The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Mastercard® Black Card™ Review

Eric Bank

By: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Editor: Jon McDonald

Jon McDonald
Jon McDonald

Jon leverages 15-plus years of journalism expertise to inform financial consumers about emerging trends and companies making an impact in the industry. He is most knowledgeable in the areas of budgeting, credit card rewards, and responsible credit use. Jon has a passion for writing and editing, and his articles have appeared in publications produced by The New York Times.

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Reviewer: Danielle Spurlin

Danielle Spurlin
Danielle Spurlin

With more than 10 years of accounting experience, Danielle Marshall has a deep understanding of many financial disciplines, including personal and commercial lending, retirement annuities, financial forecasting, and general bookkeeping. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida's Fisher School of Accounting and currently manages all accounts receivable and payable for the parent company of CardRates.com. She works directly with credit card issuers and advertising partners to ensure our content meets compliance expectations and regulatory standards.

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Mastercard® Black Card™ Review

Rated 4.5 /5.0 ★★★★★

Whether you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or worked your tail off to accumulate your wealth, you may desire a little pampering to take the edge off of life’s sharp corners. And you are just the type of person the Mastercard® Black Card™ tries to attract.

This review dives into the lavish world of the top travel credit cards. We’ll evaluate the Mastercard® Black Card™ and three of its closest competitors. None are cheap, but neither are you, so keep reading to learn about its key features.

You’ll discover that it offers great travel features but may not offer the best value among the credit cards in its class.

Overview & Application

Barclays Bank issues the Luxury Card trio, of which the Mastercard® Black Card™ is the second-most expensive behind the Mastercard® Gold Card™.

Although not as extravagant as the latter, the Mastercard® Black Card™ still offers the collection’s top rate on airfare redemptions. However, it scales back its cash back rewards and yearly airline credit to align with its lower annual fee.

The card provides VIP travel benefits, including a subscription to Luxury Magazine and complimentary lounge access, which enhance your lifestyle and save you money. Luxury Card Concierge is always ready to help with personal requests, resort reservations, travel bookings, and access to exclusive events.

You can access the application on the issuer’s website by clicking on the Apply Now button below:

Disclosure: When you apply through links on our site, we often earn referral fees from partners. For more information, see our ad disclosure and review policy.

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Mastercard® Black Card™ Review

at Barclays Bank'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • Ideal for those seeking a premium travel card that doubles as an everyday workhorse, paired with elevated service beyond the ordinary. Leave behind the hassle of juggling various cards and monthly statements, while finding peace of mind with protection benefits that exceeds standard credit cards.
  • Flat-rate redemption value of 1.5% for cash back or 2% value for airfare redemption with no airline or seat restrictions and no blackout dates. Earn one point for every dollar spent. Straightforward redemption without needing a high-maintenance reward strategy. No foreign transaction fees, no earning caps, no rotating categories, and no need to chase down transfer partners to escape very low point values.
  • Annual Airline Credit—up to $100 in statement credits toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Just pay for airline purchases with your Mastercard Black Card and we will automatically apply the credit to your account. That’s it. No need to activate or designate an airline. The credit amount is available in full at the start of the calendar year.
  • Up to a $100 application fee credit for the cost of TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry. Also, enjoy automatic enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select with access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide with no guest or lounge limits. Includes credits at select airport restaurants for cardholder and one guest.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—Make requests the way you want by phone, email, SMS and chat in the app. Connect directly with a real agent and receive 24/7 assistance for tasks big and small. Requests do not require a purchase, incure no charge for making them, and do not involve department transfers.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., resort credits, room upgrades, free wifi, breakfast for two and more) at over 3,000 properties. Receive protection benefits like trip cancellation and interruption, auto rental car collision waiver, travel accident and baggage delay. Cell phone protection for eligible claims of up to $1,000 each year. Plus additional World Elite Mastercard® benefits.
  • Black PVD-Coated Metal Card: Weighing in at an industry-leading 22g. Designed for frequent shoppers, big ticket purchases and everything in between.
  • Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User). Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.
21.24%, 25.43% or 28.24%
$495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
Excellent

This 22-gram, black-PVD-coated metal card may more than pay for itself if you take full advantage of its rewards, credits, upgrades, protections, and reimbursements. In fact, you may receive enough perks to cover the stout fee for adding an authorized user.

