RBC Avion Rewards: a full guide

Fernando Figueiredo

RBC, otherwise known as Royal Bank of Canada, offers a wide range of credit cards, from basic ones to elite, high-end products. Among these is a series of credit cards known as Avion, which gives you a few exclusive benefits tailored to those who love to travel.

But what does the RBC Avion Rewards programme look like? Is it worth getting an Avion credit card if you want to access these rewards? In this article, you’ll find out what the rewards scheme really offers. And you’ll also read about the Wise card and how you can save money when you go abroad.

What is RBC Avion?

Basically, RBC Avion is part of the RBC Rewards program, which you’ll have access to if you have any of the Avion credit cards, and not other RBC Rewards cards.

RBC Avion is made up of a series of credit cards:¹

  • RBC Avion Visa Infinite
  • RBC Avion Visa Platinum
  • RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege
  • RBC Avion Visa Infinite Business
  • RBC Visa Business Platinum Avion

What unites all these credit cards is the reward scheme: within RBC Rewards, certain benefits are reserved exclusively for “Avioners” – people who have one of the Avion credit cards.

What are those benefits, though? Let’s take a look.

RBC Avion Rewards

It would be easy to confuse RBC’s general rewards scheme with its Avion programme, so let’s take one at a time.

RBC Rewards in general

Like all firms offering rewards-based credit cards, RBC has a programme that lets its cardholders redeem their points, earned when they spend money using their card, for rewards.

The rewards on offer from RBC include merchandise and special deals via the RBC Rewards website: there’s an online catalogue you can take a look through.²

What about travel? RBC Rewards lets you convert 100 points to $1 towards any type of travel – so you certainly can benefit.³ However, as you’ll find out next, it’s possible to get a better rate of return if your RBC credit card is Avion.

Avion Points

Avion points – in other words, RBC Rewards points earned by Avion cardholders – can be redeemed directly for flights at a set rate.³ It’s a similar scheme to what you get with Aeroplan or Air Miles.

Avion points can also go toward what RBC calls The Avion Collection.⁴ But first, let’s focus on flights. How many points does it cost to fly where?³

How many Avion points do I need for a flight?

Flight RBC Avion Rewards points needed Maximum ticket value (excl. taxes, surcharges, fees)
Within/to an adjacent province, territory, or US state 15,000 $350
Canada / US (excl. Hawaii, Alaska) 35,000 $750
Western Canada / US to Mexico, Hawaii, or Alaska; Eastern Canada to Bermuda, Central America, or the Caribbean 45,000 $900
Eastern Canada / US to Mexico, Hawaii, or Alaska; Western Canada to Bermuda, Central America, or the Caribbean 55,000 $1,100
Major Canada / US gateway to Europe 65,000 $1,300
Major Canada / US gateway to other destinations 100,000 $2,000

Compare those figures to the rate of 100 points per dollar that non-Avion RBC Rewards customers get, and you’ll see how much you could save using this scheme.

There are no restrictions on airlines, flights, or times, by the way.³

The Avion Collection

Further Avion Rewards take the form of the so-called Avion Collection.

This consists of various offers and savings in travel, food, wellness, sports, and entertainment, that only Avion cardholders are given access to.⁴

What can you do with Avion points?

Apart from getting flights, there are other rewards - they’ll depend on which Avion credit card you have, but all of them come with some forms of insurance coverage.

RBC Avion Visa Infinite cardholders get plenty of extra benefits as well, including complimentary concierge service, hotel room upgrades, and so on. You even get 10% off fees on golf at numerous international courses.⁴

RBC Avion credit cards

These rewards are only good value, of course, if the actual credit card it comes with is the right fit for you. So it’s worth taking a look through each of the Avion credit cards on offer, to find out whether one of them speaks to you and your financial and travel needs.

RBC Avion Visa Infinite

The Visa Infinite card costs $120 a year, the welcome bonus is up to 35,000 points, and you generally earn 1 reward point per dollar, rising to 1.25x on eligible travel purchases.

Even though it’s at the lower end of the scale in terms of Avion credit cards, it comes with plenty of insurance coverage, including mobile device insurance and trip cancellation/interruption.

Who is eligible for it? You’ll need to be earning $60,000 a year, or $100,000 across your household.⁵

RBC Avion Visa Platinum

At first glance, the Visa Platinum looks very similar indeed to the Visa Infinite. It costs the same per year and the points system is similar too, at 1x points across purchases. But when you drill down a few differences start to emerge.⁶

It doesn’t offer as much in terms of insurance: mobile device insurance and emergency medical insurance when you’re out of the province or country is off the table too.

