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American Express (AMEX) Cobalt Review

Are you looking for a Canadian credit card that offers great rewards and benefits? Look no further than the American Express Cobalt card. In this Amex Cobalt review, we’ll dive into the details of this popular travel credit card and help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

Read on to find out why it’s made our list of the best travel credit cards in Canada for several years running. 


4.5 Ratehub rated

Best for Groceries & dining

First year reward

based on spending $2,200/mo after $156 annual fee

Earn rewards

1pt – 5pts / dollar earn rate

Welcome bonus

15,000 bonus points (a $150 value)

Annual fee



What does the Amex Cobalt travel insurance cover?

Are there any limitations to the travel insurance coverage provided by the American Express Cobalt card?

Does the Amex Cobalt charge a foreign transaction fee?

How can I maximize Amex Cobalt rewards?

What is the American Express Cobalt?

The American Express Cobalt is a credit card that offers the chance to earn a high number of Amex points through the Membership Rewards program, plus many added benefits and perks for its users. This card is designed for frequent travelers who want to earn points from dining out and entertainment/ streaming services.

Amex Cobalt benefits

The American Express Cobalt offers a range of benefits that make it a popular choice among credit card users. Some of the key benefits of the Amex Cobalt include:

  • Rewards program: The Cobalt card offers a generous rewards program, with 5 points for every $1 spent on eligible eats and drinks, 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible travel and transit, and 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: earn 1,250 points for each month you spend $750, up to a maximum of 15,000 points. The welcome bonus can supercharge your rewards (on top of your everyday earnings) so you can earn enough points for things like free flights or hotel stays.
  • Travel insurance: The Cobalt card offers a range of travel insurance benefits, including emergency medical insurance, trip interruption insurance, and car rental theft and damage insurance.
  • Entertainment access: Cardholders can enjoy exclusive access to presale tickets and reserved seats for concerts, shows, and events.

Amex Cobalt travel insurance

Here are the specifics of the American Express Cobalt travel insurance coverage:

  • Travel accident insurance: The Cobalt card offers travel accident insurance, which provides coverage in the event of accidental death or dismemberment while traveling on a common carrier.
  • Emergency medical insurance: As mentioned earlier, the Cobalt card provides emergency medical insurance coverage for up to $5 million. This coverage includes expenses such as hospital stays, medical treatments, and emergency medical transportation.
  • Flight delay insurance: If your flight is delayed for a specified period, the Cobalt card offers coverage for necessary expenses such as meals and accommodations.
  • Baggage delay insurance: In case your baggage is delayed for a specified period, the Cobalt card provides coverage for essential items you may need to purchase during the delay.
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance: If your baggage is lost or stolen while traveling, the Cobalt card offers coverage for the value of the lost or stolen items.
  • Hotel burglary insurance: The Cobalt card provides coverage for theft or damage to your personal belongings in a hotel room due to burglary.
  • Rental car theft and damage insurance: When you rent a car using your Cobalt card, you are eligible for car rental theft and damage insurance. This coverage can protect you against theft or damage to the rental vehicle, up to the actual cash value of the vehicle.

It’s important to keep in mind the following limits to the travel insurance coverage:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions: The emergency medical insurance coverage may have limitations for pre-existing medical conditions. 
  • Activation requirements: Some of the travel insurance benefits (flight delay, baggage, rental car and accident coverage) may require you to activate the coverage by charging the full cost of your trip or rental to your Cobalt card. 
  • Additional documentation: In the event of a claim, you may be required to provide supporting documentation, such as medical reports or police reports, to substantiate your claim. It’s important to keep all relevant documents and receipts related to your trip or rental.

Overall, the travel insurance benefits offered by the American Express Cobalt can provide valuable coverage and peace of mind for your travels. However, it’s crucial to review the specific terms and conditions of the insurance policy to understand the coverage details and any limitations that may apply.

Some standouts from the above table worth calling out include the fact the card offers $5 million in emergency travel medical coverage (versus the $1,000,000 typically offered by comparable cards), and its $85,000 in credit card rental car insurance (which is a notch higher than the standard $65,000 in coverage). The only real downside is its emergency medical insurance, which lasts for 15 consecutive days versus the 21 days provided by some other cards. The American Express Cobalt does not include trip interruption / cancellation insurance, which can cover the cost of a cancelled trip or delayed connecting flight. 

How to apply for the American Express Cobalt

Amex Cobalt income requirement

For a premium travel card, the Amex Cobalt requirements for card approval are somewhat lenient. The Amex Cobalt has no specified annual income requirement, but you must be at least 18 years old and we recommend that you have a credit score of at least 725 to get approved.

Fees and interest rates

Annual fee 

The American Express Cobalt has an annual fee of $155.88, which is charged at $12.99 monthly. This is lower than many other premium credit cards, and in exchange for the moderate fee you get a number of travel perks and the chance to earn rewards. There is no fee for additional cardholders, meaning you can boost your points earnings by giving a family member a card and earning points from their spending in addition to yours.

