The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite is one of many options out there for a luxury travel credit card in Canada, but for the most part, it stands on par with the best of them. With great rewards that cover more than many travel rewards programs and benefits you’ll scarcely believe, there are many reasons to consider getting this card. The only downsides are its cost and exclusivity, and even those are not bad enough to be deal-breakers here.
What You Need to Know About the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite
The first thing anyone needs to know about a credit card they might want to apply for is whether or not they can qualify for it. The requirements are high for this card, so this is more of a pressing question than it would be for a card aimed at the mid-market or lower. You’ll need very good credit and a high income ($60,000 a year for an individual or $100,000 for a household) to be considered, and even then, approval isn’t a certainty. If you don’t make enough or have shaky credit, it’s best that you write this card off for the time being.
If you do think you might be able to get approved for this card, though, you’ll also want to know what interest rates you’ll be paying. The usual purchase rate is the expected 19.99%, which changes to 22.99% on cash advances and balances you’ve transferred over from other cards. These are the standard rates on Canadian credit cards, so there’s nothing too far out of the ordinary here.
Now for the fun part – the rewards. As a travel credit card, the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite gives you points for your spending that you can use to travel for free (or at least for less) all over the world. You can get 1.5 points of these points per dollar you spend on gas, groceries, and drug store purchases, plus 1 point for each dollar on everything else you buy. If you happen to travel somewhat frequently, you might also like to know that you can get 2 points per dollar on travel expenses you purchase through the CIBC Rewards Centre. If you’re careful to use your card as much as possible, you could end up with thousands of points each month.
That’s not all, though; we haven’t covered the many amazing benefits you’ll get yet. This card comes with access to over 1200 exclusive airport lounges all over the world and 4 complimentary lounge visits each year, plus car rental collision and loss damage insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, flight delay and baggage insurance, hotel burglary insurance and even some mobile device coverage to keep your phone or tablet safe. The inarguable best part of it all is the emergency travel medical coverage, but we’ll get into that further below. For now, suffice it to say that the benefits that come with this card are at least as good as the rewards it gets you.
Like most credit cards that are meant for elite customers only, the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite does charge an annual fee, and it’s rather high (if perfectly on par with the rest of the market in that respect). You’ll need to pay $120 a year for the first card, plus an additional $50 a year for each extra card you choose to get. The extra cost for the side cards is not ideal, but aside from the utility of having someone else (your spouse, perhaps, or an older child who you want to have access to money in case they need it) be able to use your line of credit, the extra rewards you earn on their spending should more than make up for the small charge if they are using the card regularly. Your immediate family members do not have to have their own cards to be covered under the benefits this card gives you, though, so keep that in mind if that was your primary reason for considering ordering additional cards.
High-Value Flexible Points With An Easy-to-Use Tool To Back Them Up
If you’re looking to actually use your points, you’ll need to book your trip through CIBC’s dedicated travel service. If you’re just casually looking to see what a certain amount of points could get you, you could use the Aventura flight finder tool instead. This handy point cost projector can help you to estimate how far you can stretch the points you have or how many you’ll need to go to a certain specific place. You’ll only get ranges this way (the only way to know exactly how many points a particular flight will cost is to book it), but even that can be enough to make some basic plans or kick around some ideas. For example, taking a flight to a city in an adjoining province, state or territory is estimated to cost between 10,000 and 20,000 points and will cover the cost of the ticket for up to $400 before taxes and other fees. If the flight you end up booking costs more than $400 in this case, you would be responsible for paying whatever the remainder was yourself.
One thing that all prospective CIBC Aventura Visa cardholders should be aware of is that this points system can cover the taxes on the cost of the flight and any of the ancillary fees, but you can only use them to cover a certain amount of the full cost regardless of what the total ends up being. That means that you probably can’t truly fly for free if you’re being technical about it, and you also probably can’t use your points to cover the cost of extra services like additional checked bags or anything like that. This may prove disappointing to some people who were hoping to travel at absolutely no cost to themselves, but those expectations might be a bit unrealistic. None of this is too different from what most travel rewards systems stipulate now, so it isn’t as if CIBC is giving you a bad deal here. Your trips will still be extremely low-cost if you stay within the price guidelines, and that alone will make travelling much more affordable and potentially allow you to do it more than you already do. If you’re vert frugal, you could even manage to travel completely for free, which is more than most rewards cards will allow you to do.
