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In the Ring: Scotiabank Gold American Express Card vs. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Oct. 19, 2021
15 mins
Boxing gloves resting on the edge of a boxing ring

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card and the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card jump “In the Ring” to battle for the title of Top Travel Rewards Card from Scotiabank.

We analyze each round, breaking down the true everyday value of some of the best credit cards in Canada. Click on the categories, like “Annual fee” or “Earn rates,” to go to a specific section.

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Annual fee

$120

$139

Welcome bonus

  • Earn up to 50,000 Scotia Rewards points. Plus, pay no annual fee for the first year. This offer expires on November 21, 2021.
  • Earn a $150 Amazon e-Gift Card from RATESDOTCA upon approval until October 31, 2021.
  • Earn up to 40,000 Scotia Rewards points. Plus, earn up to 5X the points on travel and pay no annual fee for the first year. This offer expires on November 21, 2021.
  • Earn a $150 Amazon e-Gift Card from RATESDOTCA upon approval until October 31, 2021.

Earn rates

  • Earn 5X the Scotia Rewards points for grocery, restaurant, food delivery, and entertainment purchases.
  • Earn 3X the Scotia Rewards points for eligible gas and transit purchases, and streaming services.
  • Earn 1X the Scotia Rewards points for all other purchases.
  • Earn 2X the Scotia Rewards points on eligible grocery, dining, entertainment, and transit purchases.
  • Earn 1X the Scotia Rewards points on all other purchases.

Reward redemption

Redeem Scotia Rewards points for travel, experiences, merchandise, statement credits, and gift cards.

Redeem Scotia Rewards points for travel, experiences, merchandise, statement credits, and gift cards.

Perks

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • American Express Invites®
  • Concierge services
  • Get a preferred discount on the Priority Pass™ membership
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Visa Infinite benefits
  • Concierge services
  • Get a complimentary Priority Pass™ membership, with six free visits annually

Insurance coverage

Get 11 types of travel and shopping insurance.

Get 11 types of travel and shopping insurance.

Recommended credit score

660+

740+

Interest rates

Purchases: 19.99%

Cash advances: 22.99%

Balance transfers: 22.99%

Purchases: 19.99%

Cash advances: 22.99%

Balance transfers: 22.99%

Income requirements

Personal: $12,000

Household: N/A

Personal: $60,000

Household: $100,000

First-year value*

$1,394

$828

*The RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology assumes the cardholder spends an average of $2,000 a month on their card to determine the first-year value. The calculation includes all welcome bonuses and promotional offers at the time of publishing.

Annual fee

Winner: Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Annual fee

$120

$139

Annual fee for additional cardholders

$29

$0                   

Both the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card and the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card offer annual fee waivers for the primary and supplementary cardholders for the first year. As a result, you can save over $100 in fees with either option.

However, you must pay the annual fee after the first year, which matters if you plan to use the card long-term. While the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card has a slightly cheaper annual fee of $120, it costs $29 annually to add a supplementary cardholder. With one additional user, you’d pay $149 each year.

The Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card, on the other hand, provides one free supplementary card, so you’d continue to pay just $139 per year even with an authorized user. Each additional user costs $50 annually after that.

Adding an authorized user to your account can help you earn rewards faster and have other perks, too. For this reason, the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card wins this round.

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Welcome bonus

Winner: Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Welcome bonus

  • Earn up to 50,000 Scotia Rewards points in the first year. Get 30,000 Scotia Rewards points when you make at least $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first three months. Get another 20,000 Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $7,500 in the first 12 months. This offer expires on November 21, 2021.
  • Earn a $150 Amazon e-Gift Card from RATESDOTCA upon approval until October 31, 2021.
  • Earn up to 40,000 Scotia Rewards points in the first year. Get 30,000 Scotia Rewards points when you make at least $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first three months. Get another 10,000 Scotia Rewards points when you spend $40,000 on your card annually. Plus, earn 5X the points on travel for the first three months, up to $2,500 in total travel purchases. This offer expires on November 21, 2021.
  • Earn a $150 Amazon e-Gift Card from RATESDOTCA upon approval until October 31, 2021.

