CIBC is a strong banking institution in Canada with a solid lineup of credit cards, including a partnership with Aeroplan on many of their co-branded cards such as the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite card, as well as a recent partnership with Costco for the CIBC Costco World Mastercard.
Like most big banks, CIBC also has its own in-house rewards program, CIBC Rewards, which uses a points currency called Aventura. While less useful and flexible than other bank points, Aventura still presents lucrative opportunities from time to time. Ignoring them would be leaving money on the table, so to speak.
As with RBC and many other banks, you can switch products between various CIBC credit cards. For example, you may no longer want your CIBC Aeroplan card and instead want to try an Aventura credit card.
As we’ll discuss, you can sometimes even receive welcome bonuses for product switching CIBC credit cards.
What is Product Switching?
A product switch or ‘product change’, as the name implies, keeps the same credit line but changes the actual product or credit card associated with it.
There are a number of advantages to doing a product change instead of the alternative of canceling and applying for a new card. For one, you will maintain the initial open date of the account, which helps the average age of accounts on your credit profile. As well, you won’t receive a hard inquiry, which can also lower your score (albeit temporarily).
Related post: How Do Credit Cards Work?
Product changes are generally almost guaranteed to go through. There is no worry that you might be declined for the new product.
Furthermore, and as we will see with CIBC, product changes can often grant you welcome bonuses the same as a new credit application does.
How Can I Switch My CIBC Credit Card?
The tried and tested method for switching a CIBC credit card is to call customer service and request they make the change. They can be reached via the 1-800 number on the back of your credit card: +1 (800) 465-4653.
When you call, you will be prompted to enter your card number followed by the # key. Next, ignore the options and dial 0. The automated voice prompt will ask you to state a few keywords related to your request. Simply state ‘product change’ or ‘product switch’.
You will then be queued up to speak with a live agent. When they come on the line, just state that you’d like to change your [current credit card] to the [desired credit card]. They will know what to do from there.
Expect to be asked to listen and acknowledge several dry disclosures for the next 10 minutes, before finalizing the change request with the agent.
Switching a CIBC Credit Card via Live Chat
Although you cannot switch your CIBC card online, we did recently learn that some credit card account management actions can be completed with a CIBC agent over live support chat, including product switching.
However, you can switch credit cards over CIBC live chat ONLY in the case where you are switching within the same family of cards (Aeroplan to Aeroplan or Aventura to Aventura). Otherwise, you must call customer service as described above.
Live chat can be accessed via your CIBC account on a desktop browser when logged in, and also on the CIBC mobile application.
On a desktop browser, live chat will appear as a small button in the right-hand corner of the screen.
Once you click on the button, you will speak to a chat bot. Just state you’d like to speak to an agent and the bot should redirect you to the queue to wait for the next available agent.
Expect to answer some verification questions and be given several terms and disclosures to acknowledge, similar to the process that occurs via phone call.
In my experience, the live chat can be a bit hit or miss. Quite often the triage bot will tell you the queue for a live agent is full and ask you to try again later. Even when you do get through, agents will sometimes direct you to call customer service anyways. YMMV.
Additional Details About Product Switching
After completing the product switch request with CIBC, it will take 4-10 business days to receive the new card in the mail.
You can expect to wait several business days for the change to be reflected in your online banking as well. However, your old card will continue to work until activating the new card.
Furthermore, if you changed the rewards program (ex. Aventura to Aeroplan), then any purchases on the old card’s program will immediately begin accruing points on the new card’s program.
If you are changing to a new family of cards (Aventura to Aeroplan or vice versa), then you will receive a new card number. If staying within the same family of cards (Aventura Visa Infinite to Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege), then the card number will stay the same.
Your new card may also have a new cycle date and the payment due date may also change.
In the case of switching Aventura to Aeroplan, you will have 60 days to redeem any residual Aventura points on the old card, which can be done via the CIBC Rewards center. In the other direction, Aeroplan to Aventura, your Aeroplan points will remain tied to your Aeroplan account.
