The card we labelled as a ‘sleeper card‘ back in 2017, the Scotiabank®* Platinum American Express® Card, will be receiving some major changes that take effect on July 1, 2022. The card is currently ranked as the fifth best Ultra Premium Card in Canada (Canada’s Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards 2022) and with these upcoming changes should continue to remain in that spot. The Platinum Card is not the only one that Scotia is revamping as they are also making changes to the entry level no fee Scotiabank American Express card which we’ll look Let’s take a look at what’s changing on these cards.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Moving this card inline with Scotia’s other premium cards as of July 1, 2022 the Scotiabank®* Platinum American Express® Card will no longer charge the 2.5% foreign currency transaction fee. This provides a wealth of savings for those who make a lot purchases outside of Canada, whether it is while travelling, online shopping or even importing goods. If my math is correct the Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card becomes the 15th credit card (including prepaid cards) to now offer No FX fees in Canada.
New 2 Scene+ points per dollar flat earn rate
The changes in the earn rates can be considered both good and bad. It will really depend on the individual and their spending habits. Currently the Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card earns 4 points per dollar spent on grocery, dining, gas and entertainment up to a $100,000 annual spend cap. In fact with 4x points on gas this card has the or I guess had the best earn rate on gas station purchases. All other purchases on the card earned 1 point per dollar.
The new earn rate as of July 1, 2022 will be 2 Scene+ points per dollar spent on all eligible purchases. That means the accelerated categories of grocery, dining, gas and entertainment are being halved while the base earn rate is being doubled. This is great news for those who spent more outside of the accelerated categories while those who did spend a lot in the accelerated categories (and I’m sure lots did since they very popular categories) this becomes a major devaluation. There are no caps in place on the 2 points earn rates.
Essentially this card has become a 2% cash back card on all purchases when you use your points to redeem for travel. And speaking of travel, that 2 points per dollar earn rate is also awarded on foreign purchases, so you are earning the points and saving on the foreign currency conversion fee making this card a very strong contender for purchases outside of Canada.
Mobile Device Insurance
The next change to the card will be the addition of Mobile Device Insurance. You will now get coverage for new mobile devices that you buy on the card on or after July 1, 2022. We’re not huge fans of this coverage due to the deductibles and depreciation involved but it is better than not having any coverage at all.
There are also changes happening to the interest rates on the card, they are actually being cut! See the link at the bottom of this post for more details.
The card will retain all of its other insurance coverage and benefits such as Priority Pass Membership with 10 free annual lounge visits for the primary cardholder and 4 visits for supplementary cardholders. As it is an American Express card it also receives access to Plaza Premium lounges.
New Accelerated Earn Rate Categories
The Scotiabank American Express card has been a simple 1 point per dollar (1% return towards travel) card since its inception and now it is becoming richer in this category. As of July 1 the card will earn 2 Scene+ Points per dollar spent on grocery, dining and entertainment, gas, daily transit and select streaming services. This is big, as that’s a 2% return and there are very few no annual fee cards that provide a return like this on those categories. There is an annual cap of $50,000 on those categories which is a healthy limit for this type of card. All other spending on the card remains at 1 point per dollar. What have here now is a no annual fee card with a 1 to 2% return when redeeming for travel. This card will surely move up the ranks now in the Top No Fee Travel Rewards Credit Cards in Canada. Currently it is fifth but will most likely move up to 2nd or 3rd (we’ll have to analyze this a bit further to make the final decision)
Of course there has to be give and take if the bank is now giving bigger rewards on spending and as such they will be taking away much of this card’s insurance coverage. This card was one of the few no annual fee cards to offer Travel Emergency Medical Insurance, Trip Interruption Insurance, Common
Carrier Travel Accident Insurance and Rental Car Collision/Loss Damage
Insurance. Those are all being taken away from the card but Mobile Device Insurance is being added. That’s a big cut in coverage if you have this card and have relied on that insurance. However being a no annual fee entry level card most cardholders don’t make use that coverage anyways except for perhaps the car rental CDW coverage. I do really wish they kept that on the card.
Wrapping it up
The changes that Scotia is instituting on these cards can be seen as both positive and negative. It really depends on the person who has one of these cards or will be getting one. The loss of 4x points on the Platinum Card is a big deal but being able to earn 2x points with No FX fees outside of Canada is also a big deal. It appears that is where Scotia is going with this card and targeting the outside of Canada traveler with a good earn rate, no FX fees and the really good lounge access program. I mean overall being a 2% card across the board isn’t a bad thing – for years the Capital One Aspire World Elite Mastercard was the best card in Canada and it was a simple 2% card so we know that model works.
For the no fee Amex card losing that insurance coverage is bad news but no annual fee cards aren’t typically used by people for insurance coverage. They are either entry cards and then the user moves up to the next card or they are added as secondary or tertiary cards in a wallet where there are cards already providing insurance coverage. So I would say the changes to the no fee card are mostly positive due to the better earn rates!
Thanks again to Joshnet for the heads up on this Scotia news!