Millennials and credit card rewards fans rejoice! The NEW American Express Cobalt Card has arrived in Canada ready to shake up the way we earn and redeem our rewards points.
There’s a lot to unpack with this card, so let’s get right to it. The Cobalt Card was designed by millennials for millennials, but as you’ll see it will have much broader appeal for those who want to maximize the rewards earned on their everyday spending.
Who doesn’t like to eat and drink? With the Cobalt Card, not only can you earn 5x the points for every dollar spent on groceries, you can also earn 5x the points for every dollar spent at restaurants, bars, and on food delivery.
With no limit to how much you can earn in the ‘eats and drinks’ category, Cobalt is the only card on the market that pays out 5x the points year-round on groceries, dining, and take-out.
Cobalt also highlights ‘travel and transit’ categories by paying out 2x the points for every dollar spent on travel, gas, and public transportation.
Finally, you’ll earn one Membership Rewards point on all other purchases, including those retailers coded as ‘general merchandise’.
Welcome Bonus and Annual Monthly Fee
One of the more intriguing features of the new Cobalt Card is the unique structure of its welcome bonus and monthly fee. Yes, I said monthly fee.
You see, one aspect of the millennial lifestyle is this comfort with a low monthly fee subscription format. So, with the Cobalt Card, you’ll pay a $10 monthly fee as opposed to a typical $120 annual fee paid upfront.
Does this monthly format impact how the very generous 40,000 Membership Rewards welcome bonus gets paid out? You bet! Here’s how it works:
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 purchases on your Card. This could add up to 30,000 points in a year.
On top of that, if you sign up by January 30th, 2018, you can earn an additional 10,000 Membership Rewards points bonus if you make a total of $3,000 in purchases in the first three months.
So, in the first year a new Cobalt Cardmember can earn a welcome bonus of up to 40,000 Membership Rewards points. That’s enough for a long-haul flight to almost anywhere in Canada or the continental U.S., $400 in statement credits redeemed towards travel purchases charged to your card, or $400 worth of tickets at Ticketmaster.ca.
That leads us to the wide variety of ways that Cobalt Cardmembers can redeem their points. First up, the Fixed Points Travel Program:
Redeem the fixed points amount towards the base ticket price, which is the cost of the flight excluding taxes, fees, and carrier surcharges. You can also use your Membership Rewards points to pay for taxes, fees and other surcharges.
The Fixed Points Travel Program will only be available if you have enough Membership Rewards points to cover all travelers at the fixed points amount.
You can also redeem Membership Rewards points for a statement credit towards eligible travel purchases starting at 1,000 points = $10 statement credit. Other non-travel purchases can also be ‘credited’ from your statement, but at a lower value of 1,000 points = $7 statement credit.
Ticketmaster purchases charged to your Cobalt Card can be credited off starting at 2,000 points = $20 statement credit.
For the Amazon.ca shoppers, you can also redeem Membership Rewards points towards eligible items at Amazon.ca through the ‘Shop with Points’ program. To do so you mist first link your Membership Rewards program account with your Amazon.ca account.
Final thoughts on the NEW Cobalt Card
American Express has reset the top of the rewards card market with its new Cobalt Card. Simply put, 5x the points on groceries and dining is best in class, and when you factor in 2x the points on travel, gas, and transportation, the Cobalt Card easily ranks as one of the top rewards cards in Canada for everyday spending.
The high earn rate aside, all the points in the world aren’t useful unless you can redeem them when you want, how you want, and for what you want. Cobalt’s wide-variety of ways to redeem points means Cardmembers don’t have to just save up for a flight – points can be redeemed for statement credits, concert tickets, Amazon.ca purchases, and more.
This is definitely a card I’ll be adding to my wallet. Learn more about this card here.