RBC Set to Finalize Acquisition of HSBC Bank Canada

RBC is in the final stages of completing its acquisition of HSBC Bank Canada. By the end of March 2024, existing HSBC Canada clients will have been transitioned to RBC products, which will then be active as of April 1, 2024.

With the transition from HSBC Canada to RBC set to be completed by the end of the month, let’s take a look at a few of the remaining tasks at hand, including receiving and activating your new cards, converting HSBC Rewards to RBC Avion points, and some important insurance considerations.

RBC Mailing Out New Credit Cards to Existing HSBC Cardholders

If you currently hold an HSBC Canada credit card, you’ll soon be receiving your transitioned RBC credit card in the mail. 

Once you receive the new RBC credit card, you’ll need to activate it, and then you can begin using it as of April 1, 2024.

Until then, you can continue to use your HSBC credit card product; however, it will no longer be active as of 11:59pm Eastern Time on April 1, 2024.

Your HSBC credit cards will stop working at 11:59pm Eastern Time on April 1, 2024

It’s important to note that you’ll receive the standard RBC cardholder agreement for the credit card to which you’re being transitioned; however, the personalized letters you received in January reflect the features that apply to your transitioned credit card.

For example, legacy cardholders of the HSBC World Elite Mastercard are being transitioned to the RBC® Avion Visa Infinite†. As indicated in the personalized letters sent in January, these transitioned cards will feature no foreign transaction fees.

However, in the standard cardholder agreement that’s being sent with the new transitioned RBC credit cards, it says that there’s a 2.5% foreign transaction fee.

After receiving some concerns from our audience, we asked RBC to clarify this discrepancy, and we received the following answer:

HSBC Bank Canada clients that have received either the RBC Avion Visa Infinite or RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege for Private Banking cards should refer to the personalized summary letter from RBC. There it states that RBC is waiving its right to charge the 2.5% above the benchmark rate charged for foreign exchange transactions noted in the cardholder agreement for the migrated credit cards. The RBC cardholder agreement is intended for all of our cardholders and the personalized summary letters note any variances and therefore include the most relevant information for these clients.

In other words, the details outlined in your personalized summary letters reflect the most accurate information, and you won’t be charged foreign transaction fees on your transitioned card, as long as that was stated in your summary letter.

HSBC Rewards to Be Converted to RBC Avion

Once the acquisition of HSBC Canada is complete, the remainder of your HSBC Rewards balance will be converted to RBC Avion points.

As we learned last month, RBC will not disclose the rate at which your points will be converted until after the conversion has taken place.

However, RBC has stated that the transfer ratio will be equal to or greater than the value for flexible redemptions, as indicated in the following quote from an RBC representative:

We can share that all HSBC Bank Canada clients migrated to RBC will receive an Avion points balance that will have equal or higher value in the flexible travel redemption category in the same way they book their travel today.

With this in mind, we suspect that the minimum transfer ratio will be 2 HSBC Rewards = 1 RBC Avion point.

As long as this holds true, in the vast majority of cases, you should get either the same or better value from your points as you did before. 

You’re no longer able to transfer HSBC Rewards to airline partners, as the last day to do so was February 29, 2024. Therefore, if you have a balance of points available in your HSBC Rewards account, your only options at this point are to wait for the conversion to take place, or to redeem at a rate of 0.5 cents per point on travel purchases.

Keep in mind that you have until March 25, 2024, to redeem your HSBC Rewards points this way.

Once the conversion happens, you’ll have access to your new balance of RBC Avion points within a week, and RBC will also disclose the transfer ratio within a week of the conversion taking place.

Emergency Medical Insurance & Other Insurance

If you have a trip coming up, you’ll want to ensure that you’re covered for emergency medical insurance.

That’s because the emergency medical insurance included on HSBC products, including the HSBC World Elite Mastercard, will be null and void for trips with departure dates as of March 29, 2024, as indicated on the insurance FAQ section of the RBC website that discusses the transition from HSBC to RBC.

