Find out how you can use the American Express Cobalt card for travel, points transfer, cash back and more!
An impressive welcome offer
The welcome bonus is split monthly for the first 12 months. For example, you earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for every $500 in purchases charged to your card during the month (whether in the 1X, 2X, 3X or 5X category).
And for a limited time, you can earn an additional Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend a total of $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. That’s up to 50,000 Membership Rewards points as a welcome bonus!
For the monthly welcome bonus, it is best to shop in the 5X categories:
- 2,500 points as a monthly welcome bonus
- 2,500 points for purchases in the 5x category
That’s a 10% minimum return for the first 12 months on each of your first $500 in Card purchases within the 5x categories like groceries.
Here’s how you could earn 87,500 points in your first year by optimizing your purchases in the 5X categories:
|1||$1,000||5,000 points||2,500 points||7,500 points|
|2||$1,000||5,000 points||2,500 points||7,500 points|
|3||$1,000||5,000 points||2,500 points + 20,000 points||27,500 points|
|4||$500||2,500 points||2,500 points||5,000 points|
|5||$500||2,500 points||2,500 points||5,000 points|
|6||$500||2,500 points||2,500 points||5,000 points|
|7||$500||2,500 points||2,500 points||5,000 points|
|8||$500||2,500 points||2,500 points||5,000 points|
|9||$500||2,500 points||2,500 points||5,000 points|
|10||$500||2,500 points||2,500 points||5,000 points|
|11||$500||2,500 points||2,500 points||5,000 points|
|12||$500||2,500 points||2,500 points||5,000 points|
|Total||$7,500||37,500 points||50,000 points||87,500 points|
87,500 points for $7,500 in Card purchases within 12 months; that’s an 11.67% minimum return if you use your points for a statement credit redeemed towards any purchase charged to your Card. That’s an $875 value!
If you take out the cost of the card fee ($12.99 per month or $155.88 over 12 months), the net value in the first year is approximately $719 !
One way to do this is to do your grocery shopping. And if you don’t have $500-$1,000 worth of groceries a month, you could buy gift cards there for other businesses you regularly frequent like Amazon, SAQ, GAP, Old Navy, etc. Another way to earn 5x the points for these purchases.
A monthly fee
To our knowledge, American Express is the only institution in Canada that has introduced a monthly fee on a credit card instead of an annual fee!
The monthly fee for the American Express Cobalt™ Card is $12.99.
This allows you to be much more flexible: if you want to cancel your card after 6 months, you will have paid only $77.94 instead of $150 for a similar card. But I don’t think you’ll cancel your card as you’ll earn a lot of points even beyond the first year!
Earn rewards at a fast pace
With the American Express Cobalt™ Card you can earn between 1 and 5 points per dollar:
|Category||Points per dollar|
|Restaurants and bars||5|
|Gas & Transit||2|
To maximize your card, you can purchase gift cards (Amazon, SAQ, Netflix, etc.) in grocery stores or at your 7-eleven / Couche-Tard convenience store. You will get 5x the points for these purchases.
5 points per dollar on groceries
With the American Express Cobalt™ Card, you earn 5 points for every dollar spent on groceries.
For example, here is a $226.12 grocery invoice at Super C, where I earned 1,131 Membership Rewards Points:
So I earned, thanks to this SAQ gift card purchase in grocery stores, 5 points per dollar on my SAQ purchase!
5 points per dollar on convenience stores purchases
With the American Express Cobalt™ Card, you earn 5 points per dollar at convenience stores (Couche-Tard in Quebec, Macs-Circle K / 7-eleven elsewhere in Canada).
This is exciting because convenience stores sell a lot of gift cards. So you can earn 5 points per dollar on many other businesses purchases!
For example, with a $200 Amazon.ca gift card purchase, I earned 1,000 Membership Rewards Points:
5 points per dollar on restaurants and bars purchases
With all these purchases, I earned 5 points per dollar!
5 points per dollar on food delivery
We’re big fans of home food delivery with platforms like Uber Eats or GoodFood! With the American Express Cobalt™ Card, you also earn 5 points per dollar for home food delivery!
Here are two purchases from:
- Uber Eats for $42.64 (213 Membership Rewards Points)
- GoodFood for $90.00 (450 Membership Rewards Points)
Between 1 and 2 points per dollar everywhere else
With the American Express Cobalt™ Card, you earn 2 points per dollar on all purchases:
- gas purchases
- travel purchases (flights, hotels, Airbnb,etc.)
- local transportation purchases (taxis, commuter trains, etc.)
Outside of all of the above categories, with the American Express Cobalt™ Card, you earn 1 point for every dollar.
A card for your groceries and restaurants expenses abroad
Even if the terms and conditions indicate that the earning categories only apply to purchases made “in Canada,” the reality is quite different! The milesopedia community regularly demonstrates this through multiple examples, earning between 2 to 5 points per dollar!
Tested and personally approved in the following countries:
- United States
- Puerto Rico
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
Tested and approved by the milesopedia community in the following countries:
- And more!
Even there is a 2.5% forex fee with the card, you’ll get ahead with 5X purchases!
5 points per dollar on groceries abroad
Do you regularly travel to the United States or anywhere else in the world for extended stays? You can easily use your American Express Cobalt™ Cardd at any U.S. grocery store and earn 5 points per dollar!
