Full Review of HSBC Premier World Mastercard Credit Card
Decent introductory offer
Requires a high-worth HSBC account, at least initially
Restrictive redemption program
- Decent Introductory Offer: With this card, you can earn 35,000 rewards program bonus points as a new cardholder, provided you spend $3,000 in the first three months after opening an account. Given the value of HSBC points, that reward is worth about $490 when used to redeem for airline tickets through HSBC, or $400 for all other redemptions, including as cash back. That's a very competitive offer.
- Travel-Friendly Benefits: The HSBC Premier World Mastercard offers a respectable array of travel benefits, especially for a card with no annual fee for most cardholders who are existing HSBC Premier account customers. Notable benefits include 20% off Uber and Lyft rides, up to $50 a year; free Wi-Fi around the world with Boingo; $1-million travel insurance coverage; and a 10% discount on Agoda and Expedia hotel purchases. It also offers $85 credit every five years for TSA Precheck.
- Cell-Phone Protection: If you use the HSBC Premier World Mastercard to pay your monthly phone bill, you’ll get up to $600 in protection for your cell phone, subject to a $50 deductible. 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 insurance policies.
- Requires a Qualifying HSBC Account, At Least Initially: To get this card, you must be an HSBC Premier customer. The requirements are demanding. You must either maintain a combined balance of at least $75,000 in personal accounts and investment balances, direct-deposit at least $5,000 into the account every month, or hold a mortgage with an original principal of at least $500,000.After you receive the card, you may drop this account qualification (by closing an account, say, or reducing its balance). But you then must begin to pay a $95 annual fee for the card.
- Restrictive Redemption Program: Though HSBC provides multiple options for redeeming points, most involve redemption only through HSBC's rewards portal. A notable exception is HSBC’s Rewards for Miles program, which allows to transfer Points to a participating airline’s frequent flyer/reward program account.
This Card is Best For
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
The HSBC Premier World Mastercard is best suited to those with a substantial relationship with HSBC who want a free credit card that allows them to earn and spend travel rewards.
Since you must maintain a high account balance, make hefty direct deposits, or hold a mortgage with the bank, the HSBC Premier World Mastercard is likely best suited for higher net-worth households. After you get the card, you’re free to drop the qualifying account or reduce its balance, but you must then begin to pay $95 a year for the card.
Such features as a Lyft and Uber discount, a TSA Precheck credit, car-rental insurance coverage, and the absence of a foreign-transaction fee also make the HSBC Premier World Mastercard a decent fit for those who travel frequently.
The card has appeal, too, if you have no insurance on your cell phone, since it extends $600 in 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 Premier World Mastercard One-time Offer
New cardholders have the opportunity to earn 35,000 rewards points after spending at least $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months after opening an account. The bonus points will post four to six weeks after the promotional period has ended.
We value this offer at about $490 when used to buy airline tickets from HSBC, or $400 for all other redemptions, including cash back.
Rewards Earning Details
Cardholders earn 2 points per dollar on travel purchases. All other purchases on the card earn 1 point per dollar spent. There's no limit on the number of points that can be earned in a year and points don't expire.
HSBC's definition of travel purchases is fairly broad. It includes airlines, hotels, motels, travel agencies, tour operators, cruises, buses, car rentals, boat rentals, motor home rentals, campgrounds, parking, trains, bridge and road fees and tolls, ferries, and limousines and taxis.
Any points earned from eligible purchases will be posted to your HSBC account within one to two billing cycles after the purchase is made.
Rewards Redemption Details
You can redeem points through the Premier program in several ways:
- Cash back as a statement credit or a direct deposit to an HSBC Premier checking or savings account
- Travel, including flights, hotels, car rentals, and travel packages
- Merchandise from hundreds of brands
- Gift cards for travel, shopping, and more
- CharityChoice Gift Card to one of more than 1,000 charitable organizations
All redemptions must be made through the HSBC rewards portal. Points are redeemed for a value of one cent for all redemptions except travel, which offers more favorable rates that average 1.4 cents per point. Redeeming 16,000 points earns you a $200 travel credit (a value of 1.25 cents per point) while 26,667 points and 40,000 points earn $400 and $600 respectively (1.5 cents per point).
