With a welcome bonus of up to 50,000 MR points, a 5X earn rate on eligible eats & drinks (including spending on groceries, food delivery, cafes, bars and more), and a monthly fee of just $10, we believe the American Express Cobalt Card is a great credit card for many Canadians.
We highly recommend applying while this current offer lasts.
The American Express Cobalt Card has been receiving a lot of attention since its fall 2017 launch, and with good reason: it’s an extremely compelling offer. $12.99/month for a card that gets you 5X the points on food and drink purchases in Canada and 2X the points on travel purchases anywhere in the world is an excellent deal.
But of course, as we’ve come to expect from American Express through their other offers—like the Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card—there’s much more to the Cobalt than meets the eye. Once you learn the ins and outs of this card, I’ll be surprised if you aren’t applying for one of your own by the end of this post.
This credit card is marketed at millennials and near-millennials, so if you fit either of these, you’ll definitely want to give the Cobalt Card a closer look.
Amex Cobalt Pros & Cons
|• Monthly fee of just $12.99 with no annual fees|
• Up to 50,000 MR welcome bonus points for using your card every month
• $100 USD in hotel credit annually
• One of the best and most flexible points earn rates of any credit card in Canada
• Points are easy to use
• Up to 9 additional additional Cobalt Cards for free
• Cobalt Cardmembers receive regular Perks such as bonus reward offers and access to great events
|• $30,000 cap on the 5X earn rate (equivalent to 150,000 MR)|
Amex Cobalt Features & Benefits
|Welcome Bonus||• 2,500 MR points every month you charge at least $500 to the card|
• Additional 20,000 MR points bonus when you charge at least $3,000 to the card in the first 3 months
|Travel Benefits||• $100 USD hotel credit for spa, restaurants and other amenities at The Hotel Collection participating properties|
• Complimentary room upgrades at The Hotel Collection participating properties
|Additional Card Fee||Up to 9 free additional cards|
|Points Earned Per $1 Spent||• 5X on eligible eats and drinks, including groceries and food delivery|
• 2X on eligible travel & transit
• 1X on everything else
|American Express Experiences||✔|
|Travel Coverage||• $5,000,000 Emergency Medical Insurance (Out of province/country)|
• $250,000 Travel Accident Insurance
• Flight Delay Insurance
• Baggage Delay Insurance
• Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
• Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
• Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
|Purchase Coverage||• Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan|
• Purchase Protection Plan
|Eligibility||• Canadian citizens or residents|
• A valid Canadian Credit file
• An account in good standing (recommended credit score of at least 650)
|Type of Card||Credit Card|
What Are Membership Rewards Points And How Much Are They Worth?
The value of any loyalty program's points depends on how you use them. Keeping this in mind, American Express has always offered a lot of flexibility regarding what you can do with your Membership Rewards points.
I recommend using your American Express points on flights, since you can get exceptional deals like these that we mention in our post on the Platinum Card:
|Roundtrip Toronto to Hong Kong|
$100 total taxes/fees
|Roundtrip Vancouver to Hong Kong|
$90 total taxes/fees
|Round-the-world Toronto to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Toronto|
$761 total taxes/fees
|Round-the-world Vancouver to Hong Kong to Dubai to London to Vancouver|
$742 total taxes/fees
Bonus Cobalt Points
Just like its fee, the Cobalt Card's welcome bonus is also split in 12 equal parts.
Most American Express cards come with a single welcome bonus that you get once you reach a minimum amount charged to the card. The same principle applies to the Amex Cobalt, only on a monthly basis:
If you manage to get the 12 bonuses, you'll have a total of 30,000 bonus points by the end of the year. And if you hit the $3,000 spending threshold within the first three months, you'll be at 50,000 points.
At the lowest possible value of 1 cent per MR point, this bonus adds up to $500, for a card that costs $155.88. If you ramp it up to 2-3 cents per MR point, you'll get back $1,000-$1,500 on the points alone.
Amex Cobalt Earn Rate
You can access three different earn rates with the Cobalt Amex:
- 5X on food & drinks (with a cap at $30,000 per year)
- 2X on eligible travel purchases
- 1X on all other purchases
The 5X earn rate (5 points per every $1) on eligible food and drink purchases is one of the highest earn rates American Express has to offer. Additionally, American Express is generous with their definition of food and drinks:
Restaurant, quick service restaurant, coffee shop and drinking establishments in Canada, stand-alone grocery stores in Canada, delivery of food and groceries in Canada…
The flexibility of the food & drink category makes it especially easy for anyone to access it, every day. This is exactly what makes the American Express Cobalt Card the best everyday spending card available in Canada today.
