Best value for booking short-haul flights
The RBC British Airways Visa Infinite offers a signup bonus of 50,000 Avios, delivered to you as follows:
15,000 Avios upon card approval
25,000 Avios upon spending $5,000 in the first three months
10,000 Avios upon renewing your card after the first membership year
You’ll note that the final 10,000 Avios 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 40,000 Avios.
The annual fee on this card is $165, and to my knowledge, it has never come with a first-year fee waiver. However, you might have some luck getting it waived through RBC’s unadvertised Visa Infinite “customer war” deal.
Basically, many data points indicate that if you call RBC and tell them you are an existing cardholder of a competing Visa Infinite product (such as the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite or the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite), RBC will waive the first year annual fee on their own Visa Infinite cards.
However, the success of this “customer war” trick seems to be mixed, and you might need to call in a few times to get an agent who knows about it.
Otherwise, you can also get yourself an RBC VIP Banking Account, which comes with a fee waiver on one of their premium credit cards.
Nevertheless, among other things, 40,000 Avios can get you a one-way flight in economy class from Vancouver to Asia, up to three one-way flights from the West Coast to Hawaii or from Toronto to Dublin, or up to eight one-way flights on any short-haul side-trips you plan to take with Oneworld carriers along your travels around the world.
Earning those points for $165 is still a pretty great deal, and definitely one to consider if you can manage the minimum spending of $5,000 in the first three months.
The RBC British Airways Visa Infinite earns 2 Avios per dollar spent on British Airways flights and vacations, and 1 Avios per dollar spent on all other purchases.
This earning rate isn’t the strongest when compared to other cards on the market, like RBC’s 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 Avios during a 30–50% promotion, resulting in a much better value than simply using your British Airways Visa Infinite card.
The 2x return on British Airways bookings might be appealing, but even then, you could put the same charges on the Amex Gold Rewards Card to earn 2 MR points per dollar spent, which then transfer over to Avios at a 1:1 ratio (and occasionally have bonuses as well).
It’s safe to say that the most attractive feature about the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite is certainly the signup bonus rather than the earning rate on regular purchases.
This card also comes with a Companion Award eVoucher when you spend $30,000 on the card in one calendar year. This voucher allows you to add a companion to your ticket for free when you redeem your Avios for a round-trip flight with British Airways originating in and returning to Canada.
Read more: The Best Credit Cards with Companion Fares
While this sounds like a great deal, keep in mind that Avios redemptions on British Airways long-haul flights come with significant fuel surcharges in the region of $600 in economy class or $1,000 in business class, which can really eat into your savings.
I’d say that this is a benefit that you could take advantage of if you do happen to be making this redemption anyway, but it’s not worth going out of your way to spend $30,000 on this card for it.
As a Visa Infinite product, this credit card comes with comprehensive premium travel insurance, including:
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
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.
The RBC British Airways Visa Infinite mandates a minimum personal annual income of $60,000 or a household income of $100,000. However, longstanding RBC clients may have success visiting their branch to see if these requirements can be waived.
Click the below link (not an affiliate link) to get to the RBC landing page if you’re interested in applying. You may also want to consider product-switching to this card from a different RBC card in order to preserve your credit account’s contribution to your overall credit history.