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
Hey Ricky, I know this post is quite dated, and but I’ve noticed it’s been updated from time to time. I do have one question that I couldn’t get a clear answer from here or AMEX’s website. Would carshare services like Evo in Vancouver be considered part of the 2x MR points category? Carshare companies like Evo are technically a considered a “travel” merchant right?
Would this card be 5x the points for FreshPrep meals as well?
I am confused between getting the cobalt card or the gold card. Most of my spending is on Phone bills, gas and groceries, and I would get 5x points on groceries with cobalt and only 2x with gold. However, I intend to use the points for flights rather than hotels as I already have an Marriot bonvoy card for hotels? Any suggestion on which card to get?
I have received the 20K bonus points but the monthly spend points are not showing up. Is it possible they will award these at the end of the year in a lump sum?
I recently go to this card and have seen them monthly bonus on my rewards statement
Best card on the market by far. Lounges are operating at reduced hours in Canada at the moment. My platinum card was almost useless travelling recently. 5x the points to earn 50000 aeroplan points for a business class ticket to Toronto? With rbc 10000 isnt even enough for economy to Calgary from Vancouver. Way better value than anything out there. Thanks Ricky for tips on travel.
With the recent changes to the cobalt and gold cards, are the cobalt points still considered Mr select points despite the new 1:1 Aeroplan transfer rate?
Hi there! So I applied for the card when the incognito offer appeared for me. Upon receiving all documents and creating my online account, I don’t see any mentions of this extra bonus whatsoever. I understand that I need to spend $3,000 within the first three months before I can earn the points, but is it normal that it isn’t mentioned anywhere?
Yes, it’s normal for incognito offers to be treated this way. As long as you spend $3,000 in the first three months, you should get the extra 20,000 MR points.
You can’t transfer to Aeroplan though? Correct.
You are the reason why we’ve flown for free for the past 2 years Ricky thanks for being awesome
“Also, upon spending $3,000 within the first three months, you can earn an additional 20,000 MR Select points.”
This doesn’t seem to be mentioned on their website currently. “Also, upon spending $3,000 within the first three months, you can earn an additional 20,000 MR Select points. ”
Has it been removed as they are making those other changes in the next 2 weeks?
Was looking to get the card but I only do annual fee cards when they do a serious bonus.
Hello, I’ve been told by an agent from AE that through a referral link, I won’t get the extra 30k points. It’s only directly through their website that those extra points are available. Is that true?
Yes. It’s an “incognito offer” which is only available through the public site, and it doesn’t always appear.
Hello Ricky you had written that Cobalt was changing their policy that points earned through Cobalt AE could be converted to Aeroplan points. I applied for this card for this reason. Please confirm that this is indeed the case.
Hi Ricky! Can I transfer the MR points from the cobalt card to Aeroplan points?
Cobalt MR points are really MR Select (although not marketed as such by Amex). You can’t transfer them directly to Aeroplan or other airline programs, but you can transfer them to many airlines via Marriott Bonvoy at a rate of 2:1.
Can I transfer MR-S points to my RBC Avion card? Or vice-versa?
I’m thinking of cancelling either Cobalt or Avion but I’m not sure where to transfer points.
The two points currencies are not interchangeable. You could convert Cobalt points to Marriott Bonvoy for hotel stays, or RBC Avion points to Avios, Asia Miles, American Airlines, or WestJet Rewards for flights.
Hi, when transferring the MR points to fixed points travel, can you use the points on a one way trip? And can you use them as part payment if you don’t have enough to cover the full cost?
Do you know what the minimum credit score needed to be approved for Amex Cobalt?
Hi Ricky, do you know of the Cobalt gives 5X points return on food delivery compagnies such as Goodfood and Cookit? I am asking since I curently have the Scotia Amex Gold but I am considering switching to the Cobalt since the Amex Gold no longer gives me 5X the points on my Goodfood purchases. Thanks in advance!
I can personally confirm that Cobalt gives 5x on Goodfood!
Thanks Ricky, this is an enticing promo.
I currently have a Cobalt with 280k MR-S. I am considering transferring those points to Marriott @ the usual rate of 1.25, then cancelling and reapplying just before the May 5 expiry of this promo, to try to earn the 45k SUB.
Do you expect another MR-S to Marriott 25% transfer bonus anytime soon? If so, I am better off to keep my 280k MR-S points and wait for the transfer bonus (especially since there is no guarantee Amex will honour the 45k SUB if I’ve recently cancelled the card).
It’s a usual rate of 1:1.2. I wouldn’t expect another 25% bonus until later in 2021, perhaps one year after the first one we saw in September 2020 (although there’s no guarantee it will come back again).
If your plan is to transfer to Bonvoy eventually and you want another shot at the 45K (even if it’s uncertain), I’d go ahead and transfer now. Alternatively, get an Amex Choice Card and park your points there while waiting for the next 25% bonus.
I’m an international student living in Ontario and I’ll need travel to Asia, Bangladesh specifically every year. I intend to rack up points to use towards the high priced tickets and maybe even upgrade the seats where applicable. Should I apply for this card ? Or should I apply for the AMEX gold rewards card even though it has lower points per spending?
Ordinarily, the Gold Card would be recommended over the Cobalt for the purposes of earning flights and upgrades, as the Cobalt’s MR Select points can only be transferred to hotel partners and not airline partners.
However, keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post which *could* make the Cobalt a lot more interesting for flights.
Is there still a$100 stmt credit for ticketmaster because I cant seem to find the link. Expired maybe?
If you follow the Ticketmaster link above, you’ll see the $100 Ticketmaster statement credit listed among the benefits.
I suppose, those 5x earning rates are in Canada only? Has anyone tried using it overseas?
Overseas works too, as long as the merchant is coded as a restaurant.
Can anyone tell me when the 30,000 cap resets – I thought there was a specific date that was not tied to the card activation date so called AMEX – who had no idea – and also could not tell me when I reached the cap etc.
It resets on your cardmembership anniversary date, I believe.
With the new cap on the 5x spend for cobalt, can I add a supplementary card and get another $30,000 at the 5x earn rate?
Nope, the $30,000 limit is across the account, regardless of primary or supplementary cardholders. To get another $30,000 limit, you’d need to apply with a different individual as the primary cardholder, or cancel and reapply on your own.