Leaked – Mega Changes Are Coming to the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Huge Changes for Scotia Gold Amex Card

Sites like Reddit had leaked about new updates coming to the Scotiabank Gold American Credit card starting August 1, 2019. If this leaked news is true, Scotia Gold Amex will be in direct competition with the American Express Cobalt credit card.

Today, I will briefly l discuss these changes (assuming the leaked information is true) and will provide my insights on the new (after changes) Scotia Gold Amex card.

Annual Fee

Annual will go up to $120 from $99. Additional card annual fee will not change and remains at $29.

Rewards Structure

Now: 4x Gas, Grocery, Dining, Entertainment | 1X Everything Else

Aug 1 Onward: 5X Grocery, Dining, Entertainment | 3X Gas, Daily Transit, Select Streaming |1X Everything else

Foreign Transaction Fees

Now: 2.5%

Aug 1 Onward: 0%

Travel Insurance Changes

Travel Emergency Medical: 65> age will lower from 10 days to 3 days.

Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption: Amount will lower from $2,500 each to $1,500 each

Price Protection

This insurance will no longer be offered after August 1, 2019.

Everything else not mentioned above is not changing. As you can see, with these changes Scotia is trying to capture a significant chunk of the Canadian credit card market and they are expecting to grab a lot of Amex Cobalt customers.

One difference in points compared to Amex Cobalt is that Scotia Points are not convertible to Marriott Bonvoy (and then to 44 frequent-flyer program airline miles such as Aeroplan, Avios).

However, the Amex Cobalt Card does not provide as many benefits as the Scotiabank Gold Amex does. For example, Amex Cobalt does not offer concierge service, trip cancellation insurance, zero foreign currency fee, and many more.

In the past, the Amex Cobalt card was the only card in Canada that provided 5X rewards on some categories. Now that we have Scotia Gold Amex competing, plus it’s giving a lot more than Cobalt, consumers will have to take a hard look to decide which card to keep.

I do have an Amex Cobalt Card, but I haven’t decided yet whether to keep it or cancel it after August 1 and replace with Scotia Gold Amex.

I have a video on what I discussed above and you can watch it here: Changes Are Coming to the Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Cards Another credit card which is changing also is the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite. I will talk and video about this shortly.

Tims Rewards Program – What to Know

Tim Hortons New Loyalty Program

Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons started its Tims Rewards program, which is long overdue. Compared to other coffee chain loyalty programs, Tims Rewards provides more value and is easier to understand.

You can earn Tims Rewards either by using a physical plastic card or using the Tim Hortons app on your phone. You don’t need to buy to collect rewards via the app, but you have to scan it when you pay.

The Tims Rewards structure is fairly simple. You need seven eligible transactions more than $0.50 to get one reward. Rewards can be redeemed for any size brewed coffee, tea, or baked good.

Transactions have to have a gap of at least 30 minutes to be considered eligible for rewards. Meaning if you buy 7 items one after another, those will not count as eligible.

Tim Hortons is allowing members to bank up to 5 Rewards for 120 days. Transactions beyond 5 rewards will not be eligible and rewards will expire after 120 days.

It looks like to me Tims Rewards is based on transactions, rather than items. For example, if you buy 3 items such as a coffee, bagel, and a donut, it will count as one transaction to give you one rewards, not 3 rewards.

Tims Rewards loyalty program is generous and my take is that Tim Hortons is more interested in retaining its customers by offering them more. There are many competitors on the market and without a good rewards program, Tim Hortons would be losing more customers to other chains that are more innovative in offering freebies and rewards to their customers.

You can watch my Tims Horton Tim Rewards Video here. To sign up for Tims Rewards, visit Tims Rewards website.

Why You Should Use SCENE Points Now

Massive Scene Devaluation

If you have piled up lots of SCENE Movie Loyalty points offered by Cineplex and Scotiabank, do yourself a favour and use them by April 17, 2019 because Scene is going through a massive devaluation from April 17.

On the Scene website, they don’t mention the word devaluation anywhere and to even find the news, you have to scroll down all the way to the bottom.

