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Canada’s 6 Best CIBC Credit Cards for October 2021

CIBC is one of Canada’s biggest nationwide banks, offering credit cards that earn Aeroplan points, Aventura points, and cash back.

Here are our top picks for the best CIBC credit cards in Canada to help you decide which is right for you.

Best CIBC Credit Cards

Best Overall CIBC Credit Card

The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is our pick for CIBC’s top credit card. At the “core” tier of the Aeroplan cards, it offers the most bang for your buck for the vast majority of cardholders.

For the welcome bonus, you can earn up to 20,000 Aeroplan points and an annual fee waiver for the first year. You’ll also get a one-time Air Canada Buddy Pass for economy class travel anywhere within Canada, the US, or Mexico for a $0 base fare – all you have to pay for the second ticket is taxes and fees.

Alternatively, you can now choose to convert the Buddy Pass into an additional 30,000 points, for a total haul of 50,000 Aeroplan points. That’s incredible value and a very welcome development, benefitting solo travellers as well as families.

The bulk of the card’s ongoing value comes in the form of Aeroplan benefits. You’ll get free checked bags on Air Canada flights, preferred pricing for Aeroplan flight rewards on Air Canada, and opportunities to spend your way to Aeroplan Elite Status.

Also, the card comes with travel insurance, which covers Aeroplan flight rewards. You’ll want to pay for the flight’s taxes and fees with this card to ensure you’re protected in the event of any travel mishaps.

Best Premium CIBC Credit Card for Flights

The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card is the bank’s top-tier credit card for Aeroplan perks. You’ll get the best rates on preferred pricing on Air Canada flight rewards, priority airport services, and ample airport lounge access between unlimited free Maple Leaf Lounge visits and six free Priority Pass lounge visits per year.

You can also earn an Annual Worldwide Companion Pass for spending $25,000 on the card. When you book one Air Canada economy ticket, the pass gives you a companion ticket with a base fare of $99–599 depending on where you’re flying.

The card also currently offers a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 Aeroplan points, in line with the best cards on the market. The spending requirements are extremely steep, but luckily they’re broken down into achievable chunks, so you won’t miss out on the full bonus if you can’t sustain that much spending. Also, if you do go for the full bonus, you’ll have spent almost enough to earn the Worldwide Companion Pass.

Best Premium CIBC Credit Card for Hotels

The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege Card is CIBC’s premium choice for their in-house CIBC Rewards program. The card has an annual fee of $499 and a welcome bonus of up to 60,000 Aventura points.

Each calendar year, you’ll get a $200 travel credit. You can use the credit by calling the CIBC Rewards Centre to make a booking, and you can combine it with your Aventura points in case $200 isn’t enough to cover all of your costs.

You can certainly find good value for flights with the Aventura Airline Rewards Chart. However, if you collect multiple types of rewards, it’s easier to cover your air travel with airline loyalty programs instead.

In that case, you’ll have to find other uses for your Aventura points, and hotels are a good choice as you’ll always need a place to stay no matter where you go.

Also, the card comes with the same Priority Pass membership as the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card, but for a lower annual fee. If lounge access is the primary reason you want a premium credit card, the Aventura product is the way to go.

Best No Fee CIBC Credit Card

If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of travel rewards, look no further than the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card. It can be intimidating to pay big annual fees for airline miles, and this card gives you a chance to start getting a feel for the value of your points before you dive into the deep end.

The card has a welcome bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points, which we value at $210. That’s downright enormous for an entry-level card with no annual fee! Also, thanks to the preferred pricing benefit, you’ll get a slight discount on your Aeroplan flight rewards when flying with Air Canada.

Let’s compare the earn rates to the CIBC Dividend Visa Card, which also has no annual fee but earns cash back instead.

Although the no-fee Dividend card has higher bonus rates and covers more categories, your rewards on the Aeroplan card will be worth more for every single purchase once you consider the high value of Aeroplan points.

This card, and all of CIBC’s no-fee cards, has a very low barrier to entry, requiring a minimum household income of $15,000. CIBC also offers variants of these cards for students for all of their rewards programs, including Aeroplan – those cards have no income requirement, but provide all of the same features and bonuses as the regular no-fee cards.

Long-term, your Aeroplan points will never expire as long as you remain a cardholder. It makes for a good keeper card if you ever hit a period where you take a break from aggressively collecting Aeroplan points but need to keep your account active.

Best Cash Back CIBC Credit Card

The CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card is an excellent cash back credit card.

It earns 4% cash back on groceries and gas, two popular categories that often don’t have top-tier earn rates on the same card. You’ll also net 2% back on dining – a rare bonus category on Visa cards – and transit.

Notably, you’ll earn the full bonus rate on up to $20,000 spent per year in each category, before it drops down to the base rate of 1%.

If you’re a high spender looking to maximize your rewards on everyday spending, that’s a very important feature to be aware of – there’s no point getting a good rate on paper if you’ll quickly blow past its limits.

Best CIBC Credit Card for Business Owners

The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business Card is quite similar to their personal CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card. It’s got many of the same Aeroplan perks, plus the ability to earn Maple Leaf Lounge access vouchers based on your spending.

The welcome bonus is also the same, albeit with a higher spending requirement. You’ll also get the first-year annual fee rebated, although starting in the second year it’ll be $180, higher than the personal card’s cost of $139.

Bonus points on everyday spending are a bit different, targeting business purchases like shipping, telecommunications bills, and client lunches, rather than high-volume personal categories like groceries.

But the most useful feature of this card is the Air Canada Buddy Pass. Because it’s a business card, you can earn an additional Buddy Pass with this card. It has the exact same terms and conditions as the personal card’s Buddy Pass, but you can earn it again even if you’ve already earned one from a personal Aeroplan card.

CIBC Credit Cards: What You Need to Know

When choosing a CIBC credit card, you should familiarize yourself with what benefits a CIBC credit card can offer, what features to look out for, and how CIBC credit cards can fit into an optimized overall credit card strategy.

Why get a CIBC credit card?

CIBC credit cards are one of the best ways to earn Aeroplan points. As one of Aeroplan’s bank partners, their co-branded cards can be used in conjunction with their counterparts from TD and American Express to build your rewards balance very quickly.

Once you have your flights covered, CIBC’s in-house Aventura points are a great way to cover your other travel expenses. You can use them for hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, and cruises. If you do want to use Aventura rewards for flights, you can get even better value for round-trip economy flights by using the Aventura Flight Rewards Chart.

If you already bank with CIBC, having one of their credit cards is a no-brainer. You can get your annual fee partially or fully rebated every year if you have a CIBC Smart Plus chequing account. This is useful if you plan on keeping a premium card year after year for its benefits and higher everyday earning rates.

What should you look for in a CIBC credit card?

CIBC has three different types of rewards on their credit cards, all on the Visa payment network:

  • Aeroplan co-branded cards earn Aeroplan points and come with Air Canada benefits. They’re best for avid Aeroplan collectors who know how to stretch the value of their frequent flyer points, or who will benefit from travel insurance on Aeroplan award ticket bookings.
  • Aventura cards earn points that can be used for travel expenses. You can book by calling the CIBC Rewards Centre, at a fixed rate of 1 cent per point for travel redemptions. For greater value, you can use the Aventura Flight Rewards Chart for up to 2.3 cents per point. Overall, CIBC Aventura cards have similar earning rates as their Aeroplan cards, but the points generally aren’t worth as much.
  • Dividend cards make up CIBC’s cash back roster. Rewards can be redeemed any time you’ve accumulated at least $25. They’re the easiest rewards to use and understand, but the trade-off is that their value is limited compared to travel points. That said, they offer highly competitive rates compared to their peers, with strong bonuses on groceries and gas, along with respectable rates in other categories.

For each type of rewards, CIBC offers cards with a wide range of welcome bonuses, everyday rewards, annual fees, perks, and income requirements.

Aeroplan

Aventura

Dividend

Premium

Core

Mid-range
(lower income requirement)

CIBC Aventura Visa Gold

CIBC Dividend Visa Platinum

Entry-level
(no annual fee)

Students

CIBC Aeroplan Visa for Students

CIBC Aventura Visa for Students

CIBC Dividend Visa for Students

Business

CIBC is the only Aeroplan financial partner to offer cards with no annual fee. These are great choices if you want to keep your costs down while maintaining a base level of cardholder benefits and preventing your points from expiring.

Also, each of their entry-level cards have a variant specifically for students. These cards are easier to get approved for if you have no credit history. They have no income requirement and no annual fee.

Any of these cards come with the standard benefits for their Visa tier:

  • All Visa Infinite cards have access to Concierge services, the Luxury Hotel Collection, and the Dining Series & Wine Country program
  • In addition, Visa Infinite Privilege cards come with a Priority Pass membership which includes six annual visits to participating airport lounges and restaurants each year

CIBC regularly offers First Year Free promotions for new signups for all cards at or below the Visa Infinite tier. It’s generally best to wait for one of these opportunities before applying.

What’s the optimal strategy for CIBC credit cards?

If you’re a dedicated traveller who wants to see as much of the world as possible by maximizing your credit cards, CIBC’s wide range of credit cards will have a major presence in your wallet.

In an optimized credit card strategy, you would prioritize CIBC’s Aeroplan credit cards (in conjunction with Aeroplan cards from TD and American Express) to collect a large balance of Aeroplan points, which you’d use towards booking international flights at a high value.

Meanwhile, you’d use the more flexible CIBC Aventura credit cards to cover your non-flight travel expenses, such as car rentals or non-chain hotels.

You could redeem Aventura points at the flat rate of 1 cents per point, book flights through the Aventura Airline Rewards Chart at 2 cents per point or more, or use your $200 travel credit from the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege Card towards those other travel expenses.

CIBC is also known for granting the welcome bonus upon upgrading cards within the same family or switching credit cards between the Aeroplan and Aventura families, so you could collect points and maximize benefits across both card families while preserving the same account (and all of its history) on your credit file.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions we frequently hear from readers about the best CIBC credit cards in Canada.

Can I have the CIBC Aeroplan no fee, Infinite, and Privilege cards at the same time?

Yes, the cards are separate products. You can have any combination at the same time, and you can open them all and be eligible for all welcome bonuses.

Which credit bureau does CIBC check?

CIBC uses Equifax for credit inquiries. Each inquiry is valid for 90 days, and you can reuse it on another application if you visit a branch.

Can I do a product switch with CIBC?

Yes, you can request a product switch in-branch or over the phone. The bonuses available vary from time to time, and you’re unlikely to get a bonus on a downgrade.

Can I get CIBC business cards?

Yes, you can easily apply as a sole proprietor doing business as your own name. CIBC typically asks for business registration documents, so make sure to have them ready before submitting an application.

Ricky Zhang

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