HSBC Premier drops its income requirement to £75k – can you now get the best Avios Mastercard?

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I have covered the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard extensively in articles like this.  It is a VERY attractive Mastercard product if you want to earn Avios.

There is a £195 annual fee but you will receive 40,000 Avios points for spending £12,000 in the first year.  20,000 Avios (via 40,000 HSBC points) are credited if you spend £2,000 within 90 days and a further 20,000 Avios (via 40,000 HSBC points) are credited at the end of your first year if you have hit the £12,000 spending target.

You earn an unbeatable 1 Avios per £1 (via 2 HSBC points per £1) on the World Elite Mastercard AND get access to 500 airport lounges worldwide via LoungeKey.  Other perks include a £20 Uber credit each time you charge £500 to an airline.  Full details can be found on the HSBC website here.

(The representative APR is 59.3% including the annual fee based on a £1200 credit limit.  The APR on purchases is 18.9%.)

The standard HSBC Premier Mastercard is also attractive.  As you can see here, the card is free – albeit there is no sign up bonus – and you earn 0.5 Avios for every £1 you spend.

You can also transfer your points to Etihad Guest, Asia Miles or Singapore Airlines Krisflyer at the same rates or use them for non-travel rewards.

Join HSBC Premier

The only snag with these cards is that you must have a HSBC Premier current account.

HSBC Premier has always had tough eligibility criteria.  See here and click on the Eligibility button to see the details.

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 have a high income, you qualify if you just have a HSBC mortgage or any investment (such as an ISA) or insurance product.

The income requirement has historically been £100,000 per year.  From today, it falls to £75,000 per year.  This opens it up to a lot more people.

Once your Premier bank account is open, you will be able to apply for either the HSBC Premier or HSBC Premier World Elite credit cards and start earning Avios, or other airline miles, via a Mastercard at the generous HSBC rates.

(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.)

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.

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  1. Is it the only world elite card avail be in the UK?

    • Genghis says:

      Santander offers one

      • pablo fonseca domingo panto says:

        santander doesn’t come across as very premium. they’re more like the asda of the banking world

        • At least they don’t close your account because you deposited £5000 in cash

        • The_real_a says:

          John – who did that?

        • Given that I can’t even get a face to face meeting at any local branch (there are 5 within a 5 mile radius) to discuss a business account with near 6 figure weekly turnover without waiting a month I certainly wouldn’t call HSBC premium.

        • Real a- HSBC UK did, despite being premier in Hong Kong, and with regular deposits of 5k in cash yearly.

    • Totally agreed with HSBC’s deposit issue. Most of my friends’ HSBC accounts got closed due to small deposit amounts or even Amazon refunds etc. Absolutely rubbish bank.
      Santander doesn’t close accounts due to this but, even worse! 2 years ago they freeze my business account for 6 weeks! Half million of capitals in the account can’t even move due to some internal check. I have 400k outstanding debt needed to pay for my suppliers! in 6 weeks they didn’t unblock the account but called me up to transfer the money out within 3 days then they will close my account! Ridiculous!

  2. RBS Black Current Account cost £28 a month .. therefore, not the cheapest around

  3. Hannah says:

    Does a First Direct mortgage count?

  4. How does LoungeKey compare to Priority Pass in worldwide offering?

  5. Interesting. I am on the cusp of the earnings criteria and have a mortgage with HSBC. Does anyone know how they would calculate income based on a ltd co contractor setup?

    • Bonglim says:

      They were pretty relaxed when I set up my Premier account. I think they want to see a certain amount of cash going through the account, so if you are self employed and therefore pay tax bills rather than PAYE I think you will be fine – as a lot more money goes through your account compared to someone earning 75k as an employee.

      The person who ‘checked’ my last 3 statements didn’t even understand what I was on about when I said the payments from my business to my account were before tax.

      I think they just suddenly downgrade people’s current accounts if your income slows down though.

      • Thanks a lot for your reply, reckon i’ll make an appointment, generally pay all my expenses dividends and salary into my HSBC advance account so should be ok. Cheers!

