Bits: HSBC World Elite bonus developments, 25% bonus on Amex Travel MR redemptions, Cathay sale

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News in brief:

HSBC Premier World Elite bonus developments (positively!)

There has been an interesting development in the saga of the HSBC Premier World Elite credit card bonus (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.

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.

However, HSBC had been forcing people to keep the card for a 2nd year in order to receive the 2nd part of the bonus, the extra 40,000 points for spending £12,000.

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

For months, HSBC has been claiming that 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 then took a firm position that you are not getting the points until after the first year is up.

This week, however, two readers contacted me to say that they had hit the £12,000 target and received the 2nd batch of 40,000 points in advance of their renewal.

I know that some readers have complained to the regulator about HSBC’s behaviour – and lost.  However, based on a couple of cases this week HSBC may have decided to voluntarily follow its own published rules, which is very generous of them.

HSBC Premier World Elite

25% on Membership Rewards redemptions via Platinum Travel – a bad deal

If you have an American Express Platinum card, you probably got an email on Friday saying that you will get a 25% bonus when you redeem your Membership Reward points via Platinum Travel.  This would cover any prepaid flights or hotels.

This is not a great deal.

The standard redemption value when you use points to pay for Amex Travel bookings is 0.45p per point.  This is rubbish, when you assume that you can get 1 airline mile per point instead.  You’re actually better off redeeming for Nectar points and getting 0.5p per point off your Sainsburys shopping!

The extra 25% bonus takes you to 0.57p per point.  This is still poor, and I doubt any HFP reader would get value here.  Give it a miss.

Cathay Pacific sale

Cathay Pacific has launched a short economy sale, running to Wednesday 17th January.

Economy prices from London are Hong Kong £479, Manila £469, Ho Chi Minh City £499, Bali £469 and Shanghai £469.

The Business Class sale which began earlier is still running, with prices including Tokyo £2469, Beijing £2359, Shanghai £2359, Adelaide / Brisbane /  Cairns / Melbourne / Sydney £3129.

Details are on the Cathay Pacific site here.

(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.)

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  1. Shame with HSBC – We just paid two lots of 2nd year fees last month 🙁

    • The only positive side to it is you are earning ongoing avios with every £ spent instead of this nonsense Tesco MasterCard, which l found quite annoying, as lots of our small spends were around £6 or £7 which gave us nothing. We do have a lot of MasterCard spend which l just can’t use our Amex on. Much as l have tried. Even as far as asking our local garage to send us a PayPal invoice which we could then use our Amex on, but no joy.
      It’s also quite handy that the 2nd person fee is only £60 pa, which gives same benefits, albeit no lounge key guest.
      Just wish a transfer bonus was offered soon.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      If you haven’t already tried, this change in stance may lead to more success through their complaints process (although less likely if you’ve been continuing to use the card).

  2. OT: what’s the deal with the ban on card fees? I know it came into effect yesterday and BA, EasyJet, Ryanair etc have all ceased their fees. However, KLM still seem to be charging for Amex and some MC, not all. I’d have thought if you trade in the UK, you do it under UK law?

    • Thought it was Eu law, not just UK…

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I was able to pay my council tax online now without a fee. However Just Eat call it a “service charge” of 50p per order.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Are they charging everyone who pays cash 50p service charge too?

        • Graham Walsh says:

          Just reading their T&Cs. They take 14% of the order value plus 50p. They will, on behalf of the Restaurant, charge the Customer: a £0.50 admin charge per Order paid for online

          Seems like it regardless of card or cash

    • Lady London says:

      About time too. Handling cards these days is a normal part of doing business that costs pence and fractions of pence, for large merchants certainly. How this ripoff (I’m looking at you British Airways) was ever allowed to continue is beyond me.

      If it was the EU that got this sorted out then another case where something good came to normal people from the EU that was not given by the UK government.

      Sorry for the OT it’s January and miserable weather so I’m taking the opportunity to grump 🙂 Think I’ll rename myself “Grumpy London” 🙂

      • It certainly doesn’t cost pence if you’re a small business. If you aren’t doing high volume then it’s normal to be giving up 2% depending on the transaction size. On some small transactions if a customer pays by PayPal I can be giving 8% in fees to PayPal.

