By Marcy Bialeschki


5 Min. To Read

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The year 2020 will be known for many unsavory events and happenings, but being the year of at-home wine consumption speaks volumes. Not making light of what can be a troubling issue, this has been a year of stay at home orders and social distancing, and apparently, it’s also been a year where more people than ever before discovered wine.

World MasterCard released its newest card explicitly designed for wine enthusiasts earlier this year, and it is making quite a splash. But rarely do these specifically dedicated cards live up to their hype. Will the Grand Reserve World MasterCard for Wine Enthusiasts be the exception? Let’s find out.

Let’s talk sign-up bonus

This card certainly knows how to play the sign-up incentive game. You earn 50,000 bonus points for spending $3000 in the first 90 days. An additional 10,000 points are available for customers who signed up early on the waiting list. And there are another 10,000 extra points for current Grand Reserve Members when approved. So far, the Grand Reserve World MasterCard is making a ‘grand’ first impression.

The rest of the points program is impressive, too. You’ll earn 5X the points at over 450 Grand Reserve Partners; 3X the points at wineries, wine clubs, wine and liquor stores; 3X the points at restaurants and bars, including delivery; and 2X the points everywhere else. Plus, you’ll receive 2X extra points per dollar at top wine merchants, which equals 5X the points. And if your leading merchant is a Grand Reserve partner, you’ll earn even more -- a total of 7X the points per dollar.

Make those points unlimited with no expiration date, and they sound even better. One downfall of the Grand reserve World MasterCard is a $149 annual fee. However, MasterCard will waive this fee for the first year as part of your sign-up bonus. Added perks include a complimentary Priority Wine Pass Membership and access to exclusive Grand Reserve member events.

World MasterCard Benefits

MasterCard is known for its incredible benefits, and the Grand Reserve World MasterCard for Wine Enthusiasts does not disappoint. The following is a list of World MasterCard benefits you will enjoy as a cardholder.

MasterCard Travel & Lifestyle Services

This service provides added peace of mind guaranteeing the lowest booking rate, complimentary elite membership status with National Car Rental, and added city guides when you travel.

MasterCard Global Emergency Services

If your card is lost or stolen, you’ll receive 24/7 -- 365 assistance in getting it replaced, no matter where you are, usually within 48 hours. Cash advances are also easy and typically available within 2 hours anywhere in the world.

MasterCard Airport Concierge

MasterCard Airport Concierge services with badged multilingual greeters and drivers are available at over 700 airports, round the clock. Luxury concierge services such as fast-tracking through immigration, assistance with baggage, a chauffeured driver, and more are available.

MasterCard Golf

You’ll receive membership in the MasterCard Golf program, where you’ll have access to elite golfing experiences and chances to earn added golf-related rewards.

Collision Damage Waiver

World MasterCard offers a basic collision damage waiver for rental car agreements. Simply pay for your rental car with your card to receive this benefit.

ID Theft Pro

Identity Theft Pro is MasterCard’s sophisticated identity theft protection provided for free, keeping your card and other vital information safe.

One FIne Stay 10% off

Get a 10% discount on luxury vacation rentals worldwide when you book using your World MasterCard.

Shop Runner Membership with free 2-day shipping from 100+ stores

Get the best online deals with this shopping app offered free with your World MasterCard.

Cellular Wireless Phone Pro

If you pay for your monthly cell phone bill with your World MasterCard, your cell phone has theft and damage protection of $1000 maximum and up to two claims per year.

Zero Liability

You are never responsible for paying for fraudulent purchases on your World MasterCard.

2 Months Free InstaCart

Get two free months of InstaCart services when you use your World MasterCard to pay.

More to love

What else is there to love about this card? Although the year is coming to an end, there’s 0% interest on new purchases until 2021. There’s also no foreign transaction fee, which makes this card great for travelers. Finally, the Grand Reserve World MasterCard for Wine Enthusiasts is a 1% for the Planet member. This fact means MasterCard donates 1% of all revenue to environmentally protected nonprofit organizations.

The bad news

Well, it always happens. You think you’ve found the ‘perfect’ credit card, and then the bad news hits. This card is no different. For all the good it embodies, there is bound to be some bad.

  • Point redemption for this card is only for wine-related items out of a merchandise catalog. Even though this is a themed credit card, the choices for redemption seem extra limited. You can’t even buy wine with the points, just wine-related merchandise from the Grand Reserve Catalog. There’s no cash back option either.

  • The point valuation is less than 1 cent per dollar, the industry standard. The point value is around half a cent per dollar, only half of what is considered a decent breakdown. This means you are overpaying for the catalog items, but you don’t have any choice because that is the only method of point redemption available.

  • Unless you live on the West Coast, you will not get to enjoy all of this card’s amenities. Most of the Grand Reserve partner wineries that offer the most significant rewards are on the West Coast, and most of the Priority Pass tasting events are located there.

Bottom line

On the surface, the Grand Reserve World MasterCard for Wine Enthusists looks like a great deal. And one would assume you could spend the rewards buying wine; however, this is not the case. With the excessive devaluation of the points, limited redemption items, and a specific geographic region for receiving the best rewards, this card doesn’t measure up for the average consumer.

If you live on the West Coast and plan to take advantage of all the extras this card has to offer, you would seemingly get a good deal the first year. But after the first year, when a $149 annual fee is assessed, your benefits will start to lose their luster.

This card would be better if the points had more versatility and if their value didn’t diminish so much. At least then, people not receiving the big extra bonuses from locations other than the West Coast would feel like they were getting enough to make the card worth it.

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