The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite is one of the most underrated credit cards even though it’s on my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada. For whatever reason, CIBC isn’t known for its credit cards, but let me tell you, the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite is definitely worth your consideration.

The card has great travel benefits, the annual fee is usually waived for the first year and CIBC Rewards is one of the best bank travel programs out there. Since the card doesn’t get a lot of attention, it’s up to me to explain to you why I think so highly of it. Read my CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite review now and find out why this card deserves more credit.

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite review

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card benefits

  • $120 annual fee – first year free
  • 15,000 Aventura points welcome bonus with your first purchase 
  • 5,000 additional Aventura points when you spend $3,000 in the first four months
  • Priority Pass membership and four complimentary airport lounge entries per year
  • Rebate on NEXUS application fee
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package
  • Mobile device insurance coverage up to $1,000
  • 2 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre
  • 1.5 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty

As you can see, the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card comes packed with benefits. The sign up bonus is 15,000 Aventura points after your first purchase. If that wasn’t generous enough, you can get another 5,000 points when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first four months of cardmembership.

When it comes to the earn rate you get 2 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre/ 1.5 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores. And, 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

One unique travel benefit that comes with the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite is the NEXUS application rebate. It’s good every four years, but NEXUS memberships last five years, so you’re essentially getting your NEXUS for free. Keep in mind that you must charge your NEXUS application to your CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card to be entitled to the rebate.

Let’s not forget about the Priority Pass membership and four complimentary lounge entries per year that you get that would normally have a cost of $227 USD which easily offsets the card’s annual fee of $120. These benefits put the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card on the list of the best credit cards with lounge access.

What I love about the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card is the mobile device insurance that protects you up to $1,000 for lost, stolen or accidentally damaged devices while you’re at home or away. CIBC is the first of the five major banks to offer this kind of insurance, but now credit card mobile device insurance has become much more common.

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite travel insurance

  • Travel medical – $5,00,000 for 15 days / 3 days if you’re 65 or older
  • Trip cancellation – up to $1,500 per person / $5,000 total
  • Trip interruption – up to $2,000 per person
  • Flight/trip delay – up to $500 / 4 hours
  • Delayed and lost baggage – up to $5,000 / 6 hours
  • Auto rental collision / loss damage – 48 consecutive days / $65,000
  • Hotel/motel burglary – $2,500
  • Common carrier travel accident – $500,000

Your out-of-province emergency travel medical insurance covers you up to 15 days if you’re under the age of 65 or for 3 days if you’re 65 or older. In my opinion, 15 days is a bit short, but you can purchase an extension if you like. Remember, with travel medical insurance, you get the benefit regardless if you charge your travel expenses to the card or not.

I do feel the trip cancellation of $1,500 per person / $5,000 total is a bit low since similar credit cards offer better coverage. That said, the flight/trip delay and delayed/lost baggage insurance is pretty good.

Don’t forget, besides travel medical, you need to charge at least 75% of your travel expenses to your CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card for your policies to be valid. Before you book any travel, double check your insurance policies to find out exactly what you’re covered for.

How the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite compared to others

I personally think the closest competition the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card has is the BMO World Elite Mastercard. The BMO card has no annual fee for the first year, a sign up bonus worth $250, 4 free annual lounge passes, better travel insurance and a slightly higher earn rate. 

Honestly, I do think the BMO Worl Elite Mastercard is a better choice compared to the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card. But, CIBC Rewards is the better travel rewards program since it has the Aventura Airline Reward Chart which can give you a lot of value for your points. 

Another card worth considering is the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card since it comes with six free annual lounge passes. I consider Scotia Rewards to be slightly more valuable than CIBC Rewards, but the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite does not waive the annual fee of $139 for the first year. The card does come with no foreign transaction fees which will clearly appeal to many travellers.

How CIBC Rewards works

CIBC Rewards points are pretty easy to earn and understand. With the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card, your earnings rate is 1.5 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores. All other purchases earn you 1 point per $1 spent with the exception of travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre which gets you 2 points per $1 spent.

1,000 Aventura Points = $10 in travel so your CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card earns you 1% – 2% in rewards.

