About Mastercard Black Card

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Updated on: Jun 30, 2017

The Mastercard Black Card is a luxury credit card intended to provide top-of-the-line travel perks and benefits for customers who tend to have high incomes and high credit scores.

The Black Card is one of three cards in Mastercard’s Luxury Card program, a trio that includes the Titanium and the Gold cards.

Each of these cards has their own specific levels of benefits that include travel reimbursements, rewards points on purchases and cash-back redemption bonuses.

To understand exactly what you’re getting with this card, we’re going to cover the following topics:

  • Upfront points bonuses
  • The various perks you get with the Luxury Card benefits program
  • How the Black Card compares to the American Express Platinum card
  • The Black Card’s rates and fees
  • Expert and user reviews of the Black Card

We’ll end our review with our conclusions about this card

What are the Benefits of This Card and How Do They Compare to Other Cards Like It?

The Mastercard Black Card (MBC) is part of Mastercard’s trio of “luxury cards” that also includes the Titanium and Gold cards. This program offers a series of pretty impressive benefits that we’ll talk about next.

But before we get there, we want to point out that the Mastercard Black does not have an introductory bonus offer like other luxury credit cards.

Typically, a card with travel perks like this one will give you a certain amount of bonus points up-front if you can spend a certain amount of money in the first 90 days of owning the card.

For example, the American Express Platinum gives cardowners 75,000 Membership Rewards points if they can spend $5,000 in the first three months. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a 50,000-point offer, while the Citi Prestige has a 40,000-point offer.

For those who want to get the best bang for their buck out of their luxury card, intro points are a really big deal.

Unfortunately, the Mastercard Black doesn’t measure up to the competition in this area.

What You Can Expect to Get from the Mastercard Luxury Card Program

Your Mastercard Black is part of the Mastercard Luxury Card program, which offers three main areas of benefits: concierge services, Priceless and VIP travel.

Concierge Services

Concierge representatives are on call 24 hours a day to assist cardholders. Like the average concierge, they can help you book restaurant seats, concert tickets, travel arrangements and more.

Also included in this program is luxury gifting. High-end manufacturers will occasionally send you their products (for free).

The MBC concierge page shows a photo of Bang & Olufsen earbuds, but a disclaimer says the photo is only “illustrative”. Also, keep in mind the gifts aren’t sent out on a regular basis.

The Priceless Program

The Priceless program is a little harder to pin down. It entitles cardholders to exclusive experiences around the world, including exclusive access to pros and participation in Pro-Am tournaments.

Travel Perks

As for VIP travel, cardholders get discounts and upgrades at more than 3,000 hotels (no specific properties are mentioned) and enrollment in Lounge Club, which gives you free access to airport lounges in nearly 500 airports in more than 200 cities around the world.

Rental Car Program

Rental car upgrades are also part of the program, though no specific companies are mentioned on the site.

Other perks include a $100 statement credit to cover application costs for the federal Global Entry program (expedited check-in at airports in Canada, the U.S. and several other countries), as well as a 2% rewards points-to-dollars redemption rates for travel.

Earning Points

In terms of points, cardmembers get 1 point for every dollar they spend. Those points can be redeemed for airline tickets, gift cards, hotel stays, rental cars cash or can be applied to their credit card statement.

If you use your points to book travel through the Luxury Card travel portal, your points will have double value, which makes this card the industry leader in redemption bonuses for airline purchases.

If you use your points for cash, you’ll get a 1.5% redemption rate, so 10,000 points can be redeemed for $150.

Excellent Cash Back Redemption

Though the Mastercard Black has no up-front points bonus, you’ll get a 1.5% cash-back redemption rate on points you deposit into a U.S. bank account.

Other luxury credit cards with similar annual fees offer 1% cash back rates, so you can see why this happens to be a very unique characteristic of Mastercard’s Black Card.

A 0.5% difference may not sound like much, but if you spend $50,000 a year on your card, it’s the difference between $750 and $500. You’re earning 50% more cash rewards.

How the MBC Compares to the American Express Platinum

While the MBC’s benefits may sound amazing, you have to keep in mind that it’s one of several high-level cards.

And the higher you go in this niche, the more extravagant the rewards. For that reason, we’ve decided to compare the MBC to other cards with similar annual fees.

The American Express Platinum card has a higher annual fee of $550 and offers many of the same services the MBC does, but there are a couple of benefits that go above and beyond what the MBC offers.

First, cardholders get SPG Gold status at Starwood Hotels as well as Hilton HHonors Gold Status. They also receive elite status with car rental companies National, Avis and Hertz.

Like the MBC, Platinum members get access to the Priority Pass network of airport lounges.

However, they also get access to Delta’s Sky Club and American Express’ own premium Centurion airport lounges (more than 700 worldwide).

Another perk? Cardmembers get free access to popular airport internet service Boingo Wi-Fi, as well as 10 free passes for Gogo inflight internet.

Perhaps the biggest advantage the Amex Platinum has is the up-front bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months.

Those points can be redeemed for travel through American Express’ travel website, but they can also be transferred to the rewards programs of 17 airline partners and three hotels: Starwood, Hilton and Choice Hotels.

When we compare Amex’s Platinum alongside the MBC, we think the American Express Platinum card has better benefits.

Mastercard Black Fees: What You Can Expect

APR for this card is 15.24%. Balance transfers are 0% for the first fifteen billing cycles. If you want to add another user to the card, it will cost $195.

