UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2022: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry. We produce a monthly directory of the top UK travel credit card offers – please click HERE or use the ‘Credit Cards’ menu above. Thank you.
HSBC Premier has launched a special sign-up incentive on its premium HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard credit card.
Until 30th November, the annual fee for the first year is reduced from £195 to £145.
The sign-up bonus remains at 80,000 HSBC points, paid over two years. This is worth 40,000 Avios or Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines or Etihad miles.
Here is the headline information on the card:
Annual fee: £195 (currently reduced to £145 for year 1)
Interest rate, assuming £195 fee: Representative APR 59.3% variable including the annual fee, based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. Representative APR 18.9% variable on purchases.
This special offer is NOT available if you already have the free HSBC Premier credit card. The rules say that you only qualify if:
“you are not an existing HSBC Credit Card holder and have not held a credit card with HSBC Bank within the 12 months prior to your making your application”
Does £50 off the annual fee make a big difference to the value?
Regular readers will know that we have a semi-rule on HfP that we don’t get excited about a 20%-25% bonus or discount. We don’t believe you should necessarily change your purchasing behaviour to earn one.
In this case there is a slight difference, because it moves the deal from marginal to decent.
This is how the bonus is paid:
- you get 40,000 HSBC points (20,000 Avios) for spending £2,000 in 90 days
- you get a further 40,000 HSBC points (20,000 Avios) if you spend £12,000 in 12 months and pay your renewal fee for the second year
The ‘deal’ for year 1 is therefore usually:
- 20,000 Avios for £195, plus 1 Avios per £1 spent
Because we value an Avios at 1p, the bonus covers your fee but nothing more. However, with the year 1 fee cut to £145, you are effectively ‘buying’ 20,000 Avios for £145, which is worth it. You also get the benefit of earning 1 Avios per £1 spent on your Mastercard for the rest of the year.
Is it worth opening a HSBC Premier account to get this deal?
No, probably not.
A £50 one-off discount on a credit card annual fee shouldn’t be enough to persuade you to move to HSBC Premier. In purely practical terms, there is no guarantee that the account move would be completed by 30th November to let you apply for the card.
You also need to consider whether Barclays Premier is now a better deal, given the Barclays Avios Rewards package. This is worth 43,000 Avios over your first year AND you will get a British Airways upgrade voucher. You can read more about Barclays Avios Rewards here.
HSBC Premier is generally seen as a decent package. After all, it’s totally free (no monthly charge) if you earn £75,000+ and the benefits include full travel insurance. If you earn £75,000+ you might as well benefit from some sort of ‘Premier’ banking service. I just wouldn’t be swayed by a £50 incentive.
What are the benefits of the HSBC Premier World Elite credit card?
If you already have HSBC Premier but never got around to applying for the World Elite credit card, a £50 saving in year 1 is worth a look.
The card benefits include:
- 2 HSBC points (1 Avios or other mile) for every £1 spent – this is very generous and makes the card attractive for anyone with substantial Visa or Mastercard expenditure
- 4 HSBC points (2 Avios or other 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 exceptionally good.
- Free access to airport lounges via LoungeKey. Guests are charged at £20. You can discount this by paying £60 to give adult friends or family a supplementary credit card on your account. There is no way of making children free, however.
Is the card worth keeping after year 1?
Remember how the bonus is received:
- you get 40,000 HSBC points (20,000 Avios or other miles) for spending £2,000 in your first 90 days
- you get another 40,000 HSBC points (20,000 Avios or other miles) for spending £12,000 in your first 12 months – you only receive these points at the end of the first year, however quickly you spend £12,000, and must pay the fee 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.
Fundamentally, you need to make a decision at the end of year 1 about whether you continue. Assuming you have spent £12,000, you need to decide whether spending £195 to ‘buy’ 20,000 Avios or other miles, as well as locking in 1 Avios per £1 for another 12 months, is worth it.
It is difficult to justify the annual fee for year 3, to be honest.
What are the eligibility criteria for HSBC Premier?
HSBC Premier has tough eligibility criteria. See here and click on the Eligibility button to see the details.
- If you earn over £75,000, you qualify for HSBC Premier if you open a current account AND have a HSBC mortgage or any investment or insurance product. There is no minimum investment.
- If you don’t earn £75,000, you must have £50,000 invested with HSBC, either in a savings account or via an investment product.
Is the HSBC Premier World Elite card worth getting?
This article is NOT about whether HSBC Premier is better than Barclays Premier / Barclays Avios Rewards.
This article is about whether the special fee discount of £50, running to 30th November, makes it worthwhile getting the card.
I would say:
- the offer isn’t good enough to justify getting HSBC Premier if it wasn’t already on your radar, especially as Barclays Avios Rewards is now available
- if you do already have HSBC Premier, this IS the kick up the bottom you may have needed to get the World Elite card
Here is the worse case scenario on the World Elite card. You pay £145 and receive points worth 20,000 Avios, plus you get 1 Avios per £1 on your spending for 12 months. That’s not a bad deal.
Whether you continue after the first year is another story.
Perhaps give Avios a miss?
Most HfP readers who get the World Elite card will send the 80,000 HSBC points to 40,000 Avios. There’s nothing wrong with that.
If you are a solo traveller, you could consider using these miles for something other than Avios. If you’ve ever fancied trying Etihad’s Business Class Studio, 45,000 miles – plus miles from your spending – would get you quite a long way down the line for a one-way ticket. (Two people would still be a long way short which is why I thought this works better for 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 Airlines are Amex partners so you could top up your miles via Membership Rewards points if needed.
If you’re lucky, you may even get an Avios transfer bonus
For the last five years or so, HSBC Premier has run an annual conversion bonus to Avios.
This usually occurs around October and is usually 25%.
If this is repeated in 2022, it makes your sign-up bonus even more attractive. It isn’t guaranteed, of course, but it may return. I’d recommend sitting on your HSBC points just in case – don’t transfer them to Avios as soon as you receive them.
Further reading ….
The £50 fee discount offer runs to 30th November.
PS. Get £30 cashback on the free HSBC Premier credit card
Whilst it is of less interest to Head for Points readers because of the lower Avios earning rate, HSBC is offering £30 cashback if you get the free HSBC Premier credit card by 30th November. Our full review of the free HSBC Premier credit card is here and you can apply here.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – November 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.
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 & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable 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 £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.