Mastercard® Black Card™ review: A luxury credit card worth the $495 annual fee?

Sunbathing young woman enjoys the benefits of her Mastercard Black Card Image:

In a Nutshell

With its show-stopping steel design, the Mastercard® Black Card™ is clearly aimed at consumers looking for a luxury credit card. This sleek black card offers unique travel benefits, including an annual airline credit of up to $100 toward qualified purchases, a $100 statement credit for a Global Entry application and airport lounge access. But you’ll have to weigh those benefits against a huge annual fee: $495; $195 for each additional user.

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Pros Cons
Redemption rate of 2% for airfare and 1.5% for cash back Steep annual fee
$100 annual airline credit toward qualified purchases High fee for adding an authorized user
Luxury gifts program To get the 2% redemption value for airfare, travel must be booked through the card’s affiliated agency
Flashy stainless-steel card

 

From our partner

Mastercard® Black Card™

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

What you need to know about the Mastercard® Black Card™

Sure, it may not boast the same “wow” factor as its gold-plated sibling, the Mastercard® Gold Card™, but the Mastercard® Black Card™ still qualifies as a status symbol. And if that’s what you’re looking for, it may be the right choice for you.

Whether it’s a smart choice is a different matter — especially given all the other luxury travel rewards cards competing with it. But if you’ve got your eye on the Mastercard® Black Card™, you could still end up with some great travel benefits. Let’s take a look.

Rewards

The Mastercard® Black Card™ offers a points-based rewards program. You’ll earn one point for every $1 spent on purchases. You can redeem your points at a rate of 2% for airfare (through myluxurycard.com or calling customer service) and at 1.5% for cash back.

Given the different redemption rates, we recommend redeeming your points for airfare to get the maximum value. The difference can be significant: 50,000 points add up to $1,000 in airfare but only $750 in cash back.

Travel benefits

Mastercard® Black Card™ members receive an annual airline credit of up to $100 toward qualified purchases, including lounge access and baggage fees.

Members also receive a $100 statement credit to cover the cost of the Global Entry application fee. Global Entry can be a great relief for frequent travelers, as it allows expedited arrival into the United States from international destinations. It also includes enrollment in TSA PreCheck for speedier security screening at domestic airports.

Luxury perks

Mastercard® Black Card™ cardholders benefit from Luxury Card Concierge, which operates much like a hotel concierge service. In fact, consultants are available to help whether you’re at home or traveling to any number of global destinations. Whether you’re trying to get tickets to a sold-out show or picking your next travel destination, they’ve got you covered.

Other luxury perks include access to VIP airport lounges with Priority Pass Select, room upgrades at participating hotels, a luxury gift program and access to a members-only luxury magazine.

What else you should know about the Mastercard® Black Card™

If you aren’t frightened by the annual fee, then you probably won’t be fazed by anything else this card throws at you. With that said, you’ll want to ask yourself whether the benefits you expect to receive are really worth that high annual fee. Here are a few things to consider.

  • High cost for adding an authorized user: If you decide to add an authorized user, it will set you back $195 annually for each user you add, in addition to the $495 annual fee. If you add just one user, that’s still far below the annual fee you’ll pay for the Mastercard® Gold Card™ ($995; $295 for each additional user), but it’s nothing to scoff at.
  • This isn’t a charge card: You’ll also want to note that the Mastercard® Black Card™ is not a charge card. You can carry a balance with this card, but be careful not to rack up too much in interest charges.
  • No sign-up bonus: Another key feature missing from this card is a sign-up bonus of any kind. Many travel credit cards offer significant sign-up bonuses, so that definitely feels like a missed opportunity here.

Understanding your points and redemption

How can you get the most out of the Mastercard® Black Card™? Travel. That’s how.

With double points when redeemed for airfare, it’s not too difficult to reach the value of a ticket that exceeds the annual fee for this card.

Spend $25,000 annually on your card, and you’re looking at a $500 value when you redeem your points for airfare. That alone surpasses the annual fee. Factor in all the other benefits you get with this card, and you should come out comfortably ahead.

Just be sure to actually use those benefits. The $100 Global Entry application fee and $100 annual airline credit are worth nothing if they’re not used.

Who this card is good for

No doubt about it: The high annual fee makes the Mastercard® Black Card™ undesirable for many people. But for a person who travels a lot, the pros can easily outweigh the cons.

Whether you get this card or a different luxury travel card will depend on a number of questions you’ll have to ask yourself. How much does the lack of a sign-up bonus hurt this card’s appeal? Can you spend enough (within your budget, of course) to make the annual fee worth it? Do you want to impress your friends or business associates with a sleek, exclusive-looking card?

If so, then the Mastercard® Black Card™ might just be the luxury card for you.

Not sure this is the black card for you? Consider these alternatives.