Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite vs. Scotiabank Gold American Express: Which is Best?

scotia-gold-amex-vs-scotia-passport-visa-infinite-podium

Scotiabank offers some of the best credit cards in Canada as they are tied to a strong loyalty program, come with excellent benefits, and are accessible to a broad range of Canadians who have different credit card needs and travel preferences.

We’ve previously reviewed the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express card separately, but since they are similar in many aspects and offered by the same financial institution, comparing the two cards is a great exercise for those individuals who are looking to add one of these two options to their wallet.

With that in mind, let’s jump into our comparison of the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card vs. the Scotiabank Gold American Express card to find out which is best.

Card Overviews

The core features of any credit card are the welcome bonus, earning rates, annual fee, and income requirements.

Welcome Bonuses

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card offers a welcome bonus of 40,000 Scene+ Rewards points, earned through the following structure:

  • Earn 30,000 Scene+ Rewards points upon spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 10,000 Scene+ Rewards points upon spending $40,000 in the first year
  • Plus: You can earn an additional $60 FlyerFunds Rebate on the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card when you apply through Frugal Flyer Rebates!
Apply Now Learn More Earn $60 in FlyerFunds upon approval.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card earns Scene+ Rewards points and offers cardholders benefits such as no foreign transaction fees and six complimentary airport lounge access passes annually.

Check out our Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card review for more details.

In 2024, we awarded this card as the Best Foreign Transaction Credit Card.

BONUS
40,000 Scene+
MINSPEND
$40,000
NET VALUE
$400+
ANNUAL FEE
$150 (FYF)
FOREX FEES
No
EXPIRY
Jul 1, 2024

The Scotiabank Gold American Express card offers a welcome bonus of 40,000 Scene+ Rewards points, earned through the following structure:

  • Earn 20,000 Scene+ Rewards points upon spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 20,000 Scene+ Rewards points upon spending $7,500 in the first year
  • Plus: You can earn an additional $75 FlyerFunds Rebate on the Scotiabank Gold American Express card when you apply through Frugal Flyer Rebates!
Apply Now Learn More Earn $75 in FlyerFunds upon approval.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

The Scotiabank Gold American Express card earns Scene+ Rewards points and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 5x Scene+ points on grocery, restaurant, and entertainment purchases. This card charges no foreign exchange fees.

Check out our Scotiabank Gold American Express card review for more details.

BONUS
40,000 Scene+
MINSPEND
$7,500
NET VALUE
$280+
ANNUAL FEE
$120
FOREX FEES
No
EXPIRY
Jul 1, 2024

The Scotiabank Gold American Express offers the better welcome bonus at this point in time as a total of $7,500 spend is much more reasonable than spending $40,000 for the same amount of Scene+ Rewards points.

Earning Rates

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card has three separate earning categories and earns a maximum of 3 Scene+ Rewards points per dollar spent:

  • 3 Scene+ Rewards points for every dollar spent at 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.
  • 2 Scene+ Rewards points for every dollar spent on eligible grocery store, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases.
  • 1 Scene+ Reward point for every dollar spent on all other everyday eligible purchases.

The Scotiabank Gold American Express card has four separate earning categories and earns a maximum of 6 Scene+ Rewards points per dollar spent:

  • 6 Scene+ Rewards points for every dollar spent at 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.
  • 5 Scene+ Rewards points for every dollar spent at eligible grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, drinking establishments, food delivery services, food box subscriptions, and eligible entertainment purchases (including movies, theatre, and ticket agencies).
  • 3 Scene+ Rewards points for every dollar spent on eligible gas, daily transit services, rideshare services, and select streaming services.
  • 1 Scene+ Rewards point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express card, the 5x and 3x Scene+ bonus points multipliers are applicable on all purchases up to a combined total of $50,000 during a calendar year. Upon reaching the $50,000 threshold, all purchases will earn 1 Scene+ point per dollar spent.

The Scotiabank Gold American Express card is the clear winner when it comes to earning rates, as it has a more robust selection of bonus categories and earns an excellent amount of Scene+ Rewards points per dollar spent, particularly when shopping at grocery stores under the Empire banner. This makes this card one of the best credit cards to use at grocery stores thanks to its outsized earning rates on all grocery purchases.

Annual Fees

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card has an annual fee of $150, whereas the Scotiabank Gold American Express card has a lower annual fee of $120.

The Scotiabank Gold American Express card is the winner in this category, simply due to the cheaper annual fee. However, both cards often offer a first year annual fee waiver as part of their welcome offers, so look for this benefit when applying if you are interested in paying the least amount out of pocket for one of these credit cards.

Income Requirements

The minimum income requirements vary greatly between these two cards, which may result in one of the two cards being less accessible for individuals of a certain income level.

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card has a minimum annual personal income of $60,000 or a minimum annual household income of $100,000. This is far more restrictive than the Scotiabank Gold American Express card, which has a minimum annual personal income of only $12,000.

Benefits & Insurance Coverages

These Scotiabank cards offer some of the most desirable travel benefits for Canadians.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express card both offer no foreign transaction fees when making a purchase in currencies other than Canadian dollars. 