As a reminder, you don’t typically need to charge the trip to your card to enjoy emergency medical insurance; rather, you’ll enjoy the card’s coverage as long as you’re an eligible cardholder, and as long as you meet any conditions set out in your insurance packet.

For trips with departures on or after March 29, 2024, the emergency medical insurance on your new RBC product will kick in; however, the coverage may be different than what was available on your HSBC product. 

For example, on the HSBC World Elite Mastercard, you enjoyed the following emergency medical coverage:

  • Up to $2 million for trips up to 31 days (aged 64 and under), or up to 21 days (aged 65 and older)

On the RBC® Avion Visa Infinite†, you’ll have the following emergency medical coverage:

  • Coverage for the first 15 consecutive days for those under 65, or for the first three consecutive days for those over 65

Therefore, if you were counting on emergency medical insurance coverage from your HSBC World Elite Mastercard or other product, you may want to purchase additional insurance to ensure you’re covered if what’s available on your new RBC product doesn’t suffice.

Other types of insurance, such as flight delay, baggage delay, purchase protection, and more, which require you to charge a trip or purchase to your account will still be covered through the HSBC products, as long as the charge was made on or before March 28, 2024. 

As always, be sure to read through the fine print of any insurance policy to ensure it applies to your unique situation, and be sure to keep your insurance booklet handy in the event of a claim.


RBC is in the final stages of acquiring HSBC Bank Canada. 

Cardholders have started to receive their transitioned RBC products in the mail, which will be available to use as of April 1, 2024.

The conversion of HSBC Rewards to RBC Avion will happen in the latter stages of the transition, and the rate will be disclosed once its taken place.

Importantly, if you have a trip coming up, make sure that you’re covered for emergency medical insurance, since HSBC’s coverage will become null and void for trips that depart on or after March 29, 2024.

  1. Hugh

    RBC strikes again. .36, there goes the Avios points I was hoping for. Hate is too weak a word for how I feel towards RBC.

  2. Frank

    It is totally unfair for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard holder who is forced to accept 1:0.36 transfer rate from HSBC Rewards to RBC Avion for their hard earned points. We lost everything from this game.

  3. Shaun

    We’ve all been scammed. Instead of the 0.5 conversion rate RBC implied to travel bloggers like Prince of Travel it’s only a 0.36 conversion rate. We could have gotten a 0.4 rate going from HSBC to Avios so it’s clear why RBC kept this a secret – they planned to skim 10% off the top. Sure hope those that suggested the transfer rate was going to be around 2:1 hold RBC’s feet to the fire on this!

  4. CSP

    A really disappointing conversion rate at 100:36 (HSBC to RBC). Almost 3:1. I hope you can find out through official channels how RBC arrived at such an valuation.

    1. Andrew

      Absolutely ridiculous. No wonder they refused to tell people in advance as well what it was going to be.

  5. John P

    What if I don’t activate the new RBC card, but made a travel purchase on my HSBC WE card for travel after March. Would I still be covered for travel insurance under HSBC?

    1. Joe

      Nope, as stated above all HSBC insurance coverages ends on 28th March 2024. To still have insurance coverage after this date, you will have to activate your RBC credit card.

  6. Alan

    I should have added the comment:

    “the only reason I have dealings with the HSBC was for the great credit card. DONE and DUSTED with this massive downgrade to everything that drew me to HSBC. BYE RBC!”

  7. Alan

    The sad thing is that Credit Union CC’s had the extended medical for over 65 but cancelled it a year after I got the card. Then along came HSBC so I jumped on the card – for 9 months before they cancelled the 21 days. As far as I know nobody will ever do this again, sadly, but please shout it to the roof tops if it happens.

  8. tayler

    do transitioned HSCB World Elite MC holders get the introductory points offer listed above (ie: 35,000 upon appoval + 20,000 after $5,000 spend)

    1. steven

      No sign-up offer is being given to HSBC clients transitioned to RBC, aside from an additional one-time $100 travel credit to HSBC World Elite Mastercard holders.

  9. Romuald Dorabialski

    It is shame that the biggest bank in Canada can not cover travelling persons over 65 years old for 21 days.
    I am moving to different bank.
    Thank you HSBC

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