When it comes to travel credit cards, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard kind of flies under the radar since HSBC is a brand they may not familiar. What many people don’t realize is that HSBC is a major bank and they offer some excellent credit cards.
The HSBC World Elite Mastercard comes packed with travel benefits and HSBC Rewards is highly flexible which is why this card should be on your radar. Continue reading my HSBC World Elite Mastercard review and find out why it may be the most underrated travel credit card in Canada.
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® benefits
- $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
To be clear, this HSBC World Elite Mastercard review refers to the card that is available to Canadians.
The current sign up bonus for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard is worth up to 40,000 points. Since it takes 200 points to claim $1 in travel, the 40,000 welcome points are worth $200 in travel. The full annual fee of $149 is rebated for the first year.
The card also comes with a few additional benefits that many other cards don’t offer such as free Boingo Wi-Fi and travel medical insurance that covers 31-days if you’re under the age of 65.
With HSBC rewards, you’re allowed to 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 which will annoy many people.
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. Some people don’t think that this benefit is of any real value, but I think it’s one of the HSBC World Elite Mastercard’s best features since it has so much flexibility.
3% (6 points per $1 spent) in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases and 1.5% (3 points per $1 spent) 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.
I should also mention that if you’re a resident of Quebec, the sign up bonus is usually different. Quite often the Quebec offer is better than the rest of the country.
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.
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® travel insurance
- Travel medical – $1,00,000 for 31 days if you’re under the age of 65
- Trip cancellation/trip interruption – up to $2,000 per person / $5,000 total
- Delayed and lost baggage – up to $750 / 12 hours ($200 for essential items after 12 hours)
- Common carrier travel accident – $500,000
- Auto rental collision / loss damage – 31 consecutive days / $65,000
Overall, I like the HSBC World Elite Mastercard travel insurance but there are some things that need to be pointed out. First off, to qualify for any of your travel insurance that’s not related to medical, you need to charge 75% of your travel expenses to your card for it to apply. This isn’t bad considering some cards require you to charge 100% of your expenses if you want your insurance to be valid.
I love how this card covers you for 31 days, but that’s only if you’re under the age of 65. If you’re 65 or older, you’ll need to buy a separate travel insurance policy. I personally think the trip cancellation/trip interruption is a bit low at $2,000 per person / $5,000 total as there are cards out there that give you $2,500 per person / $10,000 total in protection. The delayed and lost baggage is also a bit low at $750 and it’s a bit odd that you need to wait 12 hours before you can make a claim for essential items when other cards usually only require a 4-6 hour delay.
My HSBC World Elite Mastercard review is positive. It’s easily one of the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees and is one of the best travel credit cards in Canada since it comes packed with benefits. The flexibility of your HSBC Rewards points will also appeal to people who travel with different airlines.