Review: HSBC TravelOne Card

21 transfer partners, free instant conversions, small conversion blocks and up to 8 lounge visits in the first year are held back by a glacial earning pace

Here’s The MileLion’s review of the HSBC TravelOne Card, which shook up the miles game when it launched back in May 2023 with 12 transfer partners, instant free conversions, and a generous lounge benefit. It was probably the most competitive general spending card we’d seen in a long while, but it lacked one key feature: points pooling. 

HSBC has finally addressed that issue, and that’s not all- the transfer partner list has grown to 21 (though not every partner offers competitive conversion ratios), and free transfers have been extended till 31 January 2025 (after which it remains to be seen whether HSBC introduces an absurdly-expensive 10,000 points conversion fee).

So does that make the TravelOne Card an essential addition to your wallet? In the first year, with the welcome offers and “additional” lounge visits (derived from tapping the second calendar year’s entitlement; more on this later in the post), almost certainly yes.

From the second year onwards, however, it’s not so straightforward. The TravelOne still suffers from a relatively anemic earn rate, which coupled with the exclusion of bill payments services like CardUp or ipaymy, means it’ll take a very long time to earn those free flights.  And with HSBC making annual fee waivers tricky, I’m not convinced everyone needs to stay on the carousel. 

HSBC TravelOne Card
🦁 MileLion Verdict
First Year Recurring
☑ Take It
☐ Take It Or Leave It
☐ Leave It

Take It
☑Take It Or Leave It
☐ Leave It
What do these ratings mean?
21 transfer partners, free instant conversions, small conversion blocks and up to 8 lounge visits in the first year are held back by a glacial earning pace
👍 The good 👎 The bad
  • Instant points conversions, with no conversion fees till Jan 2025
  • 21 transfer partners, the widest of any bank in Singapore
  • Min. conversion block of just 2 miles, after the first 10,000 miles
  • Welcome offer available to existing HSBC cardholders too
  • Four lounge visits per calendar year (i.e. eight in first membership year)
  • Lounge visits cannot be shared with a guest
  • Lacks a bonus spend category
  • No miles purchase facility, and excludes CardUp, ipaymy and RentHero transactions
  • Annual fee difficult to waive
  • No more extra 1% cashback with HSBC EGA
  • More than half of its airline partners have poor transfer ratios
💳 Full List of Credit Card Reviews

Overview: HSBC TravelOne Card

Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the HSBC TravelOne Card.

Apply
Income Req. S$30,000 p.a. Points Validity 3 years
Annual Fee
(Including GST)
S$196.20
Min.
Transfer
25,000 points
(10,000 miles)^
FCY Fee 3.25% Transfer Fee Free
(till 31 Jan 25)
Local Earn 1.2 mpd Points Pool? No
FCY Earn 2.4 mpd Lounge Access? Yes: 4x Dragon Pass
Special Earn N/A Airport Limo? No
Cardholder Terms and Conditions
^After the first block of 10,000 miles, additional transfers are in blocks of 2 miles

Fun fact: the HBSC TravelOne Card continues the trend towards “portrait-style” credit cards, designed vertically instead of horizontally. This supposedly allows for a smoother user experience, as it mimics how customers typically handle their cards when they tap to pay or dip the card into a chip reader. It’s even got a notch at the bottom, a thoughtful touch that’s designed as an accessibility feature for the visually-impaired (so they know which end they insert into the card reader).

But Apple and Google Pay wallets don’t support vertical card faces yet, so if you add it to your phone you’ll see the secondary design that HSBC created, in landscape.

Despite its silver Mastercard logo, do note that the HSBC TravelOne Card is a World Mastercard and not a World Elite Mastercard.

How much must I earn to qualify for a HSBC TravelOne Card

dbs altitude income requirement

The HSBC TravelOne Card has an income requirement of S$30,000 p.a., the MAS-mandated minimum to hold a credit card. 

If you do not meet the minimum income requirement, you may apply for a secured version of this card by depositing at least S$10,000 in a fixed deposit account. The application form can be found here.

How much is the HSBC TravelOne Card’s annual fee? 

  Principal Card Supp. Card
First Year S$196.20 Free
Subsequent S$196.20 Free

The HSBC TravelOne Card has an annual fee of S$196.20 for principal cardholders, though a first year fee waiver is available for those who don’t want to take advantage of the welcome offer (see below).

