The American Express Cobalt Card was launched in late 2017, with a focus on millennials and their spending habits. Since launch, it has not only won the hearts of millenials but marked itself as one of the best travel cards in the market. A game changer. It is also the easiest and fastest way to earn Marriott (or Aeroplan) points in Canada.

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American Express Cobalt Card (Apply Now):

The card cut itself a niche market by shifting the focus from annual fee with large minimum spends to monthly fee and monthly bonus. Card holders pay $10/month and earn 2500 points (minimum spend of $500) each month of the year. If members miss the minimum spend on a month, they lose the monthly bonus for that month but regain it going forward. With an earning rate of 5% on Grocery and Dining and 2% on travels and transit, its easy to rake in the points with regular credit card spend. Redeeming is where the fun begins: With American Express Cobalt Card, members dont earn the traditional Amex MR points, instead they earn Membership Rewards Select (MRS) points which adds an array of benefits. But first, a quick glance at the primary card features;

  • Annual Fee: $120 ($10 per month)
  • Welcome Bonus: Special low interest rate of 7.99% on purchases charged to the Card within the first 6 months,  30,000 Membership Rewards Select (MRS) points (2500 per month with min. $500 spend)
  • Earning Rate: 5X on Grocery and Dining (including restaurants, bars, cafe and food delivery), 2X on Travel and Transit (including flights, hotels, taxis, gas, ride sharing, and transit passes), 1X on all other purchases.

  • Other Key Benefit (Updated Jan 16, 2019): Amex Special Offers (perks, bonus rewards), The Hotel Collection ($75 $100 USD hotel credit at participating properties on qualifying room charges and room upgrade with min. 2 night booking made directly on American Express travel portal), extensive Insurance coverage for travel and shopping, Convert MRS points to Marriott at 5:6 or Hilton at 1:1

Detailed list of benefits and perks of the card are listed here

  • Redeeming: MRS points don’t transfer directly to airline miles, but they do transfer to Marriott at 5:6 ratio. Since the card earns 5 points on the dollar, that’s essentially 6 Marriott points per dollar on the Cobalt card. Thats a better rate than any other card in the market (SPG Amex comes the closest with 5 points/$). Further, members can convert from MRS⇒Marriott⇒Aeroplan or Avios. Marriott adds a 5K bonus on every 60K points converted, which means converting 60K Marriott can yield 25K Aeroplan miles. Going from MRS⇒Marriott⇒Aeroplan yields a rate of 2.5 Aeroplan miles/$, which is incredible! The rate is better than any other Aeroplan earning card in the market.

MRS points can be used as statement credits against purchases or redeemed through the Fixed Points Travel Program – chart as shown below: A short haul return flight in economy class (15,000 points) can be had with a spend of $3000 on the American Express Cobalt Card or a return trip to Europe in Business class (140,000 points) with $28000 in card spend. These are incredible returns with daily spends on a card.

American Express Cobalt Card

Amex Fixed Points Travel – Economy (r/t)

 

American Express Cobalt Card

Amex Fixed Points Travel – Business (r/t)

Even assuming only a $500 spend on grocery and dining each month, the card yields 30K points in a year. Combined with the 30K bonus, thats 60,000 points in a year which is good for a return trip to Europe or 72,000 Marriott Rewards points.

Take Away

No matter how you slice and dice it, the American Express Cobalt Card is a must have for all Canadians, for its versatility and ease of earning quick points for great returns! In my opinion, the best credit card in Canada.

 

Title Image Source: American Express