Monday, September 24, 2012

New Scotiabank American Express Cards released today

Scotiabank and American Express are launching a new partnership today which will see Scotiabank issue American Express branded credit cards.  This is one of the cards I have been hinting at that has the launch party tonight in Toronto. The suite of three cards are primarily travel focused but will offer other rewards outside of travel. This is American Express' first foray in partnering with a Canadian bank since their short lived partnership with CIBC back in 2002.

Depending on which card you get, the cardmember will be able to earn up to 4 points per dollar spent in certain categories (gas stations, grocery stores, on dining and entertainment). Which from their press release, Scotiabank believes will lead all other travel rewards cards in the market and for those categories it does to the set spending limit. The Scotia Rewards Points are the same as the Scotia Gold Passport Visa, 10,000 points = $100, so for those categories where the cards earn 4 points per dollar you will be getting a 4% return! This sort of return has not been seen for cards that do not have redemption options for frequent flyer or guest programs. The only catch is that the 4 Points per dollar are capped on the first $50,000 spent in those categories after which it drops down to 1 point per dollar.

The annual fees are lower than most of the cards they compete with the Gold version at $99 Primary ($29 Supp.), the basic version at $39 ($15 Supp.) and the Platinum at $399 ($99 Supp.)

From today's press release
“This announcement launches a new collaboration between Scotiabank, Canada’s most international bank, and American Express, a leading global brand renowned in the payments sector for excellence in travel, rewards and service,” said Anatol von Hahn, Scotiabank Group Head of Canadian Banking. “Starting today, we are able to offer Canadians a new suite of travel cards which we believe lead all others in this market for travel rewards – which we know are particularly important to Canadians. In launching this card, Scotiabank is the only major Canadian bank able to offer customers the benefits of an American Express-branded card.”
It appears the card will function like the American Express cards with TripFlex, TD Travel Visa's, Diners Club MasterCard and Capital One Aspire Travel MasterCards in that you can redeem points after you have booked and paid for it. Even when you go to redeem your points like those other cards save the Capital One Aspire Travel MasterCards, you don't need the full amount of points as you have the option of paying part points, part cash for your travel.

The Gold and Platinum versions of the cards also come with the full suite of benefits we now expect with cards like these including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, out-of-province medical insurance (up to 25 days for those under 65, 10 for those over) and of course baggage delay/lost, flight delay and car rental insurance. The card also matches the Capital One cards in offering Price Protection from lower prices on something you buy for up to 60 days after you purchase it.

Sign up bonuses are 20,000 for the Gold Version, 8,000 for the basic version and 40,000 for the high  end Platinum version.

The Gold version offers a discounted Priority Pass annual membership of $65 ($99 regular) with lounge visits being the standard $27. The Platinum Version offers the Priority Pass membership for free plus 10 free lounge visits for the Primary cardmember and 4 free lounge visits for the Supplementary cardmember, after which the $27 fee comes into place.

I think I would consider this card for the higher earning of 4x points on Dining and Entertainment and the other categories plus the extensive insurance when compared to my Amex Gold Rewards card however it doesn't appear to offer some of my favourite features of American Express like Front of the Line and the Membership Rewards conversion options to Aeroplan and British Airways. I'm going to have to do some serious thinking and calculating of my expenses (to see where I sit with that $50K limit on 4x points) over the next few days to see which way I go with this one! I've got lounge access covered with my Diners Club card so that portion won't sway me. In some ways I'm surprised Amex let Scotia make such a rich offering as I believe it will move some people over from their own product, namely the Gold Rewards Card, as this is a credit card not a charge card and in terms of Travel Points, is more rewarding up to that $50K limit. But then again, Amex is getting the business either way even if they have to share it with Scotiabank! And for Scotiabank, its about time they released something new in the travel realm as their ScotiaGold Passport Visa is relatively weak especially when compared to many of the cards that have come onto the market in the past few years.

You can find complete details on the cards at scotiabank.com/4xfaster

Here are some quick details on the cards:

Scotiabank American Express Card
2 points for every dollar spent on the card at gas stations, grocery stores and on dining and entertainment, 1 point for all other purchases with the card
No blackouts, no points expiry, no seat restrictions and no booking fees
Full-service travel agency and online booking tool to book flights, hotels, rentals cars, cruises and vacation packages
Ability to redeem points at or after booking for travel including airfare, hotel, car rental, cruise and vacation packages. Points can also be redeemed for merchandise, and credits to Scotiabank investment / and credit products
Highly competitive insurance benefits, such as Travel Emergency Medical (including travelers age 65+) and Rental Car Collision insurance
$39 annual fee. Additional card annual fee is $15 and the interest rates are 19.99% on purchases and 21.99% on cash advances, balance transfers and Scotia Credit Card cheques