In subsequent years, the annual fee can be waived with a minimum spend of S$25,000 in the previous membership year. Now, it’s unclear just how strictly HSBC enforces this requirement. I managed to get an annual fee waiver despite spending nowhere near this amount. However, there are data points from other MileChat community members who weren’t so lucky. It’s probably best you assume that a fee waiver from the second year onwards is not possible, so anything else turns out to be a bonus.

If you fail to get a fee waiver, paying the second and subsequent years’ annual fees gets you 10,000 miles. 

All supplementary cards are free for life.

What sign-up bonus or gifts are available?

HSBC

Apply here

Customers who apply for a HSBC TravelOne Card via HSBC by 30 June 2024 will receive 20,000 bonus miles (in the form of 50,000 HSBC points) when they:

  • Pay the annual fee of S$196.20
  • Spend at least S$500 by the end of the month following approval
  • Opt-in for marketing communications during the sign-up (don’t forget this step- it’s just as important as the first two)

This offer is valid for both new and existing HSBC cardholders. The only criteria is that you must not have cancelled a HSBC TravelOne Card in the past 12 months. 

20,000 miles for S$500 spend and a S$196.20 annual fee is a tidy return; put it another way, you’re paying about 0.98 cents per mile (S$196.20/20,000 miles), which is a great price especially when you factor in transfer partner variety. 

The terms and conditions can be found here.

Alternatively, applicants can choose to receive a first year fee waiver, with no bonus miles awarded. 

SingSaver

Apply here

Customers who apply for a HSBC TravelOne Card via SingSaver by 20 June 2024 can choose from one of the following gifts:

  • Dyson Supersonic hair dryer
  • Apple iPad 10th Gen 10.9″ WiFi 64GB
  • Apple Watch Series 9
  • S$375 eCapitaVoucher
  • 24,000 Max Miles

Applicants must:

  • Pay the annual fee of S$196.20
  • Spend at least S$1,000 by the end of the month following approval
  • Opt-in for marketing communications during the sign-up (don’t forget this step- it’s just as important as the first two)

This offer is valid for both new and existing HSBC cardholders. The only criteria is that you must not have cancelled a HSBC TravelOne Card in the past 12 months. 

The minimum spend here is higher than the HSBC offer, but assuming that’s not an issue, the reward can potentially be more lucrative too. 

For avoidance of doubt, the HSBC and SingSaver offers are mutually exclusive. You cannot enjoy both at the same time.

How many miles do I earn?

🇸🇬 SGD Spend 🌎 FCY Spend ⭐ Bonus Spend
1.2 mpd 2.4 mpd N/A

SGD/FCY Spend

HSBC TravelOne Card cardholders will earn:

  • 3X HSBC points per S$1 (1.2 mpd) on local spend
  • 6X HSBC points per S$1 (2.4 mpd) on foreign currency spend

These are among the highest earn rates for any general spending card in Singapore, especially when you consider HSBC’s relatively favourable rounding policy (more on that below).

💳 Earn Rates for General Spending Cards
(income req.: S$30K)
Cards Local Spend FCY Spend
UOB PRVI Miles 1.4 mpd 2.4 mpd
HSBC TravelOne Card 1.2 mpd 2.4 mpd
DBS Altitude 1.3 mpd 2.2 mpd
OCBC 90°N Card 1.3 mpd 2.1 mpd
Citi PremierMiles 1.2 mpd 2 mpd
StanChart Journey 1.2 mpd 2 mpd
AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend 1.2 mpd 2 mpd*
AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card 1.1 mpd 2 mpd*
BOC Elite Miles 1 mpd 2 mpd
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card 1.2 mpd 1.2 mpd
*In June and Dec only, otherwise 1.1 mpd

All FCY transactions are subject to a 3.25% fee, which is par the course for the market.

💳 FCY Fees by Issuer and Card Network
Issuer ↓ Visa & Mastercard AMEX
Standard Chartered 3.5% N/A
Citibank 3.25% 3.3%
DBS 3.25% 3%
HSBC 3.25% N/A
Maybank 3.25% N/A
OCBC 3.25% N/A
UOB 3.25% 3.25%
BOC 3% N/A
CIMB 3% N/A
American Express N/A 2.95%

With a 2.4 mpd earn rate and a 3.25% FCY fee, using the HSBC TravelOne Card overseas represents buying miles at 1.35 cents apiece.

There is also the option of pairing the HSBC TravelOne Card with Amaze in order to enjoy better conversion rates, but you’ll earn 1.2 mpd instead of 2.4 mpd in that case since transactions will be converted into SGD.

