Quick overview of the American Express Cobalt

The American Express Cobalt® Card is one of the most popular rewards credit cards in Canada and, from personal experience, I can clearly understand why. This card proves to be an all around credit card, as it not only fulfills the role of a travel credit card, but also doubles as a great everyday rewards credit card that offers points on food and grocery purchases, streaming subscriptions, transit and much more. The added flexibility allows you to utilize your everyday spending in a variety of ways as you can quickly rack up points and redeem them for travel, statement credit, gifts or merchandise. 

Travel benefits with the Amex Cobalt card include access to a wide variety of American Express travel partners, including Air Canada’s Aeroplan and the British Airways Executive Club. Compared to the Scotia Gold American Express Rewards Credit Card  you’ll see the American Express Cobalt® Card earns more rewards overall.

In this American Express Cobalt® Card review, I will show you how this card continues to maintain its position as one of the top rewards credit cards on the Canadian market with slightly minor drawbacks, allowing you to see if this is the card for your overall spending needs.

Who’s the American Express Cobalt for?

As a young professional who tries to keep up with inflation by maximizing the value of every dollar spent, the Amex Cobalt helps me meet my financial goals as I easily rack up points due the generous earn rates on dining/food delivery and streaming subscriptions like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hayu and Crave.

You don’t have to be someone who goes out to wine and dine often to get the maximum benefits of this card. The 5x earn rate also applies to food delivery orders such as DoorDash and UberEats as well as grocery purchases. Additionally, you can also earn 2x points on gas and transit as well as 1x on everything else. Any additional cardholders can be added with no extra fee, allowing you rack up points at an accelerated rate.

Pros and cons of the Amex Cobalt Credit Card



  • High earn rates (5x on food and groceries, 3x on streaming subscriptions, 2x on transit and gas, 1x on everything else)

  • Flexible month-by-month fee structure

  • Free supplementary cards

  • 1:1 points transfer with selected hotels, airlines and frequent flyer programs

  • Front of the Line® ticket access to concerts, live shows



  • Accelerated earn rates only apply to purchases in Canada (not to purchases made abroad)

  • Earning cap on the 5x category once you hit $2,500 worth of eligible purchases

  • Amex has a more limited merchant acceptance rate than Visa and Mastercard

  • Slightly higher than average annual fee

  • No complimentary lounge access

  • Foreign exchange fee of 2.50%

American Express Cobalt Welcome bonus

The American Express Cobalt comes with a generous welcome offer of 15,000 points which is broken down monthly. This means every billing cycle, I can earn an extra 1,250 points. That benefit alone can easily cancel out the monthly fee each month as it equals to $12.50 if I choose to redeem it as statement credit. 

It's worth noting that, to earn the full welcome offer of 15,000 points, a cardholder will need to put down $750 in spending on the card during each billing cycle; that’ll earn them 1,250 Membership Rewards® points for each of the first 12 months. This means you will have to spend $6,000 in the first year to earn a total of 15,000 points. If you don’t manage to spend all $750 in one of the first 12 months of having your card, you miss out on the bonus for that month.

Related: Best credit card sign-up bonuses

How to earn membership rewards on American Express Cobalt Card

You can quickly rack up points for every dollar spent in the following categories. 

  • 5x the points on eligible food, drinks and grocery purchases
  • 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions
  • 2x the points on eligible transit purchases and gas purchases
  • 1x the points on all other purchases
  • You can earn 1 additional Membership Rewards® point for every $1 spent as a charge on your Express Cobalt® Card on any eligible hotel or any car rental bookings made through American Express Travel
  • Refer a friend to earn a referral bonus for each approved referral, up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards® points

For example, if I am out for brunch on a Saturday and spend $60, I earn around 300 rewards points due to the 5x earn rate. Similarly, for my Hayu subscription of $7.90 every month, I earn around 24 rewards points due to the 3x earn rate on streaming subscriptions. The 5x earn rate for every dollar spent on food also applies to any money spent at cafes, bars and grocery stores. 

How to redeem Membership Rewards on American Express Cobalt

You can redeem your Membership Rewards in a variety of ways with Amex’s flexible rewards redemption program. For every 1,000 points, I can redeem $10 in statement credit or easily transfer them to a loyalty program such as Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio to redeem for travel credit to put towards my next trip.

It is important to note that when you choose to redeem your membership rewards by transferring them to a travel partner like Aeroplan, you get the most out of your points because:

1,000 membership rewards = 1,000 Aeroplan miles = $20


1,000 membership rewards = $10 statement credit

I also have the option to use my points to get any gift card or merchandise available on the rewards portal. Best of all, I can always redeem points for instant credit as long as I redeem at least 1,000 points, no matter the value.

American Express Cobalt key benefits

The major benefits of the Amex Cobalt includes its high earning potential which allows you to maximize the value of your everyday spending as well as the endless redemption options that allow you to take full advantage of your rewards. This card has one of the most flexible rewards programs in the Canadian market, with a budget-friendly monthly fee of $12.99.

American Express Cobalt insurance coverage

Here’s a breakdown of the insurance coverage you get with the Amex Cobalt card.

