The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card Review
The Scotiabank Gold American Express card offers one of Canada’s richest accelerated rewards rates of 4 points per $1 and ushers in a new era of flexible travel redemption programs into the Canadian marketplace.
With a limited time *15,000-point sign-up bonus worth the equivalent of $150 (accounts must be opened by October 31st, 2018) this is a great time to try the card out risk free.
The Scotiabank Gold Amex card offers 4 points per $1 on gas, grocery, dining and entertainment spend, and 1 point per $1 everywhere else. No other credit card in Canada offers such an accelerated rewards accrual rate in that many categories. It’s also one of Canada’s most flexible travel cards, offering the flexibility to redeem your cash equivalent points for ANY travel expense! Plus it comes with one of the country’s best travel insurance programs.
Earning Points on Scotiabank Gold
The sign-up bonus of *15,000 points is extremely competitive. The only thing you’ll have to do to earn it is spend $1000 in the first 3 months, which is a very low spending threshold for such a high rewards bonus. If you’re spending between $300-$400 a month anyways (think gas & groceries alone), it’s a great deal.
The value proposition on the card is simple and extremely generous: you earn 4 points per $1 on all gas, grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, up to $50,000 spent per year, after which you’ll earn 1 point per $1. You’ll also earn 1 point on purchases in all other categories.
While some cash back cards offer 4% cash back, they only do it for gas and grocery purchases. The Scotiabank Gold card rewards cardholders with points for gas, grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, making it stand out from the pack.
Consider that the average Canadian spends $5,588 a year on groceries, $2,207 on restaurants, $3,600 a year on gas, and then let’s throw in an additional $8,000 on other credit card spend. Based on that spend profile you’ll earn the equivalent of $536 per year in rewards – quite robust and way over the card’s $99 annual fee.
Redeeming Points with Scotiabank Gold
One of the most innovative features of the Scotiabank Gold American Express card is that it allows you to book your travel first, then redeem your points to cover your travel costs after, as follows:
- Book any flight, hotel, car, cruise, train or package, on your credit card
- Wait for your travel purchases to appear on your credit card statement
- Then apply your points to your travel expenses on your credit card (100 points = $1)
This allows you to book on any airline, hotel, cruise or vacation package without any restrictions. No blackout dates, seat restrictions, or extra points for high season. You can also pay for all taxes and fees with your points!
Comparing Value Per $1 Spent on Your Credit Card
As we’ve said before, the earn rate on the Scotiabank Gold American Express card is among the highest of any card in Canada.
We’ve done some math to verify our assessment. Each point is worth about 1 cent. As a result, you’re essentially getting 4% back on gas, grocery, restaurant and entertainment spend and 1% everywhere else. That compares very favourably to the RBC Avion, CIBC Aventura, and BMO World Elite. By comparison, the BMO World Elite offers the equivalent of 2.1% back.
If you have a lot of spend outside of gas, grocery, restaurants and entertainment, you might want to consider something that gives a higher flat return rate than the Scotia Amex Gold card does, which gives ‘only’ the equivalent of 1% on all other purchases.
To see other alternatives, you can use our credit card comparison tool to find the best credit card for you, which has already converted points to their dollar value and allows you to enter your spend by category to see how much each card will earn for you.
Not to be outdone, Scotia has embedded a host of travel related benefits that we believe ranks it as one of the top 5 cards in Canada for insurance coverage. In fact the total package of embedded benefits can easily be worth over $1,000 per year:
- Travel Emergency Medical Insurance – As the primary cardholder, you, your spouse and accompanying dependent children are each automatically covered for up to $1 million in emergency medical coverage for up to 25 consecutive days out of province.
- Trip Interruption & Cancellation Insurance
- Flight Delay
- Delayed & Lost Luggage Insurance
- Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance
- Rental Car Collision / Loss Damage Insurance
- Hotel / Motel Burglary Insurance
- Purchase Security & Extended Warranty Insurance – personal items purchased on your credit card are insured against theft, loss or damage for their first 90 days after purchase!
- Price Protection Service – Use your card to buy a new item that is offered for sale at a lower price within 60 days of purchase, the Price Protection Service, will pay you the difference up to $100.
In our view, Scotia’s accelerated rewards accrual rate makes it one of the top offers in the current Canadian travel card marketplace. And because you can apply your earnings to ANY travel expense on your credit card statement, you can start redeeming your welcome bonus right away!
*This is a statement from Scotia about the promotion: To be eligible for the 15,000 bonus points offer (this “Offer”), you must have at least $1000 in net purchases (purchases less returns or similar credits) posted to your Scotiabank credit card account (“Account”) in the first 3 months from the Account open date. The bonus points will appear as an adjustment on your Account statement within 2 statement cycles after the third billing cycle has passed provided the Account is open and in good standing. Offer applies to a new Account only opened by October 31, 2018 (the “Offer End Date”). Former or current Scotiabank credit cardholders that transfer from an existing Scotiabank credit card account or re-open a closed Scotiabank credit card account are excluded from this Offer. Offer may be changed or extended and cannot be combined with any other offer