The HSBC World Elite Mastercard has just announced a new offer for Spring 2021, which will last until March 29, 2021.
This offer isn’t nearly as strong as the last one we saw back in Winter 2020, but it’s a solid $300+ in value if you’re interested in this card and missed out the outstanding bonus late last year.
As before, the HSBC World Elite’s welcome bonus is divided into two separate offers: one for non-Quebec residents and one for Quebec residents, both of which carry a net value of at least $300. Let’s take a closer look at the details for both offers.
The Non-Quebec Offer
The offer for non-Quebec residents is as follows. The annual fee of $149 will be rebated for the first year, and you will earn as a signup bonus:
- 20,000 HSBC Rewards points upon first purchase
- 20,000 HSBC Rewards points upon spending $5,000 in the first 180 days (although you’ll still have to wait 180 days before receiving these points)
- Total of 40,000 HSBC Rewards points
At a minimum, HSBC Rewards points are worth 0.5 cents per point (cpp) each when redeemed against eligible travel purchases (i.e., purchases made from merchants that are classified in the Mastercard network as airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, cruise lines, passenger railways, tour operators, timeshares and travel agencies) made using your HSBC credit card at a ratio of 200 HSBC Rewards points = $1.
Therefore, the signup bonus of 40,000 HSBC Rewards points would already be worth at least $200 when redeemed for an eligible travel purchase.
But that isn’t the end of the story. In terms of the returns on daily spending, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard allows you to earn:
- 6 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases
- 3 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on all other purchases
So if we were to add the points that you earn from meeting the $5,000 spending threshold to the above calculations, then we can conclude that you’d earn at least 15,000 HSBC Rewards points from that spending (and possibly more if you were making eligible travel purchases at the 6x earning rate).
In total, you’d end up with at least 55,000 HSBC Rewards points after completing the minimum spending, which would be worth at least $275 on top of the first-year fee rebate.
Finally, don’t forget about the $100 Travel Enhancement Credit that comes with this card, which is easy to redeem against incidental purchases along your travels (like baggage fees and seat selection fees), and there are also many reports that the Travel Enhancement Credit can be redeemed against stuff like Aeroplan award taxes and Expedia hotel bookings as well.
Combined with the $275 minimum valuation of the welcome offer, and the total minimum value that can be derived from the HSBC World Elite for non-Quebec residents rises to an impressive $375.
The Quebec Offer
Now let’s talk about the Quebec offer. Unlike the non-Quebec offer, the first-year annual fee of $149 is not rebated, and you’ll have to pay the annual fee on the first statement. Meanwhile, the signup bonus is granted as follows:
- 20,000 HSBC Rewards points upon first purchase
- 50,000 HSBC Rewards points upon keeping your account open and in good standing for 180 days
- Total of 70,000 HSBC Rewards points
That’s right, Quebec residents can earn the full bonus without any minimum spending requirement of any kind is required. By simply buying a pack of gum and keeping the card open for six months, you’ll receive a total of 70,000 HSBC Rewards points after the six-month waiting period.
70,000 HSBC Rewards points are worth $350 when redeemed directly against eligible travel purchases. When considering the value of the offer, we must then subtract the $149 annual fee (which is not waived or rebated in Quebec) to arrive at a valuation of $201. Then, adding the $100 Travel Enhancement Credit into the mix, and we arrive at a total valuation of the HSBC World Elite’s Quebec offer of $301.
Comparing the two offers, we essentially see that Quebecers have to pay the first-year annual fee in exchange for receiving the full signup bonus without a $5,000 minimum spending requirement. Conversely, non-Quebec residents must spend towards their signup bonus, but they enjoy a fee rebate in return.
Either way, no matter where in Canada you live, give some thought to applying for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard if you don’t already hold it.
Whether you choose to redeem the points for at least $300 in travel value, or convert them to airline frequent flyer partners (as we’ll discuss below), the signup bonus will go a long way towards helping you saving money and unlocking value when it’s time to travel again.
Understanding the HSBC Rewards Program
HSBC Rewards is a transferrable rewards currency. In general, each point has a fixed value when used towards a certain type of redemption (rather than being subject to an award chart like Aeroplan or Avios), but can also be transferred to one of three frequent flyer partner programs.
