HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® Review

Annual Fee
First year annual fee rebate*
$149
Sign Up Bonus Points
20,000
Purchase APR
19.9%
Min Personal Income Required
$80,000
Get up to $649 in total value* for the first year! Must apply by October 31, 2022. Conditions apply.

The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® is an elite travel rewards credit card for avid travelers with high monthly spending. The card earns up to 6 points per $1 spent, with strong earning power on travel purchases. With significant travel insurance offerings and an annual $100 travel enhancement credit*, the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® is great for globetrotters.

Primary cardholders will pay $149 in annual fees. The card carries a 19.9% purchase interest rate, 22.9% annual interest on balance transfers, and 22.9% on cash advances.

Frequent fliers seeking a premium rewards program from their credit card will find a lot to like about the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®. With no foreign transaction fees, comprehensive travel insurance protection and high points earnings on travel-related purchases, there is a lot to like about this card.

Eligibility Requirements

The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® has a number of eligibility requirements, so it is worth checking before applying. To be considered for the card, you must have the following:

  • Canadian citizenship or permanent residency
  • Be the age of majority in your province of residence
  • Annual individual income of $80,000 OR household income of $150,000 OR assets under management amounting to at least $400,000
Apply Now

Key Features

  • Lucrative Welcome Bonus
  • Up to 6 points earned per $1 spent
  • Zero foreign transaction fees (Only the Exchange Rate will apply)
  • $100 travel enhancement credit*
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty
  • $149/annual fee* for primary cardholder (first-year annual fee rebate*)

Welcome Bonus

Special offer: Earn up to 80,000 points* ($400 travel value) PLUS a full annual fee rebate for the primary cardholder for the first year* ($149 value) and receive a $100 annual travel enhancement credit*. Must apply by October 31, 2022. Conditions apply.

  • Welcome bonus of 20,000 points* ($100 travel value)
  • Earn 40,000 points* when you spend $6,000 within 6 months of account opening ($200 travel value)
  • Earn 20,000 points* as an anniversary bonus ($100 travel value)
  • First year annual fee rebate for the primary cardholder* ($149)
  • Receive a $100 annual travel enhancement credit*

An HSBC Rewards point is worth $0.005 when redeemed for travel, so that adds up to $649 in total value* in the first year. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec (Quebec residents eligible for separate offer).

How to Earn Points

Earn 6 Points on every $1 of eligible travel purchases, up to a maximum of $50,000 in eligible travel purchases charged to your HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® in a calendar year. After reaching $50,000 in eligible travel purchases, you will earn 3 Points on every $1 of eligible travel purchases. Refer to the HSBC World Elite Rewards Program Terms and Conditions for complete details. Points earned on eligible travel purchases can be redeemed for rewards valued at up to 3% of the amount spent to earn them, and Points earned on all other eligible purchases can be redeemed for rewards valued at up to 1.5% of the amount spent to earn them. For example, $5,000 in eligible travel purchases earns you 30,000 HSBC Rewards points, which can be redeemed for travel rewards valued at $150. Other rewards that require 30,000 Points for redemption may be valued at less than $150. Redemption offers may change from time to time.

How to Redeem Points

HSBC Rewards Program

Some of the items available from the HSBC Rewards Catalog

As a premier travel rewards credit card, HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® offers superior value towards travel-related redemption. However, the card also boasts flexible cash-in for other categories. Customers can use points towards gift cards, HSBC financial products, merchandise, travel rewards, and cash back rebates or even trade them in for frequent flyer miles.

To redeem points for travel, customers enjoy great flexibility with the ability to book travel with any provider and use HSBC points towards these purchases. This applies to flights, hotel bookings, car rentals, and more. Users can also convert HSBC reward points for frequent flyer rewards with a number of airlines, including British Airways and Cathay Pacific Asia.

It is easy and simple to cash in points against purchases; just apply reward points towards credit card charges at the specified value, either by calling an HSBC customer care representative or online. A final benefit offered by the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® when redeeming points is the ability to earn points and apply them to a charge made up to 60 days earlier.

Insurance Features

Cardholders benefit from comprehensive travel insurance coverage and other protections. Primary cardholders, spouses, and dependents are covered for up to 31 days for a maximum of $1 million per person for emergency medical insurance coverage on each trip.

Aside from medical insurance, cardholders will also benefit from baggage delay or baggage loss insurance amounting to $750 per insured person. This insurance covers loss, damage, theft, or other hazards. In addition, if you experience a delay in receiving your checked luggage of 12 hours or more, you will be eligible for $200 towards essentials until your bags are recovered.

