The American Express Cobalt® Card is a winner for earning flexible, easy-to-redeem points on everyday spending. At 5 points per $1 spent on eligible food and drink, 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services, 2 points per $1 spent on gas, transit, and travel, and 1 point per $1 on everything else, the points will add up fast. Plus, get a head start with up to 30,000 points (worth approx. $300) in welcome bonuses, terms and conditions apply. Although American Express cards aren’t as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard, this card deserves a spot in your wallet as one of the top credit cards to use for groceries, restaurants, and food delivery purchases.
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About the American Express Cobalt® Card
The American Express Cobalt® Card earns a top spot as one of the best rewards credit cards in Canada, but its real claim to fame is the points-earning potential on food purchases. With this card, you’ll earn 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, cafes, and even food delivery services. That’s incredibly lucrative. You’ll also get 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services, 2 points per $1 spent on gas, transit, and travel like buses, taxicabs, or hotel stays, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
To maximize the value of your points, you can use them for travel through the AMEX travel portal or via the Fixed Points Travel Program. Alternatively, you could redeem your points for a statement credit, gift cards, or merchandise, but at a lower value compared to travel. In other words, your points can get you pretty much anything — even purchases at Amazon.ca.
The American Express Cobalt® Card carries a sweet insurance bundle including up to $5 million for out of province/country emergency medical coverage, $250,000 of travel accident coverage, flight and baggage delay, lost or stolen luggage, up to $500 in hotel burglary protection, and up to $85,000 in car rental theft and damage coverage. You also get new mobile device insurance covering your devices for up to $1,000. Cardholders get access to The Hotel Collection from American Express®, which gives you benefits like free room upgrades at over 600 participating hotels and resorts in over 30 countries worldwide. You also have American Express Invites which get you access to exclusive events, presale tickets, and special offers.
Card Features & Benefits
In addition to generous earn rates and one of the most flexible redemption processes around, the American Express Cobalt® Card carries better-than-average travel insurance and some valuable perks.
- Excellent earn rates: Get 5 points per $1 spent on eligible food and drink, 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services, 2 points per $1 on gas and transit like buses or taxicabs, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
- A welcome offer that’s worth it: New cardholders can earn up to 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points. Spend $500 per month for the first 12 months, and you’ll earn 2,500 points per eligible month for a maximum of 30,000 points. Terms and conditions apply.
- Boosts in top spending categories: Boosted earn rates don’t mean much if they’re in categories you rarely use. Five points per dollar on food and drink includes grocery shopping, restaurants, cafes, bars, and food delivery. The 3 points per $1 cover streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+. The 2 points per $1 category covers public transit like the bus, subway, and car hires like taxicabs, plus travel spends like hotel stays.
- Flexible redemptions: American Express Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for virtually anything you want to spend them on. When you use them as a credit against your card, they go towards retail, restaurant purchases, entertainment, or bills. Book flights through the Fixed Points Travel Program or travel at American Express Travel Online, and they get you closer to that getaway. Or, you can use them at Membershiprewards.ca for gift cards or merchandise. And if that’s not quite enough choice, you can even redeem them for purchases on Amazon.ca.
- Up your hotel game: Cardholders get access to The Hotel Collection from American Express®. That means you can get a free room upgrade and a hotel credit of up to USD$100 for amenities like a spa visit, room service, or golf at over 600 participating hotels and resorts in over 30 countries worldwide.
- Travel insurance: The American Express Cobalt® Card comes with some heavy-duty travel protections, including up to $5 million in travel emergency medical insurance, $250,000 of travel accident coverage, flight and baggage delay, lost or stolen luggage, up to $500 in hotel burglary protection, and up to $85,000 in car rental theft and damage coverage.
- Mobile device insurance: Eligible devices purchases with your American Express Cobalt® Card are insured for up to $1,000.
- Installment program: If you want to make a big purchase and need to pay it off over time, you can make monthly installments for a fixed fee.
- American Express Invites: With Front Of The Line® Advance Access and Front Of The Line® Reserved Tickets, the best tickets to the hottest events will be available to you during presale and the regular sale period.
