American Express Cobalt Review



Annual Fee


Annual Rewards

30,000 points

Intro Offer


Annual fee


Annual rewards

30,000 points

Intro offer


  • Generous rewards: Earn 5 points per dollar spent on dining, groceries, and eligible entertainment.
  • Points flexibility: Option to transfer points to various airline and hotel partners.
  • Travel insurance: Comprehensive coverage including out-of-province medical and trip delay/cancellation insurance.
  • Monthly fee: A manageable $12.99/month instead of an annual fee.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points within the first year.


  • Limited acceptance: Not all merchants accept American Express.
  • Cash back restrictions: Points must be redeemed toward travel purchases or statement credits for select categories.
  • Monthly fee still present: Unlike no-fee cards, it comes with a $12.99/month charge.
  • No travel perks: Cardholders won’t enjoy perks such as airport lounge access or elite status in travel programs.

Performance test results

At DollarWise, for each credit card we test 7 different factors including the rewards, value for money, perks, insurance, strengths and weaknesses of the card.

You can see our full testing methodology here to learn why we’re the most trusted source for credit card reviews.

The American Express Cobalt has earned a 4.85 DollarWise Rating out of 5. This score is based on a weighted average of the two highest scoring factors (excluding acceptance and approval).




Interest rates




The highest scoring categories for the American Express Cobalt are rewards and insurance.

These factors are weighted 70% to the highest scoring factor and 30% to the second highest score to get an overall review score.

This weighting allows us to judge cards on their merits and the customers they are designed for.

For the American Express Cobalt the most important factors for scoring this card are its rewards and insurance.


When you spend using the AMEX Cobalt you will earn points called Membership Rewards. These Membership Rewards Points, or MR Points, are the standard American Express reward points.

With the American Express Cobalt, here’s the rates at which you earn rewards for different spending categories per dollar you spend:

Bills1 point
Pharmacy1 point
Gas2 points
Groceries5 points
Restaurants5 points
Specific Stores3 points
Travel2 points
All Other Spend1 point

When you spend on the AMEX Cobalt you’ll earn 5 points for groceries and restaurants, which is far more than you’d earn with most other Canadian cards.

The most impressive feature of the AMEX Cobalt is this extremely high earn rate on food, both at restaurants and grocery stores.

Plus, because many grocery stores also sell other types of items, you can get 5 points on lots of other spend too.

For example, grocery stores like Sobeys also sell gift cards to other stores. You can buy those gift cards and get 5 points on your spend at Sobeys, then go and use those gift cards wherever you want.

If you’re going to buy gift cards at a grocery store to maximize your points, make sure that you buy other things at the same time.

Many stores report level two data to credit card companies, which means that they’ll see your total spend and they can use this to calculate whether you bought gift cards, and then not give you the points.

Another similar trick is to buy gas at 7-Eleven or at a supermarket like FreshCo, which will generally appear as a grocery store for AMEX, giving you 5 points per dollar spent!

One downside is that most large Walmart stores are not classified as groceries for the rewards program, meaning that you won’t get 5x the points on your spend there. Similarly, Loblaws doesn’t take American Express.

So, if you primarily shop at Loblaws or Walmart for your groceries, the AMEX Cobalt is unlikely to be the best card to maximize your rewards.

Whereas if you use grocery delivery services like Instacart, you can get 5 points on your spend, even if you’re buying from Loblaws and Walmart.

Since the 15th August 2023, there is a $2,500 per month limit on the spend that earns 5x points. Any additional spend per month will only earn 1 point.

So, if you’re going to spend more than $2,500 each month in the 5 point categories, you should spend the first $2,500 with the AMEX Cobalt and then switch to another card that rewards you more than 1 point, for the remainder of the month.

AMEX MR points do not expire, which is fantastic because it allows you to accumulate them to use on larger purchases like international flights where the per point value is much higher.

However, MR points can be forfeited if you’re late to make payments. That means that if you’re late or miss a payment, the points earned in that period can be forfeit.

You can also have promotional points removed if you downgrade or cancel your card. AMEX does this to discourage people from churning the card to get the signup bonus or promotional points.

We’d recommend that you keep the card for at least a year, if not two, to be confident that you can keep the signup bonus and promotional points you earned.

How much annual rewards you’ll earn

We estimate that spending $2,000 per month with the American Express Cobalt would earn $1,272 in rewards over the year.

Our performance testing research uses an accurate estimation of the average Canadian households spending patterns to predict the rewards a card will earn.

We found that you’d earn this per category:

Specific Stores$72
All Other Spend$216

Our study investigating the value of AMEX Membership Rewards points found that they are worth up to $0.02 per point, depending on how you redeem.

This $1,272 in rewards value makes the American Express Cobalt the highest earning credit card in our database.

Compared to the average card, the American Express Cobalt earns 277% more rewards for the same credit card spend.

The average credit card in our database earns $337 in rewards for the same spend that the the American Express Cobalt earns $1,272 in rewards value.

Due to this very high rewards rate, it’s a great choice for people who spend a higher amount each month on their credit cards.

This puts it in the top 10% of credit cards in Canada based on rewards earned.

We can compare this card to other options by looking at the earn rate by category.

This earn rate is the percentage return that you would get when you spend on this card, assuming you redeem at the predicted maximum value.

For example, if a card earned 5 points per dollar on gas and each point is worth up to $0.02, then the earn rate is 5 points multiplied by $0.02 each, divided by the dollar you spent.

In this example, that’s a 10% earn rate on gas.

SpendThis CardAverage
Above, we’ve calculated the earn rate for the American Express Cobalt for every spend category and compared it to the average for all Canadian credit cards.

Although you only earn 1 point for each dollar spent, there are 5 exceptional higher earn categories which are where most peoples monthly spend happens.

