HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® Review
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Interest rates usually run high on rewards cards, but this card breaks the mold with decent rewards and a comparatively low interest rate.
- If dining out and entertainment purchases are a big part of your budget, this card deserves your attention.
- Included price protection means you'll receive a refund if you find the item you bought on sale for a lower price within 60 days of your purchase.
- Two points on dining and entertainment is good, but it isn't great. It could take some time to rack up a hefty bank of rewards.
*Before getting started, note that the review below is for a Canandian credit card available only to Canandian citizens. You can find reviews of U.S.-based travel rewards cards here.
For Canadian citizens looking for a lower interest credit card with a rewards “kicker”, the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® might be just what you’re looking for.
This is somewhat light on perks but it makes up for that with a low 11.9% APR interest rate on new purchases, balance transfers and also, (as a pleasant surprise) cash advances.
The combination of a low everyday interest rate plus any type of rewards program is extremely rare among Canadian credit cards. Plus, if you apply by Dec. 28, 2020, you can earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 180 days and receive a waiver of the primary cardholder's annual fee for the first year (conditions apply).
Of course, if you pay your balance off in full each billing cycle, you won't have to worry about the interest rate anyway, which is what you want to aim for in order to make any of the rewards truly rewarding.
Consumer protection is one of the strengths of the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®. Purchases are insured against loss or damage for a full 90 days from the time of purchase. Plus, eligible purchases made with your card automatically get an extra 12 months tacked on to the manufacturer’s warranty.
The HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® also offers price protection for two months on all purchases. This means if the price of the item you bought drops in the 60 days after your purchase, you will be reimbursed the difference on your statement.
The protections above could be plenty to offset the modest First Year Fee Rebate (Terms apply), then $25 annual fee ($10 for each additional user), but we haven't even discussed the rewards program yet.
The rewards program for the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® is pleasantly simple. You earn two points for every $1 spent on dining and entertainment purchases and one point per $1 on all other purchases. This can add up if you use the card when you travel for business or recreation or even just in your everyday grabbing a bite during your lunch hour. You can redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift cards or account credits.
While the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® is Canada-based card for Canadian citizens, it is welcomed all around the world with the purchasing power of Mastercard as the processor.
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
The rewards program for the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® is easy to understand and take advantage of, even if it lacks a bit of flair.
For starters, while not specifically related to the rewards program, the low interest rate for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances means that if you do have to carry a balance from time to time, the interest won't eat into your rewards quite as much. You still want to make a practice of paying off your balance every month, but a lower interest rate is always nice to have.
As for the rewards, HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® cardholders earn two points per $1 spent at restaurants and on entertainment and one point per $1 on other eligible purchases. It isn't skyhigh rewards, but it's also not bad for a card with just a First Year Fee Rebate (Terms apply), then $25.
Redeem your rewards for travel; for gift cards or merchandise; or as credit to an HSBC mortage account, savings account or your credit card account.
One of the great things about redeeming rewards for travel is that you aren't tied to a particular portal or site in order to use your rewards. Just use your card to purchase your travel, whether directly through the provider or through a third-party site, and redeem points for statement credits to cover the travel purchase.
Simple, flexible rewards are always a welcome feature of a rewards credit card.
As previously mentioned, the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® is a Canadian card for Canadian citizens only.
Unlike many Canadian credit cards, though, this one does not have a minimum income requirement in order to qualify. Citizens of majority age in their province and with good credit can apply for this card. If you're looking for reviews of travel rewards cards as a U.S. citizen, you can start here.
As with any credit card, with the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®you need to be aware of the fees. There is a First Year Fee Rebate (Terms apply), then $25 annual fee and a $10 annual fee for additional cards. Fees for cards for your partner or children, for instance, could add up quickly.
The rewards program, while simple, isn’t as strong as you might be hoping. The problem is not with the points accumulation, the problem is with redemption. Each point accumulated is worth only one half-cent ($0.005) in redemption value. This is significantly less than many other rewards programs. To put this in practical terms, you would need to accumulate 30,000 points ($15,000 in travel and entertainment expenditures) to earn $150 worth of rewards. It's not an uncommon rate among similar cards, but it is unfortunate.