  • $5,000,000 Emergency medical insurance. This policy covers almost any medical emergency that takes place out of province. This coverage can be used by you, your spouse, dependent children, for the first 15 consecutive days.
  • $250,000 travel accident insurance. This travel insurance is a type of AD&D life insurance coverage that is for you and your family while traveling with a common carrier.
  • Flight and baggage delay. These are two separate policies but they cover a combined maximum of $500. These policies are intended to cover you for unseen expenses due to a flight or baggage delay over a long period. Expenses include out-of-pocket costs for food and lodging.
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance. This policy can cover up to $500 worth of lost or stolen baggage.
  • Hotel burglary insurance. This policy also covers up to $500 for stolen personal items if your room gets burgled during hotel stays. The lodging has to be paid for with your Amex Cobalt® Card.
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance coverage. This car rental theft policy can be used to waive the insurance policy of the car rental company and get up to $85,000 of coverage without paying out of pocket. It must be within 48 days or less after charging your American Express Cobalt® Card. You would also have to decline the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Loss Damage Waiver (LWD), and other insurance options offered by the car rental company.
  • Mobile device insurance coverage. You can use this protection plan for an eligible device after purchase. This coverage insures you for up to $1,000.
  • Purchase protection. You are insured for eligible items charged to your Cobalt Card for 90 days from the date of purchase in the event of accidental physical damage or theft for a maximum of up to $1,000.
  • Buyer’s Assurance Plan. With the Amex Cobalt, any product you purchase that comes with a manufacturer’s original warranty automatically gets an additional year of warranty.

Extra benefits under the Amex Cobalt

There are a number of extra benefits you can also enjoy with this card.

  • American Express Front Of The Line.  This benefit is one of my favourite things about the card as it allows me to access presale ticket events and the increased possibility of securing seats to my favourite shows. 
  • American Express customer and concierge service. The 24/7 customer service means you can reach out to Amex anytime, anywhere in the world with whatever you need, big or small, from reporting fraudulent charges to getting an emergency card replacement. You won’t feel stranded if you need help with your card while traveling.
  • Amex member extras. This is a program that allows you to take advantage of unique retail offers from Amex partners while shopping.
  • Book your best stays with The Hotel Collection. Enjoy access to hotel bookings, a room upgrade (when available), 12pm check-in and late check-out (when available), and up to $100 USD hotel credit to use on amenities when charged to the room for a stay of 2 or more consecutive nights through The Hotel Collection from American Express Travel.
  • Amex Plan It. Got a large purchase? Split it into monthly installments with no additional interest and a fixed monthly fee while still earning rewards.
  • American Express experiences. Take advantage of Amex experiences which includes special dining and retail events for Amex cardholders. These are great if you like to indulge in the finer thing in life.

Travel benefits

  • Complimentary upgrades. You can get a complimentary one-room category upgrade at participating properties when available, when booking a minimum of two consecutive nights.
  • Access the best stays and get hotel credit. Enjoy access to hotel bookings, and up to $100 USD hotel credit to use on amenities when charged to the room for a stay of 2 or more consecutive nights through The Hotel Collection from American Express Travel.

What people have to say about this card

“…well worth it! I got mine in 2019 and it immediately became my primary card (all credit purchases, subscriptions etc). I live in Toronto and Amex is very standard and widely accepted. I added my partner with a second card so that his 5x and 2x purchases can help our overall points. I’ve redeemed points for four trips..”


Reddit user, Formal-Horse3603, clearly explains how well the Amex Cobalt has fit into their lifestyle. They have managed to take proper advantage of the no additional cardholder fee as well as earning potential to maximize the rewards redemption.

How the American Express Cobalt compares

Let’s see how the American Express Cobalt® compares to the following:

American Express Membership Rewards Vs. Scotia’s Scene+ program

Amex Membership Rewards is often compared to Scotia’s Scene+ program due to the higher than usual redemption rates that come with the cards offered under these programs. Both rewards programs allow cardholders to redeem points for statement and travel credit as well as gift cards. They also both have a great travel portal for cardholders, offering discounted airfares and hotel prices.

But unlike the Scene+ program which only offers SCENE points, the Amex program allows cardholders to transfer rewards points to a wide variety of loyalty programs such as Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy. In some cases, Amex offers a full 1:1 ratio, allowing you to take full advantage of the value of your rewards.

Also, it is important to note that Scotia’s Scene+ program has a fixed amount of points required for statement credit, whereas with Amex, you can freely redeem any amount of points over 1,000.

For example, you can easily redeem 1,136 points for a credit of $11.36. 

American Express Cobalt Card Vs. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite* Card

As a travel credit card, the Amex Cobalt is often compared to the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card  due their similar annual fees and earning potential.

The Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card allows you to earn 3x the points at Sobeys, IGA, Foodland and other participating co-ops as well as 2x the points on all other grocery stores, transit and entertainment purchases. This falls a bit short in front of the Amex Cobalt card, as it has a higher 5x earning category that doesn’t involve any restrictions on which retailers you purchase from. 

Also, the Cobalt card allows you to pay your annual fee of $155.88 in monthly installments while the Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* charges you an annual fee of $150 all in one go. This may seem unaffordable for some Canadians.

