New Royal Bank VISA Avion Gold

 

Old Jul 6, 00, 7:37 am
  #1  
YYZ
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New Royal Bank VISA Avion Gold

Started a new topic because the other title on this matter didn't seem to be exactly on topic.

The link to the new benefits on the card - Canadian Plus points until September 1, then the option of Canadian plus points for the rest of the year or some sort of specials with BA or AA!!
http://www.royalbank.com/cards/avion/index.html

Sounds intriguing. Still no mention of how many points required for flights though, or if the card will be similar to the TD Gold Travel Card. Anything though, seems to be better than the joke offer by AMEX of 10,000 points for $100. The new AVION card seems to suggest that you can earn points towards FREE FLIGHTS (no 50% cap).
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Old Jul 6, 00, 9:27 am
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Anybody got any idea whether the points can be used to book non-coach travel? If not, looks like AeroGold for me. I already have enough AirMiles mouldering in my account for any coach-class trips I might possibly want.

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Old Jul 6, 00, 9:36 am
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Couple of notes:

1. The preferencial partners are American Airlines and British Airways. Is this the new de-facto Oneworld card ?

2. This orderly termination is a great improvement over Amex handling. In light of the Aeroplan/CPlus merging plans, it was pathetic that Amex demanded a 3 year wind-down period. In any case, I guess CIBC has decided not to play nice after all.
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Old Jul 6, 00, 1:37 pm
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I always maintained in my posts the Royal Bank relationship would last as long as Cdn+ did, then be wound down as that program was merged (or whatever) with AC's Aeroplan. This is exactly what has happened. Royal had a contract with Cdn+ and that program will be no more. (Similar announcements will be forthcoming about other Cdn+ partners over the coming months. Some may affiliate with Aeroplan where there are no conflicts or exclusive agreements in place.) There was never any insinuation that Royal would join Aeroplan as a partner, since that program already had its two card partners, CIBC and Diners/enRoute.

My main point was we should not fear the same circumstances around the Visa card as occured with the Amex card because Royal played a far more prominent role in Canadian Airlines (as its key banker and major creditor) and with Air Canada (as trustee of its employee pension plan).

It should be remembered that Royal Bank operates BA's affinity credit card throughout Britain and Europe. It was thought to be something of a coup last year when they got the contract.

[This message has been edited by Shareholder (edited 07-06-2000).]
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Old Jul 7, 00, 4:21 pm
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There is no way to evaluate the value of this new card without any indication of the number of points needed for a flight.

I just checked the TD website and see that you need 5000 points to get $75 off an airline ticket. You earn 5points per $ which means that you have to spend $1000 for 5000 points to get $75 off the price of a ticket, effectively a 7.5% rebate.
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Old Jul 7, 00, 11:10 pm
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IsleTraveller:

Actually, the TD card only earns 5 points per dollar when making charges at the TD Gold Travel Centre. Otherwise, it's just 1 point per dollar charged, or a rebate of just 0.75 percent, not a very good deal the $99 annual fee. In comparison, the no-fee PresChoice Visa gives back 1% in grocery points.

I'm wondering if travel points cards like Avion or Amex will charge customers a fee (say $20) as a travel agent does to a book a ticket when using their points. This would further dilute the value of such a card compared to Aerogold or Diners, since there's no fee charged to book an Aeroplan reward ticket.
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Old Jul 8, 00, 10:43 pm
  #7  
ALW
 
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And CIBC has a card with a 2% _cash_ rebate for $80 and a free one that gives 1%. (Okay, the rebate is lower on the first $5k per year, but that's not much spending for a FF'er).

andrew
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Old Jul 9, 00, 9:35 am
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Amex will charge their standard AmexTravel fee for issuing tickets, since the MR points are only a partial payment. Most travel agencies now charge $25 to $35 for each ticket issued since airlines cut back severly on commissions. (I know it hurts, but can you blame the agencies? How else can they stay in business?) Not sure about the agencies tied in with the TD or other CIBC cards, or the one with AirMiles.

