The HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard credit card is not one of our top-rated travel credit cards. You can review our list of the best travel credit cards for what we think are better options.
Full Review of HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard Credit Card
Competitive bonus offer
$100 annual airline credit and other travel benefits
Requires a qualifying HSBC Premier account
- Competitive Bonus Offer: New cardholders can earn a one-time 50,000-point bonus by spending $4,000 on this card in the first three months after opening an account. According to HSBC, this offer is worth $750, when redeemed for airfare. The spending requirement is on the high side, for what isn't the highest bonus available among luxury travel cards. Still, this is a very competitive offer.
- $100 Annual Airline Credit and Other Travel Benefits: As you might expect from a luxury travel card, the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard carries a wide range of travel benefits. Leading the way is a $100 annual statement credit that can be applied to any air travel spending. There’s another $100 annual statement credit for rides with Uber and Lyft (at up to $20 per ride), and $1 million in travel insurance coverage. It also offers two one-time complimentary passes to more than 1,000 LoungeKey airport lounges throughout the world and statement credits for Global Entry or TSA Precheck every four years.
- Cell-Phone Protection: If you use the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard to pay your monthly phone bill, you'll get up to $800 in protection for your cell phone, subject to a $50 deductible. You can make two claims per 12-month period up to a maximum of $1,000 per covered card. While theft is covered, an unexplained loss of the phone is not. And any eligible damage must affect the phone’s functionality, which precludes repairs for cosmetic reasons alone, or due to abuse or what’s deemed to be normal wear and tear. Finally, this is secondary coverage that kicks in after you’ve received the benefits from any coverage from your existing phone insurance policies.
- Requires a Qualifying HSBC Premier Account: You need to be an HSBC Premier customer in order to get this card, and the requirements are stiff. You must either maintain a combined balance of $75,000 between personal and investment accounts; make at least $5,000 in direct deposits each month; or hold a mortgage with HSBC with an original principal of at least $500,000. Unlike the less-costly HSBC Premier World Mastercard, this card does not allow you to drop the account qualification requirement after receiving the card and only pay an annual fee. That means in order to keep this card, you’ll need to continuously qualify as a Premier customer with HSBC.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Flies often for business or leisure
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
The HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard is for those who already have a relationship, involving considerable funds, with HSBC and are willing to pay a high annual fee to earn rewards on their credit-card spending and enjoy a number of travel benefits.
This is indeed a card for high-worth HSBC customers. To qualify for the required Premier status, you must either maintain an account balance of at least $75,000, make hefty direct deposits to it every month, or hold a mortgage. Then after qualifying, you must pay a steep annual fee of $395 for the card.
That fee will be justified for those who fly at least once a year and use ride-sharing services at least five times a year. That’s thanks to the card’s $100 annual statement credits for each of an airline purchase and up to five Uber or Lyft rides of at least $20 each.
The card has appeal, too, if you have no insurance on your cell phone, since it extends $600 in complimentary coverage provided you pay your cell-phone bill with the card. While there are caveats to the protection, including that it covers a total loss only when the phone is stolen, it still offers peace of mind about the most valuable item most of us carry around with us.
HSBC World Elite Mastercard Bonus
New cardholders can earn a one-time offer of 50,000 points after spending at least $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months after opening an account.
That’s a higher spending requirement than with the many offers that require $3,000 as the minimum “spend” for comparable rewards. The offer is worth $750 when redeemed to purchase airline travel through HSBC’s rewards portal. The bonus points post four to six weeks after the promotional period has ended.
Rewards Earning Details
Cardholders earn 3 points per dollar on travel purchases and 2 points per dollar on dining purchases. All other purchases on the card earn 1 point per dollar spent. There's no limit to the number of points you can earn in a year and points don't expire as long as your account is active.
HSBC has a fairly broad definition of travel purchases. It includes airlines, hotels, motels, travel agencies, tour operators, cruise lines, bus lines, automotive and vehicle rentals, truck rentals, boat rentals, motor homes and recreational vehicles, campground and trailer parks, automobile parking lots and garages, bridge and road fees/tolls, trains, railroads, ferries, and limousines and taxi cabs.
HSBC’s definition of dining is broad as well. It includes restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, and fast food outlets.
Points are credited to your HSBC account within one to two billing cycles after the purchase is made.
Rewards Redemption Details
Points can be redeemed through the Premier program in several ways:
- Travel statement credit
- Travel through the HSBC rewards portal
- Cash back as a direct deposit to an HSBC bank account
- Statement credit on the credit card
- Merchandise from hundreds of brands
- Gift cards for travel, shopping, and more
- CharityChoice Gift Card to one of more than 1,000 charitable organizations
- Annual fee reimbursement
All redemptions must be made through the HSBC rewards portal. Points redeemed for airfare, are worth 1.5 cents per point. Cash back and gift card redemption rates will vary.
