TwitterFacebookYouTubeInstagramRSS FeedPodcastNewsletter
Clash of the Credit Cards!
HSBC World Elite Mastercard vs.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Posted on February 11, 2021

 

Welcome to another Rewards Canada Clash! This time we have another Clash of the Credit Cards that pits two of the best No Foreign Transaction fee cards in Canada against each other! Those cards are the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® New Window and the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card New Window

Here are some of our past clashes:

In this clash we look at over half a dozen criteria to compare the cards against one another along with a head to head detailed table comparison.

Annual Fees / Sign Up Bonus

The annual fees for both these cards are quite close however the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card has the HSBC World Elite Mastercard beat by $10 as it costs $139 per year versus $149. On the supplementary or additional card front Scotia again has HSBC beat as the first supplementary card with Scotia is free and then all others are $50. HSBC charges $50 for each additional card. You must note however that HSBC frequently offers the World Elite card with an annual fee rebate in the first year thus saving you that $149. We have yet to see such an offer on the Scotia card. If you are thinking long term hold then the Scotia card has the slight edge here with their lower annual fee.

For the standard sign up bonus, there is definitely a difference between the cards. Both cards offer 20,000 points as their standard welcome offer but when redeem that for travel that works out to $200 in value for the Scotia card and $100 in value for the HSBC card. Those are just standard welcome bonuses however. Both card do tend to come with limited time offers, the HSBC card more so and we have seen the bonus range fro 40,000 to 60,000 all the way up to 100,000 points. That translates from $200 to $500 in travel redemption value. While the Scotia card does on occasion get bumped up to 30,000 points which is worth $300. Please don't take into account Scotia's current marketing of up to 30,000 points or when they say up to 40,000 points when they offer the increased sign up bonus of 30,000 points. The reason being is they are building in the standard 10,000 point bonus when you spend $40,000 or more on the card during a year. For welcome bonus points the nod goes to HSBC World Elite Mastercard thanks to its frequent increased welcome bonus offers.

Rates

Both cards are very similar with their rates with a slight edge going to the HSBC card as is does have lower interest rates. And of course neither card charges foreign transaction fees! It should also be noted that a lot of data points show Mastercard provides a better overall exchange rate over Visa. While ever so slight the HSBC wins this category for having rates that are 0.9% lower than Scotia's.

Bonus Features & Benefits

As mentioned above the Scotia card offers an extra bonus of 10,000 points when you reach $40,000 in spending on the card within a year and this bonus is awarded annually. On top of that they award an additional 2,000 bonus points for every $10,000 spent in a year after that initial $40,000 spend. These are some nice additional bonuses...

Continuing on the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card it's next big benefit is the lounge access it comes with. The card offers a standard Priority Pass membership which means it covers the annual US$99 fee associated with it. On top of that Scotia provides six free lounge access passes each year. With each individual lounge access via Priority Pass costing US$32 this means those six passes are worth US$192. Combined the Scotia's lounge access benefit is worth US$291.

Not to be outdone the HSBC World Elite Mastercard also comes with a lounge access benefit. The benefit entitled Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey is essentially the same as the Priority Pass membership the Scotia card sees. What it provides is that annual membership and while LoungeKey doesn't publish a price for it we can assume it has the same value as Priority Pass which is US$99. What the HSBC card does not offer are any annual free passes which means you have to pay the US$32 fee per person to enter a lounge.

To partially make up for this the HSBC card does provide an annual $100 travel enhancement credit that can be used towards travel related charges like seat selection fees, baggage fees, lounge access passes and more. The HSBC card also provides global Wi-Fi access via Boingo which includes free Wi-Fi access on select airlines including WestJet.

This is another category that is almost too close to call. We see the Scotia card reward higher spending and the value of its lounge access program outweighs HSBC's value. But then the HSBC card provides a bit more flexibility as its $100 credit can be used not just for lounge access but other travel related charges and depending on how you spend with your card the HSBC card's base earn rate could easily make up or beat the additional bonus points provided by Scotia.We'll call this category a draw.

Points Earning & Redemption

Points earning on these two cards is where we find some differences. The HSBC card has two earn rates - 6 points per dollar for travel purchases which equates to a 3% return when redeemed for travel and 3 points per dollar on all other spending which is the equivalent of a 1.5% return. The Scotia card on the other hand has more accelerated categories providing a bit more earn. It earns 2 points per dollar spent on grocery, dining, entertainment and transit purchases. That equates to a 2% return on those purchases when redeeming for any travel. All other spending on the Scotia card earns 1 point per dollar, the equivalent of a 1% return. Both card's accelerated category spend bonuses are capped at $50,000 annually. Ultimately it comes down to an individual's spending habits but for most Canadians those category bonuses on the Scotia card put it ahead of the HSBC card.