Bonus Spend

Unfortunately, the HSBC TravelOne Card does not have a bonus earn category, so those who want to rack up miles quickly will need support from the HSBC Revolution, and its higher earning power of up to 4 mpd.

When are HSBC Rewards Points credited?

HSBC Rewards Points are credited when the transactions posts, usually in 1-3 days.

How are HSBC Rewards Points calculated?

Here’s how you can work out the HSBC Rewards Points earned on your HSBC TravelOne Card.

Local Spend (3x) Multiply by 1, round to the nearest whole number. Multiply by 2, round to the nearest whole number. Add both figures
FCY Spend (6x)
Multiply by 1, round to the nearest whole number. Multiply by 5, round to the nearest whole number. Add both figures

The minimum spend required to earn points is S$0.25 (SGD) and S$0.10 (FCY) respectively.

This means that the HSBC TravelOne Card (1.2 mpd) can outperform the ostensibly higher earning UOB PRVI Miles Card (1.4 mpd) in certain circumstances, depending on transaction size. 

  HSBC TravelOne Card
Earn Rate: 1.2 mpd
UOB PRVI Miles Card
Earn Rate: 1.4 mpd
S$5 6 miles 6 miles
S$9.99 12 miles 6 miles
S$15 18 miles 20 miles
S$19.99 24 miles 20 miles
S$25 30 miles 34 miles
S$29.99 36 miles 34 miles

If you’re an Excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate points: 

Local Spend =ROUND(X*1,0) + ROUND(X*2,0)
FCY Spend
=ROUND(X*1,0) + ROUND(X*5,0)
Where X= Amount Spent

HSBC provides transaction-level points breakdowns, which can be found on the HSBC mobile app. To view this, login to the HSBC mobile app and tap on your HSBC TravelOne Credit Card > View More > Redeem Your Points

On the next screen, tap ‘Show points history’, and you’ll see a breakdown of points earned per transaction. 

For the full list of formulas that banks use to calculate credit card points, do refer to these articles:

What transactions aren’t eligible for HSBC Rewards Points?

A full list of transactions that do not earn HSBC Points can be found in the T&Cs (at Point 3).

I’ve highlighted a few noteworthy categories below:

  • Charitable Donations
  • Education
  • Government Services 
  • GrabPay top-ups
  • Hospitals
  • Insurance
  • Professional services providers (e.g. Google & Facebook Ads, AWS)
  • Real Estate Agents & Managers
  • Utilities

HSBC also excludes CardUp, ipaymy and RentHero transactions from earning points. In a way, this does compound the problem of the lack of a bonus category, since you couldn’t even buy additional HSBC points via these payments services if you were so inclined. 

What do I need to know about HSBC Rewards Points?

❌ Expiry ↔️ Pooling 💰 Transfer Fee
3 years Yes Free
(till 31 Jan 25)
⬆️ Min. Transfer  ✈️ No. of Partners ⏱️ Transfer Time
10,000 miles
(2 miles after)
21 Instant*
*For all partners except Club Vistara, Hainan and JAL 

Expiry

HSBC Points expire at the end of 37 months following the time they were earned.

For example, any points awarded in August 2022 will expire on 30 September 2025.

Pooling

Back in May 2024, HSBC added points pooling to its cards, bringing them all onto the same platform. 

Therefore, if you have 10,000 HSBC Points on the HSBC TravelOne Card, and 15,000 HSBC Points on the HSBC Revolution Card, you can redeem a combined balance of 25,000 HSBC Points.

Do note that even though HSBC Points pool, you will lose any unutilised points if you cancel a card. Be sure to cash them out before cancelling.

Transfer Partners & Fees

The HSBC TravelOne Card launched with 12 airline and hotel partners, a number that has now increased to 21. This is by far the most programmes offered by any bank in Singapore.

✈️ HSBC TravelOne Airline Partners
Frequent Flyer Programme Conversion Ratio
(HSBC : Partner)
50,000 : 10,000
40,000 : 10,000
35,000 : 10,000
35,000 : 10,000
35,000 : 10,000
35,000 : 10,000
35,000 : 10,000
30,000 : 10,000
25,000 : 10,000
25,000 : 10,000
25,000 : 10,000
asia miles logo 25,000 : 10,000
25,000 : 10,000
25,000 : 10,000
25,000 : 10,000
krisflyer logo 25,000 : 10,000
25,000 : 10,000
🏨 HSBC TravelOne Hotel Partners
Hotel Programme Conversion Ratio
(HSBC : Partner)
30,000 : 10,000
25,000 : 5,000
25,000 : 10,000
25,000 : 10,000

The catch is that not all partners share the same transfer ratios. With airlines, for instance, the ratio ranges from 25,000-50,000 points : 10,000 miles.

