About MasterCard Black Card
There comes a certain point in some peoples’ lives when they make so much money and have such high credit scores that they get unique opportunities the average consumer doesn’t.
That’s the case with the MasterCard Black Card, a card made from stainless steel and intended for wealthy consumers.
If you aren’t familiar with the term, “black card,” it’s a common phrase used to describe credit cards available only to wealthy clients. American Express, CitiBank and several other companies have their own version of a black card.
Until recently, MasterCard was left out of that club. But, in the past few months, the company launched its own version of the black card. The current offer for this card is 25,000 points redeemable for travel if you spend $1,500 in the first three months.
Aside from that, you get an APR of 15.24% and a host of benefits you don’t usually see in the typical consumer credit card. The annual membership fee? $495, a drop in the bucket compared to other black cards where yearly membership fees reach into the thousands.
Considering many consumer credit cards have a yearly fee of less than $100 (or are completely free), the chances of the average person owning the MasterCard Black Card (MBC) are slim.
But let’s say you do become a Black Card account holder. What are the benefits and how do they stack up against other exclusive cards? What are the fees? What are people saying about this card?
We’re going to tackle each one of those questions and then we’ll conclude with our overall observations 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. Click here to see a side-by-side comparison. This program offers a series of pretty impressive benefits that we’ll talk about next.
What You Can Expect to Get From Your MBC Membership
The Luxury Card program offers three main areas of benefits: concierge services, Priceless and VIP travel.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 similar annual fee of $450 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 Boingo wifi, a popular internet service at airports.
When we compare Amex’s Platinum alongside the MBC, it’s hard for us to say one card is better than the other. Both cards offer great travel perks at hotels and airports, along with preferential treatment at certain car rental agencies. Our opinion? You’ll most likely enjoy both if you have the chance to get either of these cards.
The 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 MBC?
Here’s the difficult thing about this card: there aren’t any reviews about it just yet. Several popular personal finance websites wrote about how Barclay’s Bank, the company who created the Visa Black Card, decided to move the Black Card program from Visa to MasterCard.
The Visa version of the Black Card didn’t sit well with consumers. The card received a 2.70-star rating from more than 700 reviews on Card Hub and made a “6 Worst Credit Cards” list on ABCNews.com back in 2012. Finance website The Motley Fool said the Amex Platinum was a far superior card this past fall.
We couldn’t gather any specific information about the Black Card’s customer service. In general, Barclay’s Bank gets average to low marks from consumers on Nerd Wallet and Consumer Affairs.
However, we hesitate to say these general comments foreshadow you Black Card service because the level of luxury and personal attention you get with this card far exceeds an average consumer credit cards mentioned in the reviews.
Based on our research, we think the MasterCard Black Card benefits from being part of the Luxury Card program. For this reason, it’s our opinion that the card is much better than its Visa predecessor.
Our Conclusions About The MBC: It’s Getting Better
If you were to ask us what we thought about the Visa Black Card compared to the American Express Platinum card, most likely we would’ve said, “It’s no contest” – the Amex was clearly the better choice based on the benefits available from both cards.
But, we believe this benefits gap has closed a lot since the release of the MasterCard Black Card. The concierge service, travel perks and Priceless program are on part with competing cards.
Because the card has a high yearly fee, it’s our belief that you should get this card only if you can take advantage of the benefits it offers. Otherwise, you’ll be paying a lot of money each year for a card that doesn’t offer you anything you couldn’t get from the travel-friendly Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture cards.
More on Credit Cards:
- 4 Types of Credit Cards Responsible Consumers Use for Big Rewards
- A Complete Beginners Guide to Frequent Flyer Programs
Not all in
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
MC Black Card
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
5 out 5 people found this review helpful
So far so good.
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