If you’re considering opening a Mastercard credit card, there are plenty of options to choose from. Mastercard itself doesn’t issue credit cards but instead functions as a credit card network that partners with a variety of other banks and financial institutions. Mastercard credit cards are broken down into several tiers, including Standard/Gold, Platinum, World and World Elite. Each tier comes with different associated benefits and perks.
What is a Mastercard credit card?
As a credit card network, Mastercard facilitates transactions between card issuers and merchants. For example, if you have a Mastercard credit card from Capital One, and you use that card to make a purchase in a store, Mastercard processes the transaction between Capital One and the store, acting as a middleman to facilitate communication between the bank and the merchant.
Mastercard credit cards are issued by both independent banks and credit unions and mid-to-large financial institutions. These include larger banks like Capital One and Citi, as well as smaller lenders like Navy Federal Credit Union and Deserve. Mastercard credit cards are easily identified by the Mastercard logo of two interlocking red and yellow circles.
What’s the difference between Standard/Gold, Platinum World and World Elite Mastercards?
Mastercard credit cards come in different tiers, with each tier associated with different benefits. These tiers include Standard and Gold, Platinum, World and World Elite. Benefits can range from perks like zero liability protection to 24/7 concierge service and curated offers. While higher Mastercard tiers come with additional benefits, they are often also associated with higher annual fees. These benefits are typically at the discretion of the card issuer, so you should be sure to check with your bank and read the fine print before making a decision to open a new credit card.
|Standard and Gold||Platinum||World||World Elite|
|Zero Liability Protection||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mastercard Global Service||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mastercard ID Theft Protection||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Curated Benefits and Offers||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Complimentary Professional Travel Services||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Mastercard Hotel Stay Guarantee||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Mastercard Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Mastercard Luxury Hotel and Resorts Portfolio||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Car, Air, Cruise and Vacation Packages||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Mastercard Airport Concierge||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Cell Phone Protection||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|World Elite Concierge||No||No||No||Yes|
Standard and Gold Mastercard benefits
The Mastercard Standard and Gold tier credit cards are the lowest tier available, but they still come with plenty of associated perks, including purchase protection and identity theft protection.
Zero liability protection
Zero liability protection protects cardholders in the event that someone makes an unauthorized purchase using their card. This includes purchases made in person, online, over the phone or ATM transactions. In order to be eligible for zero liability protection, you need to report the fraudulent charges as soon as possible.
Mastercard Global Service
Mastercard Global Service is a nice additional perk for cardholders, especially those who travel frequently. This service allows you to report lost or stolen cards, access an emergency card replacement or cash advance, find ATMs and get help with other questions or concerns you might have regarding your account.
Mastercard ID Theft Protection
Mastercard ID Theft Protection protects you from identity theft at no extra cost. The service monitors your credit report for potentially fraudulent activity, such as new cards or accounts opened in your name. If you are a victim of identity theft, you’ll also be assigned a resolution specialist to help guide you through the process.
Platinum Mastercard benefits
The Platinum Mastercard is the next tier up from Standard and Gold. This card includes all of the Gold and Standard Mastercard benefits, as well as additional rewards and experiences.
Curated benefits and offers
In addition to the benefits that come with the Standard and Gold cards, Platinum Mastercard cardholders are eligible for a host of curated benefits and offers from Mastercard. These include extra perks and discounts in categories including travel, culinary, arts and culture, sports, shopping and entertainment. There are hundreds of offers to choose from at destinations all over the world.
World Mastercard benefits
The World Mastercard includes all of the perks and benefits that come with the Platinum Mastercard, as well as additional travel perks and upgrades.
Word Mastercard cardholders receive a free ShopRunner membership with their card. This membership gives them access to free two-day shipping at over a hundred online retailers. If you do a lot of online shopping and want your packages to arrive more quickly, the free ShopRunner membership is a nice addition.
Onefinestay offers luxury vacation apartments and home rentals worldwide, with an emphasis on high-end homes and villas. World Mastercard cardholders are eligible for a 10 percent discount on their stay.
Cardholders are eligible for exclusive offers and experiences with the PGA tour. This includes access to private country clubs and golf courses, golf experiences and events. Cardholders can also sign up to receive a monthly Mastercard golf newsletter to stay up to date on the latest offers.
