Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Save 25% on the annual fee for the HSBC Premier World Elite credit card – worth it?

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UPDATE – JANUARY 2023:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

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.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard Avios

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 ….

My full review of the HSBC Premier World Elite card is here and you can apply here.

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? – January 2023 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

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

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% for 3 months if you apply by 31st March) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (76)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Ls says:

    If you don’t currently bank with hsbc you currently get £110 for switching to premier which may sway your mind.

    HSBC are one of the worst banks I’ve dealt with, frequently making errors or just being generally incompetent. But they are also one of the most liberal in terms of compensation when you have a complaint upheld, which they largely resolve with a competent team within a week. So actually as I’ve been generously reimbursed, I actually don’t find the errors/poor service levels a problem.

    • CarpalTravel says:

      I applied for an HSBC Premier account and after finally receiving the paperwork (approx. 2wks) right from the very start I couldn’t access my account, I eventually found out that they locked it immediately when they opened it, before I could even gain access.

      I was directed by a phone agent to go to a branch, then a wasted trip to a branch for them to say they couldn’t/wouldn’t help me. I got home and called back and halfway through the call they hung-up / disconnected me. I was perfectly polite the entire time.

      I gave up on the account at this point. I have since three times asked them to close the account and yet still it is open, unused. They are so incompetent and frustrating to deal with there is simply no way I would trust my money with them. Premier here is the ultimate antonym.

      I have said it before, some points are just not worth the bother.

      • LS says:

        The secret here was to put a complaint in after failing in the branch. You would have got £250 compo and the account sorted. The complaints team are competent and will sort issues. I have had four incidents this year and have just topped four figures cumulative compensation and costs awarded. Service is piss poor, but they pay for it when it goes wrong.

        • Lee says:

          WOW! Thought my £400 was good!

        • CarpalTravel says:

          It had been suggested to me on here before, numbers weren’t mentioned though and that is slightly enticing.

          What isn’t though is that you have felt the need to complain that many times (and obviously have sufficient cause to) that they have paid you and Lee out so much.

          In over 20yrs I have never had even the slightest issue with First Direct. (Somewhat Ironically).

          • Lewis says:

            Completely agree with all of the above, banked with them for a few years now and have had to get comfortable with needing to complain and get compo in order to get to the intended result.
            Not for everyone!

        • Doug M says:

          Exactly as LS. Largely incompetent bank, excellent complaints team and compo.

    • Steven says:

      Yeah, not been great so far. I applied for a Premier Account a couple of weeks ago and never heard anything. Called them and they are having difficulty with verifying my address despite being a mortgage customer!

      • Froggee says:

        16 years Premier and haven’t had a problem including doing a global transfer with them. What am I doing wrong!?

        • ChampagneSocialist says:

          My experience, and probably that of others based on all the posts I’ve read here, is that HSBC (Premier) are perfectly fine with anything that doesn’t involve humans.

  • Ls says:

    And you need to update the photo. The card design has updated to something that would be complementary if referred to as ghastly.

    • Youllnever says:

      Probably the exact reason why it hasn’t been updated!

      • Matt says:

        I like it

        • Youllnever says:

          I don’t like it. Firstly, never been a fan of the whole portrait design trend. Secondly. The fact that the logo is now printed twice really irks me. Much prefer Stephen or Stitt (not sure which it was).

  • Rossy says:

    If someone has a salary below £75k, could they still open an account and just transfer in the appropriate amount every month from a non-HSBC account to qualify?

    • LS says:

      You would also have to lie to HSBC about your salary in order for this to work. Really not recommended: you could get a CIFAS fraud marker on your account, and it is of course criminal as well…

    • Lee says:

      There isn’t a transfer amount per month – or you could also have 50k with HSBC.

      But you do need to have this income per year if you can’t invest 50k.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      If it’s just below 75k, request a letter from HR stating your gross salary including pension and benefits if any. HSBC can be a bit lenient on this.

      • Tom says:

        At what point in the process do you submit that letter? My basic salary is a tad under £75K, but comfortably exceeds it when my annual bonus is included. Would I have to apply for some sort of manual exemption, or is it ‘legal’ to put my gross basic + on target bonus as one total figure in the salary box?

        • Kevin D says:

          Tom – I just opened a HSBC premier account this month, took around 3 weeks for transfer. They didn’t ask for any proof of salary but I do have my mortgage with them (no investments).

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          In such instances, best to go to branch and find an RM or salesperson who can do the application for you. Even there, it could be a hit and miss. And there are more recent reports of branch staff being uncooperative.

          • Tom says:

            Thanks both. With any luck after the next salary review I’ll be properly eligible anyway. I’m sure I can slum it with a normal account meanwhile 😉

        • Anon says:

          My basic is below 75k, but with car allowance and bonus it’s over it.

          I upgraded from HSBC advance to premier without issue, although they obviously had the historical records of my existing accounts…

  • Lee says:

    I would apply for the WEM as I have the Premier Account – however I do not really want another hard credit check right now….. So I will pass…..

  • Matt says:

    It’s a shame it comes with lounge access. I’d prefer a lower fee and no lounge access.

  • Red Flyer says:

    Anyone with this card done player 1 & 2 strategy with a spouse to ensure bonus points maximised when holding the card. I have a joint Premier account with them so assume this would work with their 12 months no card rule before re-applying?

    • Genghis says:

      Note for the bonus, it’s a 6 month hiatus with no WE card only.
      This 12 month no card whatsoever is only for the reduced fee.

    • pauldb says:

      There are no referral bonuses or crossover between card holders. The main reason to stagger the card holding periods is so that you have a 1av/£ between you at all times – which in fact becomes twice as valuable if you have to have 12m downtime instead of 6m to get best value.

      My dilemma is whether to get a card for myself and share it (using Curve if that’s possible), or just get my wife a card of her own. Don’t really value the second lounge access. I suspect we’ll get two cards now and then only renew one into year 2.

      • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

        I don’t have Curve so can’t comment on that option but surely sharing one card can be achieved even more simply via ApplePay and your ‘iDevice’ (other mobile phone platforms are available but as an Apple shareholder this is clearly superior 😉 ) and then Player2 has the physical card?

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        Yep, Curve works and as noted below, you can also add to apple pay. Done both and no problems at all.

  • Speedbird676 says:

    I had an issue applying online for the Premier bank account so had to go into a branch. Account opened and World Elite credit card all approved inside of an hour.

    I’ve had both for just over 18-months and have been happy.

    The only time I’ve needed to contact HSBC was when I accidentally withdrew cash using my credit card instead of my debit card, bleary eyed early morning mistake, and they immediately waived the fees and interest.

    WE was a good choice for me as an alternative to Amex Platinum when the fee increased. The only real benefits I needed were travel insurance, which comes with the Premier bank account, and lounge access which comes with the WE. You also get Avis President’s Circle if you value car rental status.

  • Kevin D says:

    I got a HSBC Premier Account just recently – mainly to get the WEM as I do a lot of spending in a place that doesn’t accept Amex. Seem-less process, took around 3 weeks in total to switch. Also get £110 cash and £30 Uber Eats voucher. WEM gets 40,000 points if £2k spend within 90 days and another 40,000 points after 1 year if £12k spend. Total cost of all of above was £195.

    I think taking everything into account (no pun intended!) including the fact that I was happy with my old bank, I felt it was worthwhile.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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