Depending on what position you’re approaching the Mastercard Gold Card from, its value is mainly measured by its entry cost. The potential rewards aren’t a great bang for your buck no matter how you slice it, so the deciding factor with this card will be how equipped you are to use its travel benefits. The Mastercard Gold could be a bit expensive compared to more traditional, premium travel cards, or it might not provide enough opulent benefits compared to other luxury cards.
As far as luxury cards go, the Mastercard Gold Card isn’t as rewarding or hard to attain as legendary cards like the American Express Centurion Card (aka the Amex Black Card) or as glamorous as the diamond-encrusted and palladium-lined credit cards for the uber-wealthy, but it should suffice for someone looking to show off status and wealth.
If you’re leaning toward more attainable cards, these options will probably rake in more rewards and usable benefits.
Mastercard Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve® card
Compared to the Gold Card’s annual fee, the Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee for the primary user and $75 annual fee for additional users look like quite the bargain. But the Sapphire Reserve doesn’t stop with just a lower annual fee. It also offers a sign-up bonus and a $300 anniversary travel credit — $100 more than the Gold Card’s credit. You also get better travel protections with the Sapphire Preferred, including higher coverage for travel accident insurance and trip delay/interruption insurance.
There’s also Chase’s top-of-the-line rewards program, which offers more bonus points for your travel purchases compared to the Mastercard Gold Card, especially if you book your travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. While Sapphire Reserve points redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards are worth just 1.5 cents each (less than the 2-cent-per-point value you get with the Gold Card when redeeming for airfare or cash back), the former earns rewards at a higher rate. That means theReserve card can quickly make up the difference and come out ahead when it’s time to redeem your rewards. Plus, you have the option to transfer your points. This level of versatility can make it easier for you to find the best deal possible when booking travel.
The Mastercard Gold Card does have a few standout perks that you won’t find with the Sapphire Preferred, but most of these perks, including cellphone coverage, the lack of a penalty APR and one of the best and lowest interest rate around for a rewards card, likely won’t justify the high annual fee for many cardholders.
Mastercard Gold Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Mastercard Gold Card’s redemption value for cash back is a standout option, especially compared to the Amex Platinum Card, which offers redemption values under 1 cent per point if you redeem for many options other than travel. Beyond that, the Mastercard Gold Card struggles to keep up with the Amex Platinum Card and its slew of benefits, despite charging a higher annual fee for primary users and for additional users.
While the Mastercard Gold Card’s credits can help take a bite out of the card’s annual fee, the Amex Platinum card’s credits have the potential to help you completely offset the annual fee and come out ahead.
These credits range from hotel and airline fee credits to lifestyle credits for shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, membership at an Equinox fitness club and a Walmart+ membership. Some of these credits might only appeal to select groups of people (like Walmart shoppers and fitness enthusiasts), which can make it hard to get maximum value out of the Platinum Card. But since all of the Platinum Card’s credits are estimated to be worth over $1,500, just taking advantage of a few of the credits can still make the Platinum card worth the cost.
Best cards to with pair the Mastercard Gold Card
Since the Mastercard Gold Card earns flat-rate rewards on all purchases, the perfect partner card should prop up this card’s lower-value redemption options.
For example, brand-specific travel cards like hotel credit cards or cards for your favorite airlines that might not be supported by the Loyal Edge rewards program may earn more valuable rewards on the 1:1 redemption rate purchases.