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Fact Checked: Amy Tokic

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Updated: January 23, 2024

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware this post may contain links to products from our partners. We may receive a commission for products or services you sign up for through partner links.

Quick overview

The CIBC Aeroplan Visa credit card is like your first vehicle. It might not be the prettiest or the most feature-packed, but it’ll get you from point A to point B reliability. Sure, you won’t be bragging to your friends about it, but it’ll open up a new world to you (in the case of the card, travel points, and the benefits they come with), on the cheap. Very cheap, considering one of the benefits of this particular card is that it’s free. Yep, you read that right, a rewards card with zero yearly fee. 

With it, you’ll earn one point for every dollar spent on gas, electric vehicle charging, groceries and with Air Canada directly, including Air Canada Vacations. You’ll also earn one point on every $1.50 spent on all other purchases. Which, of course, won’t line your proverbial pockets with bushels of points, but the welcome bonus of 10,000 might help make up for that. The long and short of it with this card is that you’ll earn fewer points than with other cards – including some alternative CIBC Aeroplan cards, like the Visa Infinite and Visa Infinite Privilege – but its lack of yearly fees might be enough to sway you to choose this entry-level offering. Oh, and the fact that it only required a $15,000 annual household income makes the CIBC Aeroplan card one of the more accessible travel card options in the market.

Who’s this card for?

This card allows you to get into the travel rewards world without having to shell out extra money each year to pay for a credit card fee. It’s a great way to dip your toe into the rewards world slowly, to check if it’s one you’re interested in spending more time in. The points accrual might be slow with this card, but that’s okay because you’re just feeling out whether or not travel rewards are for you. Think of it this way: It lets you try something new without too much of a commitment. Try it and, if it’s not for you, no worries. However, if you’re interested in a travel card that’s packed with perks, like comprehensive travel insurance and lounge access, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students

For those new to credit cards, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is an excellent choice to start earning travel rewards. With a competitive earn rate and a generous welcome bonus, accumulating Aeroplan points is made easy. Best of all, there are no complicated requirements or hurdles to overcome – simply make a purchase and receive 10,000 Aeroplan points. This credit card also features no minimum income requirement and $1,000 minimum credit limit.

Pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • Earn one Aeroplan point per dollar spent on gas, electric vehicle charging, groceries, and with Air Canada directly, including Air Canada Vacations

  • Earn twice the points at over 150 Aeroplan partners and over 170 online retailers through the Aeroplan eStore

  • No annual fee

Cons

Cons

  • You only earn one point for every $1.50 spent on everything else

  • No travel insurance

  • No lounge access

Welcome bonus

  • Earn 10,000 Aeroplan points 
  • Points are earned after you make your first purchase
  • 10,000 points have $200 in travel value
  • Those are estimated to be enough points for a short-haul one-way ticket in North America (think from Toronto to New York)

How to earn points

With CIBC Aeroplan credit cards, you earn points right off the bat with a welcome bonus. In this case it’s a meager, yet still appreciated, 10,000 bonus points which will help kick-start that nest egg of virtual travel cash. After that, it’s all about taking advantage of the card’s top spending category. To do that, you’ll need to focus your spending on gas or electric charging, groceries, or directly with Air Canada (including Air Canada Vacations). 

You can also encourage family members to contribute to the points accumulation by giving them a card tied to the account. With the CIBC Aeroplan Visa, you get three additional cards at no cost. Just make sure you have a conversation about responsible spending before offering your account’s card to someone else, even a close family member. If you want to earn even more points, you can transfer other rewards points to Aeroplan. There are other points programs that can be transferred to Aeroplan. They include; Marriot Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, Best Western Rewards, Choice Privileges, Coast Rewards, IHG One Rewards, Shangri-La Golden Circle Award and Wyndham Rewards. So, you can sign up for one or more of these reward programs, earn their respective points, and then transfer them to Aeroplan points. 

Finally, you can even purchase Aeroplan points. They’re typically available at a cost of 3.5 cents each but sometimes go on sale for a discount. 

