Mastercard® Gold Card™ Review: Can You Offset the $995 Annual Fee?

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ looks like a luxury credit card, but do the benefits match the extravagant annual fee?
Last updated Nov 17, 2020 | By Kevin Payne

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The Mastercard® Gold Card™ touts a 24K-gold-plated stainless steel design that screams luxury. But is this high-class look worth the steep annual fee, and are there enough perks to make this card wallet-worthy? Let’s take a look.

Great Redemption Rate on Your Rewards

Mastercard® Gold Card™

Mastercard® Gold Card™

Mastercard® Gold Card™

Benefits

  • 0% introductory APR on balance transfers
  • 2% value for on-point redemption for airfare or cash back
  • $200 annual airline credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

Drawbacks

  • Has high annual fee

Who should get this card?

This card is meant for people looking for a touch of grandeur. There’s no card on the market that has the look and feel of the Mastercard® Gold Card™. According to the company, it’s heavier than other popular metal credit cards, weighing in at 22 grams.

People who like to travel could benefit greatly from this card. It has one of the highest airfare redemption values compared to other luxury credit cards. You can redeem your points at a 2% value when booking airfare through the reward site.

It also has a higher cashback value than some luxury cards. Cardholders can redeem points at a 2% cashback rate. Cashback redemptions can be deposited directly into a bank account or redeemed as a statement credit.

However, earning points may take a lot of spending; the card offers the chance to earn just 1X point per dollar spent on all purchases; points are redeemable at a 2% rate for cash back and air travel. The $995 annual fee may also be a tough hurdle to get over, as well as the $295 fee to add an authorized user.

Card basics

Card Type Rewards
Annual Fee $995
Recommended Credit Score Excellent
Intro APR 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers that post within 45 days of account opening
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Top card benefits

  • High redemption rates: The Mastercard® Gold Card™ offers a 2% redemption rate for both airfare booked through the reward site and cashback rewards. This is higher than many premium credit cards on the market.
  • Airport lounge access: This card gives you access to Priority Pass Select. You’ll gain entry to 1,300-plus airport lounges worldwide in over 500 cities. Connect to WiFi, relax in a quiet area, and grab some preflight snacks and beverages.
  • Annual airline credit: Cardholders receive up to $200 in annual air travel credit toward flight-related purchases. This can include airfare, baggage fees, lounge access, and some inflight purchases.
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit: You can get a $100 statement credit every five years for the cost of the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. Global Entry allows you to expedite your arrival from international travel. It also comes with access to the TSA PreCheck program for no additional fees.
  • Mastercard World Elite benefits: Cardholders will receive discounts from Lyft, Fandango, Boxed, ShopRunner, and Onefinestay. 
  • Luxury gifts: Another perk of this card is inclusion in the Mastercard Priceless program. While the details are vague, it includes invite-only, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Cardholders also receive a subscription to Luxury Magazine, in which you can view exclusive stories on exotic locales and more.

Earning & redeeming

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ has great redemption rates within the luxury class of credit cards. Currently, cardholders can redeem points at a 2% rate for airfare when booked through the rewards site. This is also the case for cashback redemptions. For example, if your monthly spending is $3,000, you could earn $720 in annual airfare or cashback redemption.

Racking up points with this card is simple. Cardholders can earn 1X point per dollar spent on all purchases; points are redeemable at a 2% rate for cash back and air travel. There are no bonus categories that offer higher point values. This is a card that can be used for everyday spending, large purchases, travel, and dining out. However, none of those categories will earn any more than 1X points per dollar.

Something not available with the Mastercard® Gold Card™ is a welcome offer — something that is offered by most other premium cards on the market. Lower-tier travel credit cards also grant welcome bonuses, while still providing travel perks that compete with what the Mastercard® Gold Card™ offers.

Best ways to earn

There’s really only one smart way to earn points with the Mastercard® Gold Card™ — make it your primary credit card for all spending. With the huge annual fee, you’ll need to earn as many points as possible if you want to offset the cost. All of the travel perks are nice, but without a welcome offer or bonus spending categories, you’ll need to earn points to get value from the card.

Spending could include large purchases, like electronic equipment or furniture. Everyday purchases, like gas and groceries, can add up as well. Also check which of your monthly bills can be paid by credit card.

Maximizing your redemptions

Because of the high 2% rate, your best redemption options are likely airfare, cash back, or statement credits. You can also redeem points for rental cars, hotels, and gift cards, though this only nets a 1% redemption rate.

Take advantage of the 2% airfare redemption rate by booking travel directly through the rewards website. At that rate, you could redeem 20,000 points for $400 towards airline tickets. Cardholders with high monthly spending could earn enough points to fly for cheap.

Your other top option is to opt for cash back or statement credits, both of which also have a redemption value of 2%. In that case, 20,000 points would also allow for $400 cash back.

Beyond travel and cashback redemptions, cardholders are likely wasting higher rewards-earning opportunities available from other luxury and travel credit cards on the market.

Common questions

What’s the credit limit on the Mastercard® Gold Card™?

This card doesn’t have a set credit limit, and card applicants can’t request a specific limit. Your limit will be based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

What credit score do you need to qualify for the Mastercard® Gold Card™?

There’s no specific credit score requirements listed by Mastercard, but most likely, you’ll need excellent credit to qualify for this premium card.

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

There’s no need to worry about spending when traveling abroad. The Mastercard® Gold Card™ doesn’t carry any foreign transaction fees.

How do I use Mastercard® Gold Card™’s 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge?

The Luxury Card Concierge service is available 24/7. You can connect directly to Concierge agents by email, chat, or phone anytime, and the sky's the limit with this premium service.

For example, one cardholder wanted to use the Times Square JumboTron in New York to propose to his girlfriend — a concierge agent had it arranged within two hours.

When is the Mastercard® Gold Card™’s annual fee worth it?

If you use your card for all of your spending and have a fairly large budget, you might earn enough points to justify the $995 annual fee. This would depend on your spending habits and how often you take advantage of the available travel perks.

Other cards to consider

Another card to consider is the Mastercard® Black Card™. It’s a step down in the Luxury Card line of cards, but it offers many of the same perks as the Gold Card with a lower annual fee of $495. It doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, either.

If you’re looking for a luxury charge card with a generous welcome offer, the Platinum Card from American Express has you covered. Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10X points on purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets for first 6 months (on up to $15,000 combined). You’ll also receive annual travel credits for Uber rides and certain hotel costs.

Great Redemption Rate on Your Rewards

Mastercard® Gold Card™

Mastercard® Gold Card™

Mastercard® Gold Card™

Special Offer

Annual $200 airline credit

See how these cards compare:

Mastercard® Black Card™
Mastercard® Black Card™
  • 0% introductory APR on balance transfers
  • Redeem points for travel or cash back
  • Annual $100 airline fees credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express
  • 75,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • 10X points on purchases at U.S. gas stations and supermarkets
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply