Star Alliance to launch co-branded HSBC credit card in Australia

Star Alliance and HSBC are launching a brand new credit card, with Australian consumers to be first in line to test out this new product.

This product is big news. It represents the very first credit card attached to Star Alliance (as opposed to an airline), and it will unlock the ability for Australians to earn points or miles directly into one of the alliance’s many linked airline loyalty programs.

As yet, no launch date for the Star Alliance HSBC Credit Card has been confirmed. However, information recently published on the Singapore Airlines website details key information to know about.

The headline benefit: Fast track to Elite Gold status

When it comes to benefits, the key benefit to know about is unquestionably a fast track to Star Alliance Gold Status, unlocking global airport lounge access, and other elite tier benefits. The card will also offer a $0 annual fee in the first year ($450 thereafter) to tempt travellers.

Star Alliance to launch co-branded HSBC credit card in Australia

The elite status perk can be unlocked by spending just $4,000 in the first 90 days from card approval. Thereafter, there’s a heftier spend requirement to retain it – cardholders will need to outlay at least $60,000 on eligible purchases in each 12-month period starting from account opening to retain their Gold Status. It’s unclear whether an active Gold Status could be retained if a cardholder chooses to cancel the card.

How does the earn rate stack up?

The Star Alliance HSBC Credit Card will earn into a new ‘Star Alliance Points’ currency, with cardholders able to nominate a Star Alliance airline partner for a monthly automatic points sweep.

The earn rates outlined on the Singapore Airlines website are as follows:

  • Earn 1 Star Alliance Point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, up to $3,000 per statement period, and
  • Earn 0.5 Star Alliance points per $1 spent on eligible purchases thereafter.

The Singapore Airlines website also confirms a conversion rate of 1 Star Alliance Point to 0.8 KrisFlyer miles. Crunching the numbers, this equates to a somewhat underwhelming earn rate of 2,400 KrisFlyer miles per month up to the $3,000 cap, and just 0.4 KrisFlyer miles above this cap. This is a trade-off that frequent flyers will need to carefully consider when contemplating the $60,000 annual spend requirement needed to retain Star Alliance Gold status.

It’s not yet clear whether the 1 to 0.8 transfer ratio will be applied consistently across other Star Alliance airline partners.

Our take

Gold tier airline status is a significant benefit to hit the Australian cards market – particularly with a $0 first-year annual fee in play. While selected top-tier cards (such as the American Express Platinum Card) currently offer the equivalent in hotel status and airline lounge entry, an easy fast track to airline gold status is a perk we almost never see.

It’s fair to say that the $60,000 annual spend threshold (the equivalent of $5,000 per month) needed to hold onto the status isn’t insignificant. However, it’s a spend outlay that many frequent flyers will likely be prepared to meet – even with the trade-off of underwhelming ongoing points earn capability.

While applications for the new Star Alliance HSBC credit card haven’t yet opened for Australians – watch this space! We’ll be sharing more information as it comes to hand.

H/T – Mainly Miles

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3 thoughts on “Star Alliance to launch co-branded HSBC credit card in Australia”

  1. Avatar for Mav

    I was very excited when I first heard about this card but without a signup bonus I don’t see how it will fly in the Aussie market. I’m currently Star Gold courtesy of transferring 250k KF miles, Gold status is handy but only if you are putting a lot of travel on star alliance network and that would largely be International!

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