The HSBC World Elite MasterCard is HSBC’s flagship offering, coming with a hefty signup bonus.
As the premier card offering, it also comes with a healthy assortment of earning rates, comprehensive insurance, and no foreign transaction fees.
Bonuses & Fees
The HSBC World Elite MasterCard’s current offer varies based on your province of residence.
If you’re based outside of Quebec, you’ll earn up to 80,000 HSBC Rewards points*, distributed as follows:
- 20,000 HSBC Rewards points* welcome bonus, upon completing your first purchase
- 10,000 HSBC Rewards points* upon spending $1,000 in each of the first six months
The annual fee of $149 is also rebated for the first year*.
Meanwhile, Quebec residents can sign up for up to 110,000 HSBC Rewards points*, distributed as follows:
- 20,000 HSBC Rewards points* welcome bonus, upon completing your first purchase
- 90,000 HSBC Rewards points* upon keeping your account open and in good standing for six months
However, there is no first-year annual fee rebate on the Quebec offer.
In both cases, you also get a $100 Travel Enhancement Credit* that you can use towards travel purchases.
If we consider the base-level earnings in the first year, 80,000 HSBC Rewards points (for non-Quebecers) can be converted into $400 towards travel purchases, while 110,000 HSBC Rewards points (for Quebecers) is equivalent to $550 towards travel purchases.
Subtract the expense of the annual fee on the Quebec offer, and then add the $100 Travel Enhancement Credit to both offers, and we see that the current offer is worth at least $401 in your pocket.
The HSBC World Elite Mastercard offers 6 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases, 4 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on gas, groceries, and drugstores, and 2 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
Given the fact that every 200 HSBC Rewards points can be redeemed towards $1 in travel purchases (more on that later), this means that you’re effectively getting a 3% return on travel purchases, a 1.5% on gas, groceries, and drugstores, and a 1% return on all other purchases.
The 3% return on travel is a very compelling earn rate, whereas the 1% return on general spending is about the standard for a premium World Elite credit card.
HSBC Rewards points aren’t given much attention here in Canada, but they’re a very versatile points currency once you understand the rather convoluted way that everything’s set up.
There are no simple 1:1 ratios here. Instead, one of the best uses of HSBC Rewards points is cashing out for travel credits at a ratio of 200 HSBC Rewards points = $1.
You can also redeem HSBC Rewards points for statement credits at an inferior ratio, so I’d recommend avoiding this option and always redeeming against travel purchases instead.
The major strength of HSBC Rewards compared to the other Canadian banks’ in-house travel rewards program is that you don’t need to go via any sort of dedicated travel portal to redeem your points.
Indeed, you can book any travel with any provider – flights, trains, hotels, Airbnbs, car rentals, cruises, vacations, etc. – and offset it using HSBC Rewards points within 60 days of the purchase posting to your account.
Compared to many other banks, which force you to go through their own travel agency (sometimes while paying marked-up prices) in order to use your points, HSBC Rewards is a much more flexible currency to use.
Lastly, the other way to use HSBC Rewards points is to transfer them to one of their frequent flyer program partners in chunks of 25,000 HSBC Rewards points:
25,000 HSBC Rewards points can be converted into 8,000 Cathay Pacific 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
As a rule of thumb, I’d recommend redeeming HSBC Rewards points for travel credits (at the 200:$1 ratio), or converting them to one of the above frequent flyer programs if you had a better redemption in mind.
Perks & Benefits
In addition to the signup bonus, the main appeal of this credit card lies not in the return on daily spending, but rather the fact that it has no foreign transaction fees.
Most credit cards in Canada will add a 2.5% markup to any transactions denominated in a foreign currency, whereas the HSBC World Elite Mastercard simply uses the Mastercard FX rate, which is for all intents and purposes the same as the true mid-market FX rate. This is therefore an excellent card to use when travelling abroad.
In addition, you also get a complimentary membership in the DragonPass program, although you still need to pay for each airport lounge visit. In this regard, the lounge access benefit isn’t as good as some of the other premium credit cards out there like the American Express Platinum Card.
Other benefits on the HSBC World Elite Mastercard include a $100 annual “travel enhancement” credit towards airline seat selection fees, checked baggage fees, and other ancillary fees, as well as access to Wi-Fi at Boingo hotspots around the world – you never know when that might come in handy.
The HSBC World Elite is a premium product, and so comes with very strong insurance benefits. This includes emergency medical insurance for you, your spouse, and dependent children on unexpected medical illness or injury when travelling out-of-province and is valid for up to 31 days, which is double the industry standard of 15 days.
There’s also coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, flight delay, and rental car collision or damage insurance.
Must apply by August 31, 2023. Conditions apply.
*Terms and Conditions apply
®/TM Mastercard and World Elite are registered trademarks, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Used pursuant to licence.
What is your perspective on the changes that are coming up from Feb 2023.
6x per $ spent on Travel
4x per $ spent on Gas, Groceries, Drugstore Purchases
2x per $ spent on all other purchases
This kinda takes the base earning rate to $0.01 per $ spent.
Is there a redemption schedule for travel? Can’t see unless I make a travel purchase.
Is it better to redeem for travel vs. merchandise?
What is the redemption schedule for travel? I can’t see it unless I make a travel purchase.
Is redeeming for travel better than merchandise?
I applied during the largest signup bonus ever and I will actually be keeping this card. Used it all over Mexico the last few months with no problems. Travel credit and points are super easy to use and redeem. The travel enhancement credit offsets the yearly fee. There are a lot of people complaining about how difficult it is to use the website but it’s a lot better than Rogers and what Chase used to have here in Canada. This is replacing my Rogers Mastercard. Before that, I was using the Marriott and Amazon Chase cards in Canada.
