HSBC has just announced its new Spring 2023 welcome offer for the flagship HSBC World Elite Mastercard, which will last until May 31, 2023.
As per usual, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard’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 $400.
Let’s take a closer look at the details for both offers, which are an improvement over the last round.
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:
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 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 80,000 HSBC Rewards points you’d earn in the first year would already be worth at least $400 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:
Therefore, if we were to add the points that you earn from meeting the $1,000 monthly spending threshold to the above calculations, then we can conclude that you’d earn at least 12,000 HSBC Rewards points from that spending (and possibly more if you were making eligible purchases at the 6x or 4x earning rates), which is equivalent to $60.
In total, you’d end up with at least 92,000 HSBC Rewards points after completing the minimum spending, which would be worth at least $460 on top of the first-year primary cardholder fee rebate.
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). There are also many reports that the Travel Enhancement Credit can be redeemed against other common travel expenses, such as Aeroplan award taxes and Expedia hotel bookings, too.
Combined with the $460 minimum valuation of the welcome offer, the total minimum value that can be derived from the HSBC World Elite Mastercard for non-Quebec residents rises to an impressive $560 in the first year.
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:
That’s right, Quebec residents can earn the full bonus without a 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 110,000 HSBC Rewards points after the six-month waiting period.
110,000 HSBC Rewards points are worth $550 when redeemed directly against eligible travel purchases. However, when considering the value of the offer, we must then subtract the $149 annual fee (which is not waived in Quebec) to arrive at a valuation of $401.
Then, adding the $100 Travel Enhancement Credit* into the mix, Quebecers can expect to extract at least $501 in value from the HSBC World Elite Mastercard in the first year.
Comparing the two offers, we see that Quebecers have to pay the first-year annual fee in exchange for receiving a higher signup bonus without a $6,000 minimum spending requirement.
Conversely, non-Quebec residents must spend towards their signup bonus, but they enjoy a first-year annual fee rebate in return.
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 80,000 or 110,000 HSBC Rewards points, then, you can obtain $400 or $550 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, vacation packages, etc. – that you charge to the card.
You 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:
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 80,000 HSBC Rewards points you’d earn as a non-Quebecer. That’d equate to 24,000 Asia Miles, 27,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, or 30,000 British Airways Avios. (You’d also have an additional 5,000 HSBC Rewards points left over since you have to transfer in chunks of 10,000 after an initial minimum of 25,000).
For example, 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 six one-way short-haul flights on British Airways’s Oneworld global partners.
Moreover, HSBC Rewards represents one of the few ways to earn Singapore Airlines 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.
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 Mastercard is your best option in Canada to get there.
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 DragonPass membership, although you have to pay a fee per lounge visit, so it’s not as good of a lounge access benefit as other premium cards out there. You also have Wi-Fi at Boingo hotspots around the world and onboard Boingo-enabled airlines.
Lastly, the emergency medical insurance is worth pointing out. The total coverage was recently raised from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 per trip of up to 31 days if you’re under 65, or 21 days for cardholders 65 years or older.
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, or you’re over the age of 65.
Until May 31, 2023, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard is offering a strong welcome bonus that’s worth at least $400 in value.
On top of 20,000 HSBC Rewards points upon your first purchase, Canadians who reside outside of Quebec will receive a further 10,000 points each month upon spending $1,000 for the first six months of account opening, while Quebec residents will receive a further 90,000 points upon keeping their account open and in good standing for six months.
Moreover, the card’s other perks are outstanding as well, with no foreign transaction fees, 31-day emergency medical insurance, and the simplicity of the HSBC Rewards program as the most prominent features.
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.
*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.
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