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
…. 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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 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
60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.