For a limited time, get a $150 Amazon e-Gift Card from RATESDOTCA upon approval for either the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card or Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card until October 31, 2021.

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card offers up to 50,000 Scotia Rewards points in the first year. That is a travel value of up to $500. According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian spends roughly $2,000 a month on their credit card. In this case, it would take only one month to obtain the 30,000 Scotia Rewards points and under four months to get the additional 20,000 points — a generous welcome offer.

The welcome offer for the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card is of a lesser value and more difficult to acquire for the average person. In the first year, you can earn up to 40,000 Scotia Rewards points, a travel value of up to $400. However, according to our Best of Finance methodology, the average person would not earn the additional 10,000 bonus points, spending roughly $24,000 annually, or about half of what is required. Therefore, the average Canadian would earn only 30,000 points — a travel value of up to $300, which is $200 less than the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card.

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Earn rates

Winner: Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Earn rates (rewards)

  • Earn five Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining, food delivery, and entertainment purchases.
  • Earn three Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible gas and daily transit purchases and select streaming services.
  • Earn one Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn two Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases.
  • Earn one Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card is a clear winner here, offering far more rewards for everyday purchases than its counterpart (see the chart below).

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card offers three more points per dollar for eligible grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases, one more point per dollar for daily transit purchases, and an equal value for all other purchases. Additionally, it provides more accelerated earning categories than the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card, rewarding cardholders for their food delivery and gas purchases and select streaming services, too.

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Grocery

  • 5 points
  • 2 points

Dining

  • 5 points
  • 2 points

Entertainment

  • 5 points
  • 2 points

Daily transit

  • 3 points
  • 2 points

All other purchases

  • 1 point
  • 1 point

Cardholders of either card will earn an accelerated rate until $50,000 is spent annually. For example, earn five points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining, and entertainment — up to $50,000 in total purchases in these categories. After, earn one point for every $1 spent on the card.

Jump back to the top.

Reward redemption

It’s a draw!

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Reward redemption

Redeem Scotia Rewards points for travel, experiences, merchandise, statement credits and gift cards.

Redeem Scotia Rewards points for travel, experiences, merchandise, statement credits and gift cards.

Cardholders earn Scotia Rewards points for making everyday purchases. Currently, members can cash in points for flexible redemption options like travel, merchandise, and statement credits — travel options are of the highest value, and cash equivalent options are generally worth the least.

However, on November 22, the SCENE and Scotia Rewards programs are merging to make Scene+. The new loyalty program will offer an even wider selection of redemption options and more partnerships.

If you are currently a SCENE member, there is no need to worry; your current point balance will transfer at the same value.

Some notable changes include:

  • You will no longer be able to convert Scotia Rewards points to SCENE points because they will be one and the same: Scene+ points.
  • There will be no minimum point redemption for travel; previously, it was 5,000 Scotia Rewards points ($50 value).

Reward earn rates for the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card and Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card will remain the same. Since these cards are part of the same program, this category is a draw.

Jump back to the top.

Perks

Winner: Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Perks

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • American Express Invites®
  • Concierge services
  • Get a preferred discount on the Priority Pass™ membership
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Visa Infinite benefits
  • Concierge services
  • Get a complimentary Priority Pass™ membership, with six free visits annually

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card features Scotiabank and American Express benefits — a fantastic combo and some of the best in the business.

This credit card provides the following perks:

  • Pay no foreign transaction fees on foreign currency purchases made online or abroad.
  • Access American Express Invites® for special offers and exclusive access to tickets and curated events.
  • Score tickets or reservations with the complimentary concierge services.
  • Receive a preferred discount on the Priority Pass™ membership and access airport lounges worldwide.
  • Get the Best Price Guarantee on airfare through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service, an exclusive travel agency.

