Mastercard Gold Card

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The luxury benefits are not worth the extraordinary annual fee.

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The 24-karat gold-plated, stainless steel MasterCard Gold Card is an extravagance in the credit card world. The hefty $995 annual fee can be prohibitively expensive, unless you spend thousands every month and take full advantage of its perks, which are mainly travel-related.

With so many competitive rewards cards out there for people with excellent credit, which this card requires, it’s hard to justify — or even surpass in value — the big price tag. We didn’t think particularly highly of the other cards in this trio, either: Mastercard Titanium Card and Mastercard Black Card.

Review

If you want a card that will turn heads, the flashy MasterCard Gold Card could be the one. Its bold look comes with an equally bold annual fee, just five bucks shy of $1,000.

Although this card offers a few exciting perks, cardholders will have to work harder to get value out of Gold than they would with other cards.

If you do want to try out this card, the easiest way to get value out of it is through travel.

Every year, MasterCard Gold Card members receive an annual $200 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases, including tickets, baggage fees and upgrades. This credit is automatically applied to your account. Additionally, travelers will get complimentary access to more than 1,000 VIP lounges worldwide.

Although cardholders only earn 1 Gold Card point per dollar on all purchases, they can double their points if they use them for airfare on the MasterCard portal. Plus, cardholders will get 2% cash back on their points. This money can be direct deposited or received as a statement credit. This means a $100,000-yearly spend can earn cardholders $1,000 — or just enough to cover that annual fee.

Who should get this card

Since the points system is pretty modest, the MasterCard Gold Card makes sense for people who spend a lot of money each year, as well as people who want VIP airport treatment. With its mixture of double points on airfare, complimentary lounge access, airport escort services, $200 annual travel credit, and $100 Global Entry application fee credit, luxury travelers might benefit from this card.

However, there’s still the $995 hurdle to clear before seeing any real value. Even with the 0% balance transfer APR for the first 15 billing cycles, there’s little chance people hoping to save money on interest from another loan would benefit as the interest would have to be high enough to surpass the $995 to get any real value from this offer.

Advantages
  • Members will receive exclusive perks, like an airport escort, that are not available on most cards.
  • Every year cardholders will get a $200 annual airline credit toward qualifying airline purchases.
Disadvantages
  • The annual fee is a pricey $995.
  • Cardholders earn just 1 point per dollar.
  • There are no generous up-front bonuses.

Fees and APR

  • You’ll pay no foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • The APR is a moderate 15.99%.
  • The annual fee is $995.
  • Each authorized user must pay an annual fee of $295.
  • New members will get a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles.
  • Returned and late payment fees are $37.

Extras, perks and using points

Card members receive a $100 automatic statement credit for the cost of the Global Entry Application Fee.

Get 2% value for cash back on all of your points. This money can be direct deposited into a U.S. bank account or as a statement credit.

Enjoy the convenience of a professional representative who will save you time by meeting and escorting you through the airport process quickly and easily.

Arrange a personal chauffeur service to drive you to a business engagement or to the hotel from the airport.

Earn 1 point for every dollar you spend.

Receive double points when you redeem them for airfare through the rewards program at myluxurycard.com. Airfare redemptions start at 50 points for $1.

How this card compares

Chase Sapphire Reserve℠
Card Details
  • Earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points on travel and at restaurants.
  • Earn 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points on all other purchases.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. These APRs will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Annual Fee $450; each additional card: $75 per year.
Balance Transfers Intro APR

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the top premium travel rewards cards, offering bonuses and perks tailored for consumers who dine out and travel frequently. Cardholders who can justify the pricey $450 annual fee will earn industry-leading rewards when they fly, cruise, rent cars or stay in hotels.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Card Details
  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is the rare travel rewards credit card that’s uncomplicated.

You’ll earn 2x miles for every $1 spent on all purchases, which means you don’t have to mess with tracking category spending or scratch your head to remember how much the card will pay back for a nice restaurant meal.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.