Mastercard® Black Card Review

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Mastercard® Black Card™
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Mastercard® Black Card™
Editor’s Score: (1.9/5)
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Mastercard® Black Card™
Editor’s Score: (1.9/5)
  • Intro offer:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
  • Regular APR:
    15.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

2% Value for Airfare Redemptions. 1.5% Value for Cash Back Redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • 2% points value for airfare redemptions and 1.5% value for cash back redemptions
  • Up to $100 annual airline credit
  • 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles
  • Metal card
Cons
  • $495 annual fee
  • No bonus categories for rewards earn
  • No welcome bonus offer
  • Fewer benefits than similarly priced travel cards
The Bottom Line
The Mastercard Black Card offers a balance of annual credits and travel benefits, but its rewards are modest compared to similar cards — especially considering the $495 price tag. If you’re going to spend nearly $500 each year on a travel credit card, look into other premium rewards card options that will better maximize your spending, upgrade your benefits, and offer more flexible redemptions for your money.

Additional Card Details

  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent
  • Points are worth 2% back when redeeming for airfare, 1.5% redeeming for cash back, and 1% for everything else
  • Up to $100 annual airline credit
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Airport lounge access via complimentary Priority Pass Select membership
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits
  • Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles; ongoing 15.74% variable APR
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Travel protections

Mastercard Black Card Full Review

Card Type

The Mastercard Black Card* is a premium rewards credit card with travel benefits and a steep annual fee.

Annual Fee

The annual fee is $495. You’ll pay an additional $195 for every authorized user you choose to add to your account.

Welcome Offer

The Mastercard Black Card has no welcome offer.

Rewards

You’ll earn just one point for every one dollar you spend with this card, but can maximize rewards with your redemptions. Your points are worth 2% for airfare redemptions, and 1.5% value for cash back redemptions — which you can deposit into a U.S. bank account or apply as a statement credit.

Fees 

This card has a steep $495 annual fee (plus $195 for each authorized user added to the account) and ongoing 15.74% variable APR. If you take advantage of the 15-billing cycle 0% APR on balance transfers, you must transfer the balance within 45 days of account opening and you’ll pay a 3% (minimum $5) fee. Late payments and returned payments may incur a fee up to $39.

How to Use the Mastercard Black Card

Because points are earned at the same rate (1 point per dollar spent), maximizing this card comes down to redemption options. To get the most value, you’ll want to redeem your points at a 2% rate for airfare through myluxurycard.com. That means, for every $5,000 you spend, you can get $100 toward airfare. 

The other redemption option is cash back or statement credits, at a 1.5% rate. The same $5,000 in spending is worth $75 redeemed this way. But if cash back is your preferred redemption option, you’d be much better off with a no annual fee cash back credit card. Multiple cash back cards, including the Citi® Double Cash Card and Citizens Bank Cash Plus World Mastercard* offer better flat cash back back value on every purchase — for no annual cost.

However, the best use of the Mastercard Black Card’s value isn’t its points rewards and redemptions, but in the convenience of accessing luxury benefits.

Make sure you use the annual airline credit, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit, and Priority Pass Select membership. You can also unlock additional value from Luxury Card Travel in the form of upgrades and vouchers. Luxury Card claims the average value on a three-night stay is $500, though your actual value may vary based on where you stay and available promotions. Further maximize the card’s value by taking advantage of Luxury Card’s Concierge service for everything from travel recommendations to booking top-tier dining and entertainment experiences on your trip.

Mastercard Black Card Compared to Other Cards

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Mastercard® Black Card™

Mastercard® Black Card™

Editor’s Score: (1.9/5)
  • Intro offer:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
  • Regular APR:
    15.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site
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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
  • Intro offer:
    50,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $550
  • Regular APR:
    17.24% – 24.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    740-850 (Excellent)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site
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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)

Is Mastercard Black Card Right for You?

With a sleek, black stainless steel design and laser engravings, Mastercard Black Card has the looks, but falls short in function.

The Mastercard Black Card’s annual fee is less than some popular travel card options like Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card® from American Express (annual fee $695; see rates and fees), and it offers a lower ongoing APR. But frequent travelers looking to upgrade their travel with a card at this price point are better off paying the slightly higher fee, in exchange for better benefits and more valuable rewards programs.

There’s no sign-up bonus or bonus categories with the Black Card; every purchase earns a flat one point per $1 spent. The card does have a good redemption value for airfare: each point is worth 2 cents when redeemed for flights through myluxurycard.com. But other redemption options fall short: you’ll earn 1.5 cents per point for cash back or statement credits, and just 1 cent per point toward other redemptions, including non-airfare travel like hotels or car rentals.

Travel protections and more benefits from the World Elite Mastercard program include: 

  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Auto rental collision waiver (secondary coverage)
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Travel assistance
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $10 monthly Lyft credit after taking 5 rides in a month
  • 5% cash rewards on Boxed purchases toward future Boxed orders
  • Cell phone protection 
  • Global emergency assistance

Additionally, the rewards program can be restrictive compared to other issuers. All bookings are final — meaning trip cancellations will result in a forfeiture of points. If you are forced to change or cancel your trip booked on points, you will pay $35 plus any supplier fees, and potentially forfeit the points you used for the original booking. 

They might take a bit more work to maximize, but credit card rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards offer much more value with better flexibility, especially if you belong to partner frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. And cards within those programs (like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Platinum Card from American Express) offer as many, if not more, benefits as the Black Card, including airline and other travel benefits, airport lounge access, concierge service, and travel protections.

Finally, while the card’s 15-billing cycle 0% interest intro offer on balance transfers might sound appealing, there are much better options for paying debt via balance transfer with longer intro periods and no annual fee. And you should avoid taking on any new rewards credit card — especially one with a $495 fee — until any existing credit card debts are paid and you’ve established healthy credit habits.

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

*All information about the Mastercard® Black Card™, Citizens Bank Cash Plus World Mastercard has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Mastercard Black Card exclusive by invitation?

No — anyone can apply for a Mastercard Black Card without an invitation.

How do you qualify for the Mastercard Black Card?

You will need to have excellent credit (at least a 740 credit score) to qualify for the Mastercard Black Card.

Is the Mastercard Black Card worth it?

The Mastercard Black Card is good for its access to some travel benefits and 2% redemption rate toward flights, but its rewards value ultimately falls flat compared to similarly-priced premium travel cards available from other issuers.