By Marcy Bialeschki


5 Min. To Read

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If you are looking for a luxury travel card, the sleek metal design and alluring black sheen of the MasterCard Black Card is hard to ignore. Still, the card’s appeal must go beyond its attractive exterior. What makes the Black Card stand out from its competition? I’ll let you decide.

Rewards Simplified

The simplified rewards system for this card is quite refreshing, even though it may not be very generous. MasterCard Black Card owners will earn 1 point for every dollar spent, and the points never expire. This card is considered a travel card because the reward value is best when purchasing airfare. Cardholders who purchase their airfare through the card’s affiliating agency will receive 2x the rewards points. All other purchases earn 1.5% cash back. Cash back rewards can arrive in two different forms, statement credit and direct deposit.

Unlike most other luxury travel cards, the MasterCard Black Card does not allow you to transfer their rewards to airline points or hotel points. As mentioned earlier, the simplicity of rewards is a nice reprieve from overly complicated cards. However, if you want options for your rewards, you might want to look elsewhere.

The basic features of the MasterCard Black Card are quite similar to other cards in its category. However, the $495 annual fee makes potential customers think twice, especially since there is no sign-on bonus and the rewards are just average. Also cringe-worthy, you will pay $195 for an additional user on the card.

Potential customers need very good credit with a minimum 690 credit score. The MasterCard Black Card is a credit card and not a charge card, meaning owners can carry a balance. One of the best money-saving features of the card is the balance transfer APR. The regular APR for both balance transfers and purchases is a competitive 14.99% variable, one of the best for a luxury card. The MasterCard Black Card offers a 0% balance transfer APR for 15 billing cycles within the first 45 days of opening the account. Unfortunately, the introductory 0% APR does not apply to purchases.

The balance transfer fee is relatively standard at $5 or 3% for the amount, whichever is greater. Other fees attached to the card include a cash advance fee of $10 or 5%, whichever is greater. The cash advance APR is somewhat punishing at 26.74% variable. Be aware, the attractive purchase APR turns into an ugly penalty APR at 27.24% variable. Cardholders can also expect a late payment fee of up to $37 and a returned payment fee of up to the same.

Travel Benefits

As a travel credit card, the MasterCard Black Card has a decent portion of its most attractive features in travel rewards and benefits. Cardholders will benefit from $100 annually in travel rewards. These rewards are applied to their card for a variety of travel-related purchases: baggage fees, upgrades, and more. Another $100 credit is available for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry. Again, pay for the service with your card, and the charge will automatically be credited.

Avid travelers who spend a lot of time in the airport will relish Priority Pass Select Membership. Priority Pass gives MasterCard Black Card owners access to over 1,200 luxury airport lounges worldwide. Priority Pass Select also has no restrictions on how many guests can accompany the cardholder. This is a nice feature because most other airport lounge access programs limit the entrance to the cardholder and two others.

MasterCard Black cardholders also receive VIP Hotel and Travel Benefits from over 3,000 properties all over the world. These benefits include such perks as spa credit, room upgrades, and complimentary food and drinks.

MasterCard Black Card customers also receive a host of other reassuring protections, including trip cancelation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, and auto rental protection.


The MasterCard Black Card offers its cardholders some pretty attractive extras, most of which are not available with other cards. With this luxury card, owners can expect surprise gifts from some of the world’s most recognized brands. Here is a list of some other delightful extras:

Priceless Program: MasterCard Black Card owners gain members-only access to events and experiences such as dress rehearsals and VIP backstage access.

Postmates Discounts: Cardholders receive $5 in discounts on orders of $25 or more for on-demand delivery from over 200,000 restaurants.

Boxed Discount: Black Card customers enjoy 5% cash rewards on eligible purchases.

Fandango Discount: Black Card owners who enroll in Fandango VIP for free will receive 250 points per ticket purchased with their card. 500 points = $5 in VIP rewards. If you are an avid concert-goer, this perk can add up quickly.

One Fine Stay Membership: MasterCard Black Card customers receive a 10% discount on rental homes and villas through One Fine Stay. While on your trip, also enjoy complimentary wifi.

ShopRunner Membership: MasterCard Black Card owners will benefit from the 2-day shipping, free returns, and member discounts from over 100 online merchants with their ShopRunner Membership.

Lyft Credit: Black Card customers get $10 in Lyft credit per month when they charge a minimum of five rides to their MasterCard Black Card.

Protection Features

All people shopping for a credit card should look at the protection they receive on purchases and experiences. The MasterCard Black Card offers the level of protection a luxury card should with essential features such as MasterCard Identity Theft Protection. MasterCard Black Card owners who fall victim to identity theft can contact MasterCard for expert guidance.

If your card is lost or stolen, MasterCard Global Service is there for you anytime, anywhere, with a new card and a cash advance if needed. As expected, the MasterCard Black Card has $0 fraud liability. You will never be responsible for purchases you didn't make.

Final Thoughts

The MasterCard Black Card seems to be a decent choice when considering a travel credit card. It offers most of the expected benefits for a luxury card but stops short of having a wow-factor. Here’s a breakdown of PROS and CONS to help you decide if the Black Card is right for you.


Relatively simple points program: 1 point per $1 and easy redemption with 2% back for airfare purchased through the card’s affiliated agency and 1.5% cash back on everything else.

Points never expire for as long as the account is open.

0% APR for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers made within the first 45 days of opening the account and a competitive APR after that.

Priority Pass Select Membership is a fantastic airport lounge privilege because cardholders have no limit on how many guests can accompany them.

The $100 airline credit will never go to waste as long as you use it because Mastercard will automatically credit your account. No sign-ups and no hassle.

The $100 Global Entry credit or TSA Pre-Check credit will also be automatically credited to your account. Simply purchase one of these services with your MasterCard Black Card.

Everyone loves random gifts coming in the mail. MasterCard Black Card customers can enjoy being treated to brand name items just for being a Black Card owner.


No sign-up bonus.

$495 annual fee and $195 for an extra user.

The introductory 0% APR only applies to balance transfers, not purchases.

Travel points cannot be transferred to hotel points or airline miles.

The maximum reward of 2% only applies to airfare booked through the cards affiliating agency, leaving no opportunity to shop for a better deal.

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