CrN, TiN and Ti-B-N coatings were deposited onto H13 hot-working tool steel and alumina substrates by arc-PVD. The coatings were characterized with respect to their mechanical and structural properties. Oxidation behavior of the coatings on alumina substrates was investigated by TG/DTA. Samples coated on H13 substrates were oxidized in a tube furnace under atmospheric conditions at specific temperatures determined from TG/DTA tests of the same coatings deposited on alumina substrates. The oxide scale morphology was characterized by scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. Oxide scale thickness change and TG data were used to calculate oxidation reaction activation energies. It was determined that boron addition into TiN coating improves not only mechanical properties but also oxidation resistance. Depending on the substrate material different oxidation activation energy values for the TiN and Ti-B-N coatings were determined revealing the importance of film morphology on oxidation resistance.