Scotia Gold Amex: A Review

November 5, 2019
Canadian Credit Card Reviews
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The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Does an all-rounder daily spending card for Canadians exist? Or is it a myth? The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card could be your answer. It does come with an annual fee of $120 but the perks are lucrative with top point earn rates for your daily needs and varied redemption choices from travel to Apple products. Here is our review of the Scotiabank Gold Amex Card. Take a look and decide if this card is for you.

Great news! Scotiabank has recently improved the features and benefits that come with the Scotiabank Gold Amex Card for Canadians, to make it a lot more worthwhile to hold. The great thing is that Scotiabank is aware of the existing benefits available to consumers and is matching up to them. Not only is the card great for millennials, it’s also a more affordable option for the senior generation above 65 years of age. 

In this Scotiabank Gold American Express Card review you will find:

The Scotiabank Gold Amex Card’s Features & Benefits

Card TypeCredit card
Welcome BonusUp to 30,000 SR points
Annual Fee • $120
$79 if cardholder is above 65 years old
Purchase Interest rate19.99%
Cash Advance interest rate22.99%
Foreign Transaction FeeNone
Minimum Credit Limit$5,000
Supplementary cards  • $29/year
$15/year if primary cardholder is above 65 years old
Earn Rates • 5X on Grocery & Dining
• 5X on Entertainment
• 3X on Gas & Daily Transit
• 3X on Select Streaming
• 1X on everything else
Comprehensive Travel Insurance
Airport Lounge Access
Concierge Service

Benefit #1: No Foreign Transaction Fees

This card is pretty great to use locally within Canada, but Scotiabank has made it cheaper to use on any foreign expense including online purchases or when travelling abroad, thanks to its 0% foreign transaction fee. This makes it equally great to use overseas. 

Credit cards generally impose a standard 2.5% fee on foreign transactions, so this is a benefit that makes the Scotiabank Gold a great option for travelling cardholders. The only cost involved when using your Scotia Gold Amex abroad, is the currency conversion rate from the currency charged to Canadian dollars.

Benefit #2 : The Scotia Gold Amex Welcome Bonus

Once you get the Scotia Gold Amex, there is an $120 annual fee. But by signing up to this card for the first time, you will receive 25,000 Scotia Rewards points after you charge $1,000 to the card within the first 3 months upon receiving the card.  You can get an additional 5,000 Scotia Rewards points if you make purchases worth $10,000 within the first 12 months of cardmembership. 

How much are Scotia Rewards points worth?

Each SR point is worth approximately $0.01. As such, the whopping 25,000 SR points bonus is worth $250 in redemptions. Add in the extra 5,000 SR points, and you’re up to $300! And that’s as easy as using them for a statement credit!

Sure, you only get the bonus once and only after the first three months, but let’s not forget you are earning points as you spend as well. If you swipe your card for the higher point earn rates, as listed in the table above, you are bound to earn way more points along the way. Read on below for more details on the purchase categories eligible for the 5x and 3x earn rates.

What about additional cards?

To further enhance the number of points you can earn, you can request supplementary cards to accumulate the total points earned by the primary and supplementary cardholders of the same account. The cost of supplementary cards are different for primary cardholders 65 and above, and for those 64 and below, being $15/year and $29/year respectively.

If you compare the benefits that come with this card to other options, you’ll see that, in most cases, additional cards cost around $50/year each. This makes even the $29 fee for supplementary Scotia Gold Amex Cards a bargain.

The Scotiabank Rewards System (Scotia Rewards points) 

Scotia Rewards is Scotiabank’s loyalty program, and its loyalty points are known as Scotia Rewards points. Scotia Rewards (SR) points are earned upon purchases charged to Scotiabank cards like the Gold Amex. You can track the points you earn via your statements or online, anytime at scotiarewards.com. One neat feature about Scotia Rewards points, is that they’ll never expire as long as you are a cardholder. 

How to Earn Scotia Rewards Points With The Scotiabank Gold Amex

Here is a breakdown of the Scotia Rewards points you can get by applying for and using your Scotiabank Gold.

Welcome Bonus
(For new applicants)
25,000 Scotia Rewards points 
as long as 
a) You apply by December 30, 2019
b) You charge $1,000 to the Scotiabank Amex Gold card within the first three months of cardmembership
5,000 Additional Scotia Rewards points 
if you charge $10,000 in purchases to your card within the first year of use. 
Eat In, Eat Out (Grocery & Dining Bonus)Earn 5x Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, supermarkets, eating places/restaurants, drinking places, and fast food restaurants and delivery of food as a primary business.
Watch & Cheer (Entertainment Rewards)Earn 5x Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on
• Eligible Motion Picture Theaters
Theatrical Producers
Ticket Agencies, Bands, Orchestras and Miscellaneous Entertainers 
Ride & Drive (Gas & Daily Transit Bonus)
Earn 3x Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on
Gas Service Stations (with or without Ancillary Services)
Automated Fuel Dispensers
Local and Suburban Commuter Passenger Transportation, including Ferries, Passenger Railways, Taxicabs and Limousines, Bus Lines, Transportation Services (Not elsewhere Classified) 
Listen & Stream (Select Streaming Bonus)Earn 3xScotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible select streaming services (excluding gaming). Eligible streaming services are always subject to change.
All Other PurchasesEarn 1x Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on purchases anywhere else

