CIBC Rewards, often called CIBC Aventura, is CIBC’s travel loyalty program. Although I rank the CIBC Rewards program behind American Express Membership Rewards and RBC Rewards, it’s still an excellent program that deserves your attention.
For whatever reason, CIBC credit cards aren’t that popular. However, when you look at the details, you’ll realize that there’s a lot of value in their cards. Not only can you earn points quickly without much work, but you can also redeem your points in multiple ways. With so many options available, you need to know how to maximize the value of your CIBC Rewards points.
The value of CIBC Rewards points
As a general reference, 100 CIBC Rewards points are worth $1 in travel. That means the value of one CIBC Reward point is 1 cent. That said, there is a way to increase the value of your points, and there are also many options that devalue things. Here’s a quick look at what your CIBC Rewards points are worth.
|Redemption type||Redemption value|
|Travel portal||1 cent per point|
|Travel when calling||1 cent per point|
|Airline reward chart||Up to 2.28 cents per point|
|Financial products||.83 cents per point|
|Gift cards||.71 cents per point|
|Merchandise||.55 - .70 cents per point|
|Statement credit||.63 cents per point|
As you can see, using your CIBC Rewards points for travel will always give you the best value. The Aventura Airline Reward Chart is especially noteworthy since you can more than double the value of your points. Financial products have a lower value per point, but they can be worth more in the long run. All other options aren’t a good value at all.
How to redeem CIBC Rewards points
With the exception of calling in to redeem travel, all CIBC Rewards redemptions are done through the website. While this is convenient, some people have other preferred methods of booking travel. Fortunately, the CIBC Rewards website is pretty good and easy to use. Here’s how to redeem your CIBC Rewards points.
CIBC Travel portal
You can redeem points to book hotels, car rentals, vacation packages and cruises online via the CIBC rewards centre. 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 really advertised on CIBC Rewards’ website, but it’s an incredibly useful 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. You can then redeem your points at the same ratio of 100 points = $1 when booking.
While it’s not quite the same as booking on your own, and there’s no price matching, calling in to make a redemption is still handy. 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.
Aventura Airline Reward Chart
The Aventura Airline Reward is a fixed point flight booking option that gives you the most bang for your buck, er, point. 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 or cash.
Here’s the redemption chart:
|Destinations||Points required||Max. ticket price||Travel parameters|
|Canada and U.S. (Short Haul)||10,000 - 20,000||$400||Within 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||$800||From any location in Canada or U.S. to any location in Canada or U.S (except Hawaii and Alaska)|
|Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Central America, Caribbean||40,000 - 60,000||$1,000||From any location in Canada or U.S. to Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Bermuda, Central America or Caribbean|
|Europe||50,000 -70,000||$1,300||From a major gateway in Canada or U.S. to select destinations in Europe|
|Rest of the world||75,000 - 125,000||$2,000||From 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 maximum ticket price and 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. Conveniently, a few of the CIBC credit cards give you a welcome bonus of 35,000 points, so you could use them to your advantage.
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.
If you have a mortgage or investments with CIBC, redeeming points for financial products can be worth you while. It will cost you 12,000 CIBC Rewards points to get $100 in value. You can use that amount to pay off your mortgage or to invest within your TFSA or RRSP. When going this route, your points are only worth .83 cents each, but they’ll likely be worth more in the long term as your investments grow.
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. Let’s say your mortgage has an interest of 3%. When you redeem your points to pay down your mortgage by $100, you’re actually getting $103 in value. That’s a return of .86 cents each. I know it’s not a major difference, but I’m just illustrating the value.
If you don’t have any need for anything travel related, and you don’t have any financial products with CIBC, you could consider using your points for gift cards. 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. That works out to a value of .71 cents per point which isn’t very good.
That said, occasionally, CIBC Rewards does have gift card promotions where it costs fewer points to make a redemption. When that happens, you can get a value closer to 1 cent per point which is much more appealing.
When logged into the CIBC Rewards website, you’ll see a tab called “shop.” This is where you’ll find their merchandise that you can redeem. The value of your points differs depending on what you’re redeeming, but you can expect them to fall within the .55 – .70 cents per point range. It’s not the worst redemption, but it’s also not the best. You’ll find the typical stuff available such as toys, electronics, small appliances, etc.
Finally, CIBC Rewards points can be redeemed to offset any purchase made on your credit card at a rate of 4,000 for $25. While this option exists, it’s a 37% devaluation compared to a standard travel redemption. You should only consider going this route if you’re struggling financially.
Do CIBC Rewards points expire?
No, as long as you have an active account in good standing with CIBC, your points will not expire. It’s worth noting that CIBC has a credit card with no annual fee, so you could switch to that if you just need to park your points for the time being. If you’re looking to switch to an Aeroplan card or to cancel your card, you should cash out your points before doing so.
How CIBC Rewards compares to others
CIBC Rewards is a 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, you’re better off with American Express Membership Rewards or RBC Rewards. If you prefer programs where you can book any travel on your own, then Scotia Rewards may be a better choice.
Overall, I rank CIBC Rewards in the middle of the pack when it comes to the best bank travel loyalty programs. Admittedly, CIBC has made improvements to their credit cards over the years, but nothing has happened significantly with CIBC Rewards. This isn’t a bad thing, it just is what it is.
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 card. CIBC has eight different Aventura credit cards including two business cards and one student card. This is an impressive lineup and a few of the Aventura cards are on my list of best travel credit cards in Canada. Here’s a quick look at the top CIBC Aventura card.
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card
- $139 annual fee – First year free
- 15,000 Aventura points when you make your first purchase
- 20,000 Aventura points when you spend $3,000 in the first 4 months
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on CIBC travel
- Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on gas, grocery, and drug store purchases
- Earn 1 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Visa Airport Companion Program membership and 4 free annual passes
The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card is CIBC’s top CIBC Rewards credit card. There’s typically no annual fee and the welcome bonus is usually worth about 35,000 points. That means you’re getting at least $350 in value for free. Plus, you get a Priority Pass / DragonPass Membership with 4 free complimentary visits each yea, a NEXUS application fee rebate, travel insurance, and mobile device insurance. There’s a lot to like about this card.
As for the earn rate, you’ll get 2 points per $1 spent on CIBC travel; 1.5 points per $1 spent on eligible gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores ; and 1 point per $1 on everything else including dining and entertainment.
You also get a decent amount of insurance coverage with this card. That includes travel insurance. mobile device insurance, and extended warranty. Even though there’s a yearly fee of $139, the first year is usually free. That said, there is an annual income requirement of $60,000 or a household income of $100,000 to qualify for this card.
Although not as popular as some of the bank travel rewards programs, CIBC Rewards is pretty good. Points are easy to accumulate and you can use them with no blackout dates. The fixed travel schedule allows you to get more value out of your points, so maximize it if you can.