TD Aeroplan vs CIBC Ventura: Which travel card will get you your dream vacation sooner?January 30, 2014
February is such a good month for dreaming about a getaway isn’t it? I can never decide which one I’d prefer, that romantic, dreamy trip to Paris or that all-inclusive beachfront resort (I’ll take another Mai Tai please!). Either way, it would be nice to get there sooner rather than later, don’t you think?
One of the best ways to get make that dream vacation happen is to start collecting miles or points on your credit card that can be used towards plane tickets, hotels, and so much more. Ever since TD became the primary issuer of Aeroplan credit cards, the travel rewards scene has been hot, hot, hot. Originally offered exclusively through CIBC, TD’s agreement came into effect as of January 2014. But CIBC fought back, introducing a shiny new travel rewards option: the CIBC Ventura card.
But enough about that, I just want to know which card will get me to my dream destination sooner. Since it’s super cold outside, let’s pretend that we’re going to the Caribbean. We’ll compare the TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa card and the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card. Essentially, this is the same credit card, but they offer a different, though similar, travel rewards system.
To get to the Caribbean, we need:
- Aventura: 40,000 to 60,000 points
- Aeroplan: 40,000 to 85,000 points
Let’s go with the economy rates of 40,000 points per trip.
Sign Up Bonus
This is the easy part. Right now if you sign up for the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card the first year’s annual fee will be waived and you’ll receive up to 20,000 Aventura points upon your first purchase, enough for a short-haul flight worth up to $400. This offer ends March 31, 2014.
If you sign up for a TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa card you’ll receive the same welcome bonus of 15,000 Aeroplan miles upon your first purchase plus, for a limited time, a 2-for-1 flight reward. This is good for a short-haul, round-trip ClassicFlight reward for anywhere in North America. This offer expires May 9, 2014.
You will also earn points for every dollar you spend. Both cards offer 1.5 points for every dollar spent at gas stations, grocery and drug stores, plus one point per dollar you spend on all other purchases.
The average Canadian spends $217 per month on gas, the average Canadian household spends $500 per month on groceries, and for fun we’ll say you spend $100 at the pharmacy and $200 on everything else.
That totals 1,425 points per month regardless of the plan. If you accumulated this many points every month, you would be able to go on your dream vacation within 14 months through Aventura and 18 months through Aeroplan simply by using your credit card on everyday purchases.
Through this experiment it would appear that Aventura is the better bet—you don’t have to pay the annual fee and you’ll get there in 14 months as opposed to 18 months.
Although you earn points the same way on both plans and they appear to add up the same way, the actual points required for your trip will vary based on which airline you use, which class you choose, and which time of year you choose to fly. As a result, this experiment might not be entirely accurate and is intended for entertainment purposes only.
The Fine Print
This is when you need to look into the fine print of your credit card policy. Check the insurance policies including coverage and cancellation. Because Aventura is a glossy new program, it allows you to book any seat through any airline, with no blackout dates or expiry dates. Aeroplan, on the other hand, is the one of the most popular rewards programs on the market. It works almost exclusively with Air Canada and offers cardholders complimentary checked bag, priority check in and priority boarding, as well as access to the Maple Leaf Lounge. There are no blackout periods, but you don’t necessarily get to choose your own seat though they’re usually available.
The good news is regardless of which travel rewards program you choose, your dream vacation is closer than you think. Now stop dreaming and start planning. The beach awaits.