fbpx

HSBC World Elite: Winter 2021 Offer Worth $500+!

The HSBC World Elite Mastercard has just announced a new offer for Winter 2021, which will last until January 31, 2022.

In terms of the amount of the welcome bonus, this offer is on par with the historically high offer we saw in Winter 2020, representing a solid $450+ in the first year, or even $500+ if you decide to renew the card for a second 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.

Non-Quebec Offer: Up to 100,000 Points + First Year Free

The offer for non-Quebec residents is as follows. The primary cardholder’s annual fee of $149 will be rebated for the first year, and you will earn the following as a signup bonus:

  • 20,000 HSBC Rewards points upon first purchase
  • 50,000 HSBC Rewards points upon spending $6,000 in the first six months (although you’ll still have to wait the full six months before receiving these points)
  • 10,000 HSBC Rewards points upon adding your first authorized user (for a $50 annual fee)
  • 20,000 HSBC Rewards points as an anniversary bonus upon renewing your card for a second year
  • Total of up to 100,000 HSBC Rewards points

Let’s first take a look at what you would earn in the first year. 

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 70,000 HSBC Rewards points you’d earn in the first year would already be worth at least $350 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 $6,000 spending threshold to the above calculations, then we can conclude that you’d earn at least 18,000 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 88,000 HSBC Rewards points after completing the minimum spending, which would be worth at least $440 on top of the first-year primary cardholder fee rebate.

(Note that even though the primary cardholder enjoys a fee rebate, the authorized user is still subject to an annual fee of $50. Effectively, you can think of the 10,000 points that you get for adding an authorized user as exactly offsetting the incremental fee: you have the option of adding an authorized user under a pseudo-First Year Free offer, but you can also choose to skip it entirely.)

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 $440 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 $540.

Quebec Offer: Up to 130,000 Points

Now let’s talk about the Quebec offer. Unlike the non-Quebec offer, the primary cardholder’s 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
  • 80,000 HSBC Rewards points upon keeping your account open and in good standing for six months
  • 10,000 HSBC Rewards points upon adding your first authorized user (for a $50 annual fee)
  • 20,000 HSBC Rewards points as an anniversary bonus upon renewing your card for a second year
  • Total of up to 130,000 HSBC Rewards points

That’s right, Quebec residents can earn the full bonus without any minimum spending requirement of any kind.

By simply buying a pack of gum and keeping the card open for six months, you’ll receive a total of 100,000 HSBC Rewards points after the six-month waiting period.

100,000 HSBC Rewards points are worth $500 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 $351.

(Again, the 10,000 points for adding an authorized user can be thought of as exactly offsetting the incremental fee, allowing you to either add an authorized user or skip this part entirely with no difference to the first-year outcome.)

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 $451.

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.

Is the Anniversary Bonus Worth It?

The Winter 2021 offer has an additional component: an anniversary bonus of 20,000 HSBC Rewards points upon renewing your card for a second year. Would this be worth pursuing?

Well, come the second year, you’ll be paying an additional $149 as the primary cardholder, but you’ll be earning another set of the $100 Travel Enhancement Credit, as well as 20,000 points (which are worth $100).

Indeed, you’ll be coming out ahead by a further $51 by renewing the card for a second year, elevating the total value of the welcome bonus to $591 for non-Quebecers or $502 for Quebecers! 

(Note that if you had added an authorized user in the first year, then you’d have to pay another set of the $50 authorized user fee for the second year, cutting into your total earnings. In some ways, it’s better to avoid adding an authorized user even though the welcome offer appears to incentivize it – although if you do need to add one, at least you’re being compensated for it.)

In my view, the $149 price point on the HSBC World Elite is quite favourable, making it easily one of Canada’s best travel credit cards and best credit cards with no foreign exchange fees.

If you enjoy using the card during your first year, you may as well renew it for a second year – since you’re being paid to do so! 

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 consider the maximum total of 100,000 HSBC Rewards points you’d earn as a non-Quebecer. That’d equate to 32,000 Asia Miles, 36,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles, or 40,000 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 10 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.

Apply Now

Until January 31, 2022, the HSBC World Elite is offering a very strong welcome bonus that’s worth at least $500 in value.

On top of 20,000 HSBC Rewards points upon your first purchase, Canadians who reside outside of Quebec will receive a further 50,000 points upon spending $6,000 in the first six months, while Quebec residents will receive a further 80,000 points upon keeping their account open and in good standing for six months.

All Canadian residents will also receive 20,000 points as an anniversary bonus which helps to offset your second-year annual fee, as well as 10,000 points for adding an authorized user if you choose to do so.

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.

4 Comments
  1. Frank

    i had this card a year ago but had cancelled it. Anyone had success with getting the welcome bonus a second time?

    1. Ricky YVR

      As long as it’s been 12 months since you last held the card, you’ll be eligible, as per the T&Cs.

  2. Chris W

    I wonder the exact same thing. I was approved 2 days before the offer changed, still waiting on the card in the mail. I thought I would call and try and sweet talk someone. What are the chances?

  3. Hitesh D

    I just applied for the card and was approved before their most current offer. What are the chances I can be eligible to receive this winter offer instead?

Ricky Zhang

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have an Account? Click here to Login