The RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is ideal for Cathay Pacific aficionados, with a strong welcome bonus of 40,000 Asia Miles and a high earning structure on Cathay Pacific flights.
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 40,000 Asia Miles, distributed as follows:
15,000 Asia Miles upon card approval
25,000 Asia Miles upon spending $7,000 in the first three months
Earning 40,000 Asia Miles for $120 is a pretty good deal, and definitely worth considering if you can manage the rather steep minimum spending of $7,000 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.
With the signup bonus, 40,000 Asia Miles can get you closer towards your next Asia Miles redemption to Asia or other continents on Cathay Pacific or its Oneworld partners.
Another potential sweet spot is 15,000 Asia Miles one-way in economy class from Seattle to Hawaii.
If you combine this portion of the signup bonus towards a larger Asia Miles redemption (keep in mind that you can earn Asia Miles from RBC Avion points as well as American Express Membership Rewards), you can fly from North America to South Africa via Hong Kong for only 85,000 Asia Miles in business class, or even fly to Europe at the same price.
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.