NEW Premium Travel Card From HSBC: Is it Worth the Fee and Do You Even Qualify?

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HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard credit card

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard Credit Card

HSBC has just launched a new premium travel card, the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard credit card. Like other cards in the premium space, it includes lounge access, travel credits, transferable points, increased earnings in the travel and dining categories among other typical benefits. The annual fee is $395 and it is not waived the first year. The kicker here is that you must have an existing HSBC Premier Banking Relationship in order to apply for the card. This means you need to open an HSBC Premier checking account and maintain $100,000 in combined U.S. personal deposit and investment balances. Spoiler Alert: This card is definitely not worth moving $100,000 of your money into HSBC just to qualify! If you are already a Premier Customer or were considering moving money into HSBC, read on for analysis. (Otherwise, have a great day.) 🙂

Before I get into the details of this card, I want to let you know that HSBC has a similar card with no annual fee, the HSBC Premier World Mastercard credit card. The difference in sign-up bonus is 15,000 points. This card seems to have all the same benefits except for lounge access, (which you’ll see is not great with this card) an airfare credit, 1x less on dining and travel and a reduced Uber or Lyft credit. In terms of keeping the Elite card past the first year as opposed to the no fee version, the difference in travel credits is $150 and the annual fee difference is $395- you do the math.

The Offer

Earn 50,000 Rewards Program Bonus Points worth $750 in air travel, after spending $4,000 or more in the first 3 months from Account opening.

Card Details

The HSBC Premier World Elite has the typical benefits you see from it’s competitors. It gives card holders Boingo Wifi, Shoprunner, price protection, travel insurance etc. Bonus categories are as follows: earn 3X Rewards Program Points on travel, earn 2X Points on dining and earn 1X Point on all other purchases. It appears based on the bonus being worth $750 that points will be redeemable for 1.5 cents each, which is similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The other premium travel benefits include:

  • Complimentary membership to over 850 airport lounges, plus up to 15% off airport retailers
  • $100 Annual Air Travel Credit to reimburse ticket purchases, seat upgrades, baggage fees or in-flight purchases
  • $85 TSA Pre✓® credit to reimburse the application fee
  • $100 Annual Statement Credits for rides with Uber and Lyft.
  • 10% discount when you book your hotel or vacation home stay through Expedia, Agoda or onefinestay

Benefits Analysis

In comparison to other premium cards with large fees, these benefits do seem to stack up. Other cards like the Citi Prestige and Amex Platinum have higher travel credit amounts, but they also have higher fees. Another good thing about the $100 air credit is that it can be used for tickets. Also, being able to use Uber or Lyft makes it easier for people to take advantage of the $100 credit, this is much more flexible than Amex’s Uber Credit.

Unfortunately, the lounge access offered by this card pales in comparison to the Priority Pass membership offered by it’s competitors. Doctor of Credit reports that the lounge benefit is through Lounge Key and is limited to two visits a year, with additional visits costing $27. Many people point to lounge access as their favorite premium card perk, so this seems like a silly move on HSBC’s part.

The 10% discount at Expedia is pretty cool. I’m curious if it’s in the form of a Promo code or it’s like an automatic 10% cashback. If anyone knows the answer to this let me know in the comment section. If it were an automatic credit, that would give the opportunity to save big on those sites using their own current promotions.

Redeeming Points

If there was one area where this card seems to shine, I think it’s in the redemption category. First, points are transferable to their airline partners (British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines). Not a huge array of options, but it’s something. You can also use their online travel portal to book with points. Now what I really like is that you can book your travel on any airline and they will give you a statement credit as reimbursement- this makes redeeming points very simple.

Conclusion

The 50,000 point sign-up bonus makes this card a decent add for the first year, especially if you can sign up now and get the credits for both 2017 and 2018. For long term use, there are some definite positives here, but I can’t come up with any reason why someone would pay the $395 annual fee when they could get the no fee version of the card and basically have the same benefits.

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I have the regular Premier MC and the (new) travel portal is pretty good – tickets seem to start at 25,000 miles and above $400 are roughly 1.6ct/pt – that’s pretty good value. It works for most airlines, some smaller airlines and LCC seem to be missing.
    This could actually be attractive to existing HSBC Premier members – $100 travel credit + $100 uber + $54 for 2 lounge visits = $254 extra benefits. To make up the remaining $140 in fees, you’ll have to spend approx. $4,000 in travel per year to earn enough points. That’s 1-2 international business class tickets a year… and you get the 10% discount on hotels, Boingo, shoprunner and better insurance…
    While I wouldn’t move money to HSBC for this, it could actually be attractive to existing HSBC customers looking for an upgrade. I’m sure they have lost a lot of credit card business to AmEx, Chase and Citi due to their better card offers….

  2. I just cancelled my Elite card, and my wife’s card for my account, after a month. My family was traveling internationally to visit a dying family member and HSBC’s “Security Center” kept blocked the card three times in five days, leaving my family high and dry on the other side of the planet without access to funds. In fairness, one event was a $20 purchase in Milan. which was a location not on the original itinerary, but when it happened again — when family was where we had notified the bank they would be and i was where i was — i’d had enough. By the way, i had multiples of the minimum deposit with HSBC, but no more. I don’t have my wife carry the card only for the perks. I look to products like this for assurance; i expect it to function as a resource in the event of a crisis during international travel. Instead of providing me the assurance i need, my reliance on the card ended up being the source of the crisis. JP Morgan Chase was more than happy to facilitate the transfer of my accounts.

  3. I have this card and as a private bank client my annual fee is waived. I’m happy with the card and if you travel overseas frequently, having access to HSBC’s branches all over the world and they’re in nearly every country imaginable is a real perk. They will open a local account or credit card for me while I’m visiting a country and I am approved through my existing relationship. I found an apartment in Paris and HSBC approved a mortgage to purchase the place within one week. So, if you’re a frequent traveler to places far and away and or do business or investments internationally then opening a premier or private banking relationship with HSBC is definitely worth it. There are also a lot perks for relationship banking clients that are not mentioned.

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