Credit & Income Requirements

This card requires applicants to have excellent credit to qualify. We estimate that you need a credit score of at least 740 to qualify for the card.

FICO Scale
Applicants need at least very good credit to qualify for this card.

The issuer, Barclays Bank, does not publish any specific income requirements for the card other than earning enough to pay the monthly bill. Obviously, the higher your income, the better your approval chances.

Benefits & Drawbacks

A card of this magnitude has many benefits, as you’d expect for paying such a high annual fee. But you’ll see that its drawbacks may make you think twice about choosing this card. Let’s take a closer look.

Benefits to Consider:

    • Airfare Redemption Rate: You can redeem points for airfare at the top rate tier.

    • Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers: 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.

    • Yearly Airline Credit: Receive $100 annually for qualifying airline purchases.

    • Airport Lounge Access: You and your guests receive unlimited access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide with Priority Pass Select.

    • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck® Fee Credit: The card will reimburse you for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® application fees. You can receive up to $100 every five years.

    • 24/7 Concierge Service: A concierge will provide you with personalized assistance with numerous services.

    • Metal Card Design: The construction of this card contains Patented black-PVD-coated metal.

    • Worldwide Automatic Travel Accident Insurance: The card insures against accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing while traveling. You can collect up to $250,000. The coverage applies to yourself, your spouse/domestic partner, and your dependent children.

    • Baggage Delay Insurance: You can receive reimbursement for emergency purchases due to baggage delays. You can claim up to $100 per day for three days and up to $300 in twelve months.

    • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: The card covers you up to $1,500 per trip for non-refundable common carrier passenger fares due to trip cancellation or interruption.

    • Trip Delay Reimbursement: You’ll receive reimbursement for delays over 12 hours caused by covered hazards. You can claim up to $300 per ticket.

    • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: You may ask for assistance with medical, legal, transportation, and other emergency services. It costs nothing to seek assistance, but you must pay for the provided services or goods.

    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: You will receive reimbursement for damage due to collision or theft of a rental vehicle.

    • Roadside Dispatch: You can request free or pay-per-use roadside assistance, including various
    • Partner Benefits: Deals with Lyft, Instacart, and Peacock

Drawbacks to Consider:

    • Annual Fee: The annual fee is high — $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account).

    • No Signup Bonus: The card doesn’t offer a welcome bonus to new cardmembers.

    • Low Rewards Rate: The card’s reward rates are not as attractive as those of several competitors, which you may feel doesn’t justify the annual fee.

    • Travel Credit Limitations: The annual travel credit is a reimbursement of up to $100. Competing cards offer larger yearly credits.

    • Lounge Access Limitations: There may be constraints on airport lounge access. Guest access policies vary by lounge. You can access only Priority Pass lounges with this benefit.

    • Eligibility for Benefits: The card imposes conditions on certain benefits, such as the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck® Fee Credit, have specific eligibility requirements.

    • Complexity of Benefits: The constraints on some benefits can be confusing. You’ll have to dig into the fine print to understand the conditions that apply to each benefit.

    • No Point Transfers: You cannot transfer your points to another loyalty program. You can only redeem your points for air travel with participating airlines.

    • High Credit Requirements: The card has stringent credit approval criteria. It requires excellent credit and a set minimum income.

    • Comparative Value: The card’s cost/benefit tradeoff is not as compelling as that of other premium cards.

Generally, the card’s most significant drawbacks pertain to its disappointing comparative value and the cost of adding authorized users. Despite its many benefits, the card falls somewhat short of perfect.

Comparable Travel Cards

These comparable travel cards are worth a look. In my humble opinion, all are superior to the Mastercard® Black Card™. While two charge higher annual fees, they also provide lucrative travel credits that cover a good portion of the yearly fee.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™; Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Member FDIC
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
22.49%-29.49% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides many benefits, including 1.5X bonus points when you redeem them for travel through Chase. You can also transfer your reward points to travel partners and earn a sizeable annual travel credit.

The card offers the most extensive array of travel insurance benefits. You never have to pay a foreign transaction fee when traveling abroad. The annual fee for this premium travel card is steep, but the yearly travel credit and many benefits more than offset the cost.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
$395
Excellent

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the issuer’s challenge to the Chase card above and charges a lower annual fee. The card has an annual travel credit, reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fees, and bonus earning rates when you book your flights, hotels, and rental cars through Capital One Travel.

