Mastercard® Gold Card™ Review: Useful Travel Rewards, But with a Huge Annual Fee
Mastercard® Gold Card™
The Mastercard® Gold Card™ is the most expensive of Mastercard’s Luxury Card line, coming in with a whopping $995 annual fee. While it does offer a $200 annual travel credit, airport lounge access, travel insurance and more, plenty of other travel rewards cards offer similar features for $500 or less per year. When you add up the benefits and subtract the costs, for most people, this card won’t be worth its huge annual fee. In that case, it’s worth your time to try out the CardCruncher tool—it’ll find you the best card for your spending habits. Otherwise, read on to see our full review of the Mastercard® Gold Card™.
Mastercard® Gold Card™ Quick Review
Here are all the important details you need to know about the Mastercard® Gold Card™:
Annual Fee: $995
APR: 16.49% Variable
Sign-Up Bonus: $0
- 1 point per dollar on all purchases
- Redeem for airfare or cash back at $0.02 per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- 24/7 travel concierge service
- Complimentary upgrades and amenities when you book through Luxury Card Travel
- $200 annual airline credit
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
- Access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide
- Travel and rental car insurance
- Price protection and extended warranty
- Exclusive access to thousands of live events with Mastercard Priceless
- Balance transfer fee of $5 or 3%, whichever is greater
- Cash advance fee of $10 or 5%, whichever is greater
- Up to $37 late payment fee
- Up to $37 returned payment fee
Why Apply for the Mastercard® Gold Card™
There are a few reasons you may want to apply for the Mastercard® Gold Card™:
It will save you time and money at the airport
As a Mastercard® Gold Card™ holder, you’ll receive a $200 airfare credit each year, and you’ll earn 1 point per dollar on all purchases. Each point is worth $0.02 when redeemed for airfare or cash back. In addition, you’ll receive free access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, plus a credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, which help you cruise through airport security lines.
Enjoy complimentary upgrades with Luxury Card Travel
The Mastercard® Gold Card™ gives you the freedom to book travel when and how you want with no blackout dates. You’ll get the best value when you book your hotel stays through Luxury Card Travel. Doing so makes you eligible for free room upgrades, spa credits, complimentary meals and more. Mastercard says these benefits have an average value of about $500 per stay.
It includes valuable travel and purchase protections
Like most premium travel cards, the Mastercard® Gold Card™ offers travel insurance, which covers things like lost luggage, an unexpected trip cancellation or a delay. The card also includes rental car coverage and travel accident insurance. All purchases you make with your card are protected as well; any damaged or stolen items will be replaced if they were purchased within the last 90 days. Additionally, if you find a better price on an item you purchased within the last 120 days, the card issuer will refund you the difference. The Mastercard® Gold Card™ also doubles the warranty on qualifying purchases with warranties of two years or less.
Mastercard® Gold Card™: Drawbacks and Downsides
The Mastercard® Gold Card™ includes a number of valuable perks, but comes with drawbacks, too:
It’s expensive, even for a premium travel rewards card
At $995 per year, the Mastercard® Gold Card™ has one of the highest annual fees you’ll see available to most consumers. If you decide to add an authorized user to your account, you’ll pay an additional $295 per year. While the card does offer nice perks, plenty of travel rewards credit cards offer similar benefits with lower fees.
It lacks bonus categories
No matter how you use your Mastercard® Gold Card™, you’ll always earn the standard 1 point per dollar. The points are worth $0.02 each, so it’s like earning 2 points per dollar with most other travel rewards cards. The difference is, many cards earn points faster by offering bonus rewards on dining and travel purchases. One of these cards may offer you greater earning potential at a lower cost.
Mastercard® Gold Card™ Alternatives
If the Mastercard® Gold Card™ is too expensive for you, one of these may be a better option:
Mastercard® Black Card™
The Mastercard® Black Card™ is a step down from the Mastercard® Gold Card™, but it offers better value. Your points will still be worth $0.02 when redeemed for airfare, though they’re only worth $0.015 when redeemed for cash back on the Mastercard® Black Card™. Even so, most people willing to pay the card’s $495 annual fee are most likely in it for the travel rewards, so this shouldn’t be a serious concern.
The Mastercard Black Card offers a $100 annual travel credit, compared to the $200 annual travel credit on the Mastercard® Gold Card™. Apart from that, it offers all the same benefits, including travel insurance, airport lounge access and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership credit, for an annual fee that’s almost half as much. The Mastercard® Black Card™ just makes more sense.
Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard
The Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard offers unlimited 2X miles on all purchases, and a sign-up bonus of 70,000 miles. You can book travel with any company, with no blackout dates. Then, just highlight the items you’d like credited on your next credit card statement, and your points will cover the cost. You’ll automatically receive 5% of your points back every time you redeem, and you can put those points toward your next travel expense.
The card has an annual fee of just $0 the first year, then $89, far less than the $995 on the Mastercard® Gold Card™. However, you’ll sacrifice premium travel perks, as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard doesn’t offer travel insurance, annual airfare credits or airport lounge access.
Mastercard® Gold Card™ FAQs
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the Mastercard® Gold Card™:
What credit score do you need to be approved for the Mastercard® Gold Card™?
The Mastercard® Gold Card™ doesn’t have a published minimum credit score or income requirement for qualifying. Its issuer, Barclays, doesn’t publish such information. Nevertheless, given the card’s premium benefits and its high annual fee, assume you need good to excellent credit. This is generally considered to be a score of 700 or above.
How long does it take to receive your Mastercard® Gold Card™?
In most cases, you should find out if you’re approved for the Mastercard® Gold Card™ instantaneously online. However, there may be rare cases where the card issuer needs longer to assess your application. Once a decision is made, you should receive your card within seven to 14 days.
Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the Mastercard® Gold Card™?
The Mastercard® Gold Card™ has a lot of valuable perks, but they’re simply not enough to justify the card’s $995 annual fee. Other travel rewards credit cards charge $500 or less per year and offer many of the same benefits. If you only travel once or twice per year, go with a travel rewards card with a low annual fee and bonus rewards in the right categories. Those will mean a lot more to you than fringe airport benefits that you’re not regularly using.