Review: HSBC Platinum Credit Card

Earn points, unlock airport lounge access and more, on a card with no annual fee after a $6,000/year spend on eligible purchases.

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, October 9 2020
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

FF Program

HSBC Rewards Plus

Sign Up Bonus

0% p.a. on balance transfers for 22 months

Annual Fee

$129 (refunded after $6k/yr of eligible purchases)

Interest Rate

19.99% p.a. on purchases
21.99% p.a. on cash

Notes
The Good
  • Two airport lounge visits per year, via LoungeKey
  • Domestic and international travel insurance
The Bad
  • Points transfers to Velocity currently suspended (but this may change soon)
Added Value
  • Get your annual fee back when you spend $6k/year on eligible purchases
Fees and interest
Points earned
Lounge access
Overall

Introduction

With a low $129 annual fee – refunded every year when you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases – along with perks like airport lounge access and travel insurance, the HSBC Platinum Credit Card is dressed to impress.

Beyond benefits, cardholders can earn points on eligible purchases that can exchanged for cashback on the account, a range of e-gift cards, or Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer points (when these transfers aren't on pause – details below).

HSBC Platinum Credit Card: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Platinum
  • Card type: Visa
  • Loyalty program: HSBC Rewards Plus
  • Rewards Plus points earned per dollar spent:
         Eligible purchases in foreign currencies: 2
         Eligible purchases in Australian dollars: 1
         Government transactions (e.g. ATO payments): No points
  • 1 Rewards Plus point (earned per $1 AUD spent) =
         0.5 Velocity Points (2:1 conversion), or
         0.5 cents towards cashback (e.g. 5,000 points = $25 cashback), or
         ~0.416 cents towards e-gift cards (e.g. 6,000 points = $25 gift card)
  • 2 Rewards Plus points (earned per $1 spent in foreign currency) =
         1 Velocity Point (2:1 conversion), or
         1 cent towards cashback, or
         ~0.832 cents towards e-gift cards
  • Points capping/tiering: Earn up to 10,000 Reward Plus points per statement period.
  • Supported mobile wallets: Apple Pay, Google Pay

Note: With Virgin Australia in voluntary administration and limits in place as to how Velocity Frequent Flyer members can spend their points, manual points conversions from HSBC Rewards Plus to Velocity are currently suspended.

HSBC Platinum Credit Card: fees, charges and interest

  • Annual fee: $129, refunded each year when you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases
  • Additional/supplementary cardholder fee: $0
  • Interest rate on purchases: 19.99% p.a.
  • Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
  • Interest rate on cash advances: 21.99% p.a.
  • Interest rate on balance transfers: 0% p.a. for 22 months with no balance transfer fee1. Reverts to the cash advance rate.
  • International transaction fee: 3.0%
  • Minimum income requirement: $40,000
  • Minimum credit limit: $6,000

Earning points for free flights

While the HSBC Platinum Credit Card isn't currently offering a sign-up bonus of points – and lacks any active frequent flyer points transfer partners – the rewards that cardholders earn from everyday purchases can still be used towards travel.

For example, those points can be exchanged for a range of e-gift cards, including with Flight Centre and Webjet, among other options such as Coles, David Jones, iTunes, JB Hi-Fi, Woolworths and more.

On the other hand, points can be swapped for cashback on the cardholder's HSBC credit card account: effectively used to offset any charge the cardholder incurs, travel or otherwise.

Rather than dallying with e-gift cards, the best value is in simple cashback, with 5,000 Rewards Plus points returning a $25 statement credit, 10,000 points unlocking $50 off, and 20,000 points wiping $100 from your outstanding balance.

By comparison, for a $25 e-gift card, you'd need a higher 6,000 points – or 12,000 points for a $50 gift card / 24,000 points for a $100 card – so the easiest and most rewarding path is to make a purchase using the HSBC credit card, and then turn those points into cashback to help offset that purchase on your statement.

Points transfers from HSBC Rewards Plus to Virgin Australia's Velocity Frequent Flyer were previously possible, but these remain suspended for the time being, as above.

Airport lounge access

HSBC Platinum Credit Card customers receive complimentary membership to LoungeKey – an airport lounge program operated by the same company as Priority Pass – with two free lounge visits included every calendar year.