You can’t transfer points from your HSBC Premier World Mastercard account to any other person or program.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Making the most of this card begins with ensuring you meet the $3,000 spending requirement within the first three months required to earn its 35,000-point one-time offer. Doing so should get you enough points to pay for a roundtrip-flight economy seat on a domestic route.Then consider using the card for travel-related purchases to earn 2 points per dollar spent. The eligible purchases for the category are broad, and include flights, hotels, car rentals, taxis, ride shares, and more. Ideally, you should redeem the points for travel purchases, too. That option provides the most value, earning an average of nearly 3 cents per point. Taking advantage of such extras as the 20% discount (up to $50 a year) on Lyft and Uber and the fee credit against PreCheck ($85 every four years) add to the card’s appeal to travelers. Naturally, you can use the card for other purchases, too. Just keep in mind that these earn half as much, just 1 point per dollar spent, and so are less lucrative, especially when redeemed for anything except travel. Here are two spending scenarios to exemplify what you might make by using the HSBC Premier World Mastercard.
To get a sense of the rewards that could be easily earned with this card, let's say you use this card only to travel once a year. We’ll assume you purchase a single round-trip domestic flight that costs $350, which is right around the average price of a domestic flight, according to the Bureau of Transportation. Let’s further assume that you stay five nights in a hotel that costs $150 per night.
Overall, you'd earn 2,200 points with this card, which we value at $31 when redeemed for travel purchases and $22 for other options, including cash back.
Our calculation doesn't take into consideration other purchases that might qualify for earning 2 points per dollar, or the 1 point per dollar you'd earn for all other expenses charged to the card.
Here, let's say you're joined on the trip by three family members. In total, you purchase four round-trip domestic economy-class tickets and share a $200-a-night hotel suite for five nights. Let’s further assume you spend an additional $1,500 on travel purchases throughout the year on a mix of attractions, tours, ferries, and other costs that qualify for 2 points per dollar rewards on this card.
Overall, you would spend $3,850 and earn 7,700 points on this card. We value for those rewards at about $108 when redeemed for travel, and $77 for other uses.
Again, that's without considering the 1 point per dollar you would earn on other purchases with this card.
HSBC Premier World Mastercard's Outstanding Benefits
- 20% discount on Uber and Lyft rides, for statement credit of up to $50 a year
- Complimentary Wi-Fi access around the world with Boingo
- $85 statement credit every four years for TSAPrecheck
- $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 institutions.
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.
HSBC offers industry standard security features with this card including 24/7 fraud monitoring and alerts, zero fraud liability for unauthorized transactions and chip technology. Cardholders also have access to Mastercard's ID theft protection, identity fraud expense reimbursement, and cellular wireless telephone protection.
The HSBC Premier World Mastercard offers decent rewards, solid benefits, and a one-time offer that’s worth between $400 and about $500, depending on how it’s redeemed. With no annual fee, the card’s a natural choice for those who hold a mortgage, keep a high account balance, or make hefty direct deposits with HSBC. Indeed, one of those HSBC Premier-status requirements is required in order to get the card. You’re allowed to drop them after you get the card, but you’re then required to pay $95 a year for the HSBC Premier World Mastercard.
Paying the fee makes the card a dubious value. For one, you would need to spend around $3,500 a year on travel purchases, and also redeem them for travel, in order to fully justify the annual fee. Also, you could do as well or better with other cards that charge the same $95 fee, or less. The Chase Sapphire Preferred, for example, offers 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining and travel, each worth a little more than HSBC points when used for travel, according to Investopedia’s valuation. Unlike HSBC Premier World Mastercard, this card gives you the option to redeem points with any of a dozen partner airline and hotel programs. For no annual fee at all, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express offers 3 points per dollar (each worth a cent) on categories including travel, restaurants, and gas, along with a 12-month 0% APR offer on purchases and balance transfers, where the HSBC Premier World Mastercard has no such offer.