American Express Cobalt vs. Scotiabank Gold AMEX: 2022 Comparison

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

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A comparison between the American Express Cobalt Card and the Scotiabank Gold American Express shows that these two credit cards offer some of the best combinations of travel rewards in Canada.

While the Scotiabank Gold AMEX comes out on top overall as the better-rated card, the AMEX Cobalt also does really well and is worth checking out.

Read on to see how they compare.

FeaturesScotiabank Gold AMEXAMEX Cobalt Card
Annual fee$120$155.88
Welcome bonusUp to 45,000 points30,000 points
Foreign transaction fee0%2.50%
Rewards5pts groceries, restaurants & entertainment;
3pts gas, daily transit & streaming services; 1pt everything else
5pts groceries & restaurants; 3pts streaming subscriptions; 2pts gas, travel & public transit; 1pt everything else
Insurance coverageComprehensive travel insurance with 11 types of coverageComprehensive travel insurance with 9 types of coverage
Other perks0% balance transfer promo rate for 6 months; discounted Priority Pass membership, AMEX Invites, 24/7 concierge & Front Of The Line; Up to $100 hotel credit, AMEX Invites, 24/7 concierge & Front Of The Line
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AMEX Cobalt vs. Scotia Gold AMEX Comparison

The American Express Cobalt and the Scotiabank Gold American Express are both on my list of the best credit cards for travel rewards in Canada.

Annual Fee

The Scotia Gold Amex’s annual fee is cheaper at $120. The Amex Cobalt costs $155.88 per year or $12.99/month.

If you are looking to get supplementary cards for family members, each one will cost you $29 for the Scotiabank Gold Amex. Supplementary Amex Cobalt cards do not cost an additional fee.

Welcome Points

The Scotiabank Gold Amex offers a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points ($250 value) when you spend $1,000 in your first three months. This bonus easily covers your annual fee for the first year. You also get an extra 20,000 bonus points when you spend up to $7,500 in the first year. This means you could get up to a $450 value in year 1 alone.

For the American Express Cobalt, you get 2,500 Membership Rewards (MR) points every monthly billing period in which you spend $500 or more, for a total of 30,000 bonus points in the first year.

The value of Amex MR points varies based on what you redeem for. As a statement credit towards travel purchases, each point is valued at 1 cent, for a total value of $300.

If you use your points for flights through the Amex Fixed Points Travel Program, you could potentially double the value of your rewards.

For the welcome points, the Scotia Gold Amex offers access to your free rewards easily within 3 months after spending a total of $1,000. The Cobalt Card requires at least a 12-month commitment (and at least $6,000 in spending) to earn the extra 30,000 points.

Foreign Transaction Fees

When you use your card to make purchases abroad or to make payments in a foreign currency, a 2.5% foreign transaction fee is charged.

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card waives this foreign exchange fee, while you will pay the 2.5% fee when you pay with the Cobalt Card.

Frequent travellers can save a lot of money with this perk.

Earn Rate

For the Scotiabank Gold Amex, you earn:

  • 5x points for every $1 spent on groceries, restaurants and entertainment
  • 3x points for every $1 spent on gas, daily transit and streaming services
  • 1x point on everything else

There is an annual limit of $50,000 per year for the 5x rewards earn rate. Additional spending gets you 1 point per $1.

American Express Cobalt cardholders earn:

  • 5x points per $1 spent on groceries and restaurants
  • 3x points per $1 spent on streaming subscriptions
  • 2x points per $1 spent on travel and transit
  • 1x point on everything else

A maximum cap of $30,000 per year applies to the 5% earn rate categories.

Overall, you can earn more in rewards annually from the Scotiabank Gold American Express.

Travel Insurance and Benefits

Both cards offer comprehensive travel insurance benefits, with the Scotia Gold Amex offering 11 types of insurance coverage and the Amex Cobalt offering ten.

The Cobalt Card offers a travel emergency medical of up to $5 million for the first 15 days of each trip; the Scotia Gold Amex offers up to a $1 million coverage for trips up to 25 days.

Travel accident insurance: The Scotia Gold Amex provides up to $500,000 coverage against accidental loss of life or dismemberment (maximum of $1 million per occurrence). For the Cobalt Card, this coverage is up to $250,000.

Car rental insurance: You are covered up to an MSRP of $65,000 and for 48 days with the Scotiabank Gold Amex, while the Cobalt Card provides coverage up to $85,000.

Both cards also offer coverage for flight delays, baggage delays, hotel/motel burglary, purchase protection, lost or stolen baggage, and extended warranty coverage.

In addition, the Scotiabank Gold offers trip cancellation, trip interruption, and emergency medical for travellers over 65 years for up to 3 days.

Mobile device insurance: Looking for the elusive mobile device insurance coverage benefit, the AMEX Cobalt Card offers it.

The Scotiabank Gold Amex and AMEX Cobalt Card are a close match when it comes to travel insurance benefits.

Other perks

Both cards also offer perks in addition to the basic rewards.

Scotiabank Gold American Express

  • Discounted Priority pass membership and access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Waives the standard 2.5% foreign transaction fees
  • Amex Front Of The Line
  • 24/7 complimentary concierge service
  • American Express Invites
  • Exclusive Amex offers

Scotiabank Gold American Express

Rewards: Earn 5x Scene+ points/$1 on grocery, restaurants, food delivery; 3x points/$1 in gas & travel; 1x points/$1 everything else.

Welcome offer: Get up to 45,000 points ($450 value).

Interest rates: 19.99% on purchases; 22.99% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $120

American Express Cobalt Card

  • Up to $100 hotel credit to cover eligible amenities
  • Complimentary room upgrade when available
  • Amex Front Of The Line
  • Amex Invites
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Exclusive offers from American Express
  • The American Express Installment Program

American Express Cobalt Card

Rewards: Earn 5x pts per $1 spent on food & drinks; 3x pts on streaming subscriptions; 2x pts on travel; 1x pts everywhere else.

Welcome offer: Get up to 30,000 bonus points in the first year.

Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases and 21.99% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $155.88

Redemption Options

You can redeem your Scene+ points for travel including flights, hotels, and car rentals at a rate of $1 per 100 points, and shopping, entertainment, and more.

The Amex Cobalt Card offers several redemption options.

  1. Redeem for flights using the Amex Fixed Points Travel Program
  2. Transfer your points to other loyalty programs such as Aeroplan, Delta SkyMiles, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, and redeem for hotel stays or travel
  3. Redeem for travel purchases through American Express Travel Online
  4. Use to pay for purchases on membershiprewards.ca or Amazon.ca
Fixed points travel program

Related:

Final Thoughts

The Scotiabank Gold Amex and Amex Cobalt Card are great credit cards to have in your wallet if you are looking for a premium travel credit card that does not break the bank.

In this faceoff, the Scotiabank Gold American Express takes a slight upper hand when you look at the combined benefits both cards have to offer. 

It stands out by waiving the foreign exchange fee and offering a 5% earn rate on up to $40,000 in spending. It also has a lower annual fee.

That said, cardholders who redeem their Amex Membership Rewards via the Fixed Travel Points Program may be able to significantly stretch the value of the Amex Cobalt Card’s welcome bonus.

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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