American Express has announced several upcoming changes to the Cobalt card: points transfer, fees, new earning rate.
Transfer to air partners
The big news in these changes is the ability to transfer American Express Cobalt™ Card Membership Rewards to airline partners like Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio.
Previously, it was only possible to transfer points to hotel partners like Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors.
This makes the card even more attractive: no other card allows you to earn so many points (5 points per dollar) for everyday purchases such as groceries or restaurants to be transferred to airline programs.
1,000 points = $10 for all purchases
This isn’t really news, but rather a reminder that you can now use 1,000 Membership Rewards points for a $10 account credit on any purchase. And not just for travel.
Previously, we only got a $7 credit on the account. So the American Express Cobalt™ Card is as good for travel as it is for cash back.
New 3 points per dollar category
American Express is adding a new purchase category to the American Express Cobalt™ Card: streaming subscriptions will now offer 3 points per dollar.
This is in response to the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, which already offers 3 points per dollar for these types of purchases.
The following is a list of eligible streaming services:
- Apple TV+
- Apple Music
- SiriusXM Canada
Increase in fees
The current fee was $10 per month or $120 per year. They will increase to $12.99 per month or $155.88 per year (an additional 30%).
These changes will take effect on the first statement following your card anniversary. So if you want to lock in the current monthly fee for a year, sign up for the American Express Cobalt™ Card before August 16!
This pricing with decimals is reminiscent of the price paid for some monthly subscriptions like Netflix.
Nevertheless, this is still a significant increase, but somewhat justified given the rate of earning offered by the card and especially the new possibility of transferring points to airline partners (not only hoteliers) and Mobile Device Insurance.
We will update this article as American Express gives out more info in the coming days.
As with any change, there are winners and losers. Those who had no use for air partners will be the most impacted by these changes.
However, I would argue that adding the American Express Cobalt™ Card to the portfolio of cards that allow transfers to airline programs is great news.
The monthly fee is about the same as the American Express® Gold Rewards Card ($150), and which only offers between 1 and 2 points per dollar. This suggests that changes may be coming to this card as well, as it becomes less and less competitive. Will it disappear soon?
If you want to keep the $10/month fee for the next 12 months, my advice is to apply for up for the American Express Cobalt™ Card before August 16, 2021!