Mastercard® Black Card™ review
“Mastercard Black: a high annual fee luxury travel card designed for the person who values unique concierge services” – Erica Sandberg
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Mastercard® Black Card™ Overview
The Mastercard Black Card is part of the Mastercard Luxury Card trio (the others are the Mastercard® Titanium Card™ and Mastercard® Gold Card™), which offers cards full of travel perks and access to numerous upgrades.
This luxury travel credit card is impressive to feel—it weighs 22 grams and is made from patented black-PVD-coated metal. But unfortunately, the annual fee is just as hefty as the physical card, costing you $495 a year ($195 for each authorized user).
What are the pros and cons?
- The high annual fee on this card could make it an impractical option for the everyday consumer.
- No introductory rate on purchases, so the regular APR rate will apply immediately to any new purchases you make and carry over each month.
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 1 point for every $1 spent (1.5 percent bonus for cash back redemptions, 2 percent bonus for airfare redemptions)
- Welcome offer: N/A
- Annual fee: $495 ($195 for each authorized user)
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles on balance transfers within first 45 days
- Regular APR: 17.24 percent variable
Current welcome offer
The Mastercard Black Card does not currently offer a welcome bonus, which dings its value a bit more. The card does have an intro APR offer on balance transfers, but none on purchases.
You might expect a luxury card to have a superior rewards program, but in the case of the Mastercard Black, the rewards are lacking.
For every $1 you make in purchases you will earn 1 reward point. (1.5 percent bonus for cash back redemptions, 2 percent bonus for airfare redemptions)
You can stretch your rewards points further by redeeming them through the Luxury Card rewards site. In some cases, it will double your point value by simply using this redemption method. For example, if you book airline travel with your points, they will be worth 2 percent. So, if you’ve made purchases of $50,000 and have 50,000 points, you’ll have a $1,000 airline redemption. If you want to convert your points to cash back rewards, you’ll earn a 1.5 percent value.
Other cardholder perks
What is a Mastercard Black Card if it doesn’t offer you the benefits you’d expect from a luxury card? Fortunately for cardholders, there are several travel benefits and gifts worth noting.
For starters, you’ll receive an annual airline credit of up to $100 toward qualifying airline purchases. You’ll also receive an up to $100 Global Entry application fee credit and get access to the Priority Pass Select, giving you access to more than 1,300 airport lounges in more than 500 cities worldwide.
The card provides you 24/7 access to the Luxury Card Concierge—a service that helps you with everything from booking your travel and vacations to locating a must-have, hard-to-find gift for someone. If you’re traveling to one of the 3,000 featured properties, you’re treated to upgrades worth an average of up to $500.
Luxury Card app
Cardmembers have exclusive access to the Luxury Card app where you can manage your account and access your member benefits on mobile.
Cardmembers will receive an exclusive publication, LUXURY MAGAZINE, filled with information on travel, fashion, real estate and more. These publications also feature cover art from an array of artists, making them a limited-edition collector’s item for members.
In addition to the luxury benefits and extras you’ll access with your luxury card, Mastercard has its own suite of perks and partnerships with many popular retailers like DoorDash, HelloFresh, Lyft, Fandango and ShopRunner (terms and conditions apply).
Cardholders of the Mastercard Black receive luxurious gifts from some of “the world’s most iconic and recognized brand names.”
Rates and fees
If you like the idea of the travel perks and rewards, it’s going to cost you with this card. The Mastercard Black has a pricey annual fee of $495, plus a $195 fee for each authorized user. Some luxury black cards have annual fees in the thousands, so this may sound like a bargain to some cardholders. The good news is, this card does not charge any foreign transaction fees, which is helpful if you need to use your card overseas.
Although the Mastercard Black Card has a 0 percent intro balance transfer APR for the first 15 billing cycles (balance transfers made within the first 45 days; variable APR after will be 17.24 percent), all purchases will be at the 17.24 percent variable APR. If you do initiate a balance transfer, it’s subject to a $5 or 3 percent fee, whichever is greater. Cash advances are subject to a 27.49 percent variable APR and a $10 or 5 percent cash advance fee, whichever is greater.
The Mastercard Black Card credit limit is difficult to find, but like most credit cards, it’s safe to assume it will depend on your creditworthiness.
How the Mastercard Black Card compares to other travel cards
The Mastercard Black Card technically falls into the luxury card category, but unlike most luxury cards, you apply for it instead of receiving an invitation. On the other hand, the card’s numerous travel benefits make it more like a travel credit card. So how does it compare to other popular travel cards?
Mastercard Black Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a $95 annual fee, a much more affordable number than that of the Mastercard Black; however, the Sapphire Preferred doesn’t have an introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers. Unlike with the Mastercard Black Card, you do receive a welcome offer of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points once you spend $4,000 in the first three months with the Sapphire Preferred.
Mastercard Black Card vs. Capital One VentureOne Rewards
You could also compare the Mastercard Black to the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, which doesn’t have an annual fee. The VentureOne features a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 15 months (16.49 percent to 26.49 percent variable APR thereafter) and offers a 20,000-mile welcome offer if you spend $500 in the first three months. You can use these points toward airline travel and more. Essentially, the VentureOne pairs an easy-to-grab welcome offer with an intro APR offer on new purchases, both of which are missing with Mastercard Black.
Best cards to pair with the Mastercard Black Card
If you want to carry the Mastercard Black Card, you should pair it with a no-annual-fee card that offers a 0 percent introductory rate on purchases. This way you will have the best of both introductory worlds—intro APR on purchases and on balance transfers. You may also search for a card with a more lucrative rewards rate overall. If you don’t mind keeping track of rewards tiers, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers some of the best rewards rates on travel and other popular spending categories, all for no annual fee.
Bankrate’s take—Is the Mastercard Black Card worth it?
The best way to get your money’s worth from this expensive card is if you travel to the featured 3,000 properties enough to take advantage of the estimated up to $500 in upgrades with each stay. If you use the travel credits (up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee and up to a $100 airline credit) it can offset the cost as well. The introductory 0 percent APR for 15 months for balance transfers is another big plus (variable APR of 17.24 percent thereafter). If you can’t use these major benefits, then it’s best to look at other travel or luxury cards.