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Amex Cobalt Card: 50,000 MR Points + Major Changes!

Cometh August 16, cometh the changes to the American Express Cobalt Card.

Along with a more powerful points currency and an increase to the annual fee kicking in today, we’re also seeing a brand-new welcome bonus of 50,000 MR points to coincide with the Cobalt Card’s relaunch. 

Up to 50,000 MR Points

The standard welcome bonus on the American Express Cobalt Card has historically been 30,000 MR points, distributed over 12 monthly periods upon spending $500 each month.

The current offer adds a further bonus on top of that baseline: 20,000 MR points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months, bringing the total to 50,000 MR points. 

Currently, the offer is only available via refer-a-friend links, though I’d expect the public offer to follow shortly. 

This is the highest “official” welcome bonus we’ve ever seen on the Cobalt Card. Between May and August of 2021, we also saw 50,000 points available via Amex’s “incognito offers”, which would show up for select individuals who visited the Amex website. 

Combined with the positive changes to the Cobalt Card that kick in today, and I think it’s safe to say that this new offer is the most powerful we’ve ever seen from the Cobalt Card in all of its history. 

To optimize this offer from a spending perspective, you’d be looking at spending $3,000 in the first three months while ensuring you reach a minimum of $500 each month (e.g., $1,000 per month, or $2,000 in the first month followed by $500 in subsequent months). Then, for the remaining nine months of the year, the offer would be equivalent to before: a monthly minimum spend of $500.

This offer doesn’t specify an end date. If you’re interested, I’d recommend applying as soon as you can.

Changes to the Cobalt Card

As we found out last month, the American Express Cobalt Card undergoes some significant changes as of today:

  • Points are now transferable to airline partners, including Aeroplan and British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio
  • Eligible streaming services will now earn 3x MR points
  • The card now offers mobile device insurance of up to $1,000
  • The card’s monthly fee has increased from $10 to $12.99
    • If you were a cardholder prior to August 16, you’ll continue to pay the $10 monthly fee until your next cardholder anniversary date

Amex Cobalt Card: One of Canada’s Best Credit Cards

Even before its recent changes and especially now that the changes have kicked in, the Cobalt Card is an excellent choice for ongoing day-to-day spending, and one of our top picks for the best beginner credit cards and best overall credit cards in Canada

 

The standout feature is the ability to earn 5 MR points per dollar spent on eats and drinks, which includes restaurants, bars, cafes, takeout, delivery, and grocery purchases.

And since the points transfer 1:1 to Aeroplan, that’s effectively equal to 5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent – an earning rate that blows even Aeroplan’s own co-branded credit cards out of the water!

You can maximize your earnings even further by purchasing gift cards at the grocery store for other retailers that you’d normally shop at, thus extending the 5x earning categories to a wider range of your spending.

In this fashion, an average household can easily rack up a sizeable chunk of MR points – and in turn Aeroplan points or Marriott Bonvoy points – every year.

Indeed, at 5x the points on eats and drinks:

  • ~$4,000 of spending in this category would earn you a transcontinental business class flight at ~20,000 Aeroplan points
  • $11,000 of spending in this category would earn you a business class flight from Vancouver to Tokyo at 55,000 Aeroplan points
  • $12,000 of spending in this category would earn you a business class flight from the East Coast to Europe at 60,000 Aeroplan points
Book business class to Europe after spending $12,000 on eats and drinks

However, take note that a maximum cap of $30,000 applies to the 5x earning rate, so if you have a very large family to feed and regularly make voluminous purchases at the grocery store, then it would certainly be worth getting your partner to also sign up for the Cobalt Card under this record-high offer as well.

If both members of a household signed up for the Cobalt Card under the current offer and maximized their $30,000 allowance at the 5x rate every year going forward, they’d earn a cool 400,000 MR points in the first year, followed by 300,000 MR points in subsequent years. That’d be enough for two round-trip tickets in business class to Europe or Asia year after year. 

With the new changes that have kicked in as of August 2021, the Cobalt Card is the easiest way for the average Canadian household to travel in premium cabins on a regular basis, and that’s what makes it a truly incredible product all around.

Conclusion

The American Express Cobalt Card‘s welcome offer has been raised to 50,000 MR points, celebrating the card’s significantly improved value proposition with a newly elevated welcome bonus. If you haven’t gotten onboard the 5x points hype train yet, what are you waiting for? 

