American Express Cobalt® Card vs BMO eclipse Visa Infinite*

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Last updated on July 5, 2022 Comments: 4

Who doesn’t like being rewarded for everyday spending? BMO and American Express carry two of Canada’s best rewards credit cards. BMO recently reinvigorated Canada’s rewards credit card landscape when it launched a new point-earning powerhouse, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card. With this exciting new addition, we figured it was time for it to faceoff with American Express’s popular Cobalt® Card and see who delivers more rewards per round.

At a Glance

Credit CardBMO eclipse Visa Infinite*American Express Cobalt® Card
Annual Fee$120 (first-year annual fee waived)$155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee)
Welcome BonusUp to 60,000 BMO Rewards points and a first-year waiver for the annual fee*Up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year (terms and conditions apply)
Earn Rate5 BMO Rewards points per $1 on groceries, dining, gas and transit*; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases*5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on Drinks and Eats; 3 points per dollar on eligible streaming services; 2 points per dollar on travel and transit; 1 point per $1 on everything else
InsuranceEmergency medical insurance*, common carrier, and car rental collision/loss damage coverage*; mobile device insurance*; purchase security and extended warranty*Emergency medical insurance, travel accident coverage, flight and baggage delay, lost or stolen baggage, and car rental theft or damage protection; purchase security and extended warranty
ExtrasEarn 10% more points when you add an additional cardholder*; $50 annual lifestyle credit*; Visa Infinite benefits*Up to $100 USD in hotel credit and possible room upgrades, American Express Invites perks
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Welcome Bonuses

The new BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card is an attention grabber, with one of the most generous bonus offers in Canada. New cardholders will get up to 60,000 points (a value of approximately $400) and have the $120 annual fee waived for the first year*.

Cardholders get 30,000 BMO Rewards welcome bonus points after spending a minimum of $3,000 in the first three months of opening the account. Cardholders also get an additional 2,500 bonus points in each subsequent month that you spend at least $2,000, beginning 4 months from the account open date and ending 15 months from the account open date (as long as your account is in good standing). The primary cardholder will get the $120 first-year annual fee rebated* on the first statement and a $50 lifestyle credit. That’s a total value of nearly $570. If you cancel your card in the first three months, your welcome bonus will be revoked. BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card applications must be received before December 6, 2022 to be eligible for the welcome offer.

The American Express Cobalt® Card is also offering one of its most attractive bonuses ever. New cardmembers can earn 2,500 bonus Membership Rewards® points for every month that they charge a minimum of $500 to their American Express Cobalt® Card in the first year (up to a max of 30,000 points).

Winner: With its 30,000 bonus points—worth $300 when redeemed against a purchase on a card statement—the American Express Cobalt® Card’s bonus is impressive. But it’s hard to beat a first-year annual fee rebate, which allows you to try out a card for a year without paying for it upfront. For that reason, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card edges out for the win in this category.

Get Accelerated Rewards with the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

Accelerated and Standard Earn Rates

Earn Rates

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The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card wows with some of the highest accelerated earn rates in Canada in an impressive total of four major categories. You earn 5 BMO Rewards for every $1 spent on dining (including take-out, delivery and meal subscription services like Hello Fresh), groceries, gas, and transit*. The accelerated earn rate maxes out at $50,000 in annual purchases per calendar year. Once you reach this cap, the earn rate goes down to the regular rate of 1 point per $1 in purchases.

The American Express Cobalt® Card offers a similarly revved-up reward rate with 5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent at eligible eating and drinking establishments. You also earn 3 points per dollar on eligible streaming services, 2 points per dollar on travel and transit and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Winner: The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card steals the show with a total of four (incredibly useful and spend-heavy) categories with a high earn rate of 5x the points per $1 spent*. And keep in mind that, as a Visa, it will be accepted almost everywhere. The same unfortunately can’t be said for Amex.

Ease of Point Redemption

The BMO Rewards program is incredibly flexible, and you can redeem points for numerous rewards like travel (flights, hotel stays, cruises, and vacation packages), as well as gift cards, merchandise, and more. You can even apply points towards your BMO Investorline account. Best of all, it has a unique redemption option called Pay With Points that you can put directly towards a credit card purchase. The program is great because you can choose how many points you want to redeem toward a purchase and you can redeem them for as little as $1. That said, BMO Rewards do have one achilles heel: You need 150 points for $1 worth of travel rewards (a value of approx. $0.0067 per point) and 200 points for a $1 credit against your card statement (a value of $0.005 per point). Those are relatively low values for the points you earn.

The American Express Membership Rewards program is renowned for its ease of use, flexibility and array of redemption options like gift cards, merchandise, travel, streaming services, movie tickets and more. Its best feature? The MR points earned by the Cobalt card can be redeemed against a card statement for a rate of 100 points per $1 ($0.01 per point).

Winner: The American Express Cobalt® Card’s points are worth much more than BMO Rewards points. Cobalt card for the win.

Annual Fee and APR

The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card has an annual fee of $120 that is waived in the first year. It also features an annual interest rate of 20.99% on purchases and a cash advance APR of 23.99% (21.99% for Quebec residents).

The American Express Cobalt® Card carries a $155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee) annual fee but it’s charged in monthly payments. It has an APR of 20.99% for purchases and a cash advance rate of 21.99%.

Winner: The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card takes this one. While the monthly charge for the American Express Cobalt® Card can be more manageable, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card offers no fee in the first year for new cardholders, and its annual fee is lower overall than one year’s worth of combined monthly fees from the Cobalt card. That said, it’s worth noting that the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card has a very high annual interest rate for cash advances and the slightly higher interest rate could hit someone hard if they can’t pay off their monthly balances in full.

