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[READER QUESTION] What to do with RBC Rewards / Avion Points

Lately, I have been receiving a lot of questions regarding the RBC Rewards / Avion points program. So I thought I’d write about the best use of its points. First of all, you can earn Avion points by signing up and using one of the following Royal Bank credit cards:

  • Avion Visa Infinite Privilege ($399 annual fee)
  • Visa Infinite Avion ($120 annual fee)
  • Visa Platinum Avion ($120 annual fee)
  • Visa Business Avion ($120 annual fee)
  • RBC Rewards Visa Preferred ($110 annual fee)
  • Visa U.S. Dollar Gold ($65 USD annual fee)
  • Signature RBC Rewards Visa ($39 annual fee)
  • Visa Creditline for small business (no annual fee)
  • RBC Rewards Visa Gold (no annual fee)

Right off the bat, you definitely do not have a shortage of options to earn points. The above options definitely covers a wide variety of clients, so you should definitely be able to find a credit card on the list that suits your needs.

In terms of redeeming your points, I will start with a benchmark. You can redeem your points for: “Hotels, Car Rentals, Cruises, Tours, Package Holidays,” at a rate of 1 point equally 1 cent. So if your expense costs you $500, you will need to redeem 50,000 points. Knowing this, depending on which credit card you have, if you earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent, you are earning a 1.5% return. But if you only earn 1 point for every $2 spent, you are getting a 0.5% return.

Personally I do not like these returns. I prefer another option offered by this rewards program. Another option is that you can transfer your Avion points to another loyalty program. Below is a list of transfer partners and certain details to keep in mind (in alphabetical order):

American Airlines, AAdvantage

You can convert your RBC points at a 1:1 ratio, with a minimum requirement of 5,000 RBC points for 5,000 AAdvantage points. We have scene 20% or 30% transfer bonuses. I value AAdvantage points at 1.7 cent a piece. Therefore, without the transfer bonus you can get a 1.7% return or up to 2.21% if you take advantage of a 30% transfer bonus.

Asia Miles

You can convert your RBC Rewards at a 1:1 ratio, with a minimum of 10,000 RBC points for 10,000 Asia Mile points. What I dislike about Asia Miles is that they expire 3 years after they are deposited.

British Airways, Executive Club, Avios

You can convert your RBC Rewards at a 1:1 ratio, with a minimum of 10,000 RBC points for 10,000 Avios points. We have scene a 50% transfer bonus twice a year. I value Avios points at 1.7 cent a piece, so you can get either a 1.7% return or up to 2.55% return if you can take advantage of the 50% transfer bonus. This is probably my top choice in terms of how I use my Avion points.

Esso, Esso Extra

You can convert your RBC Rewards at a minimum of 1,500 RBC points for 2,500 Esso Extra points. Thereafter, you will need to convert in blocks of 300 points, which will give you 500 Esso Extra points.

Shoppers Drug Mart, Shoppers Optimum 

You can convert your RBC Rewards at a minimum of 1,500 RBC points for 8,000 Shoppers Optimum points. Thereafter, you will need to convert in blocks of 500 points, which will give you 2,500 Shoppers Optimum points.

WestJet, WestJet Rewards, WestJet dollars

You can convert your RBC Rewards points at a 100:1 ratio, with a minimum of 1,000 RBC points for 10 WestJet dollars. Though WestJet is not part of any airline alliances, they are partners with American Airlines.


  1. Dear Pointshoggers:

    I have replaced my RBC Avion Platinum with AMEX gold for points/gas and the Costco Mastercard for cashback/restaurants. However, the it is my longest-held card so I don’t want to cancel it out of concern for what it would mean to my credit history.

    With this in mind, I have a few questions:

    1) Is my understanding right in that cancelling my oldest card would be good for my credit history? If so,
    2) Do I just call RBC and request to transfer my RBC Avion Platinum credit history to a new card?
    3) What would happen to my Avion points upon transferring them? I have around 70,000 and don’t want to lose that value
    4) Do you have a preference between the RBC Rewards Visa Gold or the Visa Platinum? I cannot decide between them so wondering what your thoughts are

    Any guidance would be much appreciated!

    1. Hi Carlos,

      1) l would transfer my RBC to another card to RBC card to preserve your credit history. I wouldn’t cancel it.
      2) Yes you can call or walk into a branch.
      3) You will lose all your Avion points if you do not have at least one card that earns Avion points.
      4) Depends if you are willing to pay the annual fee and how often you plan to use the credit card to justify the annual fee.

      If you do not plan to earn anymore Avion points then just get the Gold card to keep your account active and you can always switch the Gold card back up to the Platinum version when you change your mind.

  2. Hello Matthew,

    I am hoping to maximize my avion points. Presently have about 2 million points but spend about 750 000 annually with the basic travel redemption schedule. I am very knowledgeable about maximizing the value of the points within the RBC system but have no idea about using transfers to AA, BA, or Cathay.

    Always fly out of Edmonton and generally within Canada/USA (sometimes Hawaii).

    I am intrigued about the BA offer of 50% bonus Avios points but am unable to find and concrete info on if this will work for me traveling out of Edmonton.

    I generally fly to Europe or Asia once a year as well if this matters.

    Any help you can provide would be appreciated.



    1. You can create an account with BA and do a reward flight search or even give customer service a call to see if they can find a flight that suits you.

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