Mastercard® Gold Card™ review
Best for luxury travel
- Rewards rate: 1X points on all purchases
- Welcome offer: N/A
- Annual fee: $995; $295 for each authorized user added
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent APR for the first 15 billing cycles on balance transfers made within the first 45 days
- Regular APR: 14.99 percent variable
The Mastercard® Gold Card™ is a luxury travel card among Mastercard credit cards with a value that may make the steep fee well worth it. The Mastercard Gold Card provides lots of VIP travel benefits, as well as up to a $200 annual airline credit. Points are worth 2 percent redemption for both airfare and cash back.
With no limit on how many points can be earned and the ability to add authorized users for a reduced annual fee of $295, cardholders and their authorized users can rack up points to earn more with their card. This Mastercard Gold Card review explains what you’ll want to consider before applying.
Mastercard Gold Card current sign-up bonus
The Mastercard Gold Card doesn’t offer a traditional welcome bonus, but it does have a 15-billing cycle 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers made within the first 45 days of account opening. You’ll pay a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5 percent, whichever is greater, and after that, there’s a variable APR of 14.99 percent.
Considering this card charges an exceptionally high annual fee, we recommend looking into other balance transfer credit cards if your main goal is to pay off credit card debt.
With the Mastercard Gold Card, you can earn 1X points on every purchase you make and redeem your points toward airfare or cash back for added redemption value.
To earn rewards with this card, all you need to do is charge transactions to Mastercard Gold Card. Then, you’ll get 1X points for every dollar you spend.
You can redeem your points for airfare or as cash back deposited into a U.S. bank account or statement credit at a 2 percent value.
How much are points worth?
Given that each point can be redeemed for cash back or airfare purchases at a 2 percent value, 50,000 points would get you a $1,000 airline ticket, for example.
Mastercard Gold Card: Benefits
In addition to points, the Mastercard Gold Card comes with a variety of travel rewards and VIP experience opportunities. The card also has security and insurance coverage features.
The Mastercard Gold Card provides up to a $200 annual airline credit toward transactions like tickets, upgrades and baggage fees. It also comes with 24/7 luxury card concierge, available by phone, email and live chat, to assist with travel bookings. Cardholders get VIP airport lounge access for more than 1,300 airports in more than 500 cities, as well.
As a Mastercard Gold Card owner, you can get an average value of $500 in travel benefits and services per stay, including resort or spa credits, complimentary beverages and food, welcome perks and room upgrades. The card also provides an automatic statement credit for the cost of a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee (up to $100).
Lastly, with the Mastercard Gold Card’s Airport Meet & Assist feature, a professional representative can meet and escort you through the airport process in an expedited experience.
Security and insurance benefits
The Mastercard Gold Card provides cellular telephone protection that covers eligible theft or damage of an eligible wireless telephone (up to $1,000 a year). Cardholders also get 24/7 ID theft protection and $0 fraud liability protection for fraudulent charges.
Cardholders can get secondary trip cancellation and interruption coverage for a covered, round-trip purchase. The card also includes baggage delay insurance, which provides reimbursement of covered items for up to $100 a day (up to three days).
You’ll also get travel accident insurance with up to $250,000 in coverage for eligible common carrier accidental dismemberment and death, as well as an auto rental collision waiver.
With 24/7 customer service assistance for emergency card replacement, emergency cash advance and lost and stolen card reporting, you’re sure to feel safe your whole trip.
VIP experience benefits
Cardholders get access to exclusive experiences, including culinary and wine, activity and adventure, entertainment and sports, specialty travel, family, arts and culture experiences/events. The Mastercard Gold Card also includes access to Luxury Card Off the Beaten Path itineraries that are custom local experiences for travelers, as well as Mastercard Priceless excursions.
Rates and fees
First and foremost, the Mastercard Gold Card has an annual fee of $995 and $295 for each authorized user added. The card has a 14.99 percent variable APR, which is on the lower end of APRs for most credit cards. It can also be classified as a credit card for excellent credit.
