Scotiabank is making several changes to its Scotia Rewards, credit card and credit card insurance programs.
Most of the changes to the Scotia Rewards program will take effect November 7th, 2016, while the changes to its creditor insurance program will take effect December 12, 2016. Most of the changes seem to be improvements, although we did identify one incremental cost.
Changes to Scotia Rewards
- Redeem Points For a Statement Credit (November 2016): In a bid to increase the flexibility and appeal of its Scotia Rewards program, cardholders will now be able to redeem their points for their cash equivalent value as a statement credit.
- Best Price Guarantee (November 2016): Cardholders will now get a guarantee on the best available prices on airfare reserved through the Scotia Rewards travel service for up to 24 hours after booking.
- Points Plus Cash Redemptions (Early 2017): Cardholders will soon be able to redeem for rewards items using both points AND cash. This provides significantly more flexibility for cardholders to redeem their points.
- Travel Booking Fee (November 2016): Booking travel through Scotia’s Travel service over the phone will now cost $15 plus taxes. There is no fee when booking online.
Changes to Scotia Credit Card Insurance
- Increasing Maximum Coverage (December 12, 2016): Scotia is increasing maximum coverage amount from $20,000 to $50,000
- Increasing Age of Life Coverage (December 12, 2016): Recognizing an aging population and extended life spans, Scotia has exented Life coverage from the age of 70 to the age of 80, at reduced rate of $0.49 per $100 of your average daily balance. The premium reduction of $0.95 per $100 to $0.49 per $100 is only for those aged 70+.
- Increasing Age of Other Coverages (December 12, 2016): Scotia is also increasing coverages for disability, critical illness, job loss and strike and lockout to age 70, from the current 65.
- Doubling Monthly Benefits (December 12, 2016): Scotia is doubling the monthly benefit for disability, job loss, and strike and lockout from 5% to 10% of your outstanding balance. They are also paying more, faster, from $1,000 per month for 24 months to $5,000 per month for 10 months.
All in all the vast majority of the changes are welcome improvements to Scotia’s credit card program. From a rewards perspective, cardholders will have added flexibility to redeem their points for cash as a statement credit, converting Scotia’s rewards cards to hybrid cash back credit cards. This move effectively competes with other rewards programs that allow their points to be converted to cash or a statement credit such as Air Miles credit cards or the MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard.
The ability for partial redemptions for merchandise is also a welcome enhancement, as cardholders can choose to redeem for merchandise in the catalogue and just pay the difference with their credit card. The real question will be whether the cash price of redeemable items will be market priced.
It will be interesting to see the details of the Best Price Guarantee policy. While many programs offer a similar policy, such as the BMO World Elite MasterCard, they’re usually frought with limitations that prevent customers from price matching airfare found on aggregator sites such as Travelocity or Expedia. We weren’t able to find the terms of Scotia’s updated policy on its site just yet.
Scotia has also indicated it is making changes and improvements to its Scotia Rewards travel website and is freshening up it rewards program with new merchandise.