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Updated: December 27, 2023

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware this post may contain links to products from our partners. We may receive a commission for products or services you sign up for through partner links.

The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® is an elite travel rewards credit card for avid travelers with high monthly spending. The card earns up to six 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 20.99% purchase interest rate, 22.99% annual interest on balance transfers, and 22.99% 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

Pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • Up to 6 points per $1 on travel purchases

  • $100 annual travel enhancement credit

  • Comprehensive travel insurance

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • 10% hotel booking discount on Expedia or Agoda

  • Free Boingo Wi-Fi access worldwide

Cons

Cons

  • High $149 annual fee

  • $50 cost for authorized card users

  • High income requirement

  • Interest rates are slightly higher

  • Limited redemption options for non-travel rewards

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 50,000 points* ($250 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*. Conditions apply.

  • Welcome bonus of 20,000 points* ($100 travel value)
  • Earn 30,000 points* when you spend at least $1,000 in the first 60 days of account opening (up to $150 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 $499 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 six 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 two 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. 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. Earn 2% in travel rewards on all eligible gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases* (4 points per $1); and 1% in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases* (2 points per $1).

How to redeem points

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.

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 20.99%. For cash advances or balance transfers, the interest rate is slightly higher at 22.99% for the former and 22.99% 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

Welcome Bonus
Get up to $499 in total value* for the first year! Conditions apply.
Earn up to $650* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points¹. Offer ends October 31, 2023.
Get up to 60,000 points and the annual fee waived in the first year for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.*
Purchase interest rate
20.99%
20.99%
20.99%
Annual fee
$149
$120
$150
Earn rate
Earn 3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases* (6 points per $1); 2% in travel rewards on all eligible gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases* (4 points per $1); and 1% in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases* (2 points per $1)
6X Scene+™ points on every $1 CAD you spend in Canada at Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland, and more eligible grocers¹; 5X the Scene+™ points per $1 CAD spent on other eligible grocery stores, dining, and entertainment; 3X Scene+™ points per $1 CAD on eligible gas, daily transit, and streaming services; 1X Scene+ point for every $1 spent on every other purchase.
Earn 5x the points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases,* 3x the points for every $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases and recurring bill payments,* 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else.*

¹ Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card to learn more.

* Terms and conditions apply

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 American Express® Card might have a lower annual fee, but its welcome bonus isn’t nearly as rewarding. The BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®* has a similar annual fee, however, it boasts a lower earning potential. 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.

*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.

HSBC Bank Canada is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.

About our author

Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker, Freelance Contributor

Sarah Pritzker has been writing for Money.ca 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.

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