2017 American Express Cobalt (Canada)

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Old Sep 27, 17, 2:12 am   -   Wikipost
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American Express Cobalt Credit Card

GCR $50 Rebate --> https://www.greatcanadianrebates.ca/...s/Amex-Cobalt/

Detail copy from GCR link above:
  • In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, you can earn 2,500 Membership Rewards® points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your Card. This could add up to 30,000 points in a year.
  • Limited Time Offer: Apply by 01/30/18 and you can earn a Welcome Bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend a total of $3,000 in net purchases in your first 3 months
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent on Card purchases at eligible restaurants, bars, grocery stores and food delivery in Canada
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible transit & gas purchases in Canada and eligible travel purchases. That’s 2X the points on purchases that get you from point A to B
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else. We won’t tell you where to spend, we’ll just reward you on your Card purchases
  • Get advance access to tickets to some of the hottest concerts, shows and events through Front Of The Line® by American Express Invites® and advance screenings to blockbuster movies. Plus, more great perks.
  • American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details, current product information and Terms and Conditions, click the Apply now link.
  • $10 per month of Cardmembership ($120 annually)
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Old Sep 26, 17, 1:43 pm
  #121  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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I know most would want value from transferring to SPG at a rate of 2:1 however with the 5x bonus category it makes the Fixed Points Travel Program kind of interesting.

For example:

- 15K pts for short haul economy flights (max base ticket price of $300) = 10% return as you only have to spend $3K in the 5x category

-100K pts for Long Haul business class in North America (max base ticket price of $1800) = 9% return

-$250K pts for worldwide business class (max base ticket price of $4500) = 9% return

not a bad value prop if you can spend that much in the 5x category
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Old Sep 26, 17, 2:49 pm
  #122  
 
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Old Sep 26, 17, 3:49 pm
  #123  
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Originally Posted by Smiley90 View Post
I didn't even realize this, but the 5x includes restaurants? That's amazing.

so if you spend 500CAD/month on restaurants/groceries, for the first year, that's

10k signup
30k bonus
500*12*5=30k bonus

= 70k total

Beats the gold via SPG-transfer to FFP's for miles/spend, too. Probably worth it at least for the first year IF you spend 500/month on 5X categories anyway. (and if visa gift cards from grocery stores count towards 5X then definitely)
Remember, you can't transfer to frequent flyer program. The Ratio to SPG is 2:1. So you're 70,000 points turn to 35000 SPG points.

The SPG AMEX currently yields 25000 welcome and 2 SPG points/$1 spend on SPG/Mariott hotels. So if you spend

$4000 in Starwood/Mariott hotels (and eat restaurants that happen to be inside Marriott or Starwood brands) per year
AND
$2000 in restaurants in general

The above is the equivalent to the Cobalt (500/month eating out) bonus.

Then if you stay in more in hotels or buy more of other stuff not in the bonus catagory, SPG AMEX holds the edge.

Strangely... If you rent a car, does it count as Transport?
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Old Sep 26, 17, 4:05 pm
  #124  
 
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Originally Posted by yeunganson View Post
Remember, you can't transfer to frequent flyer program. The Ratio to SPG is 2:1. So you're 70,000 points turn to 35000 SPG points.

The SPG AMEX currently yields 25000 welcome and 2 SPG points/$1 spend on SPG/Mariott hotels. So if you spend

$4000 in Starwood/Mariott hotels (and eat restaurants that happen to be inside Marriott or Starwood brands) per year
AND
$2000 in restaurants in general

The above is the equivalent to the Cobalt (500/month eating out) bonus.

Then if you stay in more in hotels or buy more of other stuff not in the bonus catagory, SPG AMEX holds the edge.

Strangely... If you rent a car, does it count as Transport?
yeah but with the SPG->FFP transfer bonus, say 666spend/month is 40'000 MR is 20'000 SPG is 25'000 FFP.

Comparing to e.g. the Amex Gold, where 666spend/month on 2X bonus is 16'000 MR = 16'000 FFP.


For SPG/Marriott spending the SPG card beats it (since 2X earning SPG > 2x earning Cobalt), but for 5X grocery/restaurant spend the Cobalt beats pretty much anything. Even after MR -> SPG (-> FFP) conversions, since it's essentially 2.5x SPG or 3.125x FFP earning on each restaurant/grocery dollar.
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Old Sep 26, 17, 9:48 pm
  #125  
 
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So torn, Already have Amex Plat for the lounge benefit and the SPG for everyday spend. Wondering if the cobalt would be better for everyday spend in the long run...
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Old Sep 27, 17, 3:29 am
  #126  
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I read the card was design by our Millennial generation in AMEX headquarters. They seem to have hit some areas well and not others.

AMEX team should have taken a page from Chase Sapphire Reserve and make the card a metal card.

The monthly bonus should continue for charter members so there isn't a need to churn. If that is unaffordable, then provide something like half the bonus year 1 monthly bonus after 1st year to make churning less attractive option.

The insurance package is good, especially the out of province medical. Assuming the travel medical terms are as strong as the AMEX gold card, it hit the spot.

The value proposition relies on AMEX holding on to the relationship of merged SPG/Marriott program. Chase has exclusive rights with Marriott and Marriott bought Starwood (not the other way around). The merged SPG/Marriott program is expected to start in 2018. So if AMEX loses SPG, this card's value proposition just drops drastically.

As for the SPG earning value, compared to the SPG AMEX it boil down to this. Groceries/food/resturants vs hotel spending vs everything else.

