Royal Bank of Canada offers a strong lineup of credit cards, including cards that accrue their own in-house RBC Rewards in addition to cards that earn WestJet Dollars, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and British Airways Avios.
These cards, especially as of late, tend to have very strong and even record-breaking welcome bonus points offers. However, RBC has a one new card approval per 90-day rule, which can reduce the velocity that you were hoping to accrue points for your next vacation.
Enter the RBC product switch, which is a great tool to increase your points balances with various frequent flyer programs without needing to apply for a new card.
What is Product Switching?
Typically when we talk credit card churning, we are speaking about the art of opening a credit card, completing the minimum spend requirement and earning the signup bonus, and then closing the card months down the road. Rinse and repeat for a new card, or the same card (depending on if you can get away with repeat sign-up bonuses with that issuer).
On the other hand, product switching is the act of maintaining a credit account but changing that account to a new credit product. This could be done for a variety of reasons; for example, perhaps an individual doesn’t plan to travel as much and wants to switch their existing travel-focused credit card to a product that has no annual fee for the time being.
When it comes to RBC, we are looking to take advantage of product switching to earn additional welcome bonuses.
How Can I Switch My RBC Credit Card?
Luckily for us, you don’t even need to speak to a customer service rep to product switch your RBC credit card. Similar to closing a credit card, this is the optimal method since you don’t have to endure any awkward questions or have any interaction with a rep at all.
In order to initiate a product switch, log into your RBC online banking account and click on the credit card account you want to switch. On the right-hand side menu, click on “Switch your Credit Card”.
Once you click through, you will be at an informational page about switching credit cards. Simply click “Next”. The same page is also informational, click “Start” to begin the switching process.
On the next page, you will choose the credit card account you want to switch away from and the desired card you want to switch to. Once selected, click “Next”.
The next page will ask you to confirm your address details. The address you have on file with RBC should show up here. If it doesn’t, you may need to call in to have them update the address on file.
Once you confirm your address, you will be on a page where you select the card you want to switch to. Select the card you want to switch to, and the personal and household income requirements will show up at the bottom of the page. Confirm you meet those requirements and click “Next”.
Once you select your card, there may be a page that appears that asks for your email and membership number (if applicable) for the card you are switching to, such as your WestJet Rewards number.
The following page asks you to verify your annual personal income, annual household income, or total investable assets. At the top of the page will be the minimum requirements for the card you have selected. Enter your income or assets in the correct box – if you do not meet the required income or assets, your product switch will not be successful.
The next page will be solely informational and will contain all details about the credit card you are switching to. Once you click next, you will be brought to a page that summarizes the card you are switching from, the card you are switching to, your income, estimated delivery date, and mailing address.
Once you review all of the details on this page and confirm they are correct, click “Next” to submit the product change request.
Additional Details About RBC Product Switching
After submitting the product switch request, you can expect to wait a few business days for the switch to be completed. You may notice that your card becomes unavailable in your online banking when trying to access the account; this is normal so do not panic.
Once the switch has been processed, a few days later you will see the new card in your RBC online banking account. Your new card will have new details, including a different number, expiry, and CVV.
RBC will send you a message to your online banking account to confirm the switch has been processed. They will also send you a letter to your address on file to confirm the product change.
Switching cards does not utilize a credit check as it does not involve approving you for additional credit or a new credit product. If anything, it would have a positive impact on your credit history since keeping the card open would increase your average age of accounts.
Minimum Credit Limit Amount
If you are going to switch to a new RBC credit card, you should be aware that different families of cards have minimum credit limits. This minimum credit limit amounts are consistent across all financial issuers in Canada:
|Credit Card Tier||Minimum Credit Limit|
|Visa Infinite Privilege||$10,000|
|All other card tiers, including Visa Platinum, Visa |
Signature, World Mastercard, World Elite Mastercard, etc
Will I Receive a Welcome Bonus Upon Switching?
The data points indicate that this is very much so a your-mileage-may-vary type situation. I would say most people do receive welcome bonuses upon switching, but it can be sparse and inconsistent at the best of times. In the past year I have personally seen less consistency with product switching, but still some success.
