Mastercard® Black Card™ Review: Is It Worth the $495 Annual Fee?

A premium credit card for frequent travels, but does it stack up to other luxury cards?
5 minute read | 9/4/19Sept. 4, 2019

If you’re a frequent traveler in the market for a luxury credit card, the Mastercard® Black Card™ is an option to consider. But are the travel benefits enough to justify a $495 annual fee? What travel perks does the card offer, and are there other benefits beyond travel? Let’s take a look in this Mastercard® Black Card™ review.

Luxury Card

Mastercard® Black Card™

Mastercard® Black Card™

Mastercard® Black Card™

Benefits

  • 0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles
  • Redeem points for travel or cash back
  • Annual $100 airline fees credit
  • No foreign transaction fees


Who should get this card?

The Mastercard® Black Card™ is ideal for frequent travelers who want luxury benefits that lesser cards might lack. It’s also for people with excellent credit and high incomes.

The card’s main benefits are all travel-related, with access to VIP airport lounges worldwide with Priority Pass Select. It also comes with valuable travel credits, such as a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit as well as an airline credit annually.

You can score points with every purchase, though there are no bonus categories; you’ll earn a flat rate of 1X points per dollar spent.

Points don’t expire with this card, and you’ll never deal with blackout dates either. Travel does need to be booked through the Luxury Card website, but the lack of blackout dates is likely a major relief to frequent travelers. Travelers who earn enough points could fly for free to almost anywhere in the world.

Others may be drawn to the unique card design that will stand up to any environment. While some users might love a gold card, this card’s black-PVD-coated, stainless steel look catches people’s attention. For travelers who want to stand out, the Mastercard® Black Card™ does that.

Card basics

Annual Fee $495
Recommended Credit Score Excellent
Intro APR 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers requested within 45 days of account opening
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Top card benefits

  • Generous redemption rates: Redeem your points at a 2% redemption rate for airfare and 1.5% for cashback rewards.
  • 24/7 luxury card concierge: Need help making travel plans? Looking for hard-to-find tickets? Cardholders have access to a concierge 24/7 by phone, live chat, or email.
  • Annual airline credit: Cardholders receive up to $100 in annual air travel credit toward flight-related purchases. This includes baggage fees, upgrades, tickets, and more.
  • Global Entry credit: Receive an automatic statement credit for the cost of the Global Entry application fee every five years. Global Entry allows you to expedite your arrival from international travel and also grants you TSA PreCheck benefits on domestic flights.
  • VIP airport lounge access: Gain entry to more than 1,200 Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide, regardless of airline or ticket class. Access is complimentary for all cardholders.
  • Introductory APR: New cardholders receive a 0% APR (annual percentage rate) for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers requested within 45 days of account opening. That can be a useful perk if you’re looking to pay down or consolidate debt on other credit cards.

Earning & redeeming

Best ways to earn

The Mastercard® Black Card™ keeps earning points simple: Cardholders earn 1x points on all purchases. There are no bonus categories that garner a higher rate, and there’s also no limit to how many points you can score.

Points can be earned with any type of spending. This includes not only dining and travel expenses, but also everyday spending and paying bills. However, you may earn more points with other rewards cards if they offer bonus points for specific categories.

Maximizing your redemptions

Points can be redeemed for travel, statement credits, cash back, gift cards, or merchandise. All redemptions are completed through the Luxury Card redemption site.

However, some options offer a higher redemption value than others. To get the most value out of your points, take advantage of the 2% redemption rate for air travel. Travel must be booked through the Luxury Card website or by calling customer service. The 2% redemption value is generous; 75,000 points would get you $1,500 toward airline tickets on any airline. Points used for hotel or rental car bookings are redeemed at a rate of just 1%.

The next-best option is to opt for cash back. This has a redemption value of 1.5%, just below the air travel redemption rate. Cash back can be deposited directly into your bank account or applied as a statement credit. What does a 1.5% return rate look like? If you redeemed 15,000 points, you’d receive $225 cash back.

Unfortunately, the Mastercard® Black Card™ doesn’t offer options to transfer points to travel partners, meaning you could miss out on potentially higher travel redemption rates. For example, select Chase credit cards offer the ability to transfer points to more than a dozen travel partners. That option can have a higher redemption rate than that of the Mastercard® Black Card™.

Common questions

How do you qualify for a Mastercard® Black Card™?

To qualify for this card, you must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the United States. There are no official criteria listed, but it’s safe to assume you’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the Mastercard® Black Card™.

Do I need an invitation to qualify for the Mastercard® Black Card™?

No, you don’t need an invitation to qualify for the Mastercard® Black Card™. You can apply for the card online just like most credit cards.

Does the Mastercard® Black Card™ have foreign transaction fees?

Enjoy making purchases abroad with no foreign transaction fees tied to this card.

Does the Mastercard® Black Card™ have a credit limit?

This card doesn’t have a set credit limit, and card applicants can’t request a specific one.

Is the Mastercard® Black Card™ worth it?

If you’re looking for a luxury credit card with maximum perks, the Black Card probably isn’t for you. It has decent travel and cashback rewards, but even those are less appealing than other rewards credit cards with a lower annual fee. Justifying the steep annual fee is doubly hard when the card doesn’t provide a sign-up bonus.

Other cards to consider

The Platinum Card from American Express is a top luxury charge card choice for frequent travelers. You’ll gain access not only to Amex’s own luxury airport lounges, but also other lounge programs, too. There’s also $500 in travel credits annually that could lower the net cost of the annual fee if utilized. The 60,000 point welcome offer doesn’t hurt either.

Not to be outdone, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers a 50,000 point sign-up bonus. Plus, users can earn up to 3x points per dollar after earning the $300 annual travel credit. This top-tier metal credit card also has a lower annual fee than many other luxury credit cards.

Luxury Card

Mastercard® Black Card™

Mastercard® Black Card™

Mastercard® Black Card™

Special Offer

Annual $100 airline fees credit

See how these cards compare:

The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express
  • 60,000 Membership Rewards points welcome offer
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in Uber cash for U.S. rides each month (plus a bonus $20 in December) and $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • 50,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X on travel after earning your $300 travel credit
  • 3X points at restaurants
  • Access to Priority Pass airport lounges

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