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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 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.
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).
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.
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