Offer expired: new offer is still great at ≈ $639 in free travel (article updated coming soon)
There is currently a simply amazing offer that is not just the best free one right now: It’s one of the best free ones we’ve ever seen in Canada. In terms of value, that’s an incredible ≈ $699 from the welcome bonus alone, and the card has other great benefits that I’ve been enjoying myself. If there was just one offer you had to take advantage of this year, this is probably the one. It ends VERY soon.
If you’re eligible, getting the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® is an absolute no-brainer. It’s a perfect one to join the Flytrippers readers who have now earned over one million dollars in travel rewards thanks to our welcome bonus recommendations.
However, this card has a minimum income requirement, unlike most other good deals, including:
- the card that gives you 11 completely free hotel nights (and one I review for you in a video too)
- the card with one of the highest welcome bonuses ever seen in Canada and a 5X earn rate
- the card that gives you ≈ $668 in net value and 4 airport lounge passes in Canada
- the card with unlimited worldwide airport lounge access for 2 travelers that gives you ≈ $941 in net value
So even if you don’t earn the $80,000 income required for this deal here, you still have 4 cards that give you a welcome bonus of over $592 with no minimum income requirement (we’ll also have a video comparing all top cards very soon and more details about each one).
But what’s urgent now is the HSBC World Elite Mastercard offer ending April 4, 2022.
So here is the video version of our review of the HSBC World Elite Mastercard and its current ≈ $699 welcome bonus if you prefer the video format.
If not, here is the more detailed text version.
You can also download our free 31-page guide with everything you need to know to get started with HSBC World Elite Mastercard, loaded with tons of pro tips and tricks to avoid common mistakes (and it comes with 3 useful documents as a free bonus)!
Overview of Flytrippers’ take on the HSBC World Elite Mastercard
As with all our detailed editorial card reviews, let’s start with a to-the-point section that includes:
- Why get the card
- Who should get the card
- How to get the card
Why get the HSBC World Elite Mastercard
Here are the 5 best reasons to get the HSBC World Elite Mastercard:
- The extremely valuable welcome bonus worth ≈ $699
- The very flexible points
- The no-foreign-transaction-fee feature
- The great earn rates
- The good insurance coverage include
We’ll explain each one below.
Who should get the HSBC World Elite Mastercard
Here are the travelers who should consider the HSBC World Elite Mastercard:
- Literally everyone who is eligible
We’ve rarely—if ever—had just one at-large bullet like that, but the HSBC World Elite Mastercard offer really is that good. If you can, you should jump on this offer, as it’s hard to do better.
However, as mentioned, unlike 4 of the 6 best offers currently available to travelers (all offering ≈ $592+ in value), this one is only available to Canadians who earn a higher income: $80,000 per year.
If that is not your case, check out our ranking of the best credit cards in Canada to see your many other great alternatives and still get hundreds of dollars in free travel easily.
How to get the HSBC World Elite Mastercard
Here is the 6-step simplified process to take advantage of this deal:
- Apply for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard (secure HSBC link)
- Unlock the welcome bonus by spending $6,000 in 6 months*
- Get 88,000 HSBC points AND a $100 credit (welcome bonus/earn on minimum spend AND card feature)
- Use points for up to 10 one-way reward flights (≈ $528) OR as a simple $440 credit on any travel
- Use your additional travel credit for a $100 discount on any travel
- Renew your card for another year to get another ≈ $71 in net value
*This is the offer for residents of provinces other than Québec, the Québec offer is slightly different (see below)
For a lot more info on the logistics, you can download our free HSBC World Elite Mastercard guide.
Highlights of the HSBC World Elite Mastercard
Here is a detailed look at the 5 best reasons to get the HSBC World Elite Mastercard.
1. The extremely valuable welcome bonus worth ≈ $699
First, the most obvious. The welcome bonus is the most important thing to consider for any card.
With the welcome bonus alone, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard gives you an excellent net value of ≈ $699 in travel rewards based on our Flytrippers Valuation.
- The rewards you get from the welcome bonus are worth ≈ $628
- The card fee is $0 for the first year
- The special renewal bonus of ≈ $220 also offsets the $149 fee in Year 2
($628 + $220 – $149 = $699)
Yes, you get that huge bonus for free, as the card’s fee is rebated the first year.
Of course, renewing the card for Year 2 is entirely optional as for any card, if for some reason you can’t do the math and are oblivious to the fact that it is very profitable to pay the Year 2 fee thanks to the special renewal bonus of ≈ $120 and the easy-to-use $100 annual travel credit.
In short, you’ll have 108,000 HSBC points AND you’ll also have $200 in simple travel credits ($100 per year).
Those 108,000 points should give you ≈ $648 off specific flights BUT you can also choose to use your points as a simple $540 travel credit that can be applied to any travel expense if you prefer more simplicity over more value.
The next section shows you what you can concretely do with the rewards you’ll get with the HSBC World Elite Mastercard.
This is really very close to the highest welcome bonus ever offered on this card (and anyway, we might never see that one that gave a few extra dollars again).
