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

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

The Mastercard® Black Card™ is an expensive metal card without substantial perks — we suggest choosing another luxury card with better benefits.

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Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Quick facts

More details

Rates & fees

  • Credit needed: 660 - 850
  • Earning rate: 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 fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • Airport lounge access: Priority Pass™ Select membership
  • Up to $100 annual airline incidental credit
  • Global Entry and TSA Precheck application credit
  • Private jet access through TCS World Travel
  • Travel and purchase protections
  • Luxury Card Experiences
  • Luxury Card Concierge

Quick facts

  • Credit needed: 660 - 850
  • Earning rate: 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 fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • Airport lounge access: Priority Pass™ Select membership
  • Up to $100 annual airline incidental credit
  • Global Entry and TSA Precheck application credit
  • Private jet access through TCS World Travel
  • Travel and purchase protections
  • Luxury Card Experiences
  • Luxury Card Concierge

More details

  • 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.

Rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: N/A
  • Regular Purchase APR: 16.49%
  • Intro BT APR: 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.
  • Regular BT APR: After that, (and for balance transfers that do not post within 45 days of account opening) your APR will be 16.49%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
  • Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Pros

  • Luxurious card weighs 22 grams
  • 0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • Priority Pass™ Select membership
  • Offers a couple of travel credits
  • Private jet access
  • Travel and purchase protections
  • Luxury Card Experiences
  • Luxury Card Concierge

Cons

  • $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account) annual fee
  • $195 authorized user fee
  • No sign-up bonus
  • Other premium cards offer better benefits
  • Other premium cards offer more impressive earning rates
  • No transfer partners
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Is the Mastercard® Black Card™ worth it?

If you're going to pay a high annual fee for a premium credit card, the Mastercard® Black Card™ (formerly the Visa Black Card) probably isn't the one you should choose. With a relatively low earning rate and subpar benefits — particularly when compared to what other premium travel cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, are offering — the Mastercard® Black Card™ doesn't really compete. Other premium credit cards offer more airport lounge access, elite status with hotel rewards programs, more substantial travel credits and welcome offers that can earn cardholders hundreds of dollars in rewards right off the bat which help offset the annual fee.

The main draw of the Mastercard® Black Card™ is its status symbol — the card is made from black PVD-coated metal and weighs in at a whopping 22 grams, heavier than the two aforementioned cards. The card also offers a few unique benefits, including access to private jets through TCS World Travel. If the status of owning a black card is the most important consideration for you, you can certainly be happy with the Mastercard® Black Card™; if not, however, you might consider another premium credit card instead.

Who is the Mastercard® Black Card™ best for?

The Mastercard® Black Card™ is best for high-earning consumers with 660 - 850 credit who are looking for a luxury credit card. We recommend this card for those who want a credit card that affords them bragging rights, as this heavy metal black card can do just that. However, for consumers more concerned with earning rewards and enjoying premium card perks, other luxury credit cards may be a better fit.

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Earning rate

The Mastercard® Black Card™ offers cardholders 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.

While the redemption options help to give this earning rate a bit of a boost, you still only earn one point per dollar on all purchases, which is low for a premium rewards card. The card doesn't offer any bonus earning categories, which makes it more challenging to accumulate points.

Annual fee

The Mastercard® Black Card™ charges a $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account) annual fee. This high fee is typical of premium rewards cards, and is only likely to appeal to high-earning consumers who can afford a luxury credit card and seek the luxury benefits that come with it. While this card does come with a variety of extravagant perks, it doesn't offer much by way of travel credits or a sign-up bonus to offset the annual fee.

Redeeming rewards

The Mastercard® Black Card™ lets cardholders redeem their rewards for either airfare or cash back. You'll get 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 solid redemption rates if you're able to rack up sufficient points with your regular spending on the card.

However, this card doesn't include any transfer partners. In contrast, both the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express offer transfer partners that can be used to maximize your points value and offer more redemption flexibility.

