The Black Card is a more affordable version of the ultra-luxury Gold Card in terms of annual fee ($495 versus $995, respectively). Yet the suite of services and benefits is almost identical between the two cards. Meaning, the main difference lies in the power of prestige.
Here’s what you need to know when deciding between these two cards.
The Gold Card is more prestigious than the Black Card
While both cards are viewed as status symbols, the Gold Card carries more weight and power in the world of credit cards.
Unlike the tiered color structure of other credit card brands, the Gold Card is the top-level card within the Luxury Card Mastercard portfolio. Technically, both the Gold and Black Cards represent the apex of metal card design and construction with 46 patents issued globally. However, the Gold Card comes with the bonus of a 24K-gold-plated stainless steel front.
Both offer the same great customer service and concierge service
Strong customer and concierge services are what really set these cards apart from their competitors such as Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Both Mastercard Gold Card and Black Card members have 24/7 access to the Luxury Card Concierge™. Cardmembers requests are recorded so their preferences are automatically taken into consideration for future requests. This concierge service can secure tables at popular restaurants, seats to sold-out events, source hard-to-find gifts, and help fulfill special requests.
Holders of both cards can also download the Luxury Card App, which is more comprehensive than other credit card apps on the market. It offers the concierge and personal assistant services via live chat, 24/7, directly from the app. This is a game changer for those who love using premium credit cards’ travel and concierge services but don’t feel like calling in to make bookings.
The Gold Card offers a higher cash back rate
Both cards promise strong rewards on everyday spending. Cardholders simply earn one point on every dollar spent, regardless of spending category. The value of these points lies in the power of redemption. With the Gold Card, points are redeemed at a rate of 2% toward unrestricted award travel or 2% cash back. With the Black Card, points are redeemed at a rate of 2% toward unrestricted award travel or 1.5 % cash back.
Both come with a top-tier Priority Pass™ Select membership
The Priority Pass lounge network is the largest independent airport lounge access program in the world. It includes more than 1,250 lounges in over 143 countries worldwide. While you can buy into this membership-based network for $399 per year (plus $27 per guest), membership is complimentary for both Gold or Black Card members. Both come with an industry-leading, unlimited guest policy. No other credit cards offer such a generous guest policy, especially useful for those traveling with large families or fellow conventioneers.
Both reimburse the Global Entry Application Fee and have other similar travel benefits
Both cards provide a $100 Global Entry Application Fee statement credit every four years. The Gold card also provides a $200 travel credit per calendar year valid toward any purchase categorized as “air travel,” including airfare, baggage fees, flight upgrades, and select in-flight purchases (alcohol and food: yes; duty-free: no). The Black Card provides a $100 travel credit per calendar year.
Cardholders of both can take advantage of the Luxury Card VIP Hotel & Travel program. Amenities might 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.
Both cards provide the identical implicit travel insurances
The implicit travel insurances with both cards are similar to those offered from other cards within the World Elite Mastercard portfolio.
When charging a trip’s entire common carrier fare to either, cardholders are automatically covered by worldwide travel accident insurance with maximum coverage provided up to $250,000. 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.
When charging a trip to either card, the implicit trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance policies compensate loss from reasons such as inclement weather. Coverage is provided up to $5,000 per trip.
Shopping benefits are identical with both cards
The shopping benefits and protections of the Mastercard Black Card and Mastercard Gold Card are again in line with those of most cards within the World Elite Mastercard suite. Thankfully, World Elite Mastercard is one of the few brands that still offers price protection and return protection. Price protection is an insurance that covers price drops, insomuch that cardholders can be reimbursed the difference in price on most products if recorded at a lower price in a printed advertisement at any retail store or nonauction Internet advertisement. Return protection provides reimbursement of a personal item if you are dissatisfied with it and the retailer won’t accept the return within 90 days of purchase. Essentially, return protection extends the return policy of your purchase threefold in many cases.
If the same item purchased with either card 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.
In addition, when charging a purchase entirely to either card or using the card’s reward points, cardholders 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.
Neither offers a sign-up bonus
There are no sign-up bonuses for either card nor bonus categories for earning points. These two cards look to serve their bases long-term through services and benefits that more than pay for themselves.
There’s not a clear victor in this battle of Gold vs. Black. The cards are almost identical except for their appearances, small difference in cash back rate, $100 difference in annual travel credits, and $500 difference in annual fee. It really boils down your personal value in a status symbol.