The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Sunday, May 26, 2024

Mastercard® Gold 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: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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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® Gold Card™ Review

Rated 4.5 /5.0 ★★★★★

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ is a high-end, premium credit card designed specifically for well-heeled consumers who enjoy luxurious perks. The card has an eye-watering annual fee but offers a good rewards program and fancy services that include 24/7 concierge service, airport lounge access, and travel upgrades.

The card stands out for its heavyweight, gold-plated design, which may be important to consumers looking for a prestigious status symbol. Here we dive into the card’s details, pro and cons, top alternatives, and other things you must consider before deciding to apply.

What to Know: A Good Card for Certain Travelers

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ caters to consumers who frequently travel and entertain. It offers card membership rewards and benefits for those seeking a luxurious lifestyle.

The gold-plated Mastercard® Gold Card™ weighs an impressive 22 grams. Getting it will cost you and an authorized user more than $1,000, but you’ll receive valuable card membership rewards and the Luxury Card experience, plus the following benefits detailed in the bullet points:

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Mastercard® Gold 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 2% 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 $200 in statement credits toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Just pay for airline purchases with your Mastercard Gold 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.
  • Made with 24K Gold: Weighing in at an industry-leading 22g. Designed for frequent shoppers, big ticket purchases and everything in between.
  • Annual Fee: $995 ($295 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%
$995 ($295 for each Authorized User added to the account)
Excellent

You can apply directly on the bank’s website by clicking the Apply Now button, where you can also learn more about its many benefits.

Credit & Income Requirements

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ typically requires you to have a FICO score of 720 or higher. In terms of income, the issuer doesn’t publicly disclose specific minimum income requirements, but it’s safe to say the card caters to high-income individuals.

But you’ll need a high income due to the card’s stout annual fee and the spending required to earn some of its benefits. Applicants should have a stable income because the bank wants reassurance that cardmembers can afford the card’s monthly minimum payments.

To qualify, you must be a US resident, age 18 or older. You can apply online by providing:

    • Identity and contact data

    • Your Social Security number

    • How long you’ve resided at your permanent address

    • Your income source and total annual gross

    • Your monthly housing payment (mortgage or rent)

    • Information about your bank account

The bank does not offer a prequalification step and will conduct a hard credit check to determine your eligibility.

Benefits & Drawbacks to Consider

There’s no doubt the Mastercard® Gold Card™ provides numerous benefits. Still, its annual fee seems high compared to what competitors charge for similar cards. The following chart compares the card’s highs and lows, so you can make an informed decision as to whether this is the right choice for you.

BENEFITS
Reward Points Earn points for every dollar spent, redeemable for travel, cash back, or gift cards.
Airfare Redemption Value The card enhances point value when redeemed for airfare.
Airport Lounge Access Complimentary access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre Check application fee.
Hotel Room Upgrades Access to luxury hotel benefits, including room upgrades.
Exclusive Travel Experiences Offers exclusive travel experiences and services
24/7 Concierge Service Personalized assistance for travel, dining, and entertainment arrangements
Card Design Gold-plated stainless steel card design
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.
Partner Benefits Deals with Lyft, Instacart, and Peacock
No Foreign Transaction Fees International purchases don’t incur foreign transaction fees, ideal for travelers abroad
Cell Phone Coverage Pay your mobile bill with your card to activate damage and theft coverage
Travel Insurance Comprehensive travel insurance coverage for trips booked with the card
DRAWBACKS
High Annual Fee $995 ($295 for each Authorized User added to the account)
Low Rewards Rate The points earning rate may not be as competitive as other premium credit cards, especially for non-travel purchases.
Limited Bonus Categories Rewards are not tiered or category-specific, meaning spending in certain areas doesn’t earn bonus points.
Exclusive Audience The card targets a very specific, high-income clientele, making it less accessible or practical for the average consumer.
Travel Benefits Utilization Maximizing travel benefits requires frequent travel, which may not align with your lifestyle or needs.

We advise you to check out the best alternative cards below before applying for this one. All three may offer a better card experience at a lower cost.

