Mastercard® Gold Card™: Stylish, but lacking in substance

Young woman shopping with the Mastercard Gold Card Young woman shopping with the Mastercard Gold Card Image:

In a Nutshell

If you’re looking to shell out almost a grand each year for a shiny status symbol, you might be tempted by the Mastercard® Gold Card™. This is a legitimate gold card — complete with 24-karat gold plating and a show-stopping look. But most people will want to think twice before applying for the Mastercard® Gold Card™, thanks to its extremely high annual fee: $995; $295 for each additional user.

Marcie Geffner is a personal finance writer and has written for PNC Bank, Key Bank, BMO Bank, J.P. Morgan, Peoples Bank, Union Bank, LoanDepot, LendingTree and American Express. Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors' opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when it’s posted.
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Pros Cons
Redemption rates of 2% for airfare and cash back Huge annual fee
$200 annual airline credit toward qualified purchases To get the 2% redemption value for airfare, travel must be booked through myluxurycard.com or by calling the card’s customer service
Luxury gifts program
Flashy 24k-gold card

 

From our partner

Mastercard® Gold Card™

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

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

At a glance, there’s a lot to like about the benefits package that comes with the Mastercard® Gold Card™. In addition to a flashy gold-plated credit card, you will get …

Rewards

The Mastercard® Gold 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 and cash back.

Travel benefits

Mastercard® Gold Card™ members receive a $200 annual airline credit toward qualified purchases, including upgrades and baggage fees

There’s also a $100 statement credit to offset the application fee for the Global Entry program. Global Entry allows expedited arrival into the United States from international destinations, and members can also participate in TSA PreCheck for faster domestic security screening.

If you plan on traveling overseas, you’ll also benefit from no foreign transaction fees — a standard feature of travel credit cards at this level.

Luxury perks

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ comes with a 24/7 concierge service, plus access to a members-only luxury magazine.

What are credit card points and miles (really) worth?

What else you need to know about the Mastercard® Gold Card™

Despite the attractive luxury and travel benefits of this card, you should think hard about whether you can stomach its less-compelling attributes.

  • Extremely high annual fee: If you think the Platinum Card® from American Express has a hefty price tag at $550, you’ll likely need a glass of water when you see this gold card’s annual fee: $995; $295 for each additional user. Hey, nobody said luxury comes cheap.
  • Lifetime costs: Not to keep harping on the same aspect of this card, but that annual fee warrants further examination. Let’s say you add an additional authorized user at $295 per year. The total annual fee, for you plus your second user, jumps to $1,290. Multiply that by, say, five years, and you’ll have spent $6,450 to keep this card in your wallet.
  • No sign-up bonus: Many travel credit cards come with huge sign-up bonuses that help you build a cushion of points from the get-go. Not this one.

Is the Mastercard® Gold Card™ really worth it?

It’s important to do a costs vs. benefits comparison when you’re thinking about applying for a new credit card. That’s especially true of a luxury card with a high annual fee.

You may get the most value out of the card’s 2% redemption rate for cash back or airfare. But to recoup the full cost of the annual fee, you’d have to charge nearly $50,000 per year to your card, then redeem all your points from those purchases for cash back or airfare.

“When considering any premium card, you need to compare the value of the benefits you’ll actually use to the price of the card and to the best alternative card which offers similar perks,” says Gary Leff, the travel expert behind miles and points blog .

Travel rewards vs. cash back: How to choose the right card for you

An example of a benefit you may or may not use is the $100 Global Entry application fee credit.

If you use your Mastercard® Gold Card™ to pay the $100 application fee, you’ll get a credit on your card statement two to three weeks later for the full amount of the fee. But if you don’t apply for the program, this benefit won’t have any value for you.

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