Since credit cards have become part of our lives, it's only fair to get one that gives you excellent earning potential.
The American Express Cobalt offers the quintessential experience every Canadian deserves. From sign-on bonuses to reward programs and even travel insurance, the Amex credit card transcends all generations.
This honest review of the American Express Cobalt will tell you why the card is highly regarded in the market. It won't be all merit, though. So inclusive are the cons of the credit card as well.
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American Express Cobalt Card
- Annual Fee: $0
- Eligibility: Canadian resident, age of majority, good credit score
New cardholders can earn up to 50,000 bonus points within their first year. Just spend $500 every month to accumulate 2500 points that equal to 30,000 annually. Then, if you can make $3000 worth of purchases using your credit card in the first three months of membership, you get the additional 20,000 reward points.
Features and Benefits
The Amex Cobalt isn't the typical credit card. But, there are benefits for every transaction through the card plus an above-average insurance plan. These include:
Outstanding Earn Rates
This credit card is among the few that reward you for almost all transactions. Thus, the card offers significant rewards, whether it's paying for food and drinks or travel and transit expenses, or even groceries.
You get 5 points for every $1 spent on foods and drinks at a restaurant, café, or take-out service. Plus, 2 points on each $1 you spend on gas, taxi, train, or bus while travelling or transiting. Bookings at hotels and tour expenses also count here.
Any transactions outside these two earn you the conventional $1 per 1 point except for streaming services, which is 3 points for every $1. Furthermore, once you spend $30,000 within the first year through the card, all transactions earn you 1 point per $1 spent.
Kindly note that buying bread at the convenience store or any other purchases in general merchandise stores don't qualify for bonuses.
The next best item after the high-earn rates is the welcome bonus. Here, as a new cardmember, you can earn up to 50,000 thousand bonus points within the first year of enrollment. Provided you spend $500 per month for 12 months, you'll earn 2500 points for each qualified month, which totals to 30,000 points.
In addition, if you spend $3000 through the card during your first three months of enrollment, you land 20,000 membership points. But, again, these are specific targets to hit, especially when using the card for all food and transit expenses.
Such significant points could amount to $300 in travel rewards or more. But, the points come as installments and not whole to prevent those looking to get a quick free trip.
Obtaining the American Express Cobalt is different from other credit cards. Instead of paying the annual fee like with other plans, the Amex Cobalt allows for monthly subscriptions. This means you pay the flat-rate fee of $12.99 a month than the $155.8 charged annually.
The monthly renewal plan can work out in your favour if you feel the rewards of having the card aren't worth the fee. This way, if you don't earn enough to maintain the card, you can cancel it instead of waiting an entire year.
Travel insurance is always an issue while using other credit cards, but not with the American Express Cobalt. This credit card has an all-inclusive package that caters to all your interests while on a trip.
If you make travel arrangements using the card, whether booking a flight or hotel, your travel medical insurance stands at $5,000,000. This is on top of other covers, such as $250,000 for protection against accidents and $500 in case of lost luggage or hotel burglary.
Other benefits that you (the cardholder) get include:
- Purchase protection (90 days cover from damage or theft of goods bought)
- Flight delay (up to $500)
- Rental car damage or theft (up to $85,000)
- Mobile device insurance
American Express Cobalt simplifies travel in many ways. You would want to consider the ease this will bring you during your trip.
No Charges on Supplementary Cards
It is customary for credit cards to charge an additional fee before approving supplementary cards for authorized users. These could be for your spouse, family members, or a replacement if the original gets lost.
But this is not the case with cobalt credit cards. Here, you can request up to nine supplementary cards without paying extra fees. In the end, it works out for you because more cards mean more spending and higher reward points.
Rates and Fees
Another exciting feature of the American Express Cobalt is the reduced fees and flexible rates coming with the card. Unlike other reward credit cards, the Amex Cobalt has but doesn't require an annual fee rate.
As a cardholder, you have the option to try out the card and see if the rewards are worth paying the fee. If you decide against renewal, you can cancel the card immediately without much loss. Typically, monthly card subscriptions cost $12.99, and for the annual plan, it's $155.88.