  6. filipino_chino says:

    My mother got this card a couple of months ago, apart from the low amount of credit, this has been a pleasure to spend 12k on. Just finished paying the 12k to make sure we get the bonus points… she has an E Card for the Lounge Key access so i do the spending while she is away.

    1 Avios per £1 is worth keeping, but for now i put most spending through BA Amex for 1.5miles per £1 and then any extra spending through this…

    It saves us paying £450 per year for the Plat Amex card which my mother does (so over 50% saving as we don’t use all the other benefits).

    • Joseph Heenan says:

      How did you get the LoungeKey e-card? I’ve utterly failed to get that in the iOS app despite contacting their support team a few times.

  7. I can’t seem to find what the tangible benefits of the HSBC Premier bank account are. All I can see is that it allows one to apply for the exclusive credit card but other than that it looks like just another standard account, unless I’m mistaken?

    • It is, unless you actually need to speak or deal with them. Big branches now have dedicated Premier areas.

    • pauldb says:

      Travel insurance is the main one … a relationship manager may be valued by some.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Travel Insurance may make this more palatable as an ongoing earning card but £195 after year one for very little benefit doesn’t seem worth it.

        • pauldb says:

          The travel insurance comes with the free banking, not with the paid-for credit card. But yes I agree on the card … I have a joint account so my wife may be the cardholder next year. 🙂

    • There appears to be worldwide travel insurance including winter sports for no fee. This got my attention. Do you actually have to use the current account? At the moment I’m churning £750 a month in and out of a nationwide account for their travel insurance but that’s Europe only so I pay an upgrade for worldwide.

      • pauldb says:

        If you qualify on income they want your income paid in there. I did an account switch when I joined but I don’t know if that was a requirement (move a couple of DDs to you nationwide account and then switch/close that??).

  8. Any word on when the new Virgin Atlantic cards will be released?

  9. Shame you are still required to have an additional HSBC product.

    • Bonglim says:

      My additional HSBC product is an account in the Global Investment Centre – which has £100 in one investment fund.

      Not particularly onerous.

      • Good point… Didn’t realise there wasn’t a “minimum spend” on their investment product. Still not sure if it warrants giving up my Barclays Premier account. The daily free coffees, free cinema tickets and free Gourmey Soceity Card are all very useful. Hmm. Shame Barclays don’t do a world elite card.

  10. Is £75,000 gross or net income? As a PAYE I have lots of tax free deduction (eg pension) prior to depositing into my bank.

  11. Personally, I am of the opinion that the current best long term set up to have for cards is, SPG (as this is equivalent to around 1.86 avios per £, with the added bonus of a weeks voucher included once you get to 90k) and the IHG Black (2 points per £ / 4 points per £, plus a free night voucher at £10k and all spending accures tier points). Am I the only one with this?

    • Could you expand on the ‘added bonus of a weeks voucher included once you get to 90k’ please

      • Genghis says:

        Looks like a Marriott travel package to me

      • guesswho2000 says:

        90k SPG=270k Marriott=120k Avios* Plus 7 night cat1-5 hotel voucher. (*or various other air miles)

    • wally1976 says:

      These are good cards for earning rates and some additional perks but obviously you need to factor in the the annual fees – £75 for the SPG and £99 IHG unless I’m mistaken.

      • Yes, I am using the SPG for a Marriott travel package, so 90k SPG > 270k Marriott > 168k Avios + a week Cat 1-5 voucher. As for the fees they do need to be considered but I find £75 a year for the SPG to be low in comparison to most others. The IHG is expensive but not so much so when considering the HSBC card.

        • pauldb says:

          I’m surprised you wouldn’t find space in your wallet (and £10k spend) to also get the BA AmexPP and it’s voucher, particularly as a churn (or his&her back&forth) it get the sign-up bonuses too.

        • pauldb says:

          And/or if I didn’t have the Amex voucher, it’s there a better option for the miles than avios?

        • Genghis says:

          I find it much more advantageous to spend on a variety of cards throughout the year

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