The Mastercard® Black Card™: Is It Worth Paying $495 Annually?

The Mastercard® Black Card™: Is It Worth Paying $495 Annually?

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The Mastercard® Black Card™ (formerly the Visa Black Card) is a good luxury credit card intended for individuals with Excellent/Very Good credit scores and high incomes. While only a limited number of people will actually qualify, it comes with top-tier travel benefits and features that make this card attractive. While good, it won’t make any "best" lists, because there are other cards in this category that perform better from a dollar-to-dollar perspective. For example, you can get better airport lounge access and airline fee credits with the Citi Prestige® Credit Card while paying less annually.

Review: Is the Mastercard® Black Card™ the most luxurious card?

Despite being one of the most expensive credit cards available to consumers, the Mastercard® Black Card™ doesn’t come with enough benefits to make it stand out from the crowd. It’s a solid offer and has enough features given its price tag. However, consumers would be better off applying for other premium cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express. Other premium cards tend to come with better airport lounge access features and welcome bonuses. The latter oftentimes helps put a dent in the high annual fee. It's really disappointing that the Mastercard® Black Card™ does not have any welcome incentives.

There’s still a lot the Mastercard® Black Card™ does well. It has strong rewards on everyday spending. Users are awarded 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1.5% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent. These are above-average rates not seen on most cards. Additionally, Mastercard® Black Card™ cardmembers get complimentary access to Lounge Club, Global Entry Fee waivers and an annual airline fee credit. All these benefits can be quite valuable to someone who calls an airport their second home.

Mastercard® Black Card™

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$495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)

14.99%

Excellent/Very Good

  • Patented black-PVD-coated metal card—weighing 22 grams.
  • 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1.5% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.
  • Annual Airline Credit—up to $100 in statement credits toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Up to a $100 application fee credit for the cost of TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry.
  • Enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select with access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide with no guest limit. Includes credits at select airport restaurants for cardholder and one guest.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Around-the-clock service to help you save time and manage tasks big and small.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., resort credits, room upgrades, free wifi, breakfast for two and more) at over 3,000 properties.
  • Cell phone protection for eligible claims of up to $1,000 each year. Plus additional World Elite Mastercard® benefits.
  • Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User). Terms and conditions apply.

Bottom Line: Ultimately, you can get better benefits for less money with other credit cards. Those who like this card’s stainless steel construction, luxury magazine subscription and other ancillary benefits may want to sign-up regardless – these features are fairly unique. However, from a pure dollar perspective, consumers could do better.

Mastercard® Black Card™ benefits and features

The Mastercard® Black Card™ is a luxury card mainly intended for individuals who find themselves traveling a lot. The card provides complimentary access to airport lounges, airline annual airline credit and other travel benefits. On top of this, being a cardholder gives you 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1.5% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.

The card comes with a $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account) annual fee. If you want to add authorized users to the account it will cost you an additional $195 per year for each one.

Lounge benefits

Primary cardholders receive membership to Priority Pass™ Select. This gives you the ability to enter participating airport lounges all around the world. These have access to varying amenities – anything from conference rooms to showers. The exact details on what’s available in one lounge versus another will depend on the location.

Priority Pass provides access to more than 1,300 lounges in more than 500 cities worldwide.

Annual airline fee credit and global entry fee waiver

With the Mastercard® Black Card™ you receive $100 every year that can be applied towards airline fees – anything from tickets, to in-flight purchases and baggage fees. If you find yourself saddled with these types of charges every year, a benefit like this can partially offset the cost of the card’s hefty annual fee.

Furthermore, the Mastercard® Black Card™ will cover your Global Entry application fee – a benefit valued at $100. Global Entry is a program that expedites customs clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. After submitting your application and paying the fee, you go through a brief interview and are allowed to go through U.S. customs much faster. Global Entry applicants are automatically enrolled in TSA Pre-check. This benefit allows you to move through TSA security lines faster as well. You pass through a separate line in which you aren’t required to take off your shoes or do other things that would normally slow the process down. Together, these benefits can save you hours at the airport.

How does the Mastercard® Black Card™ compare to other options?

There are two key factors that separate the Mastercard® Black Card™ from other luxury cards – annual fee and welcome bonuses. With the $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account) annual fee, the Mastercard® Black Card™ is more expensive than other options. It also doesn’t have any sign-up bonus. Together, these factors are what make this a rather weak card by comparison. We took a deeper dive into how the card compares to other cards of its type.

Mastercard® Black Card™ vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel card. It has some of the best airport lounge benefits available. On top of giving users Priority Pass membership (enrollment required), you also get access to the Centurion Lounges. Though few in number, they are some of the most highly reviewed ones. Some, like the one in New York’s LaGuardia Airport, even have a dentist’s office. Though it has a slightly higher annual fee, The Platinum Card® from American Express is better than the Mastercard® Black Card™ in the luxury department due to its superior lounge access (See Rates & Fees).

The only spot where the Mastercard® Black Card™ is better is spending rewards: 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1.5% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent. The rewards rate on the card varies between 1.5% and 2%, depending on how you redeem. On The Platinum Card® from American Express, you will get a 1% rate on most purchases. However, if you’re thinking of getting a card for the rewards it will provide you on day-to-day spending, there are better and cheaper options than either of these two cards.

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

Mastercard® Black Card™ vs Citi Prestige® Credit Card

The Citi Prestige® Credit Card is another strong high-annual-fee credit card ($495). The card has a solid lounge access offering – similar to that of The Platinum Card® from American Express. With the Citi Prestige® Credit Card, you get a $250 Travel credit that can be used on all travel expenses charged to your card. This benefit renews each year and is $150 better than what you get with the Mastercard® Black Card™.

All the other bells and whistles we’ve come to expect on premium cards are present on the Citi Prestige® Credit Card as well. Cardholders get Global Entry fee reimbursement, a concierge, and $0 foreign transaction fees. You don't have to worry about missing out on any major benefits if you get the Citi Prestige® Credit Card instead of the Mastercard® Black Card™.

The information related to the Citi Prestige® Credit Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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