Clash of the Credit Cards!
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card vs.
Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card

Last Updated on November 22, 2022
First posted on November 22, 2022

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card vs. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Welcome to another Rewards Canada Clash! This clash is between two very popular Visa Infinite cards that recently ranked very well in our 2022 Canada's Choice awards. Those cards are the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card and the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card! Shout out to Jeff W. for the idea of putting these two cards against each other in the RC Arena!

Click here to see all the other Rewards Canada clashes


In this match up we look at over half a dozen criteria to compare the cards against one another along with a head to head detailed table comparison.

Annual Fees / Sign Up Bonus

In this first round there is a small difference between the cards in their primary card annual fee. The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card comes in at $139 per year while the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is slightly higher at $150. On the supplementary or additional cards side of things, the CIBC card charges $50 per card while Scotia offers the first additional card for free and then and additional cards are $50 per card. If you only need a primary card CIBC comes in cheaper but if you are going to add an additional user youe yearly fees work out to be less with Scotia.

At the time of first posting this Clash (November 2022) both cards were offering a first year annual fee waiver/rebate allowing people to try out the card at no cost as part of their limited time welcome offers. In terms of minimum income both are the same with requirements of $60,000 personal or $100,000 household.

For the standard sign up bonus these cards are equal. The standard bonus on the Aventura Visa Infinite Card is 20,000 points which are worth $200 towards travel. The standard bonus on the Passport Visa Infinite Card is also 20,000 points and those points are also worth $200 towards travel. However, over the past few years it has been very rare for either of these two cards to be offering only a standard bonus. For the most part they have limited time increased welcome offers.

That brings us the current limited time welcome bonus offers for these cards!

As of November 2022 the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card has an increased welcome bonus of up to 40,000 points plus an annual fee rebate in the first year. They are offering 20,000 points when you make your first purchase on the card and an additional 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 over the course of the first four statement periods plus an annual fee waiver in the first year as noted above. In the end those 40,000 points are worth a minimum of $400 when redeemed for travel.

As of November 2022 the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card is currently offering an increased welcome bonus of up to 30,000 points and your first year free. Scotia markets it as up to 40,000 points however 10,000 of those points are part of the card's standard annual spend offering so we don't technically count those as part of the welcome bonus. To earn the 30,000 points you simply need to spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months of having it. This offer is in place until April 30, 2023. In the end those 30,000 points are worth $300 when redeemed for any travel, groceries, dining and movies.

The cards are closely matched up in this first category but we have to give it to the CIBC Aventura card for having a lower primary card annual fee and for it's current welcome bonus as it provides more value.

Rates

On the interest rates side of things these two cards charge the exact same rates so it is a wash there.

The big differentiator in this category however is Scotiabank not charging foreign transaction fees for purchases made in currencies other than the Canadian dollar. That provides a 2.5% savings over the CIBC card - this is big for those travelling outside of Canada or making online purchases that are not in Canadian dollars.

With No Foreign Transaction fees this category easily goes to the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card.

Bonus Features & Benefits

The primary benefit both of these cards provide is airport lounge access along with annual free passes..

As they are both Visa Infinite Cards the airport lounge access the provide is the Visa Airport Companion program (powered by DragonPass). This basically covers the annual fee of the lounge access membership program. Entering the actual lounges typically requires a per guest fee but these cards also provide annual free lounge passes to cover the entry fee. The CIBC cards offers four passes per year and the Scotiabank card provides six passes per year. With entry fees running US$32 per person the four passes on the CIBC card provide an annual value of US$128 while Scotia's six passes provide US$192 in value each year.

The CIBC Card has one additional benefit included and that is a $50 credit towards your costs for a NEXUS Card (new or renewal). The credit is available once every four years.

As mentioned in the rates section above, the one additional benefit that the Scotia card also provides is No Foreign Transaction Fees.

This category goes to the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card for providing six lounge passes over the four seen on the CIBC card each. The value in those two extra passes on a yearly bases far eclipses the once every four years NEXUS credit provided on the CIBC Card.

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Points Earning & Redemption

This is the round that most people care about and the cards are pretty equal in earning terms of earning points and the value of the points but one card stands out on the redemption side.

Earning points

Looking at earning first, both cards have several categories of spending that see accelerated earn rates.

The CIBC card awards 1.5 points per dollar spent on gas, grocery and drug store purchases. That 1.5 points per dollar translates to a 1.5 to 3% return when redeemed for travel. The card also offers 2 points per dollar spent on travel that is booked via CIBC Rewards. That works out to a 2 to 4% return when redeemed for travel.

