In Canada, we’ve been relatively immune to the churning-restricting terms of “once per lifetime” (or the like) for sign-bonuses. Many US credit cards have churning restricting terms, like Chase’s 5/24 rule, or AMEX’s once-per-lifetime rule which is enforced down South. While AMEX in Canada has introduced similar language, there are few reports of it being enforced. However, CIBC just released a new offer that has the most restricting language we’ve seen to date.
CIBC is offering the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite Privilege Card, which has a $399 annual fee and a 50,000 Aeroplan sign-up bonus with the following terms:
You are eligible for this offer only if you apply and are approved for your first CIBC credit card. If you are a current or former CIBC cardholder, we may approve your application but you will not be eligible for the offer. This offer applies to the following eligible card: CIBC Aerogold® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card (“Eligible Card”). If you apply and are approved for a new Eligible Card between November 1, 2017 and February 28, 2018, you will receive a Welcome Bonus of 25,000 Aeroplan Miles after you make your first purchase at any time with your Eligible Card. You will also receive additional 25,000 Aeroplan Miles if you have at least $1,000 in net Eligible Card purchases within the first 3 monthly statement periods.
So CIBC is saying that if you’ve ever held any CIBC credit card at any point in your life, you won’t get the sign-up bonus. This is the strictest language I’ve seen in Canada or the US.
This is a dangerous precedent. Clearly CIBC is aggressively targeting churners, but I think they’re doing themselves an incredible disservice – few people will start a new relationship with CIBC with a $399 credit card. Realistically, this credit card is targeted towards relatively high-income earning CIBC clients, but the bonus terms are going to push them away.
Fortunately, this is the only card we’ve seen with this type of restriction, and it may well just be a one-off test for CIBC. But if this is the start of a trend in Canada, the world of churning may be in serious danger.
What do you think of this anti-churning term with CIBC?