This is important, because the TravelOne Card’s advertised earn rates of 1.2/2.4 mpd only apply if you choose a partner with a 25,000 points : 10,000 miles ratio. The earn rates drop as the transfer ratio worsens, going as low as 0.6/1.2 mpd at the other end of the spectrum. 

Transfer Ratio
(Points : Miles)
HSBC T1
(Local)*
HSBC T1
(FCY)^
25,000 : 10,000 1.2 mpd 2.4 mpd
30,000 : 10,000 1 mpd 2 mpd
35,000 : 10,000 0.86 mpd 1.71 mpd
40,000 : 10,000 0.75 mpd 1.5 mpd
50,000 : 10,000 0.6 mpd 1.2 mpd
*3 points per S$1 on local spend
^6 points per S$1 on FCY spend

Cardholders will need to convert a minimum of 10,000 miles. However, the subsequent conversion block drops to just 2 miles after that, which means you could convert 10,002 miles, or 200,006 miles for instance. That’s great, because it helps avoid the problem of orphan miles. So long as you keep at least 10,000 miles in your account, you can cash out your entire balance with almost no miles left behind. 

All conversion fees are waived till 31 January 2025.

Transfer Time

All HSBC points transfers are processed instantly, with the exception of:

  • Club Vistara (5 working days)
  • Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club (5 working days)
  • JAL Mileage Bank (10 working days)

Other card perks

Four complimentary lounge visits

Lounge Benefit T&Cs

Principal HSBC TravelOne Cardholders enjoy four complimentary lounge visits per year, provided via DragonPass.

Allowances are awarded by calendar year, which means you basically enjoy eight visits in your first membership year. For example, if your card is approved in June 2024, you will be awarded:

  • On date of approval: 4 visits (expires 31 December 2024)
  • On 1 January 2025: 4 visits (expires 31 December 2025)

Allowances cannot be rolled over to the following year, so be sure to fully utilise your visits by the end of the calendar year.

Here’s how to start enjoying the benefit:

  • Step 1: Download Mastercard Travel Pass app (Android | iOS)
  • Step 2: Select ‘Sign up’ to register for the programme, or log on to your account if you’re already a member
  • Step 3: Enter your HSBC TravelOne Card details for a one-time verification
  • Step 4: Complete your personal details for Mastercard Travel Pass account registration (enter your name as shown in your passport)
  • Step 5: Set your account password

Four visits is relatively generous for an entry-level credit card, double what most of the competition is offering. The main catch is that these visits cannot be shared with a guest. 

Card Network Free Lounge Visits
(per year)
AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend Plaza Premium 4X
HSBC TravelOne Card DragonPass 4X*
Citi PremierMiles Priority Pass 2X*
DBS Altitude Priority Pass 2X
(Visa Version Only)
StanChart Journey Card Priority Pass 2X
AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card N/A N/A
BOC Elite Miles N/A N/A
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card N/A N/A
OCBC 90°N Card N/A N/A
UOB PRVI Miles N/A N/A
*Awarded based on calendar year

Entertainer with HSBC

ENTERTAINER with HSBC

HSBC TravelOne Cardholders receive a complimentary ENTERTAINER with HSBC app membership, which includes:

  • 1-for-1 dine-in offers at more than 150 merchants across Singapore, including Sushi Jiro @ PARKROYAL COLLECTION, Bangkok Jam, Paul Bakery and more
  • 1-for-1 takeaway offers at more than 50 merchants including Canadian 2 For 1 Pizza, Andersen’s of Denmark and more
  • Up to 50% off leisure, attraction and wellness offers at BOUNCE Singapore, Spa Infinity, Virtual Room and more
  • 1-for-1 stays in rooms at over 175 hotels around the world

You’ll need an activation key to start using your ENTERTAINER membership. This should have been emailed to you; if not you’ll need to call 1800 4722 669 to get it from customer service.

Complimentary travel insurance

Accidental Death S$75,000
Medical Expenses S$150,000
Travel Inconvenience Flight Delay: S$150
Baggage Delay: S$1,500
Lost Baggage: S$1,500
Policy Wording

HSBC TravelOne Cardholders receive complimentary travel insurance when they:

  • Use their TravelOne Card to purchase air tickets, or
  • Use their TravelOne Card to pay for the taxes and surcharges on a ticket redeemed with airline miles

This provides coverage of S$75,000 for accidental death, S$150,000 for overseas medical expenses, S$1 million for emergency medical evacuation, as well as coverage for travel inconveniences like flight delays and lost luggage.