The Scotia card awards 3 points per dollar spent on groceries at Scene+ Grocery partners (Sobeys, Safeway, IGA etc.) and 2 points per dollar on all other grocery store purchases. That works out to a 2 to 3% return for several redemption options including travel. The card also award 2 points per dollar spent on dining, entertainment and daily transit. That works out to a 2% return on those purchases.

For all other spending both cards earn 1 point per dollar spent which translates to up to a 2% return for the CIBC card and a 1% return for the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card.

The Scotiabank card has one more points earning opportunity and that is an annual points bonus. Each year you spend $40,000 on the card (based on your card anniversary date) they'll award you with 10,000 Scene+ points. Then you will earn 2,000 bonus Scene+ points for every additional $10,000 in eligible purchases thereafter in that same year.

All in all these cards are very comparable in the earn rates and potential point value. Let's now take a look at how they differ when it comes to redeeming those points.

Redeeming points

The CIBC card's strongest redemption option is for travel rewards while the Scotia card provides it strongest value across several redemption options, travel, groceries, dining and movies.

We'll first compare the most popular options and that are the cards' flexible travel booking options.

On the redemption side, the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card is most famous for it's Aventura Flight Rewards Chart. This is the option where you redeem a fixed amount of points for travel to a certain area. Most people are familiar with this as it is the 'Reward Chart' style redemption that most frequent flyer programs used to use. Depending on which type of flight you redeem for you can expect to receive a per point value of up to 2 cents. That's where come up with up 4% valuations mentioned in the earning section. The 4% for example is only achieved on maximizing your flight reward against your spending made on travel booked via CIBC Rewards - thus not a lot of your points

Those numbers may seem impressive however you'll only achieve them if you redeem your points for a ticket that is at or near the maximum allowable dollar value in each category. If the base fare is lower your value will be eroded. On top of this you still have to pay the taxes and fees with cash or redeem points at a 100 to 1 ratio. Thus you are only receiving a 1% to 1.5% return on that portion of your flights. When you average it out it brings the total value down.

You can also choose to book any travel via CIBC Rewards and simply redeem at that 100 points to $1 ratio towards that booking. Thus if you book a really cheap flight where it doesn't make sense to use Air Travel Reward chart you would use this redemption option.

When you redeem for travel with CIBC Rewards you have to redeem at the time of booking your travel. They do not provide an option to redeem after the fact unless you choose the cash back statement credit option (see below) in which case you'll heavily erode the value of your points.

With the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card you have one travel redemption option and that is redeeming points against your charge. You can choose to do so via Scene+ Travel or you book your travel yourself via any travel provider. The latter option provides the utmost flexibility as you simply book any travel you want, flights with Air Canada, hotels with Best Western etc. and charge it to your card. Once the charge shows up you redeem points towards that charge. There is no change in value for either of these options and value is not diminished for taxes and fees.

When you have the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card you can redeem your Scene+ points up to 12 months after the travel charge posts to your account. This is a big advantage over the CIBC card which requires you to have your points redeemed at the time of booking your travel.

The rates of return can be similar between the two programs if you maximize your ticket price on the Aventura chart however but for the most part the Scotia card will edge out the CIBC Card. Add in the fact that Scotia lets you book with any provider and not locking you into the constraints of CIBC Rewards makes the Scotia card the better option.

Via the Scene+ program, the Scotia card also provides the same value for its points when redeemed for groceries at Scene+ Grocery partners, dining at Scene+ Dining partners and when you redeem for Cineplex purchases. Depending on which redemption you can redeem as little as 100 points for $1, 500 points for $5 or 1,000 points for $10.

Both cards also offer cash back redemption options. The CIBC card allows you to redeem points for a statement credit at a rate of 4,000 points for $25, which translates to a 0.69% to 1.25% return. The Scotia card has a varying cash back value that depends on how many points you redeem but on average it roughly 0.68 cents per point which works out to a 0.68% to 2.05% return on your spending.

Although the return on spending between the cards is very similar when it comes to redeeming for travel we give this category to the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card. It provides extra flexibility on travel redemptions without losing any of the value toward taxes and fees, you have up to 12 months to keep collecting points and redeeming against a travel purchase plus it provides better value for non-travel redemptions.

Insurance

Both cards offer a variety of travel insurance and other insurance coverage benefits that are very similar. Where there are differences, one card does better for one type of coverage while the other card does better for another type of coverage. The biggest differentiator here is out of province emergency medical coverage for those under 65 with CIBC's 15 days coming up short against Scotia's 25 days.

