Fancy a credit card that earns Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer points but without an annual fee? Then check out HSBC's Platinum Visa credit card – normally $149/year, but yours free when spending at least $6,000 or more every 12 months.
Via HSBC, you'll earn the equivalent of 0.5 Velocity points for every dollar spent: ideal for using where the fee-free American Express Velocity Escape Card isn't accepted, but also without being slugged an annual fee.
There's free travel insurance too: a rarity on cards where no annual fee is charged.
HSBC Visa Platinum credit card: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Platinum
- Card type: Visa
- Loyalty program: HSBC Rewards
- HSBC Rewards (Platinum) airline partners: Virgin Australia
- HSBC Rewards points earned per $1 spent: 1.0
- 1 HSBC Rewards point = 0.5 Velocity points (manual transfer)
- Points capping: Uncapped
Fees, charges and interest: 2/5
- Annual fee: $149* (waived/refunded during promo period)
- 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.
- International transaction fee: 3.0%
- Minimum income requirement: $40,000/year
- Minimum credit limit: $6,000
- Balance transfer offer: 0% p.a. for 15 months, reverting to the cash advance interest rate
*Apply by August 31 2016 and spend at least $6,000 on your card within the first 12 months and the annual fee paid will be refunded, and then waived in each future year where at least $6,000 is also spent.
Earning points for free flights: 2/5
Convert your HSBC Rewards points into Virgin Australia Velocity points on a 2:1 basis and you'll earn the equivalent of 0.5 Velocity points per dollar spent: on the low end for a Platinum-grade card.
That means you'd need to spend $15,600 to earn enough points for a one-way Sydney-Melbourne flight in economy, while also paying a small amount of cash to cover the taxes and fees levied on your flight.
There's also no sign-on bonus for new customers as many banks tend to offer, while any government-related transactions – be they payments to the tax office or things like car registration and household rates – earn no points at all.
Note as well that while Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer show as points transfer partners on the HSBC Rewards site, these are offered to HSBC Premier cardholders only.
Airport lounge access: 0/5
You'll not receive any airport lounge perks with this card, nor will you earn any bonus points when purchasing airport lounge memberships.
Free international travel insurance: 3.5/5
What HSBC Platinum lacks in points, it makes up for in perks – at least in part, but especially if you're paying no annual fee – with free international travel insurance yours when charging at least 90% of your return ticket to the card on trips of four months or less.
In addition, purchase protection insurance, extended warranty cover, a guaranteed pricing scheme and transit accident insurance are also included, but interstate flight inconvenience cover is notably absent.
Also missing is cover if your international journey is booked using the frequent flyer points you earn on this card: so if you use your Velocity points for a flight to New Zealand or beyond, you'll need to buy travel insurance the old-fashioned way.
HSBC Visa Platinum credit card: verdict
As far as standalone credit cards go, the HSBC Platinum Visa certainly has appeal with Virgin Australia on-board as a points partner, but we'd suggest using it in tandem with another credit card to maximise your overall points haul.
A great fit is the free American Express Velocity Escape Card – use it where AMEX is welcome to earn a higher one Velocity point per dollar, and the HSBC card where it's not.
Better yet, lodge your HSBC application by August 31 2016 pay no annual fee in the years you spend $6,000 or more: giving you a unique opportunity to have two points-earning credit cards at the price of none.
Also read: HSBC Qantas Platinum Visa credit card review
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