You will still be earning 1 free movie for each 10 movies, but earning and redemption rates will change to earning 125 points for each movie (from 100 points) and 1250 points to redeem (from 1250 SCENE).

This means if you have 5000 SCENE points, you can watch 5 movies before April 17. But you will be only watching 4 movies after April 17 with the same 5000 points.

The 2 most popular movie redemption categories that will take heat from the devaluation are the Regular movie (redemption rate will increase from 1000 to 1250) and Enhanced Movie (from 1500 to 2000) sections.

Another category under the Food & Drink Section that will take heat is the Snacks, food & drink category. The earning rate will go down from 10 points for each dollar to 5 points, but the redemption rate will stay the same at $5 off for every 500 points.

These changes may not affect those who just will be watching movies after April 17 and collect fresh SCENE points, but will affect a lot of those who have lots of accumulated SCENE points.

So to make the most out of your SCENE points, redeem them before April 17 and still get your points’ worth.

Watch on YouTube: Got Scene? Do Yourself A Favour & Watch Free Movies Now

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Credit Card Adding More Benefits

New CIBC Aventura Credit Card Benefits

As travel credit card competition is heating up, CIBC has refreshed its Aventura proprietary travel rewards points credit cards. These new benefits will kick in starting Oct 15, 2018. Although most of these benefits apply to both CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite and CIBC Aventura Visa Gold credit cards, the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite is the better one as Aventura Gold is missing some insurance benefits. Both have a $120 annual fee.

New benefits that will apply:

- Priority Pass lounge membership with 4 free passes per year

- NEXUS application fee rebate every 5 years

- Enhanced trip cancellation insurance, hotel burglary insurance

- Mobile Device Insurance

I haven’t seen a feature like the NEXUS border entry application fee rebate in Canada before. You will get free lounge entrances with many other Canadian travel credit cards, but not for only a $120 annual fee. CIBC Aventura premium credit cards are definitely miles ahead, giving more benefits for only a $120 annual fee.

The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Credit Card could have been a perfect travel credit card, but it has its shortcomings. It does not offer zero foreign currency transaction fee (it charges 2.5% on foreign currency transactions) and its rewards structure is very poor.

The earn rate is proprietary 1.5 points at gas, grocery, and pharmacy and 1 point at everything else. So basically you are earning 1 to 1.5 percent, which is a very low earn rate.

CIBC Aventura Visa Credit Cards should not be your primary credit cards for everyday spending, but they’re definitely worth adding to your credit card portfolio for the features and benefits they’re offering.

I talk more about CIBC Aventura credit cards in the following video.

Refreshed CIBC Aventura Credit Card Benefits Dwarf Other Travel Credit Cards

Why Aren’t American Express Cards Accepted Everywhere?

Photo Courtesy: American Express Canada

Photo Courtesy: American Express Canada

Leaving Home With Only American Express Is Not A Good Idea

First Published: April 29, 2013 A Dawn Journal

We often hear that there are so many places that won’t accept American Express (Amex) cards. If Amex is such a big name then why they are not universally accepted like VISA and MasterCard?

There are a myriad number of reasons why some merchants won’t use Amex. However, if we dig down to its basics, there are a few I came up with.

American Express offers both conventional credit cards where you can carry your balances and charge cards where you are required to pay in full every month. Unlike other major credit card companies who rely on high volumes to make money, American Express relies on higher margins to make profit by targeting affluent customers. Its affluent customers are spending a lot more money in lower volumes as opposed to higher volumes with smaller transactions.

Retailers pay much higher fees to provide American Express services than other credit cards. Also, other credit cards use a 3rd party to facilitate their services (like an issuing bank, trust company, etc.), but American Express does it all by itself and keeps all charges for itself for higher profits. For some retailers, it will not make sense to pay higher fees to American Express as they may not be able to make money on fewer transactions. However, merchants who have businesses where they can make a lot more money with fewer transactions (as affluent consumers will spend lot more than average consumers) will be glad to offer American Express.

There are other reasons for merchants not to accept Amex, but what I have discussed above are the most common deciding factors on accepting American Express.