From now until February 28, 2020, the RBC Visa Infinite Avion is offering an elevated signup bonus of 35,000 Avion points upon approval. The card has an annual fee of $120.
35,000 Avion Points: A Record High
Before today, the best-available offer on the RBC Avion was 15,000 Avion points upon first purchase and another 5,000 Avion points after reaching the minimum spend of $1,000 in the first three months.
However, RBC seems to be especially eager to experiment with limited-time elevated offers as of late, and today’s offer is the latest example of this. If you apply through this special link, you’ll receive a signup bonus of 35,000 Avion points upon approval.
There’s no minimum spending requirement, and in fact there isn’t even a need to make a single purchase! Simply apply for the card, and the 35,000 Avion points should post to your account by the first monthly statement.
This is one of the highest signup bonuses I’ve ever seen offered for this particular product, and even though the annual fee is not waived, it still no doubt represents an excellent value proposition.
As a base-level redemption, 35,000 Avion points can be redeemed via the RBC Travel Redemption Chart towards any round-trip flight within Canada and the continental US with a base fare of up to $750.
1,000 Avion points = 1,000 British Airways Avios
1,000 Avion points = 1,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
1,000 Avion points = 700 American Airlines AAdvantage miles
1,000 Avion points = 10 WestJet Dollars
Thus, you have the option of converting your 35,000 Avion points into 35,000 Avios, 35,000 Asia Miles, 24,500 AAdvantage miles, or 350 WestJet Dollars.
On top of the usual transfer ratios, RBC is known for offering occasional transfer bonuses of 20%, 30%, or even 50% to its transfer partners.
In late 2019, for example, RBC offered a 50% transfer bonus to British Airways Avios. I had taken advantage of this transfer bonus and combined it with another sweet spot of the Avios program: booking a one-way business class flight from Dublin to Toronto on Aer Lingus for 50,000 Avios.
With the 50% bonus, this booking only cost 33,333 Avion points, meaning that if RBC were to offer the same transfer bonus again, then the current signup bonus of 35,000 Avion points would be enough for a one-way transatlantic business class!
Aside from Avios, Asia Miles is another rewarding program that’s known for their abundance of Cathay Pacific award space and generous routing policies, and furthermore, until January 31, the program is offering a 10% bonus from all credit card transfers (including RBC Avion) as well.
Check out this article for some of the best Asia Miles redemptions out there. While 35,000 Asia Miles isn’t quite enough for the long-haul options, you can easily top-up your account by transferring your Amex MR points over as well.
American AAdvantage is known for their partnerships with premium Gulf carriers such as Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, making them a popular way to redeem for Qsuites or the Etihad Apartments. Meanwhile, WestJet Dollars are best redeemed for Member Exclusive fares or otherwise at a ratio of 1 WestJet Dollar = $1 towards any travel on WestJet.
Finally, RBC’s very own Travel Redemption Chart operates similarly to the Amex Fixed Points Travel program, in that you can redeem a fixed number of points for a flight to a certain region with a maximum cash ticket cost allowance.
With this chart, the value is capped due to the maximum ticket cost, so I’d generally recommend maximizing your opportunities with RBC’s frequent flyer partners instead. That’s where the bulk of the Avion program lies, since you can transfer to any of their partners for a desired booking and are not locked in to a single loyalty program.
If, however, you do find yourself in a situation where you’re looking to book a round-trip flight within North America, and you aren’t able to find any satisfactory options via Avios or WestJet Rewards, then the RBC Travel Redemption Chart can act as a fallback option.
It’ll allow you to use your 35,000 Avion points to essentially “cover” the base fare of any flight within North America, up to a maximum of $750, so that you don’t have to worry about any availability constraints even though the overall upside may be limited.
Is This Better than 25,000 Avion Points + First Year Free?
One of the best offers we’ve seen on this card previously allowed you to earn a total of 25,000 Avion points (15,000 points upon first purchase, followed by 10,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months), with a first-year annual fee waiver thrown in. I’d say that the current offer of 35,000 points (with no fee waiver) is an improvement upon that, for a number of reasons.
First, it’s pretty rare to see such a huge sum of points being doled out without so much as a spending requirement, let alone a minimum spending requirement, attached. That alone should pique your interest, since you can earn those 35,000 Avion points with nearly zero effort.
Second, if given the choice between $120 and 10,000 Avion points, I’d say the latter is definitely worth more if you’re able to leverage it towards your travel goals at a good value. Given that there are four frequent flyer partners at your disposal, as well as the Travel Redemption Chart as a fallback option, you really should have no trouble redeeming those 10,000 Avion points at a value higher than 1.2 cents per point (cpp) and thus coming out ahead.
I personally value RBC Avion points at 1.9 cents apiece given their flexibility and frequent transfer bonuses, making the 35,000 Avion points worth a cool $665 in my books. Subtract the $120 annual fee from that, and the overall value of the offer is $545, and that’s definitely the highest we’ve ever seen this card go.
Finally, even if the $120 annual fee isn’t waived as part of the current offer, there could be methods to get it waived anyway – for example by having an RBC VIP Banking Account or by taking advantage of the unadvertised “Visa Infinite customer war” deal as outlined in our page on the RBC Avion card.
Earning Rate & Product Switching
In terms of the earning rate, with the RBC Visa Infinite Avion, you’ll earn 1 Avion point per dollar spent on all purchases, and 1.25 Avion points per dollar spent on purchases coded as travel.
These are pretty unremarkable earning rates as far as travel credit cards go, and in my view, if you needed to put a purchase on a non-Amex credit card, the MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard might offer a better value proposition since their points are arguably worth more.
In contrast, a more interesting approach for this card lies in product-switching to a different RBC card later on with the aim of earning a signup bonus with your switch. In addition to the Avion card, other RBC products that are worth your consideration include the WestJet World Elite MasterCard, the British Airways Visa Infinite, and the Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum.
The new signup offer on the RBC Visa Infinite Avion of 35,000 Avion points upon approval is one of the highest we’ve ever seen, so there’s no better time to apply than before February 29, 2020.
The public RBC website doesn’t list this offer, so remember to click through the dedicated offer page (not a referral link) to apply. Combine this with a transfer bonus to one of RBC’s frequent flyer partners later on in the year, and you’re set to be booking some spectacular travel for only a $120 annual fee.