Bonuses & Fees
The RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is the only credit card in Canada that directly earns miles in the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program. As part of the signup bonus, you’ll get up to 35,000 Asia Miles, distributed as follows:
15,000 Asia Miles upon card approval
10,000 Asia Miles upon spending $6,000 in the first three months
10,000 Asia Miles upon renewing your card after the first membership year
Note that the final 10,000 Asia Miles are only granted after you renew the card for another year. Therefore, if you’re the type who likes to cancel cards before the first year is up to avoid paying the second year’s annual fee, then you’ll walk away from this card with only 25,000 Asia Miles.
The annual fee on this card is $120, and to my knowledge, it has never come with a first-year fee waiver. However, you can get it waived through an RBC VIP Banking Account, which comes with a fee waiver on one of their premium credit cards; meanwhile, if you product-switch away from the card after getting the bonus, you’ll also receive a pro-rated refund on the annual fee as well.
Nevertheless, among other things, 25,000 Asia Miles can get you a one-way flight in Cathay Pacific business class between Vancouver and New York JFK, a round-trip economy class ticket on the same route, or partway towards a larger redemption to Asia or other continents on Cathay Pacific or its Oneworld partners.
Earning those points for $120 is a pretty good deal deal, and definitely worth considering if you can manage the admittedly rather steep minimum spending of $6,000 in the first three months.
The RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum earns 2 Asia Miles per dollar spent with Cathay Pacific online, 1.25 Asia Miles per dollar spent in a foreign currency, and 1 Asia Mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
The 2x return on Cathay Pacific bookings is quite appealing, making this card the go-to choice if you happen to book Cathay Pacific tickets online. Meanwhile, the 1.25x return on foreign spending is effectively a move to offset the 2.5% FX fee that this card charges, so eventually you end up with pretty much the same return as the 1x earnings on general purchases.
That general earning rate isn’t the strongest when compared to other cards on the market, like RBC’s very own Visa Infinite Avion product. With that card, you could get 1 Avion point per dollar spent on general purchases, and then transfer those points over to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles during a 30% promotion, resulting in a much better value than simply using your RBC Cathay Pacific card.
All things considered, I’d only use the Cathay Pacific Visa when purchasing any Cathay Pacific flights, and would prioritize other cards out there for using on my regular purchases.
Perks & Benefits
As an additional benefit, the card also gives you one year of complimentary Green membership in Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club elite program, which gives you a few ancillary benefits when flying with Cathay Pacific like priority boarding, as well as the opportunity to redeem Asia Miles for things like lounge access and extra checked bags.
As a Visa Platinum product (which is one tier below the stronger Visa Infinite offering), the RBC Cathay Pacific comes with a travel insurance package that’s good but not great. This includes:
Emergency medical insurance for the first 31 consecutive days of any out-of-province trips
Flight delay and emergency purchases insurance in the event of a missed connection, delayed flight departure, or denied boarding
Auto rental damage and theft insurance, which can help you save on the insurance fees that car rental companies charge
Hotel burglary insurance of up to $2,500 in total
Travel accident insurance of up to $500,000 against accidental death or dismemberment
Notably, trip cancellation and interruption insurance is excluded. Also, note that the insurance benefits (with the exception of the emergency medical insurance) do not apply to tickets booked with your Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, but rather only to tickets booked with cash or with RBC Rewards points.
You’ll therefore want to use a different credit card to cover your taxes and fees when redeeming Asia Miles if you’d like your trip to be covered by credit card insurance.
The card also comes with strong purchase protection benefits, including an extended warranty that doubles the original manufacturer’s warranty up to a maximum of one year, and coverage against accidental loss or damage of personal property for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.