Bonuses & Fees
The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite offers 30,000 Scotia Rewards points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. The annual fee of $139 is not waived.
The signup bonus of 30,000 points is worth $300 towards any travel expense, so it already outweighs your $139 outlay. Meanwhile, the added benefit of this card is that it’s one of the few Canadian-issued premium credit cards that has no foreign transaction fees.
The card offers 2 Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent on groceries, dining, entertainment purchases, and daily transit. Entertainment includes movies, theatre, and live performances, while transit covers railroads, local transit, taxis, and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
While this is a decent return, you’ll note that the Scotiabank Gold American Express card actually offers a higher 5% return on groceries, dining, and entertainment, so that’d be a better card to use for spending on these categories. Of course, Visa is more widely accepted than Amex, so that’s another thing to take into account.
On all other spending, you’ll earn a standard 1 Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent. There’s many other credit cards out there that deliver higher returns, so overall I wouldn’t say the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is a card that you get for its returns on daily spending.
Scotia Rewards is one of the most flexible fixed-value points programs in Canada. Points have a value of 1 cent per point, and can be easily credited towards any travel expense.
This is far superior to fixed-value points programs from Canada’s other major banks, which force you to book your travel through their in-house travel agencies. This means that you’re effectively limited to using your points for flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacations.
Things like taxes and fees on award tickets, Airbnbs, and train tickets are therefore off the table. And sometimes the cost of booking travel through the banks’ in-house agencies is significantly higher than if you booked directly.
Throw in the fact that you can use the age-old “refundable hotel trick” to turn your Scotia Rewards points into a pure statement credit, and this card is an absolute winner in the realm of fixed points travel cards.
Perks & Benefits
The main draw of this card is the fact that it has no foreign transaction fees – indeed, it’s the first credit card offered by the Big 5 banks in Canada to include such a benefit. While most other credit cards charge a 2.5% markup on FX transactions, the Scotia Passport uses the Visa mid-market rate.
This is therefore an excellent card to use when you’re travelling abroad. Consider the net first-year annual fee of $139. If you were to spend more than $5,560 in foreign purchases in one year, then you’ve saved money by applying for and using the Scotia Passport (since $5,560 × 2.5% = $139 is what you would’ve otherwise paid with most other credit cards out there).
$5,560 a year isn’t a lot of money to spend on foreign purchases if you’re a regular traveller. Throw in the 30,000 Scotia Rewards points that you get as a bonus, and the Scotia Passport card would be a great addition to your wallet.
The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is a premium travel credit card, and so comes with very strong insurance benefits. Coverage includes:
Emergency medical insurance of up to $1 million for you, your spouse, and dependent children on unexpected medical illness or injury when travelling out-of-province
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance of up to $2,500 per person
Flight delay insurance for delays of more than four hours, up to $500 per person
Rental car collision or damage insurance, which can help you save on the insurance fees usually charged by car rental companies
Plus, on the purchase protection side, you’ll get a 90-day protection period against damage, loss, or theft for most new items. In addition, you also get a 60-day price protection service that allows you to claim back the difference if the price of your new purchase drops within 60 days – that’s something that very few financial issuers offer!