As a smaller bank and rewards program, HSBC doesn’t get the love it deserves.
As one of the only transferable points currencies in Canada, HSBC Rewards is a great way to complement and accelerate your points earning strategy outside of the more common points programs out there.
Earning Points via Signup Bonuses
HSBC Rewards points can only be earned through the bank’s own line of credit cards. There are three noteworthy tiers of cards available: a base-level card, a mid-tier card, and a World Elite card.
The HSBC World Elite Mastercard is the card of most interest, as it tends to offer higher welcome bonuses while remaining accessible. In the past year or two, the bonus on this card has gone as high as 100,000+ points.
The HSBC Rewards points earned on the HSBC World Elite Mastercard are also the most powerful, since you can redeem them for a statement credit, or transfer them to three different airline partners.
The HSBC +Rewards Mastercard is a bare-bones card which offers a lower signup offer. Its target audience includes lower spenders and those who don’t meet the income requirements of the higher World Elite offering.
Lastly, below the HSBC +Rewards Mastercard sits the HSBC Travel Rewards Mastercard, which features the lowest welcome bonus but has no annual fee. This card can be good for those who are early on in their credit card journey but still want to earn a form of transferable points.
The HSBC Rewards points earned on the HSBC +Rewards Mastercard and the HSBC Travel Rewards Mastercard cannot be transferred to airline partners; rather, they can be redeemed for a statement credit.
For Quebec-based applicants, HSBC has modified offers which are typically on par or better than the non-Quebec offer. Generally, Quebecers are given more points instead of an annual fee waiver.
Earning Points via Spending
As with any other travel rewards credit card, you can earn HSBC Rewards points through daily spending on your credit card.
- HSBC World Elite Mastercard:
- 6 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on travel
- 4 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on gas, groceries, and drugstores
- 2 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on everything else
- HSBC Travel Rewards Mastercard
- 3 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on eligible travel
- 2 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on gas and transportation
- 1 HSBC Rewards point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
- HSBC +Rewards Mastercard:
- 2 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent on dining or entertainment
- 1 HSBC Rewards point per dollar spent everywhere else
There aren’t currently any other ways to earn HSBC Rewards points, such as through shopping portals or otherwise.
It should be noted that there are other credit cards out there with better earning rates, such as the American Express Cobalt Card for food, drink, and groceries, or the American Express Platinum Card for travel.
However, since not all merchants accept American Express, having an HSBC Mastercard can be a great option when you can’t otherwise maximize your spend. Notably, as Costco only accepts Mastercards, an HSBC Mastercard is likely your best bet for a travel rewards card there.
Redeeming HSBC Rewards Points
There are a couple of ways to redeem HSBC Rewards Points.
The major strength of HSBC Rewards compared to the in-house rewards programs from most other Canadian banks is that you don’t need to go via a dedicated travel portal to redeem your points.
Therefore, the simplest way to redeem HSBC Rewards points is to book travel on your card and redeem them at a fixed value against any travel purchase at a rate of 0.5 cents per point (cpp).
You can do this with the HSBC Rewards points earned on the HSBC World Elite Mastercard, the HSBC +Rewards Mastercard, and the HSBC Travel Rewards Mastercard.
Indeed, you can book any travel with any provider – flights, trains, hotels, Airbnbs, car rentals, cruises, vacations, etc. – and offset the cost using HSBC Rewards points within 60 days of the purchase posting to your account.
To do so, just go into your HSBC Rewards account and look for “Travel Rewards” under the “Travel” tab.
A list of eligible transactions will appear on the following page. Simply select the purchase for which you’d like to redeem your HSBC Rewards points, choose the desired redemption level, and then click “Submit.”
In addition, you can potentially unlock better value than 0.5cpp by transferring points to one of three frequent flyer partners – British Airways Executive Club, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles – and using those points wisely for high-value flight redemptions.
However, it’s only possible to do so with HSBC Rewards points earned on the HSBC World Elite Mastercard. To be clear, if you have an HSBC +Rewards Mastercard or an HSBC Travel Rewards Mastercard, you cannot transfer your points to airline partners.
Each one of those partners has a different transfer ratio:
- 25,000 HSBC Rewards points = 10,000 British Airways Avios
- 25,000 HSBC Rewards points = 9,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles
- 25,000 HSBC Rewards points = 8,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Depending on how effectively you can leverage the sweet spots of each airline program, you’ll extract different values from your points. If you’re unsure of where to start with these programs, take a look at booking Qatar Airways Qsuites with Avios, Singapore Airlines Suites Class with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, or accessing sweet spots with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
To transfer points, simply head to your HSBC Rewards account and look for “Rewards for Miles” under the “Travel” tab.
From there, select the airline program to which you’d like to transfer points, and fill in the form at the bottom of the page. You’ll need to provide your first name, last name, email address, and partner program membership number.
Once the transfer request is made, the points should arrive in your airline account in 5–10 business days.
Both the baseline travel redemption and the frequent flyer conversions are subject to the following redemption rules:
- A minimum of 25,000 HSBC Rewards points must be redeemed at once
- HSBC Rewards points must be redeemed in increments of 10,000 points
Here’s a quick chart to see the best ways to redeem HSBC Rewards points:
British Airways Avios
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Lastly, like many other rewards programs, there is also the option to redeem points at a subpar rate for gift cards, merchandise, or cash deposits into a HSBC bank account. You can do this with the HSBC Rewards points earned from any of the three aforementioned credit cards.
Frequently Asked Questions
What counts as a travel purchase to redeem points for?
Almost any travel-related purchase would be eligible for a points redemption. This could be flights, trains, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, or anything of the sort.
Is there a minimum amount of points I need to make a redemption?
For statement credits, you need to redeem at least 200 points, equal to $1. For transfer partners, you can only redeem in multiples of 25,000 points.
Is it better to redeem points for statement credit or transfer to partners?
It depends! The great thing about HSBC Rewards points is that it’s a transferable currency.
If you want the flexibility to cash out your points at a fixed rate, you can do so at a decent value.
If you have a specific redemption in mind or you’re looking to build a balance with a transfer partner, you can do that as well.