Minimum Credit Limit Amount
If you are going to switch to a new CIBC credit card, be aware that some tiers of cards have minimum credit limits. This minimum credit limit amounts are consistent across all financial issuers in Canada:
|Credit Card Tier
|Minimum Credit Limit
|Visa Infinite Privilege
|All other card tiers, including Visa Platinum, Visa Signature, World Mastercard, World Elite Mastercard, etc
What the minimum credit limit means is that in the case of VI and VIP cards, your approval must be for $5,000/$10,000 of credit, or the bank will be unable to issue you the credit card. If the bank’s algorithm deems that you are only worthy of $4,000, you will not be granted a Visa Infinite card, even though you would have been approved had you applied for a Visa Platinum card. This makes these cards slightly more difficult to get approved for (but still very feasible for most people).
Will I Receive a Welcome Bonus Upon Switching?
Unfortunately, it’s tough to give a definitive answer to this one. Sometimes you will get a bonus upon switching, but not always.
I’ve found it is tough to gauge what determines whether you will receive a bonus. You can sometimes inquire with the agent at the time of the request whether you qualify for a bonus or for an ‘upgrade offer’. However, I personally find that the CIBC agents themselves will give conflicting information that isn’t necessarily correct.
If you are going to pursue CIBC product switching as a method to increase your points balances, be aware that you will typically only receive the publicly available offer, if at all. You will not receive elevated or special promo offers for a product switch.
I also anecdotally find that I’ll be less likely to receive a bonus if I’ve previously held that specific card on that tradeline, and am more likely to receive a bonus if moving from a lower-tier card to a higher-tier (for example from a Visa Infinite to a Visa Infinite Privilege).
Bottom line, you are not entitled to a welcome bonus on a product switch. It’s just that, a bonus. Therefore, I would strongly caution against messaging or complaining to CIBC if you do not receive one.
Public Offers for CIBC Cards
If you are switching CIBC credit cards and are fortunate to be eligible for a welcome bonus or upgrade offer, you can expect to receive the following public bonuses:
|CIBC Credit Card
|First Purchase Bonus
|CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege card
|20,000 Aeroplan points
|CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite card
|10,000 Aeroplan points
|CIBC Aeroplan Visa
|10,000 Aeroplan points
|CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege card
|30,000 Aventura points
|CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card
|20,000 Aventura points
|CIBC Aventura Gold Visa card
|20,000 Aventura points
It’s once again a YMMV on whether you would receive the bonus for meeting any applicable minimum spend requirements. However, I have never been inclined to spend $2,000-$3,000 on a card for a ‘maybe bonus’, so I can’t comment.
How Often Should I Switch My CIBC Credit Card?
There is no specific time frame in CIBC’s Terms & Conditions for how often product switches can be done.
As with most things in this hobby, and in life, you can always find examples of people on either end of a risk spectrum. Some people try to be as aggressive as possible with every loyalty program including CIBC. This can be lucrative, but it can also backfire when compared with a more sustainable and reserved approach.
With CIBC, I take a moderate approach to product switching and try to integrate it with my other credit card strategies. Applying for a new card is a more surefire way to ensure you receive both the public welcome bonus and the annual fee rebate.
Nonetheless, if I’ve racked up a lot of inquiries with Equifax in the last several months, I will defer to CIBC product switching to try to keep my Aeroplan/Aventura balances going steady while resting my credit score.
Staying on the conservative side with your CIBC product switching will ensure you maintain a positive relationship with the bank and can continue to benefit from their generous Aeroplan and Aventura offers for years to come.
Will I Be Charged Annual Fees When Switching CIBC Credit Cards?
If the card you are switching to has an annual fee, you will generally be charged the full annual fee which will appear on the next statement. This is regardless of whether or not there is a promotion on the card for ‘first year free’.
However, if the card you are switching from has an annual fee that you have already paid, you will also receive a prorated amount of the fee back, based on the number of statements that have passed since the fee was charged.
CIBC product switching is a straightforward way to move between different CIBC credit cards while sometimes receiving repeat welcome bonuses (YMMV). While not as straightforward to complete as RBC product switching, CIBC agents are usually very easy to work with and don’t give you any trouble in completing your request.
Consider adding CIBC product switching to your repertoire of points accumulation strategies, and as an alternative to a new credit card application.
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