HSBC, originally established as the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, is one of the world’s largest, most-established, and recognizable banks. Known more for its investment banking, commercial banking, and wealth management services than its retail banking, HSBC is a powerhouse globally.
And although HSBC participates in large retail banking operations, in comparison to the incredible offerings of American Express and Chase, this bank has not traditionally invested as much money and time into developing an ultra-robust rewards program in the U.S.
Nonetheless, your ears might immediately perk up when you find out that HSBC is one of the banks that offers transfer partnerships with airlines. This is just one of the ways you can redeem HSBC Rewards points.
We’ve got a fair bit of ground to cover, so let’s get into the nitty-gritty of HSBC Rewards and credit cards!
What are HSBC Rewards Points?
HSBC’s main loyalty program is known as HSBC Rewards. HSBC Rewards should not be confused with HSBC Cash Rewards, which is the program’s cash-back system.
HSBC Rewards points can be used towards cash-back (which you’ll learn more about below), but HSBC Cash Rewards can’t be used for anything except cash-back, limiting the utility of your rewards.
So for this entire guide, we will be focusing solely on HSBC Rewards points. As long as your account is open and in good standing, your points will not expire.
Note that your account may be closed if there are 12 months of inactivity (18 months for California residents), so be sure to make some purchases here and there to keep your account in good standing.
Hot Tip: A note of caution: HSBC has different rules, transfer partners, transfer ratios, and earning structures for its credit cards in every country. Be sure you’re referencing HSBC’s official U.S. regulations when you’re doing your research!
In general, the 2 best ways to redeem HSBC Rewards points are:
- Transfer to airline partners (1:1 ratio)
- Redeem your points for travel (up to 1.5 cents per point)
One last trait of HSBC Rewards to note is that you can’t combine points from multiple cards into 1 centralized account. Instead, you will need to redeem or transfer your points individually.
Before we get into that, let’s talk about HSBC Rewards credit cards!
HSBC Rewards Credit Cards
HSBC has a number of credit cards and to complicate matters — there are different versions of the same credit card across many different countries, like the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.
For example, while all the U.S. HSBC Rewards credit cards transfer to airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, the same might not be true for the U.K. equivalents.
You can pretty much open an HSBC account from anywhere in the U.S., though its virtual customer service reputation isn’t the best out there, so just beware of this. It makes a lot more sense to consider opening an HSBC Rewards account if you can access a branch easily for in-person service.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card
The HSBC Premier World Elite card is HSBC’s ultra-premium credit card offering. And although HSBC’s “ultimate travel companion” comes fully loaded with perks, we’ll need to first discuss the cost of getting this card.
To even qualify, you need to be an HSBC Premier customer, which means you need to meet one of these criteria:
- Have at least $75,000 in total deposits and/or investments
- Have at least $5,000 in total direct deposits per month
- Maintain a U.S. residential mortgage loan with an original loan amount of at least $500,000
All of these are quite difficult to achieve, but the HSBC Premier checking account is one of the most premium products out there with no fees, no hassle, and loads of benefits.
Once you’re an HSBC Premier customer, you’ll need to pay a $395 annual fee plus $65 per authorized user for the HSBC Premier World Elite card.
But once you’re in the door, you’ll have access to a ton of perks. For starters, you’ll probably find a welcome bonus of around 50,000 HSBC Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
On top of that, you will earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel, 2 points per $1 spent on dining, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
Additional Benefits of the HSBC Premier World Elite card
- LoungeKey membership with unlimited lounge visits per year per cardholder
- Up to $400 annual air travel credit — most types of travel should qualify, including airfare (a $100 credit for every $2,000 spent via HSBC Travel)
- Global Entry and TSA PreCheck application fee credit worth up to a maximum of $100 every 54 months
- Complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi access with Boingo
- $120 annual statement credit for Uber and Lyft, up to $20 per ride (based on rounding rules)
- No foreign transaction fees
- Access to all the major Mastercard World Elite benefits
Lastly, this is 1 of the 2 cards that enable you to transfer HSBC Rewards points to airline partners. Additionally, you can redeem your points for travel at a 1.5 cent per point value, which is similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®!
HSBC Premier World Mastercard® Credit Card
The next HSBC Rewards credit card is the HSBC Premier World card. This card is a slight step-down from the HSBC Premier World Elite card; instead, the HSBC Premier World card is a premium credit card with a much milder annual fee.
However, the trade-off is that you won’t enjoy some of the extra benefits with the ultra-premium card. This card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. After that, you can continue to get your annual fee waived if you’re an HSBC Premier client. You only need to meet one of the qualification criteria below to become an HSBC Premier client:
- At least $75,000 in total deposits and/or investments
- At least $5,000 in total direct deposits per month
- A U.S. residential mortgage loan with an original loan amount of at least $500,000
When you sign up for the HSBC Premier World card, you might find a welcome bonus of around 35,000 HSBC Rewards points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Additional Benefits of the HSBC Premier World card
Most notably, the HSBC Premier World card is 1 of 2 HSBC cards that offer transferable rewards — the other being the HSBC Premier World Elite card discussed above. Therefore, it’s the lowest-tier card that can transfer points to airline partners.
You can redeem your HSBC Rewards points from the HSBC Premier World card towards travel at a value of 1.25 cents per point. For this reason, the HSBC Premier World draws a lot of comparisons to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking to transfer HSBC Rewards points to airline partners or to redeem them at a bonus of 25% to 50%, you’ll want to focus on the HSBC Premier World card or the HSBC Premier World Elite card. These 2 cards are the only ones that can transfer HSBC Rewards points to partners.
HSBC Advance Mastercard® Credit Card
Our next credit card offers the ability to earn lots of HSBC Rewards points at an accelerated rate, thanks to bonus categories — the HSBC Advance card.
At the same time, you won’t have to commit to such a high annual fee or qualification criteria of HSBC Premier. Specifically, this card’s annual fee is $45, which is waived for the first year. After that, you can get the annual fee waived if you have an HSBC Advance checking account relationship by meeting one of the following criteria:
- At least $5,000 in total deposits and/or investments
- At least 1 direct deposit per month
- A U.S. residential mortgage loan
The HSBC Advance card comes with a slightly different sign-up bonus structure. You’ll typically find a welcome bonus of a temporary enhanced earning structure. For example, you’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining and select entertainment purchases and 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases in the first 12 months of account opening, up to the first $25,000 in purchases. After the first year has passed, you’ll then earn 2 points per $1 spent on dining and select entertainment purchases and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
Additional Benefits of the HSBC Advance card
- 0% introductory APR on credit card purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from account opening (the balance transfer must be posted within the first 60 days of account opening)
- No foreign transaction fees
- No limit to the number of points you can earn
- Access to lots of Mastercard perks, including travel accident insurance, MasterRental Coverage, Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services, a ShopRunner membership, and much more
Unfortunately, you can’t transfer your HSBC Rewards points to any airline partners with the HSBC Advance card.
HSBC Platinum with Rewards Credit Card
The HSBC Platinum Rewards card is our last major HSBC Rewards-bearing credit card, not to be confused with the HSBC Platinum card, which doesn’t earn rewards.
This card enables you to earn points without having to pay an annual fee or maintain any other accounts with HSBC.
As you can imagine, however, the card offers fewer benefits than other HSBC Rewards cards. You will earn 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases.
Additional Benefits of the HSBC Platinum Rewards card
- Standard Mastercard perks, including cellular wireless telephone protection, Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services, Mastercard ID Theft Protection, travel accident insurance, and more
- You’ll likely receive a 0% introductory APR period for the first 12 months, including purchases and balance transfers that are posted within the first 60 days of account opening
Unfortunately, you’ll be ineligible to transfer HSBC Rewards points to airline partners when you have the HSBC Platinum Rewards card.
How To Redeem HSBC Rewards Points
HSBC Rewards points are straightforward to earn — just spend on one of the credit cards above and you’re good to go! But once you’ve accumulated a bunch of HSBC Rewards points, you’ll want to maximize them if you can.
In this next section, we’ll touch on the numerous ways you can redeem HSBC Rewards points.
Transfer to Airline Partners
You can transfer HSBC points to the following airline partners at a 1:1 ratio if you hold either the HSBC Premier World Elite card or HSBC Premier World card:
HSBC Rewards also sometimes offers transfer bonuses of up to 35%, though these are incredibly rare.
This is most likely the best way to use your points, considering you can book ultra-luxurious business and first class flights using these points! By transferring points, you can achieve a value of 5 to 10 cents per point, depending on what flights you book.
Hot Tip: We’ve analyzed all of the major loyalty programs and assigned a value to what their miles and points are worth. See the latest valuations for the HSBC Rewards transfer partners in our monthly guide: Travel Points and Miles Valuations — How Much Are They Actually Worth?
The next way you can redeem your HSBC Rewards points is to book travel via the online HSBC Rewards travel portal. To do this, you’ll want to log into your personal internet banking account at HSBC’s U.S. website or call the HSBC Rewards Department at 888-385-8916.
You can redeem these points for any domestic or international travel. You can redeem as little as 10,000 points for an airline ticket, 5,000 points for a hotel booking, and 2,500 points for a car rental booking. There are no minimum amounts for transportation and experience bookings.
If you focus on travel redemptions, you can get 1.5 cents per point in redemption value from the HSBC Premier World Elite card and 1.25 cents per point in value from the HSBC Premier World card.
With the other cards, you’ll receive a fixed 1 cent per point in redemption value.
Get Cash Back
Getting cash-back is the most straightforward way to access your HSBC Rewards points. With any HSBC Rewards card above, you can receive cash-back in the form of:
- Direct deposit into your HSBC checking or savings account
- Statement credit on your HSBC credit card
You will receive a value of 1 cent per point, regardless of which credit card you have.
Buy Gift Cards
You can also redeem HSBC Rewards points for gift cards at a fixed 1 cent per point of value.
The value of your redemptions will not change with different credit cards — all the cards above offer a fixed 1 cent per point of value for gift card redemptions.
You can pick from over 100 brands, including Macy’s, Starbucks, Best Buy, The Home Depot, and Amazon.com. Here are the main categories you can get gift cards from:
- Health & Beauty
- Toys & Games
The minimum redemption amount is 1,000 points, which is equal to $10.
With HSBC’s online shopping portal, you can redeem HSBC Rewards points with over 3,000 items from 200 popular brand names, including TUMI, Dyson, Cuisinart, Apple, Bose, and much more.
You will receive a fixed 1 cent per point of value regardless of which card you use.
Be sure to compare the cheapest available price online before you redeem your points for merchandise!
Make Charitable Donations
The very last major redemption you can utilize is to make charitable donations. There are 2 main ways to achieve this:
- Redeem HSBC Rewards points for a Charity Choice gift card and choose from over 1,000 charities
- Donate directly to the American Red Cross
Your points will be redeemed at a value of 1 cent per point, regardless of which HSBC Rewards card you hold.
From the transfer partnerships to the ability to redeem points at a bonus for travel, there are lots of different ways to make the best of the unique HSBC Rewards program.
There are lots of variants of HSBC cards worldwide, so you’ll want to make sure you’re paying attention to the correct country’s HSBC cards. This guide was focused on U.S. HSBC Rewards credit cards, which strictly maintain 1:1 airline transfer partnerships.
Overall, the HSBC Rewards-bearing cards range from a no annual fee to a $395 annual fee card structure, so be sure to consider all of the pros and cons of each credit card before making your decision.