Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Exclusive: the new HSBC airline and hotel transfer partners revealed

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One of the lesser known ways of earning airline miles from a credit card is via HSBC Premier. If you sign up, for free, to HSBC’s Premier current account (£75,000 income and a HSBC investment product required) you are allowed to apply for the free Premier credit card and the paid-for Premier World Elite credit card.

HSBC recently teased about the addition of new airline and hotel partners from late July. We can now reveal who they are.

New HSBC airline and hotel credit card partners

The two HSBC credit cards earn as follows:

At present, HSBC Premier current account holders who take out a Premier credit card can transfer the points earned to:

  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Asia Miles
  • Etihad Guest

There are currently no hotel partners.

New HSBC airline and hotel credit card partners

Who are the new HSBC Premier credit card travel partners?

Once the loyalty scheme relaunches, these will be the airline partners (additions are in bold):

  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Asia Miles
  • Etihad Guest
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Finnair Plus
  • Flying Blue (Air France KLM)
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • TAP Miles&Go

These are the two hotel partners coming:

  • IHG One Rewards
  • Wyndham Rewards

What do we think of these additions?

Obviously, since no partners are leaving, these changes can only be beneficial to HSBC Premier credit card holders.

Airline partners:

With the airlines, I think we can dismiss:

  • Finnair Plus, because it offers nothing more than BA offers, but charges more miles, and is already an American Express Membership Rewards partner

Of the other three new airlines:

TAP Miles&Go doesn’t offer a great value reward chart and doesn’t add any new airlines, since you can already access Star Alliance availability via Singapore Airlines transfers. It is interesting for anyone, like me, who has a small pile of TAP Miles&Go miles via the recent status matches but doesn’t have enough for a redemption.

Flying Blue is also known for its expensive rewards but it does open up SkyTeam redemptions to HSBC cardholders. It also gives you a way of redeeming for Virgin Atlantic flights with lower taxes than Virgin Atlantic itself charges, although the mileage requirement is usually higher.

Emirates Skywards has recently increased its fuel surcharges sharply which makes redemptions less of a bargain than they were. However, given the huge route network and the high quality product I can see this being of interest.

HSBC points transfers to Wyndham Rewards

Hotel partners:

This should be interesting, but HSBC has cocked it up.

The exchange rate from HSBC to hotel points is 2:1 – the same rate as used for airline miles. This is shocking value because, using a very broad generalisation, airline miles are worth double what hotel points are worth.

IHG One Rewards has recently closed its UK credit card to new applicants, so HSBC Premier is the only way you can earn points via a card. IHG is moving to revenue-based redemptions and you will usually receive around 0.4p per point when you redeem. Given that you can redeem 2 HSBC points for 0.66p of shopping vouchers, I can’t see any logic in using 2 HSBC points for 0.4p of IHG One Rewards points.

If you want to labour the point, you can currently buy IHG One Rewards points for 0.41p in a new promotionclick here. You’d be better off using your HSBC points for shopping vouchers at 2 HSBC points = 0.66p of vouchers and using the money you save to buy IHG points at 0.41p!

Wyndham Rewards is, I have to admit, a mystery to me. Wyndham is the biggest hotel group in the world but has an oddly weak UK presence. It also has very few hotels that set the pulse racing, unless your idea of fun is a Days Inn at a motorway service station. Other brands include Howard Johnson, Super8, Microtel, Hawthorn Suites, La Quinta, Ramada (which has mainly withdrawn from the UK) and Ramada Encore. I find it hard to believe that many HfP readers will get excited by this although, of course, if you do have some Wyndham Rewards points then this is a way of topping them up.

Conclusion

Having just re-read what I wrote above, I don’t want to give the impression that these changes are not impressive, because they are.

Here are the upsides:

  • HSBC Premier has, overnight, established itself as the clear leader in the Visa / Mastercard space for anyone who wants a ‘convertible currency’ that could be moved to multiple travel rewards schemes
  • It offers three partners which cannot be accessed by ANY UK credit card today – TAP Miles&Go, IHG One Rewards (the old card is now closed to new applicants) and Wyndham Rewards. That said, TAP can be accessed via Marriott Bonvoy transfers and IHG points can be earned via Virgin Atlantic transfers.
  • For 10 of the 11 partners (Avios being the exception) it is the only way of earning these points from Visa or Mastercard spend
  • Unlike many credit cards, airline miles are excellent value rewards compared to taking shopping vouchers. 1,500 HSBC points gets you 750 airline miles or £5 of shopping vouchers (Amazon, Costa, M&S, John Lewis, Tesco etc) so you are ‘paying’ just 0.66p per airline mile.
  • HSBC runs an annual transfer bonus of 20% to 25% when converting to Avios – it is possible that this will be extended to some of the new partners

The downsides are:

  • You need a HSBC Premier current account to apply for these cards, which requires a £75,000 income and the holding of a HSBC mortgage, insurance or investment product – albeit Premier has decent benefits, including full travel insurance, and is free
  • It misses some key partners – Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada Aeroplan (good value rewards), Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and, in what could have been a real shake-up, World of Hyatt. It’s worth noting that, in Hong Kong, HSBC offers redemptions to Air Canada, Turkish Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Eva Air, Accor and Marriott – none of those are included here.
  • We don’t yet know how many, if any, of these transfers will be instantaneous – HSBC’s Hong Kong scheme DOES offer instant transfers to 75% of its airline and hotel partners
  • The conversion rate to the hotel schemes is terrible value at 2:1 – you should take airline miles or shopping vouchers instead

I should stress that the data for this article was not from an official source and things may change before the new HSBC Premier reward scheme is launched in a couple of weeks.

Our full review of the free HSBC Premier credit card is here.

Our full review of the HSBC Premier World Elite credit card is here.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 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:

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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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 Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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 card

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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (81)

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

  • Michael says:

    I have held the WE hard for several years and really liked it for day to day, non Amex, spend in the UK. I’ve now moved to France, where HSBC doesn’t offer an equivalent card. Does anybody know if there is a good equivalent card in Europe ?

  • QFFlyer says:

    I am biased of course, but QF also has access to EK redemptions, and given their partnership it’s more favourable than for other partners. Couple that with Oneworld, and various other partners, and QFF isn’t as useless as it might appear.

    • Charles Martel says:

      I guess it wasn’t mentioned as Emirates are also a transfer partner. Are there any routes where QF is better for Emirates redemptions in terms of points or fees (or vice versa)?

      • QFFlyer says:

        Unfortunately the fees are as outrageous as they are booking directly with EK, having increased several times recently!

        I’m actually not very familiar with EK Skywards, so I’m not sure how they compare in terms of points, but booking EK on the same route as QF uses the same number of points (whereas other Oneworld partners usually cost slightly more, QF are weird like that).

        Also might be a viable option for someone who wanted to keep the options of booking both EK and Oneworld flights, but was approaching the hard expiry deadline for moving them out of HSBC. As always with this game, everyone’s circumstances and priorities are different, I guess!

  • Fazzy Bear says:

    Re emirates slightly OT

    Is it still possible to get business class return for 90k emirates skywards points? Heathrow to DBX

    Played around with some dates but can’t get the rate.

    • Rob says:

      They increased the rates for Business recently. First is proportionately better value now.

  • pureshtuyot says:

    I redeemed Qantas points on Elal last month. it was probably my best spent AMEX MR points ever

  • Luca M says:

    Small OT: the cards design has been updated for a while. The HSBC UK website have them all published

    • Rob says:

      Yes, but we can’t use vertical card artwork, only horizontal. That’s why Barclaycard created ‘fake’ horizontal imagery for us.

      • Luca M says:

        There must be a fake version by HSBC as well as it is the graphic that displays on the Apple Wallet (horizontal)

  • Peter says:

    What proof of income (if any) do HSBC ask for? My salary is just below the threshold but once you add in a bit of overtime it’s comfortably over and my P60 shows this. However if you take what goes into my bank account and adjust for tax/NI it looks well below 75k due to pension contributions. Would this qualify?

    • Rob says:

      They know what £75k net looks like, so that’s not an issue. It should be fine – if they ever ask you can easily show them pay slips showing the pension going out.

      • Luca M says:

        I would add that HSBC does not upgrade you automatically nor give you access to premier without proof. It is therefore either only done in branch or you actually need to send in documents.

        I had an Asvance account where my incomes went in, well above the threshold and also opened and investment account with £200 invested in. I called in for an upgrade and was told that I need an appointment in branch. During my appointment I was ready to show them my tax return etc (income from different sources) but the Premier banker was satisfied by just looking at her screen (could see third party payments coming in that met the criteria) and approved my application, which included applying for the WE card (so one credit check). This however was years ago, before COVID.

        • PIL says:

          It is a nightmare if you want to upgrade from an advance account, as if you get penalised for being an existing customer. It is far more straightforward and smooth when you apply as a new customer

          • Blenz101 says:

            You can upgrade over the phone now but the call is longwinded. They have to pretty much read the terms and conditions of each of the bundled insurance products.

            In terms of evidence they just ask under which of the criteria are you intending to qualify under. What checks they later do I couldn’t say.

          • The Urbanite says:

            I upgraded from Advance in branch and it was a smooth process.

  • brian says:

    Has anyone tried upgrading from Advance to Premier online? I assumed it was less hassle than a face to face appointment or phone call.

    • Luca M says:

      It was not possible to do when I upgraded, if you can now see the option, you can try it I guess.

  • Kane E says:

    Question – I’ve had Premier and the WEP card for a good 3+ years and I’ve not seen before that the points expire. As long as I’m adding to the account frequently do they not just carry on or?

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

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