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® vs. HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
These sibling cards share some similarities but their target markets are quite different. While the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® offers more bonuses and perks, you will definitely pay for the privileges.
The HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® is offering a welcome bonus of 20,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 180 days as well as a waiver of the primary cardholder's annual fee for the first year (must apply by Dec. 28, 2020 to qualify for the bonus and fee waiver; conditions apply), but the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® is offering a welcome bonus of up to 100,000 bonus points – 20,000 points after you make your first purchase on the card and another 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 within 180 days of account opening – which is worth up to $500 in travel. This card is also offering a waiver of the primary cardholder's annual fee for the first year when you apply by Dec. 28, 2020 (conditions apply). HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® also offers a $100 Travel Enhancement Credit to cover lounge access, airline seat upgrades and baggage fees each year. Additionally, members will earn six points for every $1 spent on travel (3% back) and three points per $1 (1.5% back) on other purchases.
This looks very attractive when compared to the points program offered to HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® members, who earn just two points for every $1 spent on travel and entertainment and one point per $1 on all other purchases, but you really need to consider your budget and spending habits to truly decide which rewards structure is better for you.
Furthermore, the annual fee for the World Elite® card is First Year Fee Rebate (Terms apply), then $149 ($50 for additional users), compared to just First Year Fee Rebate (Terms apply), then $25 ($10 for additional users) for the +Rewards™ card.
The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® also has stricter applicant requirements: an income of at least $80,000 per year for individuals ($150,000 for a household) or $400,000 of managed assets with Canandia institutions.
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® vs. TD Rewards Visa Card
TD Rewards Visa offers a clear alternative to HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®, especially if you hate paying annual fees. While HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® charges an annual fee for the primary cardholder as well as fees for each additional card, the TD Rewards Visa charges no annual fee for the primary cardholder or authorized users.
Another nice feature of the TD Rewards Visa is a nice little introductory signup offer. Sign up by Sept. 8, 2020, and you can earn 10,000 bonus points, a redemption value of around $25.
The points programs for each card are a bit tricky to compare, apples to apples. With the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®, you earn two points per $1 spent on travel and entertainment and one point per $1 on all other purchases. With TD Rewards Visa you earn three points per $1 spent on all restaurant and grocery payments and all recurring bill payments, two points per $1 spent on travel booked through Expedia for TD.com and one point per $1 on all other purchases.
However, you need to be aware that HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® redeems at a rate of a half-cent per point ($0.005), but TD Rewards Visa redeems at a rate of only a quarter cent per point ($0.0025). If you're going to earn quite a few more points with the TD Rewards Visa, though, because it's categories better fit your lifestyle and budget, that difference in redemption rates may not matter.
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® vs. TD Cash Back Visa Infinite
These two cards offer you the classic rewards choice of “Points vs. Cash.” And when it comes to cash, TD Cash Back Visa Infinite is offering quite a bit as part of a tasty signup offer!
Sign up by Sept. 8 and you can earn a whopping 10% cash back on your first $2,000 in qualifying purchases over the first 90 days after your card is activated. Plus, the annual fee will be waived for the primary card holder (normally $120 a year) and any additional card holders (normally $50 a year).
With the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®, you earn two points per $1 spent on travel and entertainment and one point per $1 on all other purchases. HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® redeems at a rate of a half-cent per point ($0.005) on such things as account credits, gift cards, travel and merchandise. But if cold, hard cash is more to your liking, the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite lets you earn 3% cash back on grocery and gas purchases and on recurring bills paid using your card. You earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
As with any credit card, you need to make sure the HSBC +Rewards Mastercard is well suited to your lifestyle and spending habits.
If you are a Canadian resident, looking to shift from a high interest card to a card with a low everyday interest rate, the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® is going to be an excellent addition to your wallet.
If you are a super fan of rewards, you can find other cards with a more attractive offering; however, if you travel a good deal for business or recreation, you’ll find the points can accumulate quickly. While the redemption value is low, every little bit helps.
The HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® is also perfectly suited to anyone with good credit, but a slightly lower income. It might be just the card to help you through a challenging financial period.