HSBC has rolled out changes to many of their credit cards, including the popular HSBC World Elite Mastercard. These changes are in effect as of February 1, 2023.
They’ve also launched a new premium product, the HSBC Metal World Elite Mastercard, the first Mastercard of its kind in Canada.
In This Post
- New Features: HSBC World Elite Mastercard
- New Product: HSBC Metal World Elite Mastercard
- Annual Fee Rebates
New Features: HSBC World Elite Mastercard
One of our longtime favourite Mastercards for travel, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard is getting a modest but comprehensive makeover.
Many areas are getting a slight adjustment, including earning rates, insurance, and ways to save on annual fees. Here are they key changes to be aware of as a traveller and points collector.
Category Earning Rates
The card has introduced new category bonuses. Here’s what you’ll earn on everyday spending:
- 6 points per dollar spent on travel
- 4 points per dollar spent on groceries, gas, and drugstores
- 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases
Before, the card earned 6 points per dollar spent on travel, and 3 points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
While the move to category bonuses will be disappointing for anyone who highly valued the card’s uniquely strong base rate, it’ll benefit anyone who uses the HSBC World Elite Mastercard as their daily driver. Plus, it aligns HSBC more closely with its competitors, as almost all other Canadian credit cards use a category structure.
HSBC has also added new and improved insurance benefits for cardholders.
Emergency medical insurance is getting a significant boost. Now, you’ll now be covered for up to $2 million in claims for trips up to 31 days, or 21 days for cardholders 65 years or older.
Previously, cardholders were only covered for up to $1 million, and only those under the age of 65. This is a hugely generous protection for a vulnerable demographic, one that is often underserved by credit card insurance for that very reason.
Baggage delay insurance is also getting a boost. Instead of claiming up to $750 for delays of 12 hours or longer, you can claim up to $1,000 for delays of six hours or longer.
Rounding out the travel coverage, there’s new insurance coverage for flight delays over 6 hours, and hotel burglary up to $1,000.
As for everyday purchases, cardholders will also enjoy mobile device insurance up to $1,000. Previously a niche perk, this coverage is now slowly making its way throughout the credit card industry.
Finally, HSBC has added price protection, a very exciting and rare feature on Canadian credit cards. You’ll be able to claim the difference between the price you paid and a lower advertised price, if the price drops within 60 days of your purchase, up to $500 per transaction and $1,000 per calendar year.
Needless to say, these insurance additions are sweeping, and HSBC has really stepped up here.
No More Supplementary Card Fee
The HSBC World Elite Mastercard has eliminated the $50 fee to add a supplementary card to your account. Plain and simple, this is a win for anyone who adds multiple users to the same spending account.
As before, you can add up to four supplementary cards to your account. Note that insurance benefits may vary for supplementary cardholders.
Finally, it’s worth noticing that HSBC has redesigned the art of their legacy credit cards, aligning them with their newer entry-level products.
I’ll miss the signature triangle lion, but I can’t begrudge HSBC for a cosmetic tweak in line with design trends across the financial services industry.
New Product: HSBC Metal World Elite Mastercard
HSBC has launched the new HSBC Metal World Elite Mastercard, replacing the HSBC Jade World Elite Mastercard.
(Yes, the name of the product is the Metal card, and it is indeed metal!)
The card’s page on the HSBC website provides confusing information: the card is only available to HSBC Private (formerly Jade) banking clients; however, the $499 annual fee is waived for Private banking clients. It seems to me that you must be a Private client to apply for the card, but you can continue holding it (for a $499 annual fee) if you later decide to downgrade your HSBC relationship.
On top of the features of the mass-market HSBC World Elite Mastercard, the Metal card offers some truly premium benefits.
Most notably, the card offers a supercharged DragonPass membership with unlimited visits for the cardholder and one guest.
That’s a big step up from Visa Infinite Privilege cards, which only offer six complimentary visits per year. It also blows other Mastercards out of the water, many of which, including HSBC’s own World Elite Mastercard, offer a membership but no complimentary visits.
Unlimited lounge access puts the card on par with the Amex Platinum cards for accessing Plaza Premium lounges which are abundant in airports across Canada, not to mention over a thousand lounges worldwide.
As an interesting wrinkle, there’s no fee to add a supplementary cardholder. While the terms don’t specify, it seems to me that supplementary cards could also be eligible for a DragonPass membership of their own.
In that case, this card begins to resemble the Capital One Venture X Card in the United States, a premium credit card with annual rebates offsetting the high fee, and with which you can essentially gift unlimited lounge access to your family.
As a cherry on top, you’ll also get a $200 annual travel credit, up from $100.
If you’re a Private client with $1 million in personal assets at HSBC, the HSBC Metal World Elite Mastercard is a no-brainer to elevate your travel lifestyle at no extra cost.
Annual Fee Rebates
HSBC is expanding and simplifying the annual fee rebates they offer for their banking clients.
HSBC has three banking tiers, with various requirements to qualify. To summarize, you can qualify for (from low to high) Advance, Premier, or Private banking on the basis of your balances, recurring deposits, mortgage with HSBC Canada, or HSBC tier in another country.
HSBC has revamped their credit card annual fee rebates, which can be applied towards any credit card:
- Private: full annual fee rebate
- Premier: $50 annual fee rebate
- Advance: $25 annual fee rebate
It appears they’ve also consolidated the old Premier World Elite Mastercard with the standard version, which only differed by offering a $50 annual fee rebate for Premier. This ought to streamline their product catalog, reducing needless complexity.
Combined with the $100 annual travel credit, this effectively reduces the $149 annual fee to $24 for Advance clients, or a net gain of $1 for Premier clients, respectively. For a card that already had strong appeal as a long-term keeper, that proposition has only gotten stronger.
If you’re not interested in the World Elite card, the HSBC +Rewards Mastercard’s $25 annual fee will be fully waived for any Advance, Premier, or Private client.
Overall, I’d say the upcoming changes to the HSBC World Elite Mastercard are mostly positive, and on balance a net win.
In particular, comprehensive insurance on travel and everyday purchases is quite impressive. I’m also pleased to see that the costs of being a cardholder are reduced for HSBC banking clients.
I’m sad to see the card’s strong base earn rate cut in favour of higher rewards on categorized spending. Most importantly, though, no foreign transaction fees are here to stay.
The new HSBC Metal World Elite Mastercard is an exciting introduction to the market as Canada’s first truly premium Mastercard, going toe-to-toe with industry leaders for travel benefits. It may give Private banking clients pause when considering whether to add the additional expense of a top-tier Visa or Amex.
As an HSBC banking client myself, I certainly plan on using my HSBC World Elite Mastercard long-term. Even with the reduced earn rate on uncategorized transactions, there’s still more than enough appeal to make this card an everyday fixture.
If you’re interested in the World Elite card, the current signup bonus for up to 80,000 HSBC Rewards points is still available until February 28, 2023. For the Metal World Elite card, I’d recommend making an appointment with a banking advisor.