Which RBC Credit Card is the Best for Travel Points?

Thursday 15th, November 2018 / 01:02 Written by
Which RBC Credit Card is the Best for Travel Points?
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If you are comparing RBC credit cards to decide which offers the best deal for travel points, you have four choices. The RBC Visa Infinite Avion, WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard, RBC British Airways Visa Infinite, and RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum. Of course, much depends on how and where you travel.

There are four rewards programs with the four cards. RBC Rewards, WestJet Dollars, Avios, and Asia Miles. Each of the welcome and bonus offers, as well as the potential to earn rewards, are decent.

Rob Bertholf/Flickr

Here are some basics about each card:

RBC Visa Infinite Avion

Introductory Offer: 15,000 welcome points

Rewards: RBC Rewards

Annual Fee: $120

Interest Rate Cash Advance: 19.99%

Interest Rate Purchases: 22.99%

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

Introductory Offer: 250 welcome WestJet Dollars

Rewards: WestJet Dollars

Annual Fee: $119

Interest Rate Cash Advance: 19.99%

Interest Rate Purchases: 21.99%

RBC British Airways Visa Infinite

Introductory Offer: Up to 50,000 bonus Avios

Rewards: Avios

Annual Fee: $165

Interest Rate Cash Advance: 20.50%

Interest Rate Purchases: 22.99%

RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum

Introductory Offer: Up to 35,000 Asia Miles

Rewards: Asia Miles

Annual Fee: $120

Interest Rate Cash Advance: 20.50%

Interest Rate Purchases: 22.99%

RBC Visa Infinite Avion

This card starts new owners out with 15,000 welcome RBC rewards points. Those points are worth $350 when used toward a short-haul flight to a province or state in Canada or the United States. There are no seat restrictions or black-out dates.

Travel rewards program

100 RBC Rewards Points = $1 CAD when not using the Air Travel Redemption Schedule, for one-way, first-class, or business-class air fare, for trips booked less than 14 days in advance, and for all other types of travel packages and expenses.

Cardholders can transfer points to Avios, AAdvantage, Asia Miles, and West Jet, making this a versatile choice for travel.

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

Cardholders get a welcome bonus of 250 WestJet dollars for making their first purchase with the card. An annual round-trip companion voucher allows cardholders to take a guest with them on the same itinerary. The primary cardholder gets their first checked bag free, as well.

$1 WestJet = $1 CAD

A variety of WestJet Vacations packages are also available as an option for redeeming dollars earned through this travel rewards program. There are no seat restrictions or blackout dates across North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Central America.

Travel rewards program

Fly Canada and the Continental U.S. for $99 CAD, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean for $299 CAD, and the remainder of the West Jet network for $399 CAD or use WestJet dollars to reduce the price of the fare, excluding taxes, fees, and surcharges. WestJet dollars also reduce the price of WestJet Vacations packages dollar-for-dollar making this travel rewards program the simplest of the four options.

RBC British Airways Visa Infinite

This card rewards users with Avios. The welcome bonus includes up to 50,000 bonus Avios, plus 1 Avios for every $1 CAD spent with the card on qualifying purchases. Cardholders also receive a Companion Award eVoucher when they spend $30,000 CAD with the card within the first year.

Travel rewards program

Avios are redeemable for various flights around the world. Cardholders can pay for these reward flights with Avios, but must pay taxes, fees, and carrier charges with cash. Upgrade with Avios on selected fares with American Airlines, Iberia, and British Airways. Avios redemption is also available with car rentals, experiences, and hotel stays all over the world.

Mighty Travels/Flickr

RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum

This card’s rewards come in the form of Asia Miles. New cardholders can get up to 35,000 Asia Miles, 15,000 of which arrive upon approval when applying for the card.

Travel rewards program

Asia Miles are redeemable for flights to more than 1,000 destinations worldwide. Cardholders can also use them for merchandise, car rental, hotel packages, concert tickets, and holiday getaways.

How to choose the best RBC travel rewards card

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It can be difficult to figure out the value of travel rewards program currencies.

Here’s a breakdown of information that may be useful if a cardholder simply wants to understand which credit card would offer the most value when used for everyday purchases totaling $10,000 each year.