In addition, since this is a reward card, the standard annual interest rate on purchases is 20.99% and 21.99% for cash advances.
How to Get the American Express Cobalt Card
The Amex Cobalt card doesn't have strict requirements or a complex application process. You don't even have to show proof of income to apply for a credit card like other reward cards. All you need is:
First and foremost, you must be a legal Canadian citizen and have a credit file. Then have attained the age of majority in your province and a good credit score of 650 and above.
If you meet these requirements, then the application process is a straightforward one. First, log in to the American Express Cobalt website and fill out your information on the available form.
Include your SIN number, finance options, and contact details where they can issue a response on whether your application is approved or rejected.
Please note that not all applications are approved just because the entry requirements are low. The company reserves the right to reject applications based on the information they gather.
Earning and Redeeming Points
The more points you accumulate on your credit cards, the sweeter the reward you get. Here's a sequence of how to earn the points, and more importantly, the different ways to redeem them:
How to Earn Points
There's a big chance to earn significant points provided you make purchases using the credit card at designated places. Usually, as a new member, you get different earn rates for different spending categories.
Get 5 points for every $1 you spend on food and drink in restaurants, bars, café, or grocery stores. Plus, 3 points for each $1 spent on streaming services and 2 points per $1 used on travel and transit. This includes cab, train, flights, or gas purchases.
However, if you hit the $30,000 mark on expenses at some point during your first year, you start earning 1 point for every $1 you spend from thereon.
How to Redeem Points
After making all those purchases and earning points, how do you use them? Well, according to the credit card guidelines, there are three ways to do it.
The first and perhaps most lucrative is joining the Amex flexible program, whereby you redeem points to get travel credits. For example, 1000 points translate to $10 worth of credit that you can use for travel purchases.
On the other hand, you can redeem the points for flights through the Amex fixed program. Here, through the redemption chart, you can book round-trip flights within Canada corresponding to the value of your points.
And lastly, you can transfer the points to loyalty hotel programs such as Aeroplan, Avios, or Marriot Bonvoy. This way, you can use the rewards to get more pleasurable experiences in these Hotels while travelling.
How Does It Compare to Other Top Competitors
In the competitive field of reward credit cards, the American Express Cobalt card seems to fair well. Compared to its closest rival – the BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite, some of its unique features come out on top.
For example, the Amex Cobalt gives you 5 points for every $1 spent on food and drinks and 2 points per $1 on travel. On the other hand, BMO members earn 5 points for each $1 used on groceries, dining, and gas.
The same can be said about the travel insurance plan. While comparing both covers, the American Express card offers trip cancellation insurance, and the other doesn't. Lastly, the American Cobalt charges a monthly fee of $12.99, while BMO's annual fee is $120.
American Express Cobalt
- Annual Fee: $0
- Annual interest rate: 20.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances
- Welcome offer: Earn up to 50,000 Membership Rewards® points
BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite
- Annual Fee: $120
- Annual interest rate: 20.99% for purchases, 23.99% for cash advances and 21.99% for Quebec residents
- Welcome offer: Get up to 40,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year
Pros and Cons
The American Express credit card has its advantages and disadvantages as covered below:
- Excellent earn rates (up to 5%)
- Flexible monthly fee
- Transferable points to hotel loyal programs (including Avios and Aeroplan)
- No charges on supplementary cards
- Limited merchants accept Amex Cobalt, unlike Visa
- Earning rates apply within Canada and not outside
- The card charges a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%
Considering these dynamics are very crucial before deciding to settle for this card. It will save you time and resources in the long run.
There are so many components that can make you fall in love with the American Express Cobalt.
One is the high earn rate of 5%, which offers good value for your fee payment. Two are the comprehensive travel insurance package and the low-income requirement. And three is how easy you can redeem the points through various options.
While few merchants accept the card and you can use it in Canada only, Amex Express remains among the best options in the market. Besides, you can get a quote for top-notch insurance by leaving us a message.