Comparable Cards Worth a Look

The following three cards compete directly with the Mastercard® Gold Card™, yet they all cost less. While they still charge significant annual fees, they provide extensive travel benefits that justify the expense, plus some things you won’t get from the Gold Card. And, they offer much better rewards.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,125 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, 75,000 points are worth $1125 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® has a $550 annual fee, well below that of the Mastercard® Gold Card™. The fee pays for itself through the card’s travel rebates, generous rewards, annual credits, and extensive conveniences and protections.

Your points gain 50% additional value when you redeem them for travel through the Chase portal. You also receive a travel credit each anniversary year. The card offers the best travel insurance coverage available, including primary collision damage waivers on rental cars. We rate it the best credit card in this review.

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

Priced $600 below the Mastercard® Gold Card™, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card provides better rewards and a signup bonus. Both cards offer an anniversary credit, but the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card partially reimburses you annually for the bookings you make through Capital One Travel.

You can transfer the points from this Visa® Infinite card to more than a dozen partner loyalty programs. Although either card can get you into Priority Pass lounges, only the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card can provide access to Capital One Lounges.

The Platinum Card® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $8,000 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 140 countries.
  • 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
21.24% - 29.24% Pay Over Time
$695
Excellent

The Platinum Card® from American Express® provides excellent travel rewards. Its annual fee helps you pay for airline and baggage fees, hotel stays, discounts at select merchants, and digital entertainment.

The card offers exclusive deals from American Express Travel. It also insures you against trip delays, cancellations, and lost baggage. The Platinum Card® does not charge foreign transaction fees.

Cardholder Reviews Around the Web

It’s a lot harder to find positive comments from this card’s owners, as most commentators have a distinctly sour take on the card.

SeoulTrain90 is a happy camper:

“First thoughts – This card is heavy! Much heavier than Chase Sapphire Preferred and Marriott Premier Rewards. After looking through the benefits guide, I can definitely see that it has more perks than advertised. Nothing to rave about, though. With the 50k point sign-up bonus, this will offset the annual fee for the first year. After that, I’ll decide whether I want to keep it for another year. With the $200 airline credit and $100 Global Entry fee waiver, I’ll definitely come out ahead this year.”

Slashafk is decidedly less enthusiastic:

This is one of the worst credit cards to get. The fees on the “luxury card” credit cards are too high for what you get. It’s most likely for consumers who don’t know any better and want to get that feeling of “status.” There is no reason to have this card. To put it in perspective, the Amex Platinum is roughly $700 a year with 10x the perks.”

Mizamato is more succinct:

“It’s an expensive paperweight.”

Ultimately, it would be best if you formed your own opinion based on the card’s strengths and weaknesses.

FAQs: How Do the Card’s Rewards Work?

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ lets you collect rewards on purchasers through a points-based system. You earn 2X points you redeem for travel (i.e., flights, hotel stays, and car rentals) or cash back.

You must book the trip through InComm InCentives to receive the bonus rate. All other eligible purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.

You can redeem your points in several ways, including:

    • Airfare redemptions: All airline bookings are final and non-refundable unless you book a refundable trip. If you wish to cancel a booking, you will forfeit your points redeemed for that booking and may incur additional supplier fees. There are no restrictions or blackout dates for eligible or participating airfare redemptions.

    • Cash back: You can receive a direct deposit into a US checking or savings account or a cash back statement credit.

    • Hotel stays and car rentals: Redemptions vary based on availability and the redemption option selected.

    • Gift cards, gift certificates, merchandise, and experiences: Redemption minimums vary based on what you are redeeming for.

You can redeem points either by phone (the number is on the back of the card) or by logging in to your account online. Authorized users can redeem points by phone, which is not typical. Usually, only primary cardholders can redeem rewards.

What is the Card’s Credit Limit?

This card offers a range of credit limits depending on your creditworthiness, income, and other factors. It is a World Elite Mastercard®, so you usually can get a starting credit limit as high as $10,000, although this isn’t guaranteed.

