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Review: the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard credit card

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This is our review of the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard credit card.

It is part of our series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles are linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards‘ area in the menu bar. Our other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

Key link: HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard application form

Review HSBC Premier World Elite credit card Mastercard

Key facts: £195 annual fee, card only available to HSBC Premier current account holders

The representative APR is 59.3% variable, including the annual fee.  The representative APR on purchases is 18.9% variable.

Reward credit cards generally have high interest rates and are not suitable for anyone who does not pay off their full balance each month. If you do not clear your balance, you should look for a non-rewards credit card with a low interest rate.

This article was updated on 1st September 2023, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

About the HSBC Premier World Elite card

The HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard is issued by HSBC.

There are two versions of the card. This review covers the more generous premium version. There is also a free version called the HSBC Premier Mastercard which I review here.  You cannot have both versions of the card at the same time.

It is a bit of an oddity amongst all of the other credit cards covered in this series for two reasons.

The first is that the airline and hotel rewards programme is a sideshow to the rest of the card.

The second is that the card can only be obtained if you have a HSBC Premier bank account.

HSBC Premier has tough eligibility criteria.  See here and scroll down to see the criteria.

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. The minimum investment in an ‘investment product’ is just £100. You can see the range of HSBC investment funds here.

What is the HSBC Premier World Elite sign-up bonus?

The sign-up bonus is VERY impressive.

You can earn up to 40,000 Avios or other airline miles or hotel points in your first year.

You will receive 40,000 HSBC points, which convert into 20,000 Avios or other airline miles or hotel points if you spend £2,000 within your first three months.

You will receive an additional 40,000 points, worth an extra 20,000 Avios, if you spend a total of £12,000 in your first year. These will not arrive in your account until after your 12 months of membership irrespective of how quickly you hit the spending target. This means that you are committed to paying the annual fee for the 2nd year to receive the second part of the bonus.

Review: the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard credit card

There is an airport lounge access benefit

You will receive free, unlimited, access via the Priority Pass scheme to 1,300 airport lounges.

No free guests are allowed into the lounges. However, you can get a supplementary card for your HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard for a £60 annual fee and the holder can access lounges with it.

The HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard is not clearly better than American Express Platinum if you want a card with airport lounge access. It is cheaper (£255 for the HSBC card with one supplementary card vs £575 for Amex Platinum) but the Amex Platinum package has far more benefits – Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium, MeliaRewards Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Eurostar lounge access, £300 per year of dining credit, £100 per year of Harvey Nichols credit etc (see my American Express Platinum review for details).

If you have children, note that there is no way of getting a child into an airport lounge for free with this card. You are forced to pay the £20 guest charge, because obviously a child cannot be made a supplementary cardholder on your credit card account. With the Priority Pass issued by American Express Platinum, children can get into lounges for free – you get two cards and each is allowed one free guest.

There is also a range of benefits available to you as part of Mastercard’s general UK World Elite package.  I discussed the Mastercard UK World Elite benefits in this (old) article.  You access them via this special UK Mastercard website.

What is the HSBC Premier World Elite annual fee?


There is no fee for the HSBC Premier bank account which you also need to hold, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria above. If you currently pay for a ‘packaged’ current account with another bank you may save money by moving across.

Review HSBC Premier World Elite credit card

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

HSBC Premier World Elite rewards scheme gives 2 points for every £1 spent in the UK and 4 points for every £1 spent abroad. Each point is worth 0.5 airline miles or hotel points. This means that you earn 1 mile per £1 for UK spend and 2 miles per £1 for foreign spend.

You can transfer your HSBC Premier points into the following airline schemes:

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

There are also hotel partners:

  • IHG One Rewards
  • Wyndham Rewards

Do HSBC Premier points expire?


There is a ‘hard’ three year expiry. By ‘hard’, I mean that your points will expire three years after they were earned, irrespective of whether you are still earning. It is different to the Avios / Marriott etc expiry rules where, as long as your account is active, the expiry rules don’t apply.

Don’t start building up a points pot for retirement because you will be in for a nasty surprise.

What are HSBC Premier credit card points worth?

We wrote a full article on what HSBC Premier credit card points are worth, which you can read here.

Airline miles are the most valuable option, well ahead of shopping vouchers or cases of wine. Those are your only options.

