of the first travel rewards cards to offer any flight any time potential,
the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card
has been a mainstay in the travel credit card market
for well over a decade. The card, which we first reviewed in
2011 is by far one of the most popular in Canada. Over the years we had
some band-aid updates to that review so we thought it’s time to do a
complete refresh for 2022!
The RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card
came out a few years after the release of the original Visa Platinum
Avion card from RBC nearly two decades ago. In its long tenure the card
has had a few tweaks here and there with its insurance coverage and the
expansion of reward options via RBC Rewards but outside of that it
hasn’t actually hasn’t changed very much . The card itself falls into
our “Hybrid Card” category which means it gives you the best of both
worlds for travel rewards in that it offers points that can be used
towards any travel or you can chose to covert those points into a
frequent flyer program..
Costs & Sign up Features
The RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card has an
annual fee of $120 which is now consider being on the lower end of
annual fees for premium cards like this one. Many competing cards are
now charging $139 to $150 annually. Additional or supplementary cards
are $50 annually per card.
The standard welcome bonus on the card offers 15,000 RBC
Rewards Points however the card frequently has limited time increased
welcome bonus offers.
Right now the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card
has its best ever welcome bonus offer of up to 55,000 RBC Rewards
points! The bonus is awarded as 35,000 points when you are approved for
the card and then you can earn 20,000 more points when you spend $5,000
in your first 6 months. You must apply for the card by September 16, 2022 to receive this offer.
The interest rate
on the card is 19.99% and annual income requirements are $60,000
Personal or $100,000 Household.
The card earns RBC Rewards points as follows:
- 1.25 Points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases
- 1 Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
Point Valuation Chart
|Spending Category||Points earned per dollar spent||Rate of return when booking via the Avion Air Travel Redemption Schedule||Rate of return when booking any travel via RBC Rewards||Rate of return Cash Back||Rate of return when converting to airline programs|
|Travel||1.25||Up to 2.92%||1.25%||0.73%||1.25% to 9% or higher|
|All other spending||1||Up to 2.33%||1%||0.58%||1% to 6% or higher|
The RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card participates in the RBC
Rewards program which provides numerous avenues of redemption. The most
famous of all those options is the Avion airline award chart also known
as the Avion Air Travel Redemption Schedule. You can
also redeem points for any travel you book via RBC Rewards, you can
redeem points for any purchase you make on the card, RBC financial
products, merchandise, gift cards and also famously you can convert your
points to British Airways Executive Club, WestJet Rewards and several
We’ll start off by looking at the Air Travel Redemption
Schedule which is the most popular redemption feature for this card. In
basic terms this schedule is just like your traditional frequent flyer
program award chart. You redeem a set number of points for a flight
within a specific region or from one region to another. The only
difference between this chart and traditional frequent flyer programs is
that RBC does have a maximum ticket price for each award level.
Here is the schedule of points required per category and the maximum ticket price for each round trip ticket:
Recently RBC Rewards enhanced this reward option by
adding one way reward options. They are exactly 1/2 the cost of the
round trip options. Here is the one way Air Travel Redemption Schedule:
Recommended reading: How to maximize value out of the RBC Avion Airline Award Chart
As you can see from the schedules you have set points
requirements for the various travel regions. For example you can redeem
for a short haul flight with only 15,000 points. The maximum ticket
value for that short haul flights is $350 before taxes and fees. If you
redeem in this category it doesn’t matter if the ticket is $225 or $350
before taxes and fees it will require 15,000 points. Same goes for all
the categories. Thus if you are someone looking to maximize the value of
your points you’ll essentially want to get as close as you can to each
of those maximum ticket values to ensure you are getting the best
value out of the points. While we do still believe in our mantra
that any redemption is a good redemption as long as you are happy (see
our piece on The True Value in Reward Redemptions) so for some of you you won’t care what the ticket price is however if you are about getting the most value out of credit card rewards you’ll want to try to push to that maximum limit.
For the fees and taxes portion you can chose to just
charge it to your card (basically paying cash for it) or you can choose
to redeem points at a rate of 100 points to $1 towards those fees.
If the ticket you are purchasing has a base value higher
than the set maximum you can still use a combination of points or points
and cash to buy the ticket. Let’s take the short haul example, if the
base ticket price is $380 before taxes and fees you can redeem the
15,000 points to cover $350 of the ticket and the additional $30 (plus
all the taxes and fees) can be paid with cash or points at that 100
points to $1 ratio.
