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One of the most rewarding credit cards in Canada with useful benefits, travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees.
With generous rewards, flexible redemption rules and supreme travel insurance coverage, the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is among the top rewards credit cards in Canada.
Earning points is easy, since you’ll get an accelerated earn rate on many everyday spending categories, like groceries. In fact, you can earn 6 Scene+ points per dollar spent at participating grocery stores, like Sobeys, FreshCo and IGA. If you shop at other grocers, you’ll still earn 5 Scene+ points per dollar spent there too. You’ll also get 5 Scene+ points per dollar on dining, food delivery and entertainment spending, including movie tickets. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on gas, daily transit (including public transportation, taxis and rideshares) and streaming services. All other purchases earn a sold 1 Scene+ point per dollar spent.
Scene+ points can be redeemed for just about anything, from travel and merchandise to movies and credit on your monthly statement. Points are worth $0.01 each on average, but their value depends on what you redeem them for.
If you like to travel, you’ll find it hard to top the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card for a few reasons. First, there are no foreign transaction fees, saving cardholders the typical 2.5% charge on purchases made in foreign currencies. Second, if you book travel on this card, it offers excellent travel insurance coverage, including travel emergency medical, travel accident, trip cancellation/ trip interruption, flight delay, delayed and lost baggage and hotel/motel burglary insurance. If you rent a car when you’re travelling, the card also covers rental car collision loss/damage insurance. Plus, you can book travel for any combination of cash and points using Scene+ Travel, the reward program’s full-service travel agency powered by Expedia. You’ll also get a discount on a Priority Pass, which offers access to 1,200 lounges across the globe.
And if you’re into entertainment, this card offers great perks through American Express. Cardholders get access to the popular Amex Front Of the Line program, which offers presale access to major events. Cardholders also get access to American Express Invites, which includes a variety of exclusive events and special offers.
Scotiabank Gold American Express cardholders earn Scene+ points, which can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise or a statement credit.
You can really rake in the rewards with this card. Firstly, if you apply before October 31st, you can take advantage of their current welcome offer. You can get 20,000 bonus Scene+ points by spending at least $1,000 in the first 3 months and another 20,000 bonus Scene+ points for spending at least $7,500 in the first year. In total, that’s 40,000 points worth up to $400.
This card has excellent earning potential with up to 6 Scene+ points per dollar spent.
The top reward category offers 6 points per dollar spent at participating grocers including Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo and Foodland. You can also earn 6 points per dollar spent on grocery delivery through Voilà too, if you need (or prefer) your groceries coming to you.
If you shop at a different grocery store, you can still rake in the points on groceries. You’ll earn 5 Scene+ points per dollar spent, as long as they accept American Express. Restaurants, food delivery (including meal kits), movies, and entertainment are also in the 5 points per dollar category.
Scotiabank Gold American Express cardholders earn 3 Scene+ points per dollar spent on gas, ridesharing and public transportation, as well as on streaming services like Netflix and Spotify.
However, there are limits on the accelerated categories and you’ll only earn that rate on the first $50,000 per year. After that, you’ll earn the base rate of 1 Scene+ point per dollar that you also get on all your other spending with no limit.
To redeem the points you’ve earned with your Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you can use the Scene+ rewards catalog online. Points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise, or cash back.
To get the most out of your Scene+ points, use them for travel. Scene+ points are valued at $0.01 each when you book travel using the program’s online booking system powered by Expedia. Prices are displayed in dollars and points and you can use any combination of money and points to book travel. Comparing the cost of a round-trip flight from Toronto to Vancouver, there doesn’t seem to be any difference in price between booking directly with the airline and using Scene+.
You can also redeem your Scene+ points for merchandise and gift cards, although you’ll want to pay attention to the points cost as it’s not always consistent. For example, you can redeem points at a value of $0.01 each for gift cards to Scene’s partner retailers like Sobeys, Cineplex, and the family of restaurants that includes Harvey’s, Swiss Chalet and Montana’s.
Choose another retailer however, and you’ll need to redeem roughly 33% more points for a reward of the same value. For example, whereas a $100 Sobeys gift card costs 10,000 points, a $100 Indigo gift card costs 13,400 points. The same devaluation applies if you redeem your points for merchandise through Scene+ partners Apple and Best Buy.
You can also redeem your points for a statement credit, at a reduced value of approximately $0.07 per point.
The real value of a cash back card is based on potential annual earnings. We did the math for you by calculating what the average Canadian spends every year for each Scotiabank Gold American Express rewards category. Forbes Advisor uses data from multiple government agencies in order to determine both baseline income and credit card spending averages across various categories. We calculated these values using the average Scene+ point value of $0.01 per point.
Forbes Advisor estimates the total annual credit card spending to be $27,851.70. Of that amount, grocery purchases add up to $7,536 annually, earning $376.80 in Scene+ points, assuming you earn 5 points per dollar (but you’ll earn more if you spend at select stores). Gas amounts to $3,360 annually — earning $100.80 worth of Scene+ points. Dining amounts to $2,775 annually, amounting to $138.75 in Scene+ points. For entertainment, Canadians spend $2,424, earning $231.20.
