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No card bonus unless you pay for Year 2? Updates on Creation / IHG and HSBC World Elite

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There are two ongoing bonus sagas in the travel credit card world at the moment – one relating to the Creation IHG Rewards Club Premium card and one relating to the HSBC Premier World Elite card.

Both have the same core problem:

The cards promise a year-end bonus, but the issuer insists that you pay the non-refundable fee for the next card year before you can get the bonus you are due from Year 1.

IHG Rewards Club Premium:

(which I am legally obliged to tell you has a representative APR of 41.5% variable including the £99 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.)

It is becoming clear – the card is just one year old, so this is a new problem – that Creation will not credit your free night voucher for spending £10,000 until after you have renewed.

I am relatively sanguine about the IHG card, because I think most people WILL want to keep it.  All you are paying is £99, and this gets you:

on-going IHG Rewards Club Platinum status which comes with some decent benefits

a free night voucher for spending £10,000 (worth £250+ if spend wisely)

an excellent earnings rate of 2 points (worth about 0.8p – 1p) per £1 

and these points count towards status if you are going for top tier Spire Elite

All of this, to my mind, makes the IHG Rewards Club Premium MasterCard an excellent product and one worth keeping.

However, if you are looking to cancel but still want your free night voucher, the only course of action seems to be:

stop using the card (you must not make a transaction after the card fee has been charged)

wait for your free night voucher to show in your IHG Rewards Club account

cancel the card and ask for a refund

Do not refuse to pay the final bill containing the £99 fee as this may impact your credit report.  Creation will probably not agree to this, so you may end up taking your complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman.  At the moment, telephone conversations imply that the Ombudsman does not seen keen to get involved but, as this is a contractual issue, I don’t think they have a choice when faced with a claim in writing.

HSBC Premier World Elite

HSBC Premier World Elite:

(which I am legally obliged to tell you has a representative APR of 59.3% variable including the £195 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.)

When you take out the HSBC Premier World Elite card, you receive 40,000 HSBC points after spending £2,000 in three months and a further 40,000 HSBC points (worth 20,000 Avios) when you spend £12,000 in 12 months.  The bonus is even higher at the moment due to a short term promotion.

This is a more contentious problem for three reasons:

For many people, there is NO good reason to keep this card after the first year.  You need to pay a £195 fee but there is no spending bonus.  You will continue to keep the card benefits, such as free airport lounge access, but this may not justify £195.

The published terms and conditions for the card are wrong.  As I discussed in this article, it states that you receive the second batch of 40,000 points within 60 days of spending the £12,000:

3. If you meet the requirements for this offer as described above, we will award 40,000 Premier Reward Points to your HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard Credit Card within 60 days from point of qualification

HSBC claims this is an error and it was meant to say that you will receive the second batch of 40,000 points within 60 days of your card renewal date.

A lot of people DID receive the second batch of 40,000 points when they rang up HSBC and complained.  The bank has now seems to have taken a firm position that you are not getting the points until after the first year is up.

There is some good news here, however.

Based on correspondence with a HFP reader, HSBC will now give you 10,000 bonus points as compensation for the ‘error’ in their terms and conditions if you have already passed the £12,000 spend target and ring to ask where your points have got to.

More importantly, they have agreed that – once you have paid the £195 and received your second batch of 40,000 points – you can call them, downgrade to the free Premier credit card and receive a refund of your £195.

To be honest, I still think that the Ombudsman would tell HSBC to take a running jump over its refusal to credit the points within 60 days, since they are clearly – and admitting it – breaking their own published terms and conditions over when you receive the bonus.

On the other hand, if you can receive an extra 10,000 bonus points – worth 5,000 Avios points – for your trouble then it might be worth holding on and going through the process of getting your £195 refunded.

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.

IHG Rewards Club update – December 2020:

Get bonus points: IHG’s current promotion is ‘2x’, which runs until 15th December 2020. You can learn more in our article here. You can register here using promo code 44480.

New to IHG Rewards Club?  Read our two-part overview of IHG Rewards Club here and here and our article on expiry rules here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards Club points, you can buy them here.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (98)

  • Fenny says:

    I went for the white card and was considering the black. Now I just won’t bother.

