Mastercard is adding a new perk for elite customers by extending free airport and in-flight WiFi around the world for customers with certain cards targeting high-end global travelers.

Through a partnership with WiFi services provider Boingo Wireless, Mastercard is providing wireless access at more than 1 million global hotspots, including onboard thousands of flights, Mastercard said in a Feb. 22 press release.

HSBC is the first card issuer to sign on for the service for its HSBC Premier World Mastercard in Argentina, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the U.K., according to the release.

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News

Providing free WiFi is a key convenience for travelers, said Marti Beller, Mastercard’s senior vice president of loyalty solutions, global products and platforms.

“Consumers increasingly rely on digital experiences everywhere they go, and they have a very strong need to access WiFi to stay connected wherever they go,” Beller said, noting she expects other Mastercard issuers to adopt its Boingo services soon for elite-level travel cards.

In the U.S., the HSBC Premier World Mastercard requires a minimum deposit of $100,000, though the card carries no annual fee.

Boingo typically costs about $9.95 per month if purchased separately.

Mastercard isn’t the first to dangle WiFi as a perk to cardholders. American Express Co. provides customers with its $450-a-year Platinum card with 10 free WiFi passes per year from GoGo, another provider of in-flight and airport WiFi services.

The Expedia+ Voyager credit card from Citi provides customers with a $100 credit that may be applied toward travel fees, including WiFi. The annual fee is $95, waived for the first year.

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