The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® is, in my eyes, like a true Swiss Army knife for the Canadian traveller. Here's why.
A Mastercard credit card designed for travellers
I have been an HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® credit card holder for over four years. As a frequent traveller, I have had the occasion to test this card many times, and I must admit that I struggle to find any negative aspect to it.
Flexible points: Flight, Train, Cruise, Hotel, Rental and more
Let’s start with its rewards points program. With the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®, you get:
- 6 points per dollar for your travel purchases
- 3 points per dollar for all your other purchases
You can redeem these points for many rewards, including financial rewards, gift cards and merchandise, points-to-miles conversion, and statement credits for travel purchases.
The method I recommend is the latter (10,000 points = $50), and it’s the one I use regularly:
- Purchases from an airline (flight ticket, luggage, seats, etc.)
- Purchase of train tickets
- Apartment or chalet rentals on Airbnb, Booking.com, etc.
- Hotel bookings
- Theme park tickets
- And more!
The point redemption starts at 25,000 points = $125. Then in increments of 10,000 points.
An example of using HSBC Rewards points for purchases with SNCF and Easyjet:
To give you a better idea, let me show you some examples or what was considered travel purchases over the years by my HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®:
- Airbnb, Booking, Expedia, Agoda
- Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat, Porter, Air France, Easyjet, Etihad, Emirates
- VIA Rail, Amtrak (USA), SNCF (France), Deutsche Bahn (Germany), SBB (Switzerland)
- Disneyland Paris (France)
- Kruger Park (South Africa), Parks Australia (Australia)
For example, here is a house I rented in South Africa on Airbnb using HSBC points:
One of the only Mastercard credit cards without foreign currency conversion fees
This is probably the most significant advantage for a traveller: you will not pay any foreign currency conversion fees with the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®.
That’s a 2.5% savings on every purchase over most credit cards. And of course, you’ll earn reward points on these purchases (between 3 and 6 points per dollar).
A tip for travellers: choose the local currency on the payment terminal and not Canadian dollars! This is because if you choose to pay in Canadian dollars, the merchant will charge a high conversion rate while you do not pay a conversion fee with your HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®.
$100 annual travel enhancement credit
As a HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® credit card holder, you receive a $100 annual travel enhancement credit.
You get this credit as soon as you apply for the card and every year on the account’s anniversary date. You can use this credit on any flight, baggage fee or airport lounge pass purchase.
In a way, you can think of this credit as virtually reducing the cost of the annual card fee (from $149 to $49).
10% discount on select hotel bookings with Expedia or Agoda
Finally, if you regularly use the Expedia or Agoda websites to book hotels, you should know that you can get a 10% discount.
And of course, you’ll get 6 points per dollar for that travel booking!
A World Elite Mastercard
Beyond the travel benefits offered by the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®, there are the benefits because it is a Mastercard and World Elite card.
With this card, you benefit from premium insurance for your travels and in everyday life:
- Worldwide Emergency Travel Medical insurance
- Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption/Delay insurance
- Baggage Delay or Loss insurance
- Car rental insurance
- Purchase Assurance and Extended Warranty Insurance
Accepted worldwide (including at Costco)
Since it’s a Mastercard, you’re pretty much guaranteed that this card will be accepted anywhere in the world, including at Costco. It’s one of the Mastercard credit cards that offers the best return on your Costco purchases.
And it is, of course, the Mastercard that I use when shopping at the warehouse.
World Elite Benefits
Finally, as a HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® credit card holder, you enjoy all the benefits granted by Mastercard World Elite, such as:
- Unlimited Wi-Fi access through Boingo
- Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey: access to airport lounges
Over the years, unlimited Wi-Fi access has been handy for my flights with Westjet, Etihad, Lufthansa, Swiss, or Singapore Airlines, saving me between $20 to $30 per flight to connect to the Internet for work.
A welcome offer not to be missed
Right now, and until January 31, 2022, you can get:
- Up to 130,000 points (a value of $650 in travel rewards) if you live in Quebec with no minimum purchase!
- Up to 100,000 points (a $500 value in travel rewards) and the first year’s annual fee waived if you live outside Quebec
This is an offer you don’t want to miss as travel begins again: you’ll get your points in time to use them on your Summer 2022 trips!