From there, other purchases (like recurring bills, online purchases, airline tickets, hotel stays and miscellaneous spending) make up the remaining $11,756.70. Assuming you earn the 1 Scene+ per dollar base rate on those spends, this adds another $117.56 to your yearly cash back. All of this brings the grand total for yearly earnings to 94,311.70 Scene+ points, equal to $965.11. Once you factor in the $120 annual fee, this card earns $845.11 in net earnings per year.
Regular APR Min: 20.99%
Regular APR Max: 20.99%
Cash Advance: 22.99%
Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
Annual Fee: $120
Any other fees: Supplementary cards are $29 per year
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is an extremely well-rounded card that stands out against most of its competition.
Both the American Express Cobalt Card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card offer similar rewards and other benefits. Scotiabank offers slightly better rewards categories, while Amex’ Membership Rewards points are more flexible than Scene+ points when it comes to redemption. Both cards also carry excellent travel insurance coverage and have relatively low income requirements. Based on their average points value, the Cobalt will earn you $593.80 with the fee factored in and the Gold will earn you $845.11.
The other key difference between these two cards is the foreign transaction fee. Scotiabank cardholders only pay the exchange rate while Cobalt cardholders pay an additional 2.5% fee for purchases made in other currencies.
The American Express Platinum Card is a premium card that’s tailored to frequent travellers. Its $699 annual fee makes Scotiabank’s $120 fee look downright affordable and its engraved metal makes whoever’s holding it feel impressive. Its perks include up to $800 in welcome bonus points, an annual travel credit of $200, airport lounge access included and benefits at hotels.
Based on average spending, the Platinum card would net you $359.86 worth of Membership Rewards points in a year. However, remember its $699 fee? If you spend like an average Canadian, this card would actually put you in the negative in terms of rewards. Thus, for regular spending, Scotiabank Gold American Express is the clear winner here, with $845.11 worth of Scene+ points earned in a year, even with its annual fee factored in.
However, if you’re a serious jetsetter, then it’s worth looking into the Amex Platinum card for its immense travel perks, like insurance, lounge access, yearly $200 travel credits, NEXUS statement credits and more.
The American Express Green Card is an entry-level credit card that earns rewards with no annual fee. While its no-annual-fee status is appealing compared with Scotiabank’s yearly ding for $120, it otherwise falls short against the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.
American Express Green Card holders would earn just $278.51 based on average Canadian spending in a year, which pales in comparison to the $845.11 worth of Scene+ points the Scotia Gold Amex earns, even with the $120 fee factored in. Additionally, while the Scotiabank card offers comprehensive travel insurance coverage, the Green Card offers none. However, the Green Card does earn Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to a number of popular frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio, so it earns points for flexibility there.
When determining a rating for individual credit cards, the Forbes Advisor Canada editorial team factors in an exhaustive list of data points. With rewards cards, the scoring model used takes into account factors such as, but not limited to, earn rates and categories, fees, welcome bonus, and other benefits and features. Keep in mind what may be best for some people might not be right for you. Conduct informed research before deciding which cards will best help you achieve your financial goals.
You use your credit card for most purchases, pay off your balance in full each month and frequently use your card to book travel, then the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is right for you.
This card could especially be right for you if you do your grocery shopping at a store that accepts American Express. With up to 6 Scene+ points per dollar spent on groceries, your rewards will rack up quickly.
It could also be the right card for you if you travel frequently. While travel purchases aren’t heavily rewarded, Scene+ points are at their highest value when used for travel. You’ll also benefit from the 0% foreign transaction fee and generous travel insurance package.
This card may not be right for you if you carry a balance, as is the case for all the credit cards we review. This card has a 20.99% purchase interest rate and will quickly outstrip any rewards you can earn. It may also not be your best choice if you don’t have enough income to support the card’s minimum $5,000 credit limit or if you’re not keen on paying its $120 annual fee.
You may also want to choose another card if you prefer cash back rewards, as Scene+ points can no longer be redeemed for bill credit at their full value.
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is not a luxury card, nor is it an entry level one. It compares most closely with premium credit cards like those in the World Elite Mastercard and Visa Infinite families. Unlike those competitors that require personal incomes of $60,000 or more, however, this American Express option only requires a $12,000 salary.
To get the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you’ll need to have a minimum personal income of $12,000 and a good credit score of at least 640. Keep in mind that because of the $120 annual fee, you may not get much value out of this card if you use it to spend less than $1000 per month.
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is available to Canadians who are the age of majority in their home province or territory. To qualify you will also need to have no bankruptcies in the past seven years, good/excellent credit and a minimum personal income of $12,000 per year.
The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is the one of the most rewarding credit cards in Canada with the highest reward net of fees. It offers excellent reward categories, top-notch insurance coverage and lower income requirements than its closest Visa and Mastercard branded competitors.

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