The RBC Visa Infinite Avion stands out in the travel card category because of its flexible redemption policy. Points are not only redeemable on airfare, but also on merchandise that you might actually want (like Apple and Best Buy products), or for paying down an RBC card balance/loan. Points can also be converted to other rewards programs, like WestJet, Hudson’s Bay, and American Airlines.
There are, however, a few categories where the card is merely average compared to competing cards. The earn rate of 1 rewards point per $1 is standard, but options for earning points at an accelerated rate are limited.
At a Glance:
- Welcome bonus of 15,000 rewards points: enough for a short flight
- 1 RBC rewards point for each $1 spent, no limits
- 25 rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible travel
- Limited opportunities to earn accelerated points (e.g. 2x at Uber and Saks Fifth Avenue)
- 100 Rewards points = $1
- Very flexible and wide-ranging point redemption
- $0.03 p/liter discount on gas at Petro-Canada
- Comprehensive travel insurance, including medical
Compare to Other Travel Cards:
|Rewards Structure||Welcome Bonus||Redeem Points On||Annual Fee||Income Requirement|
|RBC Visa Infinite Avion||1 point/$1 on all spend, 1.25 points/$1 spent on eligible travel, 2 points/$1 with Uber||15,000 points = 1 short flight||Airfare, merchandise, statement credits. Points transfer to other rewards programs||$120||$60K personal, $100K household|
|TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite||3 points per $1 on all purchases. 9/$1 via ExpediatorTD.com||50,000 points, 1st year fee rebate||Travel, with higher redemption rates via Expedia||$120 (1st year rebate)||$60K personal/$100K household|
|BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard||1 mile per $10, additional miles at participating stores||3,000 Air Miles, 1st year fee waived [expires Nov. 30th, 2017]||Air Miles flights and merchandise||$120||$80K personal/$150K household|
Though the RBC Avion’s annual fee is on the higher end, its welcome bonus is at least impressive: it’s enough for a flight within your province/territory, an adjacent province/territory, or US state. Another impressive card feature is the variety of insurance coverage that comes with, which may in part account for why the annual fee is somewhat steep. Cardholders are protected with emergency medical insurance, travel accident insurance, auto rental collision and damage insurance, flight delay, trip cancellation and interruption insurance along with insurance against the damage or theft of items from one’s hotel. Also valuable is protection for items purchased with the card, including 90 days of insurance and extended warranties.
Note that cardholders under 65 years of age are medically covered for the first 15 days of an out of province/Canada trip, and those over age 65 are covered for 3 days. This may seem limited, but most travel cards don’t offer medical insurance for those over age 65 at all.
Travel purchases eligible for the (semi) accelerated earn rate of 1.25/$1 are defined as “…airlines, accommodations, tour operators, cruise lines, travel agencies and car rental companies.” 2x or 3x earn rates are only available at select stores like Uber, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Thrifty. These limited opportunities for accelerated earning are relatively unimpressive compared to cards like the TD First Class Visa Infinite or Scotia Gold Amex. Point value is about $0.01 per point, which is standard for premium travel cards.
Why We Like It:
- Easy, Big Welcome Bonus: New cardholders receive 15,000 RBC rewards points just for getting approved, and unlike other issuers which may make them wait up to 3 billing cycles, this reward hits cardholders’ account in the first month. No minimum spend amount necessary.
- Flexible Redemption: Aside from redeeming on a short-haul flight, points can also be saved up over time and used to completely pay off a vacation, for example, or used on merchandise, hotels, rentals, reducing a balance and more. The liberal point transfer policy is also a good fit for those who like WestJet, Hudson’s Bay, American Airlines, Asia Miles and British Airways’ rewards programs.
- Thoroughly Covered: A major value-added feature is the inclusion of strong insurance coverage for RBC Avion Infinite Visa cardholders, their spouses and dependent children. Full travel medical emergency insurance, travel accident insurance, auto rental collision and damage insurance, flight delay, trip cancellation, interruption and coverage for valuables kept in one’s hotel.
Is It Worth It?
We recommend the RBC Visa Infinite Avion to those who value flexibility in what they can redeem their points on, and who travel frequently outside their province/territory or Canada itself. It’s also a good deal for those who want a card with a big welcome bonus, but who don’t want to have to charge a certain amount to the card in the first few months to get it.Apply Now!