RBC ION and ION+ Visa Offers: Up to 7,000 Avion Premium Points

RBC® has just launched new offers on the RBC® ION Visa and the RBC® ION+ Visa. Both cards offer elevated earning rates on many common daily expenses, which can be useful as part of your overall RBC Avion strategy, as we’ll explore below.

Let’s take look at the offers, and see why these two entry-level cards should make their way into your wallet to optimize your RBC® credit card strategy.

RBC® ION+ Visa: Up to 7,000 Avion Premium Points

The RBC ION+ Visa has a monthly fee of $4 (all figures in CAD), which amounts to $48 each year.

The current welcome bonus on the card is for up to 7,000 Avion Premium points, which are awarded as follows:

  • Earn 3,500 Avion Premium points upon approval
  • Earn 3,500 Avion Premium points upon spending $500 in the first three months

Avion Premium points are different than the Avion Elite points which are earned on the suite of Avion credit cards, which we’ll explore in detail below.

The earning rates on the RBC® ION+ Visa are as follows:

  • Earn 3 Avion Premium points per dollar spent on eligible groceries, dining, food delivery, gas, public transit, rideshares, streaming, digital gaming, and digital subscriptions
  • Earn 1 Avion Premium point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases

The earning categories are nearly identical to the lower-tier RBC® ION Visa; however, the ION+ offers up to 3 Avion Premium points per dollar spent on many daily essentials, which is double the rate of the ION card. Moreover, the additional elevated earnings categories on the ION+ also encompass dining and food delivery.

Between the RBC® ION Visa and the RBC® ION+ Visa, you’ll want to pick the ION+ if you spend a lot on groceries, dining, food delivery, gas, transportation, streaming, digital gaming, and digital subscriptions, since you’ll earn 3 Avion Premium points per dollar spent instead of 1.5 on the ION.

For the small monthly fee, there’s also a basic set of insurance coverage, including mobile device insurance, purchase security, and extended warranty.

There is no minimum income requirement to apply for the RBC® ION+ Visa.

There’s no listed expiration date for this offer.

RBC® ION Visa: 3,500 Avion Premium Points

The RBC® ION Visa is an entry-level product, which comes with no annual fee.

As a welcome bonus for new cardmembers, you can earn 3,500 Avion Premium points upon approval, with no minimum spending requirement.

Furthermore, as part of this offer, you can enjoy a 0.99% interest rate on cash advances and balance transfers for the first 10 months.†

Again, note that while the points earned on this card belong to the Avion Rewards program, you’ll earn Avion Premium rather than Avion Elite points, which we’ll discuss in detail below.

The card’s earning rates are as follows:

  • Earn 1.5 Avion Premium points per dollar spent on eligible groceries, gas, rideshares, public transit, electric vehicle charging, streaming, digital gaming, and digital subscriptions
  • Earn 1 Avion Premium point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases

This no-fee credit card is targeted towards casual travellers who spend a fair amount on rideshares, transit, streaming, and video games.

It’s the only card to target spending in these categories, and will likely appeal to younger individuals who wish to earn flexible travel rewards.

The insurance coverage on the RBC® ION Visa is basic, which is fully expected on entry-level cards such as this one.

There is no minimum income requirement to apply for the RBC® ION Visa.

This offer on this card is set to expire on December 6, 2023.

How to Use Avion Points from RBC® ION Cards

The points earned on the RBC® ION Visa and the RBC® ION+ Visa earn Avion Premium points, while the RBC® Avion Visa Infinite, the RBC® Avion Visa Platinum, and RBC Avion® Visa Infinite Privilege earn Avion Elite points.

Although the RBC® ION and ION+ Visas earn Avion points, Avion Premium points can’t be transferred to three of the four airline partners available through the Avion Rewards program. 

The exception is WestJet Rewards, to which Avion Premium points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio (1 Avion point = $0.01 in WestJet Dollars).

