The premium credit card market is very hot. It’s been that way ever since the runaway success of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
However, even before that card was released in 2016, Mastercard offered three products under the Luxury Card brand. Mega-bank Barclays issues these cards, including Mastercard® Black Card™.
We looked into this card program, and this is what we found.
What Is Mastercard® Black Card™?
The Mastercard® Black Card™ is the middle of the three products in MasterCard’s Luxury Card range. It has a $495 annual fee, yet it offers many of the features you’ll find with the $995 Gold Card — minus the 24-karat gold plating of course.
Its most valuable feature is the Priority Pass Select airport business lounge access. It also offers 15 months of 0% APR financing on balance transfers, along with numerous travel insurance and shopping protection benefits.
Mastercard® Black Card™ Features
|Introductory Financing||15 months of 0% APR financing on balance transfers completed within 45 days of account opening, with a 3% balance transfer fee|
|Rewards for Spending||2% rewards toward airfare; 1.5% rewards toward cash back|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||None|
|Travel Benefits||$100 annual airline credit; $100 Global Entry application fee credit; Priority Pass Select airport business lounge membership; Luxury Card travel program; baggage delay insurance; trip cancellation and interruption coverage; trip delay coverage|
|Shopping Benefits||Luxury Card concierge; return guarantee; extended warranty|
|Mobile Wallet Compatibility||None|
|Contactless Payment Compatibility||No|
|Customer Service||Phone: Mon–Sun 7A–12A; Email|
Who Is Mastercard® Black Card™ Good For?
First things first: To qualify for a Mastercard® Black Card™, you need excellent credit. It’s also designed for higher net-worth individuals; the high annual fee of $495 may present a barrier to entry for many everyday folks, but those who can afford it will find the fee worth it for the luxury benefits they receive.
Mastercard® Black Card™ Pros and Cons
- Rewards — This card offers 2% rewards value for airfare and 1.5% for cash-back redemptions.
- Interest-Free Financing — New applicants receive 15 months of 0% APR financing on balance transfers completed within 45 days of account opening.
- Airport Lounge Membership — The Priority Pass Select membership offers you access to 1,400 lounges and restaurants around the world.
- Luxury Gifts — Mastercard will send you high-priced merchandise from name-brand companies.
- Global Entry, the TSA’s Trusted Traveler Program — You receive a $100 application fee credit.
- Credit Toward Airfare Purchases — Enjoy a $100 annual annual credit toward airfare.
- Travel Insurance and Purchase Protection Benefits — This card offers numerous policies such as trip delay insurance and extended warranty coverage.
- Annual Fee — The $495 annual fee is very high.
- Additional User Fees — You have to pay $195 for each additional user.
- No Signup Bonus — Most other premium reward cards offer a bonus for new applicants.
How Does the Mastercard® Black Card™ Compare?
The closest comparison is to the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card (full comparison here). This is another luxury credit card with a high annual fee, in this case, $450. For the Sapphire Reserve Card, Chase has partnered with 13 travel partners, including favorites Southwest and Marriott.
However, the Chase card may be better when it comes to rewards. The Mastercard® Black Card™ gives you one point per every dollar spent — no matter if that was spent on travel expenses or not. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers three points per every dollar spent on travel expenses or in restaurants and one point per dollar on all other purchases.
How to Earn Mastercard® Black Card™ Bonuses and Benefits
This card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, but it does give new applicants 15 months of interest-free financing on balance transfers completed within 45 days of account opening. Its benefits include a Priority Pass Select membership that grants you access to more than 1,400 airport business lounges and credit at dozens of restaurants. You also receive a $100 annual air travel credit and a $100 credit toward the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, which includes PreCheck.
One unique feature is that this card occasionally sends you luxury gifts from famous brand names. It also includes numerous travel insurance and purchase protection benefits.
With this card, points are worth 2¢ toward airfare redemptions and 1.5¢ toward cash-back awards. There’s no limit to the amount of rewards you can receive.
Mastercard® Black Card™ Fees
This card has a $495 annual fee, plus a $195 fee for each additional authorized cardholder. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, and the cash advance fee is either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance — whichever is greater. There are late payment and returned payment fees of up to $37, and there are no foreign transaction fees.
Signing Up for the Mastercard® Black Card™
Luxury Card requires that applicants have excellent credit to be approved for the Mastercard® Black Card™. You can apply for the card online at luxurycard.com or by calling 1-844-589-2283.
Although Mastercard® Black Card™ doesn’t offer users 24/7 customer service support, the hours are quite long: from 7 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.
Mastercard® Black Card™ Mobile
There is a Luxury Card App available at the Apple and Android App Stores. Features include 24/7 live chat with Concierge agents, links to cardmember benefits and account management tools. You can also explore and book travel offers.
The Mastercard® Black Card™ seeks a middle ground between the top-of-the-line Gold Card and the more affordable Titanium Card. But thankfully, this card offers nearly all the Gold Card benefits for about half the price. The key differences are the 1.5% value for cash back redemptions, instead of the Gold Card’s 2%, the $100 annual air travel credit, instead of Gold’s $200, and the lack of the gold-plated card.
But when you compare the Mastercard® Black Card™ against its competitors, it may come up short. Other premium cards such as the American Express Platinum card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Citi Prestige offer points that can be transferred to airline miles. These cards also offer a range of categories that offer up to 5x bonus point per dollar.
Unfortunately, all of the Luxury Cards, including the Mastercard® Black Card™, fail to offer this flexibility. In the end, the Mastercard® Black Card™ is all about the perception of luxury, including receiving gifts spontaneously. If this perception is what you’re after, the Mastercard® Black Card™ offers the best value among the four cards.