CIBC’s “New” Aventura Travel Rewards Visa Card. Where’s The Beef?

CIBC has “re-launched” its Aventura Travel Rewards Program. Unlike it’s Aeroplan card, the re-launched Aventura program offers cardholders the ability to redeem points for any airline, any time, with no seat restrictions.  The one feature the Aventura card has lost, is the ability for cardholders to transfer their Aventura points to Aeroplan1:1. That was a big draw of the program.

The Aventura card is a direct response to the growing preference Canadians have for any airline, no black-out travel rewards programs offered by programs such as RBC’s Avion, TD’s First Class Infinite, CapOne’s Aspire, BMO’s Travel World and others. Those programs have been a direct response to exploit the dissatisfaction cardholders have shown with Aeroplan’s lack of seat availability, limitation to Air Canada flights. Some have also allowed cardholders to use points to pay for taxes and fees.

The Aventura card offers the following cardholder value proposition (Infinite & Gold):

·         $120 annual fee (waived in the first year)

·         Limited time sign-up bonus of up to 20,000 Aventura points (15,000 on approval, additional 5,000 on $500 of spend)

·         1 point on all spend

·         1.5 points on spend at gas, grocery and drug stores

Based on a survey of 10 flights to 4 different destinations the average value of each Aventura point is equal to 1.27 cents. The Aventura credit card, then offers 1.5 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and drug store spend, 2 points per dollar spent if you book your travel through CIBC Rewards Center and 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else. This means you’re getting between 1.27% to 1.9% (accelerator categories) in value for each dollar spent on your credit card. In the end the Aventura card offers the same value as the Aeroplan card for coach class flights, except it offers the flexibility of not having any black-out dates and you can choose the airline / flight of your choice.

However, if you liked the “pre-launch” version of the Aventura credit card because it offered you the ability to transfer points to Aeroplan 1:1, we’ve found an even better alternative for you. The Amex Gold Rewards card is now the only credit card in the country that allows you to redeem your points for any travel you charge to your credit card (including taxes & fees) or transfer those points to Aeroplan 1:1. It also has better value per dollar spent on your credit card, offering 2 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries, drugstore and all travel spend, compared to Aventura which offers 1.5 in accelerator categories. As a result you’re getting 33% more value from Amex Gold Rewards over the Aventura card per dollar spent, while getting the flexibility to transfer those points to Aeroplan or Avios 1:1!

So while the campaign theme is “so good even penguins can fly”, this program falls into the “me too” bucket of travel programs. There’s more value per dollar spent and far more flexibility in programs like the Amex Gold Rewards.

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