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
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.
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.