Mastercard Gold Card Review

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Crafted with 24-karat-gold-plated steel and carbon, the Mastercard Gold Card is designed to look and feel impressive. But despite charging nearly twice the annual fee as some of the most popular blue-chip credit cards, the Mastercard Gold Card doesn’t offer as much value as you would expect from such an extravagantly priced card.

Mastercard® Gold Card™

Overall Rating
2.8
Mastercard® Gold Card™
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% variable
Annual Fee $995
Rewards Earning Rate Earn one point for every dollar you spend.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.4
for Fees
1.2
for Rewards
2.3
for Credit
2.2

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

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    Savvy Saver

Wealthy card carriers with excellent credit scores and who value a card that’s as much a status symbol as it is a rewards card are the best candidates for the Mastercard Gold Card. The gold-plated construction and 22-gram weight are attention-grabbers and unique in the world of consumer credit cards. At the same time, while the card’s rewards value isn’t as good as other luxury cards, its straightforward, easy-to-understand rewards program may appeal to you.

However, if you want a luxury credit card with formidable rewards as opposed to flashy looks and weight, you may want to look elsewhere.

Pros
  • It’s heavier and more stylish than the average card

  • Extravagant customer service

  • Above-average points value

  • Good 0% interest balance transfer offer

Cons
  • Steep annual fee

  • Subpar rewards program

  • No bonus for new cardholders

  • Mediocre collection of perks

  • No points transfer to partner loyalty programs

Pros Explained

  • It’s heavier and more stylish than the average credit card: If status is part of why you own a credit card, the Mastercard Gold Card's weight and incorporation of gold into the card build provides an extra level of luxury other cards don't offer.
  • Extravagant customer service: If you need help zipping through an airport, Luxury Card will have a special travel escort meet you there. The Gold Card also offers a 24/7 concierge service that Luxury Card calls “a lifestyle management tool tailored to each card member’s specific needs.”
  • Above-average points value: Although the Gold Card’s rewards program is modest compared to other luxury cards, its rewards points are worth twice the value of the average credit card rewards point—if you redeem your points for travel or cash, the Gold Card effectively returns 2% on every purchase. 
  • Good 0% interest balance transfer offer: If you can afford a card with a nearly four-figure annual fee, credit card debt may be the least of your concerns. But if you happen to have acquired more debt than you’re ready to repay right away, you can transfer it to the Gold Card and take 15 billing cycles to pay it off, without paying a dime in interest. That’s a rare perk for a high-end rewards card.

Cons Explained

  • Steep annual fee: While sporting a nearly $1,000 annual fee, the Gold Card offers benefits nearly identical to its lower-priced Luxury Card siblings and those benefits don’t compare favorably to the benefits on other premium credit cards. 
  • No bonus for new cardholders: Unlike many premium credit cards, the Gold Card doesn’t offer any kind of bonus rewards. As a result, you are leaving a ton of money on the table by choosing the Gold Card over other premium rewards cards with hefty bonuses. For example, the Citi Prestige and the Chase Sapphire Reserve cost about half what the Gold Card does, and each card offers a bonus worth a few hundred dollars. 
  • Perks equal to cards with lower annual fees: The Gold Card offers perks that are common on premium travel cards, such as airport lounge access and an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. It also offers some travel perks, such as resort credits. However, you can find similar—and often more generous—perks on much less expensive cards. 
  • No points transfer to partner loyalty programs: Gold Card holders also miss out on the ability to earn more value from their rewards points by transferring them to airline or hotel loyalty programs. That may be a deal breaker for some frequent travelers since people with some travel credit cards can get more than 2 cents per point out of their rewards on a consistent basis when they transfer their points, according to our calculations. 

Earning Points & Rewards

Since cardholders earn 1 point for every $1 they spend, the Mastercard Gold Card is fairly low maintenance. You won’t need to track your spending in order to optimize rewards, nor will you need to opt into any special bonus categories to reap more rewards. That can be a big plus for those who don’t want to mess with a complicated rewards scheme. 

Points don’t expire either and there’s no limit on the number of points you can earn.

That said, with such a low rewards rate and no bonus for new cardholders, it could take quite some time to earn a lot of points. Even if you regularly charged $5,000 a month to your card, for example, you’d collect just 60,000 rewards points by the end of the year, which would be worth $1,200 in travel or cash. That’s not much more than the card’s annual fee.

Depending on your spending choices, you could earn just as much with the  a premium rewards card that costs half as much to own as you can with the Gold Card. 

Redeeming Rewards

You can redeem your rewards for travel, gift cards, cash, statement credits, or merchandise through Luxury Card’s online portal or over the telephone. The value of your points will vary depending on how you redeem them. Your best bet is to redeem your points for cash back or travel since they’ll be worth 2 cents each. 

You’ll get less value from your points if you redeem them for gift cards, merchandise, car rentals, or hotel stays. In that case, your points may only be worth 1 cent each—or potentially even less.

Although you’ll need to go through Luxury Card to book your rewards-funded travel, you won’t need to wait until you’ve earned enough points to cover a full trip. Luxury Card allows you to use the points you have and then pay the difference with your card.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

If you can afford an additional annual fee, consider pairing this card with a luxury airline credit card so that you can benefit from airline perks that the Gold Card doesn’t offer, such as free checked baggage and priority boarding. Then save the Gold Card’s travel credit for other air travel purchases that aren’t covered by your airline card, such as in-flight food and beverages or seat upgrades.

From a cost-benefit perspective, it’s hard to see how cardholders who invest in the Gold Card will reap enough value to make its high annual fee worth it. Even Luxury Card notes that the estimated value of its benefits adds up to almost $650—which is about $345 less than the card’s annual fee.

Otherwise, to wring maximum value out of this card, plan to make heavy use of the concierge, the airport meet-and-greet service, and the free airport lounge visits.

The Mastercard Gold Card’s Excellent Perks

The Gold Card offers several perks the editors of The Balance consider “excellent”:

  • Airline fee reimbursement: You’ll get up to $200 back for airfare, upgrades, baggage fees, lounge access, inflight food and beverages, and more. 
  • Airport lounge access: Enjoy complimentary access to more than 1,300 airport lounges.
  • Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: Apply for faster security screening and get reimbursed for the fee, up to $100 every five years. 
  • Insurance coverage for delayed luggage: Get reimbursed up to $100 a day for up to 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 of nonrefundable travel expenses. 
  • Travel accident insurance: You’ll be insured for up to $250,000 of coverage for eligible common carrier accidental death and dismemberment losses.
  • Cellphone coverage: Provides coverage for your cellphone in the event it is damaged or stolen. The specifics of your coverage are found in your Gold Card benefits guide. Expect the coverage to reflect what’s common among other cards: a yearly claim payout maximum, a per-claim payout maximum and a per-claim deductible.

The Mastercard Gold Card’s Other Features

  • Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Hotel and travel perks
  • Free ShopRunner membership
  • 10% on eligible rentals through Onefinestay
  • Discounts on Boxed purchases
  • $10 credit each month you take five eligible Lyft rides

Customer Experience

In addition to a 24/7 concierge, the Luxury Card customer service line is open daily from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. Eastern Time. In addition, Luxury Card offers an app you can use to chat with concierges, book travel, manage your account, browse experiences, or access other services.

The Gold Card is issued by Barclays Bank, and it administers the account. Barclays ranked eighth out of 11 national credit card issuers in J.D Power’s 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. 

Security Features

The Mastercard Gold Card provides fraud and account protection that’s standard for the industry, including zero liability for fraudulent purchases. You’ll also be covered by Mastercard’s ID theft protection service, which will help with card replacement and credit bureau notification if you should become a victim of identity theft.

Mastercard Gold’s Fees Fees

The Gold Card charges an enormous annual fee, making it inaccessible to most consumers. Its authorized user fee is also exceptionally high. However, the Gold Card’s other fees are unremarkable for a premium rewards card and consistent with industry norms. As you’d expect with a premium travel card, there’s no fee for foreign transactions.

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Mastercard® Gold Card™
overall rating
2.8
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% variable
Annual Fee $995
Rewards Earning Rate Earn one point for every dollar you spend.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Barclays. "Terms and Conditions." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.

  2. Luxury Card. "Mastercard Gold Card." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.

  3. Mastercard Gold Card. "Terms and Conditions." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.

  4. Luxury Card. "Benefits." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.

  5. J.D. Power. "2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Study." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.