Danielle Thompson has been traveling the world for more than 3 years. With her company Freelance Travel Network, she helps freelancers find better clients and earn more money.
In this post, Danielle shows breaks down how she used her American Express Cobalt Card during her time in Melbourne earlier this year.
As a full-time traveler, I’ve always paid special attention to my banking options. I’m constantly changing countries and currencies, so I need a credit card that works seamlessly with my travel plans.
In my experience, American Express has always offered the best card options for travelers. And when they released the American Express Cobalt Card, I knew I had to try it out.
The Cobalt Card feels like it was custom-designed to fit my lifestyle. I earn 5x the points on restaurants, cafés, and bars, while earning 2x the points on travel expenses like hotels, taxis, flights, trains, buses, and more.
I decided to take this card on a test drive while visiting Melbourne, Australia. With an amazing variety of cuisine, a booming nightlife, and plenty of sights to see, I couldn’t think of a better place to take advantage of my new lifestyle card.
2x Points Earned on Airbnb Stays
Collingwood is my favourite neighborhood in Melbourne by far. It used to be the beer-brewing capital of Victoria, and still has tons of breweries. Nowadays, it’s a bustling hipster haven, known for its cafés, restaurants, and boutiques. I couldn’t wait to visit them all!
I flew into Melbourne with my brother, and we headed to a coffee shop to research our Airbnb options. We were floored by how many stunning Airbnb choices we had; it seemed like every apartment had come out of an interior design magazine.
My first purchase using my Cobalt Card was this beautiful, high-ceilinged loft in Collingwood:
Not only was I able to book my Airbnb stay without a problem, but my Cobalt Card gave me 2 points for every dollar I spent on it. I got to stay in a very Instagrammable loft while earning rewards to stay there!
My Cobalt Card made it completely painless to make an international booking. I tend to make my travel plans at the last minute, which is exactly when unforeseen charges or currency exchanges can ruin a trip. Thankfully, American Express is widely accepted around the world, so I got away with making last-minute plans without a problem.
5x Points Earned on Restaurant Visits
Melbourne is also a well-known foodie destination! With a diverse range of multicultural cuisine and countless farmers’ markets, it’s no wonder people here love to eat. Trying the local fare is always an important part of my travels, so I was excited to see what was on offer.
Whether it was breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a quick coffee before starting to work, I went out. The rewards points I was earning motivated me to check out so many restaurants. It really enhanced my trip!
Editor’s Note: The Cobalt Card offers 5x the points on food and drinks within Canada. International food and beverage purchases earn 1 point per dollar.
For any fellow digital nomads looking for dining tips in Melbourne, I have some tips. My favourite restaurants were South of Johnston, Proud Mary, and Terror Twilight. Unforgettable!
I didn’t worry too much about treating myself to restaurant experiences thanks to the Cobalt Card’s super-low card fee. Most credit cards charge a hefty annual fee, which can be hard to budget for as a freelancer. American Express only requires Cobalt Cardholders to pay a $10 monthly fee. It can’t be beat!
2x Points on Car Rentals
After a few days in the city, we were keen to see the local flora and fauna. We wanted to spend a day exploring the Dandenong Ranges, a low mountain range an hour from Melbourne. This area is known for its majestic rainforest scenery and giant wild ferns.
I volunteered to use my Cobalt Card to rent a car to drive myself and my friends to the Dandenong Ranges National Park. My friends thanked me for using my card to book the rental car, and I thanked American Express for giving me double the points back on my purchase!
Visiting the Dandenong Ranges was a super rewarding experience. Nature walks are so grounding and good for your health, physically and spiritually.
Even though I was feeling centered, I have to admit that my mind was excited about something else. The price of the car rental had pushed my Cobalt Card spending total over $500 for the first month – which meant I just scored an additional 2,500 bonus points! Plus, I could earn the same amount of points every month of my first year of membership.
My trip to the Dandenong Ranges definitely paid off—in both senses of the word!
Earning Points on Everything Else
After receiving my first points payout, I started calculating how many points I was getting every time I bought something. With every purchase, I had a bright little reminder that I was profiting just by paying with my Cobalt Card.
When I wasn’t working in Melbourne, I chilled out under the sun in the city’s beautiful parks. No park hangout is complete without a picnic spread, so I’d head over to grab snacks from the local grocery store. Of course, I used my Cobalt Card to maximize my points.
I remembered we needed a picnic blanket, so I stopped at a super cute shop to grab one. Even on purchases that don’t qualify for the point bonuses, I still earn 1 point for every dollar spent—so I treated myself to the coolest hippie blanket in the shop!
No matter where I went in Melbourne, my Cobalt Card came with me. It paid me back for living the experiences I came to have. No offense to my brother, but the Cobalt Card was my number one travel buddy in Australia!
I wouldn’t have enjoyed my travels in Melbourne nearly as much if I hadn’t had my Cobalt Card. It was so satisfying to get rewarded for checking boxes off of my bucket list. I got to see Australia for the first time—and I earned rewards for it.
I can’t wait to use the points I earned here in Melbourne on my next trip. I’m still earning points all the time, and with my normal spending, I’ll definitely reach 30,000 points this year. Those points will be worth $300 to use towards more travel purchases, or even concert experiences from Ticketmaster.ca.
Perhaps I’ll find my next destination and use my points to book a flight through Amex’s Fixed Points Travel Program. After all, I’ve already got the perfect card for my lifestyle of travel: my Cobalt Card!
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