cosmetic in nature, with both programs rolling into one but continuing to function as they did before, and Scotia Rewards points will remain useful for offsetting the costs of travel outside of flights and hotels.
If I’m being honest, I do wish Scotiabank and the other Big 5 banks outside of RBC would take the leap of making their rewards programs even more interesting by adding a couple of airline or hotel transfer partners one of these days – but given the languid nature of competition among the Big 5 banks, I’d be surprised if that happened anytime soon.