Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Review – No Foreign Transaction Fees!

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Earlier this year, Chase Canada closed their entire credit card portfolio. They were one of the best options for Canadians to get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. There are few alternatives now, but the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is a great option for folks who spend a lot in foreign currencies. Despite Scotiabank not being highly ranked in comparison to the other major banks, they’ve really innovated with their credit card products. This includes the Scotiabank Gold American Express, which you can leverage for up to 4% back on all your purchases.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Review

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite offers 25,000 Scotia Rewards points after spending $1,000 in three months. The card earns 2 Scotia Rewards points per dollar on purchases at Grocery Stores, Dining, Entertainment, and Transit. This is a fairly comprehensive bonus category. This applies worldwide to all merchants, so you can earn bonus points and save on foreign transaction fees.

The card awards 1 point on all other purchases, and 10,000 bonus points after $40,000 in purchases each year. After that, you earn 2,000 points for each additional $10,000 in spend. This translates to up to a 2.25% return on purchases in bonus categories.

Scotia Rewards is a flexible rewards program, which lets you redeem points at a fixed ratio for travel. One important feature is that you can redeem them on items you buy with the card. This lets you use your points on award ticket taxes and fees. You can also effectively cash you your points if you book travel you later have to refund – your redemption isn’t reversed.

Scotia Rewards - Redeem Points for Travel

Scotia Rewards – Redeem Points for Travel

While the annual fee is $139, the welcome bonus is worth more than that. Customers who have a Scotia Total Equity Plan get a reduced $69 fee. One supplementary cardholder is free, allowing a second person to save on foreign transaction fees. This card is an excellent choice for people who already bank with Scotia.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

No foreign transaction fees on the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite puts this at the top of the pile for non-CAD purchases.The card will use the rate posted on Visa’s website which changes daily, with no markup. Most credit cards charge 2.5% for purchases made in a foreign currency. This equates to $125 in fees if you spend $5,000 a year on foreign purchases. This is huge for travellers and those who shop across the border.

Another way to save on foreign transaction fees are by getting a credit card in the US. This is fairly straightforward with American Express Global Transfer. However, that still means you need to convert your money into US Dollars. The HomeTrust Preferred Visa also has no foreign transaction fees; however, the card has many usability issues including a limit on daily transactions, terrible online banking, not being able to change your PIN, and more. You also receive no signup bonus.

This card is the simplest solution to save on purchases in foreign currencies.

Other Card Benefits

Aside from no foreign transaction fees, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite has one of the best insurance packages out there. They are one of the few cards that offer Price Protection if there are price drops on items you buy. They also provide up to 25 days of emergency travel insurance, which is stronger than the 14 day protection that other premium cards offer.

One other interesting aspect is that their flight delay insurance only requires 75% of the full ticket cost to be charged to the card. In their terms and conditions, Aeroplan (and most other loyalty programs) state that their points have no monetary value. Theoretically, you could make the argument that the taxes and fees on redemptions satisfies this requirement (although I have no experience with this).

Priority Pass (source: Priority Pass)

Priority Pass (source: Priority Pass)

This card also offers a Priority Pass membership with six free visits per year, which I would value at a minimum of $100. If you don’t have a membership with unlimited visits from the American Express Platinum Card, this is a good alternative. Scotiabank also supports Samsung Pay, which I am a big fan of. There basically is no competitor when it comes to insurance protections on foreign currency transactions – this card is far by the best option to make your purchases on. For a complete list of all benefits, visit the application page.

Conclusion

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is one of the most well rounded credit cards in the Canadian market, with no foreign transaction fees, great rewards, and stellar card benefits. The signup bonus is worth $250, bonused purchases earn you up to a 2.25% return, and you also get 6 free Priority Pass visits. This is a fantastic option for travellers if you want a one-stop solution to your credit card needs and already bank with Scotiabank.

Application Link: Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

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Comments

  1. Sounds like a good card.

    I applied for the card in February. No response.
    I applied for the card in early June. No response.
    I sent an email quoting the application reference number, asking the status. No response.

  2. Fyi re the 75 percent of full charge travel insurance. They do try to weasel out of this. My parents had a claim where they had a trip that was part Aeroplan part cash. They charged the cash part to this card. The insurance company denied their claim valuing the Aeroplan ticket at the cash same day purchase price of that class of ticket. Several letters later to both Scotia and the insurers were met with continued denial and stonewalling, so a legal threat was issued and the claim was paid. So don’t count on this insurance when using for Aeroplan redemptions. Of course YMMV but also buyer beware.

    • Thanks for the information Adam. I’ve wondered about this myself. I’m curious as to if your parents had not paid for the cash portion of the aeroplan reward with this card (and therefore were not making a claim for the the cash portion of the aeroplan reward), would they have more readily covered the rest of their travel expenses?

      • Actually they were not making a claim for the cash portion of the Aeroplan fees exactly; perhaps I will expand to give some insight into how things can be interpreted. Due to misconnect on an itinerary the next day they had to rebook and there was a change fee. They claimed the rebooking ticket cost plus the hotel etc as it was weather related. They paid the cost of the rebook, plus the cost of the remainder of the trip that had already been booked on the separate ticket, on the card. So it depended on how you decided the value of the Aeroplan booking. If you for example took the price of a YYZ-HOU one way ticket with a 21 day advance booking (which they had made, but using Aeroplan) it was about $600 for the two of them. But a Y booking was $1200. The HOU-AKL booking was only $2200 for of them, so a $1200 Y booking exceeded the 75% threshold but a $600 or any other way of approaching it didn’t. Put another way, they DID NOT use the “no value” or 1c per redeemable mile value Aeroplan assigns. Thus buyer beware. I imagine the claim would be OK if it had just been the Aeroplan booking alone, but in a more complicated itinerary they looked for an exit. I don’t rely on CC insurance for travel. I find they like to find ways to not pay; whereas if you buy an out of pocket standalone policy they don’t (I have had to claim twice for weather delays).

  3. The 6 complimentary Priority Pass lounge passes are per calendar year? If I applied for a card June 2018, will I get another 6 passes in January of 2019, or June of 2019?

  4. Are there any ways to get the annual fee reduced? BMO and TD will waive the annual fee on their premium credit cards if you have one of their premium banking packages where you keep a minimum balance in their checking account. Any such thing for Scotia?

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