How to redeem points

Redeeming points is fairly simple through Air Canada’s Aeroplan rewards centre, which can be used to redeem points for any of the CIBC Aeroplan credit cards. It’s a sleek little platform that houses everything you need to know about redeeming points – telling you what you can redeem your points for and how to do it. You can use points for Air Canada and partner airline flights, redeem them for extras and upgrades on flights, purchase hotels and car rentals, pay for a vacation package or experience and buy merchandise or gift cards. 

There’s really something for everyone when it comes to redeeming points for rewards. Your points will likely go the furthest if you use them to book flights with Air Canada or its partner airlines. Check out how many points are required to fly within North America to give you a sense of how many you’ll need to book your dream vacation.

Interested in flying to farther-flung parts of the globe? Have a look at the Air Canada Aeroplan Flight Reward Chart to start your daydreaming and trip planning. 

Key benefits

  • 10,000 bonus rewards points with your first purchase
  • Earn one point for every dollar spent on gas, groceries, electric vehicle charging, and directly with Air Canada, including vacation packages
  • Earn one points for every $1.50 spent on anything else
  • Flexible rewards that allow you to redeem for flights, vacations, hotels, car rentals, gift cards and more
  • Points can also cover the cost of tax when redeeming
  • No yearly fee

Insurance coverage

  • Common carrier accident: Covers accidental death or dismemberment resulting from riding on a common carrier, which includes land, air, or water transport
  • Purchase security and extended protection: Offers one additional year of protection above the manufacturer’s original warranty
  • Auto rental collision/loss damage: Covers theft, loss and damage up to the actual cash value of the rental vehicle, if the entire cost is charged to your card, for up to 48 consecutive days

Extra benefits

  • Points never expire as the long as the primary account holder account is open
  • Send money abroad to over 120 countries with no transfer fees
  • Visa’s zero liability policy: You won’t be held responsible if someone steals your card, card number, or card details; and you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent purchases
  • Fraud alerts: CIBC monitors fraud trends and activity and will flag suspicious purchases, putting them on hold and contacting you to confirm the purchase is legit
  • Book rewards for less: Primary cardholders can sometimes book flight rewards for fewer points
  • Get a fourth night free when you book 3 hotel nights with Aeroplan points

What people have to say about this card

It seems CIBC will sometimes give bonus points during certain promotional periods, according to this one RedFlagDeals CIBC Aeroplan Visa thread. One user noted CIBC was offering seven times the Aeroplan points on eligible travel purchases to a certain maximum. For CIBC Aeroplan Visa cardholders, that meant the ability to earn additional points up to $1,000 spent on travel. While the promotion required bookings between April 25 and May 31, 2023, it’s a good reminder to keep an eye out for similar deals in the future.

One user, in a CIBC Aeroplan Visa reddit thread about switching from Aventura to Aeroplan through CIBC (the bank offers both loyalty programs), shared frustrations that the welcome points weren’t offered to those transferring from one rewards program to the other. As another helpful user pointed out, a workaround would be to apply for the Aeroplan card as a new customer. In that case, the customer would qualify for the bonus points and would then be able to close their Aventura card, if they so choose.

How the card compares

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Vs. TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

Think of the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite as the big brother (okay, maybe older cousin) of the CIBC Aeroplan Visa. They’re related but have different parents (banks). The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite does everything the CIBC Aeroplan Visa does, but with a little more style. The TD card comes with more welcome points (50,000 vs. 10,000), and earns points faster. The CIBC card earns one point for every dollar spent on gas, groceries, electric vehicle charging, and through Air Canada. The TD card, meanwhile, earns 1.5 points for every dollar spent in those categories (except electric vehicle charging). TD also lets you earn one point for every dollar spent on everything else while CIBC offers one point for every $1.50 spent. Additionally, the TD card offers savings on baggage fees, robust travel insurance and rental car savings. 

Both cards have the same interest rates, but the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite will cost you $139 per year and $75 per additional card, whereas the CIBC Aeroplan Visa has no yearly fee and free additional cards. 

