The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business Card is a decent Aeroplan-earning credit card for businesses, as it incentivizes cardholders to continue spending throughout the first year to earn an equivalent sign-up bonus the second year.
Bonuses & Fees
You can earn a total of up to 60,000 Aeroplan points by applying for the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business, awarded in three parts:
- 10,000 Aeroplan points upon first purchase
- Additional 20,000 Aeroplan points after spending $3,000 in the first four months
- Additional 30,000 Aeroplan points upon spending $35,000 in the first year
However, the final batch of points is likely out of reach for many spenders, so you could treat this like an offer for 30,000 points upon spending $3,000.
The signup bonus of 30,000 points is a good offer compared to others we’ve seen on this card. If you’re primarily looking to earn Aeroplan points for high-value redemptions, now would be a good time to apply with the $180 annual fee waived for the first year.
Some travellers might also find value in the Air Canada Buddy Pass, which is essentially a buy-one-get-one voucher for paid Air Canada economy class flights within North America. If you travel as a couple or a family, that makes this good offer even more appealing.
Whether you use the Buddy Pass for flights or points, you’ll only earn one business Buddy Pass every 12 months between this card and the TD Aeroplan Visa Business. If you’re planning on applying for both cards, keep that in mind as it will limit your potential welcome bonuses.
Supplementary cards may be added for an annual fee of $50 apiece, although the first three supplementary cards enjoy a first-year annual fee waiver under the current promotion.
In terms of the return on everyday spending, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business offers:
- 2 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations
- 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on shipping, internet, cable, phone, dining, and travel
- 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on everything else
The earn rates are identical to the TD Aeroplan Visa Business, and are on par with the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite geared towards consumers. While the return on bonus categories is decent, there are also arguably better choices on the market, too.
Having said that, if you’re a small business owner who spends a lot on shipping, internet, cable, and phone purchases, then this card might be the right fit, since there aren’t many other products offering bonus earn rates on these categories.
Aeroplan remains the program of choice for the vast majority of Canadians aiming to redeem their points for high-value international business and First Class redemptions.
Redeeming Aeroplan points follows the Aeroplan Flight Reward Chart, and can cost as little as 55,000 points one-way from Vancouver to Tokyo in business class.
From the East Coast, 60,000 Aeroplan points (or often fewer, thanks to Air Canada’s preferred pricing if you hold Elite Status or a credit card) would unlock a transatlantic flight to most parts of Western Europe.
Closer to home: short-haul flights within North America that are under 500 miles only cost 6,000 Aeroplan points one-way.
With the 30,000 points earned from this card, you can travel one-way in business class across the continent on routes such as Toronto – Vancouver or Montreal – Los Angeles and still have about 5,000 points left over.
As for the Buddy Pass, you can use that as a “Buy One, Get One” ticket for all Air Canada flights within Canada, the United States (including Hawaii), and Mexico.
Simply book for one passenger at regular price and have the second passenger pay a $0 base fare along with the taxes and fees associated with the ticket.
Perks & Benefits
As with the personal variant, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business delivers a strong set of Air Canada travel benefits. As a cardholder, you’ll receive:
- Free first checked bag on Air Canada flights, for the primary and supplementary cardholders
- Preferred pricing when redeeming Aeroplan points for Air Canada flights
- The ability to earn 1,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) and 1 Status Qualifying Segment (SQS) for every $5,000 you spend on the card
- Your Aeroplan points won’t expire for as long as you’re a cardholder
Alas, CIBC’s focus as a bank these days seems to be on their Aventura program rather than on Aeroplan (it’s been this way ever since they lost the big Aeroplan contract to TD back in 2014), so unlike the TD version of this card, there’s no NEXUS credit to add to the Air Canada travel benefits.
The insurance benefits on the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business are decent, with quite a comprehensive suite of important insurances, such as:
Flight and baggage delay insurance of up to $500 per person for delays of at least 4 hours and for baggage delays, there is a combined total of $1000
Car rental theft and damage insurance, which can replace the insurance fees that car rental companies are infamous for charging
$500,000 Common Carrier Accident insurance, which protects you in case of a travel-related accident
Trip cancellation insurance of $1,000 per person or $5,000 combined
Trip interruption insurance of $2,000 per person
However, the card notably lacks emergency travel medical insurance, which falls short of the standard set by TD’s version of this card.
It’s worth noting that as far as I’m aware, the CIBC Aeroplan credit cards are among the few cards that will extend their travel insurance benefits to tickets redeemed with Aeroplan points.
Many credit cards in the marketplace consider award travel to be ineligible for travel insurance – you have to put the full revenue ticket cost on the card in order for it to count. The CIBC Aeroplan cards, to my knowledge, only require you to charge the taxes and fees of your Aeroplan booking to the credit card in order for the travel insurance to kick in.
If you prefer to cover your bases using travel insurance, yet also frequently travel on points, that makes this card worthwhile to keep around.
Hi! Has the Buddy Pass been removed? It’s mentioned here in this review, but I don’t see anything about it on the CIBC website for the Aeroplan Business Visa. This is such a big perk that ti would be a shame if it’s gone. Thanks!
Does anyone know if you can downgrade this card and then upgrade it for the same bonus again and dodge the annual fee? Or do you have to cancel and reapply?
I had the same issue with CIBC. Jumped by all the hoops, phoned 10 times, no one ever had the manners to call me back. Finally they said my application expired… on some Toronto desk. Terrible Bank, rude people.
I found the CIBC Business Card the most difficult to get ( and I have a real business). On line application followed by 5 on site Bank visits plus multiple business statements required -including my articles of incorporation etc.