I’ve been critical of vehicle rewards programs in the past. That’s because it can take years of high spending to earn anything substantial and these programs have tended to be light on earnings and overly complicated to redeem.

Scotiabank is looking to buck that trend with its new suite of vehicle rewards cards that offers some of the richest rewards in the market. Scotia has partnered with GM to launch the Scotiabank GM Visa card and Visa Infinite card. Here’s how they work:

Scotiabank GM Visa Card

The no-fee version of this card allows you to earn 5 percent in GM Earnings on the first $5,000 in annual spending and 2 percent back on purchases afterwards. There are no limits or caps on how much you can earn in a year, and your points will never expire.

Annual purchasesGM Earnings (Year 1)GM Earnings (Year 3)GM Earnings (Year 5)
$5,000$250$750$1,250
$10,000$350$1,050$1,750
$20,000$550$1,650$2,750
$30,000$750$2,250$3,750

Every dollar in GM Earnings equals one dollar towards the total purchase price or lease down payment of any eligible new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac.

Customers can start redeeming points at $1 and can combine GM Earnings with any in-market offers.

Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite Card

The Infinite version gives customers an earnings boost with 5 percent in GM Earnings on the first $10,000 in annual spending and 2 percent back on purchases afterwards. Like the no-fee version, there are no limits or caps on how much you can earn in a year, and your points will never expire.

Annual purchasesGM Earnings (Year 1)GM Earnings (Year 3)GM Earnings (Year 5)
$5,000$250$750$1,250
$10,000$500$1,500$2,500
$20,000$700$2,100$3,500
$30,000$900$2,700$4,500

Some quick math shows that you’re better off with the Infinite version when you spend at least $10,000 on your card in a year. Because it’s an Infinite card, you’ll need personal income of $60,000, or household income of $100,000 in order to qualify.

Final thoughts

No doubt that Scotia and GM have teamed up to offer a very compelling rewards program. The question remains – is it worth waiting years to cash in on vehicle rewards?

Keep in mind that you don’t need your rewards to cover the entire vehicle purchase. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle in the short-term you can use your GM Earnings to cover a portion of your purchase.

I reached out to Jennifer Douglas, head of credit cards at Scotiabank, about the new Scotia-GM Visa cards. She said the company spoke with its customers when developing this new program.

“They told us what they were looking for in an automotive rewards card – a simple value proposition (easy to earn, easy to redeem). This card meets that need directly,” she said.

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