At 2 HSBC points per £1 spent, worth 1 airline mile, you are getting roughly 1% back on UK spending and 2% back on overseas spending.

Is this the best way of earning Avios from a Visa or Mastercard?


In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two Avios earning credit cards with big sign-up bonuses.

The free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard earns 1 Avios per £1 (apply here) which is the same as the £195 HSBC World Elite card – so why pay £195?

The £240 Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard earns 1.5 Avios per £1 (apply here) which is 50% more than the £195 HSBC Premier World Elite 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

More importantly, the two Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit cards come with an annual British Airways upgrade voucher when you hit a spend target. The HSBC Premier cards offer no annual spend vouchers or bonuses.

The only reason to justify the HSBC Premier World Elite card over the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is if you are willing to trade off a lower mileage earning rate in return for the flexibility to convert to multiple airline and hotel loyalty schemes.

What is an Avios point worth?

This article outlines our view of what an Avios point is worth, based on your typical redemption patterns, should you be thinking of converting your HSBC points to Avios.

I typically work off a conservative 1p per point – this ensure that I never make a bad decision when deciding whether to take part in a promotion or not.

How does this compare to a cashback credit card?

The majority of UK credit cards offering ‘retail rewards’ – those from Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Sainsburys, John Lewis etc – give you 0.1% to 0.25% back on what you spend.

For an average spender, the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard offers far more value as long as you believe that you can justify the £195 annual fee. This means that you need to place a lot of value on the Priority Pass airport lounge membership.

Unless you are spending £50,000 on your credit cards annually, paying £195 purely to receive 1 Avios point per £1 does not make sense.

For the first year, however, it is a different story. Earning 40,000 Avios or other miles as a combined sign-up and first year bonus – as long as you can hit the £12,000 spending target – makes the £390 outlay (£195 x 2 years) decent value.

IMPORTANT – if you are just considering getting the card for one year, remember that you don’t receive the 2nd part of the bonus until your first 12 months is over. You should anticipate having to pay the fee for the second year, which is not refundable.

Is this a good card to use when travelling?

Yes, to the extent that you receive double points for foreign spending.

However as HSBC adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad.

Unfortunately there are no credit cards with 0% foreign exchange fees worldwide which earn airline or hotel points. (The Virgin Atlantic credit cards have 0% FX fees in the Eurozone.)  One option is to get a free card from Currensea. Currensea is a simple but clever idea. You pay abroad with your Currensea Mastercard debit card. Currensea translates the cost to Sterling with just a 0.5% fee (83% less than HSBC charges) and withdraws the money from your bank account. You can find out more by clicking here. Currensea is free so there is no risk in giving it a try.

How else can you earn miles from a UK card?

Here are three good alternatives to the HSBC Premier card for the airlines it covers.

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up and is free for the first year.  As well as Avios, these convert 1:1 into Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Finnair Plus, Flying Blue and Qantas Frequent Flyer, and 3:2 into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

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 American Express Platinum credit card usually offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up.  As well as Avios, these convert 1:1 into Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Finnair Plus, Flying Blue and Qantas Frequent Flyer, and 3:2 into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.  It has a £575 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card usually offers 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for signing up. These convert to 6,667 miles in 40+ different airlines including Avios. It has a £75 fee, refunded pro-rata if you cancel.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review


A sign-up bonus of 40,000 airline miles or hotel points – even with a £195 annual fee (which must be paid for two years) and £12,000 spend target – deserves to be looked at closely.

Unless you are already a HSBC Premier customer, however, you need to weigh up whether you really want to move your banking over to HSBC for a benefit lasting only two years.  I think most people would struggle to justify the £195 fee for the third and subsequent years.

If your goal is to earn Avios, you will get a better earning rate from the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard.

The application form for the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard can be found here.

(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’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (36)

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

  • Maples says:

    Really hope a card like this exists outside of the Premier account. Perhaps Chase can achieve that, simply so that we’re not tied to earning only Avios at a £1 = 1 point rate.

  • Milers says:

    For the HSBC premier account, didn’t realised there is a minimum £100 for an investment product. Is there a minimum for the insurance product as well if earning over 75k?

    • Tariq says:

      No. I used to pay about £7/month for life insurance until I placed my mortgage with HSBC.

