The Best RBC Credit Cards in Canada

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Deciding which are the best RBC credit cards can be incredibly difficult since Royal Bank has more than 20 credit cards available to the public. To complicate things, they’re the exclusive credit card provider for multiple airlines in Canada and they have their own excellent rewards program in RBC Rewards.

The good thing is that there is an RBC credit card regardless of what your needs are. Travel rewards, cash back, no fee, low interest, U.S. dollar, RBC has something for you. To help you narrow down your choices, I’ve picked the best RBC credit cards in Canada so you can quickly decide which card is right for you.

The best RBC credit cards in Canada

Credit cardBest forAnnual fee
RBC Visa Infinite Avion CardTravel$120
RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite MastercardCash back$99
WestJet RBC World Elite MastercardWestJet dollars$119
RBC Cash Back MastercardNo annual fee$0
RBC Visa Classic Low Rate OptionLow interest$20

RBC Visa Infinite Avion Card

  • $120 annual fee
  • 15,000 RBC Rewards points welcome bonus (after your first statement)
  • Earn 1.25 RBC Rewards points for every $1 spent on travel
  • Earn 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Save 3¢/L on fuel and earn 20% more Petro-Points at Petro Canada gas stations
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Mobile device insurance up to $1,500
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty

The RBC Visa Infinite Avion Card is the best RBC credit card in Canada for travel rewards. The welcome bonus of 15,000 points is given after your first statement which is great since there’s no minimum spend required to get your points. The earn rate of 1.25 RBC Rewards points for every $1 spent on travel and 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent on all other purchases may not seem that great, but it’s actually better than it appears.

RBC Rewards comes in at number two on my list of Canada’s bank travel rewards programs ranked. The reason it’s so high is that your points are incredibly flexible. You can use your points on any travel booked through the RBC Rewards websites and you can also transfer your points to airline partners such as WestJet, British Airways American Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Another underappreciated benefit of the RBC Visa Infinite Avion Card is RBC’s fixed travel program where it costs you a set amount of points depending on where you’re flying.  The travel insurance included should put it among one of the best credit cards with travel insurance and you even get mobile device insurance.

RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard

  • $99 annual fee
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Save 3¢/L on fuel and earn 20% more Petro-Points at Petro-Canada
  • Free Boingo Wireless membership
  • Rental car insurance
  • Concierge service
  • Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey

When it comes to the best RBC credit card for cash back, the RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard is the clear winner as it gives you a straight 1.5% cash back on all purchases made. Although this earn rate is quite respectable, it’s not one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada since it doesn’t give you any extra cash back on specific categories. That said, some people may not mind this card as you’re getting the same cash back amount on all your purchases. However, note that the 1.5% cash back only applies to the first $25,000 in purchases annually. Once you reach that limit, you earn 1% cash back on all purchases.

Interestingly enough, the RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard comes with a few travel benefits too. The Boingo Wireless account gives you access to free WiFi in many places around the world including airports. The Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey gives you access to many airport lounges, but you still need to pay the entrance fee of $32 USD which may be worth it if you have a long layover. Then there’s the car rental insurance which covers you for 48 days. To top it all off, you get concierge service where you can basically have someone book tickets or make reservations for you.

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

  • $119 annual fee
  • $250 WestJet Dollars sign up bonus after your first purchase 
  • $200 Additional WestJet Dollars when you charge $5,000 in the first 3 months (must apply by Jan. 5, 2022)
  • Earn 2% back in WestJet dollars on WestJet flights or WestJet Vacations packages
  • Earn 1.5% back in WestJet dollars on everyday purchases
  • Annual companion voucher
  • Save 3¢/L on fuel and always earn 20% more Petro-Points when you link your WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard
  • Free first checked bags for the primary cardholder (up to 8 bags on the same reservation)
  • Some travel insurance included
  • Free Boingo Wi-Fi
  • Purchase security and extended warranty insurance
  • Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey

The WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard is the best RBC credit card in Canada for earning WestJet Dollars. With a sign up bonus of $250 WestJet dollars, free checked luggage for the primary cardholder and a companion voucher, it’s not hard to see why this card is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada.