It had seemed that American Express might be taking a brief rest following their unbelievable welcome bonuses earlier this summer, but with yet another all-time-high official welcome bonus here on the Cobalt Card, it’s clear that they don’t intend to stray from their gung-ho approach.

I’m excited to see what more Amex has in store with us as we look ahead at the rest of 2021, with all eyes turning to a potential relaunch of the discontinued Gold Rewards Card now that the Cobalt Card’s transformation is completed.

31 Comments
  1. Robert

    Ricky, is AMEX really enforcing the WB ? Would like to apply for the Cobalt a second time.

  2. David

    Hi Ricky – I spent over $3,000 within the first three months but I don’t see the 20,000 bonus points in my account balance. Is this bonus awarded at the end of the first year?

    1. Silva

      I believe you would have to wait 6-8 weeks to show up

  3. Ryan

    Am I eligible for the welcome bonus as a current Amex Gold cardholder?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Yes!

  4. Frank

    Great article as usual Ricky! Just wondering do you know if AMEX do limit split between credit cards? I.e. from Aeroplan reserve to cobalt. Or if I want this one I have to apply?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Like Ron said, you’ll have to submit a new application.

    2. Ron Sigal

      Amex doesn’t do “limit split”. Need to submit a new application.

  5. Shawn

    Now that MR select can be transferred to airlines does that mean we can merge our MR points with platinum card?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Nope – it looks like MR and MR Select remain two separate tiers, so cannot be combined. It’s just that MR and MR Select are virtually identical in every other way, now that MR Select points can be transferred to airlines too, so we’ll generally refer to all of them as “MR points”.

      1. Andy

        So if I have 50k Aeroplan and converted 50k Cobalt MR points into Aeroplan, does that mean I cannot book a flight that costs 100k aeroplan total?

  6. Ping

    Really wish amex would add YouTube premium to the eligible streaming services.

  7. Archie

    Ah damn. I thought today was the last day for the $10/month fee and waited. I wish i realized yesterday 🙁

    1. Ricky YVR

      Well, there’s a higher welcome bonus now, so you’re actually better off! $200+ in value > $36 savings for sure.

  8. IM

    Would it be possible to re-post the previous Amex Cobalt Incognito offer from a couple of month ago? I applied under that expired offer and cannot locate the details of the spend threshold/time period to receive the 50,000 points. It looks like the thread was updated today with the new Cobalt offer. Thanks.

    1. Ricky YVR

      The details were exactly the same as the current offer: 2,500 MR points for each of the first 12 months that you spend $500, as well as 20,000 MR points for spending $3,000 in the first three months.

      1. IM

        Thanks so much Ricky. Much appreciated. FYI I love your site.

  9. Cheri

    I have had the Amex Cobalt card in the past. Am I ineligible to sign up and get this great bonus?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Technically, yes, you are ineligible. However, it’s still worth getting the Cobalt Card for the ongoing 5x points that can be transferred to airlines, and who knows – you might just get the bonus anyway.

  10. Ron Sigal

    Is there any word on whether the MR-S earned on the Business Edge card will become convertible to airline points? If not, the Business Edge card will be the only one with MR that are not convertible to airline points.

    1. Ron Sigal

      I just checked on the Amex MR account associated with my Business Edge card, and it appears that one can transfer these MR to airlines now.

      1. Ricky YVR

        It definitely seems like MR Select as a whole has become transferable to airlines, even though it was initially indicated that no changes were coming to the Business Edge. A pleasant surprise!

  11. Asaf Halperin

    Can u send the link to the Cobalt card and, do we get extra points for sharing the link with others?

  12. steve

    Any thoughts on when we should see a revamp of the Plat and Gold cards? With the 10x dining/grocery coming to an end soon, and the Gold card now more or less collecting dust in a drawer, I’m sick of paying big annual fees for so little earning value.

    1. Ricky YVR

      I can only offer my predictions – I think we’ll most likely see a Gold relaunch before the end of the year, and Platinum revamp next year perhaps. Again, pure speculation here though.

  13. Spartac YUL

    Will the possibility to transfer to AP appear at some later point in time? So far I see only the usual two suspects under “Transfer Points” (Bonvoy and Hilton)

    1. Ricky YVR

      It should be there now!

  14. GW

    Other than converting to Bonvoy, is there any other advantage to the Cobalt card over the Scotia Gold Amex?

      1. Josh YVR

        Yes and no – our valuations place a premium on flexibility, and Amex also has the fixed points flight chart. If your preferred redemption is to cash out for statement credit for general travel expenses, you won’t get that extra value, and the two cards are almost identical.

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