Late payments will get you a late fee of up to $37 but there is no penalty APR. The card has no foreign transaction fees.

What are Other People Saying About the Mastercard Black Card?

The Mastercard Black receives mixed reviews from personal finance sites aside from HighYa.

Value Penguin

Value Penguin gives the Mastercard Black an 83 out of 100, saying it’s got some great luxury benefits, but that “most people with excellent credit can get more bang for their buck with other cards of this type.”

Wallet Hub

More than 840 reviews at the time of publishing gave the Mastercard Black an average rating of 2.4 stars, while Wallet Hub reviewer John Kiernan gave it 1.5 out of 5 stars. Kiernan said the card’s rewards are “decent, but not worth the cost.”

CreditCards.com

CreditCards.com gave the Mastercard Black 2.2 out of 5 stars, a score most heavily influenced by the site’s 0-star rating for its rewards.

Contributor Robin Ratcliffe concluded that that card’s rewards “don’t justify the annual fee” and that the card’s travel benefits are “fair.”

Credit Card Insider

Reviewer John Ganotis gave the card a 4 out of 5 stars, saying that This card has some nice benefits, and some people may want it for the perceived prestige of having a black card that’s made of metal.

Our Conclusions About The Mastercard Black Card: It’s Getting Better

The truth is, the Mastercard Black is seen by most credit-card and travel rewards experts as an inferior card when compared to the AmEx Platinum, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve.

Now, this certainly doesn’t mean it is devoid of benefits, though.

The Pros of the Mastercard Black

In our opinion, the Mastercard Black’s greatest strength is its double redemption bonus when you redeem your points to buy airline tickets through the Luxury Card travel booking website.

We say this with one, small disclaimer: We haven’t booked travel through the Luxury Card portal, so we don’t know how airline fares on their site compare with fares you can book through popular travel sites like Expedia, Orbitz and Kayak.

The Cons

The biggest flows of this card, we believe, are the fact that it doesn’t have an introductory points bonus and its yearly travel reimbursement of $100 is at the bottom of the luxury card world.

Who Is This Card Good For?

As you’ve probably gathered by reading our review, we aren’t going to say that this card is better than other luxury cards.

It offers some excellent travel benefits, but those benefits are pretty standard in the premium credit card space.

A quick read of our rankings in the Best Luxury Credit Card of 2017 article we wrote will help you see how this card stacks up.

So, with all this in mind, who might enjoy the Mastercard Black?

Well, as odd as it may sound, we think this card is the perfect fit for someone who doesn’t like jumping on the credit-card bandwagon but wants a luxury card that gives them enough benefits to enjoy airport lounges and a travel credit during their travels.

If you’re more of an iconoclast, this card could work out for you. Others are flocking toward the Amex Platinum, the Sapphire Reserve and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve; choosing the Mastercard Black definitely goes against the proverbial grain.

More on Credit Cards:

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5 Customer Reviews for Mastercard Black Card

Average Customer Rating: 3.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 2 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  2
Bottom Line: 60% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-5 of 5
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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Executive

    Summary: Paying $495 a year for a good-looking card is an absolute waste of money. The rewards suck, the concierge is a joke, and you get limited airport lounge access. People with real money will know that you have a BS black card.

    Pros: It is good-looking and feeling, and you also get $100 a year back on airfare.

    Cons: You only get 1% rewards (1.5% on specific items), and their concierge is not a concierge. It is more like a travel agency trying to make money on your purchase without the discount. The Lounge access you get is a joke. We have three major airports in our area, of which not a single one is in the program. Even in NYC (I believe there is only one), and you have to be flying Scandinavia Air or something like that.

    Overall: I am embarrassed that I made a poor decision in getting this card.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Customer service is great.

    • MI,
    • Dec 15, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've had this card for a couple of years now. The biggest thing I like is when calling customer service. Someone I actually understand answers the phone quickly. They're always helpful in every way. That to me is worth the high annual fee.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Not all in

    • Houston, TX,
    • Sep 11, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have had this card for the last three years, I use it a lot. It's a good card but benefits are not what they say.

    Just last week I tried to claim what they said in the benefits - change of flight fee reimbursement. I was in Thailand, I changed the flight, airline charged me a fee to change it. When I got back to USA I filed the claim, first I got a run around, then got the claim.

    Form needed so many documents from the country I changed the route in. I send them the card statement where the ticket was charged and then where the fee was charged, but they needed documentation signed by the doctors overseas. I told this claim company I can not go back overseas to get that. Anyway, long story short, I will not renew my card. I spend a lot, I have Citi card with same benefits, with same yearly fee. Don't get into their trap.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 5 people found this review helpful

    MC Black Card

    • Chicago ,
    • Aug 11, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I received my MasterCard Black Card 5 days after I called in. I picked the Black Card because American Express Platinum is not accepted by everyone and it's a charge card, not a credit card. American Express does offer more perks but I don't lose any sleep over it. If any card is going to be accepted it will be MasterCard. That's how you earn rewards. Having a choice between paying in full or monthly is always nice and worth the extra annual fee.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 8 people found this review helpful

    So far so good.

    • Nacogdoches, Texas,
    • May 19, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    Have had the Black Mastercard for about three months. Have satisfied the requirement for the 25,000 bonus points which Barclays posted right away. Customer service has been exemplary. First card I received was damaged and they sent the second FedEx overnight. Have had zero issues with this card.

    The fee may be a little over the top but You know that going in. Great card. No problems what so ever.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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