Airport lounge access

Mastercard® Black Card™ holders are automatically enrolled in Priority Pass™ Select, which gives you access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world. A nice thing about this perk, beyond its widespread availability, is that it doesn't matter what airline or fare class you're booked on, you'll always be able to use your Priority Pass™ membership.

Airport lounge access can be an extremely useful benefit if you travel frequently and can appreciate luxury amenities to make your trip more comfortable.

Travel perks

The Mastercard® Black Card™ offers up to $100 annually towards airline-related costs. This includes everything from tickets and in-flight purchases to upgrades and baggage fees. This benefit can certainly come in handy for frequent travelers and help to partially offset the cost of the card’s hefty annual fee.

But while this is a nice perk, it still pales in comparison to the travel credits offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers $300 in annual travel credits, while The Platinum Card® from American Express offers up to $200 in airline fee credits (enrollment required), plus an additional up to $200 hotel credit.

The Mastercard® Black Card™ will cover your Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee — a benefit valued at $100. Global Entry is a program that expedites customs clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Global Entry applicants are automatically enrolled in TSA Precheck. This benefit allows you to move through TSA security lines faster as well. Together, these benefits can save you hours at the airport.

Mastercard® Black Card™ cardholders will have access to both pre-scheduled and customizable private jet itineraries through TCS World Travel. This is one of the more unique features of the card, and works to cement its status as a luxury travel card. Note that cardmembers are responsible for flight costs when using this service.

The Mastercard® Black Card™ offers cardmembers an Airport Meet and Assist service that you can use when you arrive at your destination, before you depart or when taking a connecting flight. Mastercard sends an agent to accompany you through the airport, helping you circumvent crowds and long lines and speeding up formalities like customs and TSA lines.

Travel and purchase protections

  • Cell phone protection: Pay your cell phone bill with your card and receive yearly coverage for eligible damage or theft.
  • Travel accident and baggage delay protection: You can receive up to $100 a day for three days for baggage delays of more than four hours from arrival in your destination. You can also get up to $250,000 coverage for accidental death and dismemberment when you pay for your trip with your card.
  • Mastercard ID theft protection: Access to 24/7 theft resolution services including replacing your card and notifying the credit agencies if you’re a victim of identity theft.
  • $0 fraud liability protection: You won't be responsible for any fraudulent charges made on your card.
  • Masterrental coverage: Secondary rental car coverage when you pay for the entire rental on your card and decline coverage at the rental agency.
  • Travel assistance services: Provides 24/7 travel assistance for you and your travel companions whenever you travel more than 50 miles from home. This includes Master Trip Travel Assistance, Medical Assistance and Master Legal Referral Service.
  • Enhanced trip cancellation and interruption insurance: Secondary coverage for roundtrip trips purchased with your card. This includes up to $5,000 per person if your trip is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason.

Other Mastercard® Black Card™ benefits

The Mastercard® Black Card™ boasts a black PVD metal coding and weighs 22 grams. This is heavier than other premium credit cards in this category and works to enhance its status as a luxury black card.

Cardmembers have access to a 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge who can assist with travel bookings, personal requests and more. This feature is branded as a "lifestyle management tool" that offers top quality service and can help you save time. This can be useful for cardholders who regularly take advantage of it.

As with any good travel rewards card, the Mastercard® Black Card™ doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. This can save you hundreds of dollars on fees incurred when using your card abroad.

Cardholders have access to exclusive, specially curated experiences as well as off the beaten path experiences and adventures — these could include VIP food and wine tastings and access to remote mountain lodges.

These include travel, shopping and other special offers that are regularly available to cardmembers. DoorDash, HelloFresh, Lyft and Fandango are just some of the partners currently providing special offers.

Mastercard offers cardholders unique, invitation-only experiences including things like insider access to exclusive events in cities around the globe, exclusive golf offers and experiences with the PGA Tour and special Priceless Surprises that can happen anywhere, any time.

