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 variable 16.74%.
  • 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®
  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, no foreign transaction fees
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our cash back category page.

Credit Needed

Excellent Credit

Regular APR

17.74% to 24.74%, 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®
  • Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
Credit Needed

Good/Excellent

Regular APR

17.74%, 21.74% or 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness

Annual Fee

$89

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% intro for first 12 billing cycles following each BT that posts 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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Credit Needed

Excellent/Good

Regular APR

N/A

Annual Fee

$550

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The Platinum Card from American Express sets the bar high with a steep annual fee and a high rewards rate It also has best-in-class travel perks like extensive airport lounge access-including their exclusive Centurion lounges, a Global Entry fee credit, hotel upgrades and more comprehensive travel and auto protections than most other cards.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Credit Needed

Excellent, Good

Regular APR

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s unlimited 2X miles per $1 spent on all purchases makes it less cumbersome to track than cards with different bonus categories. Depending on your spending habits this could work out better or worse for you in terms of mileage earning potential. One of the best attributes of this card is you can book your travel any way you like, on any site, and then redeem your miles as a statement credit towards that purchase. This makes it a more flexible choice than other cards that require you to use their travel portals for maximum value.

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.