Last Updated on January 30, 2023
The Scotiabank American Express Card is the entry level no fee card from the bank's trio of American Express card offers. Scotiabank is the only bank in Canada issuing Amex cards other than American Express themselves. As part of the Scene+ program this no fee card is a great option for travel, grocery, dining and movie rewards.
The review of the Scotiabank American Express Card is broken down into the following sections:
The Scotiabank American Express Card was revamped in 2022 and with those changes it shot up the rankings in our Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2023. Here at Rewards Canada we now rank it as the second best No Annual Fee Travel Rewards Card and actually the best card if you don't need points conversion to airline & hotel loyalty programs. With some of the highest earn rates in the no fee category combined with strong redemption value this card should be high on people's lists who want a no fee Amex card.
The card is categorized as a Travel Anywhere card which means you don't have to book via Scene+ Travel if you don't want to, you can book any travel how you want when you want and when the charge shows up on your statement you can redeem points against the charge. The two other versions of the Scotiabank American Express cards are a premium Gold version and the ultra premium Platinum version.
Recommend reading: Scene+ is not just for movies anymore – it’s become a versatile powerhouse for all types of rewards
As a no fee card, the Scotiabank American Express Card has no monthly or annual costs associated with it!
Typically, the standard welcome bonus offer on this card is 10,000 Scene+ points however right now the welcome bonus on the card offers up to 12,000 Scene+ points. You'll receive 7,000 points when you spend $750 on the card in the first three months - that's right only $250 a month to get the bonus. Then you can earn an additional 5,000 points if you spend at $5,000 on the card within the first year of having it. That's a pretty low threshold as well! Those 12,000 points are worth $120 towards any travel redemption.
The interest rate on the card is 19.99% on purchases. 22.99% on cash advances and balance transfers. These rates are equivalent to or below many cards at this level. The card has a very low minimum personal annual income requirements of only $12,000.
The card earns Scene+ Points as follows:
The accelerated earn rates of 3 and 2 points per dollar are capped at $50,000 spending annually in total across all categories.
|Spending Category||Points earned per dollar spent||Rate of return when booking any travel on your own||Rate of return Cash Back|
|Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry and Co-Op||3||3%||2% to 2.097%|
|Grocery stores, dining and entertainment||2||2%||1.33% to 1.398%|
|Gas stations, daily transit, and streaming services||2||2%||1.33% to 1.398%|
|All other spending||1||1%||0.667% to 0.699%|
The Scotiabank American Express Card participates in the Scene+ program which provides numerous rewards options for your points. The primary reward is redeeming for travel however you also get the same value when redeeming for groceries, dining, movies and select gift cards. Other redemption options include statement credits, merchandise and gift cards.
When it comes to travel, you have two options for redeeming your Scene+ points. You can choose to book travel via Scene+ Travel and redeem points during the payment process. When you book via Scene+ Travel you can choose to redeem as little as 1 point for 1 cent off your purchase and can redeem as many points as you like up to the total cost of the booking
You can also choose to book travel on your own and use the Apply Points to Travel redemption option. All you have to do is book your travel how you want with whomever you want. Whether it is aircanada.com, westjet.com, expedia.ca or anywhere else including your trusted travel agent you book with them and when that charge shows up on your statement you simply call up Scotia or go online and redeem points against the charge.
Points are redeemed at a rate of 100 points for $1 with the Apply Points to Travel redemption. That's the beauty of this card and others like it, you don't have to have the full amount of points to begin to enjoy the rewards! If you buy an airline ticket for $600 and have 30,000 points you can choose to redeem those points for a $300 credit which means your flight only cost $300. You also get 12 months after the travel charge posts to your account to redeem points so you can continue to pay off that vacation with points up to a year after!
Another benefit of this' book travel on your own' is you can be on vacation and buy travel on the card (say a rail ticket) and then redeem points when you get home.
There are also great non-travel redemption options in the Scene+ program that provide the same value as travel redemptions:
You can redeem points right at the till when you shop for groceries at participating Sobeys, FreshCo, IGA, Foodland, Safeway, Les Marches Tradition, and Thrifty Foods locations. The redemption rate is 1000 Scene+ points for $10 off.
Scene+ lets you redeem 500 points for $5 when paying for your meal at Harvey’s, Swiss Chalet, East Side Mario’s, Montana’s BBQ & Bar, Bier Markt, and Kelsey’s Original Roadhouse.
