Wednesday, February 23, 2011

CIBC Aventura World MasterCard Review

This is the review in full as it appears on the main Rewards Canada site.

CIBC has become the second major bank in Canada to issue both Visa and MasterCard cards with the launch of their CIBC Aventura World MasterCard. Much like its Aventura Visa equivalent, the Aventura World MasterCard looks to attract customers who want the ability to redeem points for flights without blackout dates and have the option to convert those points to Aeroplan Miles. Where this card differs from its Visa equivalent is on the benefits side, the World MasterCard option provides more in terms of the benefits included then the Visa Infinite branding

Falling into our Hybrid Credit Card category the CIBC Aventura World MasterCard becomes the best travel rewards card offered by CIBC. The card offers the same earning ratio as all the CIBC Infinite Visas (Aerogold & Aventura) along with the same sign up bonuses. Where this card stands out against CIBC's Visa cards is in the benefits it provides. The card has a set reward chart for flights allowing for up to 4% return and has extra insurance coverage that the Aerogold or Aventura Infinite Visas do not have.

The CIBC Aventura World MasterCard comes with an industry standard $120 primary card annual fee. The card offers a decent 15,000 point welcome bonus which can get the cardholder a free short haul flight. Supplementary cards are $50 each which is on par with most of the high end cards although the emerging trend from this card's competitors has been to offer these for free. The interest rate on the card is 19.99% which is in the middle of the pack for these type of cards (most high end cards range from 18% to 21%).

The CIBC Aventura World MasterCard earns 1 Aventura Point for every dollar spent on the card for purchases with an increased earning of 1.5 points at gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores.(on your first $80,000 in total annual account spending) It also offers double points for travel purchased with the CIBC Aventura Rewards Centre and bonuses at participating CIBC Bonus Rewards restaurants, resorts and golf courses, spas and retailers across Canada. This earning ratio on the card is the same as the other CIBC Cards and when compared with the rest of the industry for high end travel cards like these it is average. The card's 15,000 point sign up bonus is equivalent to the other CIBC Visa's and is similar to most of its competition.

On the redemption side, the points earned with the CIBC Aventura World MasterCard can be redeemed for any flights via the CIBC Aventura Rewards Centre. The World MasterCard has a set reward chart for flights with a limited amount at the lowest level and more at the higher levels. If you are lucky enough to get a $400 short haul ticket at the 10,000 point level, congratulations you have received the maximum return on this card of 4%. The return diminishes as the tickets go up in price and availability becomes tighter, see the following:
- Canada and U.S. (Short Haul) 10,000 - 25,000 points (Max. $400 ticket value)
- Canada and U.S. (Long Haul) 20,000 - 40,000 points (Max. $650 ticket value)
- Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Central America, Caribbean 40,000 - 60,000 points (Max. $1,000 ticket value)
- Europe 50,000 - 70,000 points (Max. $1,200 ticket value)
- Rest of the World 75,000 - 125,000 points (Max. $2,000 ticket value)
Tickets at the lowest point redemption levels are limited and are not available for certain times, flights or destinations. The maximum ticket price is before taxes, fees and other surcharges. These must be paid by the cardholder at the time of booking with an Aventura card or with Aventura points at a rate of 100 points to $1. At the time of booking, you can also purchase up to 20% of the required points at $0.03 each to reach a specific redemption level is so desired.

The card also allows members to convert their Aventura points to Aeroplan Miles in 10,000 point increments at a ratio of 1 to 1.

Features and Benefits
The CIBC Aventura World MasterCard features the best insurance and benefits package out of all the CIBC Travel Cards and is comparable to some of the other top cards from other issuers. The card features your standard travel accident, baggage and car rental insurance that are found on almost all fee based rewards cards but it also includes some that are only found on a few select cards. These include, Trip cancellation which is only offered as a standard feature on a half dozen other travel rewards cards and Travel Medical insurance which only comes standard on about 50% of the cards in the market. In comparison to the Visa cards issued by CIBC this new MasterCard heavily outweighs them in this category not only because of the trip cancellation insurance but also by the fact it has purchase protection and extended warranty insurance.

What is good about this card
This card can relatively hold its own in the premium credit card market with its reward and benefits offering. The ability to book travel via CIBC's travel agency or convert the Aventura points to Aeroplan miles definitely helps this card out. The increase in insurance and benefits over CIBC's other cards makes this the best CIBC travel rewards card on the market. The potential to get high rate of return of up to 4% can make this card a really good value but one has to make sure they try to maximize their reward to see this.

What is not so good about this card
Most of what is not so good with this card is the redemption category. The emerging trend in the industry has been to let the cardholder book travel how they want and with whom they want and then redeeming points against the charge. Unfortunately, this card makes the cardholder book via the CIBC Aventura Reward center and while it is a full service travel agency, they may not be able to find the same deals you could online. Another redemption issue are the restrictions placed on the flight rewards, these are text book frequent flyer program rules with restrictions on the lowest redemption rates and the need to pay for the fees and taxes over and above the redemption rate.

The CIBC Aventura World MasterCard may not be the best travel rewards credit card in the Canadian market when compared to other Hybrid or even other travel card categories but it definitely does take the top spot from CIBC's credit card offerings for travel rewards. If I banked at CIBC and was loyal to them I would choose this card as it offers the flexibility of booking flights on almost any airline or converting the points to Aeroplan. Overall the card may not impact the travel rewards industry tremendously in Canada, but does allow for a good card option for those who want to stick with CIBC and have all the benefits that many competitors have been offering to their cardholders.

