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American Express Cobalt Card Review

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American Express Cobalt Card

Best: Travel rewards card

Our Rating:

5.0 stars


Top Perks
  • Earn accelerated rewards (2x) on flight purchases
  • No annual fee for supplementary cards
  • Up to $100 USD hotel credit to use on amenities like dining, spa or other leisure facilities when charged to the room


Rewards
  • 5x Membership Rewards on eligible food and drink
  • 3x Membership Rewards on eligible travel and transit
  • 1x Membership Rewards on everything else
Welcome bonus

Up to 45,000 Membership Rewards points (worth up to $450 on eligible travel)

Learn more

Annual fee:

$120 ($10 monthly)

Eligibility:

Credit rating: Very good

Top features

  • 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 on eligible grocery, dining, and food delivery service spending
  • 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 on eligible gas, travel, and transportation spending
  • 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: up to 45,000 Membership Rewards points in the first year

Good to know

  • $120 annual fee (charged $10 monthly)
  • Up to $100 USD hotel credit to use on amenities like dining, spa or other leisure facilities when charged to the room
  • A one-category room upgrade at hotel check-in, when available
  • A wide variety of dining, retail, and entertainment benefits via American Express Experiences
  • A variety of insurances, including flight delay insurance and rental car theft and damage insurance

If, at a glance, the American Express Cobalt Card sounds a lot like the Scotiabank Gold American Express, that’s because they are similar in a lot of ways. One notable way they’re alike: both are very good rewards credit cards.

Since there are a lot of similar features between the two cards, we can focus on some of the differences. One notable difference is the rewards themselves. With the Amex Cobalt Card, you get points towards American Express’s Membership Rewards program. The flexibility and value of these points isn’t that much different than the Scotia Rewards points. You can still use them towards a wide variety of travel, shopping, and gift cards, as well as using points to simply credit your card’s balance.

The floor value for Membership Rewards points is slightly higher at $0.007 (0.7%). Once again, this is the rate you’d get for crediting your balance for non-travel spending — crediting travel spending on your card is a more attractive $0.01 (1%) rate. Gift cards, the next easiest way to use points after a statement credit, generally work out to a rate of $0.0077 (0.77%). The best rewards redemption rate though, is typically snagged by those that do a little work to look for the best deals. Flights and other travel often offer good redemption opportunities, and there are usually redemption deals going on that let you get more for your points. At the time of this writing, cardholders could use points to shop directly on Amazon at a rate of $10 per 1,000 points ($0.01, 1%), which is a great redemption rate for something like that.

There are some further slight, but important differences between the Cobalt Card and the Scotiabank. The 5x points for the Scotiabank card include entertainment spending in addition to food and dining, whereas the Cobalt doesn’t. And the 3x points level for Scotiabank includes streaming services. More notable is that there is no 3x points level for Cobalt — instead, the second bonus tier is 2x. However, there is a key benefit of the 2x-points tier for Cobalt: air purchases count for this tier. That means if you plan to buy a bunch of plane tickets, this could really benefit you.

Another difference in rewards is how the rewards caps work for bonus points. With Scotiabank, the cap is $50,000 spend on the entire account. Once that’s hit, rewards are at the 1 point per $1CAD level for all spending. With the Cobalt Card, the 5x bonus points are capped — once you spend $30,000 on those categories additional spending earns at the 1 point per $1 rate. However, there is no cap on the 2x bonus level for the Cobalt card.

There are many overlaps between the extra perks and insurance coverage that these cards offer — for example, flight delay insurance, lost baggage coverage, rental car coverage (though the specifics of coverages vary a bit between cards). The Cobalt Card, however, includes some nice additional travel perks. Cardmembers can get up to $100 USD in hotel credits to use towards things like dining, spa, or other hotel facilities. Cardmembers can also get a one-category room upgrade at check-in, if that’s available.

One final note on the differences is that while the Cobalt Card can be great for those who want to earn points for planning travel and using rewards towards travel, it’s not as good for spending while traveling. That’s because, unlike the Scotiabank card, the Cobalt Card does charge a currency-conversion fee of 2.5%.

In the end, there are good reasons for choosing either card. If you want to earn bonus rewards points for purchasing air travel, the Cobalt Card is your pick. If you want to earn bonus rewards at a faster rate and on more categories, the Scotiabank card has the edge. If you want a slightly better yield on the points you earn and a larger potential welcome bonus, Cobalt is a nose ahead. And if you want to use the card to pay in foreign currencies while traveling, the Scotiabank Gold Amex is the better of the two.


American Express Cobalt Card

Best: Travel rewards card

Our Rating:

5.0 stars


Top Perks
  • Earn accelerated rewards (2x) on flight purchases
  • No annual fee for supplementary cards
  • Up to $100 USD hotel credit to use on amenities like dining, spa or other leisure facilities when charged to the room


Rewards
  • 5x Membership Rewards on eligible food and drink
  • 3x Membership Rewards on eligible travel and transit
  • 1x Membership Rewards on everything else
Welcome bonus

Up to 45,000 Membership Rewards points (worth up to $450 on eligible travel)

Learn more

Annual fee:

$120 ($10 monthly)

Eligibility:

Credit rating: Very good


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