Newly added best offers from HSBC and Bank of America

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While doing some recent maintenance on our Best Offers page, I stumbled on a few cards that I thought were worth adding. For reference, our Best Offers page is meant to contain the best credit card offers publicly available – we work to maintain and update it regularly when offers change (though in many cases we do not receive direct notifications when offers change, so it’s always helpful when readers comment to let us know if they’ve noticed a change). With a few exceptions, we generally only list offers with welcome bonuses worth at least $100. I recently added the cards below to our database. These new additions are niche products for sure, but could make sense for those looking for a little something different.

HSBC

I recently opened an HSBC Premier checking account for a new checking account bonus. The Premier account used to require $100K on deposit with HSBC, but now only requires $5K per month in direct deposit to maintain the Premier account status and keep it fee-free. With HSBC Premier status, the Premier World Mastercard shown below has no annual fee. I believe that you must be a Premier checking account holder in order to apply for the Premier World Elite card shown below that ($395 annual fee).

Doctor of Credit has gone into a deeper dive on these cards (see their review of the Premier World card here and the Premier World Elite card here). It seems that at some point in the past, rewards earned on these cards coule be transferred to British Airways Avios, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, or Singapore KrisFlyer at a 1:1 ratio (with occasional transfer bonuses), but I can’t find any recent information on transferring the points. Thus, I believe the best use is toward flights booked through the HSBC travel portal.

While I found several references noting that points earned on the Premier World card are worth 1.25c each toward flights, HSBC advertises the welcome bonus of 35,000 points to be worth $400 in flights. As such, I valued the points earned on that card at 1.14c each.

HSBC note that the 50K welcome bonus on the Premier World Elite card is worth $750 toward airfare, so I pegged those points at a value of 1.5c each. If anyone has these cards and knows whether points can be combined and/or transferred to partners, let us know. Here are the details on each card (click the card names to go to our dedicated card pages, where you’ll find a link to apply if interested):

HSBC Premier World Mastercard® credit card

FM Mini Review: This card may be worth it for the welcome bonus and possibly for the annual rideshare benefit if you have an HSBC Premier checking account and can thus keep the card annual fee-free. Note that the points value is based on HSBC's stated value when redeemed for airfare via the HSBC portal.


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Travel

Earning rate: 2x travel (includes airlines, hotels, and car rentals)

Noteworthy perks: $50 Uber or Lyft credit annually (20% back up to $50) ⚬ TSA PreCheck credit once every 5 years ⚬ Complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard® credit card
50K points
50K after $4Kspend in 3 months

$395 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: Points are worth 1.5c each when redeemed for airfare through the HSBC portal. Could be worthwhile for a welcome bonus, but not rewarding enough to justify keeping beyond the first year.


Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Travel
Dine

Earning rate: 3x travel (includes airlines, hotels, and car rentals) ⚬ 2x dining

Noteworthy perks: $100 Uber or Lyft credit annually (up to $20 per ride, up to $100 per year) ⚬ $100 annual air travel credit (reimburses tickets, seat upgrades, baggage fees, or in-flight purchases) ⚬ LoungeKey membership and 2 free lounge visits per year ⚬ Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit ⚬ Complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi

Bank of America

Bank of America issues several travel credit cards that I realized we did not have listed on our Best Offers page. After adding these cards, I could see why we had previously omitted them: in each case below, while the welcome bonus itself is worth $100 or more, the first year value dips below $100 when considering the opportunity cost of spending toward the bonus (or the annual fee in the case of the Allegiant card).

Still, I thought these were worth including for those who may be booking travel and wonder whether these cards are worth much. Short story: they aren’t.

The one potentially interesting exception could be the Norwegian Cruise Lines card. For some reason, that card is advertised as being eligible for Bank of America Preferred Rewards. I am not aware of any other co-branded card that is eligible for the up to 75% bonus on points earned that comes with Bank of America Platinum status. The bonus categories still aren’t very good (you’d probably be better off with the Premium Rewards card), but if you have money on hand with Bank of America, want a card with no annual fee, and frequently spend money on Norwegian Cruise Lines, maybe it will make sense for you.

Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard®

FM Mini Review: Points are worth $0.01 each toward onboard credit or cruise purchase with Norwegian. Note that points expire 5 years after they are earned regardless of activity. This card offers very poor value for ongoing spend after meeting the welcome bonus requirements. Interestingly, it appears to be eligible for Bank of America Preferred Rewards, which would increase the bonus categories by as much as 75% for those with Bank of America's top-tier Platinum Honors.


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Travel
Brand

Earning rate: 3x Norwegian cruise line purchases ⚬ 2x air and hotel

Royal Caribbean® Visa Signature® Credit Card
10K points + $50 Air2Sea program discount
10K points + $50 airfare discount: 10K after first purchase in the first 90 days + $50 Air2Sea program discount after $3.5K total in first 90 days (excludes students)

No Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: Points are worth $0.01 each toward onboard credit or cruise purchase with Royal Caribbean. You can earn a max of 540,000 points per year. Points expire 5 years after the month in which they are earned regardless of acivity. This card offers very poor value for ongoing spend and you may earn a more valuable welcome bonus with less required spend with other cards.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Brand

Earning rate: 2x Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara

Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card

FM Mini Review: Points are worth $0.01 each toward onboard credit or cruise purchase with Celebrity. You can earn a max of 540,000 points per year. Points expire 5 years after the month in which they are earned regardless of acivity. This card offers very poor value for ongoing spend and you may earn a more valuable welcome bonus with less required spend with other cards.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Brand

Earning rate: 2x Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara

Allegiant World Mastercard® Credit Card

FM Mini Review: Points are worth $0.01 each toward airfare and do not expire unless you cancel the card. If you cancel the card, you forfeit all points. Between that policy and the annual fee, this card probably isn't worth it in most scenarios.


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Dine
Brand

Earning rate: 3x Allegiant ⚬ 2x dining

Noteworthy perks: Priority Boarding and one free beverage every time you fly Allegiant and show your card. ⚬ BOGO airfare when you use your card to buy a vacation package with at least a 4-night hotel stay or 7-day car rental on a single itinerary

One that didn’t make the cut

I added the Japan Airlines credit card to our database, but realized the card presented negative first year value when you consider the opportunity cost of spending $5,000 to earn a bonus of just 10,000 JAL miles, so I did not actually add it to our Best Offers page. Getting a bonus this “good” on this card requires using a promo code (SPG2020) that is only valid through the end of September 2020 (the card normally offers 5K bonus miles after taking an international flight with JAL). I assume most will give this a hard pass, but here is the info for those interested:

JAL USA CARD

FM Mini Review: This card offers a poor earning structure of just 1 mile per dollar and a very weak bonus compared to required spend that it just isn't worth it.


Card Type: Mastercard

Noteworthy perks: 10% bonus miles for every flight taken with Japan Airlines

Bottom line

Again, these offers are niche products. We list a wide range of credit cards on our Best Offers page. Greg often makes a point in presentations to say that when he hears someone say, “I’ve already applied for all of the credit cards. Now what?” he often wonders, “Really?”. That is simply because there is such a range of cards on the market. The Bank of America products above represent pretty poor value (consider opening a card with a cash back bonus instead and using the cash to pay for travel), but the HSBC cards may be useful for decent welcome bonuses toward flights and are likely cards that many readers don’t have. On the other hand, if you do have the HSBC cards, we’d love to hear more about them — comment below if you know more about transferring those points to airlines or combining them across cards.

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