RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum Review

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The RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum flies under the radar of most travel hackers, but it shouldn’t.

The RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum isn’t for everybody. It is definitely the type of travel credit card you go for once you’ve exhausted your more main stream options.

But that’s doesn’t mean it isn’t a powerful credit card. It is, and it shouldn’t be ignored or overlooked!

The RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is a good option for travel hackers who have exhausted the traditional credit cards like the Amex Platinum or TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and are looking for a way to maximize their travel rewards. It is a good credit card for people interested in travelling to and from Asia. Or travelling from Asia to Israel or UAE. It isn’t the right card for everybody. But if it is the right fit for you, it is a valuable card to have in your wallet.

In my mind, the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is the perfect card to combine with the HSBC World Elite Mastercard or RBC Avion Visa Infinite. Or any American Express card that earns MR points.

It is the perfect compliment to other credit cards where you can transfer your points to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.

This allows you to earn a lot of Asia Miles by getting the sign-up bonus from multiple credit cards.

Because, let’s face it, you aren’t going to earn enough Asia Miles just from the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum for a long-haul business class flight.

You need to pair this credit card with other credit cards that allow you to transfer into Asia Miles.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself!

By the end of this post, you’ll have a better idea whether or not the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is the right card for you or not!

Highlights

I will admit that this isn’t the sexiest of credit cards.

It doesn’t have many perks that get you excited, and it isn’t anything to write home about.

You’re really getting this card for the sign-up bonus and not much else.

Here are some of the top highlights you need to know about:

  • Earn up to 35,000 Asia Miles as a sign-up bonus
  • Receive complimentary green status to Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club
  • Earn 1 Asia Mile for every $1 spent in Canadian dollars
  • Earn 1.25 Asia Miles for every $1 spent in foreign currency
  • Ability to earn double Asia Miles on purchases through Cathay Pacific’s website

And that’s about it.

Not the most attractive, but that sign-up bonus is awesome!

RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum

Pros and Cons of the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum

Pros

  • Awesome sign-up bonus
  • One of the easiest ways to earn Asia Miles
  • Good option if interested in taking advantage of RBC’s product swap options

Cons

  • Points earning is quite low
  • Need a lot of points to redeem for a flight
  • Arguably there are better credit cards you should focus on maximizing first

Points

You earn and redeem Asia Miles with this credit card.

Asia Miles is the name of Cathay Pacific’s points program. You can redeem your Asia Miles for Cathay Pacific flights or for a flights operated by one of their partner airlines.

It is all done through the Asia Miles website, and you don’t have to worry about transferring your points to a partner program.

Sign-Up Bonus

The sign-up bonus is structured in a way where you receive your points after hitting specific milestones.

You are:

  • 15,000 Asia Miles after your first purchase
  • 10,000 Asia Miles after spending $6,000 in the first three months of holding the card
  • 10,000 Asia Miles after renewing your card for a second year

Unlike the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite, it isn’t a terrible deal to renew your RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum for the second year.

Asia Miles are typically values at 1.2 cents, so paying the $120 annual fee for the second year means you’re paying face value for the 10,000 Asia Miles you receive.

That being said, it still may not be in your best interest to renew the card for a second year. The points earning is just so low that it is hard to justify keeping this card when there are other cards where you earn points quicker.

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Spending money on credit card

Earning Points

The points earning on the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum are very straight forward.

There are no elevated points earning categories, and you earn a flat rate no matter what your purchase.

Here is what you need to know about earning Asia Miles with this card:

  • Earn 1 Asia Mile for every $1 spent in Canadian dollars
  • Earn 1.25 Asia Miles for every $1 spent in foreign currencies
  • Chance to earn double Asia Miles when making purchases on the Cathay Pacific website

As you may have guessed, it takes a long time to accumulate Asia Miles with this credit card.

The regular points earning is kind of a bust, and you’re really getting this card for the sign-up bonus rather than the everyday points earning.

I suggest meeting your minimum spend on this card and then tucking it away in your wallet. After meeting the minimum spend, I would only use it for Cathay Pacific purchases.

