Everyday, consumers are becoming more and more savvy about finding value when they shop, and retailers aren’t the only ones responding. Financial institutions everywhere now offer loyalty programs, to entice value-conscious consumers.
In this article, I’ll give you everything you need to know about one of the top loyalty programs out there, Scotia Rewards.
Introducing Scotia Rewards
Scotia Rewards is the customer loyalty program of Scotiabank, one of Canada’s largest financial institutions. With Scotia Rewards, the name of the game is flexibility. Not only do they make it easy to collect points, they offer customers several ways to use the points they’ve earned. You can redeem points to purchase travel, popular merchandise, Cineplex movies, or receive cash back (account credit). You can even donate your points to a worthy cause.
How Can I Earn Scotia Rewards Points?
To collect points, you’ll need a Scotia Rewards affiliated credit card. Fortunately, Scotiabank has you covered, with no less than 8 credit cards (and 1 debit card) that accumulate reward points. These cards range from basic, no annual fee cards, to the rather exclusive, Scotiabank American Express Platinum Card. Of course, you’ll need to throw down a $399 annual fee for that one, so it won’t be for everyone.
The features of each card vary, as does their point earning potential. For example, with the Scotia Rewards Visa, a no annual fee card, you’ll earn 1 reward point for every dollar you spend, while the more premium, Scotiabank Passport Infinite Visa (featured below), carries a point multiplier on select purchases.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite
As I mentioned above, Scotiabank has eight credit cards that allow you to accumulate Scotia Rewards points. With so many choices, I’ve decided to highlight the one that I feel offers the best all-round value; that is, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite.
This premium credit card comes with a generous Welcome Bonus of 30,000 Rewards points. That’s equivalent to $300 worth of travel, and is available to all new cardholders when they charge $1000 to the card within the first 3 months.
With the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, you’ll earn 2 Scotia Rewards points for every dollar you spend on groceries, restaurants and other entertainment, as well as on daily transit. You’ll earn 1 reward point on all other purchases. This is favourable to the no annual fee cards, which don’t have the point multiplier.
In addition to earning points, this credit card comes with complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass, along with 6 free passes each year. This is a great perk for frequent travellers.
There is another benefit that stands out on this card. That is, it doesn’t include a foreign currency transaction fee. Most credit cards charge a fee of approximately 2.5% on all purchases made in a foreign currency. As you can imagine, the fees would add up quick if you used your credit card for most of your purchases when travelling outside of Canada. Not having that expense can save you a lot of money.
- Welcome Bonus of 30,000 Scotia Rewards Points ($300 value)
- 2 points earned for every dollar spent on groceries, restaurants, entertainment, transit
- 1 point earned on all other, everyday purchases
- Priority Pass access included, with 6 complimentary passes/year
- No foreign currency transaction fee
- $139 annual fee
- Minimum income requirement ($60,000/$100,000 household)
- 1 Free supplementary card ($50 value)
- 24/7 Concierge Service
- Includes 12 different types of travel and purchase insurance
Here’s a full list of available Scotia Rewards credit cards. While I’ve featured the Passport Visa Infinite here, you’ll want to take a closer look at each before deciding which one is right for you.
- Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card
- Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
- Scotiabank American Express Card
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Business Card
- ScotiaGold Passport Visa Card
- Scotiabank Rewards Visa Card
- Passport ScotiaCard Debit Card
The Non-Credit Card Option for Scotia Rewards
If you don’t have a qualifying credit card, you can still earn Scotia Rewards points with a Passport ScotiaCard Debit Card. This is a standard debit card, linked to your Scotiabank chequing account, that collects points. With the debit card, you’ll earn 1 reward point for every $5 you spend. While you won’t collect points nearly as fast, it does provide an alternative for people who aren’t interested in using a credit card for day to day purchases.
What Is a Scotia Reward Point Worth?
Knowing how much your points are worth really depends on how you plan to use them. As a rule of thumb, you’ll get the most value when you redeem your points for travel. Specifically, 100 points = $1, 1000 points = $10, 10,000 points = $100, and so on.
Points have less value when redeemed for merchandise (with a few exceptions), account credit, or when you use points to make a charitable donation. For example, a $100 gift card to Boston Pizza will set you back 13,400 points. In this scenario, the gift card is 34% more expensive than redeeming for travel.
While the flexibility is nice, if you’re not using your Scotia Rewards for travel, you may be better off going with a premium cash back credit card, from Scotiabank or another provider, to maximize your reward earning power. If that interests you, feel free to check out my post on the top cash back credit cards in Canada.
How Can I Use My Scotia Rewards Points
Now that you know how to collect Scotia Rewards points, you may be wondering how you can use them. For starters, you can redeem the points you’ve earned for travel, including flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages.
You can also redeem points for merchandise, gift cards, a statement credit, or to make a charitable donation. You can even transfer your points to Scene points, and vice versa. Scene points allow you to purchase movie tickets through Cineplex.
Redeeming Scotia Reward Points for Travel
Scotiabank makes it easy to redeem points for travel. This is also how you’ll get the most value for your points. Similar to the travel rewards programs offered by a few other banks, with Scotiabank, you can use your points towards flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and more. Because Scotia Rewards is not affiliated with a specific travel provider, this allows for maximum flexibility when you book your next trip.