For Australian domestic travellers, those visits can be used for entry into the Regional Express lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide when flying with any airline (when these lounges are open, at least, as REX Lounges are temporarily closed due to coronavirus).

Alternatively, each lounge entry can be exchanged for $36 of dining credit at participating outlets, found in the domestic terminals of Sydney Airport (T2 and T3), Brisbane Airport & Gold Coast Airport.

Those able to travel overseas can also use dining credits at participating outlets in the international terminals of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports, as well as for entry into the Plaza Premium lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane, and the Catalina Lounge in Darwin, when these facilities are open.

Complimentary lounge visits can also be used at eligible lounges outside Australia (in many of the same lounges that accept Priority Pass). Visits in excess of two per calendar year are billed to the traveller's HSBC card at the rate of US$32 per person, per entry.

Complimentary travel insurance

The suite of complimentary insurance covers included on the HSBC Platinum Credit Card are among the best we've seen for a card at this level, including not only international travel insurance, but domestic travel insurance as well.

While many other Platinum-grade cards offer a limited 'interstate flight inconvenience insurance', HSBC offers standard domestic travel insurance, which covers things like journey cancellation, rental vehicle excess, lost luggage, travel delays and more, without the journey needing to be 'interstate'.

To be eligible for domestic travel insurance, cardholders must charge at least 90% of their return domestic flight and their accommodation to their HSBC credit card prior to leaving home, on trips of up to 14 days.

For international travel insurance, the cardholder must instead charge at least 90% of the cost of their "overseas return travel ticket" (that is, their flights from and back to Australia) to their HSBC card prior to travel, covering journeys of up to four months.

Refer to the policy documents for the full details, including important information about exclusions, eligibility, and exceptions as may affect claims relating to pandemics and epidemics, such as COVID-19.

Rounding out the card's cover, purchase protection insurance, extended warranty insurance and transit accident insurance are included too: all subject to eligibility and other criteria.

HSBC Platinum Credit Card: the verdict

Offering Platinum perks such as airport lounge access and travel insurance against a low $129 annual fee, the HSBC Platinum Credit Card can easily pay for itself in perks alone.

For those who spend at least $6,000/year on eligible purchases – that's an average of just $500 per month – the annual fee is, of course, refunded: giving you those benefits at no nett cost, and the ability to earn points on purchases as well.

While points transfers to Velocity Frequent Flyer are currently off the cards, using points towards cashback effectively gives a rebate equal to 0.5% on Australian dollar spend and of 1% on purchases in other currencies for the time being.

There's also nothing stopping you from building up a balance of HSBC Rewards Plus points now, with a view to converting them into Velocity Points at a later date: perhaps even during a 'transfer bonus' period, as Velocity regularly offers.

Given the monthly cap of 10,000 points per statement period, cardholders would only reach this by spending $10,000 per month in AUD or $5,000 per month in other currencies, so unless you're spending significant coin on the card, there's a good chance you'll be earning points for every dollar spent on eligible purchases.

With a minimum income level of $40,000 and a minimum credit limit of $6,000, this credit card is also accessible to most full-time workers, and many others, too – with support for both Apple Pay and Google Pay a nice extra.

You can apply for the HSBC Platinum Credit Card here.


Bank disclaimer: Credit provided by HSBC Bank Australia Limited ABN 48 006 434 162 Australian Credit Licence 232595. Offer available to new, approved HSBC credit cardholders. HSBC may change or end this offer at any time. Fees, charges, terms, conditions and HSBC lending criteria apply to all credit cards issued by HSBC. Interest rates are valid at the time of publication and are subject to change.

1. To be eligible for the introductory balance transfer rate, the balance transfer request must be made at the time of applying for the new HSBC credit card. Your total balance transfers must not exceed 90% of your approved credit limit. The interest rate on the balance transfer applies for 22 months for the HSBC Platinum Credit Card. The balance transfer must be from non-HSBC credit cards. After this period, any balance outstanding from the balance transfer will accrue interest at the cash advance rate (currently 21.99% p.a. and subject to change). HSBC will allocate payments we receive from you to pay off the portion of your balance which attracts the highest interest rate first and subsequently to portions of your balance attracting lower interest rates. This may mean applying any and all payments made to your HSBC credit card account to pay off other transactions such as purchases and cash advances before any balance transfer amount.

Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.


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