What I have found is that you have the greatest chance of receiving the bonus if you alternate between families of credit cards. This would mean switching from a Visa to Mastercard or from an Avion card to a WestJet card.
For example, if you currently hold one of the RBC Avion Visa cards, I would recommend switching to a MasterCard such as the WestJet RBC World Elite card for the greatest chance to successfully receive a bonus. Down the line, you may want to switch the WestJet card back to the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card to continue to accrue Avion points. This is simply an example of what has worked for me; you might find a better path or product switching order.
If you are going to pursue RBC product switching as a method to increase your points balances, you should be aware that you will only ever receive the publicly available offer and not any elevated or promo offers upon switching. You also may not be eligible to receive a bonus if you have previously held that specific card on that tradeline.
Always remember that you are not necessarily entitled to a welcome bonus on a product switch. As such, I would caution against messaging or calling RBC if you do not receive one.
Public Offers for RBC Cards
If you are switching RBC credit cards and are lucky enough to receive a welcome bonus, you can expect to receive the following public welcome bonus offer:
|RBC Credit Card||First Purchase Bonus|
|RBC Avion Visa Platinum||15,000 Avion|
|RBC Avion Visa Infinite||15,000 Avion|
|RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege||15,000 Avion|
|RBC WestJet World Elite||250 WestJet Dollars|
|RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum||15,000 Asia Miles|
|RBC British Airways Visa Infinite||15,000 Avios Miles|
While the bonus may appear without making a purchase, I still typically put a $1 gift card purchase from Amazon on all of my RBC switches as a “just-in-case”.
While there are other cards you can switch to the RBC card lineup, the above-noted cards have the best public offers and are the only ones worth switching to. If you do successfully receive a bonus from product switching, it will show on your statement. I have found that Avion and WestJet Dollars are quick to post to those accounts, whereas Cathay and British Airways can take much, much longer (if at all).
How Often Can I Switch my RBC Credit Card?
There are many data points out there when it comes to RBC product switching. Some will recommend being more aggressive while others recommend a more conservative and relaxed approach to switching.
Personally, I would recommend being on the more conservative side with your RBC product switching in an effort to maintain a positive relationship. Although there is no stated time frame in RBC’s T&C for how often switches can be done, people who have been too aggressive have been known to receive warnings and even in some cases, account shutdowns.
For example, check out the message that a friend received when they recently closed an RBC credit card to reduce overall available credit.
As you can see, customer service agents can see your card history and notice if your behavior is venturing toward being abusive. That being said, just because an agent says you won’t receive any more bonuses on the card doesn’t mean the system itself is effective at enforcing that policy…
Will I Be Charged An Annual Fee When I Switch?
Yes, you will be charged the annual fee on the credit card you are switching to. There is no way around the annual fees; some people have had success in calling in and asking the customer service rep to waive the fee, but I am a fan of not having eyes on my account personally.
Similar to the welcome bonuses posted a few sections above, it does not matter if there is a current promotion that offers the first year free. You will still be charged the annual fee since that is the public offer.
When you switch, you will receive a prorated amount of your current credit card’s annual fee. This will show as a line item in your transactions and will appear a few days after the switch was completed. This means that if you have held the RBC British Airways Visa for six months and are switching away from it, you would receive an $82.50 statement credit once the switch was processed.
Once the switch has been successfully completed, you will be charged the new card’s annual fee on the 1st of the following month.
On the same topic, if you are ever looking to close an RBC credit card, I recommend switching to a no-fee card first to receive a pro-rated annual fee, spend down the credit, and then close the card.
RBC credit card product switching is a lucrative method to increase your points balances when it comes to RBC Rewards and other frequent flyer programs. With minimal work, this one simple trick can genuinely increase your miles and points earning potential. As with most things in the miles and points scene, consider scaling this with a player two to double your earnings.
Coupled with the fact that you can be approved for a new RBC credit card every 90 days, this makes RBC as a credit card issuer very lucrative.