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RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) offers several popular travel credit cards. In addition to their Avion Visa product line, they also issue several co-branded cards, including one with British Airways. Currently, the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite has an improved welcome offer.
RBC British Airways Visa Infinite
The RBC British Airways Visa In now offers 50,000 Avios as a welcome bonus. There is no end date specified for this increase, but my estimate would be between October 31 and November 30. To be on the safe side, apply before then.
The 50,000 points bonus is split into three chunks:
- 15,000 Avios on approval
- 25,000 Avios with $5000 spend in 2 months
- 10,000 Avios when you renew your card
This is a great offer especially with all the different promotions to earn even more Avios. American Express Membership Rewards is running a 25% transfer bonus until mid-November, which applies to the Business Platinum, Platinum, Business Gold, and the Gold Rewards Card.
BA Executive Club is also running a transfer promotion where you can get an additional 35% bonus by converting your hotel points into Avios. This works best with the Marriott Hotel and Air package, which is one of the best redemptions out there. The best card to earn Marriott points is with the SPG American Express or Starwood Business Credit Card.
There is room for improvement with this offer. I have no problem with high spending requirements, but not when signup bonuses aren’t improved. This card has had this increased bonus roughly once per year. The annual fee is a whopping $165, but it is waived if you have RBC VIP Banking, which stacks well for those who took advantage of the free Apple product offer earlier in the year.
You get the final 10,000 Avios 12-15 weeks after your card anniversary date, although my guess is that it should post within the first two statements. RBC (along with most other financial issuers) does pro-rated refunds, so you will only have to pay a fraction of the annual fee if you don’t want to keep the card.
Redeeming BA Avios
Avios are fairly valuable, because they are easy to earn and have a surprisingly number of good value redemptions. These include short-haul awards anywhere in the world starting at just 9,000 points in business class. I’ve also written about BA’s multi-carrier award charts, which may be a good value for longer round-the-world trips.
One interesting benefit with using this card is the BA Companion Voucher. You earn this after spending $30,000 during a calendar year, and is valid two years from when receive it. Here’s how it works. If you are booking a flight for two people, you only have to pay the miles required for one passenger, although you have to pay taxes and fees for both passengers. This isn’t for everyone, but is a good idea for those who want direct flights on specific dates.
This works best from the east coast. Selecting non-peak dates, the total for a round-trip in business classbetween Toronto and London is 100,000 Avios for one passenger. With the companion certificate, this cuts the miles required by half. You end up paying only 50,000 Avios per person. You do have to pay taxes and fees which can reach up to $1,000 per person, which is why this isn’t for everyone.
Overall, there are plenty of great uses of Avios, including short-haul flights, the multi-carrier chart, as well as transferring to Iberia for lower tax redemptions. I haven’t decided whether to go for the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa, as that also has an increased signup bonus of 30,000 Asia miles which I have not had too much experience with.
Will you get the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite? Apply here.