RBC ION vs Avion: Differences in Rewards Explained

Guy checking his cash back credit card balance
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While both cards earn Avion Rewards, the main difference is that RBC Avion credit cards can redeem points for flights using the travel redemption schedule, a predefined amount of points for each of 6 different zones around the world (Max ticket price applies).

The RBC ION Visa Credit Card can redeem for travel at a rate of 172 points to $1.

The RBC ION is known for its no annual fee and a rewards program focused on everyday spending, which contrasts with the RBC Avion Visa Platinum Credit Card, which offers extensive travel benefits.

The Avion Visa Platinum, with an annual fee and a more comprehensive rewards program, is ideal for frequent travelers.

It provides flexibility in flight booking without blackout dates or seat restrictions.

In contrast, the ION Visa targets regular expenses such as groceries, gas, and digital subscriptions, making it suitable for everyday use.

RBC ION Visa Credit Card RBC Avion Visa Platinum Credit Card
Welcome Bonus 3,500 Avion points upon approval Up to 55,000 Avion points (35,000 on approval, 20,000 bonus points with $5,000 spend in first 6 months)
Annual Fee (Additional Card Fee) $0 ($0 for additional card) $120 ($50 for additional card)
Interest Rates Purchase: 20.99%, Cash Advance: 22.99% Purchase: 20.99%, Cash Advance: 22.99%
Reward Points 1.5 Avion points per $1 in specific categories (groceries, rides, gas, etc.), 1 point per $1 on other purchases 1 Avion point per $1 on all qualifying purchases
Insurance Coverage Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Insurance Comprehensive travel coverage including trip cancellation, interruption, and insurance for purchases and belongings
Additional Benefits Save at Petro-Canada, Earn more Be Well points at Rexall, Complimentary DashPass subscription, Credit Card Lock, Mobile Pay Instant fuel savings at Petro-Canada, 20% more Petro-Points, and additional Avion points

Welcome Offer

  • RBC ION Visa: Offers 3,500 Avion points upon approval, which translates to a value of around $25 in gift cards.

  • RBC Avion Visa Platinum: Comes with a more generous welcome offer of up to 55,000 Avion points, enough for significant travel. This includes 35,000 points on approval and an additional 20,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months.

Annual Fee

  • RBC ION Visa: There is no annual fee for this card, making it a cost-effective choice for everyday use. Additional cards also come without any extra charge.

  • RBC Avion Visa Platinum: Has an annual fee of $120, with an additional $50 fee for each supplementary card. This fee reflects the card’s premium nature.

Interest Rates

  • Both Cards: Share similar interest rates, with a purchase rate of 20.99% and a cash advance rate of 22.99%.

Points Earning Structure

  • RBC ION Visa: This card excels in its specialized points earning structure, making it appealing for individuals who want to maximize rewards on their everyday spending. It offers 1.5 Avion points per $1 spent on specific categories like groceries, rides, gas, streaming services, digital gaming, and more. This targeted approach ensures that cardholders can accumulate points quickly on their regular expenses. Furthermore, for all other purchases, the card still provides a respectable 1 Avion point per $1, ensuring that no spending goes unrewarded.

  • RBC Avion Visa Platinum: In contrast, the Avion Visa Platinum offers a simpler but more universally applicable points earning structure. Cardholders earn a consistent 1 Avion point per $1 spent on all qualifying purchases. While it lacks the specificity of the ION Visa, this structure makes it straightforward to accumulate points without needing to consider specific spending categories. It may be a better fit for individuals who prefer a more general rewards approach or those whose spending doesn’t align with the specialized categories of the ION Visa.

Rewards Redemption Options

RBC ION Visa Credit Card:

  • The RBC ION Visa Credit Card allows for flexible rewards redemption. Cardholders can redeem their Avion points for a variety of options, including:
    • Travel: Avion points can be used to book flights, hotels, and car rentals, offering great flexibility for travelers.
    • Gift Cards: Points can be redeemed for gift cards from popular retailers, allowing cardholders to choose the rewards that best suit their needs.
    • Merchandise: Avion points can be used to shop for a range of merchandise, from electronics to home goods.
    • Pay With Points: Cardholders can also use their points to pay off their credit card balance or send money to friends through Interac e-Transfer, providing a convenient way to offset expenses.

RBC Avion Visa Platinum Credit Card:

  • The RBC Avion Visa Platinum Credit Card offers equally versatile rewards redemption options, with a focus on travel-related benefits:
    • Travel: Avion points can be redeemed for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more, catering to the needs of frequent travelers. The card’s “no blackout dates, no seat restrictions” policy ensures flexibility in booking.
    • Gift Cards: Cardholders can convert points into gift cards, which can be used for various purposes, including gifting or personal use.
    • Merchandise: Like the ION Visa, Avion points can be used to shop for merchandise through the Avion Rewards Catalogue, including tech products and more.

Insurance Coverage

  • RBC ION Visa: This card offers basic insurance coverage, including Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Insurance. These features provide protection for eligible card purchases by covering loss, theft, or damage within 90 days of purchase and extending the manufacturer’s warranty.

  • RBC Avion Visa Platinum: In contrast, the Avion Visa Platinum offers extensive insurance coverage, a key feature for frequent travelers. It includes coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, as well as insurance for purchases and belongings during travel. This level of coverage provides peace of mind for travelers facing unexpected situations and adds significant value to the card.