Mastercard® Titanium Card™ review: Made of steel, but ultimately a lightweight

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In a Nutshell

The Mastercard® Titanium Card™ sells itself as an elite travel rewards card for luxury travelers, but its rewards and perks don’t offer clear value. The card may make sense for those who want the look of a luxury card and don’t mind paying for it, but the features might not be strong enough to justify the annual fee.

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Pros Cons
2% value for airfare redemptions $195 annual fee
Luxury concierge and booking services Reward rates are low compared with other premium cards
No blackout dates for travel redemptions Reward points only redeemable through the card’s travel booking portal

 

From our partner

Mastercard® Titanium Card™

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

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

The Mastercard® Titanium Card™, like its high-end siblings Mastercard® Black Card™ and Mastercard® Gold Card™, is made of metal (stainless steel, in this case) and built to impress cashiers anywhere you use it. But the perks and rewards program don’t live up to the value that its $195 annual fee promises.

A lackluster rewards program

The Mastercard® Titanium Card™ promises a 2% airfare redemption rate, which would give it one of the highest point valuations we’ve seen in any rewards program. Unfortunately, this rate doesn’t give an especially clear sense of the rewards value you get for your spending.

For one thing, it will take a lot of spending to earn your points, because each $1 you spend on purchases with the Mastercard® Titanium Card™ earns just one point. Although that’s a common rate for the “all other purchases” categories of other rewards cards, those cards often feature bonus categories or a two-points-per-dollar rate for all purchases that can help you build up points more quickly. Also, you can’t earn fractions of points, so a $49.50 purchase would be rounded up to 50 points and a $49.49 purchase would be rounded down to 49.

In practice, then, the Mastercard® Titanium Card™ will give you 2 cents of rewards value for every $1 you spend on purchases only if you redeem your points for airfare. If you redeem your points for cash back or other travel expenses like hotel stays or car rentals, you get a standard value of 1 cent per point.

Compare these rates to a no-frills cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 2% cash back on every purchase you make (1% when you use the card and 1% when you pay your bill). You could likely get more value from the Citi® Double Cash Card, and it doesn’t charge an annual fee.

Restrictions on your redemptions

While that 2% rate on airfare sounds like a good deal, there are restrictions on what you can book to get it.

All flight redemptions must be made through the Luxury Card portal, which gives you access to a similar range of flights you’d see using any major travel search engine. That means you can book travel with no blackout dates or other restrictions common to airline and hotel reward programs.

But you can use your rewards points only for airfare through this portal. You can’t transfer to any partner airlines or hotels to redeem through their programs, and you can’t make a travel purchase elsewhere and then apply your points as a statement credit to cover that expense.

You get access to luxury, but it will cost you

Although rewards might stand out on other cards, it’s the many benefits you can access via the Luxury Card concierge that make up the core feature of the Mastercard® Titanium Card™. The concierge offers many services, including the booking of flights and hotels to the arranging of a flower delivery to a loved one.

Just keep in mind that most of these services aren’t complimentary and some may lead to additional charges. Although you won’t pay anything for the concierge specifically, you will pay for a chartered yacht or the stay at your favorite hotel.

Other benefits could offer a mix of comped and full-price services. For instance, a customer service representative told us in an April 2019 phone call that the global luggage delivery service is complimentary the first time you use it, but after that is dependent on what you ship.

In other words, the card could get you smoother access to luxury services, but it won’t always cover the cost of the service itself. You can get similar concierge service from other cards — for example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which comes with a $95 annual fee, gives you access to the Visa Signature Concierge service.

What’s missing?

The Mastercard® Titanium Card™ lacks some key perks and benefits we’ve come to expect from a card with a $195 annual fee.

For instance, numerous travel cards offer a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit of up to $100 every four or five years. It doesn’t have to be a fancy card, either — Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card includes this perk with a $0 intro, $95 after first year annual fee.

Given the low rewards rates, we would expect some additional higher-level benefit for a $195 annual fee. That could be a membership to an airport lounge, or even an incidental fee credit with an airline of your choice. In short, we think there should be something in the rewards program or list of perks to help offset the cost of the annual fee.

Who this card is good for

The Mastercard® Titanium Card™ is best for people who want the look of luxury and don’t mind paying for it. Clearly, private jets, chauffeurs and airport guides are not for everyone. But if you want easy access to those services with a quick call to one phone number, the Mastercard® Titanium Card™ has you covered.

If your biggest concern is getting rewards value, though, you would probably be better off with another card. Based on our calculations, you’d have to spend $9,750 and redeem all of your points for airfare to break even on the $195 annual fee. This card catches the eye and advertises some flashy perks, but you might not get enough value to justify the cost.

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

If you want a card that offers a combination of strong rewards and perks, consider these options.