RBC Visa Infinite Avion

15,000 Welcome points

1 RBC Rewards point for every dollar spent with the card

Total: 25,000 RBC Rewards points = 1 flight anywhere in Canada or the United States + $1,000 CAD (points equivalent) for hotels, car rental, cruise, or vacation packages

RBC Rewards points transfer to other rewards programs, as well.

RBC Points conversion transfer rates

  • Avios: 1:1
  • Asiamiles: 1:1
  • AAdvantage: 10:7

Please note that these programs can change, so consult each individual company to confirm travel point conversion rates before making final travel plans.

RBC devalued conversion to American Airlines AAdvantage miles May 2, 2017. They also capped the annual points you can convert at 500,000. The minimum is 5,000 with each transaction.

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

$250 WestJet dollars with first purchase

1.5% back in WestJet dollars on everyday purchases

Total: $1,750 WestJet dollars

RBC British Airways Visa Infinite

15,000 Avios as a welcome bonus, 25,000 bonus Avios for spending $5,000 CAD within the first two months, 10,000 Avios upon card renewal after the first year

1 Avios for every $1 CAD on qualifying purchases

Total: 60,000 Avios = 6 zone 3 (1,151 – 2,000 mile) flights during peak season

Tips for using Avios:

  • Before making final travel plans, use the Avios and Money calculator to maximize travel value
  • Cardholders who have multiple Avios-earning people in one household can pool rewards with a free Household Account
  • British Airways helps cardholders use Avios to book flights with Oneworld and partner airlines when space is available by showing BA availability first, then partner airlines

RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum

15,000 Asia Miles as a welcome bonus, 10,000 Asia Miles after spending $6,000 CAD within the first three months, 10,000 Asia Miles upon card renewal after the first year

1 Asia Mile for every $1 CAD spent

Total: 51,000 Asia Miles = 5 short (751-2,750 mile) flights

Tips for using Asia Miles:

  • The Oneworld multicarrier award chart lets users reserve flights with more stopovers than standard awards
  • Those with Citi, SPG, or American Express points can transfer those rewards to add to their Asia Miles balance
  • When speaking with an Asia Miles customer service rep, have these charts close by

What you can get with 35,000 Avois:

While a journey up to 1,500 miles costs 30,000 Avios plus taxes, fees, and carrier charges, you can take up to a 4,000-mile trip for just 5,000 more Avios.

A multi-carrier Reward Flight of 1,500 to 4,000 miles costs 35,000 Avios plus taxes, fees, and carrier charges.

  • Toronto to Denver
  • Toronto to Los Angeles
  • Toronto to London
  • Vancouver to New York
  • Vancouver to Dallas

What you can get with 35,000 Asia Miles:

A round-trip multi-carrier flight on Cathay Dragon, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airway, Finnair, Qantas Airways, Iberia Airways, or Qatar Airways with a distance of 1,501 to 2,000 miles costs 35,000 Asia Miles.

  • Toronto to Denver
  • Toronto to Edmonton

Asia Miles members can also redeem miles on flights between all major hubs in Vancouver and Toronto as well as 12 other destinations in the Air Canada network as of Jan 19, 2017.

Here’s what some example flights would cost in Asia Miles:

  • Toronto to Halifax: 10,000
  • Toronto to Ottawa: 7,500
  • Vancouver to Quebec City: 34,000
  • Vancouver to Victoria: 10,000

Asia Miles award flight redemption charts can be difficult to understand, but be warned that customer service doesn’t have a great reputation for being fast or reliable.

 

TravelingOtter/Flickr

If free and cheap travel is the goal and the destination is less important, the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite credit card offers the greatest opportunity for free and cheap travel. The versatility of Avios through the BA Executive Club as a travel reward currency is a plus. Avios also work for purchasing hotels, car rental, and experiences. Avios is compatible with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Kulula, Air Italy, Flybe, Iberia, and Veuling. BA Executive Club members can also earn Avios by flying with any of these airlines.

For travelers who are more familiar or more comfortable with the Asia Miles program, the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum offers a nice set of bonuses just for qualifying for the card and using it for everyday purchases. New cardholders would do well with any of the four options, here.

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