The Value of an RBC Reward Point
The dollar value of 1 RBC Reward point is
|Dollar value of 1 point||Flexibility of points||Can points cover taxes and fees?|
- 15,000 Welcome Points
- Earn up to 1.25 points per dollar
- Includes access to Visa Infinite benefits and travel insurance coverage
How much are your RBC Rewards points worth?
It is important to clarify that "RBC Rewards" and "Points" mean the same thing and will be used interchangeably. Furthermore, the RCB Avion program is an extension of the RBC Rewards Program, providing specific travel rewards. The Avion program accumulates standard RBC Rewards points, the same as other standard RBC Rewards accounts.
There is no easy answer to this question, as the dollar value of your points is determined by what flights you redeem them for. RateHub’s research reveals that on average one RBC Rewards point is worth $0.0114 when redeeming for flights. Here is an RBC Rewards redemption chart summarizing what we found:
|Flight Region||Destination||Points Required||Value/Point||Average|
|Short Haul: Canada/US||Montreal||15,000||$0.0094||$0.0102|
|Long Haul: Canada/US||Los Angeles||35,000||$0.0145||$0.0131|
|West Coast to CUN/HNL, East Coast to PUJ||Cancun||45,000||$0.0131||$0.0116|
|East Coast to CUN/HNL, West Coast to PUJ||Cancun||55,000||$0.0086||$0.0116|
|Long Haul: Asia, Australia, New Zealand||Bangkok||100,000||$0.0104||$0.0121|
There is a large discrepancy in the dollar value of your points when redeeming for flights in different flight regions. For example, on average you receive $0.0095/point when redeeming for a flight to Europe, compared to $0.0131/point for a long-haul flight in Canada/US. The example below will demonstrate how to properly value your points and will show the difference in value when redeeming for a flight to Vancouver compared with a flight to Paris.
The math behind it:
The RBC Rewards program has a unique system of stratifying flight regions based on ticket prices in that region. There are 6 separate regions, each with an individual set number of rewards points required for airline travel, up to a maximum ticket price. If the flight in question is more expensive than the established maximum ticket price, the difference must be paid for with rewards points (at a rate of 100 points/dollar) or in cash. The same holds true for airline taxes and fees as they can be paid for either with points or in cash.
To find out the total number of RBC points required to book a flight you must sum:
- The rewards points required for travel to a region
- The points required to cover taxes, fees, and surcharges (100 points/dollar)
- The points required to cover the cost of the flight above the regional maximum ticket price (100 points/dollar)
Below is an RBC Rewards redemption chart outlining the 6 flight regions.
|RBC Rewards Points Required for Economy Round Trip Airline Travel||Redemption Classifications||Description||Maximum Ticket Price|
|15,000||Short-haul: Canada/U.S.||Within or to an adjacent Province/Territory/U.S. State||$350|
|35,000||Long-haul: Canada/U.S.||Anywhere in Canada/U.S. except Hawaii and Alaska||$750|
|45,000||Long-haul: Bermuda, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska & Caribbean||From any location in Western Canada/U.S. to Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska OR from Eastern Canada to Bermuda, Central America, Caribbean||$900|
|55,000||Long-haul: Bermuda, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska & Caribbean||From any location in Eastern Canada/U.S. to Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska OR from Western Canada to Bermuda, Central America, Caribbean||$1,100|
|65,000||Long-haul: Europe||From a major gateway in Canada/U.S. to destinations in Europe||$1,300|
|100,000||Long-haul: Asia, Australia, Middle East, Africa & South America||From a major gateway in Canada/U.S. to destinations in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Middle East, Africa, South America||$2,000|
Here is the methodology we used to value RBC Rewards points:
A. Find the price of a flight on Kayak (we use this flight price because if you did not book through RBC you would have your choice of booking through any provider rather than just Travelocity)
B. Look up a comparable flight on RBC’s rewards centre on the same date, noting the number of points required and the taxes, fees, and surcharges
C. Add the points required for taxes to the general RBC point requirement for a comparable flight (RBC allows you to pay for the additional taxes with points)
D. Divide the price of a flight found on Kayak by the total points required for a comparable RBC flight to find the value of one RBC rewards point
Case Study: Flying from Toronto to Vancouver in September 2014
|Total Cost of Flight||Number of Points Required|
$657.20 Price of a flight found on Kayak
When redeeming your points for a flight to Vancouver you receive $0.0125/point, which is good value for your points. As you’ll see in the example below, certain flight regions provide poor value for your points.
