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amex cobalt or amex simply cash preferred

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  • Jan 4th, 2018 2:35 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Oct 7, 2014
88 posts
14 upvotes
toronto

amex cobalt or amex simply cash preferred

ok headache between these two. i realize its apples to oranges. i spend rouhgly $4k a month on CC. thinking of upgrading to amex. most of my grocery shopping is loblaws or walmart (read somewhere that amex doesnt classify walmart as grocery due to their merchant code.. can anyone confirm this?) .... im at a loss because i realise one's membership rewards and another is 2% c ashback with $99 annual fee. is one better then the other? seems like they both offer same portfolio of insurances etc. also, is amex TU or EQ? sitting at 685 EQ. thoughts?
8 replies
Deal Fanatic
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Aug 24, 2016
8790 posts
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The Prairies
I can confirm Wal-Mart is not categorized as grocery on the Amex network. Nor is it on Visa network.
Only MasterCard classifies Wal-Mart as grocery.
Deal Addict
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Jan 16, 2007
1636 posts
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"best" is relative. What is best for you may not be best for me. It all depends on your spending and what categories they land in and whether the rewards are to your liking. Personally the Cobalt doesn't fit my spending pattern, so I opted for the SimplyCash Preferred. If you have the time you can look back at your spending, categorize things, and see where things land.
🏦 Banking: Alterna Bank (0.9%, No fees)
📈 Investing: Scotia iTRADE (XGRO, No fees)
💳 Spending: MBNA Rewards World Elite (5.5pts dine/utilities, 1.1pts rest), Brim Mastercard (1%, forex)
📱 Mobile: Eastlink 10GB Rollover ($45/mth)
Penalty Box
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Aug 29, 2012
8131 posts
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I much prefer the SimplyCash Preferred, because with the Cobalt, you condition yourself to overspend at grocery stores and restaurants that are categorized as grocery on the Amex network, so you're not saving money. It means for instance that you can never go to Wal-Mart for groceries, which I like to do more and more because of their low prices. I couldn't be happier with mine. Most of my monthly spending is on Amex, other than restaurants, foreign purchases, Costco, and things like the municipal bus pass. I use this:

Capital One MasterCard: restaurants
Amex SimplyCash Preferred: everything else that takes it, except foreign currency purchases
Rogers MasterCard: everything else

I haven't found a better combination.
Deal Addict
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Jan 16, 2007
1636 posts
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I'm a similar combination too, except I use the Tangerine for some things (restaurants that don't take Amex primarily) in place of the Capital One.
🏦 Banking: Alterna Bank (0.9%, No fees)
📈 Investing: Scotia iTRADE (XGRO, No fees)
💳 Spending: MBNA Rewards World Elite (5.5pts dine/utilities, 1.1pts rest), Brim Mastercard (1%, forex)
📱 Mobile: Eastlink 10GB Rollover ($45/mth)
Deal Guru
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Jan 9, 2011
12952 posts
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Vancouver
marcmanillo wrote: most of my grocery shopping is loblaws or walmart
No Amex at Loblaws.

If you meet the income threshold, try MBNA Rewards World Elite. Same $99 annual fee and 2% on everything as Amex Simply Cash, but it's a Mastercard, so it's accepted Loblaws and Costco, unlike Amex.
Deal Addict
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Jan 16, 2007
1636 posts
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$89 annual fee on the MBNA RWE, not $99 - $10 cheaper. Less insurance though.
🏦 Banking: Alterna Bank (0.9%, No fees)
📈 Investing: Scotia iTRADE (XGRO, No fees)
💳 Spending: MBNA Rewards World Elite (5.5pts dine/utilities, 1.1pts rest), Brim Mastercard (1%, forex)
📱 Mobile: Eastlink 10GB Rollover ($45/mth)
Banned
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May 7, 2017
9 posts
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Toronto, ON
Really depends. The fact that your grocery stores don't take Amex is definitely not great (Metro does tho!), so you'll have to see if you spend enough outside of grocery to make it worthwhile. The nice thing with the SimplyCash Preferred is that its 2% across the board, so if you spend in random places (not gas, groceries, travel, restaurants) or entertainment a lot, that might be the better option- its also $99 per year vs $120 ($10 a month with cobalt).

On the other hand, if you eat out a lot, you can get 5% back at restaurants which might make the difference. Otherwise the SimplyCash Preferred is probably the better option as with the Cobalt travel and gas are 2% and 1% on everything else vs 2% for everything.
My faves >> Scotia Gold Amex | Amex Cobalt | Tangerine Money-Back MC

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[OP]
Newbie
Oct 7, 2014
88 posts
14 upvotes
toronto
Poutinesauce wrote: I much prefer the SimplyCash Preferred, because with the Cobalt, you condition yourself to overspend at grocery stores and restaurants that are categorized as grocery on the Amex network, so you're not saving money. It means for instance that you can never go to Wal-Mart for groceries, which I like to do more and more because of their low prices. I couldn't be happier with mine. Most of my monthly spending is on Amex, other than restaurants, foreign purchases, Costco, and things like the municipal bus pass. I use this:

Capital One MasterCard: restaurants
Amex SimplyCash Preferred: everything else that takes it, except foreign currency purchases
Rogers MasterCard: everything else

I haven't found a better combination.
thanks for this! i think this sums it up for me. looks like for the grocery and restaurants, (i do eat out but not as much as i used to in my 20's) i find myself spending more on travel now in my 30s, and would rather save right away at cash register vs getting more points. so i do like that 2% back at walmart is great. i think i will adopt your pattern as well. everything on amex, my mastercard as fall back (costco, few trips to loblaws here and there). i got approved for both, but cant justify AF for both. so going to cancel cobalt and keep simplycash preferred. thanks!

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