The Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™ is a powerful and prestigious credit card that competes with Chase Sapphire Reserve®, The Platinum Card® from American Express, and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card. It’s the top-tier product under the Luxury Card portfolio, which is underwritten by Barclays. Here, we look at the card’s competitive advantages and disadvantages to see how it stacks up in the ultra-luxury credit card sphere.
The Mastercard Gold Card proves best-in-class when it comes to cash back redemption value, redeeming points for unrestricted award travel, membership in the Priority Pass™ Select Lounge Network, and card design.
The Mastercard Gold Card is the clear frontrunner for cash back redemption value in the luxury credit card market. Points are redeemed at a value of 2% and cashed out in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit to a checking account. Likewise, the card is best-in-class when it comes to redeeming points for unrestricted award travel. Flights can be booked directly through the card’s online Rewards Center at a redemption value of 2%.
The Mastercard Gold Card provides complimentary membership in the Priority Pass™ Select Lounge Network with an unlimited guest policy. Enrollment is automatic, meaning no activation is required.
Finally, Mastercard Gold Card is the apex of metal card design and construction with 46 patents and a 24K-gold-plated stainless steel front and carbon back.
Other strong attributes
Mastercard Gold Card members have 24/7 access, via telephone or email, to the Luxury Card Concierge™. Cardmembers can choose to work with the same concierge agent over time so their preferences are automatically taken into consideration. This concierge service is able to secure tables at popular restaurants, seats to sold-out events, source hard-to-find gifts, and help fulfill special requests.
In terms of special travel benefits, card holders can take advantage of the Luxury Card VIP Hotel & Travel Program. Amenities may include room upgrades, spa credits, and complimentary food and beverage. In addition, the card provides a fast track to elite level in Avis Preferred Plus® and Sixt Rent a Car’s rewards programs.
Competitive set standards
In line with its competitors, the Mastercard Gold Card provides a $100 Global Entry Application Fee statement credit every four years, for each application renewal. Like its competitors, the card provides return protection 90 days from date of purchase with a maximum coverage per item of $500 and a maximum coverage per year of $1,000. And similar to most credit cards these days—high-end and low-end—there are no foreign transaction fees when using the card, and Cardmembers can obtain Fico scores for free.
In addition, the card offers a competitive trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance policy for trips cancelled due to bad weather. Coverage is provided up to $5,000 per trip.
When compared to its competitors, the Mastercard Gold Card comes in below average with several of its travel and shopping benefits. These include extended warranty protection, price protection, the annual travel credit, worldwide travel accident insurance, and the auto rental collision damage waiver benefit.
First, let’s look at the shopping benefits. When charging a purchase entirely to the Mastercard Gold Card or using the card’s reward points, card holders are automatically entitled to the Extended Warranty protection, which doubles the manufacturer’s warranty up to two years on eligible manufacturer’s warranties of two years or less. However, this policy does not work with customer-purchased extended warranties such as AppleCare (while the policy from The Platinum Card from American Express does). Under the card’s price protection policy, if the same item purchased is found at a lower price 120 days after purchase, you are eligible to receive reimbursement of the price difference, up to $250 per item, and up to $1,000 annually (versus $500 per item and $2,500 annually with Chase Sapphire Reserve).
Now, let’s look at the travel benefits. A $200 annual travel credit is decent, but not generous like the $325 annual travel credit of U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card. When charging a trip’s entire common carrier fare to Mastercard Gold Card, card holders are automatically covered by worldwide travel accident insurance with maximum coverage provided up to $250,000 (Chase Sapphire Reserve card holders are covered up to $1,000,000). For the auto rental collision damage waiver benefit (Auto Rental CDW), coverage is secondary within the United States and primary outside the United States, if your automobile insurance does not cover you abroad. The amount covered is up to $50,000 versus $75,000 from all its competitors.
Don’t expect a hefty sign-up bonus. In 2016 Mastercard Gold Card stopped offering sign-up bonuses to focus on greater benefits for its loyal Cardmembers.
The annual fee is a pricey $995 annually for the primary card holder and $295 for each additional card holder. In comparison, the second priciest credit card is The Platinum Card from American Express at $550 annually and $175 for three additional cardholders.
Unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express, points earned with the Mastercard Gold Card cannot be transferred to airline and hotel partners. Moreover, the card does not offer bonus categories for earning points (e.g., 3X points on travel purchases).
Also unlike its competitors, the card does not offer Lost Baggage protection, and the card’s implicit trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance does not cover airline and agency insolvencies. Purchase protection (insurance that covers specific purchased items if they are lost, stolen, or accidentally damaged within a specified period after the date of purchase) is limited to $1,000 per claim versus the standard $10,000 in the ultra-luxury market.
Who should get the Mastercard Gold Card?
The Mastercard Gold Card is great for those who covet the prestige of a snazzy, status-symbol credit card and prefer to redeem their points as cash back (and don’t want to deal with complex tiered earning structures and points’ transfers). It’s also ideal for those who tend to travel with plenty of kids or friends in tow—the unlimited guest policy at Priority Pass lounges is priceless for many.