        • But why take Paypal? I will use it if it is offered, purely to save me having to get my card out, but it absolutely isn’t essential.

        • We’ve just changed energy suppliers and none of them would take credit cards, either cheque or cash! Cash for goodness sake !!

  3. Hi Rob – any jdea why the regulator sided with HSBC re the Premier World Elite card? Surely the marketing material / T&Cs are misleading if they don’t include something along the lines of ‘you must hold the card, and pay the annual fee, for a minimum of 2 years in order to receive the 40,000 bonus’.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      See “Anniversary Bonus” in the comments below.

    • ‘You have a year to spend £12k so HSBC is allowed to only check once a year whether you hit the target and only pay then’

      • Lady London says:

        Hum. A backward leaning double somersault by the regulator, in order to find in favour of HSBC’s intention that they did not state explicitly enough in the t’c and c’s.

        Come on HSBC you need to honour anyone that signed up to t’s and c’s that did not fully cover the restriction you wanted to put. If you want to stop honouring your own t’s and c’s then by all means create contracts with new customers under different t’s and c’s that do state clearly any extra restriction on payout you would like to put.

  4. Have had the Hsbc premier world elite since July and this month was credited the second tranche of 40k points for hitting £12k spend with no complaint or contact to or from Hsbc, they just appeared ????

    • scottnothing says:

      Same for me. My card is due for renewal on 8 Feb and an additional 20,000 points credited to my existing tally on 8 Jan. I haven’t called HSBC to press them on this, but had planned to. A very nice surprise.

  5. I made many calls to HSBC about this and they always refused to accept that their terms & conditions were misleading. The heading for the 2nd bonus in the T&Cs is ‘Anniversary Bonus’. So they always held that the within 60 days of qualification meant within 60 days of the card anniversary if you’ve spent £12,000

    • All I can say is that there are examples where HSBC have accepted they were wrong and paid out, so keep trying if it’s worth it for you.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      I couldnt work out from the article how HSBC could contest and win. Thanks for providing the “Anniversary Heading” incormation. That is an important data point and while the T&Cs could be better written I would argue their intent is clear.

      I’m on HSBCs side but fair play to anyone who can make them cough up.

      • In my experience – having made a FOS complaint against Amex which was 100% justified and lost – is that they are biased against you.

        • New Card says:

          This happened to me. I complained to the FOS and got a response rejecting my complaint on extremely spurious grounds.

          I was minded to appeal but I’ve just checked my account and the points are now in there!

          It strikes me as at least possible that HSBC run the assessment at calendar year end for convenience sake – might explain my experience and the number of people now reporting receipt of the extra points in January?

    • Lady London says:

      It cannot be questioned whether anyone who spent the required amount had qualified for the payout. The regulator could give HSBC right on the timing of the payout but not on whether you had qualified for it based on the t’s and c’s. So anyone who qualified should still receive the payout even if they’d closed their card by the time HSBC believed they had promised to pay it. I think the regulator did a poor job and would have appealed.

    • Does anyone know how it works with the Amex Gold when you spend £15k in 1 year to get 10000 bonus MRs? They seem to have similar wording – does that mean you have to keep Amex Gold for at least 2 years, paying £140 in 2nd year?

      ‘Anniversary Bonus
      Celebrate with 10,000 Membership Rewards points after each year of Cardmembership when you spend at least £15,000 within the 12 month period of your Card anniversary.’

  6. Craig Strickland says:

    Mine posted the same month as the £195 renewal fee. I’ll keep a good eye on it this year to see whether it is worth it for the number of Avios earned. They really need to look at some ongoing bonus or perk system beyond the lounge access.

  7. Presumably you mean the financial regulator.
    Has anyone tried referring them to the Advertising Standards Authority?
    (this card does not appeal to me even if I still had the income).

  8. Following my query on this site just before Xmas, I sent a Secure Message to HSBC about my anniversary points. Note (not sure whether it matters or not) but I didn’t refer to them as “anniversary points” but “additional points” (or something like that). Just checked my secure messages and they sent me message in early Jan saying my 40k points will there in the January statement.