Colbalt on Groceries/food/resturants earn more than SPG AMEX by 1.5 SPG points/$1 spend

SPG / Mariott hotels stays, SPG AMEX earns more than Colbalt by 2:1.

Transport and such, SPG AMEX and Colbalt earns the same SPG points.

Everything else, SPG AMEX doubles what Colbalt earns.

For those spending over 40,000, the SPG AMEX gives a free weekend night at a SPG hotel.

So it looks like for a typical millennial spender.... Colbalt make sense for spending under $30,000/year - $2500/month. Spending over $30,000, then the SPG AMEX extra benefits starts to kick in - like Gold Status at $30,000 spend and free night at $40,000 spend.

The more we spend each month, the amount of money spent on food/restaurants will become proportionally less I believe. We can only eat so much but a new iphone cost $1000 a pop and plane tickets are at $1000 too. Concert Tickets, Cirque du soleil or movie tickets...etc are all "everything else" category that yields no Cobalt bonus. I think that is the weak point of this card.

Last edited by yeunganson; Sep 27, 17 at 10:22 am
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Old Sep 27, 17, 6:53 am
  #127  
mia
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Originally Posted by teriyaki View Post
...Wondering if the cobalt would be better for everyday spend in the long run...
It's surprising that the 5X bonus is not capped. I would expect this to change after the first year. Most of the USA-issued cards cap the Supermarket category bonus at $6,000/year spend.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 7:24 am
  #128  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by teriyaki View Post
So torn, Already have Amex Plat for the lounge benefit and the SPG for everyday spend. Wondering if the cobalt would be better for everyday spend in the long run...
I'm in the same boat as you. I did the math and even with a $1000/month grocery/restaurant spending per month, I end up with the same number of SPG points collected in a year, SPG vs Cobalt. If I didn't need the lounge benefit from my Plat, I would have a Cobalt and the SPG to maximize my SPG point accumulation.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 7:37 am
  #129  
 
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
It's surprising that the 5X bonus is not capped. I would expect this to change after the first year. Most of the USA-issued cards cap the Supermarket category bonus at $6,000/year spend.
Can’t say I know for sure but it seems to me lurking around here that MS isn’t really viable outside the United States.

Also, if SPG is really going away perhaps AMEX is trying to dump as many of the Starwood Points they have as possible. Would make sense why they’ve limited point transfers.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 8:59 am
  #130  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: YYZ
Programs: *G, AC E50K, Nexus, Amex Plat
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What an interesting card.

Right now I only have a TD Visa Aeroplan Infinite (for daily spend) and the Amex Plat (for travel bonuses / large spending expenses).

I really want a different card for my daily spend as I'd like to start to get away from Aeroplan and start banking Amex MR instead. I'd have to keep the visa just incase places don't accept Amex, but I'd downgrade to a free TD cash back visa or something similar.

As for the daily spend though, Its hard to go for this cobalt card because it doesn't allow FFP transfers which is why I collect MR anyway... Maybe its better to pick up a gold card again as the annuals are the same?
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Old Sep 27, 17, 9:29 am
  #131  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Originally Posted by yeunganson View Post

As for the SPG earning value, compared to the SPG AMEX it boil down to this. Groceries/food/resturants vs hotel spending vs everything else.

Colbalt on Groceries/food/resturants earn more than SPG AMEX by 0.5 SPG points/$1 spend

SPG / Mariott hotels stays, SPG AMEX earns more than Colbalt by 4:1.
Looks like your math is a bit off here.

Cobalt earns 5x MR which is 2.5 SPG pts per dollar vs SPG Amex at 1 SPG pt per dollar. That's an increase of 1.5 SPG/ $1 spend

SPG/Marriott hotels earns more at 2:1 rate vs Cobalt, not 4:1.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 10:09 am
  #132  
alc
 
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GCR is offering $50 rebate:

https://www.greatcanadianrebates.ca/...s/Amex-Cobalt/

Now, I do want to know if AMEX Refer-a-Friend offer will be better with more sign-up bonus now
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Old Sep 27, 17, 10:21 am
  #133  
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Originally Posted by nli007 View Post
Looks like your math is a bit off here.

Cobalt earns 5x MR which is 2.5 SPG pts per dollar vs SPG Amex at 1 SPG pt per dollar. That's an increase of 1.5 SPG/ $1 spend

SPG/Marriott hotels earns more at 2:1 rate vs Cobalt, not 4:1.
Oh yes! I will correct the ratio spend.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 10:45 am
  #134  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
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My biggest concern right now is whether or not I will earn 5x MR for restaurant/bar/grocery purchases OUTSIDE of Canada.

Hoping someone will test out the card soon haha
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Old Sep 27, 17, 11:07 am
  #135  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by sxc234 View Post
For example:

- 15K pts for short haul economy flights (max base ticket price of $300) = 10% return as you only have to spend $3K in the 5x category

-100K pts for Long Haul business class in North America (max base ticket price of $1800) = 9% return

-$250K pts for worldwide business class (max base ticket price of $4500) = 9% return
the percentage return is only accurate when you get a ticket at the maximum price allowed. If you get a ticket that had a base fare of let's say $200, then your return is 6.7%

BUT, do you have to pay taxes & fees on these tickets or do the points cover the whole cost? in the latter case the return could potentially be even higher than 10%. i've never used fixed price redemptions of this kind before, like RBC Rewards and Air Miles to name a couple.
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