This travel card offers attractive signup and anniversary bonuses. You receive unlimited access to Capital One, Priority Pass, and Plaza Premium Group lounges for you and two guests per visit. You’ll get up to $50 in travel credit for the cost difference if you book the card’s recommended flight and the price drops within 10 days.

The Platinum Card® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly through airlines or American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Also earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.
  • $200 annual hotel credit, $200 annual airline fee credit, $25 monthly Equinox credit, $15 monthly Uber cash credit, $50 bi-annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, and more.
  • Platinum Card Members have unlimited complimentary access to all locations of The Global Lounge Collection, including 1,400 airport lounges across 650 cities.
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status. Enrollment required.
  • Choose among three card designs
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry, TSA Pre✓®, CLEAR®
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
20.49% - 27.49% Pay Over Time
$695
Excellent

The Platinum Card® from American Express has no preset spending limit (NPSL), which could make it the perfect choice for affluent customers. The limit fluctuates based on factors such as your income and payment history.

The annual fee may seem high, but the card includes generous earning rates, multiple credits, and a substantial signup bonus. The Platinum Card® provides you with Marriott Bonvoy® Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status, plus purchase protections and travel insurance, among many other benefits.

Cardholder Reviews Around the Web

A card that charges as much as this one does tends to polarize consumer opinions. We found some faint praise from NimbusIII:

“The face value of this card does not seem all that worthy of its annual fee, but I have learned that that doesn’t always reflect on the actual savings/benefits if used for what it is designed for.”

Negative reviews dominate the Reddit forums. For example, JRcred writes:

“I think this may be perhaps the worst credit card as far as what you get for your money. There are lots of 2% flat cash back cards you can get in the US and other cards you can use internationally without foreign transaction fees.”

But only you can decide whether a card is worthy of a spot in your wallet.

FAQs: What Kind of Travel Insurance Benefits Does It Offer?

The Mastercard® Black Card™ offers fairly comprehensive travel insurance benefits, including:

    • Worldwide automatic travel accident insurance

    • Baggage delay insurance

    • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

    • Trip delay reimbursement

    • Travel and emergency assistance services

    • Auto rental collision damage waiver

The card’s insurance benefits roughly match those of Chase Sapphire Reserve®, a card with some of the best travel insurance benefits available.

However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® includes an emergency medical/dental benefit and generally provides higher coverage levels. For example, it covers up to $1,000,000 for accidental death or dismemberment, whereas the Mastercard® Black Card™ tops out at $250,000.

What is the Credit Limit?

Barclays Bank does not specify a maximum credit limit for the Mastercard® Black Card™, but we do know that the minimum credit line is $5,000. One Reddit member mentions a $25,000 credit limit, and we expect higher limits to be available based on an applicant’s income and credit score.

If you want a higher credit limit, consider the Chase Sapphire twins or the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card.

How Does the Luxury Card Travel Program Work?

All three Luxury Cards offer a travel program with premium experiences and benefits. You receive bonus perks when you book travel or redeem points through the credit card’s travel portal. Here’s what you should know about the Luxury Card Travel Program:

    • Airfare benefits: Your benefits include airfare discounts and reward points. You can redeem points for travel purchases with a redemption rate higher than other types of purchases.

    • Airport lounge access: The program includes free access to Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide.

    • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit: You receive a statement credit to reimburse your application fees for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

    • Luxury hotel benefits: The program provides benefits worth an average of $500 per stay at luxury hotels and resorts. Benefits include complimentary room upgrades, resort credits, early check-in and late check-out, daily breakfast for two, and unique amenities at more than 3,000 properties worldwide.

    • Concierge service: You have free access to 24/7 concierge service to help you with travel planning, bookings, and other requests to improve your trip.

    • Travel insurance and protections: The card comes with several types of travel insurance covering trip cancellation or interruption, baggage delays, rental cars, and travel accidents.

    • No foreign transaction fee: The card never charges a foreign transaction fee, making it suitable for international travel.

The card’s travel program is its strongest suit, rivaling those of the best travel credit cards.

How Hard is it to Get Approved?