What’s nice about Aventura Points is that you have a few options. You can book online through your CIBC rewards account or via the Aventura Travel Assistant. What many people don’t realize is that the Aventura Travel Assistant is a full-service travel agency and they can book a few things that you might not find through the online portal such as attraction tickets and rooms at certain hotels. Basically, just about anything you find on Expedia can be booked through the Aventura Travel Assistant.

Since all travel being booked is done in real time, there are no blackout dates to worry about. Plus, you can pay any taxes and/or surcharges from your flights if you book via your CIBC rewards account.

There’s also a fixed points option where you can redeem your points for flights based on five different zones. For example, Canada and U.S. (long haul) requires 25,000 – 35,000 points and has a maximum ticket price of $800. If that flight costs you more than $800, you’ll need to pay the remaining balance in points at $1 = 100 Aventura points ratio. On occasion, CIBC runs promotions where fewer points are required to redeem a flight, so the fixed points option can be quite lucrative.

Final thoughts

My CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card review is positive and clearly deserves a spot among the best travel credit cards in Canada. With a strong sign up bonus, and a ton of additional benefits, Aventura truly is the traveller’s credit card.

 
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Review

30 Comments

  1. Anna on October 15, 2018 at 11:18 PM

    Hey Barry, hope you’re doing well!

    – $100 travel credit when you book travel with an Aventura Travel Assistant until … October 31, 2019 .vs November 1, 2018
    – 1.5 (vs 5 … wish it was 5 lol) points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores

    Thanks for the awesome summary + review!

    • Barry Choi on October 16, 2018 at 5:47 AM

      Anna,

      Thanks for catching the typo with the multiplier. As for the travel credit, read between the lines. . .

  2. William on October 29, 2018 at 2:31 PM

    Did you get a chance to compare the fixed points travel booked via Amex MR vs Aventura Travel?

    • Barry Choi on October 29, 2018 at 4:17 PM

      William,

      It depends. Amex and CIBC are similar as both offer flights on just about every major airline without blackout dates but it’s the number of points required that could make a difference. Amex’s fixed pricing starts at 15K points on short popular routes whereas CIBC is a little more variable.

      There’s no clear winner since it depends on the timing and situation. CIBC often runs promotions and deals so that’s worth a look but Amex points are easier to accumulate since there are more cards you can earn points with.

      Technically speaking, CIBC will probably cost you fewer points within North America, but you should always compare.

      • William on October 29, 2018 at 5:23 PM

        Thanks! They sure don’t make it easy for consumers to compare.

  3. peter Chao on October 31, 2018 at 10:10 AM

    For the Priority Pass membership and four complimentary lounge entries per year. If I will be traveling in one month time, do I have enough time to get this benefit? Thanks

    • Barry Choi on October 31, 2018 at 10:12 AM

      Hi Peter,

      I think so. I would call CIBC right after you apply to see if they can rush you the card. Once you have that, just register for Priority Pass ASAP and download the app so you don’t have to wait for the physical card.

  4. peter Chao on October 31, 2018 at 2:41 PM

    If I am the cardholer and my wife is not. Can my wife also use the lounge if she is travelling with me? Thanks

    • Barry Choi on October 31, 2018 at 2:48 PM

      Yes as she would be your guest and you would be using one of your passes.

  5. rob902 on January 15, 2019 at 3:55 PM

    WARNING: Aventura Travel INSURANCE: I thought I would share my bad experience encountered with the travel insurance included with the Aventura card. They use a company called Global Excel to handle the insurance. My wife and I had a trip booked with Aventura that had to be cancelled a week before because of an accident. We filled out the appropriate paperwork with Global Excel, including the doctors sign off etc. A month later I received a letter in the mail indicating my claim was DECLINED. After many emails back and forth, it turns out since the Airlines (Air Canada / WestJet in Canada) offer a one year flight credit for the ticket, they won’t pay the insurance until that credit is gone – Thus you need to wait a year before you can receive the payment. So if you want to try an book a new trip that uses a different airline, then you are OUT OF LUCK. I tried to work with the travel agent and WestJet to cancel the credit, but Global Excel want to see very specific evidence of cancellation before they would pay out. WestJet was not able to cancel the credit for reasons I don’t understand.
    BUYER BEWARE – Nova Scotia..

