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Compare: American Express Cobalt vs. Scotiabank Gold American Express

Today we’re comparing two of Canada’s best travel credit cards to find out which offers the best overall value.

One one side is the Scotiabank Gold American Express – a card which features a powerful rewards scheme and great travel perks. On the other is the American Express Cobalt and it’s industry-leading points program.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in:

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AMEX Cobalt

Scotiabank Gold AMEX

Annual Fee

$155.88 (paid monthly at $12.99) 


Sign-Up Bonus

  • Up to 50k bonus points
  • Up to 50k bonus points
  • No annual fee for first year
  • 0.00% balance transfer interest for first six months.


  • 5x points on restaurants or food delivery
  • 3x points on streaming services
  • 2x points on travel and transit
  • 1x points on everything else
  • 1 additional point on Amex Travel Online
  • 5x points on grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, and drinking establishments
  • 5x points on entertainment purchases 
  • 3x points on gas and daily transit
  • 3x points on streaming services
  • 1x points on everything else

Point Values

1 point = $0.01 (or 1%) when redeemed for travel, or:

1 point = up to 1.75% through AMEX’s Fixed Points Travel Program

1 point = $0.01 (or 1%) when redeemed for travel


20.99% on purchases and

21.99% on cash advances

19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances

Special Features

  • Transfer points to popular frequent flyer/loyalty programs

  • American Express invites & Front of the Line

  • No fee for supplementary cards

  • Redeem points for travel or merchandise through Membership Rewards Program
  • No foreign transaction fees

  • American Express invites & Front of the Line

  • Book/redeem flights through Scotia Rewards Travel Service

  • 24/7 concierge

  • VIP airport lounge access


  • Mobile device (up to $1000/person)
  • Out of province/country emergency medical ($5m)
  • Flight delay ($500)
  • Lost/stolen/delayed baggage ($500)
  • Hotel burglary ($500)
  • Travel accident ($250,000)
  • Car rental theft/damage ($85,000)
  • Travel emergency medical ($1m)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption ($1500 per person)
  • Flight delay ($500 per person)
  • Delayed/lost baggage ($1000)
  • Travel accident ($1m per occurrence)
  • Rental car collision loss/damage (amount that you are liable to the Rental Agency up to the actual cash value of the vehicle)
  • Hotel/motel burglary ($1000)

Annual Fee

Winner: Scotiabank Gold American Express


While Scotiabank’s Gold American Express card keeps its monthly fee at an average $120, the American Express Cobalt will cost you a bit more per year at $155.88. That being said, the Cobalt’s fee is paid monthly at $12.99, which may make a difference to some customers who prefer to pay smaller amounts incrementally than one lump sum per year.

To offset the higher fee, however, the American Express Cobalt charges no annual fee for any supplementary cards, making it cheap and easy for a family member or spouse to use it as a joint credit card. That means double the points without any additional costs. The Scotiabank Gold, however, does charge an annual fee of $29 for any additional cards on the account.

All in all, if you’re looking to have a joint account, the Cobalt’s no-fee supplementary cards could make it the better option and balance out it’s higher annual fee. For those who plan on being the only user of their card, however, the Scotiabank Gold’s lower fee is the clear choice here.


Bonuses and Rewards

Winner: Scotiabank Gold American Express


When it comes to sign-up incentives, both cards offer an introductory bonus of 50,000 points. The Scotiabank Gold, however, goes even further by also offering no annual fee for the first year plus a balance transfer interest rate of 0.00% in the first six months, making it very appealing to users interested in paying off existing debt with a dedicated plan.

The reward systems of these two cards are at times similar, but certain differences are apparent. For example, the American Express Cobalt offers:


  • 5 points per dollar on eligible restaurants and food delivery
  • 3 points per dollar on eligible streaming services
  • 2 points per dollar on travel and transit
  • 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • 1 additional point on Amex Travel Online


The Scotiabank Gold American Express features:


  • 5 points per dollar on eligible grocery stores, restaurants, fast food and drinking establishments
  • 3 points per dollar on eligible streaming services
  • 3 points per dollar on gas and daily transit
  • 5 points per dollar on eligible entertainment purchases including movies, theatre, and ticket agencies
  • 1 point per dollar one everything else


While comparable in the areas of restaurants/food, streaming services, and outside categories, the Scotiabank Gold takes the lead here with their extra point per dollar on transit purchases and their five points per dollar on non-streaming entertainment purchases such as movies and live events. 

The extra point offered by the Cobalt by booking through their Amex Travel Online portal is a nice perk, but it doesn’t quite stack up against the extra value offered by the Scotiabank Gold.

