Loyalty Lesson: Is a 30% return on credit card spending possible? Yes, it sure is!

This is one of those posts that wasn’t planned but it kind of fell right into my lap and I had to write it after I completed another post on our site. That other post was A closer look at the credit card that Canada voted as the number one overall travel rewards card in Canada where we took a detailed look at the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card. In that post we provided an example of how you could redeem Aeroplan points for a Business Class ticket between Calgary and Toronto and get 6 cents per point in value.

A one way flight with internationally configured lie flat business
class seat on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner between Calgary and Toronto on
February 7, 2022:

You can redeem 24,300 points for $1456.35 in value! What does that work out to in cents per point value? 6 cents!

That’s where the light bulb went off for this article. What does that the 6 cents per point translate to in value for the credit card that actually earns the most Aeroplan points? 

Recommended reading: Which credit card earns the most Aeroplan Points?

If you don’t already know, the card that is strongest for earning Aeroplan points is the American Express Cobalt® Card. It earns anywhere from 1 to 5 points per dollar spent on everyday spending. Those points are earned into the American Express Membership Rewards Select program and thanks to some changes in August 2021 those points can now be transferred directly to Aeroplan on a 1 to 1 basis. That means each dollar spent on the Cobalt Card effectively earns 1 to 5 Aeroplan points. So if you can get 6 cents per point value by redeeming 24,300 points for a business class ticket what does that mean your return would be on the Cobalt Card? It would be the following

  • Eats & Drinks (Grocery, Dining, Food Delivery, Take out, Bars, Coffee shops etc.):
    5 points per dollar spent = 30% return
  • Select Streaming Services (Netflix, Disney+, Spotify & more)
    3 points per dollar spent = 18% return
  • Transit, Travel, Gas (includes taxis & ride share)
    2 points per dollar spent = 12% return
  • All other spending: 
  • 1 point per dollar spent = 6% return

So as you can see, yes it is entirely possibly to earn a 30% return on your credit card spending when it is in that Eats and Drinks category! You can get 30 cents back on every eats & drinks dollar! You can get that business class flight with spending as little as $4,860 on the card! And then the rest of your spending isn’t too shabby either! From 6% to 18%! Compare this to the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card whose equivalent return would be 6% to 9%. I know we have provided a lot of examples in the past showing value as high as the mid 20% range for the Cobalt Card but this is the first time in a long time where we have seen 30%! Crazy thing is that if you happen to have an Aeroplan co-brand credit card as well such as the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card but even the no annual fee CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Card will do to you can get even more value out of the Cobalt Card. The reason being is that Aeroplan co-brand cardholders get preferred pricing on Aeroplan award flights. So that 24,300 points from the example above would cost less and make your return on your Cobalt spending exceed 30%! You can see where I am going here – it is ideal to have the Cobalt Card to earn a ton of Aeroplan points and also to have a co-brand card to get you even more value out of those points with Preferred Pricing on Aeroplan awards. Plus that co-brand card is perfect to use when you are shopping at a retailer that doesn’t accept Amex.

And if the earn rates aren’t enough to get you to get the Cobalt Card it does have a limited time increased welcome bonus right now of up to 50,000 points. Just so you don’t have to do the math that’s $3,000 of value at 6 cents a piece (I could also go into the other Amex welcome bonuses right now which are at as high as 100,000 points for $6,000 in value but I don’t want this post to be too long!)  If you are only about value and love earning as many points as
possible on your everyday spending this is the card you need to get. Hands down. Don’t give me “it’s an amex
and it’s not accepted at as many places
” – it’s accepted at enough places that you’ll be receiving huge value from it. If you don’t have it you are effectively leaving money on the table.

Recommended reading: American Express Cobalt Card Confirmed Multiplier Locations

Then like I said above, get yourself one of the Aeroplan co-brand cards to cover the few places that don’t take Amex. This valuation further solidifies my long standing statement that the American Express Cobalt Card should be in every Canadian’s wallet.

Click here to learn more about and/or to apply for the American Express Cobalt Card.

What if you don’t use Aeroplan? It’s still the card to get – I won’t detail it here but I would recommend watching this video or listening to this podcast to find out why the Cobalt Card is the best overall travel rewards card and cash back card in Canada:


American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. 

This post was NOT sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada or Aeroplan. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely my own. 

Images via Air Canada