Should you apply for the new Star Alliance credit card?

The co-branded card will let you earn miles or points in the frequent flyer program of selected Star Alliance member airlines.

By David Flynn, November 15 2022
Should you apply for the new Star Alliance credit card?

  • HSBC Star Alliance credit card will come with Star Alliance Gold status
  • Star Alliance Points will be introduced as the alliance’s own rewards currency 
  • Earn rates start at 1 Star Alliance Point per dollar spent

Get ready for a new way to earn frequent flyer miles on your everyday spending: Star Alliance and HSBC are launching a co-branded credit card onto the Australian market.

The HSBC Star Alliance credit card will let people earn miles or points in the frequent flyer scheme of seven participating Star Alliance member airlines, although not the full 26-strong roster.

The card will also introduce Star Alliance Points as a singular rewards currency under the also-new Star Alliance Rewards program to act as a ‘base currency’ for earning points before they are converted into the miles or points used by a specific Star Alliance member.

The earn rate will be

  • 1 Star Alliance Point for every A$1 spent on eligible purchases up to $3000 per statement period
  • 0.5 Star Alliance Points per A$1 spent on eligible purchases beyond $3000 per statement

Every month the HSBC Star Alliance credit card will automatically convert your stash of Star Alliance Points into any nominated airline currency.

The conversion rate will vary between the seven participating frequent flyer programs for the card’s launch:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan: 1,000 Star Alliance Points = 800 Aeroplan points 
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints: 1,250 Star Alliance Points = 10 Airpoints Dollars
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands: 1,000 Star Alliance Points = 800 Infinity MileageLands Miles
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: 1,000 Star Alliance Points =  800 KrisFlyer miles
  • South African Airways Voyager: 1,000 Star Alliance Points = 800 Voyager miles
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus: 1,000 Star Alliance Points = 800 Royal Orchid Plus miles
  • United Airlines MileagePlus: 1,000 Star Alliance Points = 800 MileagePlus Miles

Executive Traveller understands users will be able to change their nominated Status Airline, so that for example you could make Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles your standard earning currency but switch to a different rewards current such as Air Canada Aeroplan points during a period of high spending if there is a trip to Canada on the cards.

Complimentary Star Alliance Gold status

The HSBC Star Alliance credit card will also include complimentary Star Alliance Gold status after you spend $4,000 in the first year.

However, to keep that gratis Gold status, HSBC says “you must spend at least $60,000 on eligible purchases in each 12-month period starting from account opening to retain Gold Status.”

That averages out to $5,000 per month, which will be within reach of many high-spending high flyers.

Australians applying for the HSBC Star Alliance credit card will gain the most benefits if they select Gold-equivalent with Air Canada, Singapore Airlines or United Airlines, as this carries reciprocal Gold-grade perks with Virgin Australia such as access to Virgin’s domestic lounges.

If you already hold Gold status with one of the participating airlines you can claim 40,000 Star Alliance Points instead of the card-supplied status.

While almost every airline offers a variety of credit cards in its own market, the HSBC Star Alliance-branded card is the first from any alliance.

Leveraging airline loyalty programs into highly-profitable businesses “is quite the holy grail for most individual airlines,” explained outgoing Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh, so it’s a natural step for Star Alliance to realise a similar revenue stream from its own branded card.

“If we are successful we will be rolling it out to the next market in the course of the year,” Goh noted when the card was first teased in mid-2022.

The card’s annual $450 fee is waived for the first year. Click here to apply for the HSBC Star Alliance credit card.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

I'd consider it if it had 10 000 points per month and a conversion rate of 1 point to 1 point.

Very interesting move by Star Alliance, but I am surprised there is no sign-up bonus of say 100,000 Star Alliance Points after you spend a certain amount of money in three months. That would surely bring a lot of customers on board.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 361

Would see much better value in this if it was a Oneworld branded card...

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1174

With the number of cards in Australia already tied to Qantas FF, it is hard to see there would be much of a market though the ability to maintain status solely based on spend may be attractive to some.

FmD
FmD

25 Jun 2019

Total posts 3

HSBC is one of the only, if the the only, major bank in Australia to still offer 1 Qantas Point per A$1 spent, with a high monthly cap. Better than that on oneworld, only if you’re thinking of getting Avios instead.