In addition to emergency medical insurance and baggage insurance, cardholders who charge at least 75% of trip expenses to their card will enjoy trip cancellation and delay coverage. In case of cancellation or delay, cardholders can expect to be reimbursed up to $2,000 per insured person with a $5,000 maximum per trip.

Continuing with their comprehensive insurance offerings, HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® also offers car rental insurance when you charge a car rental to your card. Just decline the agency’s waiver and use your card for at least 75% of the cost, and you will be automatically covered for the full value of the vehicle in case of theft or damage. Insurance on car rentals includes personal effects and accidental death or injury.

Apart from their robust travel insurance coverage, HSBC also gives customers peace of mind with Purchase Protection on purchases for 90 days. Purchase Protection covers damage, loss, and theft.

Finally, cardholders benefit from an Extended Warranty on most purchases that doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for up to one additional year.

Another fantastic benefit of this card is the $100 annual travel enhancement credit that customers can redeem towards seat upgrades on flights, towards airline fees or lounges, and other travel-associated costs.

Apply Now

Rates and Fees

There’s a $149 primary card annual fee. Additional cards will cost $50 per year.

In terms of rates, this card carries an annual purchase interest rate of 19.9%. For cash advances or balance transfers, the interest rate is slightly higher at 22.9% for the former and 22.9% for the latter. These rates are competitive, and with a 21-day interest-free period following every purchase, the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® is highly attractive.

Benefits and Drawbacks

If you travel often then this card’s travel perks and no foreign transaction fees is the perfect companion for any of your trips. If you can get past the high annual fee and strict income requirements, this is the perfect card for you.

Benefits:

  • No foreign currency transaction fees (Only the Exchange Rate will apply)
  • 10% discount when booking hotels on Expedia or Agoda discount
  • Free access to Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices anywhere in the world where Boingo has hotspots
  • 31-day comprehensive travel insurance

Drawbacks:

  • High annual fee for non-Premier cardholders
  • $50 cost for authorized card users
  • High income required

How to Apply

To apply for the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®, first, make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements.

Once you’ve determined that you’ve met the eligibility requirements, you can apply for this card either in person or online. Just fill in your personal information, including social insurance number, address, date of birth, email, and phone number.

It should just take several minutes to apply for the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® online. Once you have reviewed and submitted, you should receive approval within a short amount of time.

How It Compares

  HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® Scotiabank Gold American Express Card BMO World Elite Mastercard
Welcome BonusGet up to $649 in total value* for the first year! Must apply by October 31, 2022. Conditions apply.Up to 45000 pointsUp to 60000 points + 1st-year annual fee waiver
Purchase Interest Rate19.9%19.99%20.99%
Annual Fee$149$120$150
Earn RateUp to 6 points per dollarUp to 5 points per dollarUp to 3 points per dollar

The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® is a premier travel credit card for people who enjoy frequent trips and meet certain income requirements. It offers a high points earning rate and, compared to the others, a hefty welcome bonus. The Scotiabank Gold Amex might have a lower annual fee, but its welcome bonus isn’t nearly as rewarding. The BMO World Elite Mastercard has a similar annual fee, however, it boasts much lower points earning potential and doesn’t offer as much of a welcome bonus. Each credit card has its strengths and weaknesses for you to consider.

The Bottom Line

The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® offers good perks for travel, with comprehensive insurance coverage and other benefits.

Though there are cards on the market with a more competitive APR, lower (or even zero) annual fees and no minimum income requirement, this card’s accelerated points earned on travel purchases and generous sign-up bonus make it an attractive option for spenders with very good financial standing who travel frequently.

Apply Now

*Terms and Conditions apply.

®/TM Mastercard and World Elite are registered trademarks, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Used pursuant to license.

Author Bio

Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker has been writing for GreedyRates since 2017, and loves learning about the latest trends in Canadian personal finance. Topics of particular interest to Sarah include investing, debt consolidation, debt counselling, and rewards programs. When she's not researching credit cards or loan repayment strategies, Sarah is most likely hanging out with her husband and three kids.

Article comments

15 comments
Clive A Robinson says:

Be Aware !! One big pitfall with this card is that a secondary card holder is not covered for trip interruption or car rental insurance unless travelling with the primary card holder, this even if booked with the secondary card……. Medical cover is valid.

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Clive,
Appreciate the heads up here. Good to know for those that are looking into this card. Buyer beware!

Jon says:

That’s a condition which many credit cards have, nothing new here. Other examples include cards that offer lounge access but only if primary holder is also present or that the primary holder has to fly for the flight voucher to be valid like on the Westjet WE M/C.

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Jon,
Fair point- sounds like you’ve had some experience here. Appreciate your words of wisdom!

Pat19 says:

I have a love hate going on with HSBC WE Mastercard love…. no FX fees even on returns same FX results in no charges 3% rebate on travel even 1.5% on everything else is looking pretty good these days net $49 fee is fair for the card – I actually use the included Boingo internet service when I fly on certain airlines. their fraud department is actually competent and on the ball (my opinion only based on being called several time during an actual transaction) hate…. takes usually 3 business days for a transaction or payment to show up on their web site and their travel insurance does not in fact exist – it cannot be counted on for anything.
I had an accident 2019 dislocated my shoulder the week before leaving on a prepaid ski trip. I contacted HSBC about trip insurance and I was put onto Assurant who handles their claims they had me fill out a series of forms and requiring the attending Emergency doctor fill out a form/declaration (all at my expense of course). I had everything completed and submitted but was surprised when sometime later I received a letter saying the claim did not qualify for any coverage. When I called and spoke with someone at Assurant he told me the claim was not denied I was informed that the HSBC WE Mastercard has no actual coverage. What I was told is there is no circumstance that the HSBC WE Mastercard will cover your trip, your skiing costs, your prepaid hotel, etc. There is only some limited coverage relating only to airline ticket costs. It was upsetting as I believed the credit card had real trip insurance which it in fact does not. Lesson learned, I use my Amex for trips now. I won’t count on their trip interruption insurance. I mainly have the card for their no FX fee.

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Pat19,
Thanks for sharing your experience and for your word of caution. The fine print will get you every time. Hope the lesson didn’t set you back too much and I’m glad that you’ve found a way to work in your trip interruption on top of the no FX fee.

Ambrose says:

Pay only $99 net if you maintain a Premier account. However we are in the middle of pandemic with little to none possiblity to travel, the $100 travel enhancement credit now becomes a waste, hopefully the bank could do some reflection on this and arrange an alternative way to reward cardholders

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Ambrose,
In response to the pandemic, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard is waiving the annual fee with a rebate for the first year if you apply before December 28, 2020. But they are doubling down on the travel rewards giving you an opportunity to earn up to 100,000 points. I think they’re hoping cardholders will hoard points which will make them more motivated to use them when we can all travel again.

Tony says:

I signed up for this card after reading GreedyRates recommendations (same story as everyone else – Aspire Travel went bust). I remember when I signed up there was an additional sign up benefit if I spend a certain amount within a certain time period. I dont have that info anymore and it is not within my welcome package. Questions: 1. Am I still eligible for those sign up benefits? 2. Where can I find the details of those benefits?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Tony,
At the moment it seems HSBC has changed the welcome offer for the World Elite Mastercard, as now you get 20,000 points ($100 value) as a welcome bonus as long as it’s a new account and you make your first purchase. If you saw something else, that has now been changed and you should’ve received the new offer as your welcome bonus.

Erin Day says:

I signed up for this one after the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite finally reduced their rewards. Have barely used the card yet but am already concerned. HSBC Online banking website does not show pending transactions, it only shows through the app on your phone!?!? That is enough already to get me concerned as a day-to-day usage card

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Erin,
I guess because it’s 2020 the thinking is that people carry their phones on them all the time, so it’s easier to check their daily transactions on their phone rather than having to find a desktop computer. What’s the issue with having to download the app? I assumed this would make things more convenient than always checking the website, especially if this card was the one you used daily.

Paul says:

There is no issue with having to download the app, the issue is many people do not trust the security of apps?

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Paul,
Well said. Some folks continue to remain vigilant about the apps they install and permissions they allow on their mobile devices- with good reason. That said, I’d speculate that the discrepancy between the mobile and web experience is not an oversight but a feature that was prioritized for one over the other on account of utilization. I’d bet if it isn’t already addressed that it’s sitting in a backlog just waiting for the right sprint to get deployed into the product. Anyone using the card can share if you can see pending transactions on the website a year later?

Tina says:

Thinking about switching from the Capital One Aspire Travel Elite as well. Erin, how are you feeling about th HSBC card now that you have had it a little longer?