Yesterday HSBC released an updated version of its Premier World Elite Mastercard. The travel rewards credit card builds on its previous iterations by integrating user feedback and features that are responsive to the market.
"The number of Canadians travelling abroad is on the rise, and these savvy Canadian consumers are demanding more from their travel credit cards," said Larry Tomei, Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC Bank Canada. "With some of the richest and most comprehensive card features in the market today, we believe this is the best travel credit card in Canada, hands down."
HSBC's updated card boasts a number of highlights that make it competitive among other travel rewards cards. It has no foreign currency conversion charges, 31-day insurance coverage, $100 in annual travel enhancement credit (for seat upgrades, baggage fees, or airport lounge passes, etc.), a rewards rate of three per cent for eligible travel purchases, a low annual interest rate of 17.9 per cent, and a reasonable annual fee of $149. HSBC also throws in some additional perks, such as a complimentary membership to Mastercard Airport Experiences, unlimited Wi-Fi through Boingo, and potential 10 per cent hotel booking discounts through Expedia and Agoda.
"This new card is a prime example of how we're using our international expertise and investing to make make banking simpler, better and more rewarding for our long-time and new-to-bank customers," said Tomei.
However, in that statement, Tomei somewhat alludes to one of the card's major drawbacks. Because it is only available to HSBC Premier banking customers, its many benefits require a major commitment on the part of interested consumers.
HSBC's announcement also comes at a time where the popularity of travel rewards cards is reportedly starting to wane. Though they remain the most popular credit card of choice, according to a 2016 MarketSense survey, it is cashback credit cards that have been seeing the greatest growth in new users.