RBC Royal Bank has completed the re-branding of their RBC Rewards program to Avion Rewards. First announced in July and launched this past weekend, the new Avion Rewards site is up and running with all the relevant details for the updated program.
From a marketing standpoint this made 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 somewhat
of a separate program.
To make more sense of the various names and options RBC 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 remains the same as it was before.
New Avion levels
products that were part of RBC Rewards but not Avion will now be known
as the Avion Premium level. 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 with their nomenclature!
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.
There are also two new credit cards that have been introduced which fall into the Avion Premium level. Those cards are the RBC ION+ Visa Visa and the RBC ION Visa These cards effectively replace the RBC Signature and Rewards+ cards which are no longer available for new applications. We’ll have a more detailed post on the two new cards coming next week.
Here is how RBC describes the levels:
- Avion Premium members have access to even richer cash back savings,
offers, and more ways to shop, earn, redeem and pay with Avion points,
all within one convenient program.
- Avion Elite members enjoy all
of the benefits of the Avion Premium tier, plus exclusive elite offers
and experiences, more points and even greater savings.
Travel Redemption for the new levels
Avion Elite for Avion cardholders remains the same. You have the Avion Air Travel Redemption Schedule (Reward Chart) or the option to redeem 100 points for every $1 of travel booked with Avion Rewards.
Avion Premium for non-Avion cardholders have the option to redeem 100 points for every $1 of travel booked with Avion Rewards.
Avion Premium for ION and ION+ cardholders have the option to redeem 172 points for every $1 of travel booked with Avion Rewards.
I do have one question I haved posed to RBC and am awaiting an answer for. That is if you have an RBC bank account that qualifies for Avion Premium and gets the 100 points to $1 redemption rate and you add in an ION card, what redemption rate for travel do you get? The 100 to $1 or the 172 to $1?
New Shopping Discounts and Cask Back Rewards
Possibly the biggest addition to the Avion Rewards program comes in the form of shopping discounts and cash back rewards that can be earned over and above the points you earn on your various RBC products.
Here are the details that RBC provided to us:
Deals without the hunt.
The new Avion Rewards ShopPlus shopping companion proactively connects members to thousands of retail partners and added value as they shop online. Avion Rewards ShopPlus saves consumers time and money by delivering the most relevant, cash back deals, coupons and offers right where they shop online so they don’t have to worry about missing out on deals.
Pay with points virtually anywhere.
Avion Rewards members have more flexibility than ever to use their Avion points in ways that matter most to them. In addition to redeeming points for a wide selection of travel, merchandise, gift cards and experiences, eligible members can now use their points to pay for any qualifying everyday purchases.
10x more retail partners to shop, save and redeem with.
Avion Rewards has expanded its network of retail partners from hundreds to more than 1,900 merchants, bringing members exclusive cash back deals, discounts and more opportunities to earn Avion points. Members can also take advantage of exclusive offers from major Avion Rewards program partners such as Petro-Canada (a Suncor business), Wayfair, Rexall, DoorDash, Lowe’s, RONA and Réno-Dépôt and more.
As I currently don’t have an RBC Avion product in my wallet (I do have the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard but that doesn’t qualify for anything listed in this post) I can’t speak much to these shopping benefits. As time goes on I know we’ll hear from our readers who are Avion members and we’ll able to relay more details on how these deal work in reality.
Wrapping it up
For the most part
the transition from RBC Rewards to Avion Rewards is a cosmetic one. The program
fundamentals are not changing for the majority of members save for those who switch to or get the new RBC ION credit cards. By fundamentals I mean the earn and burn aspect for rewards and while RBC had an opportunity to make the points part of their program more competitive, they have chosen to go down the route of adding discounts and other potential ways to save some cash. Ultimately for existing members this is good news as your point values stay the same and now you’ll have opportunities to save some extra cash as well.
That being said, with Rewards Canada’s continuing mission to educate all Canadians on the ins and outs of our plethora of reward programs I need to remind our readers that don’t strictly use RBC to churn cards that Avion Rewards points are some of the most expensive in Canada. By most expensive, I mean in terms of how much you have to spend on your credit card to achieve cash back, travel and other rewards when compared to many other cards in the market. This is slightly alleviated if you have an Avion Credit Card and an ION Credit Card since the latter earns more points and the former has the better travel redemption rates. (See the chart posted at the bottom of this post as an example)
In the end you could get yourself a more rewarding credit card from another bank and still get cash back when you combine that card or cards with apps like Drop, RBC’s own Amplii, and/or shop via online portals like Rakuten, Great Canadian Rebates, Aeroplan’s eStore and AIR MILES Shops.
With all that said however, I am happy that RBC did not change the program for the worse. When we see programs go through major changes, renaming and so forth it is typically for the worse even when they are marketed as enhancements. I commend RBC for keeping things the way they were and now adding in the opportunity for their members to earn some cash back and extra savings. In the end we can call the Avion Rewards program an enhancement to the old RBC Rewards program.
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
Title image via RBC