Launched in early 2018, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite entered the fray as the only credit card from the country’s big banks to completely waive its foreign transaction fees (and made headlines for doing so). But its appeal doesn’t stop there.
One of the best travel credit cards in Canada, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is packed with other perks frequent travellers care about like airport lounge access, a strong sign-up bonus, and flexible points that can be redeemed for flights on any airline.
For everything you need to know about this card, read our full breakdown below.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite – quick review
- It’s one of just a dozen credit cards in Canada with no foreign transaction fees. Aside from Scotia, none of the other big banks offer credit cards that save you money on international purchases.
- You’ll receive a complimentary Priority Pass membership with six free annual passes to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide (value of $291 USD).
- As a new Scotiabank cardholder, you can get 25,000 bonus points (up to $250 value).
- You’ll earn two times the points for every dollar you spend on groceries, dining, entertainment, and daily transit (including taxis and Ubers).
- The Scotia Rewards program is easy to understand (1 point = 1% off your travel purchase) and flexible (redeem points for flights on any airline).
- The card comes with several types of insurance, including travel emergency medical coverage, trip cancellation/interruption, flight delay, lost baggage, and more.
- You can add a supplementary cardholder at no extra cost (most other premium cards charge an additional $39-$50).
- The card has an annual fee of $139, which is slightly higher than the $120 annual fee found on many other travel rewards cards.
- You can earn more points on your everyday spending on a handful of other rewards cards, like the Scotiabank Gold American Express.
- It has an income requirement of $60,000 (or $100,000 as a household), which means it might be out of reach for some.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite – detailed breakdown
No foreign transaction fees
One of the greatest perks of this card – and arguably what it’s known for most – is that it comes with no foreign transaction fees.
You might not realize it, but almost every credit card charges a 2.5% foreign transaction fee on top of the exchange rate whenever you use it to make a purchase in a non-Canadian currency — like when swiping your card while travelling in Europe or shopping online in US dollars.
If you’re a frequent traveller or expect to spend a lot in foreign currencies, that can add up. For instance, if you budget $1,000 for food and transit during your one week vacation in London, this fee would typically cost you an extra $25 just for the convenience of using a credit card.
By saving you the cost of foreign transaction fees, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite lets you stick to credit while travelling and avoid carrying huge wads of foreign cash or relying heavily on currency exchange offices (which tack on their own costly fees, especially in tourist hot spots).
Additionally, using a credit card abroad means you get the added security of pin and purchase protection while also earning rewards on your spending. In the case of the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, you’ll earn Scotia Rewards points on all your international purchases along with saving on foreign transaction fees.
Airport lounge benefits
The other great perk of the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is that it comes with a complimentary membership to Priority Pass and its network of over 1,200 airport lounges. It also comes with six free annual passes, letting you access lounges half a dozen times a year without having to pay additional entrance fees.
The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite’s lounge access stands out for two reasons.
First, if you were to purchase the equivalent benefits from Priority Pass directly, it would set you back $291 USD every year – which on its own is over double the card’s annual fee.
Second, whereas most credit cards with lounge access come with two to four free annual passes to lounges, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite offers six.
This card has a sign-up promotion of 25,000 Scotia Rewards points if you spend $1,000 with the first three months of receiving the card. The value of a Scotia Reward point is equal to $0.01 when redeemed for travel, meaning that the sign-up bonus is worth up to $250. The one drawback is this offer doesn’t include a first year annual fee waiver like some other cards do.
There’s also the ability to earn an additional 10,000 points annually, but only if you spend $40,000 every year (or about $3,333 monthly). While that’s a steep spending threshold to hit, since this is a recurring offer, it could add an additional $100 in travel value each year if you’re a big spender. The annual period for this offer starts when the account is opened and resets every 12 months.
Rewards on everyday spending
You’ll earn 2 Scotia Rewards points for every dollar you spend on groceries, dining, entertainment, and transit (including taxis, subway, buses, and rideshares including Uber).
On all other purchases, you’ll earn 1 Scotia Reward point for every dollar you spend.
When redeemed for travel, 1 Scotia point equals $0.01, so in a way, this card acts like a cash back card for your travel purchases.
It’s worth noting that the card does have a slightly lower everyday earn rate than some comparable rewards credit cards, like the Scotiabank Gold American Express. But the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is a well-rounded card that offers a ton of added value with its side perks that are tailored to travellers like its no foreign transaction fees, lounge access, and strong travel insurance package (more on that below).
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite travel insurance
It’s always reassuring to have travel insurance. Luckily, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite’s insurance benefits are some of the best of any travel rewards card. Here’s an overview of what this card offers:
|Travel emergency medical||$1 million per insured person (25 days for age 64 and under, but 10 days for age 65 and older)|
|Trip cancellation||$2,500 per person (up to $10,000 per trip)|
|Trip interruption||$2,500 per person (up to $10,000 per trip)|
|Flight delay||Up to $500 per person per trip|
|Delayed and lost luggage||Up to $1,000 per trip after only 4 hours|
|Hotel/motel burglary||Up to $1,000 per occurrence in Canada or the US|
|Rental car collision/loss damage||For vehicles up to $65,000 in value (for 48 days)|
|Common carrier travel accident||Up to $500,000 per person/up to $1 million per occurrence|
There’s also purchase insurance and price drop protection included. Most personal items are covered against loss, theft, or damage if the full cost of the item is charged to the card. Coverage extends for the first 90 days from the purchase date up to $60,000 and is in addition to other insurance coverage.
Redeeming Scotia Rewards points
Scotia Points are super flexible and can be redeemed:
- On the Scotia Rewards website;
- Using the Scotia Rewards Travel Service; or
- By applying your points to a travel expense (flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals, or vacation packages) you paid for on your card from any travel provider or website up to 12 months after your purchase.
As mentioned earlier, the value of 1 Scotia Reward point is always equal to $0.01 for travel. That makes it easier to determine the value of a point compared to most other travel rewards programs. Keep in mind though, you must redeem points in a minimum of 5,000 increments.
When redeeming points for anything non-travel related (like gift cards or merchandise), you’ll likely get less than $0.01 per point in value – so it’s best to stick to using your points for travel related redemptions. If you’re not much of a traveller and want to use your rewards to save on your everyday spending, consider checking out some of the best cash back credit cards in Canada instead.
Fees, interest rates, and income requirements
The card has an annual fee of $139, which is a little higher than some other travel rewards cards that charge around $120. That said, there isn’t an additional annual fee for adding your first authorized user – so you can pick up a supplementary card for your partner or family member at no extra cost. Most other premium cards charge around $50 to $39 a year for adding a supplementary cardholder.
The purchase interest rate is 19.99% if you have an unpaid balance and the cash advance rate is 22.99%.
To qualify for the card, you need to have an annual income of at least $60,000 or a minimum household income of $100,000.
The card gives you free Avis Preferred Plus membership, which offers up to 25% off car rentals in Canada and the U.S. as well as complimentary upgrades (when available). You also get a special number to call for reservations and customer support.
As a Visa Infinite cardmember, you also have access to the Visa Infinite concierge, who can help you with airline or hotel reservations, pre-trip planning, ticket or event bookings, and restaurant reservations.
You also have access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection—a selection of more than 900 hotels around the world. You get a best available rate guarantee, free daily breakfast for two, an automatic room upgrade or late checkout (when available), and a $25 food or beverage credit.