The idea of earning points towards free travelling is appealing to many people, but in practice, most travel credit cards’ rewards will get you discounts on your flights at best. The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite card changes the game by making it so easy to earn rewards that many users will be able to get at least one completely free flight per year.
Get a travel credit card with rewards that reach a value of 3 cents per mile or more.
|You Are Interested If||You do a lot of travelling for work or leisure and want to defray some of those costs (as well as enjoy extra perks) by choosing a good travel credit card.|
|Brief Description||The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite is a high-level travel card that offers a high-value reward system and a good assortment of travel insurance and perks that will please any frequent flier.|
|Main Requirements||As a higher-level card option, the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite requires that its applicants have an income of at least $60,000 a year and good credit in order to be considered.|
|Card Type||This is a travel card.|
Fees and Interest
|Purchase Interest Rate||A 19.99% yearly interest charge will be applied to outstanding standard balances on this card.|
|Cash Advance||Any balances incurred due to a request for a cash advance will be charged 22.99% interest instead.|
|Balance Transfer||Balances transferred from other cards will incur the same 22.99% interest charge.|
|Income Requirements||An income of at least $60,000 a year is necessary to get this card.|
|Household Income Requirements||Alternatively, you could also get it with a combined $100,000 in income with a spouse.|
|Annual Fee||This card will cost you $120 a year with an additional fee of $50 for each spare card you request.|
|Welcome Bonus||At the moment, getting this card will give you 15,000 reward points to start off with.|
|How To Earn Points||You’ll receive 1.5 miles for every dollar you spend buying groceries, gas, anything at the drug store, and anything you purchase on aircanada.com. Everything else you buy will earn you 1 mile for each dollar instead. You can also earn double the miles by shopping at particular retailers, as we’ll discuss in more detail below.|
|Benefits||This card offers a full suite of travel insurance, including 15 days of emergency travel medical insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage insurance, flight delay insurance, car rental theft or damage insurance, travel accident insurance and even personal effects insurance. It’ll also get you one free pass annually to visit the Maple Leaf Lounge at airports and even net you priority check-in and boarding and one free checked bag on Air Canada flights you paid for with Aeroplan miles.|
About CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite card is a travel credit card, but it uses Aeroplan miles to deliver its rewards rather than one of the points-based systems that are more common on other cards. If you get this card, you can expect to receive 1.5 Aeroplan miles per dollar on all gas, grocery, or drug store purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases you make. You can also get double the miles you would have earned (either at the base rate or the bonus rate, depending on what’s applicable) by shopping at retailers who are part of the Aeroplan partner program.
For the most part, these retailers are all places like airlines and hotels where you usually won’t consistently have cause to spend money, and most people won’t be able to easily account for extremely occasional spending like that in their budget. It does offer a few chances to take advantage of this offer at stores more suited to everyday shopping, though. These are online-only and mostly lesser known shops and service providers, but there are some bigger names on the list too, including Chapters, Sephora and the Apple Store. We won’t be accounting for this double-mile possibility in our mock budget, however, because most people’s shopping will still be too inconsistent for the small bonuses to be worth counting.
On that note, though, why don’t we take a look at a hypothetical budget and calculate the number of miles that level of spending would get you? Because this is a card restricted to those with high incomes, we’re going to use a $2,000 a month budget in this example. If we assume that about $1,300 of that will be spent on bonus-eligible purchases like groceries and gas, we arrive at 1,950 miles per month just for that chunk. The other $700 would net another 700 points for a total of 2,650 a month and 31,800 miles for the full year. That’s not counting the welcome bonus, which will currently allow you to get an extra 15,000 miles just for opening a new card account. You’ll have to keep it open for at least 3 full months and pay all your bills responsibly during that time before you receive that credit, though.
As for what you can get with your miles, the answer is surprisingly complicated, but not in a bad way. Miles do not have a set value in terms of redemption options; each flight destination and class of seat (from economy to first class) costs a different number of miles to book, and those costs don’t always line up exactly with the out-of-pocket expense for each flight. This means that by choosing the right kinds of flights, you can make your miles go surprisingly far. Your best bet is usually trips in economy class within Canada and the U.S., either short-haul or long-haul – those bookings often provide the equivalent of a 3 cents-per-mile redemption rate and can sometimes even surpass that. You can also use them to get yourself things like gift cards or store credit from some of Aeroplan’s partner retailers, but the redemption value of your points drops significantly if you choose to use them this way (they’ll be on par with those other rewards systems mentioned above, and may even fall below them in value). In general, you should never choose those rewards over free or discounted flights unless you know you won’t be able to travel for a while, such as after a major financial blow or a very intensive surgery.
Finally, the benefits this card offers are also very good. Having it in your wallet gets you access to up to 15 days of emergency travel medical insurance if you’re under 75, which is the main big benefit of most travel cards. With that, you’ll also enjoy trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance, personal effects insurance, baggage delay or loss insurance, travel accident insurance, flight delay insurance, and car rental damage and theft insurance. You will also be entitled to one free pass to the Maple Leaf Lounge at participating airports each year, as well as a few freebies (free checked bag, priority boarding and check-in) on any Air Canada flights you book using Aeroplan points.
This a great set of benefits that covers all your bases and lacks many restrictions, which is always nice. You can still find better sets (particularly in terms of the length of the emergency medical coverage period) if you look at the travel card offerings at this level from other providers, but those options won’t match this one in terms of rewards. Taking that into account, the gap between this card’s benefits and those of the others is very forgivable, and most people will find the 15 days of coverage to be more than sufficient for their needs.
The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite isn’t the most premium travel card that CIBC offers, but it easily stands among the best of the best in that category in the wider Canadian credit market. Its rewards rates are excellent considering the potential value of Aeroplan miles, and its benefits package is no slouch either. It requires a little strategy in terms of points redemptions in order to reach its full potential, but that’s a minor annoyance at best and more than worth the fuss.
CIBC stands for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and they’re one of the biggest banks in all of North America. Over the years, they’ve reached several impressive milestones, including 10 million clients and $600 billion in assets, but they’ve also maintained a commitment to philanthropy; they were responsible for $80 million in charitable giving in 2018.
What We Think
The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite is a great card that unfortunately might get lost in the sea of other travel cards that CIBC offers. If it does, that’s a shame, because it’s one of the best in their extensive line-up. It’s a high-value option that, while still very exclusive, isn’t quite as inaccessible as many of their elite-tier cards are. If you’re a frequent traveller and have the income to qualify for this card, we highly recommend that you keep it in mind.