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Vs. Scotiabank Momentum Visa infinite

If you’re considering the CIBC Aeroplan Visa and Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite, think about the type of rewards you’d like to earn. CIBC’s offering will earn you Aeroplan points while the Scotia Momentum earns you straight cash back. That right there could be the determining factor. The Momentum card is also a more premium offering, packing many more features. It comes with travel and mobile device insurance and a much richer point plan, earning users 4% cash back on groceries and recurring payments, 2% on gas and daily transit, and 1% on everything back. That’s superior to CIBC’s breakdown of one point for every dollar spent on gas, electric vehicle charging, groceries, and with Air Canada directly, including Air Canada Vacations and one point for every $1.50 spent on everything else. 

In terms of welcome bonuses, you’ll earn 10,000 points on your first purchase with CIBC’s Aeroplan card. The Aventura offers 10% cash back on all purchases in the first three months (up to $2,000 in points) and the first year free. After the first year, though, the Aventura card will cost you $120 annually. Keep in mind that the CIBC Aeroplan has no annual fee, which might be a  selling point. 

When it comes to interest rates, it’s a wash with both charging 20.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Vs. BMO Ascend World Elite

Comparing these two cards isn’t exactly fair. The CIBC Aeroplan is a no-fee entry level travel card that offers 10,000 in bonus rewards and will earn you one point for every dollar spent on essentials like gas and groceries and 1 point for every $1.50 spent on everything else. It’s cost effective but won’t blow you away with its features.

The BMO Ascend World Elite, meanwhile, packs a lot into this $150 per year card: Earn five points for every travel dollar spent, three points for every dining, entertainment and recurring bill dollar, and one point for every dollar spent on anything else. Its welcome offer is generous with 60,000 points and the first year fee waived. It also comes with travel insurance and lounge access with four free passes a year. It’s worth noting that you’ll need an income of $80,000 individually or $150,000 household to qualify for the World Elite card.

CIBC Aeroplan Visa Vs. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card turned heads when it was first released as a travel card packed to the brim with features. We’re talking lounge access with six free passes a year, no foreign transaction fees and travel insurance. It’s also a great way to rack up the points, offering three points for shopping at certain grocery stores (like Sobeys, Safeway, IGA and Foodland), two points when eating out, two points for spending on entertainment, and two points on transit. It’s also got a hefty welcome bonus, offering 35,000 points. It does, however, cost $150 a year. The Aeroplan Visa might not have the same features, but it costs nothing to use and will still earn you points (even at a much meager rate of 1 point maximum per dollar spent). Its welcome bonus of 10,000 points is also less attractive but, what more can you ask for from a free card?

Is the CIBC Aeroplan Visa worth it?

While it may not be the most impressive travel card, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite is a great option for those who want to earn Aeroplan points while not having to pay an annual fee. Its interest rates are high, so you might want to avoid it if you typically carry a balance. Overall, it’s a great choice as a first credit card for those looking to build credit history while also earning rewards. 

FAQs

  • Does the CIBC Aeroplan Visa have lounge access?

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    No, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa does not have lounge access. However, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite does have lounge access, though it costs $139 per year.

  • Does the CIBC Aeroplan Visa have travel insurance?

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    No, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa does not have insurance. It does, however, have common carrier accident insurance, purchase security and extended protection insurance, and auto rental/collision loss damage insurance.

  • Is the CIBC Aeroplan Visa a student card?

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    While the CIBC Aeroplan Visa card is a good choice for students, CIBC does also offer a very similar card called the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students. It has zero annual fee and the same point structure as the standard Aeroplan Visa.

About our author

Justin da Rosa
Justin da Rosa, Freelance Writer

Justin is a writer and editor who has been covering personal finance for over 10 years. He's written for companies such as KOHO, Ratehub, BMO, Zoocasa, and Questrade, among others. Justin also created a course in Content Creation, which he taught at York University for four years. When not writing, Justin can be found at a live concert, on the golf course, riding a motorcycle, or sailing.

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