The original redemption option from the old Scene program is still available in the new Scene+ program and that is movies! This has changed over the past few years and now you simply redeem 100 points for $1.00 towards movie tickets. You can also redeem 500 points for $5 towards food and drinks at the movies or 100 points for $1 off movie rentals or purchases at the Cineplex Store
You also have an option to redeem points for gift cards from stores and retailers that participate in the Scene+ program at the same value as all of the above redemption options. For example you can redeem 1,000 points for a $10 Sobeys Gift Card, 5,000 points for a $50 Home Hardware Gift Card and so on.
Another popular redemption option for those who have a Scene+ credit card is Points for Credit which is essentially a cash back option. This works in the same way as the any travel rewards option although with a different redemption rate. Basically you can apply points to receive a cash back credit on a non-travel charge. The redemption rates are as follows:
|Cash Back Credit||Points Required||Rate of Return|
Right away it doesn't look like those rates a great but you have to remember that you earning up to 3 points per dollar spent. Hypothetically speaking if all your points are earned only in the 3x category those cash back rate of returns come in right around 2%. That's a pretty good cash back return for a no fee credit card!
You can also redeem Scene+ points for merchandise directly from Apple and Best Buy or via their own merchandise catalog. You can also redeem for gift cards for dozens of non-Scene+ merchants. All these additional redemption options come in at a lower value than redeeming for those detailed in this review but they are nice to have them as an option as well!
Like the majority of no annual fee cards the Scotiabank American Express card does not have any card specific features or benefits. It does however provide access to American Express Experiences and Amex Offers
The card comes with American Express Experiences which includes Front Of The Line® Advance Access, Front Of The Line® Reserved Tickets, Front Of The Line® E-Updates, Special Offers & Experiences for all Cardmembers and Social Access for all Cardmembers.
Just like all American Express Cards, holders of the Scotiabank American Express Card receive Amex Offers. These exclusive limited time offers sent out to cardmembers to receive statement credits for using their card at select merchants. Depending on your shopping habits these offers alone can provide enough savings in a year to cover the annual fee on the card if not more! You can learn more about this feature in Rewards Canada's Guide to American Express Canada 'Amex Offers'
The Scotiabank American Express Card comes with the following insurance coverage:
The earn rates are great! This card has some of the best earn rates in the market for a no annual fee card. Earning 1 to 3 points per dollar translates to 1 to 3% return for many of the redemption options. With a lot of no fee cards only providing 0.5 to 2% returns this card gets you more bang for your buck.
The Scene+ program's redemption options are another good thing about this card. The range of flexible rewards options that retain the maximum value make this card attractive for those looking to redeem for travel, groceries and more.
The welcome bonus is pretty decent for a no annual fee card! To be able to earn up to 12,000 points in the first year worth $120 towards travel, groceries etc. is a good deal.
Possibly the biggest sticking point with this card is that it is an American Express card which means somewhat lower acceptance over Visa or Mastercard. While American Express keeps closing the gap on the two big issuers (80-90% acceptance) there are still some notable merchants where you can't use your American Express card such as Loblaw's family of grocery stores, Wendy's (the app takes Amex though) and Costco.
No extra features or benefits - yes, this is a no fee card so you can't expect it to provide a lot of extras however there are no fee cards in the market that do provide some extra benefits. Notably, several no fee World Elite Mastercard cards provide quite a few benefits but those cards do have high annual income requirements to be able to get them.
The card has very little insurance coverage and if this is something you require that isn't provided via another card in your wallet you may need to look at a different card. There are no fee cards on the market that do provide more insurance coverage but in some cases you also have to meet pretty high income requirements to be able to get those cards.
Here we have another card that is underrated in our market. You honestly don't hear too much about it but you should. It is a one of the best no fee cards in the market based on its earn-burn capabilities. We rank the no annual fee Scotiabank American Express Card as the second best no annual fee travel rewards card in Canada and that's only because the number one card provides transfer options to Air Canada, British Airways, Marriott and other programs. If you don't need those transfer options, this is the better card for you.
Earn up to 12,000 bonus Scene+™ points in your first year (that’s up to $120 towards travel) Offer ends Apr 30, 2023
Earn 7,000 bonus Scene+ points by making at least $750 in everyday eligible purchases in your first 3 months.
Plus, for a limited time, you are eligible to earn a 5,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $5,000 in everyday eligible purchases in your first year.
Annual Fee: $0 | Additional Cards: $0
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