Interest rate

The Amex Cobalt charges a standard annual percentage rate of 21.99% for purchases (which is completely avoidable as long as you pay off your balance in full) and 21.99% for cash advances.

Unlike some other American Express Cards, the AMEX Cobalt is a conventional credit card and is not a charge card. So, just like any Visa or Mastercard, the Amex Cobalt comes with a credit limit and you’re not required to pay off your balance in full every month (though, again, it’s always better to do so to avoid interest charges).

Amex Cobalt foreign transaction fee

The Amex Cobalt charges a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% on top of the currency exchange rate charged when you make a purchase in foreign currency. Some other travel credit cards waive foreign transaction fees so you can use your card abroad without paying extra.

How to maximize your Amex Cobalt rewards

To get the most out of your American Express Cobalt card, it’s important to understand how to maximize your rewards. Here are some tips to help you earn and redeem points effectively:

  • Use the card for everyday purchases: The Cobalt card offers 5 points for every $1 spent on eligible eats and drinks, including food delivery, so be sure to use it for your daily coffee runs and restaurant meals. You will earn points on the first $2,500 spent in this category every month, and then points reset the next month.
  • Take advantage of the welcome bonus: To earn the full welcome bonus in the first year, make sure to spend $750 in purchases on your card each month until you reach the maximum points earnings (15,000).
  • Redeem points for travel: The Cobalt card offers the most value when redeemed for travel, and you have many ways to do so. You can use your points to book flights through the American Express travel portal using the Fixed Points Travel program, which simplifies redemption values and gives you a set number of points you need to redeem based on your destination and maximum ticket price. Alternatively, you can book flights, hotels, car rentals, and more through the Flexible Points Travel program where 1 point always equals 1 cent (1,000 Membership Rewars =. 
  • Transfer points to airline and hotel partners: The Cobalt card allows you to transfer your points to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, such as Marriott Bonvoy and Aeroplan. This can often provide even more value for your points.
  • Take advantage of special offers: American Express often offers special promotions and offers for Cobalt cardholders, such as bonus points for specific purchases or discounts on travel bookings. Keep an eye out for these opportunities to earn even more rewards.

Real-life examples of the American Express Cobalt rewards

To give you a better idea of how the American Express Cobalt rewards can benefit you, here are some real-life examples of how cardholders have used their Amex rewards points:

  • Dining out: An Amex Cobalt cardholder who frequently dines out and spends $500 per month on eligible eats and drinks could earn 30,000 bonus points in the first year, which is equivalent to $300 in travel rewards.
  • Travel: An Amex Cobalt cardholder who travels frequently and spends $1,000 per month on eligible travel and transit could earn 24,000 points in a year, which is equivalent to $240 in travel rewards.
  • Entertainment: An Amex Cobalt cardholder who enjoys concerts and shows and spends $200 per month on tickets could earn 12,000 points in a year, which is equivalent to $120 in travel rewards.

Pros and cons of the American Express Cobalt card

Before deciding if the American Express Cobalt is the right credit card for you, it's important to consider the pros and cons.


  • The credit card offers a generous rewards program, which includes bonus points for everyday purchases. This means that customers can earn valuable rewards simply by using their card for their regular expenses, providing them with additional benefits and incentives.
  • In addition to its rewards program and fee structure, this credit card provides travel insurance coverage, which applies to everything from travel expenses if your flight is delayed, to medical emergencies or rental car damage . This means that cardholders can enjoy the added security and peace of mind knowing that they are protected against unexpected medical events or losses during their travels without having to pay out of pocket for coverage. Keep in mind that you may have to charge part or all of the trip to your card to be eligible. 


  • One drawback of this credit card is that it comes with an annual fee of 156, which is higher than some other cards, so you’ll have to be sure your points earnings outweigh the fee.
  • As an American Express card, this credit card may not be widely accepted outside of Canada, which can limit its usability for international travelers or individuals who frequently make transactions in other countries. 
  • Lastly, while some other travel cards like the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite waive foreign transaction fees, the Amex Cobalt charges a standard 2.5% foreign transaction fee on top of the exchange rate for purchases in foreign currencies. If you’re planning to use your credit card while abroad, the costs can add up - although you will earn 1 point per $1 spent abroad, and you’ll earn an extra point for each dollar spent on bookings through Amex Travel. 

The bottom line

The American Express Cobalt is a popular credit card for good reason. With its generous rewards program, travel benefits, and no foreign transaction fees, it's a great choice for frequent travelers and those who enjoy dining out and entertainment.

If you're considering the American Express Cobalt, be sure to weigh the pros and cons and think about how you can maximize your rewards. This card could deliver incredible value and assist in accomplishing your financial objectives.