I wish I could go back in time to when I was a post-secondary student and get the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students.
The CICB Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is the best travel credit card for Canadian students and the easiest entry point into travel hacking. It has no annual fee, no minimum income requirement, and comes with a sweet sign-up bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan miles. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the most attractive points earning rates, but you can easily upgrade to the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite once you’ve built up a solid credit score.
There aren’t many student travel credit cards or no annual fee travel credit cards on the market. The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is the first place post-secondary students should be looking if they want to start earning travel points.
The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is a student credit card, which means it is a starter credit card.
It doesn’t have a minimum income requirement and doesn’t have high standards surrounding what credit score you need to be approved.
This, inevitably, means that it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles a premium travel credit cards comes with.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great card!
I think every student who is interested in travel should consider getting the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students.
I’m going to convince you why in this post!
As I mentioned above, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is just that. A card for students.
It isn’t flashy, and it doesn’t have any features that blow you away.
When you stop comparing it to premium travel credit cards and compare it to its student credit card competition, that is where it really starts to shine.
The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is one of the best student credit cards in Canada.
Travel or otherwise!
Here are the top benefits of the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students you need to know about:
- No annual fee
- 10,000 Aeroplan miles sign-up bonus awarded after your first purchase
- 1 point per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and with Air Canada
- 1 point $1.50 spent on all other purchases
- Earn 2x the points when you shop with partner retailers through the Aeroplan miles portal (including companies like Hudson’s Bay, Chapters, and Etsy)
There definitely aren’t as many benefits with this credit card as with the normal CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite, but that is to be expected.
You get the same number of miles (10,000) as a sign-up bonus with the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students as you do with the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite. You aren’t awarded the buddy pass with the student card like you are with the regular card though.
The regular CIBC Aeroplan Visa also provides free checked baggage for you and up to 8 people on the same reservation. That perk, sadly, isn’t included in the student card.
So, you do miss out on a few of the bigger and more luxurious perks that come with the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite card.
But, when you take everything into consideration, CIBC is being very generous with their sign-up bonus and points earning categories.
As a student, you probably spend a lot of money on groceries!
Pros and Cons of the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students
- No annual fee
- Generous sign-up bonus
- Easy to funnel into other CIBC Aeroplan credit cards
- Lack of premium perks
- Low points earning ratios
- Only available to post-secondary students
You earn Aeroplan miles with this credit card.
It is no secret that Aeroplan is the best Canadian-based travel program. The program got a total overhaul in November of 2019, and it is is even better than it was before!
They worked out some of the most frustrating kinks, made all Air Canada flight available for redemption, and took away those outrageous taxes and fee charges.
There isn’t much competition in the travel points sector in Canada.
The general public only knows of Aeroplan and Air Miles, so the choices can seem pretty limited.
We travel hackers know there are other travel programs to take advantage of, so we’re a step above everybody else!
Aeroplan miles are becoming easier and easier to use all the time. It is a great program for new travel hackers in Canada to get started in before moving on to a more complex program.
The sign-up bonus on the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is 10,000 Aeroplan miles.
That is a pretty generous sign-up bonus and matches the points given on the other CIBC and TD Aeroplan credit cards.
The best part about this sign-up bonus is you get it after you make your first purchase!
No matter how small the purchase is!
Go buy a cheap cup of coffee and wait for your bonus points to hit your account in a few weeks!
As we discussed earlier, the worst part about the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is the points earning categories.
This is where the card starts to lose a little but of its charm.
Here are the points earning categories on this card:
- 1 point for every $1 spent on gas, grocery, and on Air Canada (including vacations)
- 1 point for every other $1 spent on the card
- Earn twice the points when you make online purchases at participating retailers through the Aeroplan portal
I’m not going to sugar coat it.
It is going to take a long time to earn any substantial miles with this credit card.
But that is the same with pretty much any student credit card.
It is more of a tool to build a strong credit score than it is to earn a lot of miles.
That will come in time as you graduate to more advance credit cards. Everybody has to go through the phase of building their credit with student or no annual fee credit cards.
This is the perfect credit card to go through that phase with!
As a side note: when you’re building up your credit as a student, you should keep the same card for at least a year or two before upgrading to a more premium card.