    • Same here.. In my ongoing discussions with them from July to oct, they had no clue about their own t and c. Finally got a clef in manager, whom l managed to inform about how much better Amex were when dealing with high value customers. Felt they could learn from them, actually. The regulator has warned HSBC to clean up their act and play fair, in private. Publicly they are sticking to the anniversary wording. However, they did agree with me that waiting until the very last moment to apply the bonus, and forcing you to pay another fee was unfair. So they have been dropping he bonus in ahead of year end now. I have not been able to read the judgement. But l certainly quoted may examples of where they could improve their customer services in future, if they wanted more stayers. They asked me a lot about a bonus system. Told them even high value customers appreciate an odd bonus.
      So yes, worth a gamble taking thermos,,but like think lesson has been learned.
      Now for a transfer bonus…..

  9. I complained to HSBC, used all the words a bank hates to hear (misleaded, ripped off etc) and they gave me the 40,000 points instantly

  10. ChampagneSocialist says:

    I had reached the spend target some months ago but never got round to phoning up HSBC to demand the points. On last month’s statement they protectively credited me with the renewal bonus anyway, even though my renewal is not due till March (and they haven’t yet taken the renewal fee). So something has changed in their process…

  11. Patrick says:

    Dies anyone know whether you can get the HSBC sign-up bonus again, i.e. cancelling now and waiting for a while ?

  12. O/T – a little while back there was a website mentioned where all the printer cartridges, lego etc bought from Tesco which has bonus points were then sold.

    I.E. bought the product for the bonus points,
    No interest in the product itself

    Can anyone remind me what this website is?


  13. Michael_s says:

    I just hit my hsbc world elite target of 12,000 – thanks for heads-up on HMRC deadline Rob! Is there anyway to churn this card once points are in? Or once you got the bonus you’re not eligible again (even after years??)

  14. Lady London says:

    “I know that some readers have complained to the regulator about HSBC’s behaviour – and lost.”.

    What use is the regulator then? It’s in the t’c and c’s. How can any competent fair regulator have let HSBC get away with this in even one single case? Is this another example of a toothless regulator such as we have for water and telecom industry, who in my view are too far in cahoots with those they are supposed to be regulating?

    If HSBC is addressing the higher wealthier market segment, as implied by their extremely high criteria for income or investment with them for their cards, they should learn that their customers have a choice and don’t take kindly to sleazy behaviour on the part of any bank.

    • ThisIsMoney UK did an interesting article on 25th April showing how useless the FOS is. (Google -Staff meltdown at the Financial Ombudsman) An eye-opener to anyone who thinks they will be able to rely on them to be competent and effective in their role.

    • HSBC has had a slap on the wrist recently. Now towing the line…they need to be aware that these customers appreciate rewards too! Ex a bonus or two annually…

  15. OT – Haven’t seen this mentioned before but just in case anyone is interested Marriott Windsor have a free airport parking deal ‘Winter Getaway Park Here, Fly There’ valid till 11/10/18. I’ve booked parking at the Renaissance Heathrow and never had any problems.

    ‘Forget airport parking. This special offer invites you to enjoy 4, 7 or 15 days of free parking at the hotel along with an unsurpassed start to your trip.

    Make travel fun again with this convenient package! Check in at the Heathrow/Windsor Marriott Hotel to enjoy a good night’s sleep, and then leave your car at the hotel for 4, 7 or 15 days while you head out of town.’

  16. I’ve had a lot of back and forth with HSBC on this issue, as I was expecting to receive the anniversary bonus without renewing for the second year. I was previously advised to hold onto the card and cancel after the anniversary when bonus points would appear, and was later told that they are unable to refund the annual fee once it’s been charged!

    Long story short, they reimbursed the annual fee to my current account through the complaints procedure, and I’ve still haven’t cancelled the card!

  17. Just quick update – my 40,000 anniversary points posted within my first year ( renewal due may 2018) of taking out the card. It was approx 60 days after i hit required spend 🙂

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