The maximum credit limit may approach or exceed six figures. The card doesn’t allow applicants to request a specific card limit. You can ask for a higher limit, but you should wait at least six months between requests.

What Kind of Travel Insurance Benefits Does It Offer?

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ offers a suite of travel insurance benefits designed to provide security and peace of mind while traveling, including the following:

    • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: This insurance provides secondary coverage for a round-trip purchase when you use your card. You can receive reimbursement for the cost of non-refundable round-trip expenses up to $5,000 per insured person if certain accidental events cause you to cancel or interrupt your trip for a covered reason.

    • Baggage Delay Insurance: You may be eligible for reimbursement of covered items up to $100 a day (maximum three qualifying days) for eligible baggage delays of more than four hours from the time you arrive at the travel destination (excluding arrival at your primary residence).

    • Travel Accident Insurance: In the event of an unfortunate travel accident, you will receive up to $250,000 coverage for eligible common carrier accidental death and dismemberment at no additional cost when you charge your entire travel fare to your card for a covered trip.

    • Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver: You get secondary coverage for damages to an eligible rental vehicle when you pay for the entire rental transaction using your card and decline the coverage from the rental agency.

    • Travel Assistance Services: The issuer designed this perk to assist you or your travel companions when you’re traveling 50 miles or more from home. Service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and provides trip travel assistance, medical assistance, and legal referrals.

    • Roadside Assistance: You can call for help when you have a roadside emergency. Assistance may include towing, fuel delivery, jump-starts, and tire changing.

The card does not offer all the travel insurance benefits available from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, including emergency medical and dental benefits, emergency evacuation and transportation, and trip delay reimbursement. In addition, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card’s collision damage waiver is primary insurance in the United States.

How Does the Mastercard® Gold Card™ Compare to the Other Luxury Cards?

Luxury cards come in Gold, Black, and Titanium varieties. The following chart highlights how the three cards differ:

Mastercard® Gold Card™ Mastercard® Black Card™ Mastercard® Titanium Card™
Annual Fee $995 ($295 for each Authorized User added to the account) $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account) $195 ($95 for each Authorized User added to the account)
Card Design Gold-plated stainless steel Stainless steel with carbon layer Brushed stainless steel
Airfare Redemption Rate 2% value 2% value 2% value
Cash Back Redemption Rate 2% value 1.5% value 1% value
Travel Benefits Most extensive luxury travel benefits, including VIP experiences and exclusive hotel partnerships Comprehensive travel benefits, Priority Pass Select, various hotel benefits Basic travel benefits, Priority Pass Select
Concierge Service Top-tier, personalized service Standard concierge service Basic concierge service
Airport Lounge Access Unlimited access to over 1,000 lounges Access to over 1,000 lounges with Priority Pass Access to over 1,000 lounges with Priority Pass
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit Yes Yes Yes
Hotel Room Upgrades Highest likelihood of upgrades Moderate likelihood of upgrades Basic upgrade opportunities

The lower-priced cards deliver many of the same perks as the expensive one. That provides an excellent opportunity to save money while still obtaining premium perks.

Is the Mastercard® Gold Card™ Worth Having?

We can only justify the card’s inflated annual fee if you must have a credit card with a 22-gram gold-plated design, and then only if you are a big spender. The three alternatives in this review above all provide a better cost/benefit ratio but are not as physically impressive as the Mastercard® Gold Card™, which is but a matter of opinion.

If you couldn’t care less about the appearance of your credit card, we advise you avoid applying for it until you evaluate the competition.

This Card May Be For You If You Want:

    • Travel benefits: The card offers excellent travel benefits, including access to airport lounges, travel insurance, and room upgrades.

    • Personalized customer service: The 24/7 concierge service offers customized assistance for various needs, from travel bookings to restaurant reservations.

    • Status and prestige: Some may consider the card to be a status symbol, thanks to its gold-plated design that screams: “I’m rich!” Owning this card tells the world you are a financial success with an enviable lifestyle. The prestige and gloating from this premium card may be worth the cost to some consumers.

On a personal note, I evaluated all the products in this review when I decided to get a top-drawer travel card. I ended up with Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

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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