American Express Cobalt Card: The best card in Canada offering 30,000 welcome bonus points + 5x points on your eats and drinks

If you are a Rewards Canada regular then this card needs no introduction, however over the past couple of weeks we’ve had quite a few new visitors to the site so we want to introduce you to best credit card in Canada and the one that should be in every Canadian’s wallet. 

That card is the American Express Cobalt® Card which has been ranked as the best travel rewards credit card in Canada since 2017 and more recently also the best cash back credit card in Canada.  With everyday earn rates of 1 to 5 points per dollar spent, super flexible travel and cash back redemption options and the ability to transfer 1:1 to Air Canada Aeroplan and British Airways
Executive Club, it is the card for everyone to have. 

Welcome bonus

Here’s how the welcome bonus offer is structured on the American Express Cobalt Card:

  • In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, you can earn 2,500
    Membership Rewards® points for each monthly billing period in which you
    spend $500 in net purchases on your Card. This could add up to 30,000
    points in a year

Right now the card has
its standard offer of 2,500 points per month for each month you spend
$500 on the card for the first 12 month. This does not include the points you earn on the actual spending. For example if you simply buy $500 of groceries per month on the card that works out 2,500 points plus you get the 2,500 welcome bonus points. So after one year, if you simply put $500 worth of groceries per month you would end up with 60,000 points. Of course, if you really wanted to maximize this card you wouldn’t limit yourself to $500 of groceries as you’d also be putting as much of your dining, bar visits, coffee shop visits etc. on this card as well for those 5x points. 

Value from the points

But let’s say you did just stick with $500 a month on eats and drinks, you’d have those 60,000 points  and they could be redeemed for the following:

  • $600 in rewards when redeeming via Use Points for Purchases (the cash back option)
  • Four round trip flights on popular short haul Canada/US routes with Amex’s Fixed Points
    for travel (up to $1,200 in total value) 
  • Three round trip flights on other short haul Canada/US routes with Amex’s Fixed Points
    for travel (up to $900 in total value) 
  • One
    round trip flights from Canada to Europe with Amex’s Fixed Points for travel (up to
    $900 in total value) 
  • Four round trip flights on popular short haul Canada/US routes with Amex’s Fixed Points
    for travel (up to $1,200 in total value)
  • 60,000 Aeroplan Points or British Airways Avios (min. $900 in value),
  • 72,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points (min. $720 value)

are just some of the best redemption options that you can get with this

Earn rates

  • Earn 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery ($30,000 annual cap)
  • Earn 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions in Canada
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible transit & gas
    purchases in Canada and eligible travel purchases. That’s 2X the points
    on purchases that get you from point A to B 
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else.
    We won’t tell you where to spend, we’ll just reward you on your Card

You’ll want to note, that even though it is stated ‘in Canada’ for those earn rates they are in fact available globally. We confirmed this with American Express back when the card launched in 2017 and also have confirmation from our own use and the use of the cards by our readers outside of Canada. In fact you can see the confirmed locations in Canada and Worldwide in our feature: American Express Cobalt Card Confirmed Multiplier Locations

Take note of those earn rates and the fact you can convert to Aeroplan 1:1 as those make the Cobalt Card the number one card in Canada for earning Aeroplan points. In our feature Which credit card earns the most Aeroplan Points? the Cobalt Card takes or ties for top spot in five of seven earn categories. 

An example of the Cobalt Card’s Aeroplan earn rates

Monthly Fee vs. Annual Fee

The card was one of the first in Canada to move away from an annual fee to a monthly fee to fall in-line with the modern monthly subscription style of payments.  That monthly fee is $12.99 which works out to $155.88 per year which is higher than this card’s competition who are in the $120 to $150 range. Don’t let that dissuade you however as you can easily make up that fee difference in the points you earn. Or if you need an additional/supplementary card, they are free with the Cobalt Card whereas most competitors are charging $50 or more for those additional cards so you end up saving money if you do run with multiple cards.

Redeeming points

The American Express Cobalt Card participates in Amex’s Membership
Rewards program which is the best credit card reward program in Canada
as it has so many valuable redemption options. You can redeem points for
any travel you book with the card, you can redeem points for any
purchase you make on the card, you can redeem via Amex’s Fixed Points
for Travel and you can convert your points to Air Canada Aeroplan, Air
France KLM Flying Blue, British Airways Executive Club, Marriott Bonvoy
and numerous other programs.

If you redeem using the Use Points for Purchases
option, you will get a $10 credit towards every 1,000 points redeemed
for a purchase. This means the purchases you make on food and drinks
will equate to a 5% return.

Moving on to the Fixed Points Travel Program,
the card provides great value here as well. Being able to earn up to 5
points per dollar means you can be flying for as little as $3,000 in
spending on this card and provides up to a 10% return on those food and
drink purchases.

Finally, another huge and I mean huge benefit to the redemption side of
this card is the ability to convert to Membership Rewards Frequent Traveller participants.
As of August 16, 2021 the Cobalt Card gained access to all of American
Express’ transfer partners including Air Canada Aeroplan and British
Airways Executive Club. This is on top of the hotel transfer partners
that card already had. With minimum point values of 1 cent for Marriott,
1.5 cents for Aeroplan and British Airways you are looking at returns
of 7.5% for that 5x points earning. But that’s a minimum – there are so
many occasions where you can get 3, 4 or even more cents per points with
this programs that puts the Cobalt’s return easily into double digits! 

Recommended reading: American Express Cobalt™ Card Review


Wrapping it up

When we say the American Express Cobalt Card is the best overall card in Canada we don’t just say it based on the information provided. We say it from experience as the Rewards Canada family has ran two American Express Cobalt Card accounts since the card launched in 2017 and between the two we are encroaching 1 million points earned since that time on our organic everyday spending (no manufactured spending) The majority of those points have been earned at the 5x points rate but even some at 3x, 2x and 1x plus some at 10x points when they ran some promotions early on. The Cobalt Card has been very rewarding for us and for many of our readers based on their feedback to us. And it can be very rewarding for you as well – even if you only end putting 50% of your spending on this card and 50% on another (for those who shop at Loblaws etc.) you will end up ahead in the points and miles game.

Click here to learn more and apply for the American Express Cobalt Card