Furthermore, ION and 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 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 Avion Rewards, which is less valuable than the 1cpp redemption rate that you get from holding a higher-tier Avion card that earns Avion Elite points.

Luckily, if you also hold an Avion credit card, such as the RBC® Avion Visa Infinite, you can transfer Avion points at a 1:1 ratio between your different Avion cards. Therefore, the less flexible Avion Premium points you earn from the ION cards can still be converted into more powerful Avion Elite points. 

What’s more, if you ever decide to upgrade your ION or ION+ card to one of the RBC Avion cards, any points you’ve collected will be upgraded as well.

Then, you’ll be able to access higher-value travel redemptions that are exclusive to Avion cardholders: frequent flyer partners, the Air Travel Redemption Schedule, and the ability to redeem points directly against travel at 1cpp.

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.

The Optimized RBC® Credit Card Portfolio

Long-term, as cards with no or low annual fees, the RBC® ION Visa and RBC® ION+ Visa cards would be good downgrade options if you’re thinking about cancelling your RBC® Avion Visa Infinite, RBC® Avion Visa Platinum, or RBC Avion® Visa Infinite Privilege,  but want to keep your points alive or preserve an old credit account.

However, either of the higher-tier cards would be the optimal choice for a new signup if you qualify for them, with larger welcome bonuses and stronger travel insurance benefits.

On the other hand, there’s a strong argument to be made for holding both a higher-tier Avion card and an ION or ION+ card. This way, you can take advantage of the elevated earning rates on the ION and ION+ cards on everyday essentials, and then transfer the Avion Premium points over to become the more powerful Avion Elite points.

Transfer Avion points to British Airways Executive Club to book Qatar Airways Qsuites

If you were to hold both the RBC® ION+ Visa and an RBC® Avion product, you could earn 3 Avion Premium points per dollar spent on groceries, dining, food delivery, gas, public transit, rideshares, streaming, digital gaming, and digital subscriptions on your ION+, and then convert them into RBC Avion Elite points by way of holding an eligible Avion product.

The earning rates on these categories are 1–1.25 points per dollar spent on all of the Avion Elite cards, so you’d be earning more than double or even triple the points on many common daily purchases with the ION+.

This way, you’re making the best of both worlds, by leveraging the elevated earning rates on the RBC® ION+ Visa, and the more powerful ways to redeem Avion points with an eligible Avion card.

When coupled with either no annual fee or a low monthly fee, there’s not a lot of cost involved to earning RBC® Avion points this way, and it’s indeed the most optimized approach.

Conclusion

The RBC® ION Visa and RBC® ION+ Visa cards have welcome offers for up to 3,500 and 7,000 RBC Avion Premium points, respectively.

The RBC® ION Visa and RBC® ION+ Visa not only fill a useful supporting role to the greater RBC® Avion portfolio, but also stand out on their own as unique product offerings to hold long-term.

The current welcome bonuses are solid across the board, and you can upgrade both the new cards to a more premium Avion Rewards card anytime you wish to take advantage of RBC Avion’s excellent transfer partners.

The offer on the RBC® ION+ Visa is availability indefinitely, while the RBC® ION Visa is only until December 6, 2023. Be sure to take stock of what’s available, and apply if it fits your travel goals.

Refer to RBC page for up to date offer terms and conditions.

4 Comments
  1. Ruddy YQB

    Thanks Christropher. That is good to know! However, the article does not mention EV charging as a 3x earning in the section on the ION+ card.

  2. Ruddy YQB

    Do the ION+ cards earn 3 points per dollar spent on electric vehicle charging? If not, they are below the ION cards for that type of expenses.

    1. christopher

      The ION card earns 1.5x per $1 spent on EV charging while the ION+ earns 3x. So the ION+ is better for EV Charging expenses

      1. Ruddy YQB

        Thanks, Christopher. That is good to know. My question was because the article does not mention EV charging expenses as yielding a 3x earning in the section related to the ION+ card. Maybe that should be made more precise.

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