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Travel Sooner — and Cheaper — With the Scotiabank Passport Debit Card

This post is sponsored by Scotiabank

We here at are big fans of rewards programs; we constantly exchange tips and tricks to make sure we’re maximizing the rewards we receive from our chosen rewards program.

Travel rewards programs are a priority for many of us; specifically, credit cards that offer the most points for our spending, along with travel benefits and uncomplicated points structures.

But what about those who have an aversion to using credit day-to-day? Maybe, in the past, you’ve had an issue with racking up too much debt and prefer to operate “in the black” each month by strictly using debit. Maybe you’re younger than the age of majority — and therefore can’t qualify for a credit card — but still want to collect points.

Well, previously, you would be left out of the travel points game. Not any longer.

Scotiabank recently launched its Scotiabank Passport Debit Card, which earns its users one point for every $5 spent (5,000 Scotia Rewards points is the equivalent of $50 in travel savings).  For a limited time, those who sign up for a chequing account earn up to 10,000 Scotia Rewards points*. So, that’s the equivalent of $100 toward your next trip.

The debit card can be used with any of Scotiabank’s three chequing accounts. Below are some details to help you decide which best suits your current spending habits.

Scotia One Chequing Account

Cost: $13.95 per month
Transactions: Unlimited self-serve and teller transactions, two free Interac e-Transfers per month
Limited time bonus points when opening account: 10,000*

Basic Banking Plan

Cost: $10.95 per month
Transactions: 25 per month, two free Interac e-Transfers
Bonus points when opening account: 5,000*

Basic Banking Account

Cost: $3.95 per month
Transactions: 12 per month, two free Interac e-Transfers
Bonus points when opening account: 5,000*

Bundle for even more rewards

Promotional signups are a great way to earn a large chunk of points right off the bat. As mentioned, opening up a new chequing account with the Scotiabank Passport Debit Card will earn you up to 10,000 points.

However, Scotiabank is also offering a Travel Banking Bundle that will help kick-start your travel plans even more aggressively.

For a limited time, those who open a Scotia Rewards eligible chequing account, along with a Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card, and a Scotiabank Momentum Plus Savings Account will earn 35,000 Scotia Rewards bonus points*.

How to travel like a champion with Scotia Rewards

If you choose to go the bundle route, you’ll set yourself up to travel sooner – and cheaper – than you may have thought possible. To maximize the travel benefits of the Scotia Rewards program, you need to take advantage of what the rewards cards offer.

Let’s see how many points you can realistically earn per year.

Once you’ve opened the accounts, make sure to transfer your automatic monthly bill payments to your new Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card (this includes monthly subscriptions such as Netflix, insurance payments, gym membership payments, etc.). The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card offers two Scotia Rewards points on every $1 spent on groceries, dining, entertainment, and transit purchases and one point per dollar on other purchases.

Let’s say you spend, per month, $200 on groceries, $200 eating out, $20 on movies, and $100 on transit for a total of $520.

Paying these monthly bills with the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card will earn 1,040 points per month or 12,480 per year.

All other spending can, of course, be put on the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card to earn more points. Or, if you prefer, you can use the Scotiabank Passport Debit Card.

According to the most recent Statistics Canada data, the average household spends $46,080 per year (excluding shelter, income taxes, and pension/insurance payments). We’ll also exclude the spending on the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card mentioned above for a new total of $39,840.

If all that spending is done with the Scotiabank Passport Debit Card, the average household could earn an additional 7,968 Scotia Rewards points per year. So, with the limited time welcome bonus and a year’s worth of spending, you could potentially earn 55,448 points in your first year.

Not to mention the added benefits the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card :

  • Priority Pass membership (which includes six passes per year)
  • No Foreign Currency Conversion mark-up (only the exchange rate applies)
  • Comprehensive travel insurance

These features will take you farther and make your travels more enjoyable.

Additional travel tips

Points are one way to save money for travel. You can also save on flights by using apps such as Hopper or Skyscanner – services that watch for flights and suggest best times to book. Set a travel date and destination, and you’ll receive alerts when prices are expected to drop or increase.

You should also set a budget and stick to it when planning a trip. If you know you want to get away in a year’s time, set a hard budget goal and make sure to save it each month. For example, saving $200 per month for 12 months will net $2,400 total for your travel plans. To make it less enticing to dip into that travel fund, stash it in a separate savings account apart from your day-to-day chequing account.

Add your points to that fund (or use points in place of part of it) and you’re well on your way to travelling sooner and for cheaper than you might have planned.

*Conditions Apply.  Visit for more details.

Photo by Steven Lewis on Unsplash