The Aeroplan soap opera continues.
Though Air Canada’s loyalty program has yet to be anything but lucrative, the airline itself has struggled financially. Bankruptcy has led to attempted takeovers, and collateral businesses, including the AeroGold Visa card from CIBC, have not been unaffected.
Though they won’t admit it, CIBC seems to be noticing a distinct migration away from the standby AeroGold. And with the recent inroads into the Canadian market being made by American Express (who managed to snare some of the Aeroplan share, by the way), CIBC needed a new product, fast.
Enter the CIBC Aventura Gold Visa card. This new “lifestyle and travel rewards” card earns one point per dollar spent, and offers an expanded stable of rewards — likely in response to the expansion of the Membership Rewards program in Canada.
Aventura also seems to be targeting customers of the already-established “Avion” card, which is not specifically affiliated with Air Canada or Aeroplan.
Unlike Avion, however, the Aventura card allows one-to-one transfers of Aventura points to Aeroplan miles, which greatly increases the flexibility for members.
Avion, like most non-affinity cards, offers free travel, but only on limited terms. Customers rarely get to choose their airline, and a strict limit is placed on how much the company is willing to spend on a free ticket. If, for example, a customer has enough points for a free trip, but the time and destination of his trip will cost more than a set limit, he will have to pay cash to make up the difference.
By allowing members to transfer to Aeroplan miles, Aventura customers have an added option to get the maximum value for their points.