Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get 5,000 Avios (or other airlines miles) as a sign-up bonus with the free HSBC Premier credit card

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HSBC Premier has launched a special sign-up bonus on its free HSBC Premier credit card.

Until 2nd March, you will receive 10,000 HSBC Premier points – the usual bonus is nothing – when you take out the free HSBC Premier credit card and spend £1,000 within 30 days.

2 HSBC Premier card points can be exchanged for either 1 Avios, 1 Cathay Pacific mile, 1 Singapore Airlines mile or 1 Etihad Guest mile.  This means that the bonus is worth 5,000 Avios or other miles.

You need to meet the strict eligibility criteria for HSBC Premier before you can apply, however.

What is the total bonus you get?

There are two different cards available:

The free HSBC Premier credit card usually has no bonus.  This special offer takes the bonus up to 10,000 points = 5,000 miles

The £195 HSBC Premier World Elite card usually has a bonus of 80,000 points = 40,000 miles.  There is no additional bonus on this card.

HSBC Premier Mastercard special offer

Here are the headline benefits for the two cards:

HSBC Premier Mastercard (free version, representative APR 18.9% variable):

This is the card which is currently offering the additional bonus of 10,000 HSBC points (5,000 miles).  You get:

1 point (0.5 miles) for every £1 spent – this is a great deal for a free Mastercard and is the most generous free Avios Mastercard or Visa product available (although the free Virgin Atlantic Mastercard is even better, at 0.75 miles per £1, and anyone can apply for this card)

2 points (1 mile) for every £1 spent in foreign currency, although there is a 3% foreign exchange fee

£15 access to airport lounges via LoungeKey

Hotel discounts via Expedia and Agoda (the Agoda offer is here and offers 10% off in selected countries)

0% interest on purchases for 9 months and a special deal on balance transfers

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard bonus

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard (£195 fee, representative APR 59.3% including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit)

There is no additional bonus on this version of the card, but the standard 40,000 Avios deal is still running.  Card benefits include:

2 points (1 mile) for every £1 spent – this is very generous and makes the card attractive for anyone with substantial Visa or Mastercard expenditure.  However, the £160 Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is more generous, at 1.5 miles per £1, and anyone can apply.

4 points (2 miles) for every £1 spent in foreign currency, although there is a 3% foreign exchange fee.  If your employer settles your credit card bill – so the 3% FX fee is not your concern – then this is very good.

Free access to airport lounges via LoungeKey. Guests are charged at £15 and you can pay £60 to give adult friends or family a supplementary credit card.  There is no way of making children free, however.

Hotel discounts via Expedia and Agoda (the Agoda offer is here and offers 10% off in selected countries)

The World Elite bonus comes with a catch, however

It is important that you understand how the bonus is received:

40,000 points (20,000 miles) for spending £2,000 in your first 90 days

40,000 points (20,000 miles) for spending £12,000 in your first 12 months – you only receive these points at the end of the first year following your renewal, however quickly you spend £12,000

This means that you are committed to paying the fee for the 2nd year in order to receive the 2nd batch of points.  Some people have, in the past, successfully got the 2nd part of the bonus paid early which allowed them to cancel.  This was only possible because HSBC’s wording on how you received the bonus was badly written and this has now been clarified.  I have not heard of anyone recently managing to get the full 80,000 points (40,000 miles) credited within the first 12 months and so allowing them to cancel the card without paying for the 2nd year.

The spending bonus is ONLY for the first year.  You won’t receive any bonus points for spending £12,000 in your 2nd or subsequent years.

Note that the £195 annual fee for this card is waived if you are a member of HSBC Jade.  This requires £500,000 of savings or investments with HSBC plus your salary to be paid into your HSBC current account.  HSBC private banking customers are also upgraded to Jade.

What are the eligibility criteria?

HSBC Premier has tough eligibility criteria.  See here and click on the Eligibility link 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 earn over £75,000, you qualify if you just have a HSBC mortgage or any investment or insurance product.  Note that HSBC recently dropped the salary limit from £100,000 to £75,000.

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.  Some readers have been told different things by different branches.

Is the HSBC Premier credit card worth getting?

I still have a HSBC Premier account from my days working for the group, more than a decade ago.  That said, I have not yet got around to applying for the credit card.

The free card is very attractive purely for the 0.5 Avios per £1 on-going spending rate.  Getting an additional 10,000 HSBC points (5,000 Avios) by applying before 2nd March is a welcome extra bonus.

The £195 World Elite card depends on what use you would get from the other benefits.  For me, I don’t value the airport lounge access (I get that via Amex Platinum, and unlike HSBC it covers my kids too) but on the other hand I could pay the extra £60 for a supplementary card and get a friend or family member lounge access.

However, spending £390 (two years of annual fee) in return for 40,000 airline miles PLUS a very generous 1 mile per £1 spent on the Mastercard is not bad.

It is worth noting that you also get comprehensive travel insurance for free via the HSBC Premier current account that you need to have in order to apply for these credit cards.

Perhaps give Avios a miss?

Most HFP readers who get the free card will send the 5,000 miles to Avios.  There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you have a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher to use.

If you are applying for the World Elite card, you could consider using these miles for something other than Avios.   If you’ve ever fancied trying Etihad’s Business Class Studio or First Class Apartment, 40,000 miles – plus miles from your spending – would get you quite a long way down the line for a one-way ticket if you are a solo traveller.

You could also think about Singapore Airlines – perhaps a one-way First Class Suite ticket between Frankfurt and New York for example?

Both Etihad and Singapore are Amex partners so you could top up your miles via Membership Rewards points if needed.

Further reading ….

My full review of the free HSBC Premier credit card is here and you can apply here (remember you must already be a HSBC Premier customer).   My review of the HSBC Premier World Elite card is here and you can apply here.

The additional 10,000 points / 5,000 miles bonus on the free HSBC Premier Mastercard is available until 2nd March.

(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.)

Comments (49)

  • Jane S says:

    OT – I’ve just upgraded the PRG Charge card to the Platinum Card. Two questions:
    There isn’t the progress bar for the 20,000 points for £1000 spend, is this supposed to be here &
    I had a supplementary card holder on the PRG, but cancelled in September last year, however the supplementary card also got upgraded – will this mean I can’t get the 5,000 points for adding a supplementary card holder?

    • paulm says:

      no tracker when you upgrade in my experience. Not sure on 2nd point

      • Jane S says:

        Update: They said it was never cancelled, even though I confirmed last year it was twice. Not eligible for the 5000 supplementary bonus due to this.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Add a free gold and you will get the 5k

  • Onlyme says:

    Sliiiiightly OT. When does the second bonus points post on World Elite? I’ve had my renewal payment added to the account.

  • Ian O says:

    Can you cancel after hitting the bonus on the £195 card and get a pro rata refund?

    • Waddle says:

      No. Pro rata refunds seem like an Amex exclusive feature. If you hit the sign-up bonus you might as well keep the card for a year and try to milk it’s perks. But if you use the card and spend 12k in a year you won’t get the second bonus until you are into your second year and paid another £195 but again you don’t get a refund if you cancel ahead of the second renewal so you would have to make that choice.

      • Polly says:

        Exactly, that the catch. Took me 3 months of discussions to get the fee cancelled, as l stated it was blackmail to charge a 2nd year fee, to be granted what was earned correctly in the 1st place. Took a manager to finally agree with me. Csa staff seriously still don’t know how this card works…