RBC Visa Infinite Avion Credit Card Review

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Credit card details are up to date as of May 1st, 2019. For the most accurate and up to date information, visit the issuer's website.

The Royal Bank of Canada Visa Infinite Avion Credit Card: Summary
Sign-up bonus points: 15,000Qualifying annual income: $60,000 or $100,000 household
Annual fee: $120Recommended 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.

RBC Visa Infinite Avion credit cardIn 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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Keph Senett

Keph Senett is a Canadian freelance writer with an interest in helping people make solid choices towards debt-free living. Her work has appeared in publications including Al Jazeera America, Greedy Rates, BBC News, and The Globe & Mail.

32 Comments

  1. SavingMentor on September 10, 2012 at 12:07 am

    The 1.5x transfer promo to British Airways really makes this card worthwhile. Somehow I don’t think many everyday people who have the card take advantage of that great promotion, but doing so can give you a really good return on your spending if you redeem for first class travel on international flights.

    Just redeeming for economy international travel, probably like you did, can give a pretty decent return that is much higher than that standard 2% return you see on most travel cards that give you a straight cash discount of your travel purchase.



  2. Rob on September 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I live over the pond (Spain) and I can tell you reward cards suck big time here, Lufthansa Miles and more, only had to spend 60,000



  3. young on September 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    @SavingMentor- So do you pay an annual fee for this card, then, SM? I’ve never even tried first class- sounds like a worthwhile points-accumulation!



  4. SavingMentor on September 10, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    No, I haven’t taken the plunge into such a card yet since the SPG cards. I did have an SPG Amex for a little bit.

    I’m sticking to the free or rebated annual fee cards for now because the price is right, the return is decent, and the flexibility to book travel that is on sale is really nice.

    Coupled with that, I can usually find sign up bonuses or product bonuses to keep me in enough points for most of the flights that I need so I don’t really need the extra points for flights.

    If an SPG MasterCard or Visa came out though, I’d be hard pressed not to get that even if it had a $120 annual fee. The hassle of dealing with an Amex + the annual fee + I think there is a fee for a 2nd card, is just barely not worth it for me.



  5. Liquid on September 11, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I don’t travel much so I normally don’t really look into these types of cards, but this one might be worth thinking about because I like all the insurance coverage it offers. Reaching the minimum $60K annual income level will be something I need to do first though :p. Great review.



  6. young on September 15, 2012 at 12:01 am

    @Liquid- Yeah, oftentimes I forget about the insurance coverage available so then the benefits aren’t available for me either (because I forget to use them lol). I wonder if they count dividend income? 😉



  7. young on September 15, 2012 at 12:01 am

    @SM- Those are my sentiments exactly. I signed up for the Aeroplan AMEX and have used it all of two times. Amex just doesn’t work for me because it isn’t accepted everywhere.



  8. young on September 15, 2012 at 12:02 am

    @Rob- But you get cheap flights with Ryan Air! 🙂 It all evens out I suppose?



  9. Della on September 16, 2012 at 1:39 am

    We have the Captial One Aspire card and after doing the math no other card could even come close to it.

    It’s only $99/year and we each have the card (no additional fee for the extra card).

    You earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend on the card and you immediately receive 35,000 points upon signing up ($350 worth of rewards). Every year you receive 10,000 points on the anniversary of the card (which works out to $100 in rewards and cancels out the annual cost of the card itself). One year after signing up you have $450 in rewards.

    Rewards can be cashed at incremental values but essentially to figure out what the points are worth just knock off the last two zeros (e.g., 60,000 points are worth $600 in travel rewards).

    Assuming you spend $3000/month on the card at the end of the first year you would have $810 worth of travel rewards after the first year.

    You receive all the bonus items (travel insurance, trip cancellation insurance, price protection, extended warrant, concierge services etc.) and you can use the points to redeem for flights, hotels and other travel-related items. You just find the flight and hotel you want, book it yourself on your card (and get points for that) and then you simply receive money off your statement whenever you redeem the points.

    www.capitalone.ca/credi…T_PRASWOVW

    The only issue for some is that you must have a personal income of $60,000 or a household income of $100,000, which isn’t feasible for everyone. We do a lot of travel so this card is amazing for us. In our first eight months we had $1600 worth of travel points (it’s our corporate card and we both use it for everything but never run a balance).

    We did the math on this card vs. other cards and the Capital One came ahead. It’s really worth checking out.