On the redemption side, we'll first compare redeeming points via both program's proprietary programs, HSBC Rewards and Scotia Rewards. Both programs allow you to book any travel with any provider at anytime and then redeem points against the charge when it posts to your account. With HSBC you have up to 60 days after the charge posts to redeem while Scotia provides an awesome 12 months after the charge posts to redeem points against it. The value when redeeming for any travel for the HSBC card is 0.5 cents for 1 point and Scotia is 1 cent for 1 point with Scotia requiring a minimum of 5,000 points to be redeemed at any one time. The value of those redemptions when you look at both sides of the equation (earn and redeem) works out to a 1.5% to 3% return for the HSBC card and a 1% to 2% return for the Scotia card. This does not take into account the annual spend bonuses from Scotia. On paper HSBC looks better but it will come down to an individuals spending habits as to what their actual return will end up being - spend a lot on groceries, dining etc. and the Scotia will come out ahead, spend a lot on travel or areas where there is no category bonus (think Costco & Walmart) and the HSBC card comes out ahead. I would put this category as a draw since the HSBC card has the better base earn rate but the Scotia card gives you a longer time period to redeem points for a charge.

Continuing on with redemption we look at the cash equivalents when redeeming points. This is even more so relevant now due to the pandemic if you aren't looking at building up balances for future travel. The HSBC card has a simple 25,000 point redemption for a $75 statement credit. This works out to a cash back return of 0.9% to 1.8%. The Scotia card on the other hand has a tiered cash back or statement credit (see our chart below) that provides a 0.67% to 1.39% return. Again this will come down to an individuals spending habits as to what their actual return will be.

Finally we look at one more redemption option on these cards and that's the option to convert points to other programs. This is where the HSBC card outshines the Scotia card. HSBC Rewards has three airline partners you can convert your points to and they are British Airways, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. This option is huge if you know how and can utilize it and that's because you can redeem points from those programs for business class and first class flights. Typically those type of redemptions provide a much better and sometimes an outsized value when compared to the travel anywhere redemption rates outlined above of 1 to 3%. It isn't unheard of to be able to get 5 cents or more of value per point or mile in those programs which means spending on the HSBC card can easily eclipse a 10% return. For example the earn rates of 3 points and 6 points per dollar equate to 1.2 to 2.4 British Airways Executive Club Avios which at 5 cents per point (well Avios) means a return of 6% to 12%. And there's one more item to add to this - during certain times of the year HSBC offers limited time bonuses for these conversions. For example in fall of 2020 they offered a 35% bonus when converting to British Airways which would boost your returns as to as high as 16%! Because of this option and the potential for higher returns in the other travel and cash back redemption options we have to give the nudge to the HSBC card here.

Insurance

The last factor to look at when comparing these cards is the insurance that is provided on each of them. Both cards come with pretty impressive suite of insurances but one card definitely stands out and that is the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card. It has flight delay insurance whereas the HSBC does not, the Scotia's baggage delay kicks in after 4 hours, HSBC only after 12. HSBC does provide a bit more value in their lost or damaged baggage insurance however Scotia makes up for that with more value in their Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption insurance. HSBC's out of province medical provides 6 more days of coverage for those up to age 64 but then Scotia offers 10 days of coverage for those 65 and up whereas HSBC has no coverage for that age group. Scotia also provides hotel burglary insurance and price protection as well. For the insurance category the Scotia takes the cake.

Conclusion

This clash has proven to be a very difficult one as these two cards are so closely matched! In the end it is very hard to pick a winner and it will come down to the individual's preferences but for Rewards Canada we have to pick one and because we so highly value flexibility in rewards we pick the HSBC World Elite Mastercard as the winner in this clash. While both cards offer any airline at anytime rewards the HSBC card's option to convert to British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines gives the card that potential for amazing outsized value when redeeming for business class or first class flights with those respective airline's frequent flyer programs. Add in a higher earn rate for non-category purchases, frequent increased welcome bonus point offers (with annual fee waivers) and the HSBC just inches past the Scotia card. That being said if you cover business class lounge access, don't need to convert to airlines and/or need very strong insurance benefits then the Scotia card is the way to go.

The winner of this clash is: HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® New Window

Feature continues below with the head to head comparison

Advertisement

The Cards Head to Head:

Yellow background indicates the clear winner for that category. For rows that do not have yellow in either column it is a tie between the cards.

