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.)

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  1. Accepted….an easy 5.5k avios for 1k spend..nice.

  2. Filipino_chino says:

    My world elite card arrived yesterday as a secondary card holder…. It had taken 3 visits to HSBC, lots of phone calls and around 4 months… Due to this I had to pay for my own lounge visits for 3 return trips (well had lounge key).

    After a phone call to HSBC, I got £100 credit for all the hassle and my mother (main account holder), got £50….. So far great customer service.

    Loving the miles too, but saying that not checked on how many we have as I put everything none Amex through it.

    • Genghis says:

      I started the journey on Friday for the current account and the WE card. Let’s see how it goes.

      Does anyone have any experience of the Prem travel insurance? Can it be relied upon?

      • Jonathan says:

        Very pleased with the insurance. Better than AmEx Platinum in many respects. I’ve had pay outs with no quibble for missed connection on separate tickets, lost passport in BA lounge requiring extra night in hotel plus new flight & a hospitalisation abroad. Most of the time they haven’t even asked for receipts & paid settlement into my account during initial phone call.

        • Jonathan says:

          Cover limits also better in many cases eg. missed flight is 1k vs £300 on AmEx

      • I haven’t used it yet but found them very helpful with preexisting conditions.

        • Bonglim says:

          I think the travel insurance is good because:
          – You don’t need to pay with any particualr card to get it.
          – It is pretty comprehensive
          – Like some others have said they included a pre-existing condition without much hassle/ charging (obv depends on what the condition is!)

      • Much better than Amex Plat service, and they cover existing conditions in my experience.

      • 1nfrequent says:

        If you have pre-existing conditions, they’re very good. There’s a list of conditions that they say you don’t need to declare on their website and a number of them usually cause a jump in premium if you otherwise buy travel insurance.


  3. What are the rules on churning?

    Have already done the 80k card and got rid of it.

    If I apply for either will I get bonus or not?

  4. Stupid question but If you move your money out of the savings after qualifying for the card can they take off you?

    • I’m sort of in that boat at the moment having paid off my mortgage last month, waiting to see what happens.

      • They can downgrade you if you fall below the threshold requirements. No idea though if they do automated sweeps.

        • I’ll just go back to First Direct if they do.

        • Alastair says:

          They do do automated sweeps sometimes. I was offered & given HSBC Premier since the business where I am CFO banks with HSBC even though I did not meet the strict criteria at the time I joined. A few years later I was contacted to say that since I did not meet the criteria I would be downgraded. A call to the business manager sorted it out and I have since remortgaged to HSBC so I now meet the criteria anyway.

          I did have a targeted offer a couple of years ago to upgrade the standard card to the World Elite card for double signup bonus but it was before i had really got into this hobby so I missed the cut off date and haven’t had another since, but am still hopeful it will appear again at some point.

        • I might give it a try anyway even if I just get the points bonus it’s worth it but won’t be keeping the money in there as they can’t match interest rates I’m getting

        • Bonglim says:

          I suspect (think) they will downgrade the current account (i.e. travel insurance) but not downgrade the credit card.

  5. Can you hold both the free and paid card at the same time?

  6. Argh just opened my Premier account in November. Is there a chance I can still get the bonus?

    • Genghis says:

      Yes – the current account and credit cards are discrete

      • Although if you have already held a (non-Premier) HSBC credit card in the previous 6 months, you’re not eligible for the sign-up bonus.

        • James M says:

          I upgraded my credit card (to WE) at the same time I upgraded my current account to Premier; I checked (and they confirmed) that I would get the bonus, and I did.

  7. Paulthetaxman says:

    For those of you with the Curve card and HSBC, does anyone know how cash withdrawals are treated by HSBC?

    • Purchases. By coincidence I had a reader email this morning to tell me this.

    • It was the back end of last year but the HSBC card linked to Curve was the most reliable. No interest charged on cash withdrawals just over a month ago.

      • Same experience in December. Curve cash withdrawals to HSBC Premier fully treated as purchases.

    • What about payments to Brighton?

    • I exchanged ~10 messages with HSBC and had quite a few phone calls afterwards regarding exactly this. Currently the only Curve transaction type they charge interest on is the likes of Transferwise. Even their system doesn’t tell them (apparently Mastercard work it out for them and they only get the total), so it was a very lenghty process to get to the bottom of all this. I did get a very nice compensation for all these calls though, with various agents contradicting each other and even themselves. Happy to go into more detail if anyone is interested…

      • Genghis says:

        I’m interested in the detail if you’re happy to provide. TIA.

      • We love detail here – go for it 😀

      • That is interesting as creation did the same and charged interest on Azimo via curve – only a few pence and no fee but worth knowing

        • Yeah I had interest a couple of times from Creation – couldn’t work out what it was for and after much pondering neither could their phone agents! All they seemed to have access to was the same statements we get – on the upside they then just refunded it all!

      • Yes would be interested in detail


  8. 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?

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

      • 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

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

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

    • 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.

      • 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…

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