All in all I would have called this round a draw if it wasn't for that 10 day difference in emergency medical coverage thus we give it to the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card.

Conclusion

Here we have two very similar and very well rounded travel points rewards cards. However thanks to two additional yearly lounge passes, no foreign transaction fees plus more valuable and flexible earn-redeem options, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is the winner!

The winner of this clash is: Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card


Key factors in Scotiabank's win:

If you would like to see any cards go head to head against each please do not hesitate to reach out to us in the comments, on social media or via email.






International Loyalty Programs

 The Cards Head to Head


Here is a direct side by side comparison of the two cards in this clash!


Basics

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Card Type Travel Points Travel Points
Annual Fee $139 $150
Limited Time Annual Fee Offer $0 in the first year $0 in the first year
Additional Card Fee $50 $0 for the first card
$50 for additional cards
Interest Rate 20.99%
Purchase

22.99%
Cash Advance
20.99%
Purchase

22.99%
Cash Advance
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5% 0%
Income Requirements $60,000 personal or $100,000 household annual income $60,000 personal or $100,000 household annual income

Points Earning

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Standard Welcome Bonus 20,000 points 20,000 points
Standard Welcome Bonus Value* $200 $200
Limited Time Welcome Bonus 40,000 points 30,000 points
Limited Time Welcome Bonus Value* $400+ $300
Renewal or Additional Bonus None 10,000 points if you spend $40,000 annually
Travel Purchases 2 points per dollar spent via CIBC Rewards Centre 1 point per dollar spent
Dining 1 point per dollar spent 2 points per dollar spent
Grocery 1.5 points per dollar spent^ 3 points per dollar spent
2 points per dollar spent on all other grocery
Gas 1.5 points per dollar spent^ 1 point per dollar spent
Drug Store 1.5 points per dollar spent^ 1 point per dollar spent
Entertainment 1 point per dollar spent 2 points per dollar spent
Daily Transit (Rideshare, transit, taxi) 1 point per dollar spent 2 points per dollar spent
All Other Purchases 1 point per dollar spent 1 point per dollar spent
^ Annual cap on bonus category spending $80,000
(based on all spending on the card)
$50,000
(based on the categories only)
Value of points per $1 spent*

1 to 2 cents
(Aventura chart value: up to 4 cents)

1 to 3 cents
*Valuations are based upon redeeming the points for the any travel redemption - see the next section for cash back and other redemption options

Redemption/Exchange Options

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Miles/Points deposited to CIBC Rewards Scene+
Travel Redemption Value 1,000 points = $10
for any travel booked with CIBC Rewards
or
up to a 4% return for travel booked via the Aventura Flight Rewards Chart
1,000 points = $10
Exchange Options N/A N/A
Cash Back Redemption option 4,000 points = $25 statement credit Varies based on the number of points you redeem. For example 3,000 points = $20 and 71,500 points = $500
Value of points for cash back redemptions 0.69% to 1.25% 0.68% to 2.05%

Benefits

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Annual credit N/A N/A
Business Class Lounge Access Visa Airport Companion (powered by DragonPass) + 4 free lounge visits annually Visa Airport Companion (powered by DragonPass) + 6 free lounge visits annually
NEXUS Statement Credit $50 every four years N/A

Insurance

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance $500,000 $500,000
Flight Delay Insurance 4 hours
$500 in total
4 hours
$500 per person
Delayed Baggage Insurance 6 hours
$500 per person / $1,000 in total
4 hours
$1,000 in total
Lost / Stolen Baggage Insurance Yes
$500 per person / $1,000 in total
Yes
$1,000 in total
Damaged Baggage Insurance Yes
$500 per person / $1,000 in total
None
Trip Cancellation Insurance Yes
$1,500 per person (max $5,000)
$1,500 per person
(up to $10,000 per trip)
Trip Interruption Insurance Yes
$2,000 per person
$2,500 per person
(up to $10,000 per trip)
Travel Medical Insurance up to 64 years old 15 days 25 Days
Travel Medical Insurance 65+ 3 Days 3 Days
Auto Rental/Loss Damage Insurance 48 Days
Up to $65,000 MSRP
48 Days
Up to $65,000 MSRP
Hotel / Motel Burglary Insurance Yes
Up to $2,500
Yes
Up to $1,000
Purchase Protection 90 Days
Up to $60,000 lifetime
90 Days
Up to $60,000 lifetime
Price Protection No No
Extended Warranty Plan Yes
Up to 1 extra year
Yes
Up to 1 extra year
Mobile Device Insurance Yes
Up to $1,000
None
Link to Apply

†Conditions Apply