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Updated November 8, 2019

Mastercard Black Card Review: Is $495 Worth It?

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
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Does the Mastercard® Black Card™ provide enough benefits to justify the steep annual fee? See our in-depth analysis and find out the requirements to qualify.

Mastercard Black Card
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Overall Score

4.4

Rewards

4.5

Fees

3.0

Benefits

5.0

Concierge

5.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Metal design
  • Concierge service
  • Travel benefits
  • $495 annual fee
  • No signup bonus

Bottom Line

Sleek metal credit card with luxury benefits

The Mastercard Black Card is a premium credit card targeted towards high spenders and frequent travelers. With a 24/7 elite concierge service, 2% return on airfare redemptions, lounge access, and other unique perks, it aims to provide the ultimate luxury travel card experience.

This black stainless-steel card has a weight to it that makes it feel like no other card. It's sleek, sexy, and certainly eye catching.

But with no welcome bonus or transfer partners, is it worth the $495 annual fee?

Read on for an in-depth review and see how it compares against other top premium travel cards.

Who the Mastercard Black Card Is Good For

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First, let's get something straight. The Mastercard Black Card is definitely not designed for everyone.

So who is this card for?

  • Frequent Travelers: With perks like Global Entry application credit, airport lounge access, and more value on airfare redemptions, the Black Card is intended for those who travel often. However, where it really shines is its concierge service. Specialists are available 24/7 to assist with ANY travel need or desire.

  • Big Spenders: With a high $495 annual fee and mediocre rewards (more later), this card is aimed at those who do not want to juggle multiple credit card reward programs and are capable of spending enough to take full advantage of the luxury perks.

The card's value is based more on the benefits than its actual monetary reward structure.

That said, it's still important to understand what you get, and what similar cards offer.

How to qualify and get a Mastercard Black Card:
Mastercard Black Card is not an exclusive, invitation-only card. But it does require excellent credit. This usually means a credit score of 720 or more. There is no income requirement to qualify, though a higher income will be more favorable.

Pros & Cons

PROS:

  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge by phone & live chat
  • Very heavy luxurious metal card
  • $100 annual airline fee credit
  • 1.5% redemption value for cashback and 2% for airfare
  • Premium travel perks, such as airport lounge access
  • Travel and cell phone protections
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Reward points never expire

CONS:

  • No welcome bonus
  • No bonus categories
  • No airline transfer partners
  • $495 annual fee, not waived the first year

What is the Mastercard Black Card Credit Limit?
Mastercard Black Card is a high-limit credit card. Users with high incomes report credit limits of $20,000 to $25,000 or even more. The lowest reported credit limit is $5,000.

Earning and Redeeming Rewards

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The Mastercard Black Card has no welcome bonus to help offset the annual fee for the first year.

The reward earn rate is 1 point per every $1 spent on purchases. There are no bonus categories.

The redemption value is:

  • 2% when redeemed for airfare. Redeem through Luxury Card's travel portal for airfare with no blackout dates or seat restrictions.

  • 1.5% when redeemed for cash back. Can be applied as statement credit or direct deposit into your bank account.

  • 1% when redeemed for hotel and car rentals. This option is even worse than just straight up cash back.

This means the most you'll get is equivalent to 2% back. This may not be the best (when compared to similar cards), but it's actually a pretty decent redemption rate. Keep in mind, no other elite cards offer a 1.5% cash back rate on everyday purchases.

You can redeem your points at myluxurycard.com or by calling the number on the back of your card.

Premium Benefits & Luxury Perks

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The Black Card is meant to be more about the benefits than the reward value. So let's take a look at what kind of benefits it offers. We'll also offer some comparisons so you can make your own choice.

Luxury Card Concierge Service

This is one of the most valuable perks of the MasterCard Black Card, though maybe not in the monetary sense.

The Luxury Card Concierge provides perhaps the highest caliber of service offered by premium credit card concierges. A dedicated team is available 24/7 around the world to help with both travel and personal requests - no matter how outlandish (as long as it's legal). Services can include:

  • Helping you research and plan trips
  • Booking complicated travel itineraries for large groups
  • Making restaurant reservations in a foreign country
  • Finding tickets to a sold-out show
  • Arranging for items left at home (or a hotel) to be picked up
  • Arranging for a rep to be at your home to sign for a delivery
  • Helping plan the perfect proposal

This benefit can be invaluable for busy people who don't have time to deal with the little things. All services are free of charge, but you'd have to pay for anything you purchase through them, of course.

The Luxury Card Concierge can be reached at any time at (844) 724-2500. Or contact them 24/7 via live chat on the Luxury Card app. For less urgent requests, you can write to the concierge through email.

Lounge Access Through Priority Pass Select

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You get complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. This gives you access to over 1,300 airport lounges across the world.