Basics

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Scotia Passport Infinite Visa

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

Card Type Hybrid Travel Points
Annual Fee
$149
$139
Limited Time Annual Fee Offer
$0 in the first year N/A
Supp. Card Fee
$50
$0 for first card then $50 for each additional
Interest Rate
19.9%
Purchase †

22.9%
Cash Advance †
19.99%
Purchase

22.99%
Cash Advance
Foreign Exchange Transaction Fee
0%
0%
Minimum Income
$80,000 personal or $150,000 household annual income
Minimum Income $60,000

Points Earning

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Scotia Passport Infinite Visa

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

Standard Welcome Bonus
20,000 points

20,000 points

Welcome Bonus Value* $100 $200
Limited Time Welcome Bonus
40,000 Points until March 29, 2021

No

Limited Time Welcome Bonus Value* $200 No
Renewal or additional Bonus
No
10,000 points if you spend $40,000 or more on the card per year.  The bonus then continues as you will earn 2,000 bonus points for every $10,000 spend after that.
Travel
6 points per dollar spent^
1 point per dollar spent
Grocery
3 points per dollar spent
2 points per dollar spent^
Dining
3 points per dollar spent
2 points per dollar spent^
Entertainment
3 points per dollar spent
2 points per dollar spent^
Transit
3 points per dollar spent
2 points per dollar spent^
All other purchase
3 points per dollar spent
1 point per dollar spent
Value of points per $1 spent*
1.5 to 3 cents
1 to 2 cents
*Valuations are based upon redeeming the points for travel purchases as those provide the best value - see the next section for cash back redemption options
^ up to $50,000 spend annually

Redemption/Exchange Options

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Scotia Passport Infinite Visa

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

Miles/Points deposited to
HSBC Rewards
Scotia Rewards
Travel Redemption Value
1,000 points = $5
for any travel booked with any travel provider
1,000 points = $10
for any travel booked with any travel provider
Exchange Options
Convert points to:
British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Convert points to:
SCENE Rewards
Cash Back Redemption option

25,000 points = $75 statement credit

3,000 points = $20 statement credit
4,500 points = $30 statement credit
7,500 points = $50 statement credit
11,000 points = $75 statement credit
14,500 points = $100 statement credit
21,500 points = $150 statement credit
43,000 points = $300 statement credit
71,500 points = $500 statement credit

Value of points for cash back redemptions
0.9% to 1.8%
0.67% to 1.39%

Benefits

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Scotia Passport Infinite Visa

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

Annual travel credit
$100
No
Business Class Lounge Access
Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey
Priority Pass with 6 free lounge visits per year
Global Wi-Fi
Boingo Wi-Fi
No

Insurance

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Scotia Passport Infinite Visa

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance
$500,000
$500,000
Flight Delay Insurance
No
4 hours
$500 per person
Delayed Baggage Insurance
12 hours
$200 per trip
4 hours
up to $1,000 in total
Lost / Stolen Baggage Insurance Yes

up to $750 per person
Yes

up to $1,000 in total
Damaged Baggage Insurance Yes

up to $750 per person
No
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Yes

$2,000 per person (max $5,000)
Yes

$2,500 per person (max $10,000)
Trip Interruption Insurance
Yes

$2,000 per person (max $5,000)
Yes

$2,500 per person (max $10,000)
Travel Medical Insurance up to 64 years old 31 days 25 days
Travel Medical Insurance 65+
No 10 days
Auto Rental/Loss Damage Insurance
31 Days

Up to $65,000 MSRP
48 Days

Up to $65,000 MSRP
Hotel / Motel Burglary Insurance No Up to $1,000
Purchase Protection
90 Days

Up to $60,000 lifetime
90 Days

Up to $60,000 lifetime
Price Protection
No Yes

Up to $100 per item & $500 per calendar year
Extended Warranty Plan
Yes

Up to 1 extra year
Yes

Up to 1 extra year
Link to Apply
Apply Now
Apply Now
 

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Scotia Passport Infinite Visa

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

 


Talk to us!

What do you think of this Clash? Tell us in the comments section below or join the conversation on Facebook New Window and Twitter! New Window


Continued reading and related articles:

 

LATEST TOPICS & NEWS

REWARDS CANADA'S TOP FEATURES

SHARE THIS FEATURE


 

Rewards Canada can be found on the following social media channels:
TwitterFacebookYouTubeInstagramRSS FeedPodcastNewsletter

Disclaimers:
Our goal at RewardsCanada.ca is to present readers with reliable financial advice and product choices that will help you achieve your financial goals.
Rewards Canada receives compensation from some companies issuing financial products, like credit cards and bank accounts, that appear on this site.
Unless a post is clearly marked “Sponsored”, however, products mentioned in editorial articles and reviews are based on the author’s subjective assessment of their value to readers, not compensation. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link / learn more link.

Sponsored advertising. The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this TD credit card, please click on the Apply Now button.



Comments


FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagramBloggerRSS Feed

About Us  Media  Consulting  Advertise  Contact Us  Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertisers are not responsible for the content of this site, including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete and current information on any advertiser product, please visit their website. We may receive compensation for the products and services you obtain through links on our site.

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy ©2001 - 2021 Rewards Canada. Part of FFB Group Inc. All rights reserved.