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Comparison: American Express Cobalt Card vs. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

To the point

Here is our detailed comparison of the American Express Cobalt Card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

American Express Canada and Scotiabank each offer an American Express credit card that earns up to 5 points per dollar on certain categories of purchases:

Welcome bonus

The welcome bonus offered by each of these credit cards varies according to promotions. However, there are differences to be aware of between the two credit cards.

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When you applying for the American Express Cobalt™ Card, you can earn up to 30,000 points:

  • 2,500 points per month for the first 12 months (monthly spend of $500 or more)
Scotiabank Gold AMEX

When you apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card, you can earn up to 50,000 points and the first-year free :

  • 30,000 points after $1,000 in purchases within the first three months
  • 20,000 points after $7,000 in purchases within the first year
Advantage: Scotiabank Gold American Express

To earn the full American Express Cobalt™ Card Welcome Bonus, you must spend $6,000 in the first year ($500 per month for 12 months to earn the 30,000 points).

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you earn the first part of the 30,000 points Welcome Bonus after just $1,000 in purchases in three months. However, you will also need to spend $7,000 in the year to earn an additional 10,000 points.

The American Express Cobalt™ Card Welcome Bonus requires spending $500 each month for 12 months. Whereas with the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you may be able to get there faster with higher purchases.

Plus, the first year is exceptionally free, so the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card is more attractive.

Minimum income

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The American Express Cobalt Card requires no minimum income.

Scotiabank Gold AMEX

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card requires a minimum income of $12,000.

Advantage: American Express Cobalt Card

The American Express Cobalt Card requires no minimum income, unlike the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card (although the $12,000 per year requirement is still accessible for most people).

Annual fee

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The American Express Cobalt Card has a monthly fee of $10, charged on each monthly statement. At the end of 12 months, you will have paid $120.

Scotiabank Gold AMEX

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has an annual fee of $120. It’s charged on the first statement, and at the time of renewal.

Advantage: American Express Cobalt Card

If your goal is to keep the card annually, we could have called a draw.

However, the fact that the American Express Cobalt Card has a $10 monthly fee gives you more visibility into the future!

Let’s say that after 8 months of using your card, you decide to book a trip for 6 months later, i.e. after 14 months of having the card. Travel for which you would obviously like to be covered by the insurance provided with your card.

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you would have to pay twice the annual fee of $120 (or $240).

With the American Express Cobalt Card, you’ll only have to pay 14 x $10 or $140. After your trip, you can cancel the card if you no longer need it.

Earning points

The American Express Cobalt Card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card each offer 3 levels of point earning.

Maximum earning level

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With the American Express Cobalt Card, you can earn 5 points per dollar spent on purchases for:

  • Groceries
  • Food delivery
  • Dining
  • Convenience stores
Scotiabank Gold AMEX

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you can earn 5 points per dollar spent on purchases for:

  • Groceries
  • Food delivery
  • Dining
  • Entertainment venues
Draw

It’s hard to tell the difference between the two cards in the 5 points per dollar category. Only one type of business is different: convenience stores for the American Express Cobalt Card, entertainment venues for the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

Don’t forget the possibility of purchasing gift cards at Couche-Tard convenience stores with the American Express Cobalt Card: you could earn 5 points per dollar, even for Walmart gift cards!

Some will spend more in one category than another. It’s up to you to choose the most appropriate one, especially for your foreign currency purchases, as you’ll see below.

Intermediate earning level

With the American Express Cobalt Card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you can earn 2 to 3 points for every $1 in purchases at a variety of retail locations.

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With the American Express Cobalt Card, you can earn 2 points for every dollar you spend on purchases for:

  • Transit
  • Gas stations
  • Travel purchases
Scotiabank Gold AMEX

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you can earn 3 points for every dollar you spend on purchases for:

  • Transit
  • Gas stations
  • Streaming services
Advantage: Scotiabank Gold American Express

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you earn 1 additional point per dollar spent compared to the American Express Cobalt Card, especially in recurring purchase categories such as gas stations and transit.

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is breaking new ground by offering a category related to streaming services (Netflix, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.).

However, if you make frequent travel purchases, you should consider the American Express Cobalt Card.

Basic earning level

Outside of these accelerated purchase categories, you earn 1 point for every $1 in purchases with both the American Express Cobalt Card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

Foreign currency purchases

Unlike the American Express Cobalt Card, the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has no foreign currency conversion fee.

This is a saving of 2.5% on each transaction made.