BTW, I wonder how many other Cdn+ elites are in the same situation as I am: Having the Diners/enRoute "MLL card" so we could have lounge access when travelling on AC (with no elite status in Aeroplan)? With the merged programs and reciprocal lounge access, there no need to pay extra for this benefit.
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Old Jul 9, 00, 1:25 pm
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And I almost forgot, what about sales taxes like the GST? When my mother used her Airmiles to go to Whitehorse, she had to pay about $150 in taxes on a "free" Airmiles ticket worth about $1,700. This wouldn't have happened with an Aeroplan reward ticket.

What good is a $120 Avion card if they decide to make one pay a ticket fee plus sales taxes on the "free" ticket?

My parents also have the CIBC Dividend 2% card, it's great for people who already have lots of ff miles. Plus it includes medical insurance for trips under 15 days. One caveat, though, the 2% rebate is capped at $50,000 in annual charges. But still a good deal for the average person charging two or three grand a month.
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Old Jul 11, 00, 7:23 am
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There's an article comparing CIBC's Aerogold and the new Royal Bank Avion cards in the Globe and Mail this morning:

The catch with Avion is that you have to stay over Saturday night to use your points, and you have to book two weeks in advance for North American flights and three weeks in advance for global flights.

Avion and Aerogold also differ somewhat in the number of points you'll need for a free flight. Short-haul flights in Canada would cost 15,000 points with both Avion and Aerogold, but a New York-Toronto flight would run you 20,000 Avion points and 15,000 miles on an Aerogold.

As well, there's a price cap on tickets booked through Avion points. For example, your points would pay no more than $400 toward a Toronto-New York flight. Royal says the caps are high enough to cover the vast majority of flights, but this is still something to be aware of if you're expecting to fly for free.
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Old Jul 11, 00, 7:43 am
  #11  
YYZ
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Although the two week limit and Saturday night stay do seem somewhat restrictive, I think they may have a good product. The majority of flights that I book on points (for vacations) are booked well in advance of two weeks for availability. The price cap doesn't seem to be a major factor as Toronto-New York two week advance purchase doesn't normally cost over $400 (at least in my experience). This will probably more of a factor in smaller cities where it costs a fortune to fly into (like Castlegar where my brother-in-law lives!)

The only thing I think I'd miss would be the convenience in being able to do a rush booking and I'm pretty sure on these tickets that no changes will be permitted.

It will be interesting to see which airlines will be involved.

So what we know so far is:

1) 2 week advance purchase
2) Certain price limitations (but reasonable)
3) Saturday stay required
4) 15,000 points short haul domestic
5) 20,000 points short haul U.S.
6) Additional purchase protection warranty and 90 day replacement coverage.

It would be interesting to calculate how similar the 'flying' benefits are to the Air Miles credit card.
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Old Jul 11, 00, 8:04 am
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It sounds like the Avion points are worth up to a maximum of 2 cents per point ($400 max for a 20,000 point flight). I remember reading somewhere that this is the average cost of an award offered in most airlines' frequent flier programs.

This sounds like a reasonable offer, except that I always save my frequent flier points for expensive flights and end up getting much more value than 2 cents per point.
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Old Jul 11, 00, 9:48 am
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Implicitly coach only http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/frown.gif

I'd better call CIBC....


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Old Jul 11, 00, 2:58 pm
  #14  
YYZ
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That's right! Coach only (didn't think of that). I wonder what type of a fare it would be though, and if elite flier members could use their upgrades on these tickets (since theoretically, Royal Bank pays the airlines for these tickets). Has anyone used an air miles reward ticket? What is the fare class on those tickets?
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Old Jul 11, 00, 3:50 pm
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The fare code on my mom's Airmiles reward ticket on Canadian was LMREWARDS (Loyalty Management runs Airmiles). And no, it didn't qualify for ff mileage.

$35 for an Airmiles Mastercard vs. $120 for Avion, so far the new Royal program doesn't sound very promising. BTW, Aerogold is now offering everyone a 5,000 mile sign-up bonus (normally 2.5k), according to an ad in Saturday's Globe and Mail.
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