A veteran in Canada's credit market, the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card is the bank's flagship travel rewards credit card. The card, which has been in the market for quite a long time has actually never had a complete review here on Rewards Canada! Back in the day we reviewed the Aventura Mastercard which has been long gone now. So here it is, our review of the mainstay card from CIBC.
The review of the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card is broken down into the following sections:
The CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card is a relatively strong travel rewards credit card. Here at Rewards Canada we rank it as the fourth best Travel Points Card with an annual fee and consider the 13th best card overall in Canada. It has decent accelerated point earning categories for everyday spend and if you combine those strategically with the Aventura Airline Rewards Chart you can extract some good value out of this card. It also has a great airport lounge access benefit and other notable features that keep this card in the top 10% of all rewards cards in Canada.
The CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card has an annual fee of $139 which is now considered the standard for premium cards like this one. Many competing cards also charge $139 annually however others in this same category range from $120 to $150. Additional or supplementary cards are $50 annually per card.
The standard welcome bonus on the card offers 20,000 Aventura Points however the card frequently has limited time increased welcome bonus offers.
Right now the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card has an increased welcome bonus offer of up to 40,000 Aventura points! The bonus is awarded as 20,000 points when you make your first purchase with the card and then you can earn 20,000 Aventura Points when you spend $1,000 or more dollars in the first four monthly statement periods. On top of the bonus points their is a first year annual fee rebate for the primary cardholder and up to three authorized users.
The interest rate
on the card is 20.99% and annual income requirements are $60,000
Personal or $100,000 Household.
The card earns Aventura Points as follows:
|Spending Category||Points earned per dollar spent||Rate of return when booking via the Aventura Airline Rewards Chart||Rate of return when booking any travel via CIBC Rewards||Rate of return Cash Back|
|CIBC Travel & Apple.ca Purchases||2||Up to 4.58%||2%||1.25%|
|Gas, Grocery, Drug Store||1.5||Up to 3.44%||1.5%||0.938%|
|All other spending||1||Up to 2.29%||1%||0.625%|
The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card participates in the CIBC Rewards program which provides numerous avenues of redemption. The most popular of all those options is the Aventura Airline Rewards chart. You can also redeem points for any travel you book via CIBC Rewards, you can redeem points for any purchase you make on the card, CIBC financial products, merchandise and gift cards.
We'll start off by looking at the Aventura Airline Rewards chart which is the most popular redemption feature for this card. In basic terms this chart is just like your traditional frequent flyer program award chart. You redeem a set number of points for a flight within a specific region or from one region to another. The only difference between this chart and traditional frequent flyer programs is that CIBC does have a maximum ticket price for each award level.
Here are the number of points required per category and the maximum ticket price for each round trip ticket:
CIBC has varying amounts per category and when CIBC launched this we discussed it with them and while there isn't a set number you can expect cheaper tickets in the category to be charged at the lower points value and more expensive tickets at the higher points value. Thus if you buy a $200 short haul ticket chances are you'll be redeeming 10,000 points for it and if the ticket is $400 you'll be redeeming 20,000 points for it. In no way would ever see a $400 ticket go for 10,000 points unless CIBC is running a special promotion.
As you can see from the chart you have a range of set points requirements for the various travel regions. For example you can redeem for a short haul flight with only 10,000 to 20,000 points. The maximum ticket value for that short haul flights is $400 before taxes and fees. How many points you'll need to redeem will depend on the base ticket cost and while there isn't a set number you can expect cheaper tickets in the category to be charged at the lower points value and more expensive tickets at the higher points value. Thus if you buy a $200 short haul ticket chances are you'll be redeeming 10,000 points for it and if the ticket is $400 you'll be redeeming 20,000 points for it. In no way would ever see a $400 ticket go for 10,000 points unless CIBC is running a special promotion.
For the fees and taxes portion you can chose to just charge it to your card (basically paying cash for it) or you can choose to redeem points at a rate of 100 points to $1 towards those fees.
If the ticket you are purchasing has a base value higher than the set maximum you can still use a combination of points or points and cash to buy the ticket. Let's take the short haul example, if the base ticket price is $430 before taxes and fees you can redeem the 20,000 points to cover $400 of the ticket and the additional $30 (plus all the taxes and fees) can be paid with cash or points at that 100 points to $1 ratio.
