Monday, March 16, 2009

RBC Avion Visa's to see increased redemption rate for Long Haul North American flights

In somewhat of a surprise move with one of Canada's most popular travel rewards credit cards, RBC is increasing Long North American redemption levels on its Avion cards from 30,000 to 35,000 points. This change will take place on May 1, 2009.

Why is it surprising? While it is not unusual for airlines to increase mileage requirements for reward flights, it is not so with credit card issuers. In the past year many of Canada's travel rewards credit cards have actually made their products and/or the reward rate of return more enticing to try and lure or keep their customers. Diners Club Club Rewards and Capital One's Mile Plus MasterCard are some that come to mind.

Will the change make RBC lose customers? Probably not, while many may not be happy with the change, the card still holds a pretty good redemption value for Long Haul North American tickets that are valued around $750 and why change if you have racked up lots of points with the card.

You can see the current redemption values of this card (30,000 points) against other travel points cards in our Travel Anywhere Credit Card Comparison. As you can see the Avion does not fare too well on lower value tickets under $500, but currently it is a top 3 card above the $500 level. With the new redemption rate it fares even worse under $500 and falls to the fourth best in the $500 category.

Now some other factors can come into play, if you have the Infinite Avion Visa you do earn 25% more points for booking travel with the card. So if you exclusively use the card for travel purchases the redemption rates are a bit better, but most people will not just use this card for travel purchases.

Is this a smart move by RBC? In our opinion of course not. We never like it when redemption levels are increased by a reward program but that may change if other credit card companies follow suit.

Thanks to Zorn on CanFlyer for revealing this.


  1. As far as I am concerned, RBC should be treated in the same manner that any welcher would! You renege on a contractual obligation with me and I say, "See you in court!"

  2. RBC really sucks for doing this. It's a scam that I paid my annual fee in January 2009 and then they notify me of the redemption value increase a month later.


  3. I'm a small business owner and I am sure many people don't know this, but: I get charged a surcharge for taking credit cards that have air points attached to them. So why does RBC have to increase their redemption amount again?

  4. Look, I hate seeing my fees/redemption rates/costs/whatever going up as much as the next guy.

    But exactly how self centered do you have to be to say "I paid my fee last month and then they did an enterprise wide increase. They're scamming me!" Sometimes there is such a thing as crappy timing.

    What I DIDN'T see someone say though was that if you opt out of the Avion you get your fee pro rated. I got to hear that from my RBC agent (I still have my card. They need a raise :p)

  5. I will switch from Avion to the RBC Westjet credit card. Service fee for two people cheaper by $50. Westjet card is by dollars so you can even use them for seat sales. I am not happy, Royal Bank Avion Visa!

  6. I paid my $120 annual fee for the 2500 travel points to be awarded upon renewal and now that has been cancelled after I have spent 4 years of being enrolled in this card program. This stinks!!! I see no reason to keep this card now.

  7. I will also be switching over to RBC Westjet card. I just have to find out what happens to my existing AVION points when I switch. Not happy with AVION any longer.

  8. Had a family emergency AVION wanted to charge double the air-miles because I did not book 14 days in advance. Why should it matter when the points are based on a max dollar value. Time to switch cards?

    1. I've had several family emergencies and they have always being more than fair and waived the 14 days in advance. They just have to ok it with their supervisor and have had a problem. I think for the value, their points are the best for travel.