The next travel redemption option is being able to redeem
points for any travel you book via RBC Rewards. That is you don’t have
to use the above schedules to book flights. You can simply go online or
call up RBC Rewards travel and book flights, hotels, car rentals and
other travel and simply redeem towards that travel at a rate of 100
points to $1. This is a good option for flights that may be coming in
super cheap where it wouldn’t make sense to use the air travel
redemption schedule and of course for any non-air travel requirements.
The third redemption option that falls under travel and
is a favourite of points and miles enthusiasts is converting your RBC
Rewards points to a frequent flyer program. A lot of enthusiasts will
strictly get this card for the welcome bonus offer and then convert
those RBC Rewards points over to one of the partner programs. Those
partners are American AAdvantage, British Airways Executive Club, Cathay
Pacific Asia Miles and WestJet Rewards. The most popular are British
Airways and WestJet and those two also happen to be ones that RBC
Rewards will sometimes offer an extra limited time bonus when converting
your points. Typically seen once or twice per year, RBC offers a 30 to
50% bonus when converting to British Airways Executive Club while
WestJet Rewards has seen a steady 10% bonus during the last few times it
was offered. It is this bonus, especially the 50% to British Airways
that made this card so popular in the points and miles community.
The conversion to an airline like British Airways or
Cathay Pacific opens up possibilities for you to use the points you
earned on your credit card spend for business class or first class
flights at a much better value than if booked those same flights via RBC
Rewards Travel and redeemed points at at that 100:1 ratio which is a 1%
return. With the frequent flyer programs it’s easy to have returns 3 to
4 times higher than that, if not more.
Current RBC Rewards Transfer partners and the transfer ratio:
- American AAdvantage – 10 points to 7 AAdvantage Miles
- British Airways Executive Club – 1 point to 1 Avios
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles – 1 point to 1 Asia Mile
- WestJet Rewards – 100 points to 1 WestJet dollar
After travel you have several other redemption options
via RBC Rewards. One of the more popular ones is to redeem points for
RBC Financial Products at a rate of 12,000 points to $100 for RRSP
contributions, TFSA contributions or other financial options. You can
also choose to pay your credit card with points (this is basically a
cash back option) which requires 17,200 points for a $100 statement
You can also redeem points for merchandise via RBC
Rewards’ merchandise catalog as well as with Apple or Best Buy or you
can redeem for over 100 different gift card options.
Features and Benefits
For being RBC’s flagship premium card you would think the
card would provide a lot of bells and whistles. It does not. Unlike
many of the card’s competitors this card does not provide business class
lounge access, annual travel or statement credits, it charges a foreign
transaction fee and so on. Outside of the decent insurance package,
standard Visa Infinite benefits, the RBC Offers program and select
partner benefits there is lot left to be desired with this card in the
face of what the competition provides!
Visa Infinite benefits
- Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
provides benefits like room upgrades, complimentary Wi-Fi and
breakfast, late checkout, and so much more at over 900 Visa Infinite
Luxury Hotel Collection properties around the world.
- Visa Infinite Dining Series – Each
event includes multi-course meals, drink pairings and an interactive
experience. You’ll get to taste dishes from some of the country’s top
chefs and restaurants as they guide you through each course.
- Wine country benefit from wineries
across Ontario and British Columbia including complimentary tastings and
tours. You can also get access to online offers like complimentary
shipping and savings on wine purchases.
- Get golf perks with Troon Rewards®
through your Visa Infinite card and automatically receive Silver Status.
You’ll save 10% on golf fees, merchandise, and lessons at over 150
courses around the world.
- Access to private movie events and at-home offers as part of the Visa Infinite Screening Series. In the fall, get special perks at the Toronto International Film Festival®.