Using a card with this perk results in saving 2.5% on all purchases in foreign currencies as opposed to using a card that doesn’t offer this benefit, and I would recommend always bringing a card with this benefit on your international travels. This is a rare credit card benefit in Canada with only a handful of options that offer this perk, and coincidentally, these are the two best credit cards with no foreign exchange fees in Canada.

If this is a perk that you want to add to your travel toolkit, adding either of these cards to your wallet is a great option.

Airport Lounge Access

Airport lounge access is one of my favorite travel credit card benefits as it makes the whole airport experience that much more palatable. Being able to relax in a typically quieter place, with complimentary food and alcohol, is a great way to kick off a trip or kill a long layover as opposed to sitting at the gate and paying exorbitant airport prices for food and drink.

edmonton yeg plaza premium lounge

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card is one of the best credit cards for airport lounge access for Canadians and is a great option for those individuals who want to gain lounge access for their next vacation without needing to pay a hefty annual fee. Cardholders will receive six free lounge passes that can be used at any lounge in the DragonPass lounge network for themselves and their guests.

On the other hand, the Scotiabank Gold American Express card does not offer any airport lounge access passes, making the Passport Visa Infinite the clear winner in this benefit.

Insurance Coverages

Both the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express card offer a number of insurance coverages mainly focused on travel. The following insurance coverages are the same on both credit cards:

  • Auto rental collision insurance on cars with an MSRP of up to $65,000
  • Flight delay insurance for delays of more than four hours, up to $500 per person
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance, up to $1,000
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty

However, this is where the similarities end as there are a number of other insurance coverages that are different on each card.

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite offers $2 million in emergency medical insurance and coverage for trip cancellation and trip interruptions for up to $2,500 per person.

On the other hand, the Scotiabank Gold American Express card offers $1 million in emergency medical insurance and coverage for trip interruptions for up to $1,500 per person. This card also offers mobile device insurance with coverage up to $1,000.

There isn’t a clear winner in this category since the coverage amounts and coverages vary. If insurance coverage is an important benefit to you, I would recommend determining what insurance coverage is most important for your travel and personal needs before selecting a card.

Amex Offers

Amex Offers are a useful tool to receive additional benefits from a credit card in the form of cash back when spending at certain retailers. As the name specifies, American Express Offers are only available on American Express credit cards, which means only the Scotiabank Gold American Express card has access to this benefit.

Scotiabank Gold American Express cardholders can view and register for any current Amex Offers here. While the value of this benefit can be tough to measure since it is dependent on what offers are available and where you shop, it is a nice perk that has resulted in being able to save a few hundred dollars over the years.

Redeeming Points

Both the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express card earn Scene+ Rewards points, making them the same in this aspect.

Scene+ Rewards Points

Scene+ Rewards points are a fixed point currency and are worth 1 cent per point no matter how they are redeemed. For travelers, utilizing Scene+ Rewards is a great way to offset miscellaneous travel costs, such as the seaplane at Le Meridien Maldives, as cardholders can charge any travel costs to either credit card and then apply their points directly to that charge.

This is different than other bank loyalty programs which require you to book travel through their portal. The added flexibility of Scene+ Rewards makes it great for atypical travel redemptions and for the ability to further cut trip costs outside of flight and hotel stays.

Comparison Summary

If you are interested in a high-level comparison summary of these two cards, the below table captures the most important details:

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite CardScotiabank Gold American Express Card
Welcome Bonus40,000 Scene+ Rewards Points40,000 Scene+ Rewards Points
Welcome Bonus Details
  • Earn 30,000 Scene+ points upon spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 10,000 Scene+ points upon spending $40,000 in the first year
  • Earn 20,000 Scene+ points upon spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 20,000 Scene+ points upon spending $7,500 in the first year
Earning Rates2-3x at grocery stores,
2x at dining, entertainment, transit, and 1x elsewhere
5-6x at grocery stores,
5x at dining entertainment, 3x at gas, transit, and 1x elsewhere
Annual Fee$150$120
Income RequirementPersonal: $60,000 annual
Household: $100,000 annual
Personal: $12,000 annual
Foreign Exchange Fee0%0%
Airport Lounge Access
Amex Offers

Conclusion

In my opinion, both the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express card are the best credit cards in the Scotiabank lineup and they have their own utility for certain lifestyles. 

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is a great option for those individuals who are looking for an all-around good entry-level travel credit card, whereas the Scotiabank Gold American Express card is a strong option for those individuals who are looking to greatly increase their Scene+ Rewards balance through grocery store spending. Either way, adding one of these two cards to your wallet is well worth it.

Josh Bandura

Josh Bandura

Co-Founder at Frugal Flyer
Josh has been involved in the miles and points game since 2015 but has scaled up his knowledge and points earning potential in recent years. With a consistent attitude of "min-maxing" in many aspects of his life, Josh has transferred this mindset over to the miles and points game. Always looking for the next big opportunity, he aims to share content on a variety of topics including his travels, miles and points, and most importantly, how to get the most out of your credit cards

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