The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite is the go-to Aeroplan credit card for those entrenched in the CIBC financial network, although this card is slightly inferior to TD’s offering.
Bonuses & Fees
The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite currently offers 20,000 Aeroplan points as a signup bonus, awarded in two parts:
- 10,000 Aeroplan points upon first purchase
- Additional 10,000 Aeroplan points + Air Canada Buddy Pass after spending $1,000 in the first four months
The $139 annual fee is currently waived for the first year. Otherwise, if the first-year fee waiver were not available, then it can be waived if you have a CIBC Smart Plus Chequing Account.
The signup bonus of 20,000 points with a Buddy Pass is one of the higher offers we’ve seen on this card. Whether you primarily use Aeroplan points for high-value redemptions, of if you’d prefer a buy-one-get-one voucher on Air Canada economy tickets within North America, now would be a great time to apply.
Whether you use the Buddy Pass for a free flight or for points, you’ll only earn one Buddy Pass every 12 months between this card, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, and the American Express Aeroplan Card. If you’ve got your eye on two or more of these cards in the “core” Aeroplan tier, you’ll only receive the Buddy Pass once, so keep that in mind as you plan your 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.
The card’s earning structure is fairly standard, in that you’ll earn 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on gas and groceries and 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
If you’re shopping at places that don’t accept Amex, though, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite could be a solid choice to have in your wallet, since at the very least, Aeroplan points are pretty easy to redeem for a good value.
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 a few months of organic spending on top of the signup bonus, the 25,000 points earned is enough to travel one-way in business class across the continent on routes such as Toronto – Vancouver or Montreal – Los Angeles.
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 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 $10,000 you spend on the card
- Your Aeroplan points won’t expire for as long as you’re a cardholder
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).
That means that the extra perks you find on the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite, such as the Priority Pass benefits and the NEXUS fee waiver, sadly aren’t available on this card.
The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite includes all the insurance benefits that you’d expect from a premium travel credit card, such as:
Emergency medical insurance of up to $5,000,000 on the first 15 days of an out-of-province trip (3 days for 65+)
Flight/trip delay insurance of $500 for delays of at least 4 hours, which comes in handy if you need to replace your incidentals due to a delay
- Baggage delay insurance of $500 per person or a combined $1000
Car rental theft and damage insurance, which can replace the insurance fees that car rental agencies will try to upsell when renting a car
$500,000 Common Carrier Accident insurance, which protects you in case of a travel-related accident
Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance: trip cancellation of up to $1,500 per insured person for a combined $5,000 and Trip Interruption insurance of $2,000 per person
One thing that’s worth noting is that the CIBC Aeroplan credit cards (i.e., this card, plus the Infinite Privilege and the Visa for Business) 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. Meanwhile, the CIBC Aeroplan cards 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 Aeroplan points, that makes this card worthwhile to keep around.