Canada's best transferrable points currency
Eschewing the traditional credit card model, the Cobalt Card is designed as a “monthly membership” card, offering a bonus of up to 45,000 Membership Rewards Select points over the course of the first 12 months of your membership.
Here’s how it works: for each monthly billing cycle during the first 12 months that you complete $500 in spending, you’ll earn 2,500 MR Select points. You’ll earn an additional 15,000 MR Select points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
Purchases made during the first three months count towards both requirements. For example, if you spend $1,000 in each of the first three months, you’d earn monthly bonuses for each month, plus the additional 15,000 points.
The annual fee of $120 is also charged on a month-to-month basis – each month, you’ll be on the hook for a “Membership Fee Installment” of $10.
As a cardholder, you’ll earn 5,000 MR Select points for every referral you make, up to a maximum of 75,000 MR Select points per calendar year. You can also add supplementary cards for free.
The American Express Cobalt Card is a game changer when it comes to the returns on daily spending. You’ll earn:
5 MR Select points per dollar spent on groceries & dining, specifically “(i) restaurant, quick service restaurant, coffee shop and drinking establishments in Canada, (ii) stand-alone grocery stores in Canada, (iii) delivery of food and groceries in Canada as a primary business”
2 MR Select points per dollar spent on travel purchases, transit, and transportation, specifically “(i) stand-alone automobile gasoline stations in Canada, (ii) travel services or travel bookings including air, water, rail and road transport, lodging and tour operator sales, (iii) local commuter transportation in Canada including subway, streetcar, taxi, limousine and ride sharing services”
1 MR Select point per dollar spent on all other purchases
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Amex has the millennial demographic locked in their sights with this credit card. As someone who’s often lumped into the millennial category myself, I can attest to the fact that the vast majority of my spending goes towards food and travel, and I do indeed get amazing value out of this card.
This is also the only 5x category multiplier on spending in Canada, which is something our neighbours down in the US have had for many, many years.
In terms of best uses for MR Select points, they can be converted to the Marriott loyalty program at a 1:1.2 ratio, or put towards booking a flight via Amex Fixed Points Travel.
The major coverage categories are pretty much all included, with the exception of Trip Interruption and Trip Cancellation. In particular, the following benefits are included:
Emergency medical insurance, of up to $5,000,000 per insured person
Lost, stolen, or damaged baggage insurance, of up to $500
Baggage delay insurance, of up to $500
Car rental loss or damage insurance, so you can save on the insurance fees usually charged by car rental companies
Hotel or motel burglary insurance, of up to $500
I applaud the move by Amex to include medical travel insurance on the card. A lot of younger travellers I know don’t see the need to obtain travel insurance before each trip, or don’t want to deal with the hassle, especially if they’re often on the road. (I’m often guilty of this myself.) The fact that travel insurance is included if you book your trip with the Cobalt Card is sure to be appealing to many cardholders.