choix cobalt or american express

American Express: Should You Upgrade From The Cobalt Card To The Gold Card?

To the point American Express Canada offers certain Cardmembers the opportunity to upgrade from the Cobalt Card to the Gold Card. Should you take the plunge?

American Express - Cobalt to Gold Card Upgrade Offer

Right now, American Express Canada is offering select American Express Cobalt® Cardmembers the opportunity to upgrade to the American Express® Gold Rewards Card.

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Upgrade today and you could earn 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you charge $3,000 in purchases to your Card in the first three months of Cardmembership.

Let’s quickly compare the benefits of the American Express Cobalt® Card and the American Express® Gold Rewards Card.

American Express - Cobalt Card: Best for points earning

The American Express Cobalt® Card is unbeatable when it comes to earning points: you can earn between 1 and 5 points per dollar.

Category Points per dollar
Grocery stores (Metro, IGA, Sobeys, Super C, etc.) 5
Food delivery 5
Restaurants and bars 5
Convenience stores 5
Streaming subscriptions 3
Gas station 2
Transportation 2
Travel 2
Other 1

This is a 1 to 5% return on all these purchases.

Like the American Express® Gold Rewards Card, you can easily redeem these points as a statement credit for everyday purchases or travel. The value is the same for both: 1,000 points = $10.

Or you can transfer them into Aeroplan points, Avios (British Airways/Qatar Airways), Flying Blue, Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors.

The American Express Cobalt® Card has a monthly fee of $12.99, which translates into $155.88 per year.

carte cobalt audrey

American Express - Gold Card: Best for benefits

The American Express® Gold Rewards Card is not as generous when it comes to earning points: you can earn between 1 and 2 points per dollar.

Category Points per dollar
Grocery stores (Metro, IGA, Sobeys, Super C, etc.) 2
Gas station 2
Drugstores 2
Travel 2
Other 1

This represents a 1-2% return on all these purchases.

Just like the American Express Cobalt® Card, you can easily use these points as a statement credit for your everyday or travel purchases. The value is the same for both: 1,000 points = $10.

Or you can transfer them into Aeroplan points, Avios (British Airways/Qatar Airways), Flying Blue, Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors.

The American Express® Gold Rewards Card has a $250 annual fee. That’s $94.12 more than the American Express Cobalt® Card.

With a higher annual fee, this Card offers several benefits for travel:

  • $100 Annual Travel Credit
  • Priority Pass membership and four complimentary visits per year to Canada’s Plaza Premium lounges
  • $50 statement credit every four years for NEXUS application or renewal
  • Gold or Rose Gold stainless steel metal options for your Card

Using the $100 travel credit each year, it’s as if the card only costs you $150, slightly less than the American Express Cobalt® Card. Moreover, you get four complimentary visits to Plaza Premium lounges in Canada (including the Air France Montréal-Trudeau YUL lounge).

Amex Featured Salon Air France YUL -2
Carte Or - Salon Air France Montréal Trudeau (Plaza Premium)

Bottom line

So? What should you do if you are an American Express Cobalt® Cardmember and American Express Canada suggests you upgrade to the American Express® Gold Rewards Card?

First, analyze your spending in the 5X categories (grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores, food delivery). And don’t forget the gift cards you can buy in grocery stores.

For example, if you spend $1,000 per month on groceries and/or restaurants and/or food delivery, you’ll earn 5,000 points or $50 cash back per month, or 50,000 points or $500 cash back per year with this card for this purchase category!

cobalt super c

By upgrading to the American Express® Gold Rewards Card, you will now earn only 2 points per dollar for groceries and only 1 point per dollar for restaurants, convenience stores and food delivery.

Truth be told, the only category of purchase where the American Express® Gold Rewards Card stands out is at drugstores, offering 2 points per dollar (compared with just 1 point for the American Express Cobalt® Card).

Category Cobalt Card
Points per dollar
Gold Card
Points per dollar
Grocery stores (Metro, IGA, Sobeys, Super C, etc.) 5 2
Food delivery 5 1
Restaurants and bars 5 1
Convenience stores 5 1
Streaming subscriptions 3 1
Gas station 2 2
Transportation 2 1
Travel 2 2
Drugstores 1 2
Other 1 1
Amex Featured Pharmaprix-2

On the other hand, if you don’t have many purchases in the 5X categories (or if you have another American Express Cobalt® Card in your household), upgrading from the American Express Cobalt® Card to the American Express® Gold Rewards Card may be considered for:

  • The Welcome Bonus Offer
  • The travel benefits

This offer may also interest people who already have the American Express® Gold Rewards Card (and who have already earned a welcome bonus for this Card via this offer, for example).

And then, afterwards, you may eventually apply again for an American Express Cobalt® Card (however, you probably won’t be eligible for the welcome bonus, as American Express has considerably tightened the rules since 2020).

cobalt apple jm

Having received this offer myself – and being the holder of both Cards – I’m not going to accept it. Although the offer sounds tempting, I don’t want to part with the American Express Cobalt® Card, which I still consider one of the best credit cards in Canada.

It’s a card I renew year after year (and we explain why here).

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And then, this offer to switch from the American Express Cobalt® Card to the American Express® Gold Rewards Card makes me assume that American Express is looking for fewer Cardmembers of the very lucrative American Express Cobalt® Card!

In particular, following this latest news:

All the more reason to keep my American Express Cobalt® Card in my wallet!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien Voisine
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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