Save 10% on your spending with the American Express Cobalt
As I explained in the previous sections, if you apply for the American Express Cobalt Card today, you’ll receive 2,500 MR points for every month of the first year that you charge $500 to the card.
On top of that, you also earn 5X points for every dollar you spend on food and drinks. And when you do…
You’ll save 10% on that month’s spending.
Here’s the math to show what I mean:
2,500 bonus points for spending $500/month
+ 2,500 points (5X points on $500 spent on food/drinks)
= 5,000 points earned per month
When you apply those points at the 1 cent per point valuation I mentioned above (which is as simple as applying them against your American Express statement, nothing more), you get $50 back on your $500 of spending. That's a savings of 10%!
Here’s how it looked when I applied 4,000 of my MR points against two flights I’d recently redeemed my MR points for on Aeroplan:
Of course, it’s not a problem if you don’t spend $500 per month on food and drinks. Let’s imagine that one month you only spend $300 on food and drinks and the other $200 on something else:
2,500 bonus points for spending $500/month
+ 1,500 points (5x points on $300 spent on food/drinks)
+ 200 points (1X points on $200 spent on other items)
= 4,200 points earned per month
Insurance coverage is very important to most travelers, and the Cobalt Card delivers a very comprehensive set of embedded insurance policies, given how inexpensive this card is.
Amex Cobalt Travel Coverage
The travel-related insurance policies that come with your new Amex Cobalt Card are:
- $5,000,000 Emergency Medical Insurance (Out of province/country): This policy will cover virtually any accident that needs medical attention, once you're on your way. The coverage is for you, your spouse, any dependent children, any additional cardmember, his or her spouse and dependent children, for any number of trips with a maximum duration of 15 days.
- $250,000 Travel Accident Insurance: This is an AD&D life insurance policy that covers you and your family while you”re all traveling in a common carrier.
- Flight Delay & Baggage Delay Insurance: Two separate policies but with an aggregate maximum coverage of $500. Intended to cover you for unforeseen expenses due to your flight or baggage been delayed for a long time. It includes out-of-pocket money, money for food and even hotel stays.
- Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance: This policy can help you recover up to $500 in lost items and personal effects.
- Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance: Similar to the Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance, it protects you for up to $500 in stolen personal effects if your hotel gets burglarized, as long as your lodgings were paid with your Amex Cobalt Card.
- Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance: You can use this policy to waive the vehicle rental company's own insurance policy and get up to $85,000 of coverage without paying a single dime.
Amex Cobalt Purchase Coverage
Regarding card purchase coverage, the Amex Cobalt Card comes with American Express' two standard policies:
- The Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan, which doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for up to one extra year, on any purchase paid in full with your American Express Cobalt Card.
- The Purchase Protection Plan, which covers your Cobalt Card purchases against accidental damage and theft, to a maximum of $1,000.
Free Supplementary Cobalt Cards
Giving your family members (or employees) supplementary cards is a great way to boost your earn rate. While some additional cards require you to pay an additional fee, this is not the case with the Cobalt Amex card.
You can request up to 9 additional Cobalt Cards for supplementary cardholders, free of charge. The only condition is that he or she be 13 or older.
American Express Cobalt FAQs
Is The Amex Cobalt Hard To Get?
No, the Amex Cobalt is not hard to get because it does not require a specific income. Of course, not every applicant will be approved, because American Express will still check your credit score. A credit score of at least 600 is recommended to get the Amex Cobalt.
What Is The Amex Cobalt Good For?
The Amex Cobalt is good for many things. With 5x the rewards on spending at grocery stores, restaurants, and bars, the American Express Cobalt is a top travel credit card for millennials and others, too.
Is The Amex Cobalt Metal?
No, the Amex Cobalt is not made of metal, it’s made of plastic and weighs 5 grams. The only American Express cards made of metal are the Platinum Card and the Centurion (Black) Card, which accepts new cardholders by invitation only.
How Do You Qualify For The American Express Cobalt?
To qualify for the American Express Cobalt, you’ll need a credit score of around 575 – 650, which is considered “fair” in Canada. If you have a credit score in that range of above, you'll have no problem being approved for a Cobalt Card.
Do Amex Cobalt Points Expire?
Amex Cobalt points (officially known as Membership Rewards points) have no expiration date, so you can keep them in your account for as long as you like. The only reason you will lose your Amex Cobalt points is if they are removed due to a breach in your account’s Terms and Conditions.
Is The Amex Cobalt Card Worth It?
Yes, the the American Express Cobalt Card is worth it, and we believe it's a great credit card for many Canadians. With its impressive 50,000 points welcome bonus, $100 USD annual hotel credit, complimentary hotel room upgrades, comprehensive travel insurance, and best-in-class earn rates, it's hard to go wrong with a Cobalt Card.