Even if you fly WestJet just once per year, this card could be worth it. For example, let’s say you take advantage of all the benefits. There’s the $250 WestJet Dollars sign up bonus, a family of four could easily save $240 if everyone checked a bag, and the companion voucher would probably save you at least $300, if not more. That’s a total of $790 you could be saving in the first year alone.

Those who fly with WestJet on a regular basis definitely want to get this card as your WestJet Rewards status stacks with the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard. That means if you’re a Platinum member, you would earn 10% back in WestJet dollars on WestJet flights. Since WestJet Rewards uses dollars as their loyalty program, there’s no need to worry about having enough points to make a redemption.

RBC Cash Back Mastercard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $6,000 spent annually on groceries
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on the first $6,000 spent annually
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases over $6,000 spent annually
  • Save 3¢/L on fuel and earn 20% more Petro-Points at Petro-Canada
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty

When it comes to the best RBC credit card with no annual fee, the RBC Cash Back Mastercard is clearly the best, but the earn rate can be a bit confusing. You’ll earn 2% cash back on the first $6,000 spent annually on groceries, but just 0.5% on all other purchases. Once you reach that $6,000 threshold, all your purchases earn you 1% cash back. This is a decent return for a no fee card, but it’s still a bit more complicated than it needs to be.

Besides the cash back, you’ll save 3¢/L on fuel at Petro-Canada and you’ll also earn 20% more Petro-Points. The purchase security covers your purchases from loss, theft, and damage for 90 days while the extended warranty doubles your manufacturer’s warranty up to an additional year.

RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option

  • $20 annual fee
  • 12.99% interest rate
  • Save 3¢/L on fuel and earn 20% more Petro-Points at Petro-Canada
  • Purchase security 
  • Extended warranty insurance

One of the best RBC credit cards in Canada is the RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option Card which gives you a low interest rate of 12.99%. Having a low interest rate is great for people who carry a balance on their credit cards, but it’s always in your best interest to pay off your debt as soon as possible. If you find yourself in this situation, it may make more sense for you to apply for one of the best balance transfer credit cards in Canada.

On a positive note, the RBC Visa Classic Low Rate Option Card still gives you some additional benefits. You can save 3¢/L on fuel and earn 20% more Petro-Points at Petro-Canada when you link your card. Similar to other RBC credit cards, purchase security protects your purchases from loss, theft, and damage for 90 days while the extended warranty doubles your manufacturer’s warranty up to an additional year.

Are RBC credit cards better than other banks?

It wouldn’t be fair to say that the best RBC credit cards are better than other banks such as say TD, Scotiabank or BMO. Every bank offers different credit cards and each individual credit card has its pros and cons. You might find a great travel credit card with RBC, but there may be a cash back credit card from a different bank that’s a better fit for you.

That said, one thing that RBC does excel at is their Rewards program. RBC Rewards is one of the best bank travel rewards programs in Canada. If you’re looking for a travel credit card, RBC could be a great fit for you.

I should note that most of RBC’s credit cards are issued by Visa, so you won’t be able to use them at Costco or Loblaws‘ owned stores where only Mastercard is accepted.

How to pick the best RBC credit card

Picking the RBC credit card can be tricky for some since you have so many choices. What you should do is figure out exactly what your needs are before you apply. Consider the following factors:

  • Type of benefits – The type of benefits you want is usually the most important choice. Are you interested in travel or cash back rewards? Don’t forget to consider a low interest credit card if you have any debt.
  • Annual fee – Will the benefits you get from your credit card be worth more than the annual fee? If not, look at no fee credit cards. Keep in mind that you may get your annual fee waived if you have a premium banking plan with RBC.
  • Welcome bonus – The welcome bonus is usually worth more than the annual fee so always take a look at what credit card deals are available when applying.
  • Additional benefits – For some people, the additional benefits such as no foreign transaction fees, lounge access and travel insurance are important, so check to see what each card offers and compare it to others.

Final thoughts

Getting one of the best RBC credit cards only makes sense if the credit card benefits match up with your spending or if you bank with RBC and you get the annual fee waived. Always pick a credit card where the earn rate and benefits work to your advantage regardless of which bank is the provider.

The Best RBC Credit Cards in Canada

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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