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 45

Interesting that they decided to launch this in Australia first considering we don't have a Domestic Star Alliance airline. Wonder if this could pave the way for VA to join Star Alliance. VA are getting closer with UA, AC, and obviously with SQ too, be interesting to see what happens.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 173

Possibly why they launched in Australia? Not directly competing with a product from an alliance airline.

14 Nov 2015

Total posts 42

The monthly sweep of points to a single airline makes this unattractive to me.  If you can't accumulate points and then send them to your airline of choice when the time is right, this is poor value in my opinion.  I can have higher rates of earn and transfer to SQ with other cards with similar or lower fees.  Gold status has limited value in Australia, particularly since it doesn't get you much with SQ either.

KKQ
KKQ

17 Nov 2020

Total posts 5

So say $10,000 per month, it equals to 5,200 points. The conversion rate is only a bit higher than 0.5. 

The only merit is gold status. But I have to fly a SA member when most of the destinations are covered by Oneworld. 

Thank you very much. Next please. 

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1174

It is interesting for a few reasons.

Way back, when Star Alliance was created, one of the things Star talked about was a common rewards program across all member airlines with universal recognition.  This will probably never happen now as loyalty programs have turned into such a huge cash-cow for airlines.  It is unlikely many airlines would be prepared to give up on their own program.  This does, however, create something called a Star Alliance point which are then directed to your chosen scheme albeit with a bit of devaluation along the way.  I wonder if the Star Alliance point becomes some form of currency within the alliance for other point transfers.

Most of the points through loyalty programs now come through credit cards rather than actual flying.  This has meant members have been able to accrue huge numbers of points particularly if they use their cards to pay bills in their small business but, as they may not exactly travel on paid fares very often,  they do not reach the hurdle in status credits to achieve Gold or Platinum status which means they may not be at the front of the queue when rewards flights are allocated.  This scheme overcomes this by allowing Gold status to be achieved and maintained solely on the basis of card spend.  This differs from other card schemes which may give a temporary boost to Gold but required paid status points earns on flights to maintain this status.

It is interesting that Star/HSBC have chosen Australia to launch the card given Star's obvious weakness here relying on SQ, UA and NZ rather than having an anchor airline in country.

QFF

31 Mar 2015

Total posts 7

I don't pay for flights with non-oneworld very often but SQ is one of the best airlines for awards. Krisflyer gold and bonus points for $450 is an easy sell. 

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 383

Mmmm……Amex offers much better value with Membership Rewards for flexibility of carriers. The halving of earn rate at $3000 is a turn off and fixing to one airline when the whole concept is an “alliance” card is dumb. 

04 Sep 2020

Total posts 6

So, for someone who spends $6,000 per month, the card pays 0.6 KrisFlyer points per dollar, and an even lower rate for a higher spend - for a card that costs $450 per year and has no welcome bonus points. That doesn't sound very competitive. The only selling point I see is the free gold status, but I expect a lot of people who could be interested in this card already have that.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Nov 2013

Total posts 9

Not impressed.  I have a cheaper visa with SQ earn rate of .825 up to my max spend. 

Etihad

07 Jan 2016

Total posts 17

In my view, it is an excellent option for those who want to convert points into Star Alliance, provided the current offer. Does anyone know when HSBC will be making it available to the public? 

17 Nov 2022

Total posts 2

I got my email today but claiming 40,000 points for existing Gold SA members doesn't seem to appear anywhere in the small print. 

Etihad

07 Jan 2016

Total posts 17

My understanding after joining Star Alliance rewards is that 40,000 are given only to Air NewZealand's FF 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

14 Jan 2019

Total posts 4

For current HSBC credit card holders read the fine print on the HSBC website where it notes :

" $0 Annual Fee in the first year does not apply to existing HSBC customers transferring from another HSBC credit card."

bmc
bmc

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 172

had to justify changing over from my AMEX

Only thing to really consider is the opportunity cost for a bunch of bonus points vs SA gold.

17 Nov 2022

Total posts 2

Have trawled through the small print and can't find the 40,000 points for existing Gold SA members mentioned anywhere.


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