Two Options to Redeem Scotia Rewards for Travel
There are two ways to redeem your points for travel, with each one offering a distinct advantage. Let’s take a closer look at each:
Scotia Rewards Travel Service
Scotia Rewards Travel Service is Scotiabank’s full-service travel agency. They offer several benefits when you book your travel directly through them. For starters, you become eligible to receive exclusive offers on flights, car rentals, hotel and vacation packages. They make it easy to find the latest deals through their website. They also offer a price match guarantee on airfare, with conditions.
Scotia Rewards Travel Service is exclusive to customers who are using Scotia Rewards points, in other words, you can’t use points from other loyalty programs, such as Air Miles, or Aeroplan. You have the option of charging the full amount of your trip to your Scotiabank credit card or splitting the purchase between your credit card, and your Rewards points redemption.
When you arrange travel through Scotia Rewards Travel Service, you gain access to their 24-Hour Emergency Assistance, which can provide peace of mind leading up to, and during your trip.
Apply Points to Travel
With so many options available, many people prefer to book travel on their own. Because of this, Scotia Rewards allows you to redeem points for travel that you’ve booked through an alternate provider, providing the purchase has been charged to your Scotia Rewards affiliated credit card.
The process is easy. Simply book an eligible flight, hotel, car rental, cruise, or vacation package using your Scotia Rewards affiliated credit card. You then have 12 months from the date of purchase to redeem your points towards the booking.
This is perfect for those times when you find a deal that’s too good to pass up, but it’s only available through another website, or directly from the travel provider ie. airline, or hotel. Or, you want to book accommodations that aren’t available through Scotia Rewards, such as an Airbnb, or a bed and breakfast. As long as the credit card merchant category code is recognized by their system, Scotia Rewards will allow you to redeem your points.
The one caveat I should mention is that your point redemption must cover the full price of the travel purchase. Partial point redemptions are not permitted with the Apply Points for Travel program. That said, I love the flexibility of this option, especially considering you have 12-months after your travel purchase to redeem points.
Merchandise And Gift Cards
If travel isn’t your thing, you can use your Scotia Rewards points to redeem online for merchandise, as well as gift cards, from popular brands. While the point value is less than you’ll get when booking for travel, this can be a great way to save money on that next item you need for around the house.
Here’s a list of just a few items you can expect to find:
- 8,300 points Millano Spa T1200 Duvet Cover Set Queen
- 42,600 points Braun Series 9 Shaver
- 50,500 points Heys Revolver 3-piece luggage
- 84,500 points Vitamix Ascent Series 3500 blender
- 6,700 points $50 Uber Gift Card
- 13,400 points $100 Boston Pizza Gift Card
Apply Scotia Reward Points for Credit
If you have no plans to travel, you can choose to redeem your accumulated reward points as an account credit to your Scotia credit card. It’s important to note that once an account credit has been requested, it cannot be cancelled, and no changes can be made. I’ve pulled the following chart from Scotiabank’s website. As you can see, the value of the account credit improves with increasing point redemptions.
- 3,000 Scotia Rewards points = $20 CAD
- 4,500 Scotia Rewards points = $30 CAD
- 7,500 Scotia Rewards points = $50 CAD
- 11,000 Scotia Rewards points = $75 CAD
- 14,000 Scotia Rewards points = $100 CAD
- 21,000 Scotia Rewards points = $150 CAD
- 37,500 Scotia Rewards points = $300 CAD
- 62,500 Scotia Rewards points = $500 CAD
Donating Scotia Rewards Points To Charity
If you want to use your points as a way to give back, Scotiabank allows for that too. You can choose to donate your Scotia Rewards points to charity, through an organization called CanadaHelps. When you redeem reward points for a CanadaHelps voucher, you will be sent an email with a unique ID.
From there, you can log in to select from over 86,000 registered Canadian charities to allocate your donation. Donations can be made in increments of $25, $50, or $100, with a $100 voucher requiring 13,400 reward points. As with any other donation to a registered charity, you will receive a receipt for tax purposes.
Scotia Rewards And Scene Points
For movie fans, Scotiabank offers customers the choice of transferring their Scotia Rewards points to Scene Reward points and vice versa. 1000 Rewards points translate to 779 Scene points, while 1000 Scene points will become 950 Rewards points.
For those who are unfamiliar, the Scene loyalty program is a joint venture between Scotiabank and Cineplex, that gives moviegoers the opportunity to collect points which can be redeemed for movie tickets, as well as concession items, such as popcorn, drinks, and other snacks.
You’ll get less value transferring to Scene points versus redeeming for travel, but it might come in handy if you have a surplus of points, and you’re planning a night out at the movies. For more information, you can check out my full review on Scotiabank’s Scene points.
Should I Sign Up for Scotia Rewards?
I recommend Scotia Rewards to anyone who is an existing Scotia Bank customer. Collecting points while you spend doesn’t have to cost you a penny, and with so many ways to redeem points, there really is something there for everyone.
If you’re not a customer, but you love collecting credit card rewards points, you should definitely check out the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite card. It really is one of the top travel credit cards available today.
Lastly, if you are a customer of a bank other than Scotia, I recommend that you check out their respective rewards program, and see how it stacks up against Scotia Rewards. I recently reviewed BMO Rewards, another great rewards program from a Canadian bank.