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 miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our dedicated ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)