HSBC’s Rewards for Miles program allows Premier cardholders to transfer points to the frequent flyer/reward programs of several airlines including Asia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and British Airways at varying transfer ratios, depending on the airline.The program’s Terms and Conditions say the transfer rate is two points for every mile-- meaning you receive only half as many miles in the airlines’ program as you forgo in HSBC points. That said, in (confusing) consecutive messages during an online chat, an HSBC rep said the rate “was one point per mile” and “varies by the airline.” If this program is important to you, call the Premier Rewards Department at 888.662.HSBC (4722) to confirm rates for the airlines to which you are loyal or may want to fly.Points earned on this card cannot be transferred to other individual’s accounts.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Getting the most out of this card begins with meeting the $4,000 spending requirement within the first three months after opening an account. That spending will allow you to earn the card’s 50,000-point bonus.
After that, use this card to pay for all of your travel and dining purchases, which earn 3 points per dollar and 2 points per dollar, respectively. Keep in mind that using this card for other purchases isn't as beneficial, since those expenses only earn 1 point per dollar.
You'll get even more value out of this card by taking advantage of its features. Look to find occasions where you can use the $100 travel statement credit, $100 credit towards Uber and Lyft rides, and the fee credit against Global Entry or TSAPrecheck.
Here are two scenarios to demonstrate how many points you might be able to make with the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard.
Let's say you travel twice per year. We'll assume that each way you purchase a domestic round-trip ticket that costs $350, which is around the average price of a domestic flight, according to the Bureau of Transportation. Those tickets would together cost $700, and would earn 2,100 points (with the 3 points per dollar rate for travel purchases). Let's further assume that, on both trips, you stay a total of five nights in a hotel that costs $150 per night. With a total of $750, you’d earn 2,250 points (given the 3 points-per-dollar travel rate). In addition, you charge $200 per month in dining purchases on this card; that $2,400 in annual spending earns 2 points per dollar spent, for a total of 4,800 points.
Overall, you'd earn 9,150 points on this card—2,100 points from the airfare, 2,250 points from the hotel stays, and 4,800 points on the dining bills. Those points are worth $137 when redeemed for airfare through HSBC.
This scenario is further geared towards the high-worth households that are likely to carry this card. Let's say you and three family members purchase four round-trip domestic economy-class tickets, again at $350 apiece, and share a $200-per-night hotel suite for five nights. That spending—$1,400 on flights and $1,000 on hotels—will earn 7,200 points at the 3 points per dollar travel rewards rate. You spend an additional $2,000 on car rentals and taxis throughout the year, which also earn 3 points per dollar—for an additional 6,000 points. Total points for travel: 13,200 points. Finally, let's say that you and the family spend $300 per month for the family on dining. At the 2-points-per-dollar rate for dining, that $3,600 in spending would earn 7,200 points.
Overall, you would spend $8,000 and earn 20,400 points. We value those rewards at around $306 when redeemed for airfare.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard’s Outstanding Benefits
- $100 annual air travel credit
- $100 annual statement credit for rides with Uber and Lyft (up to $20 per ride)
- Statement credit for Global Entry up to $100 or TSAPrecheck up to $85 every four years
- $1 million in travel accident insurance
- Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
- Mastercard ID theft protection
- Tap & go contactless payment
- Cellular wireless phone protection
HSBC earned below-average scores in J.D. Power's 2019 credit card satisfaction survey, ranking last out of 11 card issuers.
Customers can contact a HSBC representative about their Mastercard 855-806-4664 or report a lost or stolen card 24/7 at 800-462-1874. Customer service can also be reached by visiting a branch, writing to HSBC, or by tweeting questions and comments to @HSBC_US.
This card comes with security features that meet the industry norm. Cardholders get chip technology, 24/7 fraud monitoring and alerts, and zero fraud liability. Mastercard's ID theft protection, cellular wireless protection, and identify theft resolution services are also included.
Fees to Watch Out For
In addition to the $395 annual fee, cardholders are charged $65 annually for each authorized user.
The HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard has respectable rewards, attractive benefits, and a competitive one-time offer. Even its $395 annual fee, its biggest drawback (other than its hefty HSBC Premier requirements), is justified by half for frequent travelers by the card’s twin $100 statement credits—against airfare and $20+ ride share trips, respectively. Still, justifying even half of such a large fee would require more than $4,000 in annual charges, and that’s at the card’s highest rewards rate, for travel spending. Premier customers who prefer to pay less (but get less in rewards) can opt for the HSBC Premier World Mastercard. It has no annual fee for Premier customers, and there’s the option to pay a manageable $95 if you no longer qualify for Premier status after getting the card. You earn 2 points per dollar on travel purchases and 1 point on all other purchases. There's a 35,000-point bonus offer after spending $3,000 in the first three months after opening an account.
Alternatively, heavy travelers who are prepared to pay a high annual fee might be better off with a luxury travel card that doesn't require a banking relationship and provides better rewards. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a good example. While it charges a $550 annual fee, it doesn't require you to have a Chase banking relationship and it offers 3 points on travel and dining worldwide. There's also a 50,000-point bonus and a $300 annual travel credit. Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Sapphire Reserve are worth the same as HSBC points when used for airfare, according to Investopedia's valuation, but Ultimate Rewards have more travel partners thank HSBC from which to redeem.