There are plenty of no foreign transaction fee credit cards in Canada in Canada, but the aHSBC World Elite Mastercard might be one of the most underrated. It kind of flies under the radar since things can be a bit confusing. There are actually two versions of this card: the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard and the HSBC World Elite Mastercard.

The Premier version is exclusive to premier chequing account holders who maintain a $100,000 balance in combined personal deposits and investments with HSBC and gives you an annual $50 rebate off the annual fee. The HSBC World Elite Mastercard is available to anyone as long as you have a personal income of $80,000 or a household income of $150,000. Perhaps HSBC saw the success of the Scotiabank Passport Infinite card and realized that there was a real opportunity here to appeal to potential customers. Continue reading my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review for my full thoughts.

HSBC World Elite Mastercard benefits

  • $149 annual fee ($50 rebate for Premier account holders)
  • 20,000 welcome bonus points ($100 value) after your first purchase (must apply by March 9, 2020)
  • 20,000 additional points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $100 annual travel enhancement credit
  • 3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases, 1.5% on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn two times the points on all purchases for the first 3 months up to a maximum earn 40,000 Points
  • 31-day travel insurance coverage
  • Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey (fee per visit still applies)
  • 10% discount on select hotel bookings on your card with Expedia and Agoda
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi through Boingo at over 1 million hotspots worldwide

Besides now being available to the public, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard now offers a decent signup bonus of up to 40,000 points. Since it takes 200 points to claim $1 in travel, the 20,000 welcome points are worth $100. This isn’t a bad signup bonus, but it’s below what the best travel credit cards in Canada offer. That being said, this card does come with a few additional benefits such as the free Boingo Wi-Fi that many other cards don’t offer.

I should also note that you can book your travel on your own and then call in to redeem your points. In other words, there’s no need to book through their own portal so you have maximum flexibility. You could even book directly with hotels to get your loyalty points or find the best promotions out there and then redeem your points. That being said, you need a minimum of 25,000 points ($125) to redeem a travel credit when you make your own booking.

Even though there’s an annual fee, you do get a yearly $100 travel enhancement credit which can be applied towards things such as select airline seat upgrades, airline baggage fees and airport lounge passes.

3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases and 1.5% on all other eligible purchases is pretty generous while the 31-day travel insurance coverage is much better than some of the best credit cards with travel insurance. The 10% discount on hotel booked with Expedia and Agoda is obviously appealing, but it doesn’t apply to all hotels which can be a concern if you have a specific property in mind.

Transferring points to airline partners

With the HSBC World Elite Mastercard, you can transfer your points to a few airline partners. Oddly enough, the airline transfer partners aren’t even listed on the HSBC website, but a call to customer service has confirmed the following.

  • 25,000 HSBC Rewards points transfer to 8,000 Asia Miles
  • 25,000 HSBC Rewards points transfer to 9,000 Singapore Krisflyer Miles
  • 25,000 HSBC Rewards points transfer to 10,000 British Airways Avios

As you can see, there’s no set formula when it comes to the transfer of miles but think about the potential of your earnings. If Singapore Airlines is one of your preferred carriers, the HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard is one of the few cards that allow you to earn Krisflyer points which is the frequent flyer program of the airline. This may not matter to most travellers, but it’s worth highlighting nonetheless.

The final word

With all these changes, my HSBC World Elite Mastercard review is positive. It’s easily one of the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees and is arguably one of the best travel credit cards in Canada.

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