Air travel is slowly returning to normal and Canada’s RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) is offering a travel credit card with a handsome bonus and other benefits.
So, I got the RBC Avion Visa Infinite card which comes with 35,000 Rewards Points, enough to fly within North America, except Alaska and Hawaii. The Points can also be transferred to other partner airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific etc.,
RBC Rewards Cards vs RBC Avion Cards
There is a confusion whether there are Rewards Points and Avion Points. There is no such thing as Avion Points.
Whether you have an RBC Rewards card or an Avion card, you will receive RBC Rewards Points.
That said, there are some key differences that distinguish the Avion cards with the Rewards Cards.
- Avion cards tend to have higher annual fees but they also come often with handsome Rewards Points bonuses (such as the current promotion of RBC Avion Visa Infinite travel credit card offering 35,000 bonus points) whereas the bonuses for Rewards cards are much lower.
- The Rewards Points from Rewards cards can be redeemed at a rate of 1 Point to 1 cent whereas the value of Rewards Points earned through the Avion cards is higher – between 2 and 2.33 cents.
- You earn more points with Avion cards.
- The Avion cards also tend to have better insurance coverage (see below for benefits)
The RBC Avion Visa Infinite Travel Credit Card
- This card will cost you CAD120.00 annually and $50 for each additional supplementary card. I got this card through CreditCardGenius so I will get a refund of 100.00 which means it will cost me just 20.00 for the first year.
- Purchase rate interest is 19.99-percent while cash advance interest is 22.99-percent.
Requirements for this Travel Credit Card:
A minimum annual income of $60,000 or a household income of at least $100,000 or a minimum total investable assets of $250,000..
The following cannot apply for the card
Those getting the supplementary cards through the primary card holder, current holders of RBC Avion Visa Infinite or RBC Avion Visa Platinum, RBC Rewards Visa Preferred, RBC Rewards+ Visa, RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege, RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege for Private Banking, Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum, British Airways Visa Infinite cards, those applying for or transferring to an RBC Avion Visa Infinite credit card, RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege credit card or RBC Avion Visa Platinum credit card at of the start of the offer Period.
You have to apply for the card here before Apr 18, 2022 to get the bonus.
Benefits of the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Travel Credit Card:
There are many, many benefits that come with this card, but for this post, we will deal mostly with travel-related benefits.
- You will receive 35,000 RBC Rewards Points to a value of up to $750. Check here for the RBC Travel Redemption Schedule.
- You will receive 1 RBC Avion Point for every $1 spent.
- The reward increases to 1.25 point if the expense is travel related, such as flight ticket, cruise, accommodation, tour operators, travel agencies and car rental companies.
- No blackout periods or seat restrictions.
- As long as a seat is available on economy, premium economy, business class or first class, you can book.
- The points don’t expire
- Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, and emergency medical.
- Mobile Device Insurance included – up to $1,500.
- Plus, eligible purchases made on the card are protected.
Rewards Points Usage
The 35,000 points can be used for return flights within Canada and the USA, excluding Hawaii and Alaska (15,000 Rewards Points will allow you to fly within the province or to an adjacent province, territory, or a US state).
You can use RBC Rewards site to book a flight.
Transferring to Rewards Points Partners for the Travel Credit Card
There is another way to use these Rewards Points to travel: convert them to partners’ points.
The partners are:
- WestJet (WestJet Dollars)
- British Airways (Avios)
- American Airlines (AAdvantage Miles)
- Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)
Note that the last three are part of the OneWorld alliance, so you could also use them for flights in the 14 airlines belonging to that group.
- WestJet Dollars – 1:1
- Avios – 1:1
- Asia Miles – 1:1
- AAdvantage Miles – 1: 0.7
The points have to be converted in batches of 10,000 RBC points.
Check out for promotions with Avios where they may offer up to 50-percent bonus points for conversion.
Know the Taxes
A word of caution: at the outset, it may look as if booking through Avios can be cheaper than booking through RBC Rewards.
Toronto-London one way 26,000 Avios Points (plus taxes)
Toronto- Hongkong one way 35,000 Avios Points (plus taxes)
So, assuming you need 52k Avios for a round trip to London from Toronto, it is cheaper than the 65k Rewards Points you need if you are booking directly through the Rewards Points portal.
But the devil is in the details and here it is in taxes.
For example, a flight late May – when it is off peak season for Avios – from Toronto to London Heathrow will cost 33,000 Avios plus $803 in taxes.
But there are a couple of options for you:
- if you want to pay more fewer Avios but more in taxes, you could choose the option of using 26400 Avios plus $928 in taxes; or you could choose the option of using just 11500 Avios but $1143 in taxes.
- If you only considering the total amount you will have to pay, obviously the first options is great, but if are an avid points collector for travelling, then the last option is the best because here you are buying Avios at a rate of.158.
- If you are booking directly, it will cost you $1350 including taxes.
- If you are booking through Air Canada, it will cost you $806 plus $289 in taxes. If you are booking through Aeroplan, it will cost you 47,400 Aeroplan points plus $890 in taxes. Or you can pay 79k points plus $289 in taxes. But you could pay 108k points but no taxes.
Bottom line is that if you spend the time, you will find that for certain flight routes, certain airline points offer better deals.
The Science of Points Value
There is a whole science for calculating and using the ‘cost per point’ (CPP) and ‘cost per mile’ (CPM) features. So, in the case of the Toronto-London flight using Avios, if you were an avid points collector who uses points to get the maximum value, you would go for the third option. That is worth a whole new post.
However, OneWorld alliance is great in offering multi-city flight options and sometimes you can find great options for short distance flights during a multi-city/multi-country trip. Alternatively, many also use these points for long distance flights such as from North America to Asia and Australia.
My Experience With Short Distance Flights
I have used Avios points to book short distance flights during multi-city flights to Asia, Australia and Africa. For example, I used the points to book from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), from Sydney to Melbourne , Sydney to Cairns, and Brisbane to Melbourne using Qantas during my trip to Australia, and from Cape Town to Johannesburg in South Africa by ComAir.
During my past trip to Bali, I had used Avios points to stay in the exclusive Hyatt Regency in Sanur for four days. In terms of points usage value, it was not the best deal but I loved the experience staying at that hotel.