The American Express Cobalt Card is the most innovative card product in Canada and it’s a card that I recommend that everyone gets, especially considering you can get $50 cash back when you get approved.

One of the best features of the card is the 5x points category bonus for spend at grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and food delivery services like Uber Eats or Waiters en Route.  While not as exciting, there’s also a 2x category bonus for travel, including transit.

Sweet Spot

The best redemption you can make with the Membership Rewards Select (MRS) points you earn is transferring to SPG points as transfers to Airline Partners is not allowed with MRS.  As with regular Membership Rewards, you can transfer 2 MRS to 1 SPG point.

If you consider that $1 spent at a grocery store, restaurant, bar or with a food delivery service nets you 5 MRS and that 5 MRS = 2.5 SPG points, you quickly realize that you earn 2.5 SPG points for every dollar you spend on food and drink!

That’s incredible because SPG points are far and away the most powerful points currency in the market.  While I have reservations about assigning values to points, you can refer to The Points Guy’s most recent valuation of SPG points and see that he values them at 2.7¢ USD per point, which is the highest amongst all programs.

I haven’t delved very deeply into the power of the SPG program in a stand alone post but I do cover the program in quite a bit of depth in my reviews of the SPG Personal Card and the SPG Business Card.

What’s Annoying

I assume most of you will be in a similar situation where you have both regular Membership Rewards (MR) and Membership Reward Select (MRS) if you have an MR accumulating card like the Gold Personal, Gold Business, Platinum Personal or Platinum Business alongside your Cobalt card.

Over the years, I have transferred my MR points to SPG and recently have done so quite often in order to take advantage of Marriott’s incredible Travel Packages.  As such, I already have my SPG number associated with my MR account.

When I went to add my SPG account to my MRS account, I got the following error:

I had initially thought that perhaps I had entered the wrong information but I double and triple checked my information and it was correct.

My initial hypothesis was that they could not associate my SPG number with my MRS account because it was already associated with my MR account so I called into AMEX for the easy fix … or at least I thought it would be easy.

When I reached the customer service rep, she informed me that my hypothesis was correct and that there was no way to transfer my MRS over to my SPG account unless I deleted my SPG number from my MR profile … seriously?

The rep was kind enough to offer to do exactly that but then reinstate my SPG with my MR account once the transfer was completed.  While that is nice of her to do, it still doesn’t change the fact that this is something that will have to be done every single time I want to do a transfer to SPG … or at least until they come up with a fix.

Possible Solution

Until AMEX fixes this issue, you can try to take matters into your own hands and create a secondary SPG account because you can combine SPG accounts as long as they are in the same name, have the same address and all the same pertinent details like date of birth, etc.

When you are ready to combine accounts, you can do so by filling out the form pictured below:

The only problem with this strategy is that you can only combine the accounts once before one of the accounts is deleted, meaning that once you do so, you will have to go through the whole cycle of creating an account and linking it to AMEX all over again.

I may employ this strategy in order to “hold” the SPGs transferred from MRS but I would much rather AMEX fix their IT issue.


While this is certainly not optimal, I’m assuming that AMEX’s IT department will have to find a fix for this as there are probably going to be a lot of people that find themselves in the same situation.


Jayce is the founder of PointsNerd, and avid traveller and a teacher by nature. He prides himself on flattening the learning curve through step-by-step guides because everyone needs to start somewhere.


  1. Also note that if you have an SPG Amex, that counts as an associated account. So in my case, I have a MR Amex and a SPG Amex. I had them unlink the MR card from my SPG account. However, I still could not link my Cobalt to my SPG account because the SPG Amex is still active. Your solution may be the only way to transfer points, in this case.

    • Wow Chris, I didn’t run into that issue but if that’s the case, it would certainly be super frustrating. I’m glad I was able to provide a work around but hopefully they get this resolved. Cheers


    • Same thing happened to me with the SPG Amex. Called the 1-800 number and agent had no idea what I was talking about. She told me that you can only transfer from SPG to AMEX. Made no sense. Second account should work. I’m probably going to cancel the SPG AMEX before the annual fee and go full Cobalt.

      • Yeah, I’m not planning to transfer over my Cobalt MRs to SPG until I’ve already cancelled both my Amex Gold and my SPG Biz in the new year, so won’t be a big issue if both cards are going to give me trouble! This is good to know!

  2. Does Cobalt still allow transfer of MR points to SPG? I was planning to get one but i have been reading all the literature on Amex site and there is no mention of the ability to transfer to SPG anywhere.

    • I would like to know as well if MR points can be transferred to SPG. I basically got the Amex Cobalt just for that purpose. I can’t find anywhere on the Amex site where to link my SPG Account. Need to transfer these to Aeroplan. Quite frustrating.


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