Enjoying Low-Cost Travel On Points
If you can get this card at all, you’re most likely in a high income household, but that doesn’t mean you have money to throw away. Even though vacations can be a great way to unwind and make lasting memories with your significant other or your family and most people would say they’re worth every penny, that doesn’t make them easy to fit into a typical budget. With the CIBC Aventura Visa, you have the opportunity to earn points all year long that will eventually add up to enough for the flight tickets out to a great getaway. Even though you’ll still have to pay for things like accommodations and meals once you get there, this can help to make the cost of a trip much less expensive and make it possible for you to go without having to make many other sacrifices.
Another common use for flight rewards like this is to visit family on holidays and other special occasions. If any of your relatives live far from you and you would like to see them more often than you do, using your Aventura points to fly out to them is a great way to do that without having to pay too much out of pocket for it. Doing things this way would be even cheaper than driving out to them and far more convenient for you on top of that. There’s only so long that you can stand at a distance from a person’s life and not expect to drift apart. If you care about these things, this card can bring you closer together at minimal cost to you, and it’s probably worth looking into.
It won’t take very long for you to get to the point where you can redeem your rewards, either. Your primary earning channel will be the 1.5 points per dollar you get on common purchases like gas and groceries, and the 1 point per dollar rate that applies to everything else will help round out your earnings. Spending $1,500 a month in the first category (a lot, to be sure, but not more than many Canadians with this level of income will be regularly budgeting for as it is) and an additional $1,000 a month in the second one will net you 3,250 points per month or 39,000 points over a year. That’s enough for a couple to make certain small trips almost entirely on points. If you have children or are looking to bring some friends, you might have to wait a little longer to save up enough points, but you’ll almost certainly get there in good time. Don’t forget, you’ll also have your welcome bonus at your disposal, and that alone will add up to quite a bit if you aren’t going incredibly far away. All in all, most cardholders should see a lot of value in the travel rewards this card gets them, making this a worthwhile card in that aspect.
The Value of Peace of Mind
It might not be something that’s on your mind, but you’re just as vulnerable to injury and disease when you’re travelling as you are at any other time. What if you or your loved ones were to pick up a potentially deadly virus while you were out, or become seriously injured and in need of medical attention or even surgery? If you have pre-existing health complications like diabetes or a bad heart, the chances of you needing some medical help are even higher, and if you don’t get it, you could die. Even something relatively benign like a split tooth could cause you significant pain and make it hard for you to enjoy your time away. There’s no turning down health care services that you need, no matter when they crop up.
The only trouble with that is the cost of it all. As a Canadian citizen, you enjoy essentially free health care coverage at home, but that’s not the case when you’re in a different country or even a different province. As anyone from a country without universal health care coverage could tell you, medical attention is expensive. Insurance can help, but that will only cover issues that arise after you’ve already gotten it, not ones that are currently bothering you when you go to get it. You never think about things like that until they become a reality, and by then it’s too late to do anything but face what’s coming at you.
One of the best things about high-tier travel credit cards like the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite is that they come with some of the best travel medical insurance you’ll find anywhere outside of buying it privately. You get up to $5,000,000 of coverage for emergency physical and dental health problems that covers you for a full 15 days if you’re under 65. If you’re over that age, you’ll only get 3 days of coverage, but when many plans would offer nothing at all, even that small bit is still something. For some people, this insurance will be enough of a reason to get this card all on its own, and that should be a great indicator of the value of this particular perk. In fact, it’s one of the things that people most often name as one of their favourtie aspects of this card in online reviews.
Should You Get the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite?
The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite credit card is not for the common consumer; be certain that you meet the lofty requirements before you apply, or your credit might take an unnecessary hit. If you’re confident that you can get it, though, this card is one of the best travel credit cards out there with just about everything you could ask for included in it. Apply for it now and start earning points with it as soon as possible; when you’re laying back in the sand on the beach during the vacation you were able to fly to for free, you’ll be happy you did.