However, with the American Express Cobalt Card, you earn more points with the 2 and 5 point categories that also apply to foreign currency purchases.

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While with the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar on all foreign currency purchases.

Draw

While, on paper, the absence of conversion charges for foreign currency purchases would allow the Scotiabank Gold American Express card to win, the fact that it only allows you to earn 1 point per dollar abroad brings back the American Express Cobalt Card in the race!

Indeed, frequent purchases made abroad are often for restaurants (or groceries for snowbirds).

In these categories, the American Express Cobalt Card will offer 5 points per dollar. Even with a 2.5% conversion fee, it’s a win-win situation compared to the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

So in our eyes, the ideal combo remains the American Express Cobalt Card AND the HSBC World EliteMD MastercardMD – Quebec (which does not charge any currency conversion fees AND is a Mastercard type i.e. accepted where American Express will not).

Using points

Both cards offer travel points.

However, their loyalty programs are completely different:

This means that the ways you can redeem your points are different.

For travel

With the American Express Cobalt Card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you can redeem your points for travel charged to the card:

american express cobalt card

With the American Express Cobalt Card, you can apply Membership Rewards points to travel purchases charged to the card.

The redeeming rate is 1,000 points = $10.

You must apply at least 1,000 points (i.e. minimum $10), thereafter it will be in increments of 1 cent / 1 point.

Scotiabank Gold AMEX

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you can apply bonus points towards travel purchases.

The reddeming rate is 1,000 points = $10.

You must apply at least 5,000 points (i.e. minimum $50), thereafter it will be in increments of 1 cent = 1 point.

Advantage: American Express Cobalt Card

The American Express Cobalt Card wins this duel because it allows you to use your points for a travel purchase with a minimum of $10 compared to $50 for the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

This allows for more flexibility.

For everyday shopping

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With the American Express Cobalt Card, you can apply Membership Rewards points to everyday purchases charged to the card.

The redeeming rate is 1,000 points = $10.

You need to redeem a minimum of 1,000 points (i.e., a minimum of $10).

Scotiabank Gold AMEX

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you can apply bonus points to everyday purchases.

The redeeming rate is between $6.67 and $8.00 per 1,000 points.

A minimum of 3,000 points (i.e. $20) must be applied. Thereafter, it will be in increments (4,500 – 7,500 – 11,000 – 14,000 – 21,000 – 37,500 – 62,500).

Advantage: American Express Cobalt Card

The American Express Cobalt Card wins this duel because it allows you to use your points for everyday purchases with a minimum of $10 compared to the $20 Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

Also, to get the best value on the Scotia side ($8 per 1,000 points), a minimum of 37,500 points will be required.

Finally, the redemption schedule offered by Scotia Rewards is not flexible, unlike American Express Membership Rewards.

Transfers to other programs

Advantage: American Express Cobalt Card

The American Express Cobalt Card is the winner.

Using Membership Rewards points to pay for certain flights can double their value, and transferring points to hotel programs such as Marriott Bonvoy allows you to earn more points for free hotel nights!

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you can only transfer your points to the SCENE Program, so you can’t win that duel!

Insurance

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With the American Express Cobalt Card, you can take advantage of these insurances:

  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Flight Delay Insurance
  • Delayed Baggage Insurance
  • Loss / theft of luggage insurance
  • Medical insurance up to the age of 64
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
  • Purchase warranty: 90 days
  • Extended warranty: 1 year
Scotiabank Gold AMEX

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you can take advantage of these insurances:

  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Flight Delay Insurance
  • Delayed Baggage Insurance
  • Loss / theft of luggage insurance
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Medical insurance up to the age of 64
  • Medical insurance over 65
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
  • Purchase warranty: 90 days
  • Extended warranty: 1 year
Advantage: Scotiabank Gold American Express

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express, you receive additional or more generous coverage than with the American Express Cobalt Card.

In addition, it requires that 75% of travel purchases be carried on the card, whereas the American Express Cobalt Card requires that the entire trip be carried on the card.

If you want a card that covers your travels, even when a tiny fraction of them have been charged to it, you should read this article: The Best Credit Cards for Travel Insurance with Rewards Points.

Conclusion

So? Which card is the winner?

It’s hard to declare an official winner. In fact, it will be up to each person to make up their own mind according to their needs.

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has the following advantages:

  • robust travel insurance
  • absence of foreign currency conversion charges

But the American Express Cobalt Card stands out for:

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