Do note that there is no coverage for personal liability or rental vehicle excess, so you may need to purchase supplementary coverage if this is important to you.

Summary Review: HSBC TravelOne Card

Apply
🦁 MileLion Verdict
First Year Recurring
☑ Take It
☐ Take It Or Leave It
☐ Leave It

Take It
☑Take It Or Leave It
☐ Leave It
What do these ratings mean?

The HSBC TravelOne Card is a tale of two halves.

In the first year, it’s excellent value, with S$196.20 getting you 20,000 bonus miles (or other welcome gifts, if you apply via SingSaver), and eight lounge visits. 

Those 20,000 miles can be transferred to 21 partners (though not all will be worth considering), and thanks to the 2 mile conversion blocks, you’ll have close to zero orphan miles, even after accounting for the base miles earned on the minimum spend (600, based on S$500 @ 1.2 mpd). You’ll have no conversion fees to worry about, and conversions to most programmes are instant.

From the second year onwards, however, it’s a lot more marginal. Your S$196.20 fee basically gets you 10,000 miles and four more lounge visits- basically 50% of the first year’s value proposition. Not everyone will be keen on springing for that, and if a fee waiver isn’t offered, you might find a better use for your money elsewhere.

What’s really missing from the TravelOne is a bonus category, a way to help cardholders accelerate the earning of valuable HSBC points. The HSBC Revolution can only do so much heavy lifting, with its 4 mpd rate capped at S$1,000 per month, so it’d be good to see TravelOne Cardholders getting a leg up too. 

What do you make of the HSBC TravelOne Card?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Gibson

anyone know if AXS pay+earn also contributes to the $800 spend offer?

Milelion Fan

Hi Milelion! Thanks for the solid write-up.
By the way, in the above section “What sign-up bonus or gifts are available?”, the minimum qualifying spend seems to have increased to SGD1,000, from SGD800. As it is mentioned in HSBC’s “Terms and Conditions for the HSBC TravelOne Credit Card Sign up Promotion for 1 September 2023 to 31 December 2023”.
Raising this up to prevent confusion among readers.
Cheers~

Sean

When will the TravelOne card annual fee for the bonus points be charged? I don’t see the annual fee showing on my statement yet after 2 months. If so how do I qualified for the bonus points? Any Idea?

deadpool

hi Milelion, would u be in the know on whether the pooling would still happen by year end (aka 123123)?

anonymous

Hi Aaron,
this is a great article! Quick questions for the EGA cashback eligibility, referring to HSBC EGA T&C art 5a (i)

Eligible Customers shall receive a cashback of 1% of the spend amount for successful posted:

(i) transactions (excluding Excluded Transactions) in SGD made with a HSBC personal Credit Card

From above T&C, it seems only transactions in SGD are eligible for 1% cashback, not the FCY transactions. Kindly advise. Thank you!

Dennis C

Aaron, I think there’s something missing from your review: HSBC T1 is, in a vacuum, technically, the best non-SGD general spend card in the market, because it earns the same non-SGD rate as UOB PRVI Miles and it has much better rounding. This is currently irrelevant because you only get orphan miles, but it would become useful if T1 and Revolution miles suddenly pool. If you took Milelion advice and got T1 for the signup bonus miles, should you cancel the card then consider reapplying if pooling is implemented? In practice, most people will still get UOB PRVI Miles because… Read more »

Dennis C

So is there any reason to use the T1 (assuming you get a fee waiver from heavy Revolution use) instead of the UOB PRVI Miles or Citi Premier Miles as your general spend card given the better transfer partners and pooling with Revolution?

Probably moot if your CardUp spend gets you a DBS Vantage fee waiver

Dennis C

Actually, need to consider if T1 is the better overseas general spend card

Jen

Why bother & the fuss about annual fee waiver when you can afford? 🙄

Lame response to lame question

Why bother using a credit card when you can afford to pay off your flight tickets using cash?

Bryan Sim

Understand from Mile Lion that the 2nd year fee waiver is near impossible to waive, same experience when I called HSBC as well. Any lucky few managed to waive 2nd year annual fee and what reason did you give? HSBC told me needed to spend 25k in one year to get it waive.

S B

The table at the top of the article still says points don’t pool – needs to be updated!

Javen

Surprisingly, I’m still receiving the 1% Everyday+ Cashback of all my HSBC CC spending after 2 May. Is that a lucky bug?