  6. Lucky on February 7, 2019 at 2:03 PM

    Can I buy my parents the tickets from our personal travel agent and get the points

  7. Lucky on February 7, 2019 at 2:05 PM

    Can my parents use the complimentary lounge entries if I purchase them the tickets on my cc

    • Barry Choi on February 7, 2019 at 2:29 PM

      Lucky,

      Not unless they have a Priority Pass Membership.

  8. Tush on February 8, 2019 at 8:07 AM

    In regards to booking travel and being insured under the card for baggage and delayed flights. Can this travel be booked directly through a travel agent or the airlines website (independent of Aventura travel agent)?

    • Barry Choi on February 8, 2019 at 8:20 AM

      Tush,

      As long as you pay for your travel with the CIBC Aventura card, the travel insurance would apply.

  9. Mike on February 15, 2019 at 1:37 PM

    WARNING: I am moving away from my CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card and from travel cards in general because I’m finding it increasingly difficult to get good value when I try to redeem the Aventura points I earn.

    Certainly, those penguin ads are correct – you can redeem your points for flights on any airline at any time with no blackout periods. The catch comes when you calculate what your points would earn you by subtracting the taxes/fees the CIBC Rewards system wants to charge from the full price of the ticket(s) you would pay if you booked the tickets on any third party website, then dividing that difference by the number of points you have to redeem. In some cases, your points are earning you less than 0.5%.

    Round trips to Europe are now particularly bad value based on my searches to date. Specific example: Calgary to London non-stop on Air Canada – 50,000 points + $670 in “Taxes and Fees” gets you a ticket that would cost you $862 on aircanada.com. Do the math: (862-670)/50000 = 0.00384 or 0.384%. It’s even more annoying when you notice that the taxes quoted on aircanada.com are only $270. Why the $400 difference?…..look at the price breakdown on aircanada.com and you’ll see the Air Transportation Charges are made up of a Base Fare of $192 and a “Carrier Surcharge” of $400.

    Certainly, there are better values elsewhere, particularly select flights within North America, to Latin America and Asia where I can still find redemption values of up to 1.5% or higher. However, you need to check each case to see if you’re getting good value. More and more airlines are inserting these “surcharges” or “fees” into their base ticket price to deflate the value of the points in their own reward systems. Air Canada and many European carriers have been doing this for a long time. But now I’m finding US carriers like United and Delta, who weren’t doing it up to a year or so ago, are climbing on this bandwagon. My fear is that it is only a matter of time until all carriers adopt this trick.

    CIBC offers other avenues for redeeming your points such as merchandise, payment with points and financial products with points. These options get you anywhere from 0.6 to 0.8% in value. Another option – buying all-in vacation packages – seems to be the best choice as you essentially redeem 100 points for every $1 (1%) you would pay if you bought the package from Sunwing, Westjet, etc. That’s great if you’re a vacation package family – we’re not.

    Where am I taking my business? The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite which doesn’t charge foreign exchange fees (worth ~$1000 per year to me), awards 1-2 points per $ in purchases, gives decent spending bonuses and allows you to cash your points for a predictable 1 point = $0.01 (1%). Overall, I estimate my purchases will earn me $0.024 per dollar I spend or a 2.4% value versus the 0.5 to 1.5% I’d get (depending on the travelling/redeeming I’m doing) if I stayed with CIBC Aventura.

    I also have a PC Financial World Elite Mastercard which we use for the vast majority of our grocery and gasoline purchases in Canada. With all of the weekly grocery bonuses and the 7 cents/litre in gas bonuses, I estimate I’m earning over 3% on this card because I focus its use in these areas. The Scotiabank Visa will replace the CIBC Visa for all of my other spending.

    In summary, do the math to calculate the real value you’re getting from your card. You might be surprised.

    • Barry Choi on February 15, 2019 at 1:41 PM

      Hey Mike,

      These are ALL very good points and 100% valid. It’s basically whey I hate Air Miles. Aeroplan/Air Canada can offer good value but usually on specific routes or when you books business class flights. A lot of people have switched to cash back cards these days since it’s an easier system to understand.