However, it is worth noting that the Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card does offer complimentary lounge access through Dragon Pass as well as no foreign exchange fee, which gives it an edge over the Cobalt card. But the Cobalt does provide other unique travel benefits through its points conversion programs that partners with major airline carriers such as Emirates, Air Canada, British Airways and KLM. 

Amex Cobalt Card Vs. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

See how the Amex Cobalt stacks up against the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.

Card name American Express Cobalt Card Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Annual fee $155.88 $120
Welcome offer Earn up to 15,000 rewards points Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points
Insurance coverage Purchase protection - 90 days, Extended warranty - 1 year, Travel accident - $250, 000, Emergency medical term - 15 days, Flight delay - $500, Baggage delay - $500, Lost or stolen baggage - $500, Hotel burglary - $500, Rental car theft, Mobile device insurance
Purchase protection: 90 days, Extended warranty - 1 year, Travel accident - $500,000, Emergency medical term - 25 days, Flight delay - $500, Baggage delay - $1,000, Lost or stolen baggage - $1,000, Hotel burglary - $1,000, Rental car theft and damage, Trip cancellation - $1,500, Trip interruption - $1,500
Benefits High earn rates with an earning cap on the 5x category, Front of the Line presale ticket access, Flexible rewards redemption through Amex partners such as Aeroplan, KLM’s Flying Blue, Emirates and Qatar Airways
High earn rates with no earning cap, Redeem points for SCENE movie tickets, No foreign exchange fee
Read our review Amex Cobalt Credit Card Review Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Get your card today Apply Now Apply Now

Although the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has a lower annual fee, if you choose to add an additional cardholder, you’ll end up paying $29 extra every year.

With the Cobalt card, an additional cardholder results in no extra fees. And best of all, you can pay your annual fee monthly rather than annually, making it seem more affordable. Under the Amex Membership rewards program, you have the option of transferring your points to other loyalty programs such as British Airways Avios or Emirates. If you have the Scotiabank Gold American Express, you are restricted to just using your SCENE points under the Scene+ program.

Is the American Express Cobalt worth it?

Keeping in mind some of the cons, I still believe that the American Express Cobalt® Card is worth getting as it makes up for its drawbacks with the high earn rates, flexible rewards program, travel partnerships with popular hotels and airlines, comprehensive insurance coverage, presale ticket access and a great sign-up bonus. Those points per $1 spent can add up quickly, especially if you’re an avid foodie who frequently goes to cafes, bars and restaurants or just orders in. Plus, all your favourite streaming subscriptions add to the overall earning potential. 

There are no minimum annual income requirements for signing up or additional annual fee in addition to the monthly fee.

Of course, because Amex isn’t as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard, it may be hard to use the Cobalt® Card for all your purchases if you're planning to use it as your sole credit card. But apart from that, the Cobalt® is still a winner when it comes to earning credit card rewards in Canada. 

Amex Cobalt eligibility criteria

  • Canadian citizen or resident
  • Have a valid Canadian credit file
  • Your account is in good standing (recommended to have a minimum credit score of 650)

Contact American Express for the most up-to-date referral bonus figures.

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. If you apply and get approved for an American Express Card, (I/we) may receive compensation from American Express, which can be in the form of monetary payment.

  • Does Amex Cobalt have lounge access?


    No, the American Express Cobalt card does not include lounge access as a benefit. You can purchase lounge access separately. This card focuses more on rewards for dining and travel purchases rather than providing premium travel perks like lounge access.

  • How to transfer Amex Cobalt points to Aeroplan


    To transfer AMEX Cobalt points to Aeroplan, log into your American Express account, navigate to the rewards section, select "Transfer Points," choose Aeroplan as the transfer partner, enter the amount of points to transfer, and confirm the transaction. The transfer may take a few days to complete.

  • Does Amex Cobalt have travel insurance?


    Yes, the American Express Cobalt card offers several types of travel insurance, including travel emergency medical, flight delay, lost or stolen baggage, hotel burglary, and car rental theft and damage insurance. However, it lacks trip interruption and cancellation.

  • Is American Express Cobalt metal?


    No, the American Express Cobalt card is not made of metal. It is a standard plastic credit card. American Express does offer metal cards in other product lines, but as of now, the Cobalt card is not one of them.

  • Am I eligible for the American Express Cobalt?


    To be eligible for the Amex Cobalt, you need to be a Canadian resident, have a Canadian credit file, and be the age of majority in the province or territory where you live. It's also recommended to have a credit score above 660. There is no income requirement.

  • Is there an earning cap on the Amex Cobalt?


    Yes, there is a monthly cap on the 5x earning category for the Amex Cobalt. As of August 15, 2023, American Express applies a monthly cap of $2,500 for earning points in the 5-times points category of the American Express Cobalt® Card.

Lubna Umar Content Strategist

Lubna Umar has worked in the field of personal finance for over 5 years. She has produced a wide variety of content including personal finance guides and insurance reports for brands like RATESDOTCA and the Financial Post. In her free time, she can be found writing fiction or exploring the café culture in Toronto or any other major city.


The content provided on Money.ca is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.