Is the HSBC TravelOne Promo Worth It?

I trust that people who are into miles would have already signed up for the card to take advantage of the launch offer of 20,000 miles, but if you’re someone still on the fence, this article might help you make a decision. The good news is that the promo has been extended beyond its original end date of 31st May 2023.

Promo details

If you need a reminder, you get 20,000 miles when you apply for the card below, make a spend of S$800 in qualifying purchases by the end of the following month from card approval, and also pay the annual fee of S$194.40.

For those new to HSBC credit cards, you get an additional S$30.

This is essentially a miles buying exercise and whether it’s worth it depends on how much you value miles and what you are going to redeem the miles for.

HSBC TravelOne

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Choose:

  • Dyson AM07 (retailing S$459)
  • Apple Airpods (3rd Gen) With Magsafe Charging Case (retailing S$274)
  • S$250 eCapitaVoucher
  • 15K Heymax Miles (sign up heymax account for bonus 1,000 miles)

⚠️ Important – complete all the following steps to be eligible for rewards:

  1. Provide HSBC consent to receive marketing/promotional materials during application
  2. Fill up SingSaver gift redemption form
  3. Pay the annual fee of S$196.20 for HSBC TravelOne
  4. Make a min. spend of S$500 by the end of the following month from card approval date to be eligible for rewards

Last date to apply: 14th May 2024

For quick reference only; refer to terms and conditions for exact terms and save a copy for future reference:

  1. Terms and conditions
  2. Terms and conditions (existing cardholder)

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Buying miles at 1.09 cents each

A simple calculation of the miles buying rate is to take the $194.40 annual fee and divide it by 20,000 miles, and doing this gets us a 0.972 cents per mile figure.

There is, however, a spend requirement of S$800. While the HSBC TravelOne earns 960 miles on S$800 of spend, there is an opportunity cost when spending on a card that earns only 1.2 miles per dollar. Most areas of spend can easily get 4 miles per dollar these days, so one should be expecting at least 3,200 miles from a S$800 spend.

The promo hence gives 17,760 miles instead. This is derived from:

  • + 20,000 (promo miles)
  • + 960 (earned from spending S$800)
  • – 3,200 (what could have been earned from spending S$800

We hence come to a 1.09 cents per mile buy rate when we take $194.40 ÷ 17,760 miles.

Seth
Seth

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Is buying miles at 1.09 cents each worth it?

Long-time readers of this site will know that my stand is that the value of each mile can be highly subjective. Those who are already shelling out cash on business class flights will find each mile to be worth 2-3 cents each easily. People who prefer to travel on a budget might not value them so highly.

A conservative valuation I’ve held for some time is that miles are worth buying when the cost is between 1 to 1.25 cents each. It doesn’t mean that each mile will only be worth 1.25 cents at most, but I think this figure is a good guideline to buying miles. Buying each mile for 1.09 cents each is therefore good value in my books.

I recently took a flight to Bali via Singapore Air with 11,900 miles and S$80 of tax. If I bought miles at 1.09 cents each, this return trip would have cost just S$209.71. Even by most budget travellers’ standards, I am pretty sure this is a steal, even for low-cost carriers. It is a promo fare, yes, but such promos happen regularly, and budget travellers usually travel on promo fares anyway. So buying miles at 1.09 cents each can also make sense even for the most cost-conscious of travellers, contrary to what is popularly believed.

Business class travellers, I suspect, have already signed up for the card, no persuasion required.

Not all points are equal

One of HSBC TravelOne’s selling points is the wide range of airline partners you can transfer your miles to. EVA Air allows for business class travel from as low as 25,000 one-way within Asia, and you can even book Singapore Air flights using EVA Air miles with a lower miles cost than booking directly through Singapore Air itself.

20,000 miles earned from the TravelOne can be very different in value from miles earned by cards with a liimited range of airline partners, and this is a very compelling thing I intend to explore in greater detail, so stay subscribed to the Telegram for updates.

Other mile buying opportunities

There are also other opportunities to buy miles at the moment. Citi PayAll, for instance, allows Citi cardholders to pay a fee and essentially buy miles for 1 cents each. Citi PremierMiles also offers a rather similar promo with 30,000 instead of 20,000 bonus miles.

These are great promos, of course, and we should certainly take advantage of them if we are eligible. This doesn’t mean we need to give up TravelOne’s sign-up promo.

If you are able to use miles at 1.5 cents each, buying it at anything under 1.5 cents is a logical decision to do. Unless you are able to buy unlimited miles at 1 cents each, you should definitely also take advantage of an opportunity that lets you buy them at 1.09 cents.

No transfer fees nor leftover points

It is also worthwhile to note that there is no transfer fee to worry about until the end of 31st December 2023, and you can transfer all the points entirely since HSBC TravelOne allows redemption in 2-mile blocks after the initial 10,000 miles. This means that you need at least 10,000 miles to make a redemption, but after that amount is reached, you can make redemptions in multiples of 2.

It is thus an easy and simple affair to qualify for the promo, transfer out all 20,960 miles to your desired frequent flyer programme and call it a day.

For new cardholders

Those who are eligible to qualify as new HSBC cardholders would get extra S$30 for getting the HSBC TravelOne card through the link above, but there is concurrent HSBC Revolution promo that you should consider.

Getting the HSBC Revolution promo gets you S$150 cashback or a suitcase, after which you can still qualify for the HSBC TravelOne promo as an existing HSBC cardholder.

HSBC Revolution

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New HSBC Cardholder¹
Choose:

  • Dyson AM07 (retailing S$459)
  • Apple Airpods (3rd Gen) With Magsafe Charging Case (retailing S$274)
  • S$250 eCapitaVoucher
  • 15K Heymax Miles (sign up heymax account for bonus 1,000 miles)

Existing HSBC Cardholder²

  • S$50 cashback (with S$1,000 min spend)

⚠️ Important – complete all the following steps to be eligible for rewards:

  1. Provide HSBC consent to receive marketing/promotional materials during application
  2. Fill up SingSaver gift redemption form
  3. Make a min. spend of S$500 by the end of the following month from card approval date to be eligible for rewards

Last date to apply: 14th May 2024

For quick reference only; refer to terms and conditions for exact terms and save a copy for future reference:

  1. Terms and conditions
  2. Terms and conditions (existing cardholder)

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You do have to meet the minimum spend for both promos, so consider doing this only if you have sufficient spend to qualify for both promos.

Conclusion

If someone was selling USD to you for S$1.20 each, how much would you buy? My answer is as much as I can, and that’s how I’m seeing this deal. And perhaps my longwinded article could be surmised into a single word answering the title of this post: yes.

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