Get money-saving tips in your inbox.

Stay on top of personal finance tips from our money experts!

News & Resources

In the Ring: National Bank World Elite Mastercard versus HSBC World Elite Mastercard

May 1, 2023
14 mins
woman looking at credit card in airport

Two of the top travel rewards cards have been put “in the ring,” where their travel rewards programs and generous welcome bonuses will be carefully compared.

The National Bank® World Elite Mastercard® and HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® face-off in a friendly competition to be named the card with the best overall travel value and benefits.

Click on the categories, like “Welcome bonus” or “Insurance coverage,” to jump down to a particular section.

Cards

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Annual fee

$150 (first year rebated)

$149 (first year rebated)

Welcome bonus

  • Earn up to 70,000 points* after opening an account and annual fee savings the first year. This offer expires on June 30, 2023. Plus, get a $150 Cash Bonus from RATESDOTCA. This offer expires on May 31, 2023.
  • Earn up to 80,000 points and an annual fee rebate for the primary cardholder for the first year. Plus, receive a $100 annual travel enhancement credit. This offer expires May 31, 2023.

Earn rates

  • Earn up to five times the À la carte Rewards points when you spend on groceries and restaurants.
  • Two times the À la carte Rewards points when you spend on À la carte Travel, gas, and recurring bill payments.
  • Earn one À la carte Rewards point per $1 when you spend on all other purchases.
  • Earn six points for every $1 spent on eligible travel.
  • Four points for every $1 spent on eligible groceries, gas, and drugstore purchases.
  • Two points for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

Reward redemption

Redeem À la carte Rewards points on travel, gift cards and merchandise, finances (RRSP, TFSA, credit card, mortgage), and donations.

Redeem points on travel, gift cards and merchandise, finances (mortgage, credit card, personal savings account), and donations.

Travel perks

  • Free access for you and one guest to the National Bank Lounge at Montreal-Trudeau airport.
  • Get refunded up to $150 annually on seat selection, baggage fees, and parking at the airport.
  • Access to travel experiences through Mastercard Priceless Cities (plus discounts).
  • Lounge Key access.
  • $100 annual travel enhancement credit.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 10% off select hotel bookings
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi at more than 1 million global hotspots through Boingo.

Insurance coverage

10 types of insurance coverage.

8 types of insurance coverage.

Recommended credit score

740+

660+

Interest rates

Purchases: 20.99%

Cash advances: 22.49%

Balance transfers: 22.49%

Purchases: 20.99%

Cash advances: 22.99%

Balance transfers: 22.99%

Income requirements

Personal: $80,000

Household: $150,000

Personal: $80,000

Household: $150,000

First-year value**

$1,154

$896

*To qualify for this offer, you must not currently hold a personal National Bank Mastercard credit card or have held one in the last 24 months.

**The RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology assumes the cardholder spends an average of $2,000 a month on their card to determine the first-year value. The calculation includes all welcome bonuses and promotional offers at the time of publishing.

Annual fee

Winner: HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Cards

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

 Annual fee

 $150

 $149

Annual fee for additional cardholders

 $50

 $0

Both cards have nearly the same annual fee (both of which are rebated within the first year). However, the National Bank card charges a $50 extra card fee for a secondary user, while the HSBC card does not. For this reason, the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® costs less in this category and wins this round.

Jump back to the top.

credit card mascot.png

Compare the best credit cards on RATESDOTCA

Find the best credit card for your lifestyle today!

Welcome bonus

Winner: National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

Cards

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Welcome bonus

  • Earn up to 70,000* points after opening an account.
  • Earn 30,000 reward points if you charge a net purchase amount of $5,000 to the card within 3 months.
  • Earn 10,000 reward points if you sign up for credit card payment insurance for a minimum of 3 months.
  • Earn 30,000 reward points if you charge a net purchase amount of $12,000 to the card within 12 months.
  • Annual fee savings the first year.
  • This offer expires on June 30, 2023.
  • Plus, get a $150 Cash Bonus from RATESDOTCA**. This offer expires on May 31, 2023.
  • Earn up to 80,000 points.
  • Earn a welcome bonus of 20,000 points when you sign up ($100 travel value).
  • Then earn 10,000 points each month when you spend at least $1,000 for the first 6 months (up to a $300 travel value).
  • Primary cardholder gets an annual fee rebate for the first year.
  • Plus, receive a $100 annual travel enhancement credit.
  • This offer expires May 31, 2023.

The HSBC card earns you a welcome bonus valued at $400. And though the HSBC credit card can earn you more points in the first six months, the value of the points is lower than what National Bank offers.

Meanwhile, the National bank card earns you a welcome bonus worth $500. Plus, once you’re approved, get an extra $150 cash bonus from RATESDOTCA** (expires May 31, 2023).