Insurance Offerings

The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card features the following: mobile device insurance, extended warranty insurance, purchase security insurance, out-of-province emergency medical insurance, common carrier insurance, and car rental collision/loss damage insurance*.

The American Express Cobalt® Card also has a well-rounded array of insurance coverage that includes: out of province/country medical insurance, flight delay insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost/stolen baggage insurance, hotel burglary insurance, car rental theft and damage insurance, travel accident insurance, purchase protection plan and buyer’s assurance plan (a.k.a extended warranty), and mobile device insurance.

Winner: The American Express Cobalt® Card features a much more comprehensive suite of insurance, particularly for travellers. The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card is missing some key coverages, like lost/stolen/delayed baggage, hotel burglary, and flight delay.

Referral Bonus

Primary cardholders of the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card that add a supplementary card to their account (at a cost of $50 per card) will get a 10% bonus earn rate on their spending*. This benefit is for transactions made both by the primary cardholder and any authorized users.

American Express has always been known for its outstanding referral program. With the American Express Cobalt® Card, cardholders could get up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards points for referrals who successfully apply for the card.

Winner: The American Express Cobalt® Card outshines the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card because of its lucrative referral program and the fact that there is no cost for supplementary cards.

Apply for the American Express Cobalt® Card

Other Value-Added Features

Value-added Features

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The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card features one really nice extra: you can enjoy an annual $50 “lifestyle credit”* which can be used for whatever you want.

The American Express Cobalt® Card offers cardholders a nice list of additional perks like benefits at over 600 hotels around the world and a hotel credit of up to $100 USD at eligible properties for things like the spa, golf, or dining. You may also get a free room upgrade. Another great, potentially game-changing feature is that points can be transferred to other travel programs like Aeroplan, Avios, and Bonvoy. Cardholders also get free supplementary cards. Finally, the American Express Cobalt® Card is part of Plan It™ – The American Express® Installment Program, which makes payments more manageable by allowing you to pay off a part of your statement balance in monthly installments.

Winner: Show me the extras! Quantity counts and the American Express Cobalt® Card has the most additional perks.

Program Perks

The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card gives cardholders access to the Visa Infinite program. Visa Infinite members can enjoy things like exclusive invites to dining, hotel and entertainment experiences that are not open to the general public. Cardholders will also benefit from 24 hour, 7 days a week access to concierge services, as well as the Visa Infinite Troon Golf Benefit for discounts at 95 resorts and courses around the world.

With the American Express Cobalt® Card, cardholders are part of the American Express Invites program and can take advantage of things like special access to events, front of the line advanced tickets, exclusive dining opportunities and invites to special experiences.

Winner: The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card with its Visa Infinite Program is the winner because the program includes concierge service and is a boon for avid foodies and golfers.

Eligibility Requirements and Application Process

The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card features a quick and easy online application process. You will need a minimum $60,000 (individual) or $100,000 (household) annual income and cannot have declared bankruptcy in the last 7 years to be eligible to apply.

Applying for the American Express Cobalt® Card is also easy and can be done online in just a few minutes. Applicants will get a response in as little as 60 seconds. Even better, the card doesn’t have a specific income requirement, making it much more accessible.

Winner: The American Express Cobalt® Card, with no minimum income requirement, gets top marks.

Which Card Wins Overall?

While the American Express Cobalt® Card has lots to offer, including high point redemption values, great transfer options to other travel programs, and a good suite of insurance, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card comes out ahead with its generous welcome bonus, high-earning categories, lifestyle credit, widespread merchant acceptance, and flexible redemption options like Pay With Points. It’s also definitely worth reiterating that the BMO card is a Visa card and the American Express card is, well, an Amex card, and is not as widely accepted as Visa cards. If you’re a frequent flyer with Air Canada or British Airways, you might still consider the American Express Cobalt® Card, however, for those who aren’t, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card has most of your bases covered.

Get Accelerated Rewards with the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.

Recommended Read: American Express Cobalt® vs Scotiabank Gold American Express.

*Terms and conditions apply

Author Bio

Sandra MacGregor
Sandra MacGregor has been writing about finance and travel for nearly a decade. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications like the New York Times, the UK Telegraph, the Washington Post, and the Toronto Star. She spends her free time travelling, and has lived around the globe, including in Paris, South Korea and Cape Town. You can follow her on Twitter at @MacgregorWrites.

Article comments

Steve says:

Cobalt statement credits are better vs the visa
.05 for visa .07 for amex
Very important distinction

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks Steve, consider your distinction noted.

Caolan says:

Thank you for the excellent review ! Do you know the dollar to points conversion for the BMO eclipse ? I currently have the Amex cobalt and love it , but do wish it was more widely accepted in Canada. Cobalt is 10/1 for points to dollar. Looks like BMO is 20/1 ? Also, thoughts on the BMO eclipse privilege card ?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Caolan
According to the calculator on the BMO Eclipse landing page, the BMO Eclipse dollar to point conversion is 12/1. The BMO Eclipse Privilege is unique in the sense that you can redeem if all you’ve earned is a $1 worth of points (most cards require you to build up a dollar value minimum before redemption. You also get your own personal privilege concierge, which is basically a personal assistant. Of course, it’s designed for high net-worth individuals, as the annual fee is $499. If you can afford it though, it has many, many benefits.