American Express Cobalt Card: best credit card for everyday purchases in Canada

Finally, American Express Cobalt Card is now open for public applications in Canada. I am thrilled that American Express, has the very good chance, released the credit card of the year for Canadians. 

As we have previously mentioned, this card is a credit card by American Express that earns you Membership Rewards (MR) points. This means you do not have to face the 30% interest rate as a charge card does, and you cannot apply for this card via a friend's MR charge card (for example, Gold Rewards card). Also be aware that every card holder can only have 2 credit cards with American Express at a time. 

Welcome Bonus

If you apply for the card by Jan 31, 2018 and charge $3000 to the card in the first 3 months you will be having 10,000 MR. Plus, you will have a bonus of 2,500 MR every month for the first year if you keep charging $500 or more to your cobalt card on each monthly statement. You are more than welcome to use our referral link to apply for this card: click to apply.

Annual Fee

I would rather say this card charges you monthly fee: every month you will be charged $10 on the card, with $120 per year combined. 

Points Earning

In terms of points earning, this card has outstanding performance:
5x points on dining and groceries, 2x points on travel and transit are the two highlights of this card. And I also have the footnote here for you just in case you wonder what purchases are eligible for those bonus points:
American Express CobaltTM Card . You can earn Membership Rewards points for eligible consumer purchases at American Express retails merchants as follows: 5 points for every $1 at or for (i) restaurant, quick service restaurant, coffee shop and drinking establishments in Canada, (ii) stand-alone grocery stores in Canada, (iii) delivery of food and groceries in Canada as a primary business; and 2 points for every $1 at or for (i) stand-alone automobile gasoline stations in Canada, (ii) travel services or travel bookings including air, water, rail and road transport, lodging and tour operator sales, (iii) local commuter transportation in Canada including subway, streetcar, taxi, limousine and ride sharing services. Purchases at merchants where these categories are not their primary business such as general merchandise retailers do not qualify. Merchants are typically assigned codes and categorized based on what they sell. Earn rate of 1 point for every $1 applies when the merchant code is not in an eligible category, using a payment account or service of a third party, a card reader attached to a mobile phone or online retailer that sells goods of other merchants or the merchant category is otherwise not identified. Provided your account is in good standing, points can be earned on eligible purchases less returns and other credits. Interest, fees and charges for travelers cheques and foreign currencies are not purchases and do not earn points. Points can be redeemed in the Membership Rewards Select Tier and are not eligible for transfer to programs that offer airline and frequent flyer redemptions.
And here are some examples (but not confined to) of the grocery stores that can earn you 5x points with your cobalt card:

Points Value

The points of this card fall into the category of  Membership Rewards Select Tier, the definition of which can be found here (on page 5) :click to read.

It is a pity that the MR points you earn on this card cannot be transferred to air line miles like Aeroplan directly.

However, there are two alternative options that would maximize your points value: 

1)Convert to Starpoints (5x point~7.5%)
It is on a 2:1 ratio, and with Star Points you can redeem free nights with Starwood, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels. Also, if you are looking for air line miles, you can redeem Marriott's travel and night packages. This is my favorite way of using MR earned from this card. 

2)Redeem free flight 
You can make the use of American Express's feature program: Fixed Points Travel Program. The redemption chart is as below:
3) Use points for purchases 

Not a fan of frequent flyer programs? It's fine, just make your life simple and redeem your points towards spending credit on this card. By doing so, each 1000 points are are worthy of $10-which means 5X category purchases will get you 5% in cash return.

Based on the assumption that you will maximize your points value by the three above mentioned methods, and based on the valuation of Starpoints (3 cents apiece). You are basically looking at: 5x purchases equal 7.5% return, 2x purchases equal 3% return. This is definitely by far the best card you can get for dining and groceries. 

Insurance and Benefits

This card has pretty much the same insurance packages as the American Express Gold Rewards card does. You have quite a good coverage if you charge your travel cost to the cobalt card. 

Also, Front of Line feature will get you some early bird tickets for many concerts and shows.

Bottom Line

This is definitely an incredible card that will bring you lots of points if you are a foodie, a travel hacker, or if you are a house wife/husband. I would say applying for this card and keeping it for at least a year is a no brainer choice. 

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