The RBC Ion Visa is a great no-annual fee credit card for casual travellers who spend a fair amount on transportation, streaming, and video games. It’s the only card to target spending in these categories, and will likely appeal to younger millennials and Gen Z who wish to earn flexible rewards.
It’s also a viable downgrade option for RBC’s premium cardholders (such as the RBC Avion Visa Infinite or RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege), in case you wanted to keep the account open without having to continue paying the higher annual fees on their existing products.
Bonuses & Fees
The signup bonus on the RBC Ion Visa card is 6,000 Avion points, granted all at once upon approval. This is an easy 6,000 points just for opening the card, and is worth $35 when redeemed directly for travel.
The card has no annual fee for primary or supplementary cardholders.
Please see the RBC site for more details on offers.
The RBC Ion Visa card offers the following earning rates:
- 1.5 Avion points for every $1 spent on grocery, gas, rideshare, daily public transit, electric vehicle charging, streaming, digital gaming and digital subscriptions
- 1 Avion point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
The first thing you’ll notice is the unique categorized earning, as this is really the only card on the market to offer elevated rewards for streaming, digital gaming, and digital subscriptions. A clear target audience never hurt anyone, and if you spend a significant amount on digital gaming and streaming, I would pick this card up with no hesitation especially for no annual fee.
The baseline earn rate of 1 Avion point per $1 spent is on par with many mid-tier credit cards as well, offering great value on this entry-level card.
The RBC Ion Visa is also well-suited for those who are interested in collecting Avion points while building up a relatively new credit file or restricting themselves to lower annual fees and credit limits.
For most folks serious about travelling in style, though, it would make sense to apply for any of the stronger cards out there (such as the RBC Avion Visa Infinite, to name just one).
Although the RBC Ion Visa earns the same Avion points as the higher-tier RBC credit cards, these points can’t be transferred to RBC’s airline partners, except WestJet where the prevailing 1:1 ratio (1 Avion point = $0.01 in WestJet Dollars) applies.
Also, Ion cardholders can’t redeem points via the Air Travel Redemption Schedule, which lets you use Avion points to book round-trip economy class tickets departing from Canada, up to a certain maximum ticket price.
Instead, you’re limited to using your points at a flat rate of 0.58 cents per point (cpp) for travel booked via the Avion Rewards centre, which is a lot weaker than the 1cpp redemption rate that you get from holding a higher-tier Avion card.
Luckily, if you ever decide to upgrade your Ion card to one of the RBC Avion cards, any points you’ve collected will be upgraded as well. Then, you’ll have the ability to access higher-value travel redemptions that are exclusive to Avion cardholders.
Your points never expire for as long as you’re a cardholder. If you cancel or switch to a different RBC product, you have 90 days to redeem your points before they go away.
Perks & Benefits
All RBC cardholders can save 3¢/L on fuel at Petro-Canada, and will earn 20% more Petro-Points and Avion points upon linking their card to their Petro-Points account.
The RBC Ion Visa card also receives three months of free DoorDash DashPass subscription.
The RBC Ion Visa does not offer any types of insurance coverage. While that’s understandable for a basic no-fee product, it’s still a fairly sub-standard offering compared to other no-fee cards in the market.