Change is inevitable in life, and credit cards are not exempt from changes to their offerings either. As financial institutions review the features and benefits of their credit products, changes may occur to better align their cards with their target market or to provide further value to their customer base.
As of July 1, 2022, Scotiabank is refreshing both the Scotiabank American Express card and the Scotiabank Platinum American Express card. While some of these changes are very positive for all cardholders, other cardholders may be not-so-positively impacted by other changes.
Let’s take a look at what is changing.
Scotiabank American Express Card
The Scotiabank American Express card is an entry-level card if you are interested in the Scene+ Rewards program but don’t want to pay an annual fee. As this card is associated with the Scene+ program, this card does earn Scene points on all purchases.
The Scotiabank American Express card earns Scene+ Rewards and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 2x Scene+ points on a variety of purchase categories.
Below are the changes to this card.
New Scene+ Point Multiplier Categories
Previously, the Scotiabank American Express card earned 1 Scene+ point per dollar spent, regardless of purchase category.
Going forward, the Scotia Amex card offers new point multiplier categories to accelerate your earnings:
- 2 Scene+ points per dollar spent on grocery, dining, entertainment, gas, daily transit, and select streaming service purchases
- 1 Scene+ point per dollar spent on all other purchases (the same earning rate as before)
The accelerated earn rate is available for up to $50,000 in purchases charged to the Scotiabank American Express card during a calendar year. If you surpass this threshold, you will earn 1 Scene+ point per dollar spent on all future purchases during the calendar year.
Since Scene+ points are worth 1 cent per point, this provides a 2% earning rate on any purchases made in the special categories specified above. This is a pretty solid earning rate for a credit card with no annual fee. Coupled with the fact that Scene+ points are very easy to redeem for travel purchases, this is a very positive change to the card.
Changes to Insurance Coverage
Starting out with the positive side of this change, mobile device insurance is being added as a feature of this card. This insurance covers up to $500 in the event that your device is lost, stolen, accidentally damaged, or experiences mechanical failure provided the full price of the cellular phone, smartphone, or tablet was charged to the Scotiabank American Express card.
On the other hand, many insurance coverages have been removed from this card as part of the refresh. The travel emergency medical insurance, trip interruption insurance, common carrier travel accident insurance, and rental car collision and loss damage insurance have all been removed. Going forward, it would be best to consider other credit cards if you are looking for cards that offer comprehensive travel insurance as part of their benefits.
Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card
The Scotiabank Platinum American Express card is the premium card within the Scene+ credit card lineup at Scotiabank. As a premium credit product, there is a $399 annual fee attached to this card.
As a premium card, the Scotia Platinum Amex also offers 10 complimentary airport lounge passes per year for use by the cardholder and their guests. These lounge access passes can be used to access both Priority Pass and Plaza Premium lounges, giving the cardholder access to airport lounges in over 300 cities worldwide.
This card also offers comprehensive travel coverage, which we will touch on more below.
The Scotiabank Platinum American Express card earns Scene+ Rewards points and offers cardholders benefits such as no foreign transaction fees and ten complimentary airport lounge access passes annually.
Below are the changes to this card.
Changes to Scene+ Earning Rates
Before the refresh, the Scotiabank Platinum Amex card earned 4 Scene+ Rewards points per dollar spent on grocery, dining, gas, and entertainment purchases. Purchases outside of these categories earned 1 Scene+ Rewards point per dollar spent.
Going forward, the card will no longer have any increased category multipliers and instead will earn 2 Scene+ Rewards points per dollar spent on the card. This change means that the card will earn 2% across the board in Scene+ points.
No Foreign Exchange Fees
Foreign exchange fees are no more for any purchases made on the Scotiabank Platinum American Express card!
This is a major positive change as it saves 2.5% on all foreign currency transactions. Going forward, cardholders will only be charged the exchange rate and nothing more on any foreign currency transactions. There are only a handful of credit cards in Canada that offer no foreign transaction fees so this change places the Scotiabank Platinum Amex card in an exclusive lineup of cards with this specific benefit.
I believe everyone should hold at least one credit card that offers no foreign exchange fees as they are a great tool to have at your disposal when it comes to international travel or any purchases in foreign currency.
Changes to Insurance Coverage
The comprehensive travel insurance on the Scotia Platinum Amex card is remaining the same which means it will continue to offer travel emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, flight delay insurance, rental car collision and loss damage insurance, delayed and lost baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, and hotel and motel burglary insurance.
The travel insurance coverage is now nicely complimented by the recent addition of mobile device insurance to this card. This insurance covers up to $1,000 in the event that your device is lost, stolen, accidentally damaged, or experiences mechanical failure provided the full price of the cellular phone, smartphone, or tablet was charged to the Scotiabank Platinum American Express card.
Changes to Interest Rates
Most likely the least impactful change for many miles and points enthusiasts, the preferred annual interest rate on purchases and cash advances is now 9.99% (previously, it was 19.99% and 22.99% respectively).
On the other hand, the standard annual interest rate on purchases and cash advances is now 19.99% (previously, it was 24.99% and 27.99% respectively). The standard interest rate will be charged if the minimum payment is not received by the due date two or more times in any consecutive 12-month period.
Thoughts on These Changes
The Scotiabank American Express card has seen changes across a variety of components of the card. It is very positive to see the Scene+ point category multipliers as it makes the card a bit more interesting, especially when coupled with the fact that it has no annual fee.
The loss of the travel-related insurance coverages on this card is definitely a negative mark. However, there are so many cards with strong insurance coverage offerings in Canada (including the Scotiabank Platinum Amex) that you should be able to find one that fits your wallet.
Overall, I think the changes to the Scotiabank American Express card skew positive and I like the direction Scotiabank is going with this card.
On the other hand, the Scotiabank Platinum American Express card saw more changes than its counterpart. In reviewing these changes, I think it is important to have the $399 annual fee in the back of our mind as that puts it in line with many of the other premium credit cards in Canada and thus I have premium expectations in what I expect.
Overall, I’m remaining neutral on the changes to the Scotiabank Platinum American Express card since they seem to balance each other out. The no foreign exchange fees and newly added mobile device insurance are positives, but the changes to the earning rate aren’t very good when it comes to what I expect from a premium card.
While some of these changes are quite positive and others not so much, they all take effect as of July 1, 2022. If you are an existing cardholder, review these changes carefully to ensure the card is still right for you based on your needs. If you were considering signing up for one of these cards, take a look and see if they still align with your spending habits, desired benefits, and overall value proposition.
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