Friday, September 10, 2021

Get ready for Scene+ the merged program of Scotia Rewards and Cineplex SCENE

 
Nine months after it was first announced, we are now getting our first glimpse of Scene+, which is the offspring of Scotiabank's Scotia Rewards and Cineplex's SCENE program. As of November 22, 2021 the two programs will merge to become Scene+.  Overall this can be 'scene' as a win for both programs, more so for SCENE members but it does provide some extra earning and redemption opportunities for Scotia Rewards members as well.


The Scene+ Program

For the most part, the Scene+ program will be the same as the two programs that are being merged together. Both of the companies have published very thorough pages describing the changes and what can be expected for members of each program. You can access the page for SCENE members here and Scotia Rewards members here. Here are the key takeaways if you don't want to read those pages:

Membership

The program will take on Cineplex's SCENE numbering/membership system as SCENE members points will transfer automatically to Scene+ and the membership number will remain the same. Points will transfer 1:1 from SCENE to Scene+. Scotia Rewards members who are not SCENE members will have a new Scene+ membership created for them and their Scotia Rewards balance will transfer over. Points will transfer 1:1 from Scotia Rewards to Scene+.

To facilitate the move both programs will not be available from November 15 to 21. Points can still be earned but you won't see them post until November 22. 

Earning

Earning points in the new Scene+ program remains the same in terms of actual point earning from using your Scotia credit card that earns Scotia Rewards points to showing your SCENE card at Cineplex or their partner restaurants. Scotia Scene+ credit cards will continue to earn 1 to 5 points per dollar spent and showing your Scene+ Card at Cineplex, Rec Room and Playdium will also continue to earn earn 1 to 5 points per dollar spent. As well you will still earn 1 point for every $3 spent at Scene+ partner restaurants like Harvey's, Montana's etc. 

The only real changes on the earn side comes from Scotia banking products and for booking hotels & cars with Scene+ Travel. A good portion of Scotia bank accounts will no longer be eligible to earn points. The only accounts that will continue to earn points will be the Preferred Package, Ultimate Package, Student Banking Advantage Plan and the Getting There Savings Program for Youth. Scene+ Travel which is currently known as Scotia Rewards Travel Service will award 3 points per dollar spent on hotel and car rental bookings made through them. If you can wait to make your bookings remember that the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card is offering new cardholders 5x points on travel purchases in the first three months of having the card (up to $2,500 in travel spend) This means you could earn 8 points per dollar spent on hotel and car rentals if you book on or after November 22.

Redeeming

Much like the earning side, the redeeming side is pretty much the same from both programs but combined. This is the part where the old SCENE members win as they gain access to more redemption options, namely the travel portion from Scotia Rewards but also the Apple and Best Buy redemption options from Scotia Rewards. And on the flip site Scotia Rewards members now get direct redemption access for Cineplex, Rec Room, Playdium and the Scene+ Restaurant partners. 

The best redemption from the Scotia Rewards program has been their Apply Points for Travel option and that remains in place with its standard 100 points to 1 redemption rate. And the great news with this option as of November 22? They are removing the 5,000 point minimum redemption! That means you can now go buy that $19 Flair Airlines flight on your Scotia credit card and be able to redeem only 1,900 points for it!

Recommended reading: Four credit cards that can make flying with Flair Airlines even cheaper!

Some items of note

Here are some items of note that we also feel are important from the various FAQs from the two programs.

  • Booking fees and administration fees for any changes to a travel booking will apply to Scotiabank Platinum American Express card members. This is new to this card, up until November 21 no fees are charged. 
  • You will not be able to earn or redeem points at the restaurant partners between November 18 and 21
  • You will not be able to redeem points for Best Buy or Apple catalogues from November 10 to November 22.

Wrapping it up

Years ago word within the loyalty industry was that Cineplex wanted SCENE to become the next big coalition program in Canada in the likes of Aeroplan and AIR MILES. That didn't come to fruition as the coalition program model had unfortunately peaked right around that time and then started to contract. Many businesses who were partners of programs like Aeroplan and AIR MILES found it to be too costly to be part of those models. This coupled with a deluge of back end loyalty program systems that came into the market that were inexpensive allowed businesses to run their own programs and not share 'loyalty' with a bunch of other merchants. The coalition model as we knew it from the mid 1990s to late 2010s was no longer a viable option for SCENE. Of course AIR MILES weathered the course due to its sheer size but that program has also had to shift, gone are a swath of nationwide partners and now the push is on to keep members shopping with a select few major partners.

What we did see emerge over the past half dozen or so years are what we call mini coalition programs, your PC Optimum, Triangle Rewards, More Rewards and even the SCENE program. However for SCENE things needed to change since they didn't have an everyday anchor partner outside of their credit card. PC Optimum has their grocery and drugs stores, Triangle has Canadian Tire stores and More Rewards has their grocery stores. SCENE didn't have any of that. Sure Cineplex is big but they aren't an everyday merchant like those other programs have. What SCENE did have was this partnership with Scotia and their very successful Scotia SCENE Visa Card, so it only makes sense for a program like SCENE that wants to grow beyond what they have been and a bank like Scotia whose only non-proprietary partner was SCENE to join forces and create Scene+.

Overall I see this as a good merger which will benefit members from both sides and create a stronger mini coalition program. You have a lot of positives from the new program including more earning and redemption options and the elimination of the 5,000 point minimum for travel redemptions and very few negatives - really the only big one on the negative side is all the lower end bank accounts losing points earning access. The only other thing I can thing of was pointed out to me by our Twitter contributor @joshnet who believes the merger process may go poorly. We can only hope Scotia and Scene have done a lot of behind the scenes testing to avoid a dumpster fire during the merger as Josh puts it.

What are your thoughts on these programs combining? Are you excited for the new Scene+ program? Let us know in the comments below. 

Learn more about the changes on SCENE's site here and on the Scotiabank site here

Title image via Scotiabank


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