Image source: Shutterstock

RBC Credit Card Alternatives You Won't Want to Miss

Advertiser Disclosure This article/post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers or partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services.
Last updated on November 2, 2022

RBC has benefitted considerably from its brand, which is nothing less than a household name in Canada. But in terms of its credit card suite, is RBC exploiting its good name a little more than is justified? Perhaps. The best way to measure any credit card issuer’s value is to take a look at its most impressive and representative cards across several popular categories like cash back or travel, and then examine a comparative counterpart from the broader Canadian market.

So, how do the top RBC cards stack up against their competition?

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard vs. BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®*

WestJet’s premier travel card is issued by RBC. Bearing the World Elite name makes this card a beneficial tool for frequent fliers, but it also carries a relatively steep annual fee and high income requirement. Even so, it manages to provide justifiable value with a limited time offer of 450 WestJet dollars bonus (when you spend a minimum of $5,000 in the first 3 months on your card) and fast WestJet dollars rewards. Cardholders earn 1.50% in WestJet dollars on everyday purchases and 2.00% on WestJet travel, and enjoy perks like an annual companion voucher, free checked bags for you and your companions, membership to LoungeKey, and solid insurance coverage. While the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard is a good deal for those who fly WestJet exclusively, it’s less useful for those who fly outside of WestJet’s network. You’ll also find that perks like the companion voucher and bonus come with terms and conditions.

Apply Now

You can find better value on several fronts via the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®*. With an introductory bonus of 2,000 Air Miles* (when you spend a minimum of $3,000 within the first three months), a larger network of flight paths (Air Canada vs. WestJet), and a first-year rebate of a nearly identical $120 annual fee*, the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®* stacks up well. BMO also gives an exclusive 25% discount on one worldwide AIR MILES flight redemption during the calendar year*, and comes with complimentary membership in Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass.* The card’s base earn rate is 1 Air Mile for every $12 you spend everywhere*, but there’s also accelerated earn rates. Get 3x the Miles for every $12 spent at participating AIR MILES Reward Partners* and 2x the Miles for every $12 spent at any eligible grocery store*.

  • $120 annual fee (first year rebate)
  • Get 3x the Miles for every $12 spent at participating AIR MILES Reward Partners* and 2x the Miles for every $12 spent at any eligible grocery store*; 1 Air Mile for every $12 spent everywhere else*
  • 2,000-Mile sign-up bonus*
  • Complimentary membership in Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass*
  • Comprehensive insurance*
  • Exclusive 25% discount on one worldwide AIR MILES flight redemption during the calendar year.*

*Terms and conditions apply

RBC Cash Back Mastercard vs. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Cash back-loving cardholders are drawn to the RBC Cash Back Mastercard, a no annual fee card that provides a competitive cashback rate on common purchases. Cardholders earn 2% cash back on groceries and 1% cash back on qualifying purchases elsewhere. But the RBC Cash Back Mastercard’s benefits basically end there, providing only standard purchase protection and extended warranty alongside its cashback rates.

Apply Now

By comparison, a more diverse cashback option is the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card. Instead of earning 2% on groceries alone, you’re able to pick two purchase categories where you earn 2%. Aside from groceries these categories include gas, home improvement, restaurants, hotels and motels, drug stores, recurring bills, furniture, and more. You can get a third 2% category by signing up for a Tangerine Savings account, ensuring you earn at the accelerated rate for a wide range of your most common purchases.

The card also collects 0.50% cash back on everything that isn’t in your chosen categories, and has the same purchase assurance, extended warranties, and unlimited cash back policy as the RBC Cash Back Mastercard.

  • Special 15% cash back rate* on the first $1,000 spent with the card ($150 cash back) in the first two months, apply by December 29, 2022.
  • Earn 2% in 2 purchase categories of your choice
  • Get a third 2% category with a Tangerine Savings Account
  • Earn 0.50% on all other purchases
  • $0 annual fee
  • Unlimited cash back rewards
  • Purchase assurance, extended warranties

*Terms and Conditions apply

RBC Avion Visa Infinite vs. Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

The RBC Avion Visa Infinite is more flexible than a WestJet or Air Miles card, collecting points that can be redeemed for travel with many airlines or against your statement. But aside from earning flexible travel rewards points, its extra perks and luxuries leave a lot to be desired. Cardholders get one RBC point per $1 spent and 25% extra on travel-related purchases, a limited time bonus offer of up to 55,000 bonus points (up to $1,100 value, terms and conditions apply, apply by January 31, 2023), and great insurance, but that’s about it.

