This afternoon I was having a discussion with someone in the office about the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard. As we were discussing the merits of paying the £195 annual fee, it occurred to me that I’ve never covered its ‘sibling’ – the free HSBC Premier Credit Card – on Tricks of the Trade.
Today I’ll be rectifying that as I review the HSBC Premier Credit Card.
Prior to a big devaluation of the HSBC Reward Points scheme a number of years ago, the HSBC Premier Credit Card used to be the best way of earning Avios from Visa/Mastercard spend in the UK.
However, in early 2016, the value of HSBC Reward Points was halved and a short while later the World Elite Premier Mastercard became the new best option – offering 1 Avios per £1 spent – a superb rate for a non-Amex card.
All this has meant that the HSBC Premier Credit Card largely gets overlooked by many – here’s a look at what it has to offer.
Rather unusually for a UK rewards credit card, there is no welcome bonus available on this card at present.
What is an HSBC Reward point worth?
HSBC Reward Points are a flexible currency. They are similar to American Express Membership Rewards points and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points in that they can be converted to a variety of different airlines (as well as other, less valuable uses).
The conversion rate is:
2 HSBC Reward Points = 1 airline mile
You can currently transfer HSBC Reward Points to:
- British Airways Avios (British Airways Executive Club)
- Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
- Etihad Guest (Etihad Airways)
- Singapore KrisFlyer (Singapore Airlines)
Day-to-day earnings rate
This card earns 1 HSBC Reward point per £1 spent on the card
As noted above, you are therefore earning 0.5 Avios per £1 spent. For a non-Amex card, this is a solid enough return.
This card offers 2 HSBC Reward Points for every £1 you spend abroad i.e. 1 Avios per £1 spent. Bear in mind though that HSBC charges a 2.99% non-sterling fee for all transactions made abroad and that may well wipe out the value of the extra points earned.
If you are looking for a card that carries no foreign transaction fees abroad, have a read of our best card to use abroad feature article.
1.) Travel Insurance – This actually comes as a standard perk with an HSBC Premier account (which is required to apply for the Premier Credit Card).
2.) £20 Uber credit when you purchase £500+ of airfare – If you regularly (or even semi-regularly) use your card to purchase tickets with airlines, this is a nice rebate.
3.) Airport lounge access – With membership in the LoungeKey programme, just show your Premier credit card to gain access to over 750 airport lounges worldwide. Unlike the World Elite card, access isn’t free with lounges charging £15 per person per visit.
4.) Hotel Discounts – 10% discount on selected hotels booked through Expedia and Agoda. Cardholders also benefit from 12 months complimentary Expedia+ Gold Membership. Not sure I would place much value on this – I’ve never really heard anyone raving about the benefits of the Expedia+ program.
5.) Free unlimited Wi-Fi – Take advantage of free, unlimited and secure Wi-Fi via Boingo. With over 1 million hotspots worldwide, you can connect up to four devices at airports, hotels and more.
There is no annual fee on this card.
Note that supplementary cards are free on this card – unlike the £60 fee per additional cardholder on the HSBC World Elite Mastercard.
Representative 18.9% APR variable and 18.9% p.a (variable) for purchases, based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200.
Who’s eligible for this card?
In order to apply for this card, you must be an HSBC Premier account holder.
Per the HSBC website, these are the requirements to become a Premier account holder:
(Note the reduced annual income requirement – this was previously £100,000).
HSBC Premier is available to you, as long as you pay your annual income into your HSBC Premier Bank Account and either:
1) Have savings or investments of at least £50,000 with HSBC in the UK; or
2) have an individual annual income of at least £75,000 and one of the following products with HSBC in the UK:
- a mortgage;
- an investment, life insurance or protection product;
Or, qualify for HSBC Premier in another country.
Once you are a Premier customer, you can then apply for the Premier Credit Card. In fact, you can even do it in the same phone call/meeting as setting up your Premier account.
For me, this card is a good second year option. Let me explain what I mean by that.
Assuming you can spend £12,000 on the World Elite Mastercard within your first card membership year, the sign-up bonus on that card is worth 52,000 Avios or other miles – well worth getting. However, as I bemoaned in my review, there are no additional bonus incentives that apply in your second year. That means you are faced with coughing up another £195 simply for an enhanced day-to-day earnings rate.
It would certainly make sense to take out the World Elite card before downgrading to the regular Premier Credit Card once your first year of card membership is up.
Disclaimer: The above information is intended solely as a helpful guide to the relevant travel rewards card products on the market and their various features. You should always conduct your own research as the recommendations provided may not be suitable for your personal financial requirements.
Header image credit: Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock.com