Case Study: Flying from Toronto to Paris in September 2014
|Total Cost of Flight||Number of Points Required|
$1,096.00 Price of a flight found on Kayak
To fly to Paris you would need 124,834 points and you’d only receive $0.0088/point, much less value than regions outlined above.
Overall Flexibilty: Strong
|Taxes and fees covered?||Consistent value?||Transferable to/from other rewards programs?|
|Yes, you are allowed to pay for RBC travel insurance, taxes, and surcharges using points||No, the value of your points change by destination||Yes, RBC allows you to convert points to other loyalty programs including West Jet, British Airways, American Airlines, Asia Miles, Shoppers Optimum, and Esso Extra|
|More than one airline involved in program?||Can the points be used retroactively?||Expiration date on points?|
|Yes, you can book on any airline worldwide.||Yes, RBC offers the Pay Back With Points option (payment made against the current month's balance).||No, there is no expiration date while you are an active member. Points expire 90 days after the closure of your account.|
With the RBC Rewards program, you can redeem your points for flights, cruises, tours, hotel stays, VIA Rail travel, car rentals and more. The RBC Avion rewards program is extremely flexible, allowing you to pay for the entire cost of the trip using points at an exclusive value (when using the Avion Air Travel Redemption Schedule). Anthing outside of travel costs, including taxes, fees, and additional insurance can be covered using RBC Reward points at a rate of 100 RBC Rewards points to $1 CAD. (100 points = $1 CAD).
To redeem from the Avion Air Travel Redemption Schedule, and gain access to the most valuable offers, air travel must be booked at least 14 days in advance. If you require the added flexibility to book your flight fewer than 14 days in advance you forfeit the savings of using the Avion Air Travel Redemption Schedule, but still have the ability to redeem your points at a rate of 100 RBC Rewards points to $1 CAD. If you do not have enough points to redeem for the reward of your choice, you can charge any remaining balances your points are unable to cover on your card, and actually earn points on that amount charged.
A new feature of the RBC Rewards program is the ‘Payback with Points’ option. You are allowed to redeem points directly towards your RBC credit card balance, allowing you to use points to pay for virtually anything purchased on you r credit card.
The only limitation of the RBC Rewards program is the restriction to booking flights on Travelocity, rather than having the freedom of using any travel website and choosing the lowest price.
All in all, RBC provides one of the most flexible rewards programs on the market, providing you with many convenient options to redeem your points and save you money.
The RBC Avion Rewards program allows cardholders to pay the entirety of taxes, fees, and surcharges using RBC rewards points at a ratio of 100 points: 1 dollar of tax.
Best Way to Use Your RBC Reward Points
The dollar value of your RBC Rewards is determined by what flights you redeem them for. RateHub’s research reveals that on average one RBC Rewards point is worth $0.0114 when redeeming for flights. Use this as your benchmark and whenever possible save your miles until the value offered is close to or above the benchmark. Let’s look at an example.
It’s January 13th, 2015 and we’re trying to book a flight from Toronto to New York’s LaGuardia Airport for family day weekend: Friday, Feb 13th – Monday, Feb 16th. On Kayak, we can find a direct flight that will cost $288 including taxes and fees. Through RBC a similar flight would require 15,000 points and an additional $117.56 in taxes and fees. Let’s calculate the value we would receive if we used our points.
Since $0.0108/point is of lesser value than the benchmark of $0.0114/point, you will receive a weak return on your RBC Rewards. It is advised that you save your points for a flight that provides you with a greater value for your hard earned points. However, this flight still saves you $288.00 by spending your points.
Based on RateHub’s analysis (shown in detail on the “Value of Points” tab) we have created an RBC Rewards redemption chart for the 6 flight regions and their average value of one RBC Rewards point :
To maximize the value of your points it is important to use your points strategically by flying to destinations that provide good value. The best flight regions are Long haul: Canada/US and Long Haul: Asia, Australia and New Zealand. To maximize the value of your points you should try to redeem your points for flights in these regions.