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Although HSBC Rewards is a program that’s used all over the world, it’s not as popular in Canada since HSBC isn’t one of the big five banks. What you might not realize is that HSBC is the largest foreign-owned bank in Canada and is present coast to coast.

Their credit card portfolio is impressive and HSBC Rewards is arguably better than BMO Rewards and TD Rewards. Ignoring HSBC Rewards just because you’re not familiar with the brand is foolish since you can still collect points and redeem them in various ways. Knowing what you can do with your points and how to maximize its value is what you should strive to do.

HSBC Rewards

HSBC Rewards points value

The value of HSBC Rewards points varies depending on how you use the points. Since it takes 25,000 HSBC Rewards points to get $125 off your travel charges, the value of one HSBC point is .50 cents. While travel is the most popular redemption option, there are other things you can use your points for and they have different values.

Redemption typeRedemption value
Travel.50 cents per point
Experiences.50 - .60 cents per point
Gift cards .45 - .49 cents per point
Merchandise.30 - .50 cents per point
Financial products.30 - .40 cents per point

Interestingly enough, experiences can give you slightly more value than travel. If there happens to be an experience that you’re interested in and it lines up with your travel plans, then book it. Otherwise, booking regular travel is the best value. Gift cards, and financial products give you options, but they’re of low value. It’s worth mentioning that HSBC Rewards also has three airline loyalty program transfer partners which may be of good value to you.

How to redeem HSBC Rewards points

Redeeming your HSBC Rewards points is an easy process since just about everything is done through the HSBC Rewards website. This is also where you would go to check the current balance of your points. It’s worth checking the website every so often to see what experiences are available and if there are any promotions. Here’s how to redeem your HSBC Rewards points.

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 the expenses charged to your card. I prefer booking on your own to using bank booking portals because you have more options. 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.

Experiences

Using your points for experiences is a unique redemption option. Most of the other bank travel loyalty programs don’t offer anything like it. That said, what experiences are available can vary at any given time. At the time I wrote this article, the only experiences worth mentioning were as follows:

  • Niagara Air Tours – Tour of Niagara Falls for One
  • Breakaway Experiences Rocky Mountains Helicopter Tour for 2

Mind you, I updated this article during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s no surprise there are currently limited experiences available. With experiences, the tricky thing is figuring out the retail value since it’s not listed on the HSBC Rewards site. You can find it by searching the name of the experience in Google. To figure out the value per point, do the following: Multiple the cash value of the redemption (including taxes) by 100. Then take that number and divide it by the number of points required. That will give you the value of one point.

Gift cards

Like every other loyalty program, HSBC Rewards offers gift cards from a wide variety of partners. In most cases, it’ll cost you the following number of points:

  • $50 – 11,100 HSBC Rewards points
  • $100 – 21,100 HSBC Rewards points
  • $250 – 41,100 HSBC Rewards points
  • $500 – 101,100 HSBC Rewards points

That works out to a value of .45/.47/.49/.49 cents per point respectively. Clearly using your points for gift cards worth at least $250 gives you the best value and it’s just .01 cents per point less than the value of travel redemptions. This is noteworthy since gift card redemptions with other loyalty programs are usually worth considerably less than travel rewards.

Merchandise

Interestingly enough, the merchandise available from HSBC can have a reasonable value depending on what you’re redeeming for. After a quick search of multiple products, I’ve found items in the .30 – .50 cents per point range. That’s not bad, but only few items fall into the higher range of that schedule. If you find something you want that’s worth near .50 cents per point, then go ahead and get it. Otherwise, I’d advise holding onto your points. Some items you can redeem with your HSBC Rewards points include:

  • iPads
  • Laptops
  • Headphones
  • Pots and pans
  • Drill kits
  • Sports memorabilia

Financial products

The last redemption you can make with your HSBC Rewards points that’s worth mentioning are financial products. Interestingly enough, unlike other loyalty programs where you can use your points for actual investments, you’re limited to three options with HSBC Rewards.

  • $15 HSBC Mastercard account credit – 5,000 HSBC Rewards points
  • $20 HSBC Mortgage account credit – 5,000 HSBC Rewards points
  • $15 HSBC Savings account credit – 5,000 HSBC Rewards points

That means a Mastercard or savings account credit is worth .30 cents per point. Mortgage redemptions are worth slightly more at .40 cents per point. All of these options are quite low, so it’s not worth it at all. The statement credit options is a complete joke since you can purchase gift cards with your points at a higher value.

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. Asia Miles and Singapore Krisflyer Miles are especially noteworthy since there aren’t many ways to earn those points in Canada.

Do HSBC Rewards expire?

No, as long as you have an active account in good standing, your points will not expire. If you plan on closing your account, you should use up all your points before doing so. Since HSBC has some pretty high minimum points required when making redemptions, you may have to forfeit some of your points when you close things off.

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.

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 Primary Cardholder annual fee
  • Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Points ($100 in travel rewards)
  • 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

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.

Final thoughts

HSBC Rewards is an excellent loyalty program that deserves more attention. Points are easy to accumulate and are easy to use. There are no blackout dates and you can use them while booking directly with hotels and airlines. HSBC has transfer partners and it’s flagship travel card is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada.

HSBC Rewards Guide | How to maximize your points
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About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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