The APR for cash advances is a variable 25.24 percent, and there’s a cash advance fee of either $10 or 5 percent of every cash advance, whichever is greater. Penalty fees are up to $39 for a late payment or a returned payment. Lastly, there are no foreign transaction fees with this card.
How the Mastercard Gold Card compares to other luxury travel cards
|Card name||Welcome offer||Rewards rate||Annual fee||Travel perks|
|Mastercard Gold Card||N/A
|1X points on every purchase; 2% airfare redemption value and 2% cash back redemption value||$995; $295 for each authorized user||Up to a $200 airline credit; 24/7 luxury concierge; VIP airport lounge access; Up to $500 worth of travel benefits and services per stay; Up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck; Airport Meet & Assist|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in transactions within the first 3 months from the account opening (worth $750 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards)||3X points on eligible travel and restaurant purchases (after earning your $300 travel credit); 3X points on grocery store purchases up to $1,000 per month, then 1X points (from Nov. 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021); 10X total points on Lyft purchases (through March 2022); 1X points on everything else||$550; $75 for each authorized user||$300 annual travel credit; Up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck; VIP airport lounge access|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after making $5,000 worth of transactions within the first six months of having the card||5X points on flights directly booked with the airline and flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel and 1X points everything else; Also earn 10X points on eligible purchases on your new card at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets (up to $15,000 in combined purchases) during your first six months of card membership||$550, $175 for each authorized user||Up to $200 in airline fee credits; VIP airport lounge access; Up to $100 in statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (every four years); Up to a $100 credit on qualifying hotel purchases (per two or more consecutive night stays with a brand in The Hotel Collection); Platinum Travel Service concierge access; Marriott Bonvoy™ Gold Elite status and Hilton Honors Gold Status|
Before settling on the Mastercard Gold Card, be sure to compare it to other luxury travel cards—such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve. With a lower annual fee of $550 (and $75 for each authorized user), this card provides similar travel benefits with a different rewards structure. You won’t get the cash back value with this card that you would with the Mastercard Gold Card, but you can earn more value for your points with dining purchases.
Another luxury travel card to consider is the American Express Platinum Card. It also has an annual fee of $550 and a $175 fee for each authorized user. With this card, you get 5X points on flights booked on amextravel.com or directly with airlines, 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com and 1X points on all other eligible purchases. There’s also a $200 airline fee credit with this card.
All three of these travel rewards credit cards have no foreign transaction fees and come with similar travel perks, like trip cancellation and interruption insurance, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits, VIP airport lounge access and auto rental coverage. What makes the Mastercard Gold Card stand out, in particular, is its cash back redemption value and unique VIP experiences.
Best cards to pair with the Mastercard Gold Card
You may want to consider pairing the Mastercard Gold Card with a cash back credit card that offers higher rewards for rotating categories.
For example, the Discover it® Cash Back offers 5 percent cash back after activation on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent) and doesn’t charge an annual fee. You could use this type of cash back card to earn extra rewards when spending in different categories.
Bankrate’s take—Is the Mastercard Gold Card worth it?
The very high annual fee, lack of sign-up bonus and meager rewards earning structure make the Mastercard Gold Card hard to compete against other luxury travel cards and even flat-rate cash back cards. You can find other cards in the market that offer similar or better benefits at a fraction of the cost of Mastercard Gold Card or, in some cases, at no cost at all.
If you want to earn heightened rewards for travel and cash back redemption in a single credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Citi Double Cash Card may be better options at a lower or no annual fee.
If you’re looking for VIP experiences and luxury concierge services, the Amex Platinum can also be a more affordable option. If you’re focused on travel perks, a lower-cost travel credit card could help you save even more, depending on how you plan to use the card.
- Luxury travel perks and credits
- Offset the annual fee with travel and cash back rewards
- Exclusive VIP experience access
- Exceptionally high annual fee
- Can only redeem points toward airfare or cash back
- No welcome offer