The is our number one ranked credit card in Canada – and for good reason. It has one of the highest point earn rates on the market, on top of flexible, valuable rewards that are easy to use.

But there’s one card that may have enough going for it to rival the beloved Cobalt. The might give the reigning champ a run for its money.

So which one is better? Let’s take a look at these cards side by side, and see how they stack up.

Amex Cobalt and Scotia Gold Amex Summary

Before we get started, here’s a summary of these cards side by side for an early comparison.

American Express Cobalt Card Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Welcome Bonus Up to 30,000 points (terms) Up to 30,000 points (terms)
Earn Rates * 5X on groceries and dining
* 2X on gas, transit and travel
* 1X on everything else
* 5X on groceries, dining & entertainment
* 3X on gas, transit and streaming services
* 1X on everything else
Point Value * Up to 1.75 cents using the Fixed Points Travel Program
* up to 1.16 cents when transferred to Marriott Bonvoy
* 1 cent for any travel booking
1 cent for any travel booking
Fees * $10 per month
* 2.5% foreign exchange fees
* $120 annual fee
* No foreign exchange fee
Insurance Coverage 9 types of purchase and travel protection 11 types of travel and purchase insurance
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Earning points

When it comes to earning points, these cards are actually very similar, both offering a 5X multiplier on several categories.

First, the welcome bonus

Both cards also offer a welcome bonus:

  • The offers a bonus of up to 30,000 points. Earn 2,500 points for every month you spend $500 in the first year.
  • The offers a bonus of 25,000 points, but 5,000 extra if you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first year.

The Cobalt’s welcome bonus is not only double the points, but when you consider point value and convert to dollar amounts – Cobalt’s bonus is worth $525 compared to Scotia Gold’s $300. Though harder to earn, Cobalt’s bonus is much more valuable, so the extra effort could definitely be worth it.

The regular earn rate

Based on a typical $2,000 monthly spend, here’s what each card would earn you.

American Express Cobalt Card Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Monthly spend Earn Rate Annual points earned Earn Rate Points
Groceries, restaurants $500 5 points per $1 30,000 5 points per $1 30,000
Entertainment $50 1 point per $1 600 5 points per $1 3,000
Gas & daily transit $200 2 points per $1 4,800 3 points per $1 7,200
Travel $100 2 points per $1 2,400 1 point per $1 1,200
Streaming services $30 1 point per $1 360 3 points per $1 1,080
All other purchases $1,120 1 point per $1 13,440 1 point per $1 13,440
Total points earned 51,600 55,920

Based on this, the would earn you more points – 4,320 more, to be precise.

But it’s important to keep in mind that just because a card earns more points, doesn’t mean it gets you more value. We need to see what a single point is worth in order to really understand the difference.

Redeeming points

So what are your points worth?

As with all programs, there’s a variety of ways to use them. But, as per usual, the best value lies in redeeming for travel.

American Express Cobalt point value

For the , you’ll earn Amex Membership Rewards.

There are 3 ways to redeem your points for travel:

  • using the Fixed Points Travel Program,
  • transferring to hotel partners, and
  • redeeming for any travel charged to the card.

Let’s go through each option one by one, and see what they have to offer.

Fixed Points Travel Program

The Fixed Points Travel Program allows you to redeem for flights using a set number of points, depending on where you want to fly to.

Here’s what the economy class redemption chart looks like:

 Amex Fixed Points Travel Program economy class chart

The popular routes segment gives you the best value of up to 2 cents per point. And you’re looking at a low value of about 1.5 cents when redeeming your points for trips to Europe.

While this seems great, there are a few things to note:

  • First, the maximum ticket price ONLY covers the base airfare. You still have to pay any taxes, fees, and carrier surcharges (which includes fuel surcharges). This is especially expensive for trips to Europe.
  • And since the point levels are fixed, if you use less than the maximum amount, your point value will go down as well.

So, while there’s good value to be found, it’s not guaranteed, and will still leave you with a bill to pay for your redemption.

Transfer to hotel partners

Amex Membership Rewards can be transferred to 2 hotel programs – Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors.

You can transfer points at a 5:6 ratio to Marriott Bonvoy. When you redeem Bonvoy points for free nights, the average value is 0.97 cents per point, giving your Membership Rewards a point value of 1.16 cents.

Hilton Honors is also available as a 1:1 transfer option. We value a Hilton Honors point at 0.5 cents, giving an Amex point the same value.

So, if you can find value in hotel stays, this can be a great option for your points as well.

Redeem for any travel

Simply make a travel booking from any provider, charge the cost to your card, and then redeem for it using points.

Or, you can book through American Express travel and use your points to help pay for the booking, rather than front the cost yourself.

Each point is worth 1 cent when redeemed this way. The other options for travel can give varying value, so make sure they are worth at least this much, otherwise this will be the best way to use your points.

For full details on American Express Membership Rewards, check out our guide.

Total annual spend point value

Based off our typical annual spend, when redeemed for the absolute best point value possible, your 51,600 Membership Rewards are worth up to $1,032.

51,600 Membership Rewards * 2 cents per point = $1,032

Scotiabank Gold American Express Point Value

The earns Scotia Rewards points. And while there are many ways to use them, including transferring to Cineplex Scene, there’s only one way to redeem for travel.

Use your points to pay for travel through Scotia Rewards if you don’t have enough points for a full redemption. If you do have enough to cover the entire transaction, pay for travel from any provider you like.

Your points are worth the same either way – 1 cent each. So while you’ll still get good value, the potential for even greater value (like we see with Amex Membership Rewards) isn’t here.

For more details on how you can redeem Scotia Rewards, our guide is here to help.

Related: The Ultimate Scotia Gold American Express Review: No FX Fees, Flexible Rewards, And More

Total annual spend point value

Based on our typical annual spend, when redeemed for the absolute best point value possible, your 55,920 Scotia Rewards are worth up to $559.20.

55,920 Scotia Rewards * 1 cents per point = $559.20

So, while both cards offer good value for any type of travel, the offers the potential for more value for your points.

Annual and foreign exchange fees

Both the and the have the exact same annual fee of $120.

However, the Cobalt Card charges it out as a monthly fee of $10 per month, something not seen on other credit cards.

When it comes to foreign exchange fees, the Cobalt Card charges the usual 2.5% on transactions in foreign currencies, while the Scotia Gold Amex will have no foreign transaction fees – a rare and valuable perk.

Purchase and travel insurance

The last item to compare is travel insurance.

The Cobalt Card offers 9 types of insurance coverages:

The Scotia Gold Amex, however, offers 11 types of coverages.

So which card is better?

Clearly, we have two great cards on our hands.

The Scotiabank Gold Amex card is better in nearly all areas, except the point value, where the Amex Cobalt reigns supreme. That being said, the extra value you can obtain isn’t guaranteed and requires a bit of leg work.

So overall, the is the best choice for most people, as you’ll skip out on foreign transaction fees, earn more points, and get some extra insurance coverage to boot.

But if you’re able to consistently get great value out of the Fixed Points Travel Program, the will be your best choice, as you’ll get better value rewards from the card.

Regardless of which card you go with, you’ll be getting a top flexible rewards card for saving for your next vacation.

What about you?

After reading this, what are your thoughts?

Do you think the Cobalt or Scotia card is better?

Let us know in the comments below.