Apply Now

Scotiabank offers a more valuable and travel-enhancing card at a comparable price point. With the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card, you’re paying a tiny bit more at $150 per year, but instead of flexible points that can be spent on many types of rewards, your Scene+ points can be used to retroactively pay off any travel-related purchase that appears on your statement. Earning Scene+ points is easy with the current Welcome Offer: Earn up to $1,320* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived.¹ Offer ends April 30, 2023. You’ll also earn a regular earn rate of 2 points per $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases, and daily transit purchases. The card’s elite travel perks really put the RBC Avion Visa Infinite to shame: six complimentary airport lounge access; great travel insurance; and most importantly, no foreign transaction fees. This feature alone will save 2.50% on all purchases made in a foreign currency, the ultimate windfall for travellers.

  • $150 annual fee
  • You’ll earn 3X Scene+ points for each dollar charged to your account on all eligible purchases¹ at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés TradItIon, Rachelle Béry and Co-Op
  • 2X points per $1 spent on other eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases, and daily transit purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn up to $1,320* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived.¹ Offer ends April 30, 2023
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Complimentary Visa Airport Companion Program membership plus six complimentary lounge visits per year
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Flexible travel redemption

¹ Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card to learn more.

Refer to RBC Page for up to date offer terms and conditions.

BMO Rewards® Mastercard®*

Apply Now

Over its RBC comparison you can find better value in the BMO Rewards™ Mastercard®*, which has a $0 annual fee but doesn’t restrict rewards to a single purchase category. You’ll simply collect 1 BMO Rewards point per $1 spent everywhere*. BMO also offers a generous 15,000-point bonus (exclusively available via our link)*. This is already better than what RBC offers, but BMO adds in 25% off when renting vehicles at National®#† Car Rental and Alamo®*‡ Rent A Car locations worldwide*, and a 0.99% promotional interest rate on balance transfers (a rate which lasts 9 months, 2% balance transfer fee applies)*.

  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent*
  • 15,000-point bonus*
  • 25% off at National Car Rental®† and Alamo Rent a Car®†† locations*
  • 0.99% interest for 9 months on transferred balances (2% balance transfer fee applies)*

*Terms and conditions apply

RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option vs. MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card

When you have the luxury of a low purchase interest rate, it’s easier to make purchases with your card or use it for cash advances, and then carry this portion of your balance month-to-month in the event that you can’t pay it off in full. RBC customers choose the RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option for this purpose, as they pay just $20 per year to enjoy an 12.99% cash advance interest rate and 12.99% purchase interest rate. They also get purchase protection and extended warranties, extra savings and Petro-Points on gasoline. But there are other credit cards out there with lower purchase interest rates—some of which have no annual fee.

Apply Now

This expectation is satisfied for applicants who are approved for the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card—a credit card with a $39 annual fee and a significantly lower 8.99% regular interest rate on purchases. Cardholders with high expenses and who may need to carry their balance for a month or more can do so at a reasonable rate of interest, but also move their existing balances to the MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card. The low rate on purchases makes it a no brainer when using this card for every day buys and the annual fee is quite worth it if you consider the savings on your interest.

  • $39 annual fee
  • 8.99% regular interest rate on purchases and 8.99%✪ on balance transfers
  • 3% balance transfer fee ($7.50 minimum)
  • 24.99% interest on cash advances
  • Fraud protection and 24/7 customer service

✪, Terms and Conditions apply.

MBNA True Line® Gold Mastercard® credit card offer is not available for residents of Quebec. 

Sponsored advertising. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and TD is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this MBNA credit card, please click on the “Apply Now” button.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank is the issuer of this credit card. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ®MBNA and other-trademarks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Corresponding legal references and product terms are available on the RBC website, which will be available and agreed upon in the customer onboarding process.

Author Bio

GreedyRates is Canada’s go-to resource for all things personal finance. Our expert articles and videos cover every topic under the financial sun, including credit cards, credit scores, loans, bank accounts, budgeting, investing, RSPs, TFSAs, GICs, taxes, and more. Want our advice on a personal finance issue? Send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll gladly give you some free tips.

Article comments