Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

Mastercard Black Card Review

overall rating
2.9

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The Mastercard Black card is a benefit-heavy credit card that comes with a substantial three-figure annual fee. While it offers some of the best redemption rates for the rewards the card earns, the rewards earning rates per dollar spent are low and similar benefits can be found on other cards with lower annual fees.

Mastercard® Black Card™

overall rating
2.9
Mastercard® Black Card™
On Luxury Card's Secured Site.
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 $495
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1 point per dollar on all purchases.
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 15 Billing Cycles
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

The Mastercard Black Card is not one of our top-rated rewards credit cards. You can review our list of the best rewards credit cards for what we think are better options.

Full Review of Mastercard Black Card

Pros
  • Rewards can be redeemed for values above 1 cent per point

  • Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers

  • $100 airline credit

  • Extensive travel benefits

Cons
  • No one-time offer

  • $495 annual fee

  • Earn only 1 point per dollar spent

Pros Explained

  • Rewards Can Be Redeemed for Values Above 1 Cent per Point: Points can be redeemed for airfare at a value of 2 cents per point. If you’d rather have cash back, points can be redeemed for cash back at a value of 1.5 cents per point. These redemption values are some of the best in the industry.
  • Introductory 0% APR on Balance Transfers: If you transfer a balance within the first 45 days of opening your account, that balance will qualify for an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles. Many cards only offer 12 months.
  • $100 Airline Credit: As a cardholder, you'll receive up to $100 in credit each year for flight-related purchases. Eligible purchases include airline tickets, baggage fees, and even upgrade fees.  
  • Extensive Travel Benefits: The Mastercard Black card offers several useful travel benefits including up to a $100 credit to cover application fees for Global Entry (expedited arrival into the U.S. from international destinations) and TSA Pre Check, Priority Pass Select, baggage delay insurance, trip delay coverage, trip cancellation and interruption coverage. Also, it charges no foreign transaction fee.

Cons Explained

  • No One-Time Offer: Unfortunately, this card does not offer a bonus—an unusual omission. Competing travel credit cards with annual fees almost always come with one.
  • $495 Annual Fee: Annual fees are common on premium travel credit cards. That said, the $495 annual fee that comes with this card is higher than some competing cards that offer comparable benefits.
  • Earns Only 1 Point per Dollar Spent: Even though the value of each point earned is above a penny per point, the 1-point-per-dollar spent rewards rate is low. The card does not offer bonus categories to earn additional points as many competing premium travel cards do.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Rewards Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
    Rewards Strategist
  • Avatar for Frequent Diner Persona
    Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
    Frequent Diner
  • Avatar for Head of Household Persona
    Primarily responsible for household grocery and other major purchases
    Head of Household
  • Avatar for Driver/Commuter Persona
    Incurs gasoline or other commuting expenses each month
    Driver/Commuter

The Mastercard Black card is for frequent travelers with excellent credit who want the exclusivity of having one of the sharpest-looking stainless steel credit cards available and the luxury benefits the card offers. The points earning and redemption rates don't offer any additional value compared to no annual fee credit cards. Thankfully, the travel benefits the card offers are extensive.

Even so, the high $495 annual fee makes this card difficult to recommend to most consumers. Other cards offer similar benefits with at least the same if not higher point earning potential for a similar or lower annual fee.

Rewards Earning Details

Earning rewards with this card is as straightforward as it gets. There are no limits to the number of points you can earn and your points never expire. Unfortunately, other details are not so good. You earn an unimpressive 1 point per dollar spent on all purchases. 

Other cards typically offer higher earning rates in certain bonus categories, especially cards with high annual fees. Some cards even offer similar rewards earning rates on all purchases without an annual fee. 

Rewards Redemption Details

You have many options to redeem the points you earn, but one stands out as the best value: buying airline tickets. You can redeem rewards for airfare at a value of 2 cents per point by calling the number on the back of your card or by booking using Loyalty Edge on the My Luxury Card website. 

