Mastercard® Black Card™ Review [2021]: Is It Worth the $495 Annual Fee?

A premium credit card for frequent travels, but does it stack up to other luxury cards?
Last updated Jun 4, 2021 | By Kevin Payne

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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™

Annual Fee

$495

Rewards Rate

1 point per dollar

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

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

Drawbacks

  • High annual fee
Card Details
  • Black-PVD-coated metal card
  • Earn 1X points on all purchases
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 15 billing cycles then 14.99% (variable)

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 1 point per dollar 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

Card Type Rewards
Annual Fee $495
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Intro APR 0% APR for 15 billing cycles
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 up to $100 toward either a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck 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 1,300 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. 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 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 annual travel credits that could lower the net cost of the annual fee if utilized. The 100,000 point welcome offer doesn’t hurt either. The annual fee is $695 (See rates and fees) and select benefits require enrollment.

Not to be outdone, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers a 50,000 point sign-up bonus. Plus, users can earn a $300 annual travel credit, 10X points on Lyft rides, Chase Dining purchases, and hotels and cars booked through Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on air travel booked through Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on travel and dining, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else. 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

Black-PVD-coated metal card

See how these cards compare:

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
  • 10X points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months)
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $200 hotel credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, $200 in Uber Cash, $300 Equinox credit, $200 airline fee credit
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • $695 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • 50,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 10X points on hotels and cars booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2021
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access

Author Details

Kevin Payne Kevin Payne is a freelance writer specializing in student loans, credit cards, personal finance, and travel. He is a regular contributor to Club Thrifty, Millennial Money, and Student Loan Planner. As the budget and family travel expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com, Kevin recently turned his writing side hustle into his full-time career. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids.