Frequent flyers who fancy adding to their Avios balance have been handed an enticing Christmas bonus by HSBC, though the chances are they don’t know it.
The high giant is topping up those who transfer HSBC points earned on either of its premier credit cards into Avios points throughout December.
However, the promotion proves difficult to find on its website. Though those who have attempted it have found it is working.
But what card is the best choice, what hurdles you need to jump over to hold it, and how many free Avios is HSBC offering?
Flying high: This Christmas you can earn bonus Avios points without having to spend anything extra, potentially pushing you over the threshold for a dream holiday
What’s the card?
HSBC’s Premier World Elite Mastercard is the bank’s answer to the likes of American Express’ Gold credit card, or Virgin Money’s Atlantic Rewards+ card, and comes with the APR to match.
The card comes with a £195 annual fee and an APR of 59.3 per cent, and is aimed at frequent flyers.
Every £1 you spend on the card will net you two HSBC Premier Reward points if you’re in the UK, or four points if you’re abroad, which can be converted into frequent flyer miles, including Avios points, at a rate of 2:1.
Therefore, if you have 10,000 HSBC points that would in turn get you 5,000 Avios points, enough for a one-way off-peak economy flight from London to Zurich.
HSBC offers 2 Premier credit cards open only to certain customers. Both can be turned into Avios, but the World Elite Mastercard is the better choice for frequent flyers
What’s more, the card currently has a number of very juicy spending incentives. If you spend £2,000 on the card within the first 90 days of having it, you get 40,000 HSBC points, or 20,000 Avios.
Meanwhile if you spend £12,000 within the first year, you’ll get another 40,000 points, but you must pay for the second year to get this bonus.
As a point of comparison, Amex’s gold card gives you 10,000 American Express points for spending £3,000 within the first three months of having the card, which transfer into Avios points 1:1.
It gives you another 10,000 when you spend £15,000 within 12 months.
This means HSBC’s incentives gets you more points for less spending, which seems a pretty good trade-off.
However, Amex’s card is open to the general public and comes without an annual fee in the first year.
HSBC’s one comes with a fairly strict set of opening requirements, won’t be for everyone and the £195 fee needs to be factored into your calculations.
HSBC’s Premier World Elite Mastercard is open only to HSBC Premier bank account holders.
This account requires you to pay in your salary, and fulfil one of three conditions:
- Have an income of £75,000 and have either a HSBC mortgage, investment, life insurance or protection product;
- Have savings or investments of at least £50,000 with HSBC;
- Hold HSBC Premium in another country.
These restrictions make the credit card essentially a hyper-loyalty card, but for those who do qualify the spending incentives do make it an enticing choice.
Just remember to pay your balance off each month.
What’s the bonus?
Christmas bonus: Throughout the whole of December any Avios points you earn through spending on HSBC’s Premier credit cards will be topped up by a bonus 25%
And this Christmas there’s also another reason you should consider the card. This is because HSBC has a hidden little-trailed bonus on the card which runs only from December 1 to December 31.
Currently, you get one Avios point for every two HSBC points when you transfer HSBC points into Avios, which you can do through online banking.
You must first be a member of British Airways Executive Club – which deals with BA’s Avios programme.
How to transfer HSBC points into Avios
1. Log in to online banking
2. Choose ‘World Elite’ within the ‘My Accounts section’. Then choose ‘Points Balance’ from the right hand menu.
3. Select ‘Continue’ under ‘Airlines miles’, on the list of ‘Points Redemption Options’ or ‘Join airline programme’ if you are not currently part of an airline programme
4. Select the airline you wish to redeem your Points with.
5. Insert your details, including your airline programme number and submit your request. Allow up to 14 days for your request to be processed.
On top of that, HSBC is currently running a promotion which means any points you transfer benefit from a 25 per cent uplift on the Avios miles you end up with.
For example, if you transferred 40,000 HSBC Premier points into 20,000 Avios points, you would end up with 5,000 bonus Avios.
HSBC makes little to no mention of the fact this bonus is currently running, and in fact it was only discovered by a reader of frequent flyer website Head for Points.
Head for Points’ editor Rob Burgess says: ‘If you are a HSBC Premier customer and a frequent flyer, this a hidden gem.
‘Other perks include unlimited airport lounge access and full travel insurance.
‘Whilst the annual fee is high, your £195 in year one is offset by the 40,000 HSBC points bonus, and you still get the benefit of one mile per £1 spent.
‘As long as you’ve spent £12,000, it is worth paying £195 for the second year to get the final part of the sign-up bonus. It gets harder to justify from year three onwards unless you are spending a substantial sum.’
This is Money has checked with HSBC to see if it is available to find anywhere on its website, but some users have attempted to benefit from the bonus and have found it working.
It takes up to 14 days for the bonus points to be awarded after you initiate a transfer, and extra Avios will be listed separately as ‘Bonus Avios’ on your statement.
This is Money broke down the currency of British Airways earlier this year, where you can go for your points, and roughly how much one point is actually worth.
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