Do take note that the accelerated earn rates for 5x and 3x Scotia Rewards points is applicable for purchases in Canadian dollars (CAD) only. Also, these earn rates are limited to the first $50,000 spent each calendar year (January through December). This means that you can potentially earn anything from 150,000 to 250,000 SR points in the previously mentioned purchase categories.

After you reach that cap, you will receive 1x Scotia Rewards on all purchases whatsoever.

How Good Are The Scotia Rewards points?

Scotia Rewards points can be redeemed for rewards in different categories like travel, entertainment and statement credits.

Of course, the value varies depending on the category, but to make it simple, 10,000 SR points are equivalent to $100 in travel value, giving each point a valuation of 1 cent apeace, or $0.01. It depends on what is best suited for your lifestyle. 

Details on redemptions are available on the Scotia Rewards website, but we’ll give you a brief description of what you can do with your points in the following section.

ScotiaRewards loyalty program ad

How To Redeem Scotia Rewards Points

Travel

You can access the Scotia Rewards Travel Service through scotiarewards.com, to to use your points and save on travel expenses. 

Be it any form of travel – airfare, railroads, cruises, etc. – there are different ways to use your card to get the best possible deal.

You can:

  1. Pay for the entire trip arrangements with your points: If your points balance (visible at scotiarewards.com) is sufficient to fund your trip cost, you can go ahead and redeem them so, including taxes and surcharge fees.
  2. Combine points and cash: Short a few points? Want to save some for later? You can pay part of your travel arrangements with your points and charge the rest to your card.

If you find yourself confused on how to best optimize your points with the Scotia Travel service, you can always make use of the 24/7 concierge service that comes free of charge with the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card. 

What if you don’t have enough points for either of the two options above? 

You can always use your card to cover the full amount of your travel. That way, you’ll earn rewards points for every Canadian dollar you spend. What’s more, you can enjoy the extensive insurance coverage that comes with your card, provided you charge a minimum of 75% of your total travel expenses to your Scotiabank Gold Amex card. More details on the insurance coverage below.

It all boils down to using your card wisely to reap the amazing benefits and get the most value from the money you spend.

Convert to SCENE points

Get entertained with motion pictures for free! You can convert your Scotia Rewards points to SCENE points or your SCENE points to Scotia Rewards points instantly online, anytime you want. It works both ways which makes it amazingly flexible. 

Enjoying the latest movie premieres with the Scotia Gold Amex
Enjoy the latest movie premieres with the Scotia Gold Amex

You must convert a minimum of 1,000 points per conversion, and you can convert points up to a maximum of 4 times within a 24 hour period. 

There are still more rewards… 

You can shop at their online catalogue using your points. Point redemptions are allowed from merchandise from Apple and Best Buy catalogues. 

Otherwise, you could redeem your points for a credit towards your card account with the Statement Credit option.

For more details on the Scotia Rewards, you can view the Scotiabank Gold Amex membership terms and condition 

Benefit #3: Airport Lounge Access

As a Scotia Gold Amex cardholder, you have a preferred discount of 35% off on the Standard Priority Pass membership. Instead of the regular $99 USD that this membership costs, you’ll be paying close to $64 USD, or approximately $85 CAD, after the discount. This means that having this card in your pocket could save you close to $50 every year.

With the Priority Pass membership, you’ll be granted access to over 1300 lounges globally! 

If you have never tried airport lounges before, you’re in for a treat! Picture having complimentary food, a relaxing massage chair, and peace and quiet in a luxurious ambience before your flight.

Gain access to the SkyTeam lounge at Vancouver International Airport thanks to the Scotia Gold Amex
SkyTeam Lounge at Vancouver International Airport

Once you’ve tried airport lounges before take off, your flight experience will never be the same. What’s more, Priority Pass is one of the largest lounge clubs in the world, which means you’re almost sure to find one to relax in at any destination you are flying from. 

Not much of a traveller? No problem. The Scotia Gold Amex is just as useful to use for your daily lifestyle.

Benefit #4: Scotia Rewards Concierge

At the tap of your fingers on your mobile phone, you can easily have up to date info on anything involved with your card purchases with the Scotia Rewards personal concierge service.