Since the National Bank card can earn you up to $100 more — even before considering RATESDOTCA’s cash offer — it comes out on top.

*To qualify for this offer, you must not currently hold a personal National Bank Mastercard credit card or have held one in the last 24 months.

**Terms and Conditions Apply.

Jump back to the top.

Earn rates

Winner: HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Cards

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Earn rates

  • Earn up to five À la carte Rewards points for every $1 you spend on groceries or at restaurants.
  • Earn two À la carte Rewards points for every $1 you spend on À la carte Travel, gas, or recurring bill payments.
  • Earn one À la carte Rewards point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases.
  • Earn six points for every $1 spent on eligible travel.
  • Earn four points for every $1 spent on eligible groceries, gas, and drugstore purchases.
  • Earn two points for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

The card with better earn rates comes down to what you spend more on — food or travel. The National Bank card offers five points for every dollar spent on groceries or at restaurants, while the HSBC card offers four points for every dollar spent on groceries.

When it comes to travel and transportation, the HSBC card has more room to earn. It offers six points for every dollar spent on travel and four for every dollar spent on gas, while the National Bank card offers two points for travel and gas. Overall, the HSBC card has higher earn rates, so it wins this round.

Jump back to the top.

Reward redemption

Winner: National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

Cards

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Reward redemption

Redeem À la carte Rewards points on travel, experiences, finances, merchandise, gift cards, and charitable donations.

Redeem HSBC rewards points on travel, experiences, finances, merchandise, gift cards, and charitable donations.

Both credit cards offer countless ways to redeem points. But National Bank’s À la carte Rewards hold more value than HSBC’s rewards points.

For example, À la carte Rewards points are worth 0.83 cents per point (CPP) when redeeming on travel, one CPP on À la carte travel, and 0.4 CPP on statement credits. In comparison, with HSBC, rewards are worth 0.5 CPP on travel and 0.3 CPP on statement credits. À la carte Rewards also pack a bigger punch when it comes to redeeming points on things like gifts cards, where National Bank offers 0.77 CPP and HSBC offers 0.47 CPP.

While it may be easier to rack up points with the HSBC card, you’ll have more value to work with when redeeming National Bank’s À la carte rewards.

Jump back to the top.

Travel Perks

It's a draw!

Cards

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Travel Perks

  • Free access for you and one guest to the National Bank Lounge at Montreal-Trudeau airport.
  • Get refunded up to $150 annually on seat selection, baggage fees, and parking at the airport.
  • Access to travel experiences through Mastercard Priceless Cities (plus discounts).
  • Lounge Key access.
  • $100 annual travel enhancement credit.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 10% off select hotel bookings.
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi at more than 1 million global hotspots through Boingo.

There are several travel perks to both cards that offer savings, exclusive experiences, and annual credits.

The National Bank® World Elite Mastercard® provides free access to the National Bank Lounge at YUL airport for you and a guest, a refund of $150 each year on select travel expenses, and exclusive travel opportunities at discounted prices.

The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®, however, also offers Lounge Key access, no foreign transaction fees, 10% off select accommodation, and unlimited Wi-Fi at countless hotspots around the world.

But because the National Bank card offers $50 more in their annual credit and provides free lounge access for a guest, neither card is significantly ahead of the other in this category. This round is a draw.

Jump back to the top.

Insurance coverage

Winner: National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

Cards

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Insurance coverage*

  • Purchase protection for 180 days
  • Extended warranty for two years
  • Emergency medical term for 60 days (if you’re over 65, 15 days)
  • Trip cancellation up to $2,500
  • Trip interruption up to $5,000
  • Flight delay up to $500
  • Baggage delay up to $500
  • Lost or stolen baggage up to $1,0000
  • Rental car theft and damage for 48 days
  • Mobile device up to $1,000
  • Purchase protection for 90 days
  • Extended warranty for one year
  • Emergency medical term for 31 days
  • Trip cancellation up to $2,000
  • Trip interruption up to $2,000
  • Lost or stolen baggage up to $750
  • Baggage Delay up to $200
  • Rental Car Insurance

*Insurance coverage is subject to change. Refer to your insurance certificate or contact your credit card issuer for full terms and conditions.

The National Bank card offers more insurance categories than the HSBC card, — as well as higher coverage caps and longer protection periods. On top of the coverage that the HSBC card provides, the National Bank card also offers $500 of flight delay insurance and $1,000 of mobile device insurance.

For this reason, the National Bank® World Elite Mastercard® is the clear winner of this category.

Jump back to the top.

Recommended credit score

Winner: HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Both cards require at least a good credit score to qualify. But the National Bank cards requires a very good score that may be less accessible to some applicants. Therefore, the HSBC card wins this round.

