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Mastercard Gold Card review: Beware of fool’s gold

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

Mastercard® Gold Card™ overview

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ is a unique credit card made with 24-karat gold that aims to compete with other premium cards. Cardholders receive standard premium perks like an airline credit and Priority Pass access. Still, the card offers no standout perks that would easily justify its astronomical $995 annual fee — the highest among its competitors. Card rating*: ⭐⭐

*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

From the same issuer who brought us the Mastercard® Black Card™, there’s an even more expensive metal card made with 24-karat gold. Capitalizing on the metal card trend, the Mastercard Gold Card seeks to wow cardholders, but do the card’s benefits justify paying nearly $1,000 a year for the annual fee?

The Mastercard Gold Card requires a credit score of at least 740 and offers very few benefits for a steep $995 annual fee.

Today, we will explore the Mastercard Gold Card in depth to see what you get for this high annual fee, how it compares to other premium cards and if this card should have a place in your wallet.

Related: Why you may not want a metal credit card

Gold Card pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application credit
  • $200 annual airline credit
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Travel and shopping protections
  • Poor earning rate
  • No transfer partners
  • High annual fee

 Gold Card welcome offer

The Gold Card disappoints right away by not offering a welcome bonus to new cardholders.


This is just the start of the drawbacks of this card, as consumers looking to open a new credit card often look at high welcome bonus offers to help them jump-start their rewards, especially when it comes to premium cards geared toward travel.

In the past, the Gold Card offered a welcome bonus of 50,000 points. Since these points are worth 2 cents each, this bonus would be worth $1,000. Even if you could get this bonus, its value is lackluster compared to what cardholders receive from the welcome bonus on other premium cards.

Related: The best welcome offers this month

Gold Card benefits

The Gold Card provides a few benefits that can help cardholders but do not come near recouping the ridiculous annual fee.

man using priority pass

The card’s most valuable benefit is an annual $200 air travel credit. This flexible credit can be used toward airline tickets, bag fees, upgrades and other incidentals charged by the airline. A perk of this benefit is that you don’t need to select an airline from a list of eligible carriers, a restriction that can be frustrating for those using a similar benefit on The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Typical of premium travel credit cards, the Gold Card also provides up to $100 in credit for a Global Entry or TSAPrecheck application fee. It also includes a Priority Pass Select membership, giving cardholders access to over 1,400 lounges worldwide.

With the card, you’ll also get various travel protections, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and purchase protections like cellphone coverage. Cardholders also receive some benefits unique to Mastercard, such as invitation-only experiences to Priceless Golf and various subscription discounts.

Given the card’s $995 annual fee, this benefits list is remarkably underwhelming. You’ll get similar travel protections but far more valuable credits and comprehensive airport lounge access by choosing the Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card instead — and save at least $300 in annual fees each year.

Related: Are premium credit cards worth the annual fee? 

Earning rewards on the Gold Card

Despite being marketed as a premium product, the Gold Card barely meets the standard for earning rates on the most basic cash-back rewards card. Cardholders earn just 1 point per dollar spent, with no bonus categories on purchases.

The only somewhat redeeming factor in these rates is that each point is worth 2 cents each, giving you a 2% return on all purchases.

Tap to pay at a cafe

If you like the idea of a 2% return on all your purchases:1% when you buy and 1% when you pay, you could go with the Citi Double Cash® Card (see rates and fees) instead and earn cash back at the same rate for no annual fee.

But if you’re considering getting this card for its premium travel perks, you’d be better off with one of our other favorite travel rewards cards, all of which earn bonus rewards on travel purchases.

Related: The best rewards credit cards for each bonus category

Redeeming rewards on the Gold Card

Gold Card rewards can be redeemed for cash back or airfare. You can redeem your points for airfare at a rate of 2 cents per point when you go to or call customer service to book.

If you want to redeem your points for cash back, you can get your cash either as a statement credit or deposited directly into a U.S. bank account. You’ll get the same 2-cent-per-point rate with this redemption method.


The option to get 2 cents per point when redeeming for airfare may sound appealing, especially when looking at competitors such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which only offers 1.5 cents per point when booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal.

However, the Sapphire Reserve earns 3 points per dollar on dining and travel purchases to the Gold Card’s measly 1 point per dollar. Even with the lower redemption rate, you would get a 4.5% return on these purchases when booking through the Chase travel portal — over twice the value of the Gold Card’s 2% return.

The uselessness of the Gold Card continues in the footsteps of its cheaper sibling, the Mastercard Black Card, by not offering the ability to transfer rewards to an airline or hotel partner. I’m a huge fan of finding redemption sweet spots to maximize my points and miles, so I can’t imagine paying a premium annual fee for a card that doesn’t give me this option.

Related: How and why to earn transferable points

Which cards compete with the Gold Card?

The absurd annual fee and lack of proper benefits to match such a price make the Gold Card easy to beat. Several cards offer a lower annual fee and so many benefits that you recoup it.

  • If you want a card that’s gold: The American Express® Gold Card is a metal card that comes in your choice of gold or rose gold but with a much lower annual fee of $250 (see rates and fees). The card comes with up to $240 in annual credits and offers an impressive 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery) and on groceries at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 annual spending limit per calendar year). For more information, read our full review of the American Express Gold Card.
  • If you want an airline credit: The Platinum Card from American Express offers 5 points per dollar for airfare booked directly with an airline or through up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. The card also comes with up to $1,500 in available statement credits annually, including an airline incidental credit of up to $200. For more information, read our full review of the Amex Platinum. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
  • If you want better earning rates: The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases. It also comes with a $300 travel credit and access to Priority Pass and Chase lounges for a $550 annual fee. For more information, read our full review of the Sapphire Reserve.

For additional options, see our full list of the best travel credit cards.

Related: A side-by-side comparison of the best premium credit cards

Is the Gold Card worth it?

The Gold Card is even less worth it than its sibling, the Black Card. The lack of a welcome bonus, embarrassingly low earning rates and lackluster benefits should be enough to keep you away from this card and avoid a useless hard inquiry on your credit report. Unless the Gold Card receives a massive overhaul to become a proper credit card, I wouldn’t recommend this card to anyone.

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a metal credit card to make a statement every time you make a purchase, there are plenty of better options available — with lower annual fees, valuable benefits and more redemption options. While this shiny card may seem appealing on the surface, avoid it at all costs (and especially this one). Do yourself a favor and put that $995 toward a vacation or, at the very least, purchase actual gold instead.

Related: The best metal credit cards

Apply here: Mastercard Gold Card

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here