Redeeming Points

The redemption process is pretty easy.

Everything is done online through the website, and it is as simple as searching for a flight like you normally would.

You just have to make sure you’re on the Asia Miles website rather than the Cathay Pacific website.

From the Asia Miles website, you can redeem your points for flights, hotels, car rentals, merchandise, and much more.

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Best Way to Redeem Asia Miles

The best way to redeem Asia Miles is for long-haul international flights in business or first class.

Cathay Pacific has one of the best business and first class cabins in the industry, and you get the best bang for your points when you redeem to experience it.

I like to make sure I redeem business or first class flights that depart from Hong Kong. Hong Kong has some of the best airport lounges in the world, and it would be a shame to miss out on them!

My personal favourite long-haul flights to redeem Asia Miles for are from Hong Kong to North America. Or Hong Kong to Tel Aviv or Dubai.

Both are an excellent use of your Asia Miles and get you a really high value per point!

My personal opinion is to redeem your miles for whatever trip you want take.

Even if it technically isn’t the best use of your miles.

One thing that often gets overlooked in the travel hacking space is enjoying the trips you go on!

There is no sense saving up a lot of points just to redeem them for a trip you’re not stoked about just because it is the best way to maximize your points.

That’s just silly!

So figure out the best use of your Asia Miles that fit into your dream trip!

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Worst Way to Redeem Asia Miles

As is the case with every other travel points program on the market, the worst way to redeem your points is on merchandise.

You get a terrible value per point when you redeem for merchandise, and it isn’t worth the hard work of earning and saving your Asia Miles.

In terms of flight rewards, the value you get on short-haul economy flights isn’t great.

I recommend saving up until you can afford a long-haul flight (preferably in a premium cabin) rather than redeeming for one (or more) short-haul flights.

But do what works best for you!

Annual Fee

The annual fee on the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is $120.

RBC doesn’t tend to waive the first year’s annual fee like many other Canadian banks, so you’re stuck paying it every year you hold the card.

Qualifications

The RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is a special card at RBC.

It is their only premium travel credit card that doesn’t have a minimum income requirement!

We love this and hope more cards move towards no minimum income requirements in the future!

In order to be eligible for this card, you have to:

  • Be a Canadian resident
  • Have a Canadian credit file
  • Be the age of majority in your home province

Easy peasy!

I love how accessible RBC makes this card. My fingers are optimistically crossed they remove the minimum income requirements from their other credit cards!

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Who Should Get the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum

I think this is a credit card that appeals to more experienced travel hackers.

People who has exhausted the more traditional travel credit cards and are looking for an underrated and lesser known option.

It is a great card for people who want to quickly top up their Asia Miles balance, so they can redeem for a business or first class to or from Asia.

Who Should NOT Get the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum

I do not think the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is the right credit card for people just getting into the travel hacking game.

It hast terrible points earning categories, and you won’t earn many points beyond the sign-up bonus.

Unless you book Cathay Pacific flights on a regular basis.

If you’re new to travel hacking, I suggest focusing on American Express or Aeroplan cards before diving into the more obscure cards like this one.

It is more of an add on for people who need to top up their Asia Miles balances and have already exhausted the mainstream options.

Woman waiting in airport

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Conclusion

You’ve made it to the end and now have a better idea of if the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is the right credit card for you.

It definitely isn’t the right credit card for everybody. It isn’t even the right credit card for most people.

But it can be the right credit card for you, and if it is, it is the perfect way to earn a lot of Asia Miles quickly.

Asia Miles aren’t the easiest points currency to earn as a Canadian.

Having a dedicated credit card just for Asia Miles is amazing– especially if you fly in and out of Hong Kong frequently.

Which a lot of business people tend to do!

You 100% need to do a deep dive into the Asia Miles program before deciding if the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is the right card for you.

It all comes down to does the Asia Miles program meet your travel needs or should you focus on earning points towards another program like Aeroplan.

RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum ReviewRBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum ReviewRBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum Review

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