The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite offers 25,000 Scotia Rewards points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. The annual fee of $139 is not waived.
The signup bonus of 25,000 points is worth $250 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. Read on for more details.
The Scotia Passport 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 4% 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.
Instead, 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 25,000 Scotia Rewards points that you get as a bonus, and the Scotia Passport card would be a great addition to your wallet.
In my opinion, Scotia Rewards points are one of the best fixed-value points programs in Canada. 100 Scotia Rewards points are worth $1 towards the cost of travel, so your signup bonus of 30,000 points equates to an instant $300 credit towards any travel expense.
What makes Scotia’s program stand out? The answer lies in how easy and flexible it is to use their points. Many other fixed value points programs, like BMO Rewards or CIBC Aventura, force you to book your travel through their in-house travel agencies if you want to use them to offset the cost of travel. 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 just booked on Expedia or something.
Not so with Scotiabank. You simply charge any travel expense to your card, whether in-person or online, and you can then use your points to offset that expense up to 12 months after the date of the transaction. It’s really the gold standard for how a fixed points program should work, which is unfortunately an area in which many of Canada’s other big banks drop the ball.
This also means that you can comfortably pay for travel expenses as soon as you receive the card, take your time to meet the spending requirement (if you haven’t already), wait for the points to post, and then apply the points to your original travel outlay.
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.
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!
Like all other Visa Infinite cards, you need a minimum personal annual income of $60,000 or a household annual income of $100,000 to be eligible for this card. Follow the link below to apply for the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite via our affiliate link, which helps support the Prince of Travel website.
Alternatively, you may also check websites like Great Canadian Rebates to see if any of their cash-back offers on this card might pique your interest.