Let’s take a look at the new offers, and see why these two entry-level cards could make their way into your wallet.
RBC Ion Visa: 6,000 Avion 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 6,000 Avion points upon approval, provided you apply before October 31, 2023.
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 points per dollar spent on groceries, gas, rideshares, public transit, electric vehicle charging, streaming, digital gaming, and digital subscriptions
Earn 1 Avion point per dollar spent on all other 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.
It’s worth noting that 6,000 points is an great welcome bonus on a credit card without an annual fee.
The insurance coverage on the RBC Ion Visa is basic, which is fully expected on entry-level cards such as this one.
- Earn 6,000 Avion points upon approval†
- Earn 1.5x points† on qualifying grocery, gas, rideshare, daily public transit, electric vehicle charging, streaming, digital gaming and digital subscriptions
- Annual fee: $0
RBC Ion+ Visa: 12,000 Avion Points
The RBC Ion+ Visa has a monthly fee of $4, which amounts to $48 each year.
The current welcome bonus on the card is 12,000 Avion points, which are awarded upon approval if you apply before October 31, 2023.
The earning rates on the RBC Ion+ Visa are as follows:
Earn 3 Avion points per dollar spent on groceries, dining, food delivery, gas, public transit, rideshares, streaming, digital gaming, and digital subscriptions
Earn 1 Avion point per dollar spent on all other purchases
The elevated earning categories are nearly identical to the lower-tier RBC Ion Visa, but the Ion+ offers up to 3 Avion Premium points per dollar spent. 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 at least $134 each month on groceries, dining, food delivery, gas, transportation, streaming, digital gaming, and digital subscriptions, since that’s the breakeven point on the $4 monthly fee.
For the small monthly fee, there’s also a basic set of insurance coverage, including mobile device insurance, purchase security, and extended warranty.
- Earn 12,000 Avion points upon approval†
- Earn 3x points† on qualifying grocery, dining, food delivery, gas, rideshare, daily public transit, electric vehicle charging, streaming, digital gaming and digital subscriptions
- Mobile device insurance†
- Monthly fee: $4†
How to Use Avion Points from RBC Ion Cards
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 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, say, an 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 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 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 travel insurance benefits.
On the other hand, there’s a strong argument to 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, and then transfer the Avion Premium points over to become Avion Elite points.
When coupled with either no annual fee or a low monthly fee, there’s not a lot of cost involved to approaching RBC Avion points this way.
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.
Refer to RBC page for up to date offer terms and conditions.