Jump back to the top.

Interest rates

Winner: National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

Cards

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Interest rates

Purchases: 20.99%

Cash advances: 22.49%

Balance transfers: 22.49%

Purchases: 20.99%

Cash advances: 22.99%

Balance transfers: 22.99%

Though both cards have almost identical interest rates, the National Bank card has marginally lower rates for two out of the three categories, making it the winner of this category by a hair.

Jump back to the top.

Income requirements

Winner: It's a draw!

Cards

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Income requirements

Personal: $80,000

Household: $150,000

Personal: $80,000

Household: $150,000

It’s clear to see that both cards have the same, relatively high personal and household minimum income requirements. For this reason, this round is a draw.

Jump back to the top.

First-year value

Winner: National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

*Based on the RATESDOTCA Best of Finance methodology.

Suppose a person spends an average of $2,000 a month on their credit card as they buy groceries, gas, and other miscellaneous purchases. In the first year, their credit card rewards would look something like this:

Spending categories

National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Groceries

$500 x 5

$500 x 4

Gas

$250 x 2

$250 x 4

Drugstore

$150 x 1

$150 x 4

Travel

$200 x 2

$200 x 6

Restaurants

$250 x 5

$250 x 2

Entertainment

$150 x 1

$150 x 2

Recurring bills

$300 x 2

$300 x 2

Retail store

$100 x 1

$100 x 2

Local transit

$50 x 1

$50 x 2

Other

$50 x 1

$50 x 2

Rewards earned monthly:

$42

$41.33

First-year value (rewards + welcome bonus - annual fee):

$1,154

$896

Annual rewards (rewards - annual fee):

$354

$347

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would pocket $1,154 in the first year with the National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®, including RATESDOTCA’s cash bonus and National Bank’s welcome bonus. After the first year, cardholders can earn approximately $354 worth of À la carte Rewards points per year.

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® cardholders can earn $896 in the first year of ownership, while following years would offer roughly $347 in HSBC rewards points. That’s a total of $265 less than the National Bank card in the first and subsequent year.

Jump back to the top.

Which credit card should you choose?

The National Bank® World Elite Mastercard® and the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® are both advantageous travel rewards cards that add value with every tap or swipe. Each card also offers great travel perks that make your trip even more enjoyable. Choosing between the two can come down to what you spend most of your money on and what travel insurance you require, or whether or not you can qualify for both cards.

The National Bank® World Elite Mastercard® offers a better welcome bonus, more valuable reward redemption, more travel insurance coverage, slightly better interest rates, and a higher total first year value.

The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® offers a lower annual and additional cardholder fee, higher earn rates, and a lower credit score requirement.

From an objective standpoint, the National Bank® World Elite Mastercard® surpasses the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® in five out of the ten rounds, whereas the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® only wins three. While both cards are great options for the avid traveller, the National Bank® World Elite Mastercard® brings more travel value to the table, overall.

Who won the last battle?

Rates, product information and reward estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice. This post was not sponsored. RATESDOTCA may receive a referral fee from our partners or affiliate links featured on the site; however, our editorial choices are objective and free from bias. The opinions expressed in this article are purely those of RATESDOTCA; thus, the credit card issuers and partners are not responsible for any editorials or reviews that may appear. Please visit the associated brand's website for complete and current terms and conditions on any product or service mentioned. The information in this article is accurate as of the date of this posting, May 1, 2023. Read our full disclaimer.

Michelle Bates

Editor and Writer

Michelle Bates is an editor and writer at RATESDOTCA. She has over five years of content writing experience and got her start writing for small GTA businesses in 2017. A few years later, she began freelance writing, fact-checking, and interviewing sources for Cottage Life magazine and CottageLife.com.

She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from Queen's University in English Literature and Sociology along with a Publishing - Book, Magazine and Electronic graduate certificate from Centennial College. Michelle is now a financial writer and specializes in personal finance content, including mortgages, home, auto, and travel insurance, and credit cards. Her work has been covered by notable Canadian news sources like Daily Hive, Toronto Sun, CTV News, and Narcity.

Latest credit card articles

Do you need personal cybercrime insurance?
In 2022, Canadians lost $530 million to fraud and cybercrime. Learn how to shield your digital life and finances against these threats.
4 mins read
How to break down the value of a credit card
It’s not about finding the ‘best’ credit card in the market, but rather the best one for you. 
7 mins read
Credit Card Perks: Extended warranty and purchase protection
Many credit cards offer purchase protection and extended warranty. Familiarizing yourself with these extra features can save you money and prepare you to make a claim.
5 mins read

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay on top of our latest offers, relevant news and tips!

Thanks for joining!

You'll be hearing from us shortly - stay tuned.