Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
Prosperous cardholders who value luxury and exclusivity may get some satisfaction out of the Mastercard Black Card. If carrying a weighty metal card that looks impressive when you use it appeals to you, then the Black Card may be worth checking out.
The Black Card’s rewards program is simpler than the rewards programs with other luxury cards. That may appeal to cardholders who don’t want to think too much about their points.
You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the Black Card—and be able to afford the three-figure annual fee.
It weighs more than other luxury cards
Better-than-average points value
Good 0% interest balance transfer offer
Low rewards-earning rate and no sign-up bonus
Relatively weak slate of cardholder perks
Annual fee difficult to justify
Points don’t transfer to travel partners
- It weighs more than other luxury cards: Some credit card enthusiasts place a lot of value in high-end cards that weigh more than the average plastic credit card. Luxury Card has capitalized on this trend by producing a carbon-and-stainless steel card that weighs significantly more than its competitors.
- Better-than-average points value: Depending on how you redeem them, Black Card points could be worth as much as 1.5 to 2 cents a piece. By contrast, competitors’ points are worth 1 to 1.5 cents each, according to The Balance's estimates.
- Good 0% interest balance transfer offer: It’s rare to find a premium card with a balance transfer deal. This one gives you 15 billing cycles to pay off transferred balances with no interest. That’s a solid offer and the 3% fee is lower than what many cards charge these days. The card’s standard interest rate is also on the low end.
While the balance transfer offer is a good one, you only have 45 days after account opening to take advantage of it.
- Low rewards-earning rate and no sign-up bonus: Unlike its competitors, the Black Card doesn’t offer any bonus points on select purchases, nor does it offer a sign-up bonus. In contrast, most competitors make it relatively easy for big spenders to rack up points quickly.
- Relatively weak slate of cardholder perks: The Black Card offers a smattering of perks that have become routine on ultra premium credit cards, such as rebates on travel purchases, airport lounge access, and travel insurance. However, the Black Card’s benefits are stingier than what you’ll find on competing cards. Its airline fee reimbursement, for example, is only worth $100. Compare that to competitors that offer $250 to $300 in similar types of rebates.
- Annual fee is difficult to earn back: Many ultra premium credit cards offer so many high value benefits that they far outweigh the cost of the annual fee. Not so with the Black Card. Its airline fee reimbursement and application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck are worth just $200 combined—$295 less than the annual fee. If you find yourself spending a lot of time in airport lounges, the Priority Pass membership may tip the value in your favor.
- Points don’t transfer to partner loyalty programs: Unlike other premium travel rewards programs, this one doesn’t have any travel partners, so you can’t transfer your points to frequent flyer or hotel rewards programs. That’s a huge miss for rewards maximizers who can get significantly more value out of points they’ve transferred to airlines or hotels.
Cardholders who carry premium cards from other issuers may be able to get as much as 9 cents per point out of their rewards if they transfer them to the right partner.
Earning Points & Rewards
When it comes to earning credit card rewards, the Mastercard Black Card keeps it simple: You get 1 point per $1 spent, no matter what you buy.
The Black Card’s low-maintenance rewards structure is nice for cardholders who don’t want to mess with bonus categories and complicated rewards. However, it isn’t very competitive, even when you account for the fact that Black Card points are worth up to twice the value of the average credit card rewards point. Other premium cards typically offer more opportunities to gather significant rewards by offering bonus points on travel or other types of purchases.
The Black Card lags the competition in another way in that it doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, so you’ll likely have to wait a while before you earn enough points to buy a trip. On the plus side, the Black Card’s points don’t expire, so you don’t have to rush to use them. You are also free to earn an unlimited number of points.
You can redeem your rewards for travel, gift cards, cash, statement credits, or merchandise. It’s all managed through Luxury Card’s portal online or via telephone.
The value of your points will vary, depending on how you redeem them. For example, if you redeem your points for statement credits or cash deposits to your bank account, your points will be worth 1.5 cents each. If you redeem them for airfare, they will be worth 2 cents each. But if you redeem them for gift cards, merchandise, car rentals, or hotel bookings, your points will only be worth 1 cent each.
You can also purchase travel with partial points and pay the difference with your card, which is a nice feature if you don’t spend enough to earn a full ticket’s worth of points.
If you decide to redeem your points for travel, you’ll have to go through Luxury Card to book your trip, which may limit your options. However, Luxury Card allows you to specify a flight or other trip you’ve found on your own as long as it’s available on the travel booking service Luxury Card uses. There are no blackout dates, nor will you have to worry about other travel restrictions.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
If you pair your Mastercard Black Card with a no annual fee card that offers stronger rewards on everyday purchases, such as a 5% cash back card or a 3% gas card, you could earn a decent amount.
Then just use this card on purchases that don’t normally earn a bonus from other cards, such as gym memberships, health care, and other expenses. Many competing cards also only give you 1% back on such purchases.
Don’t bother redeeming this card’s points for anything other than travel, though: If you do, you may have an even harder time justifying the annual fee.
The Mastercard Black Card’s Excellent Perks
- Airline fee reimbursement: You’ll get up to $100 back for airfare, upgrades, baggage fees, inflight food and beverages, and more.
- Airport lounge access: Enjoy unlimited access to more than 1,300 airport lounges through Priority Pass, a $429 value.
- Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: Apply for faster security screening and get reimbursed for the fee, up to $100.
- Insurance coverage for delayed luggage: Get reimbursed up to $100 a day for three days for emergency purchases when your baggage is delayed by more than four hours.
- Insurance coverage for trip cancellation or interruption: This is a secondary insurance plan, but it covers you for up to $5,000 worth of nonrefundable travel expenses.
- Travel accident insurance: You’ll get up to $250,000 coverage for eligible common carrier accidental death and dismemberment.
To take advantage of any of these perks and coverages, you must have used your card for the relevant purchase.
The Mastercard’s Black Card’s Other Features
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Cellphone coverage (secondary)
- Invitation-only experiences with Mastercard Priceless
- Discounts with participating merchants
- Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
In addition to a 24/7 concierge, Luxury Card offers seven-day customer service. You won’t be able to call anytime you want, though. The customer service line is open from 7 a.m. to midnight Eastern time. Luxury Card also promotes an app for cardholders with which you can manage your account, chat with a concierge, make travel bookings, and explore “curated experiences.”
The Black Card is issued by Barclays Bank, and ultimately that’s who administers your account. Barclays ranked fifth out of 11 big credit card issuers in J.D Power’s most recent survey of credit card satisfaction.
The Mastercard Black Card offers industry standard fraud protection and account security, including zero liability for fraudulent purchases. Cardholders are also enrolled in Mastercard’s ID theft protection service, which will help with card replacement and credit bureau notification if you are a victim of identity theft.
Mastercard Black’s Fees
The Black Card’s triple-digit annual fee is sure to turn off a lot of budget-conscious cardholders. The Black Card’s other fees are standard for a card of its type, and there’s no foreign transaction fee.