I just cancelled my HSBC card using Chat on their website. The $149 renewal charge had posted the same day, which they reversed.
$5000 MSR for 20,000 HSBC points is a bit steep
A couple questions here – I signed up for this card based on your recommendation. Now that I’ve earned my welcome bonus points, I am wondering a few things;
1) How do you cash in your points for travel credit at the 200:1 ratio? (instead of just applying the points to your statement at inferior ratio)
2) The $100 travel voucher – how do you apply this? To your statement?
3) Regarding insurance, are you only insured if you book your initial flight using the credit card? How long is the coverage? This is always confusing to me.
Go into the HSBC Rewards portal from your online banking, and you can apply points or the annual credit to a travel expense made within the last 60 days. Works well with refundable purchases from online travel agencies 😉
Medical insurance is valid for all cardholders, whether or not you use the card to book the trip. Other types of travel insurance are only valid if you book your ticket in full using the card, but (aside from car rentals) aren’t subject to trip length limits.
One clarification on the below:
“Other benefits on the HSBC World Elite MasterCard include a $100 annual “travel enhancement” credit towards airline seat selection fees, checked baggage fees, and other ancillary fees,”
The credit cannot be used for initial seat selection fees – only seat upgrade fees. I just spoke with HSBC and they confirmed this. Unfortunately this limits the value of the credit a fair bit.
My wife applied for the card online, was approved and received the card – no issues. She’s been using the card for about 3 weeks, again, no issues. We then tried to register for online access which seems to REQUIRE a bank account. So, she called HSBC, was transferred around a bit, and finally got an agent who indicated they could help. They asked her some verification questions (employer & place of employment), then put her on hold for 10 minutes. They then came back on the line to say that they couldn’t verify her identity and have placed a hold on her card until she goes into a branch and confirms her identify with ID.
So…WHAT? The HSBC branch here is closed Sat & Sun and only open 10:00-4:00 Mon-Fri – my wife works 8:00-6:00 generally, so going in (during a pandemic) is both difficult and reckless. And now her card has a hold on it because she wanted to get online access? Confused and annoyed.
Has anyone else had these sorts of issues with HSBC Canada? They seem incredibly difficult to deal with and quite inept.
Is there any way to get the welcome bonus points earlier than 6 months?
My Mastercard is open about 4 months now, reached the minimum spend about 2 months ago – but don’t see the welcome bonus points.
Called HSBC – they say it won’t be deposited earlier than 6 month – “because some customers just open an account and cancel after getting the welcome bonus”.
Anyway – any option to get the points earlier? I have missed all their juicy points transfer promos…
It doesn’t seem like anyone has had success asking for the points to be deposited before six months. The timing on the bonuses hasn’t been great, but I’d say it’s fairly likely they’ll come around again next year.
From their website: The minimum number of Points you can redeem with respect to an eligible travel purchase is 25,000 Points and the number of Points can only be greater than the minimum by increments of 10,000 Points. (I now have 4000 points wasting away in my account because I thought it was 200/$1)
Just spoke with HSBC rep – as long as you apply by the 28th, regardless if application is completed or not – you are eligible for the current 100k sign up bonus
That’s a good data point, but I’d also note that under previous promotions there were a few individuals who weren’t able to get the full bonus because of delays to their application (branch visits, etc.) even though it was submitted by the deadline.
@Ricky, is this update (20k points) wrong? I checked the link and it looks like it’s still a 100,000 points offer and the first year fee waived.
Rest assured that the elevated signup offer for 100,000–130,000 HSBC Rewards points remains in place until December 28, 2020; however, HSBC has asked its affiliate sites to update the content ahead of time due to the holiday period.
I’ve added a little note to clarify for these couple of days.
Nice ! I think HSBC is more lenient now that a couple months ago.
Any way to turn that $100 travel enhancement into a statement credit à la Amex?
$50 with Greatcanadianrebates.ca
Personnaly for bank meeting with proof of income. I dont make 80k per year. I read some comments about fact its better to do application on the bank. Anyway.. yes they ask for proof of income. But i never send by email that info… And ibteceive 3 Weeks payer the crédit card !!!!loooooollll
A mistake i dont know. I have limitof 8000$
‘Minimun annual income of $80k BEFORE taxes’ !! I applied nonetheless and was scheduled for an in bank appointment where I had to produce proof of income for the last two years (taxes and paystubs!)… Was I the unlucky one, or did others have the same issue?
I never had to provide proof of income. I had a credit score of 813 when I applied.
I was instantly approved. No problem. I am a Singapore Airlines Krisflyer member – so this will be useful in topping up miles.
Just been declined. First time aver happening. Spoke to HSBC and they said they don’t see any specific reason. I’ve applied in September. Should I reapply in Mid-December or is it too soon ?
So I am on the same boat. I got a generic response saying that at this time we cannot offer the credit card to you. But I have a 700+ score, 100K+ Salary and was approved for the AMEX reserve card also through the Prince of Travel link. Am I missing something?
Ricky, are you better off to use the HSBC credit on a flight itself, or has better value in Asia miles? Lets say I want to book a round trip from YVR-HKG, am I better off paying off as credit on the card itself, or convert to Asia miles first?
This is terrible I just got the HSBC Mastercard l am wondering if you can product switch.
If you cancel the card, do you lose the points or do they stay with you no matter what? Thanks.
You’ll lose the points if you cancel without using them. You can always transfer out to one of British Airways, Singapore KrisFlyer, or Cathay Pacific Asia Miles to preserve them before cancelling though.
I have the HSBC world Elite and got the juicy bonus thanks to you Ricky!! Can I apply for the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard to avoid paying the $149 renewal fee on the Elite Card? Will I get the Bonus on the +Rewards card? Can I switch my Elite points to the +Rewards card ?