The Platinum card has no minimum income limit – that’s a key difference. If you’re not earning $60,000 or $100,000 a year, this is the one to go for; if you’re earning that much, the Infinite card is likely the superior option.⁷

RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege

For $399 a year, individuals or households who earn at least $200,000 can opt for the Visa Infinite Privilege card. The maximum welcome bonus of 35,000 points is the same as at the lower level, but you get 1.25 Rewards points per dollar.

There’s a little more insurance – lost or stolen baggage is covered – and you also get some luxury air travel benefits like lounge access, fast track lanes through security, and airport parking at some airports in Canada.⁸

RBC Avion Visa Infinite Business

Business owners can get 1.25x points while paying an annual fee of $175 – much less than the Infinite Privilege fee – with the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Business. This card gives 25,000 bonus points when you enrol, and you get access to numerous airport lounges around the world too.

For a business owner travelling for work, this card has a few advantages over the non-business version that make it worth considering.

You can get up to 9 additional cards at $75 each.⁹

RBC Visa Business Platinum Avion

The business version of the Platinum card is priced at $120 a year and rewards you with 1 point per dollar. Additional cards are $50, and points can be pooled between your employees as well as your own personal Avion card. The welcome bonus is 20,000 points.

There’s still plenty of insurance coverage with this card.¹⁰

How do you earn Avion points?

With RBC Avion credit cards, points are gained at a flat rate of 1 or 1.25 points per dollar. Some other credit cards offer increased points in certain spending categories, like groceries or entertainment, but Avion generally keeps things a little simpler there. Arguably, the various extra features you get with Avion cards make up for this.

Plus, of course, there are the welcome bonuses to consider: the substantial amount of points gained when you sign up makes a serious dent in progress towards a big reward like a flight.

Can you convert Avion points to other schemes?

You don’t actually have to keep your points within the RBC Rewards or RBC Avion Rewards systems.

It’s possible to convert your points to several other sets of rewards points:¹¹

  • Hudson’s Bay Rewards
  • American Airlines AAdvantage miles
  • British Airways Avios
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • WestJet dollars

Depending on the conversion ratio on offer, as well as the points totals required by each of those schemes, it’s possible that you could end up getting more value out of your points that way.

RBC Avion Rewards alternatives

Avion isn’t the only show in town when it comes to travel-based rewards programmes.

Aeroplan credit cards are popular in Canada, and so are Air Miles ones. Both offer similar systems where you can redeem points for substantial travel benefits, most notably including flights.

American Express, CIBC, and TD all offer Aeroplan credit cards, and Amex offers various additional cards whose points totals can be converted to Aeroplan.

Air Miles cards, meanwhile, are on offer from BMO and Amex, offering similar rewards for people looking to travel.¹²

Is the RBC Avion Rewards scheme worth it?

There’s a lot of flexibility with the Avion Rewards scheme. Firstly, you don’t have to use any of the Avion credit cards for travel if you don’t want to: you have the option to use the standard RBC Rewards system like you might with a non-travel credit card.

Secondly, you can convert your points to other schemes if you work out that it’s better value to do so.

And thirdly, if you do stick with the rewards offered for “Avioners,” RBC isn’t restrictive when it comes to flights – those points are redeemable very widely.

If what you want is flexibility, though, don’t forget that some other cards could offer more in the way of day-to-day benefits: the best travel credit cards in Canada include the American Express Cobalt and Scotiabank Gold American Express – just two examples of cards that are useful both for travelling and for staying at home.

And when it comes to amassing points, the 1x and 1.25x points on offer from RBC Avion may be lower than some offers from other providers.

What’s more, there are other ways to get value out of a travel credit card. What about foreign exchange fees? These are typically around 2.5%, but no FX fee credit cards could save you that full amount – every single time you make a purchase in a foreign currency. The Brim Mastercard and HSBC World Elite Mastercard are two examples of such cards.

All of that said, the RBC Avion series of credit cards could well prove useful for a huge range of people and businesses. It just depends what you’re after when you travel.

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  1. RBC Credit Card Categories
  2. RBC Rewards
  3. RBC Rewards: Travel
  4. RBC Rewards: Avioner Benefits
  5. RBC Avion Visa Infinite
  6. RBC: Compare Credit Cards (Avion Visa Infinite, Avion Visa Platinum)
  7. RBC Avion Visa Platinum
  8. RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege
  9. The RBC Avion Visa Infinite Business
  10. The RBC Visa Business Platinum Avion
  11. RBC Rewards Help: How do I convert RBC Rewards…
  12. Air Miles credit cards

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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