Introducing Two New RBC Credit Cards: the ION Visa and ION+ Visa

by | Published Sep 13, 2022 | Edited Sep 19, 2022


We are excited to introduce to you two brand new credit cards issued by RBC Royal Bank: 

These are two entry-level credit cards with low/no annual fee and are part of the newly consolidated RBC Avion Rewards.

Here is everything you need to know about these two credit cards, along with our subjective analysis of their value propositions.

The New RBC ION Visa Card

RBC ION Visa

The RBC ION Visa card earns Avion points and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 1.5x Avion on grocery purchases, transportation purchases, digital purchases, and more.

BONUS
6,000 Avion
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$114+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes

Card Details

The RBC ION Visa card is an entry-level card that earns points in the RBC Avion program, specifically Avion Premium (lower tier) points. It has no annual fee. 

With the RBC ION Visa card you earn 1.5 Avion points for every $1 spent on: 

  • Groceries
  • Transportation, including gas, rideshare, daily public transit, and electric vehicle charging
  • Streaming, digital gaming, and subscriptions

The card earns 1 Avion point for every $1 spent on all other qualifying purchases. 

The ION Visa comes with Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Insurance, which automatically protects eligible card purchases against loss, theft or damage within 90 days of purchase, and doubles the manufacturer’s original Canadian warranty by up to one additional year, to a maximum of five years.

Some other RBC ION Visa card details: 

  • Purchase APR: 19.99%
  • Cash Advance APR: 22.99% (21.99% if you reside in Quebec)
  • Cash Advance Fee: $5
  • BalanceTransfer APR: 22.99% (21.99% if you reside in Quebec)
  • Balance Transfer Fee: up to 3% of the transaction amount
  • Primary Annual Fee: $0; Additional card $0
  • Credit Required: Good

There are no minimum personal or household income requirements to apply for the RBC ION Visa card.

Welcome Bonus

The RBC ION Visa card comes with a straightforward welcome bonus of 6,000 Avion points on approval (no minimum spend). We value these points at $60 when redeemed for cash or $114 when redeemed for travel. 

Who is the RBC ION Visa Card For?

The RBC ION Visa card is a decent entry-level no-fee credit card for young adults and students with a flexible rewards system and the ability to earn points for common everyday purchases. It is best utilized by those who budget a large monthly spend towards groceries, transportation, and streaming/subscription. 

However, it should be noted that there are other no-fee or first-year free credit cards that have similar or better earn rates on groceries, in particular the Scotia Gold American Express credit card.

Visit our Credit Card Comparison Tool for more credit card options.

The New RBC ION+ Visa Card

RBC ION+ Visa

The RBC ION+ Visa card earns Avion points and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 3x Avion on groceries, restaurants, food delivery, transportation purchases, digital purchases, and more.

BONUS
12,000 Avion
MINSPEND
$0
NET VALUE
$180+
ANNUAL FEE
$48
FOREX FEES
Yes

Card Details

The RBC ION+ Visa card is a mid-tier Visa card that earns points in the RBC Avion program, specifically Avion Premium (lower tier) points. It has an annual fee of $48, charged as $4 per month. The annual fee can be rebated by holding an RBC Signature No Limit Banking or RBC Advantage Banking for students account. 

With the RBC ION+ Visa card you earn 3 Avion points for every $1 spent on: 

  • Groceries, dining, and food delivery
  • Transportation, including gas, rideshare, daily public transit, and electric vehicle charging
  • Streaming, digital gaming, and subscriptions

The card earns 1 Avion point for every $1 spent on all other qualifying purchases. 

The ION+ Visa comes with both of the following insurance coverages:

  • Mobile Device Insurance, which provides 2 years of coverage up to $1,000 in the event your mobile device such as your cell phone is lost, stolen, accidentally damaged or experiences mechanical failure when you purchase your mobile device with this credit card.
  • Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Insurance, which automatically protects eligible card purchases against loss, theft or damage within 90 days of purchase, and doubles the manufacturer’s original Canadian warranty by up to one additional year, to a maximum of five years.

Some other RBC ION+ Visa card details: 

  • Purchase APR: 19.99%
  • Cash Advance APR: 22.99% (21.99% if you reside in Quebec)
  • Cash Advance Fee: $5
  • Rate Type: Purchases
  • BalanceTransfer APR: 22.99% (21.99% if you reside in Quebec)
  • Balance Transfer Fee: up to 3% of the transaction amount
  • Annual Fee: $48 ($4 charged monthly); Additional card $0
  • Credit Required: Good

There are no minimum personal or household income requirements to apply for the RBC ION+ Visa card.

Welcome Bonus

The RBC ION+ Visa card comes with a straightforward welcome bonus of 12,000 Avion points on approval (no minimum spend). We value these points at $120 when redeemed for cash or $228 when redeemed for travel.  

Who is the RBC ION+ Visa Card For?

The RBC ION+ Visa card is a mid-level credit card with an annual fee structure that is relatively uncommon in the Canadian market. For approximately $50, the card has a strong earning potential of what is effectively a 3-4% return on spending in the grocery, dining, transportation, and streaming/subscription categories. People who are tech-savvy and heavy users of peer-based apps such as grocery delivery, rideshares, subscription services, etc., will appreciate these category bonuses.

This card hits the sweet spot for individuals who know they can maximize spend in the aforementioned categories and are willing to pay a modest annual fee to access higher earn rates, but don’t want to be responsible for larger annual fees every year ($100-200). 

For a higher annual fee, the American Express Cobalt Card has a stronger earning rate (5X on food and drink purchases) and stronger rewards currency in the Amex Membership Rewards. However one should also consider that Amex acceptance is lower. For example, frequent Loblaws shoppers would be better off with the RBC ION+ Visa card.

Visit our Credit Card Comparison Tool for more credit card options.

Sign Up Now and Get a Cash Back Rebate

Frugal Flyer now offers rebates for RBC credit cards and is offering $100 for any successful applications to either of the RBC ION Visa cards. Visit the Frugal Flyer Rebates program to apply.   

Conclusion

The ION Visa and ION+ Visa cards, issued by RBC Royal Bank, are new to the Canadian credit card market (although you may recognize they are rather similar to the old Rewards+ and Signature RBC Rewards cards). 

These cards complete the lineup of RBC Avion Rewards earning credit cards, from the low-tier ION Visa to the mid-tier ION+ Visa and Avion Visa Platinum, to the premium tier Avion Visa Infinite and Avion Visa Infinite Privilege cards.

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Net Value
RBC ION Visa 6,000 Avion $114 Apply
RBC ION+ Visa 12,000 Avion $180 Apply
RBC Avion Visa Business 20,000 Avion $260 Apply
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Business 25,000 Avion $300 Apply
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege 55,000 Avion $646 Apply
RBC Avion Platinum 55,000 Avion $925 Apply
RBC Avion Visa Infinite 55,000 Avion $925 Apply

Uniquely, the ION+ actually has a higher potential earning rate than all the rest due to its category bonuses. 

Consider if either of the ION cards has a place in your wallet!

Reed Sutton

Reed Sutton

Founder at Frugal Flyer
Reed is addicted to the science (and art) of earning and redeeming travel points, and frequently pairs his trips with his other hobby: photography. Through Frugal Flyer, Reed aims to distill some of the complex and esoteric points strategies into digestible information. Furthermore, he hopes to use his technical expertise to develop invaluable applications and tools for the travel community.

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