You may be eligible for the card if you meet the following requirements:

    • Have a credit score of at least 740

    • Hold US citizenship or permanent residence

    • Are at least 18

    • Have sufficient income to afford the card’s steep annual fee and minimum monthly payments

Barclays Bank doesn’t specify a minimum income, but the more you earn, the better your approval odds. Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and credit history also figure into the issuer’s approval decision.

It takes only a minute or two to submit an online application. And you will be required to supply the following info:

    • Name and address

    • Contact information

    • Social Security number

    • Date of birth

    • Occupation

    • Total annual gross income

    • Monthly housing payment

    • Balance transfer information

    • Authorized user information

When you apply, Barclays performs a hard credit check that may impact your credit score. Barclays may call you about the application and other account-related matters.

You may receive approval in less than a minute if everything goes smoothly. The process may take longer if the bank collects incomplete or conflicting data.

What Are the Redemption Options For Points Earned?

Barclays offers versatile redemption options for the points you earn, including airfares, hotel and car rentals, cash back direct deposits to a US checking or savings account, statement credits, gift cards/gift certificates, and merchandise.

To redeem your points, visit myluxurycard.com or call customer service using the number on the back of your card.

Airfare redemptions begin at 50 points for $1.00. Cash back direct deposits and statement credits start at 67 points for $1.00. Hotel stays and car rental redemptions begin at 100 points for $1.00. Minimums vary for gift card, gift certificate, and merchandise redemptions.

You need a valid email address for travel redemptions, which you can make with a combination of points and a purchase using a major credit or debit card. You must use Loyalty Edge to book air travel.

Statement credits reduce your account balance, but you cannot apply them toward any minimum payment requirement. You can redeem and deposit up to $500 per day to your bank account. Allow three to four business days for completion.

What Requests Does the 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge Accept?

The 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge is available via phone, app, text, or email, and can assist you with the following:

    • Travel reservations

    • Tickets for entertainment, sporting, and cultural events

    • Treatments at beauty salons and spas

    • Business meeting arrangements

Luxury Card Concierge offers around-the-clock service tailored to your specific needs and provides a complete lifestyle management tool to ensure you save time and enjoy exceptional service. The Concierge service is available with no additional fees.

How Does it Compare to the Mastercard® Gold Card™?

You may prefer the Mastercard® Black Card™ for its lower annual fee. It still offers the top rate on airfare redemptions, although it has a smaller annual airline credit and cash back rewards.

Mastercard® Black Card™ Mastercard® Gold Card™
Annual Fee $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account) $995 ($295 for each Authorized User added to the account)
APRs Same
Points on Purchases Same
Airfare Redemption Value Same
Cash Back Redemption Value Lower Higher
Luxury Concierge Service 24/7 access for personal and travel assistance 24/7 access with enhanced services
Annual Air Travel Credit Up to $100 Up to $200
Travel Benefits Comprehensive travel benefits and privileges Premium travel benefits and luxury experiences
Travel Insurance Included, with extensive coverage options Included, with more comprehensive coverage
Card Material Stainless Steel/Carbon Construction 24K Gold-Plated
Intro APR on Balance Transfers Usually available, typically for a limited time after account opening
Foreign Transaction Fee None
Additional Benefits Access to VIP airport lounges, luxury gifts, and more Superior access to luxury travel experiences, higher-value gifts, and more
Credit Requirements Excellent (740+ FICO)
Other Perks Exclusive luxury magazine subscription Access to elite travel services, higher-tier concierge services, and more

We don’t think the benefits of Mastercard® Gold Card™ justify the additional $500 annual fee. More importantly, I believe the reviewed alternative cards offer better value than either Luxury Card.

This Card May Be For You If…

Three compelling reasons to get the Mastercard® Black Card™ are:

    • You want excellent travel benefits, including exclusive access to airport lounges, luxury travel benefits, and a 24/7 luxury concierge service.

    • You appreciate premium card construction and design. This heavyweight card features a unique stainless steel/carbon construction that you may want to show off.

    • You don’t mind paying a high annual fee. Luxury doesn’t come cheap.

These benefits make the card particularly appealing if you value luxury travel. But before applying, please check out the reviewed competing cards, all of which may offer better value.

About the Author

Eric Bank
Eric Bank Finance Expert

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Eric Bank