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Point Values

Winner: American Express Cobalt


This is a category where the American Express Cobalt certainly has an edge. Both cards offer a basic travel point value of 1 percent ($0.01), but the extra value earned through Amex’s Fixed Points Travel Program is what sets it apart.

Points redeemed with a Scotiabank Gold Amex can be used to book travel arrangements through their Scotia Rewards full-service agency or the Scotiabank app as a statement credit. You can also use points to pay any taxes and fees.

The American Express Cobalt, however, offers you a few different ways to redeem your points:


  • Through their Fixed Points Travel Program, which allows you to see exactly how many points you’ll need for flights to specific destinations, making last-minute travel plans easier. You’ll also receive a higher point value through the program: up to 1.75 percent versus the traditional 1 percent.
  • Transferring your American Express Membership Select points to Bonvoy points
  • Using their standard flat rate of 1 percent ($0.01) for any flight on the airline of your choice


While the Fixed Points Travel Program has much to offer, it does require a bit of detective work. Point values are prone to fluctuation, affecting which flights will give you the most bang for your buck. It also only applies to round-trip flights out of Canada, so those looking to take advantage of it’s higher value while travelling through Europe, for example, will be sorely out of luck.

That being said, it still gives the American Express Cobalt a huge advantage when it comes to point value, landing it the win in this category.


Special Features

Winner: Scotiabank Gold American Express


Both cards offer some great perks, but the Scotiabank Gold has a slight edge over it’s Cobalt competitor thanks to fancy travel benefits such as round-the-clock concierge service and access to VIP airport lounges.

The American Express Cobalt, for its part, offers the ability to transfer points to popular frequent flyer/loyalty programs such as Aeroplan, Avios, and Marriott Bonvoy for discounts on flights and hotels. Card users can also redeem points for travel or merchandise through their Membership Rewards Program and gain early-bird access to popular ticketed events through American Express Front of the Line, but there currently isn’t much else in the way of fun perks. 

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express, customers can redeem travel points through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service as well as benefit from Amex’s Front of the Line program, but there are a few extra perks for travellers that set it apart. Most notably, users of the Scotiabank Gold card don’t pay foreign transaction fees - a big help when using the card abroad. Add to that the aforementioned access to 24/7 concierge and VIP airport lounges, and you’ve got a lot of great reasons to take this card with you anytime you travel.


Travel Insurance

Winner: Scotiabank Gold American Express


Rest assured you’ll be well taken care of while travelling abroad with either one of these cards, but the Scotiabank Gold American Express provides insurance coverage that’s a little more extensive. 

For example, in the event of a medical emergency while travelling, the Scotiabank Gold provides coverage up to $1,000,000 for the first 25 days of your trip, while the Cobalt’s coverage only lasts for 15 days. It’s worth noting that the Cobalt’s coverage amount is much higher at $5,000,000, but an argument could be made that the Gold’s length of coverage is more valuable to the average traveller. 

Similarly, the Scotiabank Gold’s travel accident insurance has you covered for up to $1,000,000 per incident when you charge at least 75% of your carrier tickets (plane, train, etc.) to the card, while the Cobalt’s coverage isn’t quite as generous, offering only $250,000 providing you charge the entirety of your carrier tickets to the card. 

The Scotiabank Gold also offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance of up to $1500 per person for travel expenses, something which doesn’t factor into the Cobalt’s insurance coverage at all.

There are certain areas where the American Express Cobalt comes out on top, though, such as it’s excellent coverage in case of car rental theft or damage. In this event, Cobalt users would receive up to $85,000 in the first 48 days provided they charged their rental car to the card. The Scotiabank Gold’s offer has similar terms, but only offers coverage of up to $65,000.

All in all, however, while both cards offer extensive travel insurance coverage, the Scotiabank Gold wins out here for going the extra mile. 

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Spending Scenario


While each card features excellent rewards, we decided to compare them directly in a spending scenario to see which one earns a better value.

















Everything else


Total Monthly Spend


Scotiabank Gold American Express: 


Monthly spending


First-year rewards (with sign-up bonus)

99,320 points

Subsequent years

69,320 points


American Express Cobalt:

Monthly spending


First-year rewards (with sign-up bonus)


Subsequent years

65,480 points


The bottom line


While both cards are among the best options for travellers and rewards-seekers alike, the Scotiabank Gold American Express comes slightly ahead in our comparison due to its more impressive welcome offer, lower annual fee, extensive points program and generous insurance coverage. 

That being said, the American Express Cobalt still wins out when it comes to point value due to it’s excellent Fixed Points Travel Program, so if earning points on travel is your highest priority, it may still be the best choice.

Let us know how you feel about each card and how they stack up in the comments section below.



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