The American Express Cobalt is the best credit card in Canada if you want to earn points quickly. Simply put, it has some of the highest earning rates for multiple categories. Combine that with the fact that American Express Membership Rewards is the most flexible rewards program, and you’ve got the perfect combination.
While it’s true that Amex isn’t accepted at all retail merchants, the acceptance rate is likely much higher than you realize. There are less than a handful of merchants where I shop regularly, and American Express isn’t accepted. Read my American Express Cobalt review now and find out why this card could be right for you.
American Express Cobalt Card
- $12.99 Monthly fee ($155.88 yearly)
- 1,250 monthly Membership Rewards points after charging $750 in purchases each month for a year (15,000 points total)
- Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eats and drinks
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Welcome bonus and earn rate
The welcome bonus for the Amex Cobalt card uses a monthly structure. Typically, you’ll get 2,500 American Express Membership rewards points every monthly billing period for the first twelve months, as long as you spend a minimum of $500 on eligible card purchases. Since you can get the bonus 12 times in the first year, that works out to 30,000 bonus points.
However, the most recent offer has been just 1,250 American Express Membership rewards points every monthly billing period for the first twelve months when spending $750 on eligible card purchases. That’s a total of 15,000 American Express Membership Rewards points
As for the earn rate, you’ll get the following:
- 5 points per dollar spent on eats and drinks
- 3 points per dollar spent on streaming services
- 2 points per dollar spent on travel
- 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Simply put, the American Express Cobalt Card offers some of the highest earn rates from a credit card in Canada. That said, the categories do have a cap of $2,500 per month. Once you exceed that amount, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent.
Those limits may seem high, but you can easily reach them if you optimize your spending. For example, multiple grocery stores sell gift cards for other retailers. You could purchase gift cards there to earn 5X the points and then use your gift cards as needed. This ensures you’re maximizing the points you can earn.
Benefits and perks
Before I get into the benefits and perks of the American Express Cobalt Card, it’s worth noting that the card has a monthly fee of $12.99 ($155.88 a year). While that’s on par with other mid-tier credit cards, the Cobalt Card focuses on the earn rate instead of perks. That said, you’ll get the following benefits.
- Emergency Medical Insurance – $5,000,000 – 15 days / Under 65
- Flight Delay Insurance $500 – 4 hours +
- Baggage Delay Insurance $500 – 6 hours +
- Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance – $500 combined per occurrence
- Car Rental TheftDamage Insurance – $85,000 – 48 days
- Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance – $500 per occurrence
- Travel Accident Insurance – Up to $250,000
Although the travel insurance coverages do not include trip cancellation/interruption, it does include major things such as emergency medical, lost or stolen baggage, flight delay, car rental theft and damage, travel accident and hotel/motel burglary insurance.
Mobile device insurance
Mobile devices charged or financed with your Cobalt card are eligible for mobile device insurance up to $1,000. This insurance covers you from theft, loss or damage for up to two years. Your coverage starts on the 91st day following the date of your device so it doesn’t conflict with the included purchase protection.
When making purchases with his card, you get purchase protection and buyer’s assurance. With purchase protection, your goods are covered from theft, loss, and damage for 90 days. Buyer’s assurance doubles your manufacturer’s warranty by one additional year.
American Express experiences
As an American Express Cobalt Cardholder, you get access to some exclusive American Express experiences.
- Front Of The Line Presales – Get early access to some of the most popular concerts, restaurants, sporting events and more.
- Reserved tickets – American Express has partnerships with many major events where cardholders get access to reserved tickets during the public sale period
- American Express offers – Cardholders will get special discounts on select merchants. You’ll find these offers in your app or online profile.
- The Hotel Collection – When you book two nights at properties participating in The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel, you’ll get up to $100 USD in hotel credits and a room upgrade when available.
How to redeem your points
If you’re still reading this American Express Cobalt review, you’ll want to know how your points work. American Express Membership Rewards (MR) is easily the best bank travel loyalty program.
The regular redemption rate of MR is 1,000 points = $10 travel or a statement credit. You can also use your points to redeem flights on the American Express Fixed Points Travel program, which can be incredibly valuable. For example, you can claim 40,000 points for a return flight to anywhere within North America (except Hawaii and Alaska) as long as the base ticket price doesn’t exceed $700. If you maximize this value, your points would be worth nearly 2 cents each which is double the regular redemption rate.
Since the value of statement credits is the same as booking travel through the travel portal, you’re better off booking direct where you can find lower prices or taking dvantage of any status perks you have.
What also makes MR popular is that you can transfer your points to Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy. The transfer ratios are 1:1 for Aeroplan and 1:1.2 for Marriott Bonvoy. I personally value one Aeroplan point at 2 cents, so there’s some good value there.
American Express Cobalt Card eligibility
The American Express Cobalt Card is only available to Canadian residents that are at least the age of majority in the province or territory in which you reside.
None of the banks in Canada, including American Express, disclose what credit score is required to be approved. That said, your credit likely needs to be in at least “good” standing to be considered.
As for the income requirement, American Express doesn’t actually list any income requirements for any of its cards. I personally know students with limited income who have been approved for this card.
How the American Express Cobalt Card compares to others
Even though the American Express Cobalt Card is often considered the best everyday spending card in Canada, you’ll still want to consider other cards before applying.
How the American Express Cobalt Card vs. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
The Scotiabank Gold American Express is often compared to the Amex Cobalt Card since you’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases; and 3 points per $1 spent on gas, public transportation, rideshares and eligible streaming service purchases. That said, Scene+ points aren’t nearly as impressive as Membership Rewards. It’s a mid-tier program on my list of the best bank travel rewards programs in Canada, whereas American Express Membership Rewards ranks first.
How the American Express Cobalt Card vs. American Express Platinum Card
Some people also like to compare this card to the American Express Platinum Card. They’re actually very different cards since the Platinum card gives you a ton of travel benefits such as airport lounge access, hotel status upgrades, an annual $200 travel credit, a NEXUS rebate, and Pearson International airport perks. If you want travel perks, the Platinum card makes sense. However, if you want to earn a lot of points, stick to the Cobalt card.
How the American Express Cobalt Card vs. American Business Card
If you’re looking for a business version of the Cobalt card, you’re out of luck. However, American Express Canada does have the American Express Business Edge Card, which has high multipliers (but lower than the Amex Cobalt) in some categories. This card is one of the best business credit cards in Canada since it has the highest earn rate on eligible eats & drinks when it comes to a business credit card.
My American Express Cobalt review is positive. The card is ideal for people in the following situations:
- You want to earn rewards fast – The earn rate on the card is the highest in Canada.
- You have regular monthly spending – The welcome bonus is structured around a minimum monthly spend, so you could earn points fast.
- You like to travel – Membership Rewards points are highly flexible and can be transferred to Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy. It’s easily one of the best travel credit cards in Canada since American Express Membership Rewards is so flexible.
It really shouldn’t surprise you that the Amex Cobalt Card is on my list of the best American Express credit cards in Canada. This is the card I recommend to almost everyone.