  • sussexsb says:

    The flexibility to transfer to non BA airlines is massive for my decision making, along with the upgraded IT system making transfers instant. Happily give up 100,000 Avios per annum for this. Always helpful when trying to snaffle a pair of Saver Singapore Suites tickets.
    Beware some transactions don’t earn points (Cruve fronted) and tracking expiry dates of points (via website alone) is v tricky.

    • Vit says:

      I have been contemplating getting this card for a while now. I have been side-tracked by other products on the market such as Amex Plat. Upgrade bonus late last year etc. Main reason as you mentioned above, the airline diversification. We go back to BKK once a year (at least). With BR flying direct from LHR, it gives that alternative away from avios but I am struggling to justify the cost after 2 years as Rob mentioned above. At least for SQ, CX, EK you can top up with AMEX, not with BR though. 😐

      • sussexsb says:

        Amex to ANA, from ANA book Eva redemption?
        Also, HSBC and Amex same earning rate.

        • meta says:

          ANA is not a UK Amex partner.

          • Jonathan says:

            You can transfer to an ANA Mileage Club account via Marriott

            It’s the only way to earn for them via Uk credit card spending

  • Ian says:

    I use the HSBC travel insurance with Premier card as my families insurance and found them easy to claim off during Covid.

    Thinking of getting Amex platinum. Does anyone know if the insurance covers you when not booking using the card?

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      If the merchant accepts Amex, you won’t be covered. If they don’t and which is why you had to use another card, they will payout.

  • Vit says:

    Rob, thanks for this. I am waiting for the HSBC to bring back its switch bonus and I might pull the trigger. My understanding is that I need to have both “Income and Product” (i.e. HSBC Premier Bank Account open and investment product in place) prior to applying for the card?

    I am not qualified for either Saving / Investment or International Premier.

    • wilko1 says:

      Yes. Any investment. Put £100 in a global investment account and this fulfils the requirement.

  • Andrew says:

    I’m fortunate enough that my account gives me this card free each year. One key point you fail to address in this article is the travel insurance component. Unfortunately I can attest to having needed this a couple times in recent years – it is by a wide margin more beneficial than the platinum American Express. One example I got stuck in South Africa during omicron outbreak and then got it myself. Amex offered a pitiful amount to cover hotel quarantine etc while my HSBC card covered my existing hotel a return flight on BA (same class)since Qatar had deserted me and would have paid for the enforced airport hotel quarantine too had it not been removed a day before I was able to return. Not so Amex. The same was true a couple years earlier when I lost a camera in Singapore, the HSBC card offered me far better compensation than Amex. So even if I had to pay for the HSBC card it would have been worth it.

    • wilko1 says:

      Travel insurance doesn’t come with the card. It comes with the (free) premier account. You have the insurance without this card.

    • DJ says:

      Free travel insurance is a Premier/Jade current account benefit, you don’t need to have the credit card element.

    • Harry T says:

      Might want to look into what benefits your card comes with… the travel insurance is a benefit of the Premier Current Account, not the card.

    • DaveJ says:

      Anyone know if you need the credit card to get travel insurance or is it a benefit of the account?

  • brian says:

    It’s possible I could break even on the fees on this card compared to the Platinum Card and then benefit from the sign up bonus and the 2 year break from holding an Amex card.

    Would depend on the ability to buy a discounted guest pass for my 3 year old as part of Lounge Key. Does anyone know if that’s possible or whether it would be full price?

    The other concern would be losing Hilton Gold status. Is it possible to conveniently time cancelling the Platinum Card and keeping status for the rest of my Hilton membership year?

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Missing lounge access for kids is a big deal breaker for families.
      Some people have reported to retaining gold even a year after cancellation. But you are just gambling there and it can be removed anytime.

      • brian says:

        Yeah, it looks like lack of ability to pay a reduced guest fee means this is a deal breaker for me. Shame.

  • Sam says:

    One thing to call out here is how good the r insurance is. Amex Plat won’t touch my daughters medical condition but HSBC will do, and provided a letter saying until she is 18 as long as I maintain an account.

    • DJ says:

      For those without pre-existing conditions, Amex remains a good option, as it provides 90-day cover instead of 30-day offered by other value-added current accounts.

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

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