Air Canada makes it super easy to redeem your Aeroplan miles.
With the November 2020 program updates, you now have the ability to book nearly every flight online through the Air Canada website!
There are a few exceptions to that though.
For example, if you want to book a trip with a stopover, you need to call and book with an Aeroplan representative. The website currently doesn’t have the intelligence to calculate the miles needed and overcharges you!
To redeem your Aeroplan miles, all you have to do is toggle to use points in the search bar and search for a flight as you normally would.
You’re shown prices in points rather than fiat money.
At the end of the process where you checkout, you have the ability to choose whether you want to pay 100% with points, use points but pay any taxes and fee with cash, or save some of your miles and pay a larger share in cash.
Your points will be deducted from your points bank, and your credit card will be charged if you don’t use your points to pay for everything.
It really is as easy as that to redeem your Aeroplan miles now!
Best Way to Redeem Aeroplan Miles
The best value for your Aeroplan points is redeeming for trip between the North America zone and Pacific zone. Or between the North America zone and South America zone.
You get the best value per point on those routes, and they are also inexpensive destinations that many students frequent.
But in all honestly, whatever you use your points for is a good use of your points.
It is much better to use your points for any flight even if it isn’t technically the best use of your points than to let them go to waste.
It isn’t a popular opinion in the travel hacking community, but it is the truth!
Especially when you’re first starting to travel hack and learn how to use points, using your points for a trip you want to take rather than planning a trip about the best way to use your points helps you get excited about travel hacking and better learn how to do it.
There are so many numbers and calculations that get thrown out there, and it is important to step back and think what redemption works best for you.
Even if it means getting a slightly lower value per point.
Worst Way to Redeem Aeroplan Miles
Okay. I know I just said there was no bad use of your points, but there actually are a few things you should only use your points for as a last resort.
- Gift cards
They without a doubt give you the worst value per point.
You work hard to earn your Aeroplan miles, so you don’t want to essentially throw them away by not getting at least a decent value per point.
Only use your Aeroplan miles if they are about to expire, and you don’t have any travel plans coming up and can’t use them to book a flight.
It is industry standard for student credit cards to have no annual fee, and the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is no exception.
You will not pay a single penny in annual fees for as long as you have this card in your wallet!
You need to meet the following requirements to be eligible for the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students:
- The age of majority in your home province
- A Canadian resident
- Enrolled in a post-secondary education program
In some instances- especially if you don’t have your everyday banking at CIBC- you may be required to show proof of enrolment in a post-secondary program. You simply email them a copy of your class schedule or tuition fees, and you’re good to go!
There are no minimum income requirements and no credit score requirements.
CIBC knows most people who apply for student credit cards are young people who haven’t had an opportunity to build up their credit score.
Because of this, it also means the credit limit on your card is probably only going to be $1,000.
CIBC has pretty standard qualification requirements and pretty much any student who applies is approved.
Who Should Get the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students
Any Canadian student who is interested in travel can benefit from holding the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students.
It is the first step in the ladder of travel hacking and the best way to learn the ropes of the Aeroplan program.
Who Should NOT Get the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students
The most obvious answer is people who aren’t students!
But there is another group of people who should’t get the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students, and those are people who aren’t interested in travel.
There are tons of student credit cards on the market in Canada, so students have a lot to choose from.
One of my personal favourites and one students flock to is the Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card.
It is a toss up between the Scotiabank card and the CIBC card for what card is the best. It really comes down to you and your personal preferences.
Travel or movies? Both are great options, so students have a hard choice to make!
Alternative Credit Cards
There you have it! My full review on the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students.
I know it can be scary and intimidating to apply for and start using your first credit card.
I hope this review made it a little bit easier to decide whether the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is the right credit card for you, or if you’re still on the hunt.
The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students is the best place to start if you’re young and looking to start travel hacking.
You earn points towards the most popular travel points program in Canada and start to learn the ropes of the system.
It is the perfect introduction into travel hacking in Canada, and you’ll graduate to more premium credit cards in no time.
The best part is you’ll already understand travel hacking and have confidence before you enter the world of premium travel credit cards in Canada!