- Visa Infinite card includes a Complimentary Concierge service
that can offer help with anything like the perfect travel itinerary,
restaurant recommendations, finding the perfect birthday gift, and more
As with all RBC cards the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card
receives RBC Offers. These exclusive limited time offers are sent out
to cardmembers to receive statement credits, discounts or bonus points
for using their card at select merchants. Depending on your shopping
habits these offers alone can provide enough savings in a year to cover
the annual fee on the card if not more! You can learn more about this
feature in Rewards Canada’s Guide to RBC Royal Bank ‘RBC Offers’
RBC offers some exclusive benefits for all their credit
cardholders with select retail partners in Canada. For the RBC Avion
Visa Infinite Card those benefits are:
Link your Petro-Points card to your new RBC credit or debit card and use it to pay for purchases at Petro-Canada to always:
Save 3 ¢/L on gas with every fill-up
Earn 20% more Petro-Points
Earn more Be Well points at Rexall
Get 50 Be Well points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases when you shop at Rexall with your linked RBC® card
Enjoy $0 delivery fees with DoorDash
Get a complimentary DashPass subscription for up to 12 months with an eligible RBC credit card – a value of almost $120
The RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card comes with a very strong insurance package that includes the following:
- Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance (15 days under age 65, 3 days for 65+)
- Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Trip Interruption Insurance
- Flight Delay Insurance
- Baggage Delay Insurance
- Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
- Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
- Hotel Burglary Insurance
- $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance
- Purchase Security Insurance
- Extended Warranty Insurance
- Mobile Device Insurance
What is good about this card
The welcome bonus – it is one of the easiest to achieve right now!
35,000 points on approval is amazing! There are reports of the points
posting to the account even before the physical card is received! Plus
the additional 20,000 for $5,000 spread over 6 months is very easy to do
for the people who are eligible for this card.
The airline conversion options are what most points and miles
enthusiasts get this card for and are really what keep this card ranking
in the top 10 cards in Canada. Plus if you convert when they have a
transfer bonus in place it provides that much more value for you.
The additional partner benefits, if you can utilize them, are great.
The savings and extra points at Petro-Canada, the free Door Dash
membership and extra Be Well points are welcome benefits with this card.
What is not so good about this
The amount you have to spend to be rewarded. Once you earn your
welcome bonus and have redeemed those bonus points it is going to take
you a long time to earn enough points to redeem again, especially
compared to the competition. If we take an example of a long haul flight
in North America requiring 35,000 RBC Rewards points that means you
need to spend between $28,000 and $35,000 on your Avion Card. Some cards
in our market can achieve that same reward in their respective programs
with as little as $8,000 in spending! That’s a huge difference that
must be considered.
The limited flexibility of the Air Travel Redemption schedule is
another potential drawback with this card. While you can virtually book
any flight, you can lose value if the price goes over or is well under
the maximum ticket price. The issue of taxes and fees also comes up as
you can only redeem points at a 100 to $1 ratio (a 1% return) thus
eroding value again when compared to the competition.
No option to go book travel yourself and redeem points against the
charge without losing value. Technically you can go book any travel you
like outside of RBC Rewards Travel but then you have to redeem with the
Pay Your Credit Card ratio of 17,200 points to $100. That’s a big
reduction in the value of your points and again there are competing
cards that allow you to do the same but do not reduce the value of your
points for such a redemption.
Who should get this card
- Consumers who want quick access to being able to redeem for an award (Thanks to the easily earned welcome bonus!)
- Consumers who bank at RBC and want to keep all
financial products with one bank (especially if your accounts give you a
discount on your annual fee)
- Consumers who like having multiple redemption options with their points
- Consumers who are members of the Avion card’s
frequent flyer transfer partners and want a credit card to be able to
earn more points or miles in those programs.
The RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card is one of Canada’s most
popular travel rewards credit cards thanks to its longevity and some
hefty marketing dollars spent back in the day to promote the card! It
was back in that day when this card reigned supreme by being a front
runner in the any travel anywhere category and fired a direct shot at
frequent flyer programs which at the time were driving Canadians mad
with a lack of award flight availability.
The problem is when you get that popular early on you don’t
think you have to change – in fact an RBC executive once told me this
card is a hero product and didn’t require any changes but unfortunately
that wasn’t and still isn’t the case. The bank has stood idly by keeping
this card the way it has been for the better part of two decades and
they have let the competition fly right by them (pardon the pun) with
credit cards that can get you a seat on a plane with a lot less spend
and with more flexibility.
With all that being said however, it’s not like the card is
bad, in fact we still like it a lot and currently rank it as the 9th
best card overall in Canada (years ago it used to be in the top 5!).
This current ranking though is in large part due to being able to
convert your points to airlines like British Airways. If the card didn’t
have that option there’s a good chance it wouldn’t even make the top
Latest card details:
Other cards to consider if you are looking at this