RBC has just announced they will rebranding their RBC Rewards program. As of August 25 (or later) the program will be known as Avion Rewards. From a marketing standpoint this makes sense as there has always been some confusion around their Avion products and RBC Rewards. If I recall correctly Avion launched well before they started using RBC Rewards but as the bank evolved with various credit card products and an expanded rewards catalog beyond travel they named the program RBC Rewards. Of which the Avion products were a integrated part yet also were a somewhat separate program.
To make more sense of the various names and options RBC has decided to rebrand their reward program with their legacy moniker Avion by renaming the entire program Avion Rewards. That’s about the biggest change – the majority of the program and its separate RBC Rewards and Avion will remain as they have been for years.
The products that were part of RBC Rewards but not Avion will now be known as the Avion Premium level. I’m not sure what makes them Premium but hey it’s a good marketing term. While the actual Avion products themselves, like the RBC Avion Visa Infinite card, will fall into the Avion Elite level. RBC’s taking on the airlines and hotels here now!
Avion Premium will also include non-credit card banking products that were part of the RBC Rewards program as well. These include personal deposit accounts, personal investment products as well as Installment Loans, Lines of Credit and Home Equity Financing.
What stays the same
For the most part the RBC Rewards program and Avion portion of it as well are remaining the same. You’ll earn the same amount of points as before and from what we can tell you’ll still redeem at same amounts as before as RBC states the value of the points remain the same.
Oh yes, that’s one more change the points will be known as Avion Points instead of RBC Rewards points – which most people I talked to already called them this. I don’t think I can recall ever hearing the term RBC Rewards points ever mentioned to me. It has always been referred to me by readers or people I talk to as Avion points. So again we can see why this change makes sense for RBC.
What else is changing with the program
Other than the program name change, the naming of the two levels and the branding of the points RBC it appears RBC will bringing more shopping and savings potential:
We continue to grow our network of retail partners. Avion Rewards will
have more than 1,900 retailers to bring you cash back offers and more
savings on top of your Avion points. We’re also introducing a new way to
shop online that will help you find discounts and offers more easily
with our new Avion Rewards app.
As I currently don’t have an Avion or RBC Rewards product I can’t tell you what RBC offers currently outside of their RBC offers program. To me this almost sounds like they are bringing an Amplii style product (Amplii is RBC’s cash back app) to Avion Rewards. This would or perhaps already does (perhaps one of readers can confirm) provide some cash back for using your card at select retailers.
From the paragraph as well it appears RBC is getting back into the world of online shopping portals. Years ago you used to be able to shop online and earn RBC Rewards points just like you can with the likes of Aeroplan’s eStore and AIR MILES Shops. RBC discontinued it but it appears it is back in the cards for them as they will launch Avion Rewards Shopping on or after August 25, 2022.
Wrapping it up
For the most part this is a cosmetic change for the RBC Rewards program. The program fundamentals are not changing which to me is good but also unfortunate. It’s good in that the program is not getting worse. It is unfortunate in that RBC did not take this chance to make the program fundamentals better, by fundamentals I mean the earn and burn aspect for rewards. It is no secret that I am quite vocal about how much customers have to spend to earn rewards within the program when compared to others (* See below) and RBC isn’t budging in that department. And in RBC’s defense, why would they? They have such a large base of credit card customers that they are in a position where they don’t have to make any moves. At least not yet.
And I leave you with this table for contemplation about the costs of Avion Rewards (click to make larger):
Chart source: Clash of the Reward Charts! American Express vs. RBC
(HT: _NapoleonSolo on Reddit)