  10. Della on September 16, 2012 at 2:00 am

    My math is bad. If you spend $3000/month on the the card at the end of the first year you will have almost $1200 of points to spend. Not $810. Even better!



  11. Lisa on September 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    So why is it when I click on the 1.5 x BA miles link it says ths offer is no longer available?



  12. Joanne on March 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    I booked a flight to Hawaii, paid for it (partially with points from my platinum Avion card, got an email ticket, then received the following email: “Unfortunately at this time there are no seats available for your trip. Please have the Airline reserve a seat when you check in at the airport.”
    A short time later my friend booked the same flight on Orbitz and received a ticket with no problem. So much for being an “Avioner”.
    I am not impressed.



  13. Teacher Man on March 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Good to know Joanne.



  14. baris on May 30, 2013 at 10:06 am

    RBC infinite avion card is just a scam. Scam is deep hidden and you don’t realize it until you reach to the point of redemption. We collected lot of points for a long haul international flight. It’s supposed to get you a $1300 ticket for free for 65000 points right? Guess what. It doesn’t pay taxes and fees of the ticket. So all of a sudden you have to pay half of that $1300 ticket from your pocket. That means it does not give you anything for free for your points. If you decide to use cash back option for your ticket purchase then it’s rate of return falls to only 1%. For a $120 annual fee that’s a big scam because there are credit cards out there to give 1.5% cash back with no annual fee at all. Another catch is the travelocity. You’re very lucky if you can find the flight you’re looking for. We searched many hours on different web sites for the optimum timing and price for our flight and that flight simply does not exist on travelocity. So the conclusion is, this card is the biggest scam I’ve ever encountered among all the credit cards. It’s probably only good if you fly only first class, or you lose and get disappointed big time.



  15. baris on May 30, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Same thing happened to us. All major travel sites like expedia, kayak, orbitz could find the ticket we are looking for, EXCEPT Travelocity.



  16. susan s. on July 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I am avid avion visa infinite point collector. I use it for every cent spent that I can, spending and bills, its my points, I am taking it. Of course, it does not become valuable if you don’t pay your balance monthly, then any point card is “pointless” if your paying interest. I receive at least 100,000 points per year, which I always convert to BA airmiles at 1.5 times. (you can only do this when stated, about twice a year , but you can get points for points anytime.) You can also redeem BA points fro Alaska and American airlines, but limited. If you are a European traveller, the only way to go is converting to BA, avion charges to many points. I use my points for myself and daughters, to England, Germany and Italy, have had about 800,000 points so far, with the 1.5 bonus, the only way to go. And for those about taxes, etc. of course you have to pay those, most cards those are extras, but its worth it , for us anyway. BTW, I love the smallenfreuden commercials, but again, pointless if you can’t pay your bills. thanks. great little website.



  17. susan on July 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    P.S. to my above blog, British Airways is also part of Oneworld alliance, so have also other airlines in Europe/central asia, etc. to also book with. Just a thought.

    Thanks.



  18. Yersinia pestis on August 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    In my opinion, the best way to use the Avion program is to take advantage of the aforementioned Avion>Avios transfer bonus. You can redeem Avios points on AA flights at pretty good rate – e.g. BOS-LAS roundtrip is 25000 points and a whopping 5 (five) dollars in taxes and fees.

    Redeeming for BA flights via UK airports can be very expensive because of high taxes, BUT there is another trick: you can subscribe for the Iberia program which also uses Avios points. Once both accounts (BA and IB) have been active for three months, you can transfer your Avios points between BA and IB as you please (people say, transfer is almost real-time). Taxes on IB flights to Europe are much lower.



  19. Carlos on January 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Hey,
    I use my AVION to buy EVERYTHING. I also travel a lot. More than most people (35+ countries, hundreds of cities). The best, and possibly the only way to use the Avion properly is transfer to BA/Avios miles. From there, I use those BA miles to fly on AA. Flew MTL to Chicago/Miami/SF etc for $30. Use Avios miles for SHORT-HAUL flights. Those are the most worth it, as taxes and surcharges are low.

    And I was supposed to fly to Columbia for xmas 2013. Got really sick, went to the doctor, got a note. RBC just paid me cheque for $1500…AND I got a voucher from AA for the same amount. The insurances on the card are great. Make sure you know them. They doubled my warranty on my Macbook Pro. No applecare needed.



