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The has gotten a makeover – and we’re not just talking about the card art, either.

It’s got a better welcome bonus of 25,000 points, as long as you use your card for $1,000 worth of purchases in the first 3 months.

That’s up to $250 travel rewards in your first year.

Oh – did we mention it also has no foreign transaction fees?

On top of that, the Scotia Gold Amex has high earn rates (the highest available, to be specific), lots of ways to redeem your points, and a great insurance bundle…there isn’t much to complain about – except for the $120 annual fee and the fact that American Express isn’t accepted everywhere.

So let’s take a deep dive into everything the Scotia Gold Amex has to offer, and by the time we’re done, you’ll be able to see if it will earn a place in your wallet.

Scotia Gold Amex earn rates

If you like to eat – whether it’s at a restaurant or you’re a home cook, this card is for you with 5 points for every dollar spent on:

  • groceries,
  • restaurants, and
  • entertainment.

This is more than any other flexible rewards card. Drive a lot or use public transit everyday? Binge-watch Netflix all the time?

No worries. This card will also earn you 3 points for every dollar spent on:

  • gas,
  • daily transit, and
  • select streaming services.

On top of these high earn rates, you’ll also earn 1 point for every dollar on all other purchases. This means no matter what you’re swiping your card on – you’re earning points.

How many points can you get

Here’s a look at how what you’ll earn based on a $2,000 monthly spend – assuming you’re buying your needs on credit and paying it off at the end of the month:

Category Points earned per dollar Monthly spend Points earned
Groceries/restaurant purchases 5 $500 2,500
Gas 3 $200 600
Other 1 $1,300 1,300
Total per month $2,000 4,400
Total per year $24,000 52,800

This leaves you with $528 travel rewards at best value, with up to $250 more (if you’ve taken advantage of the welcome bonus). This comes out to $778 in first-year rewards.

But say you spend more on groceries and restaurants, which you probably do – especially with a family to feed. Here’s a reworked table showing more on food and less on other purchases:

Category Points earned per dollar Monthly spend Points earned
Groceries/restaurant purchases 5 $800 4,000
Gas 3 $200 600
Other 1 $1,000 1,000
Total per month $2,000 5,600
Total per year $24,000 67,200

If you’re redeeming for travel (the best value) at $0.01 per point, just by making your regular purchases you’ll earn $672 in travel rewards.

Add up the $250 welcome bonus, and you’ve got $992 to spend on travel in your first year.

Overall, this card is terrific when it comes to earning points…but is it good for when you’re using your points?

Keep reading and find out.

Related: Your Travel Bucket List: 5 Dreamy Places To Visit And How To Get There For Practically Free

No foreign transaction fees

The Scotia Gold Amex offers 0% foreign transaction fees. Yup, you read that right.

We couldn’t write a review without mentioning one of the cards best features – especially if you travel. Whether it be a trip to the U.S., overseas, or shop online in other currencies, this card can save you big time.

The average card charges 2.5% when it comes to these fees, so this is a pretty special feature that sets this card apart.

In fact, there are only a select few cards in Canada that don’t charge FX fees, putting this card in rare company.

Related: How Foreign Currency Exchange Works When Returning Your Purchases

Using your Scotia Rewards points

It should be noted that while the best value comes from travel, the Scotia Rewards points are super flexible and you can redeem them for any merchandise, gift cards, transfer to SCENE, and even statement credits through the Scotia Rewards Programs.

The Cineplex Scene program is also popular, earning you movie tickets, and money off restaurant bills.

Here’s a breakdown of how much value you’re getting when using each category.

Related: How To Maximize The Scotia Rewards Points Program

Redeem for travel – 1 cent per point

Scotia Rewards is really unique in the fact that they let you book with either their own site or any other travel provider, and the value still remains the same (1 cent per point) no matter which option you choose.

But keep in mind that if you’re booking with another provider, you’ll need enough points to cover the whole transaction. So if you’re only planning on redeeming your points on some of your travel bill, you’ll have to book through Scotia Rewards.

