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CIBC Issues New Card as Lender Seeks to Expand in Travel Market

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is offering a new travel rewards credit card designed to help the country’s fifth-biggest bank regain market growth lost to other card issuers.

Canadian Imperial unveiled the Aventura rewards card today, offering customers points that can be redeemed for travel on any airline. Two weeks ago, the Toronto-based lender struck a deal with Aeroplan rewards program owner Aimia Inc. to continue offering the CIBC Aerogold Visa card for 10 more years, even as Toronto-Dominion Bank becomes Aimia’s primary card issuer.

“The travel market is an important one in Canada and it has a good growth rate,” David Williamson, CIBC’s group head of retail and business banking, said in an interview. “We were growing slower than the market because the Aimia product needed to be renewed. It’s now being renewed, and now we’re coming out with a leading fly-any-airline. So we’re here to grow.”

Canadian Imperial on Sept. 16 agreed to sell about half its Aerogold Visa card portfolio to Toronto-Dominion, which is starting its own Aeroplan card program in January. Toronto-Dominion gains about 550,000 cardholder accounts, primarily those without a CIBC banking relationship, and Canadian Imperial gets to extend its 22-year relationship with the loyalty program.

The bank will shift mass-marketing to the Aventura card, promoting features such as trip-cancellation insurance and the ability to pay for flight taxes and fees with points, Williamson said. CIBC will still promote its Aerogold card to its customers, he said.

“It’s all about choice,” Williamson said. “If you’re happy with Aeroplan, we’ve got you covered. If you prefer a fly-any-airline, we have a market-leading card.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Doug Alexander in Toronto at dalexander3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net; David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net; Christine Harper at charper@bloomberg.net

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