RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) issues several credit cards with excellent rewards and travel benefits. Among them are the RBC Avion Visa products, which are very popular in Canada. They also issue several co-branded cards, one of them being the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Infinite.
Increased Bonus for the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Infinite
RBC has increased the bonus on this card until October 31, 2017. You’ll receive 15,000 Asia Miles upon approval, and another 15,000 when you spend $7,500 in the first three months. You earn 1 Asia mile per dollar spent on everyday purchases, so you’ll earn a total of 37,500 Asia miles after completing the minimum spend. This is the second highest amount for a Canadian credit card – the highest was $9,000 for the British Airways Visa. I personally have no problem meeting this, because there are just so many ways to generate credit card transactions to complete the requirements.
If you have trouble meeting minimum spend, I recommend using the PayTM app. It lets you pay (large) bills with credit cards that normally you can’t, like tuition, taxes, and rent. The daily maximum for payments with the app is $1,500, so you technically could complete the minimum spend in 5 days. As well, you can get $10 for using promo code PTM9462620 once you pay $25 towards a bill.
Additional Reading: Pay Your Bills for Free with the PayTM app!
Otherwise, the card is not rewarding at all. The annual fee for this card is $120, not waived the first year, although there ways to save on that. You earn 1.25 miles on foreign transactions, but there’s a 2.5% foreign exchange fee, which makes it a very bad value. If you are making non-Canadian dollar purchases, I recommend getting the HomeTrust Preferred Visa, which has no foreign exchange fee and no annual fee.
You also earn 2 miles per dollar on Cathay Pacific purchases, and as well get a free Green tier Marco Polo Club membership (their elite program). This gets you priority boarding and check-in on Cathay Pacific flights, and is supposed to cost $100. I’m not sure if anyone actually pays that to enroll, though. Anyways, it’s a moot point if you are redeeming for business and first class flights.
Redeeming Asia Miles
While you should not use the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Infinite after earning the welcome bonus, I’ve heard very interesting things about Asia Miles. Asia Miles expire after three years, regardless of activity. However, Ontario has legislation prohibiting loyalty programs from giving a “lifespan” to miles. I’m really curious as to what happens when this conflict happens.
Additional Reading: Laws Prohibiting Mile Expiry
Keep in mind you can also top up with SPG Points at a 1:1 ratio and American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:0.75 ratio, although I would not recommend it unless you’re short for an award by a few thousand miles.
The award chart generally isn’t too great. However, I’ve that Asia Miles agents are terrible, and price awards any which way. Their redemption chart is by distance. There is one chart for single carrier + Cathay Pacific redemptions, and another for multiple airlines/oneworld. View them here.
Asia Miles seems to have the most diverse set of non-alliance partners I’ve seen, including Aer Lingus, Air China, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Gulf Air, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and Royal Brunei Airlines, which is pretty cool. I personally haven’t redeemed any Asia Miles before, so if any readers have had experiences, please comment below.