As mentioned above, the “baseline” redemption option that you should keep in mind is that 200 HSBC Rewards points = $1 in travel credit. Using the total signup bonus of 40,000 or 70,000 HSBC Rewards points, then, you can obtain $200 or $350 of value by charging your eligible travel purchases to the card and redeeming points to offset the cost.
You can also redeem your points for gift cards and merchandise; however, similar to most points programs out there, the value in doing so is generally quite poor.
HSBC Rewards is one of the “good guys” when it comes to fixed-value travel redemptions: you’re allowed to redeem your points for any eligible travel purchase – airlines, hotels, car rentals, trains, ferries, cruises, vacations, etc. – that you charge to the card.
You simply have 60 days from the day the charge posts on your statement to redeem the points, and that gives you a lot of flexibility by allowing you to choose exactly when and how you want to spend your points.
The other potentially lucrative way to use HSBC Rewards points is by converting them to one of three airline frequent flyer programs at the following ratios:
- 25,000 HSBC Rewards points can be converted into 8,000 Asia Miles
- 25,000 HSBC Rewards points can be converted into 9,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles
- 25,000 HSBC Rewards points can be converted into 10,000 British Airways Avios
On top of a minimum conversion of 25,000 points, you can then convert HSBC Rewards points in chunks of 10,000 points at the respective 25:8, 25:9, and 25:10 ratios.
Let’s take the best-case signup bonus of 70,000 HSBC Rewards points in Quebec. If you were to earn a further 5,000 points (for a total of 75,000), then that’d equate to 24,000 Asia Miles, 27,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles, or 30,000 British Airways Avios.
If you were to transfer to Avios, that would already be enough for a round-trip economy class flight on the Toronto–Dublin route, or up to seven one-way short-haul flights on British Airways’s Oneworld global partners.
Moreover, HSBC Rewards represents one of the few ways to earn Singapore KrisFlyer miles here in Canada – based on the earning rates and conversion ratio listed previously, you effectively have an earn rate of 2.16 KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent on travel purchases and 1.08 Singapore KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent on general purchases.
If you want to save up enough KrisFlyer miles to try out Singapore Airlines’s incredible business class, First Class, or Suites Class, then the HSBC World Elite is one of your best options in Canada to get there.
Other Perks & Benefits
The HSBC World Elite Mastercard offers no foreign transaction fees, meaning that all purchases denominated in foreign currencies are converted at the Mastercard rate, which is virtually identical to the true mid-market rate.
In addition, the card comes with complimentary Mastercard LoungeKey membership, although you do have to pay a US$27 fee per lounge visit, so it’s not as good of a lounge access benefit as other premium cards out there. You also have unlimited wifi at Boingo hotspots around the world and onboard Boingo-enabled airlines.
Lastly, the 31-day emergency medical insurance is worth pointing out. Most premium travel credit cards only offer coverage for 15 days, so this is a great insurance option to have if you’re the type of traveller who takes more extended trips.
You can refer to my YouTube video on the HSBC World Elite Mastercard to learn more about the card’s benefits, although do take note that the offer I mention in the video is outdated and has been replaced by this current offer:
Until March 29, 2021, the HSBC World Elite is offering a reasonably strong welcome bonus that’s worth at least $300 in value (although it isn’t quite as good as the offer we saw back in late 2020).
On top of 20,000 HSBC Rewards points upon your first purchase, Canadians who reside outside of Quebec will receive a further 20,000 points upon spending $5,000 in the first 180 days, while Quebec residents will receive a further 50,000 points upon keeping their account open and in good standing for 180 days.
Moreover, the card’s other perks and features are outstanding as well, with the 0% foreign transaction fees, the 31-day emergency medical insurance, and the simplicity of the HSBC Rewards program being my picks of the bunch.
The card requires a minimum personal annual income of $80,000, household income of $150,000, or assets of $400,000 at any Canadian financial institution to be eligible.
If you’re interested in applying for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard, consider applying via our affiliate link, which helps support Prince of Travel:
Alternatively, you may also look around on the various cash back websites out there to see if any offers might pique your interest.