|The Royal Bank of Canada Visa Infinite Avion Credit Card: Summary|
|Sign-up bonus points: 15,000||Qualifying annual income: $60,000 or $100,000 household|
|Annual fee: $120||Recommended credit score: 670 – 739|
|Purchase interest rate: 19.99%||Rewards: Earn 1:$1 ratio on all purchases, and an additional 25% on travel-related purchases.|
In the credit card world, the RBC Visa Infinite Avion credit card stands out in the travel rewards category, notable for its flexibility. RBC Rewards (Avion points) can be redeemed for any seat on any flight on any airline with absolutely no blackout dates. Beyond that, cardholders can transfer their points to other airline rewards programs, redeem points to shop at retailers like Best Buy and the Apple store, or cash in points to pay down their credit card balance. With all these options, cardholders can enjoy their points, their way.
Of course, this kind of flexibility comes with a price, and in this case, it’s $120 per year, plus a rather high personal income threshold of $60,000. We take a closer look at this popular credit card in Canada, and ask: is it really as good as it looks on paper?
The RBC Rewards Program: How It Works
The RBC Rewards program is fairly straightforward, with a base 1:$1 ratio on all purchases. For some approved travel-related spends (more on this later), cardholders get an additional 25%. There aren’t loads of ways to accelerate your earnings, but if you link the credit card to your Petro-Points account, you can get a discount on gas, plus 20% additional points in both loyalty programs. Avion rewards are valued at approximately $1.14 for every 100 points (or $0.0114 per point—a fairly standard rate for this type of card). Here’s a breakdown of how you can earn points.
- Get 15,000 Avion points when you sign up.
- A 1:$1 ratio on all purchases on your card.
- An additional 25% on travel-related purchases. These may include airlines, accommodations, tour operators, cruise lines, travel agencies, and car rental companies, but the merchant must be listed in the “travel” category with Visa.
- Connect your RBC card to your Petro-Points for 20% more points.
Where this program really shines is in the redemption process. RBC Avion rewards are primarily aimed at flights, and with no blackout dates and no seat or airline restrictions, cardholders are free to go wherever they want, when they want, on whatever airline carrier they want. Another bonus: Avion points are also transferrable to the airline programs for WestJet, British Airways, American Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. Plus, unlike other rewards programs, Avion points can be applied toward taxes, surcharges and fees when booking a flight.
Additionally, there are other redemption options through retailers like the Apple Store, T-Fal, and Best Buy, and Avion points can be transferred to HBC Rewards. A cardholder’s points can be used to pay down their credit card balance.
Other Perks of the RBC Visa Infinite Avion Credit Card
The RBC Visa Infinite Avion credit card carries other perks as well.
- Travel insurance: Like many credit cards, this one includes a travel insurance package. But what makes it exceptional is the emergency travel medical coverage that’s included. This is a rare and valuable perk that makes it a winner, especially when paired with the car rental collision and damage, hotel/motel burglary, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance. It’s also important to note that cardholders 65 and under are medically covered for the first 15 days of an out-of-province/Canada trip, and it’s 3 days for those over 65 years.
- Shopping coverage: Items purchased with the card enjoy protections including 90 days of insurance and extended warranties of up to an additional year.
- Automatic and instant savings on fuel at Petro-Canada: Link the two cards and save $0.03 per litre on fuel—and earn 20% more points in both loyalty programs.
- Credit Card Lock: Temporarily lock your credit card at any time—a handy feature if you believe you’ve lost or misplaced your card but don’t want to take chances while you locate it.
- Visa Infinite: Enjoy events, hotel, and dining benefits, and a complimentary concierge.
- Optional extras: Choose to purchase enhanced travel insurance, roadside assistance, insurance on your credit card balance, or identity theft protection.
Pros and Cons
Highly flexible, transferable, and with a slew of non-travel related rewards, the RBC Visa Infinite Avion offers a lot to those looking for a travel-centric points program. Partnerships with other retailers like HBC and Petro-Canada, excellent travel insurance, and the 15,000 bonus points on sign-up sweeten the pot.
On the other hand, the points-to-dollars ratio is average and there are few opportunities for accelerated earning. The $120 annual fee isn’t cheap, and with a minimum personal income of $60,000, this card may be out of reach for some.
The Verdict: Is the RBC Visa Infinite Avion Credit Card Worth It?
As a travel rewards card, the RBC Visa Infinite Avion is a strong choice, especially for those who want flexibility with travel rewards — and even more for members who already shop at partner retailers. We’re loving the hassle-free redemption for travel rewards, such as the no blackout dates or restrictions on flight redemptions. For those with more frugal spending habits, though, there may be better alternatives. Weigh your options and check out these other best travel rewards credit cards in Canada before taking the plunge.
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