Behind the scenes of this summer’s very public battle over the Aeroplan-branded credit card portfolio, CIBC has invested millions to improve its Aventura travel rewards program. This week, the bank unveiled the new and enhanced Aventura travel rewards program, which allows cardholders to redeem their points for travel on any airline, access every seat on the plane, and pay for flight taxes and fees with their points.
CIBC is supporting the launch with an ad campaign and a special bonus offer for new customers. When you sign up before December 31st, 2013 and make at least three purchases on your card before January 31, 2014, you’ll get up to 30,000 Aventura points. Here’s how the bonus works:
You’ll get 15,000 Aventura points on your first purchase, plus an extra 10,000 Aventura points if that first purchase occurs before January 31, 2014. Make two or more purchases by January 31, 2014, and you’ll get another 5,000 Aventura points.
The new Aventura travel rewards program will feature:
- An enhanced rewards chart with new flight redemption values starting January 1, 2014.
- Short-haul flights for as low as 10,000 Aventura points, and long-haul flights to destinations across North America starting at 25,000 Aventura points.
- Earn 1.5 Aventura Points on purchases at gas stations, grocery and drug stores.
- Comprehensive insurance coverage: New trip cancellation insurance, in addition to trip interruption and travel medical insurance, including travel medical insurance for Canadians 65 and over.
It’s clear that CIBC wants to position its Aventura rewards as a rival to the popular RBC Avion program, where you can book with any airline with no restrictions or blackouts. It’s a smart contrast to the less flexible Aeroplan program, which is implementing changes of its own come January 1st, 2014 to improve member recognition.
Other highlights of the Aventura program include:
- Every seat, any airline: Get the flight you want, on the date you want.
- No cash required: You can redeem your available Aventura points for full airfare, including taxes and fees*
- Freedom & flexibility: Use points on any airline or any kind of travel – no blackouts or expiry.
- Points on all purchases: Earn 1 Aventura point for every $1 spent using your card.
*Aventura points can be redeemed for up to 100% of the cost of airfare as well as for taxes and other charges on airfare purchased through the CIBC Rewards Centre. You must book all flights through the CIBC Rewards Centre.
The Aventura Visa Infinite card comes with a $120 annual fee and to qualify you’ll need to earn at least $60,000 per year, or have annual household income of $100,000.
If you don’t qualify for the Visa Infinite card then you can apply for the Aventura Gold Visa card, which comes with the same 30,000 point bonus offer when you apply before December 31st, 2013. Aside from less insurance coverage, the benefits for Aventura Visa Gold cardholders are identical to the Aventura Visa Infinite version, and you only need to make $15,000 per year to qualify.