Drawbacks

  • $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account): The huge annual fee and authorized user fee that comes with this card is an obvious drawback. While the Mastercard® Black Card™ definitely offers some unique benefits, you'll have to decide whether they're enough to make up for these high fees.
  • No sign-up bonus: The fact that this premium card excludes a sign-up bonus is a major drawback. Most other premium credit cards include rather generous welcome offers, which are essential in offsetting the annual fee.
  • Other premium cards offer better benefits: Premium cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express offer more (and more substantial) travel credits, hotel elite status (enrollment required), more airport lounge access and better purchase and travel protections. While the Mastercard® Black Card™ offers its own set of perks, it doesn't compare to other cards in its category.
  • Other premium cards offer more impressive earning rates: Cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, for example, offer significant amounts of rewards in their bonus categories and allow for flexible redemption through their travel portal and transfer partners. Because the Mastercard® Black Card™ is lacking bonus categories, other premium cards offer greater rewards value.
  • Lack of transfer partners: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers 14 hotel and airline transfer partners through its Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, while The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 15 transfer partners through its Membership Rewards program. Not only do transfer partners give users more options to choose from for redeeming their rewards, but they also allow you to maximize your rewards when transferring to certain partners.

What credit score is needed for the Mastercard® Black Card™?

The Mastercard® Black Card™ requires a 660 - 850 credit score. You'll want to make sure your credit score is high enough before applying to increase your chances of approval.

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Alternatives to the Mastercard® Black Card™

While this card has its benefits, we feel that the average person could do better when it comes to selecting a premium rewards card. The following are alternative options to the Mastercard® Black Card™ that are worth considering.

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Annual Fee
$495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
$550
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On Chase's Secure Website

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

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

Verdict: Excellent perks, high welcome offer and strong rewards rates in bonus categories.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel card with some of the best airport lounge benefits available. Users will have access to the Global Lounge Collection, which includes a Priority Pass™ membership (enrollment required), Centurion Lounges, Delta Skyclubs and more.

Though this card has a higher annual fee than the Mastercard® Black Card™, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers more bang for your buck. It offers numerous travel credits, complimentary elite status on Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy (enrollment required) and substantial purchase and travel protections. If you're going to shell out hundreds of dollars in annual fees for a premium travel card, we recommend choosing the card that offers the best returns — which in this case, is not the Mastercard® Black Card™.

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

Mastercard® Black Card™ vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: A top premium card offering valuable and flexible rewards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is one of the most popular premium credit cards on the market, due to its long list of benefits and extremely high-value rewards program. Right off the bat, this card offers a $300 annual travel credit, which helps offset the $550 annual fee.

You have the option to redeem your rewards for 50% more value through the Ultimate Rewards program, or transfer them to a number of Chase's travel and hotel partners. The annual fee is only slightly more than what the Mastercard® Black Card™ charges, and you'll get more flexibility and more meaningful benefits.

Should you get the Mastercard® Black Card™?

You should get the Mastercard® Black Card™ if you're primarily concerned with owning a heavy, metal card that will afford you bragging rights as a Mastercard® Black Card™ owner. If you'd rather go with a card that offers higher earning rates and more significant perks and benefits, you might consider another premium credit card instead.

Frequently asked questions

What is a black card?

Black cards are elite credit cards only available to high-earning consumers, which typically charge high annual fees and offer premium benefits. They are largely considered to be status symbols of the ultra-wealthy, with some only available by invitation.

How to get a black card?

While some black cards are illusive and invitation-only, like the Centurion® Card from American Express, you can apply for the Mastercard® Black Card™ directly online. You'll need to have a 660 - 850 credit score to be approved, however.

What are the Black Card requirements?

Different black cards will have different requirements, including things like a high credit score and a certain annual income. However, the Mastercard® Black Card™ only requires consumers to meet a certain credit score and be able to pay the annual fee.

How much money do you need for a Mastercard® Black Card™?

The Mastercard® Black Card™ charges a $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account) annual fee.

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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