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How Much Are CIBC Aventura Points Worth?

 

 

One CIBC Aventura point is worth $0.0133, on average. However, redemption value varies depending on your destination; some are more lucrative than others. Also, depending on your level of spending, points can be worth more or less.

 

How good are Aventura rewards?

Before we look into the value of the points themselves, let’s see if the rewards are any good to begin with.

Flexibility

You can book any seat on any airline with Aventura points and even pay taxes and fees with points if you have enough (paying taxes and fees with points increases the amount of points needed to redeem a flight).

If you don’t have enough points to book a flight, you can use your points to pay for other travel-related expenses at a rate of 100 points to $1. This is a much lower value than what you’d get if you were to redeem for flights, so I don’t recommend it, but it is possible. Since points used this way act similarly to cash, you would have to pay the remaining difference in balance on your own. It’s a good way to use leftover points after redeeming a flight if you don’t plan on staying with CIBC.

Expiration

Points don’t expire so long as you’re a member, but if you close your account you have 60 days to use the remaining points. If the main cardholder dies, the points expire after 1 year.

 

Getting points

One of the most important aspects of rewards credit cards is that they’re more efficient the more you spend. Someone that spends only $500/month on their credit card will not only get fewer points in the same time as someone that spends $1,500/month, but their points are actually worth less!

That’s because of two reasons. The first is that cards with better points-earning potential have high income requirements. At CIBC, the most efficient Aventura card is the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite, which has an annual fee of $120 and an individual income requirement of $60,000 ($100,000 household). The Visa Infinite is 50% more effective at earning points than the standard CIBC Aventura® Visa, for example, which has an income requirement of just $15,000.

The second is that faster you accumulate points, the less you have to spend on your annual fee before you’re able to redeem them for travel. If it took you 2 years to get 50,000 points (enough for a flight to Hawaii) then you’d have spent $240 in just the annual fee. If it only took you 1 year, you’d have spent $120 on the annual fee, increasing your effective cash back.

For the following calculations, we used the Aventura® Visa Infinite as the card used, with spending broken down in the following categories:

Category

Spending

Gas

$300

Groceries

$500

Drug store

$100

Travel

$200

Other spending

$400

Total

$1,500

 

Aventura cards earn bonus points for gas, groceries, drug store purchases and travel booked through the CIBC Rewards Centre. If you have high spending in gas and groceries, then you’ll earn a lot of points. But if you don’t own a car and eat out a lot, then the Aventura program may not be right for you. You might see better results with the American Express Membership Rewards program, for example, as the American Express Cobalt card earns 5x points at restaurants and 2x points for public transit purchases.

 

Flight Zones

The Aventura program is divided into 5 flight zones for redemption purposes, each with a different number of points needed to fly there.

Additionally, there’s a max ticket purchase price that Aventura points can be redeemed for. Normally the max ticket price won’t be more than the average price for a ticket, but during high demand travel periods they might be.

Flight Zone

Max ticket price

Points Required

Short Haul: Canada/USA

$400

10,000 - 20,000

Long Haul: Canada/USA

$800

25,000 - 35,000

Rest of North America and Central America

$1,000

40,000 - 60,000

Europe

$1,300

50,000 - 70,000

Rest of the world

$2,000

75,000 - 125,000

 

Because they use ranges instead of an exact number, we used the average point price to determine the point value.

 

Price After Subtracting Annual Fee

Remember, you’re paying to use this card. While the Aventura program does have cards with lower or no annual fee, the amount of points you get is reduced accordingly. For the most points, you’ll want to be using the Infinite Visa, which means you’ll be paying $120 a year.

Because you’re paying an annual fee, I consider this a sort of pre-payment for the flight you redeem. If you weren’t enrolled in the Aventura program, you wouldn’t be paying that fee, and if you are in the program, you will eventually redeem it for a flight.

If the average cost for a flight to Montreal is $302.25 and requires half a year of spending to redeem, then you have already paid $60 towards the flight. You’re not getting a $302.25 flight, you’re getting a $242.25 flight.

 Aventura Points Value for Each Destination

Destination

Average Price

Average Point Price

Months of spending needed

Real price after annual fee

Real Cashback

Winnipeg

$392.00

15,000

6

$332.00

3.17%

Vancouver

$625.00

30,000

13

$495.00

2.37%

Montreal

$302.25

15,000

6

$242.25

2.31%

Poland

$1,109.50

60,000

27

$839.50

2.01%

Slovenia

$1,062.50

60,000

27

$792.50

1.89%

London

$994.25

60,000

27

$724.25

1.73%

Sydney

$1,656.25

100,000

46

$1,196.25

1.71%

Tokyo

$1,593.25

100,000

46

$1,133.25

1.62%

California

$460.75

30,000

13

$330.75

1.58%

Florida

$442.00

30,000

13

$312.00

1.49%

Dubai

$1,353.00

100,000

46

$893.00

1.28%

Cambodia

$1,346.00

100,000

46

$886.00

1.27%

Chile

$1,282.75

100,000

46

$822.75

1.18%

Hawaii

$635.50

50,000

23

$405.50

1.16%

India

$1,222.25

100,000

46

$762.25

1.09%

Paris

$692.25

60,000

27

$422.25

1.01%

Aruba

$524.00

50,000

23

$294.00

0.84%

Mexico

$443.50

50,000

23

$213.50

0.61%

Colombia

$650.75

100,000

46

$190.75

0.27%

A Note on "Real Cashback"

As I said earlier, points become more effective the more you spend per month. $1,500/month may be a lot of spending for some, but not a lot for others. 

For those with higher incomes that tend to spend $2,000, $3,000, or more per month, the real cashback becomes higher. This table is just so you get a reference for how one level of spending gets rewarded.

It's also worth noting that this is the average cashback for ALL spending on this card. It may seem higher than a normal cashback card, but the AVERAGE cashback on a cashback card is often lower than the MAXIMUM cashback for bonus categories. Most cashback cards have a lower "real cashback" than the green destinations on this table, even if they give 2% or even 3% on certain categories. At this level of spending, the average cashback on the Tangerine Money-Back credit card with 3 bonus categories is just 1.4%.

Best Value for Points

As you can see, the value you get depends entirely on what you redeem. A flight to Mexico is already cheap, but requires a lot of points relative to the value. At less than one cent per point, it’s not a good value at all. A flight to Colombia is a bit pricier than to Mexico, but with a cash back value of just 0.27%, I would never recommend using your points.

Flights within Canada offer much better value. A flight from Toronto to Winnipeg results in nearly 3.2 cents per point, and Toronto to Vancouver has a value of 2.4 cents per point. All of those rewards are similar in terms of worth to other rewards programs like RBC Avion or American Express Rewards.

 

Closing Thoughts

The best value rewards are in line with other rewards programs, and the Aventura program actually beats out other programs at the high end. However, at the low end, points may not even be worth collecting. If you travel frequently to locations listed in the red, consider getting a cashback card or a different travel rewards card.

 

 


Chris Chris 01/26/2019
Canadian personal finance buff and all-around writing enthusiast, Chris loves breaking down complicated money ideas to show that they're really not so complex. 
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