The next travel redemption option is being able to redeem points for any travel you book via CIBC Rewards. That is you don't have to use the above chart to book flights. You can simply go online or call up CIBC Rewards travel and book flights, hotels, car rentals and other travel and simply redeem towards that travel at a rate of 100 points to $1. This is a good option for flights that may be coming in super cheap where it wouldn't make sense to use the reward chart and of course for any non-air travel requirements.
After travel you have several other redemption options via CIBC Rewards. You can choose to pay your credit card with points (Basically a cash back option) which requires 4,000 points for a $25 statement credit. This option is available as Payment with Points or Shopping with Points. The latter can only be used towards pending transactions. You can also redeem points for CIBC Financial Products such as RRSP contributions, TFSA contributions or other financial options
The card comes with a good amount of features and benefits for an Infinite Card. The primary benefit is excellent airport lounge access which provide annual passes. Along with that it has NEXUS benefit, a decent insurance package and standard Visa Infinite benefits. There are also partner benefits that are exclusive to CIBC which are outlined below.
The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card provides free membership in Visa Airport Companion (powered by DragonPass). The membership provides discounted access to over 1,200 lounges worldwide.
The card also provides four (4) complimentary visits per calendar year to any of the lounges in the program. This is a rare benefit as this card is only one of three non-Infinite Privilege cards to offer free lounge passes.
Pioneered by CIBC, the NEXUS Statement credit that we now see on more cards is another benefit you'll find on the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card. You can receive up to $50 CAD/USD in statement credits every four years when NEXUS application or renewal fees are charged to your card.
Link and use your CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card with Journie Rewards to automatically save up to 10 cents per litre† at participating Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar and Chevron gas stations.†
To earn simply use your CIBC credit or debit card and More Rewards cards to earn 2x More Rewards points at Save-On Foods, Urban Fare and PriceSmart Foods.
The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card comes with a very strong insurance package that includes the following:
The card has a better earn to burn ratio than the its primary competitor, the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card. The higher earn rates seen on the CIBC card in combination with the Airline Rewards Chart make it better since you can achieve up to a 4.58% return in comparison to RBC's up to 2.92%.
The lounge access is one of the best things about the Aventura Visa Infinite Card. Unlike most of this card's direct competitors who only provide the annual membership, CIBC goes beyond to also include the four lounge passes annually. Those passes are worth US$128 alone.
The partner benefits with JOURNIE Rewards and More Rewards are a nice added bonus if you utilize those other reward programs.
The amount you have to spend to be rewarded. While it may not be as much as RBC's Avion program there are still other cards out there that earn points faster (such as 5 or 6 points per dollar) which makes for less spend required to get the same level of travel or cash back rewards.
The limited flexibility of the Airline Rewards Chart is another potential drawback with this card. While you can virtually book any flight, you can lose value if the price goes over the maximum ticket price. You also only have the ability to book roundtrip flights - the closest competitor, the RBC Avion card again, has recently added one way flight options. Then you also have the issue of taxes and fees as you can only redeem points at a 100 to $1 ratio thus eroding value again when compared to the competition.
No option to go book travel yourself and redeem points against the charge without losing value. Technically speaking you can book any travel you like outside of CIBC Rewards but then you have to redeem with the Payment with Points ratio of 4,000 points to $25. That's a big reduction in the value of your points where there are competing cards that allow you to do this but do not reduce the value of your points.
The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card is a very popular travel rewards credit card that many Canadians carry in their wallets. Since its last overhaul in 2018 it has held steadfast as a strong option in our very competitive credit card market. By having accelerated earn rates coupled with a somewhat variable reward chart redemption option the card provides potential returns to compete with most cards in the market. However you do have to keep in mind reward charts do provide less flexibility than the book travel with anyone and redeem against the charge option we see from many other cards. But then you the lounge access benefit with four free passes each year, so if you can manage the little bit less flexibility in the end you have a very well rounded travel rewards card in the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card thanks to the extras they provide!
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card
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