The devaluation of loyalty credit cards, at least those with a Visa or MasterCard logo on them, continues. This is driven by the new EU regulations on interchange fees, which will cap the amount shops can be charged for accepting Visa or MasterCard at a pitiful 0.3%. These come into force on 9th December.
We have already seen Tesco halve the earnings rate on the Tesco Clubcard MasterCard. Marriott has also closed its MasterCard to new applicants. Examples of changes to non-airline cards include NatWest closing Your Points and House of Fraser halving the voucher earning rate on its MasterCard.
HSBC Premier has become the next to fall into line.
For spending in the UK, the earning rate will halve on 21st January. The rate for overseas purchases will remain unchanged, but the card does have a 3% fee on foreign transactions.
Under the new structure, the HSBC Premier rewards scheme will give 1 point for every £1 spent in the UK.
You will be able to transfer your HSBC Premier points into the following airline schemes:
0.5 Avios per point
0.5 Asia Miles (the Cathay Pacific scheme) per point
0.5 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles per point
0.5 Etihad Guest miles per point
The irony is that, even after the earning rate is halved, the HSBC MasterCard will remain the easiest way to earn Avios via a Visa or MasterCard at 0.5 Avios per £1.
The Tesco Clubcard MasterCard now only offers 0.312 miles per £1 (and you actually receive less because of the way it rounds down transactions). The Lloyds and TSB cards do not offer more than 0.25 Avios per £1.
Here’s the snag ….
The HSBC Premier MasterCard can only be obtained if you have a HSBC Premier bank account.
HSBC Premier has tough eligibility criteria. See here and click on the Eligibility tab.
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 any investment or insurance product.
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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.