American Express Cobalt Review (It Deserves a Spot In Your Wallet)

I had read many times that the American Express Cobalt was one of the best rewards travel cards in Canada. I was skeptical and stuck to my usual sign up bonus for new cards and then cancel them after receiving the bonus. However, I have changed my tune and will happily pay the $155.88 annual fee for the value that you can receive from this card.

Do you want an International economy flight for $155.88? (Or more international flights for $155.88 if you spend more…)

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Benefits of the American Express Cobalt

In your first year as a Cobalt cardmember, you are eligible to receive 1250 American Express MR points for every $750 in net purchases spending. That means in your first year if you spend $750 on purchases on your card each month, or $9000 in the first year, you can have 15,000 bonus American Express Membership Rewards.

You get 5x the points for eligible grocery stores, restaurants, bars, cafés, and even food delivery in Canada. Just be careful, some things may seem like they would earn you 5x the points but they don’t. For example, getting your groceries at Walmart is not a 5x multiplier but getting your groceries at Save-On-Foods is. Rewards Canada has a great list of the confirmed 5x multiplier locations across Canada and in specific provinces (in additional to certain locations internationallly).

You get 3x the points for streaming subscriptions in Canada.

You get 2x the points for transit, gas purchases, and travel.

Finally, you get 1x the points for all other spending.

So, if you spend $1000 a month on groceries and dining out (drinks and eats), then you will get 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points. With the 15,000 first year bonus, you will have 75,000 Membership Rewards in your first year.

That’s enough points for one return economy flight to Asia with an Aeroplan redemption.

Unfortunately $1000 a month for a family of four is not difficult to do given food inflation and the high cost of dining out in Canada.

American Express Cobalt Rewards

The crown jewel of it all is the ability to earn American Express Membership Rewards® Points quickly. American Express MR points are so valuable and flexible, especially if you want to redeem for flights and transfer your points to frequent flyer programs.

Amex Cobalt Points to Aeroplan transfer 1:1. So if you have 45,000 MR points, you will get 45,000 Aeroplan points. The transfer is done in 30 minutes. Transferring points is quick and easy.

Here’s a complete list of the American Express Membership Rewards Travel Partners.

In summary:

Transferring American Express Membership Rewards is 1:1 for Aeroplan and British Airways Avios.

Transferring American Express Membership Rewards is 1000 to 750 points for Etihad, Delta Skymiles, Asia Miles, Air France KLM Flying Blue.

For hotel partners, the transfer is 1000 MR points to 1000 Hilton Honors points and for Marriott Bonvoy it is 1:1.2 Marriott Bonvoy points.

The minimum transfer amount is 1000 points.

As you can see, quite flexible what you can do with your American Express MR points. You can also redeem for a statement credit (I would not recommend this though) as it is not as good use of the points. The statement credit is 1000 MR points for $10 credit.

They also have a rewards catalogue and you can redeem for gift cards of course and these are not really great use of the points as well.

Cobalt Annual Fee

Instead of charging an annual fee, the Cobalt’s monthly fee is $12.99. This is charged with each statement credit you get.

Essentially this makes the annual fee $155.88.

Cobalt Annual Interest Rate

The rate is 20.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances. It goes without saying you have to be diligent and responsible with credit cards otherwise the interest paid will negate any benefits you receive with the card.

American Express Cobalt Card Eligibility

There is no minimum income requirement needed to be eligible to apply for the American Express Cobalt.

You have to be a Canadian resident at the age of majority in your province or territory.

Cobalt Insurance Offerings

They have the usual card offerings such as:

  • Mobile device insurance
  • Out of province emergency medical insurance
  • Trip interruption insurance (or flight delay insurance)
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Hotel burglary insurance
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance
  • $250,000 travel accident insurance
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance

American Express Cobalt Referral

Once you get on the Cobalt gravy train, you’ll probably want to tell your friends and family about it. In the American Express login, when you look at your Cobalt card, you will be able to see Offers, and you can get a link to refer a friend.

You can also input your friends email to send them an email. If they sign up, you can get 5000 Membership Rewards points (sometimes they have promotions where you can get bonus points of 10,000 Membership Rewards points).

The maximum referral points you can earn is 75,000 Membership Rewards points in one year.

Genymoney.ca’s Verdict

Again as mentioned I was skeptical of the Amex Cobalt card because I loathe to pay an annual fee and it’s not a Visa or Mastercard, but this is most definitely worth it if you need to feed yourself (who doesn’t?) and live in a city in Canada that has access to the 5 points per dollar spent grocery store that accepts American Express.

5x points on food and drink spending, pretty straight forward. It is best to double check if the retailer you plan to buy from is a 5x points multiplier. For example, the BC Liquor Store did not give me 5x the points on my purchases there and only was a 1 point per dollar spent location. 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks is great.

In addition, the points come quickly and basically get added to your account in a few days. Unlike the American Express Marriott Bonvoy which can take two billing cycles for your Bonvoy points to get updated.

One downside is that there is no airport lounge access included, but you could get that perk from other cards available out there.

If you sign up for Great Canadian Rebates, they give you $100 cash back (I usually get this paid out through Paypal) if you sign up for the card. That will make your first year cost of this card $55.88, or $4.66 per month. Just make sure you get your new card American Express reference number if you don’t get the clicks tracked properly you can submit a claim to get your $100 cash back. Your reference number will start with 2024 and end with CAD.

The payout from Great Canadian Rebates can take two months to be issued but it is worth the wait.

Here’s my Great Canadian Rebates review, if you’re interested. You can get a bonus of $3 if you sign up here.

Cobalt Alternatives

Other alternatives to the American Express Cobalt are other rewards credit cards that have high multiplier rewards, like 5 to 6 times your spending.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Scotiabank American Express Gold Card (here’s my review of the card, essentially it gives you 6x the points at Safeway, Sobey’s, FreshCo, IGA etc, and it is 5x the points on other grocery stores)

MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard

MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard (5x the points on restaurant, grocery, digital media, membership, and household utility purchases)

What is your American Express Cobalt review?

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