Other alternatives provide a lower redemption value for your points and include: 

  • Cash back in the form of a direct deposit to a U.S. bank account or a statement credit at a value of 1.5 cents per point 
  • Hotel and car rentals at a value of 1 cent per point
  • Gift card or merchandise redemptions that vary based on your gift card or merchandise selection 

Cash back bank deposit redemptions are limited to $500 per day.

Even with these high point redemption values for airfare and cash back, the total rewards earned per dollar spent are at most equal to those you can earn on every purchase with a no annual fee credit card.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

Maximizing your rewards is simple with this card. Put all eligible purchases on it to earn the most points possible. To get the most value when redeeming your points, you'll need to book airfare by calling the number on the back of your card or using Loyalty Edge on the My Luxury Card website.

Other cards offer rewards worth the same value but do not charge an annual fee. However, those cards do not usually offer the same travel benefits the Mastercard Black card offers.

  Mastercard Black Card's Outstanding Benefits

  • Airport lounge access: Get complimentary access to over 1,200 airport lounges with Priority Pass Select.
  • Annual $100 airline credit
  • Baggage delay insurance: Get reimbursed for replacing essential personal or business items if your baggage is delayed on a common carrier flight you purchased with your card.
  • Global Entry fee reimbursement
  • Travel benefits: An average value of $500 in travel benefits and services per stay which may include spa credits, complimentary food and beverages, room upgrades and welcome perks.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage: Receive secondary coverage of up to $5,000 per trip and $10,000 per 12-month period for trips canceled or interrupted due to a covered reason.
  • Trip delay coverage: Receive secondary coverage of up to $300 per trip and $600 per 12-month period for trips delayed more than six hours.

Standard Benefits

  • Auto rental collision waiver secondary to other insurance
  • Concierge for booking event tickets, travel and other services
  • Exclusive invitation-only experiences
  • Extended warranties
  • Price protection
  • Purchase assurance for damaged or stolen items
  • Satisfaction guarantee to refund covered purchases when vendors won’t accept returns

Cardholder Experience

While it isn't widely advertised, the Mastercard Black card is issued by Barclays U.S. Barclays U.S. scored 806 points in the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study which happens to match the national issuer average. 

This card offers access to a free FICO score, the Luxury Card app and a 24/7 Luxury Card concierge. You can reach customer service for the Luxury brand cards at 844-724-2600.

Security Features

Cardholders can expect standard security features with this card. In addition, the card does offer chip and PIN functionality for when you’re traveling overseas as well as free expedited card replacement if you happen to lose your card.

Hidden Fees to Watch Out For

This cards high $495 annual fee does come with some premium benefits. Unfortunately, you can find similar benefits on other cards with lower annual fees and equal or higher rewards earning potential, too. Additionally, the $195 authorized user fee is steep and the cash advance fee is higher than some other cards offer.

If you do plan to transfer a balance, watch out for the balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of the balance transfer, whichever is greater. Some cards offer introductory periods with no balance transfer fees at all.

Our Verdict

The Mastercard Black card's high $495 annual fee makes it difficult to recommend for the majority of consumers or even frequent flyers. The value of the rewards you earn can be matched with no annual fee credit cards and this card doesn't even offer a bonus.

The card does offer numerous luxury travel and purchase benefits, though. Those who journey abroad often, for business or leisure, might well enjoy them. Also, if you value exclusivity, premium benefits and the feel of a substantial piece of stainless steel and carbon in your palm, this card may be a good fit for you. 

Otherwise, consider other cards with similar benefits for a lower annual fee and pair it with a no annual fee cash back credit card that offers higher cash back on all purchases.

Apply Now
For Mastercard® Black Card™
on Luxury Card's Secured Site.
Compare This Card
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CURRENT CARD
Mastercard® Black Card™
overall rating
2.9
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 $495
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1 point per dollar on all purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.