If you’ve been surfing around any personal finance forums these last few days…

..then, you may have already heard the exciting news.

What’s the news, you ask?

American Express has a brand new card hitting the shelves today.

Here’s the details straight from Amex.

The American Express Cobalt Card

American Express says that this is the card that “rewards you for being you”, in these areas:

  • Eats & Drinks
  • Travel & Transit
  • Entertainment

My, oh my.

And boy, have they delivered!

Rumor Has It

For days the rumors of this card have been floating around, and now we finally have the exciting details.

This new American Express Cobalt Card is definitely a contender for one of the better cards on the Canadian market.

High earn rates in 4 categories, an intriguing sign up bonus (more below), an annual fee that isn’t paid in one lump sum, and rewards that can be redeemed for virtually any purchase.

The Details

Here are the facts straight from American Express…

Eats & Drinks

The American Express Cobalt Card allows you to earn 5x the membership rewards on food. Not just groceries, but dining as well.

Everyone has to eat, right? So whether most of your meals come from your oven or a takeout container, this card has you covered.

Travel & Transit

The new Cobalt card is also gives you 2x the membership rewards whenever you use your card for travel or transit. Use your card for your Metro pass, your Uber rides, and even your yearly get away…

This card will have you racking up the rewards in no time.

Annual Fee

With an annual fee sitting at $120, this card sits somewhere between the American Express Gold and The Platinum Card.

However, Amex wants to try and make the $120 seem a bit more manageable. Instead of charging you $120 every year, they will be charging cardholders $10 a month. (That softens the blow of a $120 fee and the fact that the first year will not be free for this card.)

Sign Up Bonus

In a similar manner, the American Express Cobalt will also be spreading its sign up bonus out over 12 months.

In fact, for the first year, each month that you spend $500, you’ll earn 2,500 membership rewards. Add to that the fact that for a limited time you can get a welcome bonus of 10,000 rewards points and you can rack up 40,000 bonus rewards- that’s 15,000 more than even the Amex Gold which already has one of the best sign up bonuses there is.

Oh, and those 40,000 points are worth up to $700 when redeem for a long-haul flight anywhere in Canada & the Continental USA using the Fixed Point Travel Program.

Insurance

The new Cobalt card comes with a pretty decent insurance package as well:

  • Emergency Medical
  • Travel Accident
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage
  • Lost or Stolen Baggage
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary
  • Flight Delay
  • Baggage Delay
  • Extended Warranty
  • Purchase Protection

And while it doesn’t quite stack up to the Gold Rewards (or other credit cards with a $120 annual fee) it gives travelers enough to feel peace of mind while they shop and travel.

The Downside

Unlike the Gold and Platinum versions of this card, the Cobalt card won’t allow you to transfer your rewards to any other rewards programs. For many people this is a major disappointment.

However, that doesn’t make the Cobalt’s reward points any less valuable. Especially when you look at the Fixed Points Travel Program that is available through American Express. On long haul flights from Canada to the US, book through this program, you are looking at a 1.75% return on your regular spending.

If you look at grocery and restaurant purchases, then you’re getting an 8.75% return on spending when redeeming for flights using the Fixed Points Travel Program. No other card in Canada offers a return on spending that high.

Plus, this card will allow you to redeem your rewards in pretty flexible ways. In fact, you will be able to use your mobile app to use your rewards points to pay for virtually anything – a trip, your monthly streaming service, a new outfit, even your groceries. Amex has also teamed up with Amazon and TicketMaster allowing you to use your points directly on their sites… That’s pretty convenient if you shop those sites often.

When The Wait Is Actually Worth It

With all the rumors and speculation going around for weeks, it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement.

One forum user said they felt like a kid, waiting for Christmas morning and…we agree.

Annnd finally, with the official launch of the American Express Cobalt, we get to find out what’s been waiting for us under the tree. With one of the highest earn rates, a great bonus rewards program, and an annual fee that’s a little easier to swallow…

It seems the gift under the tree isn’t just a pair of socks.