And there is no time limit to use the points because it’s easy to avoid expiry, with or without the card (they won’t expire if you have the card, and there’s a way to extend them even if you don’t).
Here is the breakdown of the rewards easily earned:
- 70,000 HSBC points from the welcome bonus
- 20,000 HSBC points after the first purchase
- 50,000 HSBC points after reaching the minimum spend
- 18,000 HSBC points from the regular earn rate on your minimum spend
- $100 travel credit in Year 1
- 20,000 HSBC points from the renewal bonus
- $100 travel credit in Year 2
Since the welcome bonus is so rich, the minimum spend requirement to reach is a bit higher than most other cards: $6,000 in 6 months. But to be honest, many cards at the $80,000 income level usually require a minimum spend of $3,000 in 3 months.
So this is almost easier than those since it’s the same equivalent per week (just $231) and you have more time to do it (meaning you are likely to have one big purchase come up). It really shouldn’t be too hard with our tips to reach minimum spend requirements.
And think about most people who aren’t travel rewards pros and how long it must take to reach $699 in rewards by just earning 1% or 2% on every purchase. I’ll help you with that math: They need about $35,000 in purchases, assuming a flat 2% back on everything and no card fee!!!
That’s insane. You get that just by unlocking the HSBC World Elite Mastercard‘s welcome bonus… so $6,000 doesn’t look so bad in comparison. It gives you an effective return of ≈ 14% (just a bit better than 1% or 2% haha).
Québec residents: The welcome bonus offer for you is slightly different (we have a separate card page but it’s the same secure application link). There is no minimum spend requirement at all, and you actually get up to 120,000 HSBC points… but the first-year annual fee is not rebated, for a slightly-lower total Flytrippers Valuation of the welcome bonus of ≈ $622 (still great & still among the best available).
2. The very flexible points
The great thing about the HSBC Rewards points that you earn with the HSBC World Elite Mastercard is that they’re hybrid, so you can use them as:
- Variable-value rewards (transfer to airline programs)
- For specific flights
- More potential value
- Fixed-value rewards (simple easy-to-use travel credit)
- For any travel expense
- More flexibility
So, in other words, with the 108,000 HSBC points you’ll have earned, you’ll get either:
- ≈ $628 off certain flights (variable-value rewards)
- $540 off any travel expense (fixed-value rewards)
You can also mix and match both options as you go along, it’s very flexible.
And you’ll get the 2 separate $100 travel credits no matter the option you choose, for a total value of ≈ $699 (variable-value rewards) or a still-excellent $591 (fixed-value rewards).
Here’s a brief overview of how each of the types of rewards you’ll get actually works.
HSBC points as fixed-value rewards
With fixed-value rewards, you don’t have to learn anything or make any effort (but can’t get outsized value or unlimited value).
It’s extremely easy: You can simply apply your HSBC points to any travel purchase made with your card. Your points “erase” the purchase; it’s as simple as it gets in terms of ways to use rewards.
Your 108,000 HSBC points will give you $540 to erase any travel expense booked with any provider (it can be just one expense or different expenses).
So even for those who don’t want to maximize or use as airline points, you’ll get a net value of $591 with the HSBC World Elite Mastercard‘s welcome bonus with the—still an amazing free welcome bonus (in Québec, it comes out to $502 total as fixed-value rewards).
HSBC points as variable-value rewards
With variable-value rewards, you need to be more flexible to get the most value. Our ≈ $699 Flytrippers Valuation is by using your points for flights this way, for 20% more value per point.
It can be a bit more complicated, but it can also give you outsized value and unlimited value and be worth twice our Flytrippers Valuation too!
You can transfer HSBC Rewards points to 3 airline partners, but the most useful for Canadians is likely British Airways Avios, especially if you live in a major city (it’s one of the 5 essential programs for Canadians we listed in our free cheat sheet).
Here are a few concrete examples of what the 108,000 HSBC points can give you to show you how it can be a lot more valuable than the simple travel credit:
- 3 one-way flights from Toronto to Dublin
- 2 roundtrip flights from Toronto/Montreal to Miami (almost enough)
- 2 roundtrip flights from Calgary/Edmonton to Phoenix (almost enough)
- 2 roundtrip flights from Vancouver to Los Angeles
- 2 roundtrip flights from Toronto/Montreal to New York/Washington/etc.
- 1 one-way business-class flight from Toronto to Dublin (almost enough)
- 1 one-way business-class flight from Boston to Madrid (almost enough)
- 10 short-distance one-way flights in Europe
- 7 short-distance one-way flights in Asia, Australia, Morocco, South Africa
- 4 one-way flights from Miami to the Caribbean or Central America
Your 108,000 HSBC points give you 43,200 Avios points so you can check out 12 good uses of HSBC points to see more concrete redemption examples.
You can obviously mix-and-match those and there are many other options (or even mix-and-match these with the simple travel credit as I said), but that’s just to give you an idea of the potential.
Annual travel enhancement credit
The annual travel credit is called the annual travel enhancement credit. To be very clear, it has nothing to do with the welcome bonus: Every year, everyone who has the HSBC World Elite Mastercard gets this free $100 travel credit.
