MasterCard Black Card Review: Is the $495 Annual Fee Worth It?

The MasterCard Black Card is an industry-leading luxury credit card offering an array of rewards and benefits to cardholders, but it comes at a price to the tune of a $495 annual fee.

While luxury credit cards are certainly not a necessity, they can offer a number of perks for individuals with high credit scores, a solid credit history, and the ability to manage credit responsibly.

In this review, we’ll go over the features of the MasterCard Black Card, including the pros and cons, fees, and fine print, along with some more affordable credit card alternatives if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck.

Overview of the MasterCard Black Card

The MasterCard Black Card has a state-of-the-art patented design and construction with its stainless-steel front and carbon back. The card also has the latest chip technology (like many other credit cards on the market) to increase user security.

The card has a 15.49% variable APR and offers cardholder perks in categories like travel, cash back, gifts, unique experiences, and concierge services.


The MasterCard Black Card is a luxury card geared toward people who do a lot of traveling. Cardholders receive a $100 annual air travel credit, which can be used toward flight-related purchases, including airline tickets, baggage fees, and upgrades.

The card also provides users with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which offers access to over 900 airport lounges in more than 450 cities worldwide.

A Global Entry and TSA Pre? credit of $100 is also provided for card users who wish to enjoy expedited arrival into the U.S. from international destinations.

Other travel perks available with this card include:

  • Airport “meet-and-greet” services
  • Global luggage delivery (send your luggage ahead of time to almost any destination worldwide)
  • Personal chauffeur service
  • Car rental
  • Charter services
  • Cruise privileges
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Travel accident insurance
  • 2x rewards points when redeemed for airfare

Cash back

Card users earn 1 point for every dollar spent. You can redeem your points as a statement credit or by depositing it into a U.S. checking or savings account. The redemption rate is 1.5%. For example, you can redeem 5,000 points for $75 statement credit or cash back.


Purchase luxury gifts from well-known brand names. Use your rewards points to purchase home items, electronics, sporting goods, and more.

Unique experiences

The MasterCard Black Card allows cardholders access to MasterCard’s Priceless program, which allows luxury card members to enjoy curated, invitation-only, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. These unique experiences are available worldwide and include anything from sitting courtside to meet-and-greets with top experts or obtaining exclusive access to a tournament.

Concierge services

Card users can take full advantage of an elite group of consultants who offer local and global concierge services 24/7, whether you are looking to plan a trip, find the perfect gift, or maximize your rewards points.

Fine Print and Fees

While it’s no secret the MasterCard Black Card comes with a hefty annual fee of $495, you may not know adding an authorized user to your card will cost an extra $195 each year.

While there is no foreign transaction fee or penalty APR, there is a late fee of up to $37 if you don’t make your minimum payment on time and a minimum interest charge of 50 cents.

For cash advances, the APR is 25.74%.

If you redeem rewards points for travel, all bookings are final and nonrefundable. A fee of $35 will apply if you need to make modifications to your original booking.

If you redeem points for cash back and deposit it into a checking or savings account, it takes an average of 3-4 days for the deposit to come through, and there’s a daily limit of $500.

How to Earn Redeem Points

Card users earn 1 point for every dollar they spend on purchases.

You can redeem your points for travel (airfare, hotel, and car rentals), cash back direct deposit to a U.S. checking or savings account, statement credit, gift cards, or merchandise.

  • Airfare redemptions start at 50 points for $1.
  • Cash back direct deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account and cash back statement credit redemptions start at 67 points for $1.
  • Hotel stays and car rental redemptions start at 100 points for $1.

Your points are redeemed at a rate of 2% when redeeming for airfare. For example, 50,000 points will provide you with $1,000 in airfare redemptions.

To redeem your points, you must go to and log in to your account, or call the customer service number on the back of the card.

Pros and Cons

Pro: Variety of travel-related rewards.

Con: High annual fee and additional annual fee if you add an authorized user.

Pro: No limit to the total points you can earn as long as your account is open and in good standing.

Con: Can’t transfer points to other programs.

Pro: 24-hour concierge service.

Con: No introductory sign-on bonus to earn extra rewards points.

Other Options

While the MasterCard Black Card has its perks for users who do a lot of traveling, there are some more affordable credit card options on the market that provide even better rewards so you can get more bang for your buck.

The MasterCard Black Card had an introductory sign-on bonus when the card was first released, which practically paid for the annual membership within the first year. However, this promotion has since ended making it hard to justify paying a $495 fee every 12 months.

Cards offering double or triple rewards points for specific expense categories and providing introductory sign-on bonuses are a great option if you are looking to maximize your rewards, especially for travel.

Here are some great alternatives to the MasterCard Black Card.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is great for travel and everyday spending. With this card, you can earn 25,000 membership rewards points after you spend 2,000 on purchases within the first three months of signing up. Card users can also earn 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines, 2x points for purchases made at U.S. gas stations, supermarkets, and restaurants, and 1x point on all other purchases.

There are also no foreign transaction fees, a $100 airline fee credit, and a $75 hotel credit for qualifying charges, and the $195 annual fee is waived the first year.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is another great travel card that is more affordable than the MasterCard Black Card but still provides competitive rewards. Cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles (which converts to a $500 travel credit) after spending $3,000 on purchases during the first 90 days after signing up.

Card users also earn 2x miles on all purchases and 5% miles back every time they redeem rewards. There are no foreign transaction fees, and miles don’t expire as long as the account is open and in good standing. The $89 annual fee for this card is waived during the first year.

Venture from Capital One

The Venture card from Capital One is an affordable option for people who wish to earn travel rewards without having to pay a high annual fee. The $59 annual fee for this card is waived during the first year.

The sign-up bonus for this card allows you to earn 40,000 bonus miles (equal to $400 in travel credit) after you spend $3,000 on the card during the first three months.

Cardholders also earn 2x miles per every dollar spent on purchases, every day. This card has added features and benefits like fraud coverage, travel protection and upgrades, and price protection. You can book travel for any airline, stay at any hotel, avoid blackout dates, and miles never expire.

Final Word

Luxury cards like the MasterCard Black Card come at a high cost that may not even justify the use of the card, which can leave consumers feeling underwhelmed.

Being able to carry around a stainless-steel card that is only available to the “elite” sounds nice, but it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Do you really need someone to greet you at the airport and chauffeur you around town?

Probably not, but you may need a $400 travel credit so you can fly out to see your family for the holidays.

While the MasterCard Black Card offers plenty of variety in terms of travel rewards, it focuses on the quantity of options as opposed to quality. The $100 annual airline credit is minimal when compared to other cards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, which offers a generous sign-on bonus along with opportunities to earn double miles.

The $495 fee associated with this card seems astronomical when you compare it to other cards that offer similar or even better benefits and won’t cost you as much each year.

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