For very frequent travelers, this membership can be worth a great deal. The Mastercard Black Card also allows you to bring in unlimited guests at no extra cost (though individual lounges may have their own rules).

This is a little better than similar cards, as Chase Sapphire Reserve and Platinum Card from American Express (a CreditDonkey partner) only allow 2 guests at no charge.

This is the equivalent of the Priority Pass Prestige membership, which costs $399/year. The coverage is even better, as you can bring in unlimited guests at no extra cost.

$100 annual airline fee credit

Every calendar year, you'll receive a $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases, such as:

  • Airline tickets
  • Baggage fees
  • Seat upgrades
  • Lounge access
  • Certain in-flight purchases

This credit can be used for any airline. It will be automatically applied to your account. This credit effectively reduces the annual fee by $100.

In comparison, Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 annual travel credit, and AMEX Platinum offers a $200 airline fee credit.

$100 Global Entry Application Fee Credit

Every 5 years, you get a $100 application fee credit to Global Entry. Global Entry pre-approves you for expedited entry upon returning to the US by allowing you to use automated kiosks.

It's not an automatic enrollment in the program, as you'll still have to pass the screening. You're credited back the fee when you use the card to pay for the application.

Once you get the Global Entry membership, it also includes access to the TSA Pre-Check program with no additional application or fee required.

Hotel Benefits

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When you book eligible hotel stays with Luxury Card Travel, you get competitive rates and complimentary benefits. This may include:

  • Late checkout and early check-in
  • Room upgrades when available
  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  • Resort and dining credits
  • Welcome amenities

Mastercard Black Card claims that the average total value of benefits is about $500 per stay (based on a booking of 3 nights).

Luxury Travel Services

The Mastercard Black Card offers some services to reduce your hassle on travel days. These include:

  • Global luggage delivery: Send your luggage ahead of time so you don't have to deal with baggage claim.

  • Airport meet and greet: Have someone assist you through the airport process to avoid crowds.

  • Chauffeured transportation: Hire a professional driver to shuttle you around.

However, these services are NOT free. You still have to pay. It's just that the Mastercard Black Card reps can help assist you with the arrangements.

Exclusive Luxury Benefits

Some benefits exclusive to the Luxury Card include:

  • Mastercard Priceless events: Get access to invitation-only events, such as sporting events and shows.

  • Luxury gifts: As a thank you to cardmembers, you'll receive gifts throughout the year from some of the world's most recognized brand names - though it's not clear what those are.

  • LUXURY MAGAZINE: Every quarter, you'll receive the exclusive publication covering travel, fashion, real estate, vehicles, technology, etc.

Lifestyle Discounts & Benefits

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You also get these benefits for Luxury Card World Elite MasterCard cardholders. These provide some extra rewards for common day-to-day use.

  • ShopRunner membership: Shoprunner provides free 2-day shipping, free returns, and exclusive deals with hundreds of brand-name stores. Receive a complimentary membership with your Luxury Card (normally $79/year).

  • Postmates discount: Postmates provides on-demand food delivery from over 200,000 restaurants across the US. Receive $5 off eligible orders of $25 or more when you use your Luxury Card to order through Postmates.

  • Lyft credit: Get a $10 Lyft credit when you take 5 eligible rides in a month using your Luxury Card. Keep riding to earn credit each month.

  • Boxed rewards: Boxed provides delivery of bulk items to your doorstep. Earn 5% cash rewards for use on future purchases whenever you make an eligible Boxed purchase with your Luxury Card.

  • Fandango rewards: Join Fandango VIP (it's free) and earn double points when you buy movie tickets with your Luxury Card (250 points per ticket). Every 500 points will earn a $5 reward.

  • Onefinestay discount: Onefinestay provides access to thousands of rental homes and villas around the world. Receive a 10% discount on eligible onefinestay bookings.

Travel & Purchase Protections

Mastercard Black Card also offers these travel and purchase benefits:

  • Cell phone protection: If you charge your monthly cell phone bill to your Luxury Card, you are eligible for protection against covered cell phone theft or damage. You can receive up to $800 per claim, for a maximum of 2 claims for up to $1,000 per 12-month period. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible.

  • Car rental insurance waiver: You are covered against theft and damage when you rent an eligible car and decline the rental company's collision insurance. Coverage is secondary when you rent a car within the U.S. and primary when you rent a car abroad.

  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption: You can be reimbursed up to $5,000 per trip (up to $10,000 per 12-month period) when your eligible trip is canceled or interrupted due to covered reasons. Coverage is secondary.

  • Baggage delay: If your checked baggage is delayed in transit, you will be reimbursed for replacing essential personal or business items up to $100/day for up to 3 days.