Be it finding the best rated cuisine of your choice, scouting the perfect location for your next vacation or even inquiries on a new active pursuit – scuba diving, horseback riding, etc. – let the Scotia concierge specialists assist you for FREE. 

What’s more – the service is available 24/7!

Benefit #5 : Scotia Gold Amex Insurance Coverage

Scotia Gold Amex Cardholders receive an impressive insurance package that comes with the card at no extra charge; it is covered by the annual fee, along with all the other sweet benefits that come with the Scotia Gold Amex.

This comprehensive insurance package is so great, in fact, that it even includes Trip Interruption Insurance, which is a policy that usually only comes with premium Amex cards such as the Platinum Card, or the AeroplanPlus Reserve Card. The big difference is that those cards cost 6-8 times more than this one.

Here is a breakdown of the insurance you are entitled to as a Scotia Gold Amex Cardholder:

Travel Emergency Medical InsuranceUp tp $1,000,000 
for you, your spouse, any dependent children, any additional cardmember, for any number of trips with a maximum duration of 25 days.
**for ages 65 and above, coverage is up to 3 days. 
Travel Accident InsuranceUp tp $500,000 
for you, your spouse and children in the case of accidental death or dismemberment while traveling
Flight Delay InsuranceUp to $500 
per insured person during the period of a delayed flight or missed connection which lasts four hours or more 
Delayed and Lost Baggage InsuranceUp to $1000
for coverage against the loss or the delay (within four (4) hours from your time of arrival at your final destination.) of your checked luggage.
Hotel/Motel Burglary InsuranceUp to $1000
as long as your lodgings were paid with your Scotia Gold Amex Card.
Rental Car Collision Loss/Damage InsuranceWaive the vehicle rental company’s own insurance policy for full payment by Scotia Gold Amex
provided rental period cannot exceed 48 consecutive days and vehicles costing over $65,000 are not covered.
Trip Cancellation InsuranceUp to $1500 per person for eligible expenses (maximum $10,000 per trip
for you, your spouse, one travelling companion, any dependent children, when you charge at least 75% of such trip expenses to your Scotia Gold Amex Card
Trip Interruption InsuranceUp to $1500 per person for eligible expenses (maximum $10,000 per trip
for you, your spouse, one travelling companion, any dependent children, when you charge at least 75% of such trip expenses to your Scotia Gold Amex Card
Purchase Security & Extended Warranty ProtectionAutomatically insured against theft loss or damage for purchases fully charged to your Scotia Gold Amex Card
Doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for up to one extra year, on any purchase paid in full with your Scotia Gold Amex Card

Benefit #6: American Express Invites & Front of the Line

Access to Amex Invites & Front of the Line with the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Yes – you are now a part of the exclusive American Express event invite list. As per the Front of The Line privileges you are entitled to, you have access to pre-sale tickets to some of the most in-demand concerts, theatre productions, restaurants, and special events before the general public.

You can also enjoy reserved tickets from a block of seats reserved exclusively for American Express during the public on-sale period for many major events.

Is the $120 Annual Fee Worth The Benefits?

As steep as the annual fee may sound, the welcome bonus alone (25,000+5,000 points) gets you at a surplus, as it is worth at least $300 (for travel redemption). Considering that the welcome bonus is a one time benefit, you might be wondering whether the Scotiabank Gold Amex card maintains its sustainability in the long run, and it does.

The insurance alone can save you hundreds of dollars if you travel at least once every year, and the discount on the Priority Pass membership can save you almost $50 every year, so these benefits alone outbalance the annual fee.

However, the biggest long-term potential comes from its mighty fine earn rates. What’s so great about them is that the earn rates are especially high for your daily spending, since tou get 5x and 3x points per $1 spent on groceries/dining/entertainment and gas/transit/select streaming, respectively.

With as little as $1,000 in typical everyday purchases each month in the high earn rate categories, you can earn 4,000 SR points on average, which gives you an average $40 a month. Within 3 months, you would have recovered your $120 annual fee. In a year, you can see yourself with a total of $480 worth of points.

Requirements to Apply for the Card

  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident 
  • Aged 18 and above
  • Not been declared bankruptcy in the past 7 years
  • Have a Canadian address 
  • Annual personal gross income of $12,000+

Overall…

The Scotia Gold Amex’s recent upgrades: 0% foreign transaction fee and accelerated points earn rates, are a great leap forward in terms of features. Additionally, the annual fee/supplementary card charges are rather accommodating to cardholders who are 65 of age and above. 

If you count in the whopping welcome bonus of 25,000 + 5,000 points for new applicants, which gives you a strong head start for point redemption in the Scotia Rewards program, an impressive travel insurance package, lounge access and concierge service, I’ll be surprised if you don’t apply for your own right away.

If you feel this card is for you, you can click on the secure link below.