Here are, for example, our purchases in Puerto Rico grocery stores (Supermax and Pueblo):
5 points per dollar on restaurants and bars expenses abroad
When we travel, we spend more in restaurants and bars. With the American Express Cobalt™ Card, you also earn 5 points per dollar!
Here is a series of purchases in US restaurants during a stay in New York:
Or in South Africa:
Flexible Membership Rewards Points!
Redeem Membership Rewards Points on travel purchases
This is the easiest way to redeem Membership Rewards Points earned with your American Express Cobalt™ Card:
- You charge a trip to your card: flights, hotels, Airbnb, car rental, etc.
- You redeem your points on this purchase: 1,000 points = $10
Here are two examples of travel companies without loyalty program, Air Transat and Airbnb:
Redeem Membership Rewards Points on everyday purchases
The principle is identical as above.
- You are purchasing something with your American Express Cobalt™ Card
- You redeem your points on this purchase: 1,000 points = $10
Redeem Membership Rewards Points through American Express Fixed Points Travel
This is simply the best use of American Express Cobalt™ Card Membership Rewards points:
- You browse American Express travel portal
- You book some flights at fixed-points pricing: 15,000 points = $300!
But this only applies to specific flights:
Transfer Membership Rewards Points to Marriott Bonvoy
Transfer of Membership Rewards Points to Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club, etc.
This is for those who want to earn Aeroplan points or Avios miles when booking flights with partner airlines:
Transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Airline Programs
This is for those who want to earn Flying Blue, Alaska Airlines, Avios miles with their American Express Cobalt™ Card purchases:
- You log on to the Membership Rewards transfer portal
- You transfer your Membership Rewards Points to Marriott Bonvoy with a 1:1.2 ratio (or 5:6 if you prefer)
- You transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to airlines program with a 3:1 ratio (or 2.4:1 when you transfer in 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points increments)
- You book your airline reward directly within the airline program
In short, with every purchase on your American Express Cobalt™ Card in a 5x the points category, you earn 6 Marriott points/$ or 2 Flying Blue miles – Alaska per dollar!
And it can be much more than that:
- When transferring your Marriott Bonvoy points in 60,000 increments: you get 5,000 bonus miles (so 60,000 points = 25,000 miles)
- Initiating this transfer during a conversion bonus period, such as occurs 3 or 4 times a year with airline programs (25 to 35% bonus)
That’s why we think the American Express Cobalt™ Card is one of the best credit cards in Canada!
Many Promotional Offers during the year
Here are three recent examples:
|2,000 Membership Rewards Points
after $75 in gas station purchases
|Receive $5 after $5 purchases
Shop Small merchants
|Receive 10 points per dollar
Up to $95 quickly earned, enough to put the $10 monthly fee into perspective!
Cobalt card insurance
With the American Express Cobalt™ Card, you get a lot of great insurance, especially for a card that costs only $12.99 per month!
Mobile Device Insurance
You are covered for $1,000 for your mobile devices.
Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
Save when you travel with the flight and damage Insurance for rental cars included with your Card This insurance provides compensation for theft, loss and damage up to the market value of the rental car with a maximum MSRP of $85,000 depending on the year of the model.
To take advantage of this benefit, you simply need to refuse loss or damage protection or any other similar option offered by the rental company and bring the entire rental to your Card. This insurance is available at no extra cost and you do not have to pay the insurance charged by the car rental company (usually costing between $16 and $23 per day).
Baggage delay insurance
Having booked your flight with your Card you may receive up to $500 (maximum in combination with Flight Delay Insurance) for any necessary and reasonable routine purchase of clothing and small items considered essential that you will make in a four days delay,if your luggage is not returned to you within six hours after your departure flight arrives.
Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
If you carry the full amount of your airfare to your Card you are insured in case of loss or damage of your personal belongings, carry-on baggage or checked baggage while travelling up to $500 per trip for all policy holders.
Flight delay insurance
Charge your airline tickets to your Card and get up to $500 (maximum in combination with misdirected baggage insurance) for any necessary and reasonable expenses incurred within 48 hours at the hotel, motel or restaurant, or for small items, if your flight is delayed or you are denied boarding for four hours or more without making any other means of transportation available to you.
$250,000 Travel Accident Insurance
Travel accident insurance gives you automatic coverage of up to $250,000 for accidental death and dismemberment for yourself, your spouse and dependent children under the age of 23 years when you are travelling on a public carrier (plane, train, boat or bus) and carry the full price of all Tickets to your Card. Supplementary card holders, their spouses and dependent children under the age of 23 are also covered.
Hotel or motel burglary insurance
Simply pay for your hotel or motel room with your card and you will receive coverage of up to $500 in case of loss of most personal belongings in the event of a burglary at your hotel or motel room.
Purchase Protection® Plan
Eligible items purchased on your card may be insured for a period of 90 days from the date of purchase against accidental property damage and theft up to a maximum of $1,000 per claim (all items purchased combined).
Buyer’s Assurance® Protection Plan
Your coverage can automatically extend the manufacturer’s initial warranty up to an additional year when you carry all eligible items to your Card.
If you need to consult the insurance booklet, it can be found at this link.
The American Express Cobalt™ Card is one of our favourite cards for all of the above.
This article was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this article are purely my own.
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