The American Express Cobalt Card is one of the most popular cards in Canada, and for good reason. It’s the ultimate lifestyle card, earning incomparable rewards on groceries and restaurants, with an extremely flexible points program.
Bonuses & Fees
Eschewing the traditional credit card model, the Cobalt Card is designed as a “monthly membership” card, offering a bonus of up to 30,000 Membership Rewards 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 points, for a total of 30,000 MR points.
The annual fee of $155.88 is also charged on a month-to-month basis – each month, you’ll be on the hook for a “Membership Fee Installment” of $12.99.
As a cardholder, you’ll earn 5,000 MR points for every referral you make, up to a maximum of 75,000 MR 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 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”
- 3 MR points per dollar spent on eligible streaming services, which include Apple TV+, Apple Music, Crave, Disney+, fuboTV, hayu, Netflix, RDS, SiriusXM Canada, Spotify, and TSN
- 2 MR 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 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
These elevated category-specific earning rates apply up until a combined maximum of $30,000 in purchases annually. After, all spending will earn 1 MR point per dollar spend, regardless of category.
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.
The Membership Rewards program offers outstanding redemption opportunities as well. This is primarily because it’s a flexible, transferable rewards currency.
You can transfer your MR points at a 1:1 ratio to Aeroplan and British Airways Avios, as well as a host of other global frequent flyer programs (including Cathay Pacific Asia Miles) at a 1:0.75 ratio. Moreover, you also have the option of converting points to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1.2 ratio for booking hotel stays.
Furthermore, you can redeem MR points directly for flights through the Amex Fixed Points Travel reward chart, although these are limited to round-trip flights departing from Canada.
Essentially, you can use a fixed amount of points towards the base ticket price of a regular cash ticket, up to a certain maximum. The number of points required and the maximum ticket price depends on the geographical region you are visiting (you can only book roundtrip flights that originate in Canada).
Lastly, you have the option of redeeming MR points directly against travel purchases at a rate of 1 cent per point (cpp), although this is typically not recommended, as the value pales in comparison to what you could get by booking flights through Aeroplan, Avios, or even the Fixed Points Travel chart.
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