CIBC Rewards is a popular program better known under the CIBC Aventura name. Although I rank the CIBC Rewards program behind American Express Membership Rewards and RBC Rewards, CIBC Rewards is still a pretty solid travel rewards program. Read my CIBC Rewards review now to find out everything there is to know about CIBC Rewards.

How to earn CIBC Rewards points

You can earn CIBC Rewards points from the welcome bonus and your daily spending when using a CIBC Aventura credit cards. CIBC has eight different Aventura credit cards including two business cards and one student card. This is an impressive lineup and three of these Aventura cards are on my list of best travel credit cards in Canada. Here’s a quick look at the top CIBC Aventura cards

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite
(full review here)

  • $120 annual fee (first year free)
  • 20,000 Aventura Points welcome bonus with your first purchase (until July 5th, 2020)
  • 15,000 Additional Aventura points when you spend $10,000 in the first year of card membership
  • 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
  • 5 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

CIBC Aventura Gold Visa
(full review here)

  • $120 annual fee (first year free)
  • 20,000 Aventura Points when you make your first purchase
  • 15,000 Additional Aventura points when you spend $10,000 in the first year of card membership
  • Priority Pass membership and four complimentary airport lounge entries per year
  • Rebate on NEXUS application fee
  • Some travel insurance included
  • Mobile device insurance coverage up to $1,000
  • 2 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre
  • 5 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Business

  • $120 Annual fee
  • 35,000 Signup points after charging $3,000 in purchases (20K at sign-up + 15K after minimum spend met)
  • Earn 2 Aventura points per $1 spent on travel purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre
  • Earn 1.5 Aventura points per $1 spent on other travel purchases
  • Earn 1 Aventura point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $120 annual travel credit (offer ends Dec. 31st, 2018)
  • Free UP Express tickets
  • Some travel insurance included

The value of CIBC Rewards points

The value of CIBC Rewards points varies depending on how you use the points. Here is a list of possible redemptions and how much 10,000 points would be worth for each type of redemption:

  • Booking flights using the Aventura Airline Reward Chart – up to $228
  • Booking travel through CIBC travel portal – $100
  • Booking an Expedia redemption by phone – $100
  • Financial products – $83
  • Gift cards – $71
  • Statement credit (Pay with Points) – $62
  • Merchandise – it varies

CIBC Rewards points don’t expire as long as you are an active Aventura cardholder.

How to redeem CIBC Rewards points

Aventura Airline Reward

The Aventura Airline Reward is a fixed points flight booking option and it’s definitely the redemption option that can yield the most value for your CIBC Rewards points. This feature allows you to book any seat on any flight and you can redeem points to pay for the base fare up to a certain value. This applies to round-trip flights and points cover the base fare only which means you will need to pay the fees and taxes. If the fare exceeds the maximum value, you can pay the remaining with points (100 points = $1).

Here is the redemption chart:

  • Canada and US short-haul (within a province/state or adjacent province/state) – 10,000 to 20,000 points up to $400 base fare value
  • Canada and US (lower 48) long-haul – 25,000 to 35,000 points up to $800 base fare value
  • Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Central America, Caribbean – 40,000 to 60,000points up to $1,000 base fare value
  • Europe – 50,000 to 70,000 points up to $1,300 base fare value
  • Rest of the world – 75,000 to 125,000 points up to $2,000 base fare value

This means that if you redeem 35,000 points for a flight that has an $800 base fare, you would get a value of 2.28¢ per point which a fantastic value for CIBC Rewards points. 

CIBC Travel portal

You can redeem points to book hotels, car rentals, vacation packages and cruises online via the CIBC Travel booking portal. The portal will display the cash fares and you can use points to offset the cost at a ratio of 100 points = $1. While the CIBC booking portal is quite efficient for flights, searching for hotels and car rentals can be challenging. Options for searching hotels are very limited and I would highly recommend searching on Expedia.ca instead and then call to book.

Call CIBC Rewards Center to book what you found on Expedia.ca

This option is not well advertised on CIBC Rewards’ website but it’s a very helpful feature. When calling the CIBC Rewards Center to book a travel redemption, you will have access to the Aventura Travel Assistant which is a full-service travel agency. The Aventura Travel Assistant can book anything you find on Expedia.ca and you can redeem your points at the same ratio of 100 points = $1 when booking.

Expedia.ca has many more options for hotels, travel packages and car rentals than what you would find on CIBC Rewards travel portal. Expedia.ca also sells “Things To Do” so you can use your Aventura points to book tours and attraction tickets as well.

Redeem for statement credit, financial products and gift cards

CIBC Rewards points can be redeemed to offset any purchase made on your credit card at a rate of 4,000 points = $25. While this option exists, it has an almost 40% lower value vs using points for travel redemptions.

If you have a mortgage or investments with CIBC, redeeming points for financial products would yield a better value than redeeming for statement credits. You can indeed redeem 12,000points for $100 towards your mortgage or investment accounts including RRSP or TSFA.

If you don’t have any need for anything travel related, no financial products with CIBC, and want to redeem your points, you could consider redeeming for gift cards which would be a better value than redeeming for a statement credit. Most gift cards (Costco, President Choice, Amazon…) can be redeem at 14,000points = $100 and same ratio for different denominations (ex: 3,500points for a $25 gift card).

Redeeming for travel will always be the best value for your CIBC Aventura points.

How CIBC Rewards compares to others

CIBC Rewards is a very solid loyalty program. It shines on potential value since you can get more than 2¢ per point when redeeming with the Aventura Airline Reward. Having access to redeem for anything found on Expedia.ca gives you a lot of options.

What stops CIBC Rewards from being a top tier program is that you can’t transfer your points into any other airline or hotel loyalty program, and the fact that you can’t use your points to offset travel costs booked on your own. If you’re interested in a program that allows you to transfer your points into another loyalty program, I suggest you read about American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners

Final thoughts

My CIBC Rewards review is positive. Points are easy to accumulate and are easy to use with no blackout dates. If you can use the points at their highest potential value, CIBC Rewards is a very solid and valuable program.