      The Scotiabank card as you stated is predictable and gives you good additional travel benefits. The PC Financial World Elite Mastercard is one of my favourites as I also do a lot shopping at their stores. I just signed up for PC Insiders as I did the math and realized that I would get good value for the $99 annual fee.

      • Mike on February 15, 2019 at 4:39 PM

        Agreed. My only apprehension in making the switch to the Scotiabank Passport is that there is some hidden restriction in Scotia’s points system that renders it less valuable than the “glossy brochure” language on their website would suggest. I would love to hear from someone who’s had actual hands-on experience redeeming Scotia points.
        Not being able to peek inside the underlying points system before you sign up and commit yourself is the single biggest unknown in calculating the value of a given reward card. I’d much rather go with a straight cash back card if I could find one that gives a decent % on purchases and doesn’t charge foreign exchange fees.

        • Barry Choi on February 15, 2019 at 7:32 PM

          With Scotiabank, I believe you can use your points at a 1% ratio. You can do this through their portal or on your own and then claiming the points towards your travel purchases after.

  10. tom on February 15, 2019 at 1:58 PM

    For the ” 7 cents/litre in gas bonuses” with PC Financial World Elite Mastercard. Is that available for people living in Toronto? If yes, how do I go about in getting that? Thanks so much

    • Mike on February 15, 2019 at 4:02 PM

      Hi Tom. I live in Calgary. Across Western Canada, Loblaws had a number of service stations co-located with their grocery stores. They have since sold the stations to Mobil but the 7 cents per litre is still offered to those who use their PC Financial card to make the purchase. You don’t get a direct reduction at the pump but instead earn 70 Optimum Points for every full litre you buy. You can then redeem those points for purchases in their grocery stores.
      Because I don’t live in Toronto and am not familiar with what is offered in that part of the country, I don’t know if the same offer is available to you.

  11. jason on June 20, 2019 at 2:28 PM

    Are Aventura points still able to be transferred to Aeroplan points?

    • Barry Choi on June 20, 2019 at 8:15 PM

      No, that partnership ended.

      • Dave W Mckague on September 3, 2019 at 8:12 PM

        Your commercial on tv with penguins needs to be reworked. Penguins dont travel , have credit cards or talk on phone. Use real people and tell it like it is not a load of crap. Maybe to somepeople this ad is funny but to my wife and me it is a stupid ad and whoever thought it up should give their heads a good shake. More people should email you guys and give you feedback. Ask people what they think of ads and it might help your business.

  12. Jeremy on July 31, 2019 at 12:37 PM

    From the CIBC website:

    The $750 value is based on the following, as at July 1, 2019:
    i. $120 travel credit as disclosed in the offer Terms and Conditions as provided below;
    ii. $400 value is based on the maximum redemption value for 20,000 Aventura Points on a short haul airfare purchase, based on the Aventura Airline Rewards Chart at http://www.cibcrewards.com, before taxes and other charges;

    What concerns me is the “on a short haul airfare purchase” so that means you can only use these points for flights that are 180 mins or less? That seems to significantly lower the value of these points…

    • Barry Choi on July 31, 2019 at 3:09 PM

      Jeremy,

      CIBC is just trying to justify how you get $750 in value. the $400 maximum value refers to their fixed travel program. You can use your points on any flight. You can check out their redemption chart here.

      https://rewards.cibcrewards.com/travel/

  13. Don Grant on July 4, 2020 at 10:26 AM

    This is a helpful review, Barry. Thanks.
    We find good value with Scotia Momentum Visa, a cash back card. We appreciate the 4% rebate on groceries and recurring bill payments, i.e.; Netflix, Telus, Spotify…

    • Barry.Choi on July 4, 2020 at 2:31 PM

      Don,

      The Scotia Momentum Visa is an excellent card.

  14. Neil Holmen on September 19, 2020 at 1:44 PM

    Barry, excellent read

    How can I transfer points from my USD Visa to my CAD Visa accounts?

    • Barry.Choi on September 19, 2020 at 5:15 PM

      Hey Neil,

      I really have no idea, you’d have to contact CIBC to find out.

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