  20. Kyle on January 30, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Sounds like a great deal Carlos. Thanks for letting us know about it!



  21. […] loved it, but didn’t want to pay the $120 for the annual fee after the first year.



  22. lina on November 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    RBC Avalon is the worse visa I have ever had, poor points and hard to deal with reservations; you lose your money if you want to change the date and etc



  23. BEVERLEY STERN on November 11, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Why does infinite avion not have trip cancellation insurance? do you buy this on your own?? where can u buy it??



  24. Kyle on November 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Almost every airline and/or travel agent sells some version Beverley. Cheers!



  25. William Petra on January 15, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Is it possible to switch RBC Avion points back to BA Avios, I switch them to RBC earlier this year? We just tried to book business class tickets to the Mexico in February and couldn’t get the dates.



  26. Kyle on January 15, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Not sure William. I assume you’ll have to bug the RBC loyalty program about that. Let us know how you make out.



  27. Karin on June 29, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Hello Everyone
    Just want to say, I very much regret ever having the RBC Avion card. After years of using the card and saving thousands and thousands of points to eventually take my family on good holidays, I got very sick and was late on some monthly payments, but they were always made. I finally was able to pay off the card in full, but realized RBC cancelled all my points, so after 10 or more years of saving the points and not using any, they were all gone. Not to mention they also cancelled the RBC card. I always paid the annual fee, paid my visa bill, collected the points and got “Nothing in Return”
    A big scam and very upsetting. I will never deal with RBC again.
    Look @CIBC Aventura for a better airmiles card. They have been really good and you build up points much faster for a wonderful trip.



  28. Jane on July 6, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Having this card for over 10 years, until a year ago, I was a supporter. However, RBC was unable to reclaim overcharges from hertz Melbourne of over $300, and when I booked a flight this weekend to Europe I was given surcharges, fees and taxes of over $600 on top of my 65,000 points, while Flight Centre was offering $600 return flights. And plus they missed a flight connection that the quoted a change fee of over $200 on a $100 flight to correct their mistake. Sorry, I’m taking my business elsewhere 7/16 at less cost.



  29. Leanne on October 3, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I just wanted to share my experience with the car insurance through the RBC Infinite Avion card. Last May I was in Scotland and we had parked our rental car on the side of the road out front of our airbnb. At some point overnight, someone dinged our bumper. We had to pay the rental car company (Arnold Clark – would not recommend) 750 GBP in a deductible. The RBC insurance folks were excellent with communication, were very friendly on the phone, and after 3 months (because Arnold Clark refused to provide the damage assessment for that long), RBC reimbursed me the full amount – even without the correct documentation (with an agreement that I would repay them the balance if AC paid me anything). I don’t imagine it would have taken that long if Arnold Clark had provided the required documentation, and overall I’m extremely pleased with the insurance. Something else to note is that while some car insurance on credit cards doesn’t cover all countries (e.g., Ireland) this card does!



  30. Kyle on October 3, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing Leanne!



  31. brent on December 12, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Have had this card foe as long as i can remember and have nothing but excellent service Use to spend close to a hundred thousand a year on it and every time we needed to fly would just phone them up and book the flight Very professional Way better the air miles



  32. Philip on January 29, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    To those on here who are saying they are disappointed with Avion as you have to go through their Travelocity based site to book travel which allows you limited airline/flight options, I had though the same thing until recently reading a comment on another website.
    I haven’t tried this yet but apparently you can purchase any ticket you want from any airline or website (taking advantage of lower prices, seat sales, etc.)and go ahead and pay for that ticket using your Avion Visa. You then call RBC Avions travel site and simply ask them to refund your Visa for the price you paid for your ticket(s), minus taxes and fees of course. Supposedly they will do this no problem up to the maximum $ amount allowable in their published redemption schedule. They then withdraw the corresponding points from your account for trip you had refunded.
    Has any one else tried this approach to booking through Avion yet?



  33. Allan Hughes on March 16, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    I, too, had the experience of this card only paying half the international fee (I opted to pay cash because the 65,000 points it will ultimately almost get me 2 domestic flights up to $1,500 as the airline carrier fees are much smaller to travel to Canada or US).
    However, I must add that I had my son’s Imac monitor replaced for free and a $23,000 write-off of a rental vehicle paid for by my Avion Insurance. They were very good to deal with in both instances so I would never get rid of this card because of the insurance benefits even though I was a little miffed by the European flight experience.



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