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. We look at the benefits of the free HSBC Premier credit card here.

Our full review of the HSBC Premier World Elite credit card is here. We look at the benefits of the HSBC Premier World Elite credit card here.


best travel rewards credit cards

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2024 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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

HUGE 60,000 POINTS BONUS UNTIL 3rd JULY and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points 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 an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 Business Credit Card

1% cashback uncapped* on all your business spending (T&C apply) Read our full review

Comments (79)

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

  • MarkSX says:

    I have the paid version for WEMC and don’t want to hold on to it / pay the AF going forward, if I get the free version my points will stay intact right? Also hope they don’t revoke my Premier as I’ve long moved my banking needs away from HSBC!

  • TripleB says:

    Qantas rewards on Qantas planes are cheaper than BAEC redemptions for the same seat. Marginal benefit I know but if you are travelling to Australia it might be useful.

    • Alan says:

      Although it then flips for domestic redemptions on Qantas where BA’s distance based reward chart normally makes them cheaper.

      • TripleB says:

        That’s true there are a couple of spots on the domestic network where ba is a little cheaper (SYD-HTI is the obvious one as it’s at the very top of the ba distance zone). But if you need a connection then qantas will be much cheaper.

      • John says:

        But 1 avios is worth more than 1 QFF.

        I value 1 avios at 0.79p because of nectar and 1 QFF at 1 cent.

        I recently redeemed a lot of avios and QFF for domestic Perth to/from eastern cities, and it was 13k avios or 18k QFF. This works out at about 1 avios to 1.4 QFF, which is right on the above valuations

        Yes of course if you’re willing to pay crazy prices for flights it’s probably occasionally possible to get 20c per QFF, I mean I recently got 12p per avios but I’d never pay anything close to £600 for a one-way UK to Germany, so those were still valued at 0.79p to me.

        • Leigh says:

          Depends on the route, I’ve always found LHR-SYD via Asia or Doha to require fewer miles and taxes on QFF than BAEC – especially given the SYD-DOH cost in Avios

        • QFFlyer says:

          1 QFF is consistently worth around 2c on both domestic and international redemptions, in my extensive experience.

    • QFFlyer says:

      This isn’t often true, BAEC is almost always less in terms of points, and some routes, such as MEL/SYD-PER/DRW, a J return with Avios is ~42k, whereas the same J return using QFF is around ~82k.

      Cash element is similar with both, not enough in it to offset the huge amount of extra points needed to use QF points, if you have the choice between the two.

  • polly says:

    Was hoping for Marriott here, but Amex might have objected there. Or Marriott have enough going on already with Amex/Bonvoy cards, in any case. We have used Ramada in Bahrain, nice pool, and in Singapore, patio room, great pool. Nice eats near by. Good use of American Airlines miles.

    • Tariq says:

      Unless they correct the obvious error in valuation of hotel point transfers, it doesn’t seem to matter who the redemption partners are!

  • Brian78 says:

    HSBC premier doesn’t require an income of £75k.

  • Stian says:

    The Achilles heel of HSBC Premier points continues to be the hard expiry of points 36 months after they’ve been earned. This makes it harder to build up a useful balance and thus much less valuable as a “convertible currency” scheme.

    • dougzz99 says:

      Without giving it too much thought the idea of paying nearly £600 in card fees and not building a significant pot of points suggests it’s the wrong card.

  • JRC says:

    Did I miss the annual 25% Annual HSBC>Avoid bonus? Looks like there was one in June but don’t recall it being mentioned on HFP…

  • Phill says:

    Any thoughts on what the most basic product would be to apply for the Premier account alongside the income requirement(a mortgage, an investment, life insurance or a protection product). I was thinking the lowest life or income protection covers or hold a small share investment account there which would cost about £40 a year.

    • Brian78 says:

      There is no income requirement, you just need £50k in an account with them and you need to pay your income into the HSBC account. You don’t need a mortgage, investment, life insurance or a protection product.

      • Phill says:

        Ok for those that dont have the 50k in an account but meet the income threshold then. Applying on the income and product route not the savings or international route.

      • Rob says:

        Sticking £50k into a basically ‘no interest’ HSBC account is quite expensive – you’re effectively losing £1,000 per year of interest vs best in class. Not realistic for most people.

        • Brian78 says:

          Either way, it’s factually incorrect to state an income of £75k is needed as the website clearly states it isn’t.

          • Rob says:

            Lots of things on HfP are factually incorrect but you won’t like what the alternative looks like ….

    • Jason says:

      I keep an investment account with £1000 cash in it, seems to be enough. Had the card 3 years.

    • Matt says:

      I put £100 in one of their investment funds. So far it has cost me £5.80 from decreasing value of the investments, but I can live with that.

    • LS says:

      The global investment account is free. I have £100 in there. Job done.

    • Flightsy says:

      To be honest, you can apply for a Premier account and in theory you have around six weeks to qualify, but they don’t actively run downgrades so you can keep the account for years…

  • Amit says:

    I am waiting for the Avoid bonus window before I downgrade to the free card.

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

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