However, the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card offers more to travellers. Firstly, as part of the Visa Infinite tier, cardholders can access a variety of benefits:

  • Visa Infinite Concierge. Get help planning trips or booking reservations with this 24/7 service.
  • Visa Infinite Wine Country Program. Receive exclusive benefits at more than 95 participating wineries across Canada, including complimentary tastings.
  • Visa Infinite Dining Series. Access exclusive gourmet events with renowned chefs, or have multi-course meals delivered straight to your home.
  • Visa Infinite Entertainment Access. Get exclusive access to tickets and events.
  • Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection. Get seven premium benefits at more than 900 participating properties worldwide, including free Wi-Fi and breakfast or room upgrades.

This card also includes:

  • Pay no foreign transaction fees, which are typically around 2.5% of foreign currency purchases.
  • Get a complimentary Priority Pass™ membership with six free passes annually. Lounge visits cost US$32 per person after that.
  • Access the Scotia Rewards Travel Service to book your trip.

While the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card offers great lifestyle perks with a sprinkle of travel benefits, like no foreign transaction fees, the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card provides all that and then some. The Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card features a complimentary Priority Pass™ membership with free annual lounge passes, whereas the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card only offers a preferred discount. That means the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card wins this round.

Jump back to the top.

Insurance coverage

Winner: Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Insurance coverage*

  • Purchase protection: 90 days
  • Extended warranty: 1 year
  • Travel accident: $500,000
  • Emergency medical term: 25 days
  • Trip cancellation: $1,500
  • Trip interruption: $1,500
  • Flight delay: $500
  • Baggage delay: $1,000
  • Lost or stolen baggage: $1,000
  • Hotel burglary: $1,000
  • Rental car theft and damage
  • Purchase protection: 90 days
  • Extended warranty: 1 year
  • Travel accident: $500,000
  • Emergency medical term: 25 days (Over the age of 65 - 3 days)
  • Trip cancellation: $1,500
  • Trip interruption: $2,500
  • Flight delay: $500
  • Baggage delay: $1000
  • Lost or stolen baggage: $1000
  • Hotel burglary: $1,000
  • Rental car theft and damage

*Insurance coverage is subject to change. Refer to your insurance certificate or contact your credit card issuer for full terms and conditions.

With at least 11 types of travel and shopping insurance each, the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card and the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card are nearly tied in this category.

However, the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card pulls ahead for a few reasons. This card offers at least three days of emergency medical term insurance for those aged 65 and older. Many insurance policies provided by credit cards exclude senior travellers as they are at a higher risk of making a claim.

Additionally, the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card offers up to $1,000 more trip interruption coverage. Apart from these minor details, the cards are almost identical insurance-wise.

Jump back to the top.

Recommended credit score

Winner: Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Recommended credit score

660+

740+

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card requires a good credit score, whereas the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card recommends an excellent score to be eligible.

The average Canadian has a good credit score, making the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card more attainable. But that is not to say the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card can’t be worked toward. With time, patience, and responsible financial habits, anything is possible.

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Interest rates

It’s a draw!

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Interest rates

Purchases: 19.99%

Cash advances: 22.99%

Balance transfers: 22.99%

Purchases: 19.99%

Cash advances: 22.99%

Balance transfers: 22.99%

This round is a draw. The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card and Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card feature standard annual interest rates of 19.99% on purchases. While lower than, say, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card, with a 20.99% interest rate, one card is no better than the other here.

Jump back to the top.

Income requirements

Winner: Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Income requirements

Personal: $12,000

Household: N/A

Personal: $60,000

Household: $100,000

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card requires a minimum personal income of $12,000 to be eligible, far less than the $60,000 needed for the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card.

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card offers the great travel insurance and perks you expect from a travel rewards card with fair eligibility requirements. It’s the winner of this round.

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First-year value

Winner: Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Cards

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

First-year value*

$1,394

$828

*Based on the RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology.