  • Travel accident insurance: You and your family are insured up to $500,000 in cases of accidental death or dismemberment when riding in a common carrier.

  • Mastercard ID theft protection: Should you become the victim of Identity theft, you get 24/7 assistance with replacement of your card and notifying the credit bureau.

Requirements and How to Qualify

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While marketed as a prestigious card, the MasterCard Black Card is not by invitation-only. Anyone can apply online.

For your best chances of approval, it's best if you:

  • Have an excellent credit score (ideally 720 or above)
  • Have higher income and a stable job history
  • Keep balances on your other credit cards low (ideally under 30% credit utilization)
  • Have at least 1 year of on-time payments
  • Have at least 2-3 years of credit history
  • Don't have too many new accounts and inquiries

There is no official credit or income requirement, though cardholders generally have excellent credit and high income in the 6 digits. A higher income will definitely help, especially if your credit score is not quite excellent. Or visa versa, a very high credit score will help if your income is lower.

Downsides

Mastercard Black Card is NOT aimed towards miles collectors and value seekers. If you're all about gaming the airline miles system, it will not appeal to you.

The Mastercard Black Card has:

  • No signup bonus. Welcome bonuses are one of the best things about any new credit card, and the Mastercard Black Card offers none. There's nothing to help offset that huge annual fee.

  • No bonus categories. You only get 1 point per $1. This makes it hard to rack up points fast. Other cards offer more points in bonus categories (like the Reserve's 3x points on travel and dining).

  • No transfer partners. There are no travel partners. You will not be able to squeeze in more value by transferring points to airlines and hotels.

If you're a miles collector, look into cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve, AMEX Platinum, and Citi Prestige instead.

How It Compares

Compared to AMEX Platinum:
American Express Platinum
Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express
AMEX Platinum has a slightly higher annual fee of $550 (See Rates & Fees), but it is loaded with benefits with monetary value. These include:

  • $200 airline fee credit (though you have to select one airline).
  • Up to $200 annual Uber credit.
  • Up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit.
  • $100 Global Entry/TSA Pre credit every 4 years.
  • Complimentary access to 5 airport lounge networks, include Priority Pass lounges, Centurion Lounges, and Delta SkyClub.

In addition, you get automatic elite status at Marriott, Hilton, and certain car rental companies. You also get hotel and shipboard credit on qualifying hotel and cruise bookings.

You earn 5x points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and 5x points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. You can transfer points to over 20 transfer partners, including Delta, Hawaiian, Air France, and Air Canada.

Compared to Chase Sapphire Reserve:
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Apply for Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3x points on travel and dining purchases worldwide. The points are worth 50% more value when you book travel on the Chase travel portal. They can also be transferred to airline and hotel partners for even more value (including United, Southwest, and JetBlue).

Despite the $450 annual fee, the Reserve offers a $300 annual travel credit. This can be used for any eligible travel purchase, like airfare, hotels, Uber, trains, and even parking garages.

Bottom Line: Is Luxury Black Card Worth It?

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This is a difficult question to answer.

Is a Gucci handbag worth it? Is a Bentley worth it? If you're asking the right demographic, then yes. If you're asking discount shoppers, then no way.

Those who can afford it will love how impressive it looks. And the rewards are still better than average, with some luxury perks thrown in. It also makes a good alternative black card for those who aren't quite qualify for the iconic AMEX Centurion Card (also known as American Express Black Card).

If we're purely talking from a value standpoint, other cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, AMEX Platinum, and Citi Prestige offer more rewards. But they tend to be more complicated to use.

Remember - the Mastercard Black Card is not for those concerned with getting maximum value. It's a luxury product aimed to impress while delivering solid perks and a premium time saving user experience.

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

Disclaimer: This content was first published on March 22, 2019. This content may have been updated on November 8, 2019. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check the issuer's website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

For rates and fees of the American Express Platinum card, please click here.

Disclaimer: The information for the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

More from CreditDonkey:


Chase Sapphire Reserve Review


American Express Platinum Review: Is It Worth It?


Credit Cards for International Travel

More Articles in Reviews

Mastercard Black Card
Apply for Mastercard Black Card
At Issuer's Secure Site
  • Stainless Steel – Patented Black-PVD-Coated Metal Card
  • 2% Value for Airfare Redemptions
  • 1.5% Value for Cash Back Redemptions
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge™ – Available by phone, email, and mobile chat
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel Benefits
  • $100 Annual Airline Credit Toward Qualifying Purchases
  • $100 Global Entry Application Fee Credit
  • Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User)
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Cash Back RewardsAirline RewardsConcierge
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/A
0% for first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.
16.49% (Variable)
$495 ($195 for each Authorized User)

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

Compare Mastercard Black Card vs American Express Gold

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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