HSBC, as I have mentioned a couple of times on Head for Points in the past, has been planning to bring its World Elite MasterCard product to the UK for some time. Recent changes to the terms and conditions of HSBC Premier made this clear.
The product is now set to launch – and it sounds quite exciting.
I believe that the information below is correct. However, it has not come directly from HSBC so it may not be 100% complete. Details were not on the HSBC website as of last night.
Before I come onto the benefits, let me remind you how HSBC Premier credit cards work if you take airline miles. You need 2 HSBC Premier card points to exchange for either 1 Avios, 1 Cathay Pacific mile, 1 Singapore Airlines mile or 1 Etihad Guest mile.
This is what the new HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard will offer, I understand:
40,000 points (20,000 miles) for signing up and spending £2,000 within 3 months
40,000 points (20,000 miles) for spending £12,000 in your first 12 months – you only receive these points at the end of the first year, however quickly you spend £12,000
2 points (1 mile) for every £1 you spend – this makes it by far the best Avios MasterCard or Visa product
4 points (2 miles) for every £1 you spend outside the UK
There are other interesting benefits on top which come with ALL World Elite MasterCard products issued in the UK:
Airport lounge access via LoungeKey
Travel insurance (not clear how comprehensive, possibly refers to the usual HSBC Premier insurance)
Travel status benefits:
- Abercrombie & Kent VIP Travel
- Fairmont Hotels and Resorts VIP Guest Status
- Leading Hotels of the World free Leaders Club membership (save $150)
- Hertz #1 Club Gold
- Sixt – ‘exclusive benefits’
- Raffles Hotels and Resorts VIP Guest Status
- Swissotel Hotels and Resorts VIP Guest Status
- Starwood 3-4-2 deal
- Small Luxury Hotels of the World 3-4-2 deal
What is annual fee?
It will be £195 plus £60 for any supplementary cardholders.
What are the eligibility criteria?
HSBC Premier has tough eligibility criteria. See here and click on the Eligibility button to see the details.
As well as opening a HSBC Premier current account, you must ALSO have £50,000 invested with HSBC, either in a savings account or via an investment product.
Alternatively, if you earn over £100,000, you qualify if you just have a HSBC mortgage or anyinvestment or insurance product. (HSBC has been known to waive the income criteria if you are on a career path which should see you earning this sort of money within a few years.)
I’m not sure what the minimum investment is in an ‘investment product’ but I’m sure you could find something which would accept £1,000 or so. They may even treat ISA’s or fixed rate bonds as ‘investment products’ – the definition is not clear online. Some readers have been told different things by different branches.
Is the card worth getting?
I still have a HSBC Premier account from my days working for the group, more than a decade ago.
I will probably get this card although it is a more marginal call. I still have my BMI Diamond Club MasterCard which earns 2.5 Avios per £1. Spending £12,000 on that card earns me 30,000 Avios.
I would receive 52,000 Avios from putting £12,000 through this new card. The extra 22,000 Avios would justify the £195 fee – just – and I may get some value from the other travel benefits.
For anyone who doesn’t have a legacy BMI MasterCard and has HSBC Premier, this is a very good deal. You are looking at 52,000 Avios for a £195 card fee and £12,000 of spending within a year.
One thing to note though. If you were thinking of running up the £12,000 via tax payments, remember that a World Elite MasterCard may have higher interchange fees than a standard MasterCard. This is HMRC’s list of non-standard MasterCard fees:
MasterCard World Premium Credit Card 0.374%
MasterCard Signia Premium Credit Card 0.606%
MasterCard Elite Premium Credit Card 0.606%
So, what is the HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard? Is it 0.374% or 0.606%? Even at 0.606%, however, you would be ‘buying’ your airline miles cheaply.
I will about the card again when I have the official details which will hopefully be in the next day or so.
(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)