For an annual spend of $24,000, we estimated annual rewards value at up to $1,272.

That’s equivalent to a 5.30% return on spending.

The American Express Cobalt has an annual fee of $156. After deducting this, we predicted net annual rewards of $1,116.

This puts it in the top 10% of credit cards for net rewards after fees.

In comparison, the average card earns net annual rewards of $254.

Redeeming your reward points

Redemption methodAnnual rewards
Transfer to partner airlines$1,272
Fixed points travel$1,113
Transfer to partner hotels$738
Redeem for travel$636
Apply to statement credit$636
Gift cards$490$445

The AMEX Cobalt gives you 10 redemption options, including transferring to partner airlines or using your MR points in the American Express fixed points travel program.

The best use of your MR rewards is to transfer them to a partner airlines rewards program like Aeroplan.

MR points can be exchanged for Aeroplan points at a 1:1 ratio.

While MR points can be used for statement credits at a value of 1 cent per point, we value Aeroplan points at 2 cents per point and have seen opportunities for them to be more than 10 cents per point!

The highest value use of your AMEX rewards is to convert them to Aeroplan and then use your Aeroplan points for international business and first class travel.

This method is where you get the biggest value per point.

If you want to use your points to travel in business or first class internationally, the AMEX Cobalt is a fantastic card. If you’d prefer to use those points against your credit card bill or to buy gift cards, there might be better cards for you.


The $156 annual fee is low compared to the $1,272 rewards that we estimated in our testing.

The $156 annual fee is 12% of the estimate reward value.

The average card charges $85. So, the American Express Cobalt is in the most expensive top 20% of cards by annual fee.


Welcome Bonus: The first major perk of the American Express Cobalt card is its welcome bonus.

New cardholders can earn up to 30,000 membership rewards points within the first year of opening the account by spending at least $500 per month on qualifying purchases, effectively providing users with $300 in travel credits or other reward redemptions.

Entertainment Access: The second perk of the card is the entertainment access it provides. The Cobalt card grants cardholders access to exclusive events, concerts, and dining experiences through the American Express Invites program.

We manually review the perks of each credit card to determine how they compare to other cards.

The American Express Cobalt scored a 2.1 out of 5 for perks, putting it in the top 30% of cards.

The average card scores 1.6 out of 5 for perks.

Interest Rates

Cash Advance21.99%
Balance TransferN/A%

The average credit card has a purchase interest rate of 18.29% and so the American Express Cobalt charges 1% more than the average.

For cash advances it costs 21.99% compared to the average of 19.96%.

It has no special rate for balance transfers, making it a poor choice for those with revolving credit balances who are hoping to reduce their interest.

Testing the American Express Cobalt with a $2,000 starting balance, you can see in the graph how the 1% more in interest rates impacts the interest over a year, compared to the average card.

Insurance coverage

InsuranceThis CardAverage
Extended Warranty1 year1 year
Purchase Protection90 days90 days
Travel Accident$250,000$500,000
Emergency Medical Term15 days15 days
Flight Delay$500$500
Baggage Delay$500$500
Lost or Stolen Baggage$500$1,000
Rental Car Theft & DamageYesNo
Hotel Burglary$500$1,000
Mobile Phone Insurance$1,000$1,000

We scored it 4.5 out of 5 for insurance.

It offers 10 types of insurance, whereas the average card has 5 types of coverage.

Approval and qualifying

Do I qualify?
Estimated Credit Score660 – 724
Personal Income$0
Household Income$0
Annual Fee$156
Extra Card Fee$0
Card typeAMEX

We scored it 3.0 out of 5 for approval.

We predict that you will require a credit score of at least 660 to qualify for the American Express Cobalt, while the average card requires 652 to qualify.

This puts it in the top bottom 50% of cards by approval difficulty.

The personal income requirements are $0, while the average card requires $23,896.

This puts it in the top 50% of cards by the income required to qualify.

Interested in other credit cards? If the American Express Cobalt credit card isn’t perfect for you, you might want to consider the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card. Plus, many Canadian’s that like the American Express Cobalt like the American Express Green Card, and the American Express Platinum Card.

FAQ – American Express Cobalt

The American Express Cobalt credit card allows you to redeem your Membership Rewards points in various ways, including:

  • Travel: Book flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacation packages through American Express Travel or transfer points to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Merchandise: Redeem points for a wide array of products, including electronics, fashion items, home appliances, and more through the American Express online catalogue.
  • Gift Cards: Use your points to obtain gift cards from popular retailers, dining establishments, and entertainment venues.
  • Statement Credits: Apply your points towards eligible transactions on your credit card statement, including dining, grocery, gas purchases, and more.
  • Charitable Donations: Donate your points to a charity of your choice through the Membership Giving program.

The American Express Cobalt credit card charges a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% on any purchases made outside of Canada or in a foreign currency.

This means if you use the card for transactions while travelling or online shopping in non-Canadian currencies, you will incur an additional fee of 2.5% on those transactions.

The American Express Cobalt credit card does not have a specific minimum income requirement for applicants. This means that approval for the card will depend on various factors, such as your credit history and overall financial standing, rather than a predefined income threshold.

Key benefits

  • Accelerated reward earnings: 5x points for specific categories
  • Versatile redeeming options: Partner airlines and hotels
  • Extensive insurance package: Travel-related protection
  • Manageable pricing: $12.99/monthly charge replaces annual fee
  • Enticing bonus offer: Up to 30,000 Membership points in year one
  • Unbounded acceptance: Limited merchant compatibility for AMEX
  • Redemption restrictions: Travel or defined statement credits only
  • Fee-bearing structure: Absence of zero-cost card options
  • Exclusion of luxury features: No airport amenity access or travel program membership

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