Complimentary professional travel services
If you need help planning your trip, you can access complimentary professional travel services as a Mastercard World cardholder. You can get help from experienced travel advisors to plan your trip online or by phone.
Mastercard hotel stay guarantee
World Mastercard benefits also include Mastercard’s hotel stay guarantee. If you stay at a three-star hotel or higher and encounter any problems, Mastercard will work with the hotel to make it right or find comparable accommodations.
Mastercard lowest hotel rate guarantee
If you book a hotel stay through the Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services program and find a lower rate somewhere else, Mastercard will refund the difference.
Mastercard luxury hotel and resorts portfolio
Cardholders can access additional benefits at over 2,000 hotels and resorts around the world, including early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast and other amenities.
Car, air, cruise and vacation packages
World Mastercard cardholders can save on hotel stays, car rentals and flight bookings through Mastercard’s Travel & Lifestyle Services. This is a great additional perk if you travel frequently and are looking to save money on common expenses or gain access to additional perks.
Mastercard airport concierge
If you’re looking for personalized service, you can’t bear Mastercard’s airport concierge service. World Mastercard cardholders can arrange for a personal agent to escort them through the airport or during connecting flights at over 700 destinations.
Cell phone protection
If your cell phone is stolen or needs to be fixed, Mastercard offers $1,000 in yearly coverage for phone replacement and repairs. This can come in handy if something happens to your phone when you’re traveling far from home.
World Elite Mastercard benefits
The Mastercard World Elite tier is the highest tier credit card from Mastercard. The main difference between Mastercard World and World Elite is that World Elite comes with additional perks like Lyft discounts and World Elite concierge service in addition to the benefits that come with the World tier.
Cardholders are eligible for a $10 Lyft credit once per month when they take five rides within a month. If you use Lyft often, this is a nice additional perk.
Cardholders earn 5 percent cash back rewards on all Boxed orders. Boxed allows customers to stock up on bulk items like snacks, paper products and cleaning supplies.
For every two movies tickets purchased through Fandango, cardholders receive $5 off future movie tickets or at-home purchases. If you’re a movie fan, this perk lets you save a few dollars each time you purchase tickets.
World Elite concierge
If you’re looking for personal assistance for all things travel-related, Mastercard’s World Elite concierge service is a great additional benefit. This 24/7 concierge service can help you with anything from booking event tickets to purchasing gifts to making dinner reservations.
How to qualify for a Mastercard credit card
Mastercard does not directly issue credit cards to consumers; instead, they partner with other financial institutions. These include banks and lenders like Citi, Capital One, Navy Federal Credit Union and Deserve. In order to qualify for a Mastercard credit card, you’ll need to apply for a card through one of these institutions.
While different lenders have different requirements for applicants, in general, you’ll need good to excellent credit and a history of responsible borrowing in order to qualify. In some cases, lenders may allow borrowers to see if they pre-qualify for a credit card without affecting their credit score. If you’re still working to raise your score or build your credit history, there are other options available, including secured credit cards and student credit cards.
The bottom line
Mastercard is one of the major credit card networks, along with Visa, Discover and American Express. While the differences between credit card networks like Mastercard and Visa tend to be minimal, each network comes with a slightly different host of benefits. Mastercard doesn’t issue any credit cards itself but instead works with different banks and lenders to provide credit cards to consumers. Mastercard credit card benefits take the form of attractive built-in perks, from basic purchase protections at the Standard and Gold level to exclusive travel perks, discounts and services at the World Elite level.
In addition to credit card benefits from Mastercard itself, Mastercard cardholders will likely also be eligible for card benefits from their card issuer, particularly if they have a rewards credit card. These additional benefits can include things like account management tools, travel and retail discounts, banking apps and more.
Because different benefits and services can vary widely from card to card, including cards in the same Mastercard tier, you should be sure to compare different cards carefully and review all associated benefits in order to decide which Mastercard credit card is best for you. For most cardholders, the benefits from Mastercard may not be enough of a reason to choose a certain card in and of itself, but they represent nice additional features on top of the perks the card already comes with.