The American Express Cobalt Card is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada and people don’t even realize it. With the ability earn up to 5% in points and some excellent transfer partners, this card deserves the hype it has been getting.
One could argue that the Amerx Cobalt Card is aimed at younger people (aka. millennials), but when you look at the features and benefits, you’ll quickly realize that this card is great for a variety of people. Read my American Express Cobalt review now to find out what makes it one of the best American Express credit cards in Canada.
American Express Cobalt Benefits
- $10 Monthly fee ($120 Annually)
- 2,500 monthly welcome points after charging $500 in purchases per month for a total of 30,000 points in the first year
- Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eats and drinks (Groceries, restaurants, bars, cafés, and food delivery)
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel (flights, hotels, trains, public transportation, taxis/Uber)
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Comprehensive travel insurance package included
- Front Of The Line by American Express Invites access
- Free supplementary cards
At first glance, the monthly award bonus of 2,500 points on a $500 spend seems a bit excessive since you’ll have to spend $6,000 in the first year to get the full bonus, but it makes sense for both the business and consumers.
For American Express, they don’t need to worry about customers cancelling the card immediately after getting the bonus points which is a common thing for credit card churners. As for consumers, since you pay a monthly fee instead of an annual fee, you can test out the card and cancel it whenever you like if it doesn’t line up to your spending and reward patterns.
The 5 points earned per dollar spent on food and drinks is the highest you’ll get for that category from any credit card in Canada. The 2 points earned per dollar spent on travel is nice since it includes public transportation and taxis/Uber).
Although the travel insurance package does not include trip cancellation/interruption, it does include the major things such as Emergency Medical, Lost or Stolen Baggage, Flight Delay, Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance, Travel Accident, and Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
How does American Express Memberships Rewards work?
One thing to note right away is that with the Cobalt card is that you earn Membership Rewards Select (MRS) points as opposed to regular Membership Rewards points that some other Amex cards get you.
1,000 points = $10 travel credit or $7 for a non travel credit.
Clearly claiming your points for travel gives you the best return since you would get 5% back on food and eats purchases and 2% on travel purchases.
With MRS points, you don’t have the ability to transfer to American Express airline partners, but you can use them towards the Fixed Points Travel Program which offers some good value.
One often overlooked feature of MRS points is the fact that you can transfer them to hotel partners.
Currently, you can convert to SPG at a 2:1 ratio or to Hilton Honors at a 1:1 ratio which makes this the best credit card for either program (I’ll explain below).
Also note that with SPG points, you can convert them to various airlines at a 1:1 ratio. In addition, SPG often runs promos where if you transfer 20,000 points to an airline partner, you get 5,000 bonus points which makes your transfer ratio 1:1.25.
SPG and Marriott Rewards are merging come August so the points and transfer structure will change, but I don’t imagine there will be much of a devaluation.
How the American Express Cobalt card compares to others
To be honest, there’s no other credit card that truly compared to the Amex Cobalt card (referral link). The 5% earn ratio on food and drinks is the highest earn possible.
That being said, you could compare the Cobalt card to the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. With the SPG card, you earn 1 SPG point per dollar spent on all purchases and 2 points per $1 spent at SPG and Marriott properties.
Well, if you recall, the American Express Cobalt card has a 2:1 transfer ratio to SPG. That means for every $1 you spend on food and eats, you’re earning 2.5 SPG points which is more than what the SPG card offers.
Hilton doesn’t have a credit card partner in Canada so you could technically make your Cobalt card a Hilton Honors card by transferring all your points.
My American Express Cobalt review is positive. It’s easily one of the best travel credit cards in Canada when you take advantage of their hotel transfer partners and the Fixed Points Travel Program. If you spend a lot on food and eats, then you need to apply for this card now.