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
4 points for every dollar spent on the card at gas stations, grocery stores and on dining and entertainment, 1 point for all other purchases with the card
No blackouts, no points expiry, no seat restrictions and no booking fees
Travel service with access to global concierge specialists
Ability to redeem points at or after booking for travel including airfare, hotel, car rental, cruise and vacation packages. Points can also be redeemed for merchandise and credits to Scotiabank investment and credit products
Highly competitive insurance benefits, such as Travel Emergency Medical (including travelers age 65+) and Rental Car Collision insurance
$99 annual fee (among the most competitive fee for a premium travel reward card currently on the market). Additional card annual fee is $29 and the interest rates are 19.99% on purchases and 21.99% on cash advances, balance transfers and Scotia Credit Card cheques

Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card
4 points for every dollar spent on the card at gas stations, grocery stores and on dining and entertainment, 1 point for all other purchases with the card
No blackouts, no points expiry, no seat restrictions and no booking fees
Travel service with integrated travel and lifestyle booking concierge
Ability to redeem points at or after booking for travel including airfare, hotel, car rental, cruise and vacation packages. Points can also be redeemed for merchandise and credits to Scotiabank investment and credit products
VIP Pass, airport lounge access, car rental benefit
Highly competitive insurance benefits, including Travel Emergency Medical and Rental Car Collision insurance
$399 annual fee. Additional card annual fee is $99 and the interest rates are 19.99% on purchases and 21.99% on cash advances, balance transfers and Scotia Credit Card cheques

9 comments:

  1. Generally pretty muted response to this launch. It shakes the market up a bit by pushing to 4% on everyday spend but the cards suffer too many flaws to generate a lot of excitement:

    - Annual fee not waived in first year

    - They are Amex which will deter a lot of people

    - Modest sign up bonuses, although I agree the coverage on a $39 card is unmatched so should not need a bonus to sell but the majority of people do not even understand the complimentary advantages of their cards past sign up and points. The sign up at the gold level is modest compared to say Cap1, and the platinum sign up is just matching your fee.

    No transfer partners, for me the ultimate fail.

    It is essentially a 1% cash back card with annual fee and 4% on some expenditures. It is a very solid product but does not really reposition Scotia on the travel credit cards horizon. Hopefully it can generate some matching with some other cards moving up to higher points on everyday spend, the RBC, CIBC and Amex Plat SPG and Aeroplan cards could all do with some enhancement in this regard.

    One little publicized offer is that just about the worst card on the market with a typical sign up bonus of 5k for $150, the RBC CX card is for a limited time giving 15,000 Asia Miles. Not life changing and won't get my business, but still much better than their typical inducement.

    http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/credit-cards/travel-credit-cards/cathay-pacific-credit-card.html

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    1. You can only use RBC CX card for Cathay Pacific tickets purchased. I did not see RBC CX has trip cancellation or trip interruption. You must be working either for Cathay or RBC....

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  2. Err yes, because RBC and/or Cathay would of course describe their offering as "just about the worst card on the market" and state "won't get my business", and as far the nonsense rambling about only using for CX tickets purchased, I frankly haven't a clue what you are trying to say but it is almost certainly wrong.

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    1. I wonder if he/she means that you can only REDEEM for CX tickets? Who knows. Anyways thanks for the tip on the increased sign up bonus, it is now up on the Rewards Canada site

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  3. There is no flexibility with RBC CX card. For example, I cannot go expedia.ca or any other travel agent or website and buy trip and use points to cover the cost I paid to the travel agent. It's only good if you are flying CX related trip. With this Amex, apparently you could do that.
    If you read it, you sign up for Gold Amex Gold, you get 20,000 points which is enough to cover $200 for trip cost. Apparently you can use points to cover the cost of pretty much any travel agent in Canada even after you make the trip. That's a nice feature - I don't want to fly just CX airline only. (I also refuse to fly with Air Canada)
    As for regular Amex offer described above, it's not super, but if I were looking for cheap travel insurance for 1 week vacation, I'd consider $39 card - you won't get trip cancellation with emergency medical etc with $39 today, as far as what I see. Apparently the travel emergency comes with the card - not necessarily have to charge trip on the card. That sounds good to me, especially it keeps the door open to use another card while covered by the emergency medical insurance.

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  4. Could you compare the Scotiabank Amex cards to the Amex family of comparable cards?

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    1. I will be adding the Scotiabank Amex cards to my credit card comparison charts this week.

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  5. Thank-you. Now we await your opinion as you have promised. Please compare thePlatinum cards as well. I currently use an Amex Gold Rewards Card and am seeking value for $$$

    Gb

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    1. I will do so soon! Thanks for your patience.

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