Scotia Rewards does offer price matching, however. Find a lower price within 24 hours of your booking, and get refunded the difference in Scotia points. This way, you’ll always be getting the best value possible for your trip.

Transfer points to SCENE – 0.81 cents per point

A popular option that has saved many Canadians lots of coin at the movie theatres is redeeming your points for movie tickets. SCENE members also save on snacks at the concession, which can be a real lifesaver when taking a big group to see a movie.

It’s best to use your points to redeem for movie tickets, as the value decreases when redeemed for any other redemption the SCENE program offers, including money off your restaurant bill at participating locations.

And lucky for you, Scotia Rewards can be transferred to SCENE.

1,000 Scotia Rewards points will give you 770 SCENE points. At our average SCENE value of 1.05 cents each, your Scotia Rewards points are worth 0.81 cents each.

However, maximize the value of your SCENE points and use them for 3D movies, which have an average value of 1.27 cents each. Now your Scotia points are almost worth 1 cent each – the same as travel.

Points can also be transferred from SCENE to Scotia Rewards. 1,000 SCENE points will give you 950 Scotia Rewards.

Convert points into statement credits – up to 0.8 cents per point

Scotia Rewards also allows you to convert points into statement credits. The more points you decide to cash in, the more value you’ll be getting back.

This is a great option if you’ve decided to skip travelling for the year and just want the money back.

Low end: 3,000 points = $20, or 0.67 cents per point

High end: 62,500 points = $500, or 0.8 cents per point

Redeem for gift cards, prepaid cards, or donate to charity – 0.74 cents per point

There are plenty of options to choose from when redeeming for gift cards, from a $25 to $100 value. No matter what, they have the same point value.

If you wanted to redeem for a $25 gift card, you’d need 3,400 points.

This point value also rings true for donating to charity or buying a prepaid card. There’s never a bad time to donate to a good cause, so this could be an appealing option for some.

You can make your donations to

Redeem for merchandise or experiences – varied value per point

Scotia Rewards provides a wide-range catalogue of merchandise to choose from. Most notably are the electronics, house and home, recreation, toys, and game categories.

These vary by item, but for a Bose Home Speaker at $499.99 value, plus 15% sales tax – making it $574.98, you’d need 64,500 points. This makes your value 0.89 cents per point, which is pretty great for this item.

Here’s a peek at the catalogue:

Scotia Rewards Catalogue

On top of a great catalogue of rewards, the program also offers you the opportunity to redeem points for experiences like going to the zoo, aquarium, and more for a varied point value. Find out more here.

Scotia Rewards perks program

Another bonus to this card is that you get discounts on many items through the Scotia Rewards program:

  • airport lounge access,
  • hotels,
  • car rentals,
  • vacation packages, and
  • cruises.

It’s not issued by American Express, but you still get access to Amex Invites and to reserved tickets for Amex cardholders.

For a fully flexible travel rewards credit card where you’re not locked into flights to get the best value, this card is stacked.

Scotia Gold Amex insurance

If you were worried about insurance, don’t be. The Scotia Gold Amex offers you a pretty good insurance package, depending on what’s important to you.

That’s 11 different types of insurance – including a hard to find coverage, emergency medical for those aged 65 and over. It’s only 3 days, but it’s a definite step in the right direction in comparison to other cards.

To sum the Scotia Gold Amex up

It’s a great card for those who want to earn points on groceries, eating out, and gas. This describes most of us, and the opportunity to redeem for a wide variety of rewards is very appealing.

The downsides

Like we said earlier, the annual fee can seem steep at $120, and of course – it is an Amex. So depending on where you’re doing your shopping…it might not be accepted.

But if this a card that you think will work for you and your shopping habits, it’s going to work hard for you, too.

We’d like to hear from you

Will you be adding the Scotia Gold Amex to your wallet anytime soon?

Or maybe there’s another card that’s caught your eye?

Let us know in the comments below.