An innovative credit card with consumer choice as its main selling point, the HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash or Fly Rewards was the pioneering credit card when it came to offering multiple choice and flexibility with your rewards. The current market now features quite a few cards that offer the cardholder the choice between redeeming points for cash and redeeming them for free airline tickets, but HSBC was the first to do so. The original unique selling point was (and still is) backed up by numerous attractive features and, for all intents and purposes, this certainly looks like it could be the credit card to commit to. There is one catch though; you need to hold an existing account with HSBC to qualify, and an existing, established internet banking relationship with them is a must.
The HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash or Fly Rewards – How Does It Work?
Rewards and Cash Back
The HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash or Fly Rewards allows the card holder to earn one point for every dollar that is spent on the card itself. Points can then be redeemed for either cash rebates or free airline tickets. Unlike other credit cards that tend to hold reward caps, you can earn unlimited points and cash rebates with this one, and even more attractively, there are no blackout dates for airline tickets either.
The airline ticket reward scheme is a bit of a mystery, it may be easy to understand the value of the cash rebate you earn (which is 1% cash back on all purchases), but actually understanding the value of the points for airline tickets is not so straight forward. HSBC’s website isn’t much help, it states that rewards start at as little as 7,500 points but that’s about as much as the information tells you. You can download a PDF file from HSBC that highlights the rewards offered by the HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash or Fly Rewards to be clearer. The PDF states that 8,000 points will allow the card holder to receive a $100 travel discount, 16,000 points gets the card holder a $200 travel discount and then, as is commonplace with traditional programs, 24,000 points will allow card holders a coach class domestic roundtrip flight, with a ticket value of up to $400. Of course there are no blackout dates, but reservations do need to be made 21 days in advance and you need to use the same airlines for the entire trip.
Here is a quick rundown of the other benefits that HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash or Fly Rewards card holders can enjoy:
- There is no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees on card purchases made in a foreign currency
- There is a 0% introductory APR on credit card purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, and then a variable APR of 12.99%, 16.99% and 22.99% from then onwards
- Card holders can obtain additional cards for family members for free
- As a welcome bonus, HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash or Fly Rewards card holders can earn 2 Reward Points on all purchases for the first six months. After the initial period, you will earn one reward point for every $1 spent
- Card holders get standard fraud protection
- Online Guarantee on unauthorized purchases and $0 Liability
- Purchase Protection on purchases that are stolen or damaged
- Identity Theft Resolution: a perk which provides the card holder with an ID Theft Affidavit
- Card holders get exclusive extra coverage when travelling
- Free roadside assistance benefits
- Card holders can configure email and text message alerts to gain access to important information such as balance, payment due dates and transaction history.
- All card holders have access to Travel Assistance Services for help with lost or stolen travel documents and luggage, and access to a select network of physicians and attorneys worldwide
Is this card really worth committing to?
After some extensive research, the answer remains to be seen. As with all credit cards, there are mixed reviews, but the HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash or Fly Rewards has some of the more conflicting of the bunch. A lot of cardholders are very happy with the rates and benefits, yet other cardholders actively propose that HSBC hike their charges unnecessarily.
Whilst the HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash or Fly Rewards card can boast some great benefits, such as the lack of annual fee, the low opening credit limit of $750 is lower than the credit limit offered by many other credit cards. Competing companies also offer many of the standard perks, such as 0% APR, but the fraud prevention software can’t be beaten (sometimes annoyingly so; you might find yourself having to verify your identity a little too often, but surely, in the long run, it’ll be worth it). HSBC seem to be quick to penalise late payments and seeing as they don’t offer customers the option to set up automatic payments, forgetting to pay on time becomes a very real possibility. If this happens, you will see an almost doubled interest rate hike, no matter how excellent your standing with them may be otherwise, and considering the fact that the initial APR on this card is tailored to fit your opening credit score, you could be in for a sting.
A lot of consumers have reported that the airline ticket reward benefit really is the shining star of perks when committing to the HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash or Fly Rewards credit card. The process is easy, statement balance is accredited quickly, and overall, the quality, cost-effectiveness and standard of the whole reward are much more worthwhile when compared to other credit cards of this nature. As per usual, if you travel a lot, this credit card will be a savvy, long term partnership for the good, but if you plan to use it more for cash rebates, it might be worth choosing another.
Probably the main thing to remember when considering whether or not to commit to the HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash or Fly Rewards is the fact that it is run by the world’s largest international bank. HSBC offers an excellent support system to all of their customers, twenty-four hours a day, no matter where you are in the world. Their established Online banking, email support and emergency telephone support systems will ensure card holders peace of mind.
Sometimes, the simple proposition of excellent customer service is enough to swing the deal.