Scotiabank American Express Card Review 2021
Did you know that there’s more to Canada’s credit card market than simply Visa and Mastercard? In fact, it is becoming more and more common for consumers on this side of the border to have an American Express card in their wallets.
Believe it or not, having an Amex is not only possible for the average Canadian but actually advised. As a kind of third player on the national credit card scene, the American Express world brings with it unique perks that wouldn’t otherwise be found, such as access to exclusive events and comprehensive travel insurance packages.
In this review of the Scotiabank American Express Card, we'll look into the details surrounding this credit card borrowing option.
Table of Contents
Scotiabank American Express: Overview
Scotiabank offers three different American Express cards, and it can get confusing. So, before we continue, here is a little distinction: there is the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, the Scotiabank Platinum Express Card, and, of course, the plain (in the description but not in practice!) Scotiabank American Express, which we will be focusing on in this article.
In general, the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is best known as a travel credit card that offers up to five Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent on a variety of spending categories.
Meanwhile, the Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card offers comprehensive travel coverage as well as a points system that offers different reward levels depending on the spending category.
The Scotiabank American Express is a rewards credit card offering one Scotia Rewards point for every dollar spent (1% return). Like its Scotiabank American Express cousins, it also offers travel insurance.
What sets this card apart from the pack is its lack of annual fee — you can enjoy all of the perks and rewards it has to offer while paying a yearly fee of one big ole goose egg, i.e., $0.
Scotiabank American Express: Features
One of the more interesting features of the Scotiabank American Express is its price protection.
With this, you can receive the difference if an item that you bought drops in price within 90 days of purchasing it. Cardholders can claim the difference for up to $500 every year.
The card’s lack of fees for primary or secondary cardholders makes it worthwhile even if your spending averages are low. You will not have to spend a certain amount to justify the card’s annual fee.
Scotiabank American Express: Cashback and Rewards
The rewards structure of this card is short but sweet. Instead of the tiers that come with other credit cards (which can be advantageous but rather confusing), the Scotiabank American Express structure is simple, awarding one Scotia Rewards point per $1 spent on eligible purchases. This is the equivalent of around 1% cashback.
New cardholders of a Scotiabank American Express can also benefit from a generous welcome offer of up to 5,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points if they spend at least $500 in the first three months once the account is open.
This offer is given to all Scotiabank accounts that are open and in good standing, i.e., not in breach of the revolving credit agreement. It does have certain exemptions, though, such as those who switch from an existing Scotiabank retail credit card and employees of Scotiabank who are credit cardholders.
Existing and previous owners of a Scotiabank retail credit card know how flexible and easy the Scotia Rewards points system is to use. Cardholders can redeem their accumulated points online in exchange for a wide variety of options, from travel rewards to gift cards to select merchandise.
There is also the option of exchanging your points for SCENE points or applying your earnings against your balance. Alternatively, you can donate your rewards to charity or use them to buy experiences.
Scotiabank American Express: Perks
The Scotiabank American Express comes with an impressive array of travel benefits considering that it is primarily a rewards credit card.
Cardholders will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with comprehensive travel insurance, which includes coverage for medical emergencies, trip interruptions, and travel accidents.
This travel insurance is a brilliant feature for a card without an annual fee, especially considering many rewards cards don’t come with any travel insurance at all.
And the travel-related benefits do not end here as the card also comes with a 25% discount on the majority of Avis and Budget car rental locations.
This is in addition to rental car theft and damage insurance, making you feel more prepared than ever to get behind the rented wheel.
On a practical level, the Scotiabank American Express comes with a 19.99% APR for all purchases and a 22.99% APR for other payments like cash advances (including balance transfers).
Scotiabank American Express: Pros & Cons
Pros: The Good Stuff
No annual fee and free additional cards
One Scotia Rewards point earned for every dollar spent on all eligible purchases (equivalent of 1% cashback)
Travel insurance includes medical emergencies, travel accidents, car loss, and trip cancellation
Price protection for up to 90 days after purchase
Discounts on select car rentals
Extended warranty on purchases made with the card
Signup bonus of 5,000 points when $500 is spent within the first three months of the account open date
Points can easily be redeemed for flights, merchandise, and other rewards
Low income requirement of $12,000 annually and fair credit score requirement of 650+
Cons: The Not So Good Stuff
The highest possible reward level is 1%.
Reward bonus lower than the other Scotiabank Amex cards
High interest rate charged on balance transfers, cash advances, and purchases
Our Final Thoughts
The Scotiabank American Express has somewhat of a disadvantage in the way that it shares the stage with the Scotiabank Platinum and Gold American Express cards.
However, if you are starting to wonder why anyone would choose the standard American Express over the fancier options, consider the annual fee.
In order to earn more than the annual fee of either the Platinum or the Gold card, the cardholder needs to do some serious spending to the tune of at least $25,000 a year. Let’s be honest; that simply does not describe the majority of us!
If you find your spending to be on the more modest end (<$1,500 per month), it just doesn’t make sense to cash out between $129 and $399 a year for a credit card. You are much better off going for the Amex with the $0 annual fee.
We’re pretty certain that you won’t be disappointed with your decision as there are certainly enough rewards and insurance options packed into this card to make it worthwhile.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Scotiabank American Express Card is best suited for an individual who wants the travel benefits of an American Express card, such as access to dining and entertainment experiences and comprehensive insurance, as well as somebody who wants a fair rewards card without having to pay an annual fee.
It is best suited for somebody with low to moderate spending who is not projected to outspend the cost of an annual card fee of $150 or more.
Anyone who is familiar with the litany of Amex cards offered by Scotiabank will be relieved to find that the qualifying requirements of the Scotiabank American Express are much lower than they are for the Platinum and Gold cards.
The Scotiabank American Express requires its applicants to have a very fair minimum annual income of $12,000 as well as a credit score of 650 and beyond. This is significantly lower than the credit score required by the other Scotiabank Amex cards which starts at the high 700s.
It is logical to assume that you will need to have an account at the associated bank when you are applying for a credit card. However, this is not the case for the Scotiabank American Express — or for any other credit card for that matter.
It is easy to pay the balance of your credit card no matter which bank you are at as you can just set your Scotiabank credit card up as a payee.
In some cases, you may save on your card’s annual fee if you have a Scotiabank Ultimate Package bank account. However, this is not a concern with the American Express as there is not an annual fee to begin with.