HSBC has launched a new Star Alliance Visa card into the Australian market. The new card introduces ‘Star Alliance Rewards’ allowing cardholders to earn Star Alliance Points.
In order to use the points, they need to be transferred into a participating airlines program. Once there, they can be used for any redemption option offered by that program.
On top of the points, the card also offers a fast track to Star Alliance Gold. This Gold status will be awarded by one of the participating airlines.There are some spending hurdles to achieve this.
The account has a fee of $0 in the first year. However, from year 1 onwards, there is an annual fee of $450. On top of that, the other main sweetener for opening the account is to put you on the Fast Track to Gold.
Star Alliance Gold Fast Track
You will be asked to nominate a Status Airline when you open the account. For now, you can choose one of the following airline programs:
- Air Canada (Aeroplan)
- Air New Zealand (Airpoints)
- EVA Air (Infinity MileageLands)
- Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)
- South African Airways (SAA Voyager)
- Thai Airways (Royal Orchid Plus)
- United Airways (MileagePlus)
When you first sign up for the card, you can be awarded Gold if you spend $4,000 within 90 days of opening the account. This will get you Gold up until the first anniversary of opening the credit card account. If you already have Gold with a Star Alliance airline, you can opt to take 40,000 Star Alliance points instead.
Following that, you need to spend $60,000 or more during your membership year to retain your Gold Status. If you manage to fall short and spend $30,000, then you will be awarded Silver.
It is worth noting that two of the airlines, Singapore Airlines and United Airways, also partner with Virgin Australia and Velocity. As a result, you can use Gold status with these airlines to gain benefits on Virgin Australia services.
What about the Points?
As mentioned, when you spend on the card, you will earn Star Alliance Points. There is a tiered earning structure for this:
- Earn 1 Star Alliance Point per dollar on the first $3,000 per month
- Earn 0.5 Star Alliance Points per dollar on spending above $3,000 per month
In order to use the points, you will need to transfer them into a participating airlines frequent flyer account. For most airlines, the transfer rate is set as 1,000 Star Alliance points converts to 800 airline miles. The one exception to this is Air New Zealand, which uses a very different points structure. In the case of Air New Zealand, 1,250 Star Alliance points transfer as 10 Airpoints dollars.
It’s an interesting new product that is being rolled out in Australia. If successful, we may see a similar credit card made available in other countries as well.
Obviously, the main benefit of the card is that it opens a door to Star Alliance Gold. This brings with it a host of benefits, such as lounge access. However, at $450 per year, it may not be for everyone.