In theory, it is meant to be used to purchase seat upgrades, airport lounge access, or baggage fees.
So it’s very flexible and we have no choice but to value it at its full $100 value for all travelers.
3. The no-foreign-transaction-fee feature
This is one of the HSBC World Elite Mastercard’s best benefits.
The card is one of the very few in Canada with no foreign transaction fee, saving you 2.5% on all purchases in other currencies compared to almost all other cards (only the exchange rate applies).
Needless to say, this is pretty useful for travelers. That fee can add up really quickly, even if you don’t travel as much as I do.
As with any card, you should re-evaluate how much value your card gives you as the annual fee renewal approaches, in this case at the beginning of Year 3. As mentioned, with the annual fee rebated and the massive welcome bonus and the renewal bonus, the math is clear the 1st and 2nd years.
But since you get a $100 travel credit each year, the net fee in subsequent years is only $49 per year.
If you make purchases of just $1,960 in foreign currencies in a year, the 2.5% saving alone covers that net fee of $49 starting in Year 3 (assuming you don’t have another no-foreign-transaction-fee card, not even the free one that you can add when doing any card application).
4. The great earn rate
First, here are the card earn rates:
- 6 points per $ (≈ 3.6% or 3.0%) on travel purchases
- 3 points per $ (≈ 1.8% or 1.5%) on all other purchases
The effective return rate in parentheses is based on our Flytrippers Valuation first, and on the minimum value as a fixed-value travel credit after.
So there are always 2 things when looking at earn rates:
- The base earn rate
- The category bonuses (or category multipliers)
First, the base earn rate. It is excellent for everywhere that isn’t included in any other card’s category bonuses. Especially if you use the rewards as airline points, since getting ≈ 1.8% on all the non-bonused categories is even among the best rates in Canada.
But even if you use the points as a simple travel credit, the base earn rate of 1.5% is good.
Now, the card only has one bonus category, but it’s the most important one for travelers. Every travel purchase will earn a whopping ≈ 3.6% (or at least 3%) back.
Obviously, I also use it for almost* every foreign currency purchase I make, as the 2.5% that other cards charge on all foreign currency purchases effectively wipes out all your earnings.
*The exception is for food as my American Express Cobalt Card still earns more, despite the 2.5% fee
I currently have a sizeable balance of Avios points and my own rewards strategy is to earn as many Marriott points as possible, but if I didn’t, I’d probably use my HSBC World Elite Mastercard for all my non-bonused spending (excluding my frequent welcome-bonus-unlocking spending, of course).
5. The good insurance coverage included
One of the best benefits of good travel credit cards (apart from the obvious travel rewards for free travel) is the insurance coverage included free of charge.
The HSBC World Elite Mastercard offers many types of coverage:
- Medical travel insurance
- Trip cancelation insurance
- Trip interruption insurance
- Baggage delay insurance
- Car rental insurance
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
First, the medical travel insurance coverage is among the best in Canada, with 31-day coverage for your trips (compared to just 15 often). This is ideal for those who prefer longer trips.
This applies only to cardholders under the age of 65, as is often the case. There is no coverage at all for those 65 and over though.
Unlike the other types of credit card insurance coverage, medical travel insurance coverage is valid whether or not you pay for the trip with your card. This is always the case for this type of coverage, contrary to the common myth.
You also have trip cancelation and trip interruption insurance. You have the standard car rental insurance and baggage loss & delay insurance.
Finally, you have the standard retail coverage: Purchase protection if your item is lost, damaged, or stolen (for 90 days; $60,000 maximum) and an extended warranty (doubled; up to 1 extra year).
The most important missing coverage is flight delay insurance. For tickets in Canadian dollars, it’s better to use another card to get that coverage. While very budget-minded, I personally am even willing to pay the foreign transaction fee on another card to get that coverage.
I’ve almost never bought a plane ticket over $500, so a 2.5% fee is at most a cost of $13 to possibly get $1,000 if my flight is delayed (but it’s $500 for cards that aren’t ultra-premium). I’ve taken advantage of flight delay insurance 9 times in the past 5 years, giving me exceptional value (over $4,000… and free hotel points worth hundreds of dollars).
But if that’s not important to you or don’t like those odds, then you can use the card for flights and be covered for the most important aspects (and you’ll earn 6 pts/$ on the purchase and save the 2.5% fee if it’s in a foreign currency).
The other missing coverage is hotel burglary insurance, but that one I’ve never used and really don’t care about. I still prefer to pay for hotels with the HSBC World Elite Mastercard for 6 pts/$ earn rate and the 2.5% saving when applicable.
The HSBC World Elite Mastercard offer is simply excellent, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of it right now if you are eligible. It’s one of the best currently available, and among the best we’ve ever seen. Especially for those who don’t want to pay an annual fee. The increased welcome bonus ends April 4th, 2022.
What would you like to know about the HSBC World Elite Mastercard? Tell us in the comments below.
Want to get more content to maximize your HSBC points?
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Learn pro tricks: Travel tips
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Featured image: Costa Brava, Spain (photo credit: Michael Cadieux)
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