Black Card Review – WalletHub Editors
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The Verdict: Will the real Black Card please stand up? A role call is needed in light of how slang is being manipulated to cost consumers money. The truth is the real Black Card that celebrities flash and rappers namedrop doesn’t even have “Black” in its name. That’s actually the American Express Centurion Card (American Express is a WalletHub partner), and it’s available on an invitation-only basis to extremely high-spenders.
The Mastercard® Black Card merely represents an attempt to mislead consumers into overspending, using the mystique of the rich and famous as bait, like the now-discontinued Visa Black Card before it. That’s why Mastercard® Black is so expensive, charging a $495 annual fee, and why it offers a range of “luxury” benefits to supplement fairly mediocre purchase-based rewards.
But let’s be clear: Airport-lounge access is the only benefit you’ll receive that you can’t get from a card with no annual fee. So how much is that particular feature worth to you? Probably not much more than the $99 per year that your complimentary LOUNGE CLUB membership would cost if purchased separately, let alone five times that amount.
So we recommend pretending this card doesn’t exist in order to avoid seeing your money disappear, too. If you’d nevertheless like to rubberneck at this car crash of a credit-card offer, you can find more information on Mastercard® Black Card below.
1 Point Per $1 Spent: The single point you will earn for each dollar you charge to the Mastercard® Black Card ultimately is worth 1.5 cents in cash or 2 cents in airfare booked through Luxury Card’s Rewards Service Center (with no blackout dates or seat restrictions). In other words, spending $10,000 will earn you 10,000 points, which are in turn redeemable for $150 cash back or $200 in airfare.
The card’s base rewards earning rate is therefore 1.5% to 2.0%, which is above the market average of 1.06%, according to WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report.
- $100 Annual Airline Credit: Each year you have the Mastercard® Black Card, you will receive a credit for up to $100 in flight-related expenses, including airfare, baggage fees, in-flight purchases and more. This credit will automatically be applied to your statement upon a qualifying charge posting to your account.
Airport-Lounge Access: As a Mastercard® Black cardholder, you will receive access to “more than 1000” airport lounges in more than 500 cities worldwide, thanks to complimentary LOUNGE CLUB membership. This feature is valuable in the sense that membership ordinarily starts at $99 per year, but how practically beneficial it will be depends on how much you use it.
Just keep in mind that you will need to sign up for LOUNGE CLUB membership after getting approved for the Black Card. A LOUNGE CLUB membership card will be needed to enter an airport lounge; if you don’t have it, you’re out of luck.
$495 Annual Fee: Some might assume that such a high price tag connotes quality and prestige. You gotta spend money to make money, right? Unfortunately, you won’t make nearly as much as you should with this anchor of an annual fee dragging you down. To put this yearly robbery into perspective, only two credit cards charge a higher annual fee. And $495 is more than 31 times higher than the market average of $15.88.
When you start at such a deficit, it’s hard to see the arithmetic working out in your favor. You have your $100 airline credit; your lounge access, which we’ll value at $99; and the ability to earn airfare rewards equal to 2% of every dollar you spend, which would amount to about $570 for the average person. That’s $769 in total annual value, which shrinks to $274 when you factor in the fee, according to WalletHub calculations.
- $195 Annual Fee For Authorized Users: Most credit cards allow you to add a handful of authorized users free of charge. But it seems the Mastercard® Black Card’s benefits are just so “amazing” that you have to pay an extra $195 per year for each person you add to your account. Bummer.
Other Things To Consider
- 0% APR On Balance Transfers For The First 15 Months: This aspect of the Black Card would be a highlight if not for the 3% transfer fee that accompanies your 0% intro rate. As a result, there are better ways to reduce the cost of existing debt.
- 16.24% Regular APR: The Black Card’s interest rate is below average relative to other cards that require good credit for approval, but it’s still not cheap. So you should strive to act like this is a charge card and pay your bill in full every month.
- No Foreign-Transaction Fee: The Black Card bests the average credit card in the sense that it doesn’t assess a surcharge on purchases processed internationally. The market-average foreign-transaction fee is 1.51%.
- $100 Global Entry Credit: Global Entry is a program that allows low-risk travelers to quickly pass through U.S. customs. If you are approved, Mastercard® Black Card will pay you back for the $100 one-time membership fee.
- Luxury Concierge & Other Amenities: This card’s marketing materials make a big deal of its 24/7 dedicated concierge — a feature not uncommon among high-end rewards cards — as well as undefined “luxury gifts” and access to MasterCard’s Priceless Experiences. You even receive a free subscription to the quarterly Luxury Magazine. We’ll let you make the call on how much all of that is worth.
- Unique Card Material: It ultimately doesn’t matter what your credit card is made out of, considering it won’t provide any tangible benefit. But if you’re interested in the wow factor, the Mastercard® Black Card’s stainless-steel-and-carbon construction might appeal to you. Before you get too excited, though, just consider: When was the last time you noticed the material of someone else’s credit card?
Compared To The Competition
Even luxury credit cards, as well as those posing as such, have competition. In order to help you see through the marketing gimmicks and home in on the features most important to your personal needs, we compared the Mastercard® Black Card to some of the most prominent alternatives. We did so across six fundamental categories, which collectively drive a card’s value. You can find the results below.
Mastercard® Black Card
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
|Annual Fee||$495||$0 for 1st yr, $95 after||$0 Intro for the First Year, $95 after||$89|
|Rewards Bonus||N/A||50,000 miles||50,000 points||60,000 miles|
|Rewards Rate||1 point / $1||2 miles / $1||1 - 2 points / $1||2 miles / $1|
|Purchase Intro APR||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Transfer Intro APR||0% for 15 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|Not Offered||Not Offered||0% for 12 billing cycles|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|Regular APR||16.74% (V)||14.74% - 24.74% (V)||17.74% - 24.74% (V)||17.74% - 24.74% (V)|
|Editors’ Rating||1.5 / 5||5.0 / 5||4.5 / 5||5.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More|
Rates & Fees
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