This card will be included in our next Canada's Top Travel Rewards Card feature which will be out this summer! Where will it end up? You will just have to wait and see.

We would like to hear your thoughts on the new CIBC Aventura World MasterCard by commenting below.

Related links
CIBC Aventura World MasterCard on


  1. I had the CIBC Visa Aerogold Infinite card and got this one with the annual fee for the first year waived. I like to agglomerate my points into a single account, namely, Aeroplan. Although the ability to transfer Aventura points into my Aeroplan account is welcome, but it can only be done in increments of 10,000 points. This is a tactic on CIBC's part for people to keep paying the annual fee each year so that they do not loose any points. For example, at the end of the year if I have 67,000 points in my account, then I will not be able to transfer 7000 points. Too bad!

  2. For god's sake put in the phone number for booking travel or accessing other rewards ----it is mindboggling that it is not obvious on the website.

  3. Are you referring to us or to the CIBC website?

  4. CIBC Adventura Travel Agents are NOT knowledgeable and CIBC does little to support valued customers

    Very disappointed I must say. We recently booked our travel to Mexico through the CIBC travel team (Adventura) and based on their recommendation booked a 4 star all inclusive resort (Sunwing) in the Riveria Maya. The resort was terrible - broken furniture, cockroach in bathtub, missing linens, few amenities, no soap in the bathroom and threadbare towels.... All at full list. Oh, but we did get the CIBC Adventura travel dollar discount....

    Let me start by saying that we are experienced travellers. We've been to the Riveria Maya on no less than 5 time along with other all inclusive resorts in Puerto Vallarta, Dominican, Cuba, Bahamas etc.. so we are familiar with the difference between 4 star and 5 star resorts in these countries.

    To date, we've always relied on our own personal travel agent who has never disappointed us in the last 10 years. She made it her job to be familiar with the resorts, the areas and was able to make recommendations and set expectations such that we were never surprised nor disappointed.

    Unfortunately, CIBC Adventura requires you to use their travel agents exclusively. What a mistake.

    The Sunwing resort was at best a 2 to 3 star resort (equivalent to a Motel 6 in a small town) but on a lovely beach.

    As we were there for a week and a half and all the other rooms were similar (maybe without the cockroach feature) we decided to change facilities and had to pay a 1500.00 transfer fee. Roughly the value of our Adventura dollars to move our family to a facility that we could enjoy.

    Upon our return, we contacted Adventura in writing (prior to writing this post) and unfortunately they declined to help in any fashion - very sad. What may look good on paper does not translate and we are incredibly disappointed with CIBC MasterCard Adventura service. So much so that we will be terminating our service and looking for another card provider that values and rewards their loyal customers.

  5. If you like using your own travel agent who has served you well over the years you will want to look for a card that allows you to do your own bookings (ie via your travel agent). These include the American Express Gold Rewards Card, Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard, the TD First Class Visa Infinite or Platinum. The Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard is also in this category but is not available for new applications at this time. Check out this post of ours on the 'flexibility' of travel rewards cards:

  6. We tried to book a flight last Saturday. The person was not helpful and wanted to BOOK a flight without any quotes. Who ever does that? She was actually shouting at me!Suggest I call back the next day to speak with a Manager. I wanted to book that day. Called TD and they told me to book and then redeem. All done. Happy with TD. Question remains - What do I do with the points I have with CIBC?

  7. You have a couple of options, transfer them to Aeroplan (if you collect Aeroplan miles) or redeem for merchandise or gift cards that are available.

  8. I picked CIBC Aventura World Mastercard mainly for the Trip Cancellation insurance. But sadly we found out if we miss the first leg of a trip, the trip will not be covered. For example, we are flying to catch a cruise, but if we miss the initial flight due to reasons such as weather, this is not consider trip cancellation and there will be no coverage for missing the cruise.

    Imagine our surprise, every credit card company's trip cancellation provides coverage for missing initial leg of a trip but not CIBC.

    We ended up buying a separate Trip Cancellation insurance. I will be cancelling my CIBC card. The lesson is "READ the FINEPRINTS". Unfortunately, we will also lose all our extended warranty coverages after I cancel my card.

  9. I posted the above posting to CIBC Aventura World Mastercard review site.
    They rejected the posting with following reasons.

    Your review was inappropriate
    Your review was a customer service issue

    Talk about skewing the results, no wonder they have such good reviews on their own site.

  10. CIBC is forcing its Aventura World Elite Mastercard on me by cancelling my existing Aventura card three years before the printed expiry date. I have 43 recurring payments on my current card and these will all have to be notified to use the new card. CIBC offers no explanation or compensation for this arbitrary change to a card they issued less than a year ago.

  11. I am wondering how I can redeem my adventura points for merchandise. All I see on the site is travel or gift cards.....where's the merchandise???

    1. If you look at the bottom of the rewards page on CIBC:

      Some examples:
      Reward types and minimums Category Reward
      Gift cards (from 3,000 points) Entertainment Restaurants, movie passes, bookstores
      Retail Shopping malls, gas stations, grocery stores
      Travel Hotels, spas, transportation
      Other Charities, sporting good stores
      Merchandise (from 5,000 points) Electronics Tablets, cordless phones, TVs, MP3 players
      Kitchen Flatware, blenders, kitchen appliances
      Home Vacuum cleaners, irons
      Other Jewelry, golf equipment
      Lifestyle rewards (from 10,000 points) Entertainment Theatre, wine tasting, private chef service
      Travel Weekend getaways, bed & breakfasts, city tours
      Adventure Helicopter tours, bungee jumping, whale watching
      Other Golf package, be a pilot