HSBC is the largest foreign-owned bank in Canada and is present coast to coast. With the launch of the HSBC World Elite MasterCard in 2018, HSBC can now be considered a major player in bank loyalty programs. I personally rank HSBC Rewards above BMO Rewards and TD Rewards in my ranking of Canada’s best credit card travel rewards.

Read the review below to know everything there is to know about HSBC Rewards and why it outranks travel programs from Canada’s big 5 banks.

How to earn HSBC Rewards points

You can earn HSBC Rewards points from welcome bonusesspending on HSBC credit cards. HSBC has 5 credit cards earning HSBC Rewards points including their flagship credit card: the HSBC World Elite MasterCard.

This card is great and is featured in many of my best credit card lists including:

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

  • $149 annual fee – First year rebate, conditions apply – Must apply by December 28, 2020.
  • 20,000 welcome bonus points ($100 travel value) after your first purchase 
  • 80,000 additional points ($400 travel value) after spending $5,000 in the first 180 days of account membership
  • 3% (6 points per $1 spent) in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases
  • 1.5% (3 points per $1 spent) in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees. Only the exchange rate will apply.
  • $100 annual travel enhancement credit
  • 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
  • Purchase assurance
  • Extended warranty

Offer for Quebec residents

  • $149 annual fee 
  • 20,000 welcome bonus points ($100 travel value) after your first purchase 
  • 110,000 additional points ($550 travel value) if you keep your account open and active for 180 days

This card is HSBC’s top travel credit card and comes packed with travel benefits. It recently got more attention when Capital One discontinued its Aspire Travel World Mastercard, and many users found this card to a good alternative. Note that welcome offer differs for Quebec residents, see the details in the full review.

Value of HSBC Rewards points

The value of HSBC Rewards points varies depending how you use the points. The typical value of HSBC points is 0.5c per point since you can use 25,000 points to offset $125 of travel expenses charged to your credit card.

Redeeming for gift cards yields a slightly lower value since you’d need 21,100 points to redeem a $100 gift card. You can also redeem directly for statement credits, but the value is considerably lower, so I don’t recommend doing this unless you’re running into cashflow problems. 

HSBC Rewards also allows to transfer points to 3 different airline programs so value can be much higher if you are able to maximize value with an airline redemption. The full details of these partners are below.

How to redeem HSBC Rewards points for travel

HSBC doesn’t have a travel booking portal, so you need to book travel on your own and then apply your points to offset travel related expenses charged to your card. I prefer booking on your own than using bank booking portals because you’re not limited to the options on that booking portal. Booking directly with hotels, car rental agencies and airlines also allows you to earn loyalty points with these programs and will also let you use the benefits of your elite status.

For example, I only get access to my Marriott Bonvoy status benefits if I book directly through Marriott.com. If I were to make a reservation through a bank travel portal or say Expedia, I would get nothing.

To redeem points for travel with HSBC Rewards, you need to charge the travel expense to your card first. After that, log in to your account and you’ll be able to select valid travel expense to offset with points. Note that you have to redeem a minimum of 25,000 points ($125) and then by 10,000 points incremental, so plan your redemptions accordingly.

HSBC Rewards transfer partners

One of the best features of HSBC Rewards is the transfer partner option. HBSC allows you to transfer points to three different airlines: Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific loyalty program), Krisflyer Miles (Singapore loyalty program) and Avios (British Ariways loyalty program)

The transfer rate for each program is as 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

Note that there is a minimum of 25,000 points to transfer to airline programs and it goes in 10,000 after that. In other words, you can transfer 25,000 points, 35,000 points, 45,000 points, etc.

How HSBC compares to others

While HSBC might not be as well-known as other banks in Canada, HSBC Rewards is solid. HSBC shines by its flexibility allowing you to book on your own and transfer points to airline programs. The minimum of 25,000 points to redeem is annoying, but you can plan your redemptions accordingly. Another advantage of HSBC Rewards is that the cards earning points are under Mastercard so you can use them at Costco and No Frills.

HSBC Rewards doesn’t give you as many options as American Express Membership Rewards or RBC Rewards, but it should definitely be consider for airlines miles collectors and for people looking for an easy and valuable travel program under Mastercard.

Final thoughts

My HSBC Rewards review is positive. Points are easy to accumulate and are easy to use with no blackout dates and you can use them while booking directly with hotels and airlines. HSBC has transfer partners, its flagship credit card has no foreign transaction fees and it’s under Mastercard making it one of the best program in Canada.

HSBC Rewards Review | How to maximize your points

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