Pros and Cons
The American Express Cobalt® Card is designed to help you earn points pronto. The generous welcome bonus of up to 30,000 points will get you started, and the 5 point-per-dollar earn rate on food and drink alone will ensure your account stays topped up. Perks like access to The Hotel Collection and American Express Invites are nice incentives. The card’s better-than-average travel insurance package rounds out the offer, making it an attractive option for those looking to pay $155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee) in annual fees.
One thing to be wary of with this card—and with every American Express card—is that it’s accepted at fewer retailers in Canada than Mastercard or Visa. This means that you won’t be able to cash in on those sweet Membership Rewards at some grocery stores, notably Costco and any of the Loblaws family of stores. In that case, you’ll want to add another credit card for groceries into your wallet, so you don’t miss out on any chance to earn points.
Excellent welcome offer
Get rewarded big time for food purchases
Generous earn rates in top spending categories
Flexible rewards that never expire
Includes up to $100 USD hotel credit
Includes robust travel insurance coverage
Access to exclusive American Express Invites
No first-year fee waiver
Less widely accepted than Visa or Mastercard
How the American Express Cobalt® Card compares
The American Express Cobalt® Card occupies a crowded field for reward cards in its annual fee range. Its headline benefits are the good earn rates and flexible redemptions, but other cards boast similar selling points, like the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card. Let’s break it down before rendering a verdict.
The American Express Cobalt® Card gives 5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent at eligible restaurants, bars, cafés, and on food delivery, 3 points per dollar on streaming services, 2 points per dollar on travel and transit, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card has a similar earning structure, offering 5 BMO Rewards points per $1 on groceries, dining, gas and transit, and 1 point per dollar on everything else*.
Like the American Express Cobalt® Card, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card offers a travel insurance package* but it’s slightly inferior, lacking trip cancellation coverage. Both cards include up to $1,000 in new mobile device coverage*. Additionally, both cards have proprietary membership perks, so your decision between American Express Invites and Visa Infinite privileges may be a matter of personal preference. The American Express Cobalt® Card charges a $155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee) annual fee. The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card charges a $120 annual fee. However, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card offers a first-year annual fee waiver* as part of the welcome bonus.
The American Express Cobalt® Card lets you earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points (worth $300) in the first year. The welcome bonus points of 60,000 BMO Rewards* points is more (around $400), but new members also get a first-year fee waiver (worth $120*).
|American Express Cobalt® Card||BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card|
|Welcome Offer||Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year (conditions apply)||Up to 60,000 BMO Rewards points*|
|Annual fee||$155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee)||$120 (first-year fee waiver)*|
|Travel insurance||Out of province/country emergency medical insurance (for under age 65), $250,000 travel accident, flight delay, baggage delay, hotel burglary, lost or stolen baggage, and car rental theft and damage coverage||Up to $5M in out-of-province or country emergency medical insurance, common carrier, and car rental collision/loss damage coverage*|
|Mobile device insurance||Yes||Yes|
|Membership||American Express Invites with Front of the Line Advanced Access, Reserved Tickets, and E-Updates||Visa Infinite with perks like Visa Infinite Dining Services, Entertainment Access, Luxury Hotel Collection, Wine Country, Troon Golf Benefit, and 24/7 Concierge*|
|Other perks||Up to a USD$100 hotel credit on qualifying hotel amenities, complimentary room upgrade at check-in when booking a stay through The Hotel Collection||$50 annual “lifestyle credit”*; $1,000 in new mobile device insurance*|
|More Info||Visit Site||Visit Site|
The American Express Cobalt® Card is a good choice for people looking for a rewards credit card for groceries, food and drink, transit, and travel—in other words, everyday purchases. The welcome offer alone is worth nearly four times the annual fee, and with regular billing of only $12.99 per month, it’s dead simple to pay. The ability to accumulate points fast, plus the flexibility of the reward program, promises a satisfying and valuable experience. Plus, the card’s little extras—like travel insurance and hotel credits—will delight once travel is back on the roster.
There are some drawbacks to this card that become clear when you compare it with competitor cards. American Express cards are less widely accepted in Canada than Mastercard or Visa, an issue that could stunt your earning potential, especially if you’re a frequent Costco or Loblaws shopper. That said, the American Express Cobalt® Card is an extremely popular choice for everyday spending, which is why it has a place on our list of the best American Express cards.
*Terms and conditions apply
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