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 due to the flexibility of your points.

CIBC credit cards may not be that popular, when you look at the details, you’ll realize that there’s a lot of value with their cards. Basically, you can earn a lot of points fast without much spending. 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

  • $120 annual fee (first year free)
  • 15,000 Aventura points when you make your first purchase
  • 5,000 Additional Aventura points when you spend $3,000 in the first months 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
  • Full review here

CIBC Aventura Gold Visa

  • $120 annual fee (first year free)
  • 15,000 Aventura points when you make your first purchase
  • 5,000 Additional Aventura points when you spend $3,000 in the first months 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
  • Full review here

CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Business

  • $120 Annual fee
  • 20,000 Aventura Points when you make your first purchase
  • 15,000 Additional Aventura points when you spend $3,000 in your first 4 monthly statements.
  • 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

If you look at the base sign up bonus for all of those cards, you’d be able to earn 75,000 CIBC Aventura points while spending just $120 in annual fees.

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

As you can see, using your CIBC Rewards points for travel will always give you the best value. Using your points for related CIBC financial products is decent, but you’re devaluing your points by at least 17 per cent if you go this route so stick to travel redemptions if you can.

How to redeem CIBC Rewards points

CIBC Rewards points don’t expire as long as you are an active Aventura cardholder. If you plan on cancelling your card, be sure to use up your points in one of the following ways before doing so.

Aventura Airline Reward Chart

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:

DestinationsPoints requiredMax. ticket priceTravel parameters
Canada and U.S. (Short Haul)10,000 - 20,000$400Within a province or territory or U.S. state or to an adjoining province or territory or U.S. state
Canada and U.S. (Long Haul)25,000 - 35,000$800From any location in Canada or U.S. to any location in Canada or U.S (except Hawaii and Alaska)
Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Central America, Caribbean40,000 - 60,000$1,000From any location in Canada or U.S. to Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Bermuda, Central America or Caribbean
Europe50,000 -70,000$1,300From a major gateway in Canada or U.S. to select destinations in Europe
Rest of the world75,000 - 125,000$2,000From a major gateway in Canada or U.S. to select destinations in Africa or Asia or Australia or New Zealand or South Pacific or Middle East or South America

Like any fixed travel rewards chart, the Aventura Airline Reward Chart has a few sweet spots. If we’re looking at things strictly from a value perspective, then the 35,000 points redemption available to CIBC Rewards users. With this fare, you can claim a flight with a base fare of $800. That means you would get a value of 2.28¢ per point which a fantastic value for CIBC Rewards points. 

It’s always in your best interest to compare the Aventura Airline Reward Chart to the cost of a flight found via the CIBC travel portal to see which option gives you a better value for your 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.

There are limited options when searching for hotels so it can be a bit difficult to find the right hotel if you’re relying strictly on the CIBC travel portal. A better solution would be to search for your hotel or car rental on Expedia.ca since they have more filters and options. Once you’ve found what works best for you, call CIBC and have them book it for you while redeeming your points.

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’s a 40% lower value compared to using your points for travel redemptions. I would only consider this 

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. Even this lowers the value of your points, it could actually be a great value in the long run. If you’re using your CIBC Rewards points against your mortgage, it goes 100% towards your principal which means you’ll pay less interest over your amortization period. For RRSP and TFSA redemptions, you can take advantage of compound interest for years.

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’s Choice, Amazon, etc.) can be redeemed at a ratio of 14,000 points = $100. You can redeem fewer points for a smaller gift card, but the ratio remains the same. For example, it would cost you 3,500 points for a $25 gift card

Redeeming for travel will always be the best value for your CIBC Aventura points. That said, if you’re playing the long game, consider using your CIBC Rewards points for financial products.

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 cents per point in value when redeeming travel with the Aventura Airline Reward Chart. In addition, the ability to redeem anything you find 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. You also 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 and Scotia Rewards.

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.

CIBC Rewards | How to get the most out of your points

6 Comments

  1. Mike on February 28, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Well, my review of CIBC Rewards Points is overwhelmingly negative. You’d be extremely lucky to find anything close to a saving of $228 for a 10,000-pt redemption, especially if your destination is outside Canada. Even if you can find flights that work schedule-wise (I almost always didn’t), you can’t book any flights with an origin outside of North America and only economy fares – and you sometimes can’t get anything but the rock-bottom economy fare on a Westjet flight. I switched to the Scotia Passport VISA Infinite to get something more like a cash-back card (redeem 10,000 points for $100 rebates on past travel purchases on the card) that gives me 2 more lounge visits per year and no transaction fees on foreign currency purchases. No more frustrations!!

  2. Louise McCook on May 5, 2020 at 11:51 am

    I would like to redeem my points for Costco gift cards but I do not know how to do this…….can some one help me

  3. Louise McCook on May 5, 2020 at 11:51 am

    I would like to redeem my points for Costco gift cards but I do not know how to do this…….can some one help me

  4. Chrissy @ Eat Sleep Breathe FI on July 1, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks for this helpful post, Barry. The points are not bad, but I found the hotel redemptions to be pretty pitiful in Japan (even with using the Expedia trick). You will have much better luck using the points in North America. Way more hotels to choose from.

    Now that our travels are grounded, I’ll have to look into other ways to use the points up. Thanks for listing the other redemption options.

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