  • J Harvey says:

    Despite saying I was eligible for a Creation IHG card after the IHG Barclaycard closed down, I was declined for it when I applied online, I think because I already have a creation card with ASDA and put a lot of spend through it. Is it worth phoning them? I think I may have read you have to wait 6 months.

    • Rob says:

      No idea what the Creation rules are, to be honest. You could ring to check what their policy is on multiple cards so you could decide if there was any point cancelling the ASDA card (which is generous).

      • Roger I* says:

        FWIW I have three:

        – IHG black;
        – Marriott (not available to new applicants;
        – Everyday MC.

    • BLT says:

      I got rejected applying for IHG creation black card ( I already held the everyday CC and Marriott CC). Phoned up and they were useless and just said wait 6 months. I reduced my limit on the other 2 cards and waited a couple of months and reapplied and was then accepted. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as shifting credit limits with MBNA.

    • Mr Dee says:

      I know of someone who reapplied within the 6 months since last applying and got accepted, no issues on holding both the asda and IHG

  • Sam Wardill says:

    I think this is shocking behaviour on the part of Creation and HSBC. I intend to escalate before I spend £10k

  • Drolma-la says:

    So many suggestions to call Creation. It’s easier said than done. I gave up after waiting 35 minutes on hold.

  • Ian says:

    I’ve called HSBC today about this as I hit the £12k mark on my March statement and have not received the bonus. They refused to admit there is an error on the terms & conditions and offered me no compensation whatsoever. They simply said they would make a note of my comments on the system that I found the terms & conditions ‘confusing’ and that if other customers have the same issue then perhaps they need to look at making it more clear….

  • Scottydogg says:

    I’m glad this has been covered on HFP at that there is a lot of other people in the same boat as me with regrads to the IHG card and the ‘free night voucher’ . Ive hit the £10,000 spend and the card is up for renewal on the 22nd of this month . I spoke to them on the phone about cancelling after the year ends but still want the free voucher as I hit the spend £10,000 as offered . They said that unless I renew and pay the second £99 I would not get the free voucher , he said that the only option I have to avoid the £99 charge is to cancel before the renewal date , thus forefitting the free night voucher.

    Its very misleading , im thinking of going down the road of waiting for it to credit , then trying to cancel . I suggested to Creation that I might have to do that , he said I would be charged and there would be no way of getting that £99 back .

    • Alex W says:

      Worth trying I’ll be doing the same I think.

      • Rob says:

        This is all fixed with Creation 🙂

        See tomorrow.

        • Alan says:

          Wow, they’ve finally seen the light?! Suspect they realised this was going to cost them a lot in FOS referrals 😛

  • Greg says:

    I can confirm, that I’ve filled a complaint with IHG, where they refused to issue £99. They confirmed, that I need to pay twice £99 annual fee to get a 1 free night voucher. Here is final decision:
    ‘On the date above, you also wanted to know if you could get your free voucher on your
    anniversary date, without incurring the £99 fee for the second year. You opened your card on 24
    October 2016 so your anniversary date as mentioned on the call would be 24 October 2017 I
    have liased with the partnership manager for IHG and you would still need to have your account
    active at your anniversary date in order to receive the free voucher. The free night certificate will
    not be awarded if you cancel for the second year.
    In view of the above, I am unable to uphold your complaint due to the correct procedures and
    processes being followed and adhered too. I know this may not be the outcome you were
    hoping for, however I hope the above helps to explain my decision.
    I believe that this decision is fair. However, if you have any new information, or would like to talk
    this through, please call me on 0800 0121173* and I would be happy to discuss this with you.’

    no more comments, I believe it was misleading information…

    • the realharry1 says:

      I suggest an Ombudsman complaint

      which costs them £500 a time

      indeed, several of us might as well make such a complaint

      • Rob says:

        No, I’ve fixed it all 🙂

      • BW says:

        I messaged BNP Paribas direct on social media. I appear to have made some progress. I’ll update as soon as I hear anything. Rob was in copy.

    • Brian says:

      That’s extraordinary. If they stick to this line then I genuinely believe customers have been conned here. The card fee is basically £198 and not £99 under this scenario to get all the promised benefits.

  • Danksy says:

    Been on the phone to HSBC for a while this morning.

    First operator was helpful, but when I pointed out the fact I hadn’t received inline with the T&C’s she had to refer to a manager.

    After 15 mins in total I got 7,500 points as a goodwill gesture. So not quite the 10,000 others have received!