9 Reasons to Apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has become one of the more 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 the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card should be in your wallet.

In This Post

1. Welcome Bonus of 40,000 Scene+ Points

By applying prior to October 31, 2023, you’re eligible to receive a total welcome bonus of up to 40,000 Scene+ points. The process of earning the welcome bonus involves two steps:

  • Earn 20,000 Scene+ points upon spending $1,000 (CAD) in the first three months
  • Earn another 20,000 Scene+ points upon spending at least $7,500 (CAD) in your first year

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

40,000 Scene+ points is equivalent to $400 (CAD) towards travel expenses, and is one of the best welcome bonuses we’ve seen on the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

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

2. 5x Points on Groceries & Dining + 6x Points at Sobeys

The Scotiabank Gold Amex offers a generous 5 points per dollar spent on all purchases at Canadian grocery stores, as well as on food and dining purchases. However, the multiplier further increases to 6 points per dollar spent at all Empire-affiliated grocery stores.

Grocery stores that are eligible for the 6x earning rate include Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, participating IGAs, Les Marchés Tradition, and Rachelle Béry.

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 should 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 excellent 6% back on all purchases at eligible Empire-affiliated locations.

Earn 6x points at Empire-affiliated grocery stores

Indeed, 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, the Scene+ program doesn’t have this same option.

On the other hand, the Cobalt Card caps the 5x bonus at $2,500 (CAD) per month (as of August 15, 2023) or $30,000 (CAD) per year, while the Scotiabank Gold Amex has a much higher cap of $50,000 (CAD) per year.

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

3. 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 the 5x multiplier tier.

4. 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, 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. 

5. Double-Dip with Scene+

In addition to the aforementioned category multipliers, you’ll want to present your Scene+ membership card whenever possible to further pad your balance. By doing so, you’ll earn Scene+ points with both your Scotiabank Gold American Express Card and with your Scene+ card.

For example, you can earn up to 10 Scene+ points per dollar spent at Cineplex theatres: 5 Scene+ points per dollar spent with your Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, and 5 Scene+ points per dollar spent with your Scene+ membership card.

That’s essentially a 10% return on spending, since you can redeem Scene+ points at a rate of 1 cent per point against travel purchases.

Keep in mind that Empire-affiliated grocery stores will also offer additional Scene+ points through personalized offers and promotions. You can find them online in your Scene+ account, as well as specific offers available in-store.

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 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 Shangri-La.

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 a 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 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 expenses charged to your Scotiabank Gold Amex Card.

The most attractive aspect of Scene+ points 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 been 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 the points you earn in the future. That’s because you 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, short-term rentals, 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 somewhat standard these days, the Scotiabank Gold Amex Card ups the ante by offering a generous 25 days of 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 elevated benefits than what’s offered on 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

Regarding 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 6x, 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 7,000 Scene+ points, structured as 5,000 points upon spending $750 in the first three months, and another 2,000 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.

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.


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

With a strong current welcome bonus, 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, 2023.

1 Comment
  1. Thomas

    If you get the Scotiabank Ultimate Chequing Acct one of the perks is to receive up to C$150 prepaid benefit to any Scotiabank issued credit cards. Which means that you can have the annual fee waived for the Scotiabank Gold AE credit card. Also if you want a Scotiabank Gold AE supplementary credit card for C$29.00. So both cards would be waived.

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