According to the RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian spends about $2,000 a month on their credit card. After buying gas, groceries, and miscellaneous purchases, their credit card rewards would look something like this:

Spending categories

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Groceries

$500 x 5

$500 x 2

Gas

$250 x 3

$250 x 1

Drugstore

$150 x 1

$150 x 1

Travel

$200 x 1

$200 x 1

Restaurants

$250 x 5

$250 x 2

Entertainment

$150 x 5

$150 x 2

Recurring bills

$300 x 1

$300 x 1

Retail store

$100 x 1

$100 x 1

Local transit

$50 x 3

$50 x 2

Other

$50 x 1

$50 x 1

Rewards earned monthly

$62.00

$29.50

First-year value (rewards + welcome bonus - annual fee)

$1,394

$828

Annual rewards (rewards - annual fee)

$624

$215

The average person would earn $1,394 in the first year using the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card. This calculation includes the exceptional welcome bonus, annual fee rebate, and promotional e-Gift Card offer. In the following years, the cardholder would earn roughly $624 in Scotia Rewards points annually.

The Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card, meanwhile, would offer fewer rewards. In the first year, cardholders would earn around $828, which is $566 less than its competitor. In the following years, cardholders would earn approximately $215 in Scotia Rewards points annually.

Jump back to the top.

Which credit card should you choose?

The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card and Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card reward members with Scotia Rewards points for buying groceries, taking transit, and all other purchases.

Redemption is easy through the flexible Scotia Rewards program, offering travel and financial options like statement credits or gift cards. Plus, get travel and shopping insurance and exclusive perks with either card.

However, the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card comes out on top. This card features an excellent earn rate for necessities like groceries and gas, as well as life’s little luxuries like streaming services and food delivery. Not only that, but this card only requires a good credit score and a minimum personal income of $12,000 to be eligible — fair requirements for such a rewarding option.

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$400
+ Annual rewards
$744
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$1144
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$400
Scotia Scene+ Points
Annual rewards
$744
Scotia Scene+ Points
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees for Long Stay Travellers, and Best Credit Card for Staying Home and Ordering In
Strong travel perks and 0% foreign transaction fees compliment great reward value
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$400
Annual rewards
$744
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$400
+ Annual rewards
$744
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$1144
Annual fees:
$120 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
2021 Winner – Best Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees for Long Stay Travellers, and Best Credit Card for Staying Home and Ordering In
Strong travel perks and 0% foreign transaction fees compliment great reward value
Details at a glance Collapse details

While the first-year value of the Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card does not quite compare to the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card, it offers plenty of savings in other ways. Get a free additional card for an authorized user and earn rewards faster. Pay no foreign transaction fees, and access airport lounges worldwide with six free passes annually (worth US$32 each).

The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$224
+ Annual rewards
$354
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$578
Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

card image
Welcome bonus
$224
Scotia Scene+ Points
Annual rewards
$354
Scotia Scene+ Points
Annual fees:
$139 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases • 22.99% on cash advances
Includes strong travel insurance, lounge access and no foreign transaction fees
Rewards points can be redeemed for travel or on statement credits
Details at a glance Collapse details
Welcome bonus
$224
Annual rewards
$354
The estimated dollar amount of benefits you’ll accumulate based on your monthly spending and rewards preference
+ Welcome bonus
$224
+ Annual rewards
$354
- Annual fee (First Year Waived)
0
Total first year value
$578
Annual fees:
$139 (First Year Waived)
Interest rates:
19.99% on purchases
22.99% on cash advances
Includes strong travel insurance, lounge access and no foreign transaction fees
Rewards points can be redeemed for travel or on statement credits
Details at a glance Collapse details

Jump back to the top.

In the Ring past winners

Find out who won the last battle:

Rates, product information and reward estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice. This post was not sponsored. RATESDOTCA may receive a referral fee from our partners or affiliate links featured on the site; however, our editorial choices are objective and free from bias. The opinions expressed in this article are purely those of RATESDOTCA; thus, the credit card issuers and partners are not responsible for any editorials or reviews that may appear. Please visit the brand’s associated website for complete and current terms and conditions on any product or service mentioned. The information in this article is accurate as of the date of this posting, October 19, 2021. Read our full disclaimer.

Hayley Vesh

Hayley Vesh is a creative, resourceful, and knowledgeable content producer who is passionate about financial literacy, storytelling, and generating ideas. She writes about credit cards, savings, debt management, and personal finance. In her spare time, Hayley can be found wandering in the woods, hunting for second-hand treasures, or curled up with a steeped tea and a good podcast.

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