On a similar note...
On a similar note...
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Luxury Card, the provider of a trio of glitzy credit cards for high-end customers, is all about flash. The company markets three premium cards with hefty annual fees, touting their metal construction and fancy perks:
The Mastercard Titanium Card, $195 annual fee.
The Mastercard Black Card, $495 annual fee.
The Mastercard Gold Card, $995 annual fee.
But the value of these cards is relatively lackluster when you take the high annual fees into account. Here’s what you should know about these offers.
1. The cards are pricey
Issued by Barclays, the cards in the Luxury Card portfolio have annual fees in the triple digits. The Mastercard Gold Card is the priciest, with a fee just south of $1,000 a year, while the Mastercard Titanium Card is the least expensive. In the middle is the Mastercard Black Card, which launched in 2016 as a rebranded version of the old Visa Black.
The cards can get even more costly if you want to add another person to the account. For each authorized user, you’ll pay:
$95 on the Mastercard Titanium Card.
$195 on the Mastercard Black Card.
$295 on the Mastercard Gold Card.
A high annual fee on a credit card isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker if you can get more value out of the card in rewards and benefits. But with these cards, that can be hard to do.
2. The rewards are just OK
The Luxury Card website says cardmembers “receive the best airfare and cash back redemption rates.” But:
The redemption rates aren’t “the best” in all cases. Sure, the points on these cards can be worth up to 2 cents apiece for certain redemptions, which is double the standard 1 cent per point offered on many cards for most redemptions. But some cards also offer options that are potentially much more lucrative. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (annual fee of $550) and The Platinum Card® from American Express (annual fee of $550) have multiple airline and hotel partners that allow you to transfer your points to loyalty programs at a 1-to-1 rate. If you transferred points on one of these cards to a partner to take advantage of a high-value redemption, you might be able to get, say, 5 cents of value out of each point. The cards in the Luxury Card collection don’t have transfer partners; the maximum value you can get out of each point is 2 cents.
The earning rates are low. All the cards in the Luxury Card collection — even the $995 card — earn just 1 point per dollar spent. If they had bonus categories or higher flat-rate rewards, getting 2 cents a point might be notable. But at 1 point per dollar spent, these cards’ effective rewards rates are just 2% at best, and 1% at worst. You can find a handful of $0-annual-fee cards that have better ongoing rewards rates. Consider the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, for example. It’s not metal, but it earns 2% cash back on everything: 1% back on all purchases made and another 1% back when they’re paid off.
Points earned on the cards in the Luxury Card collection can be redeemed for travel through Luxury Card’s Loyalty Edge program, direct deposit to a U.S. checking or savings account, statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Here’s how much they're worth:
Mastercard Titanium Card: Points are worth 2 cents apiece for airfare redemptions and 1 cent apiece for other redemptions.
Mastercard Black Card. Points are worth 2 cents apiece for airfare redemptions, 1.5 cents apiece for cash back and 1 cent apiece for other redemptions.
Mastercard Gold Card: Points are worth 2 cents apiece for both airfare redemptions and cash back and 1 cent apiece for other redemptions.
3. They're made of heavy metal
The cards from the Luxury Card collection are mostly unspectacular, but they do stand out in one way: They all have attractive metal designs.
Luxury Card notes that it has 46 patents issued globally for its metal card constructions. It also emphasizes the cards’ heft: The cards each weigh 22 grams, according to Luxury Card, making them heavier than other premium cards made of metal. The Mastercard Gold Card — the one with a $995 annual fee — is even plated in 24-karat gold.
4. Some of the perks are fancy
As is usually the case with premium cards, the offerings in the Luxury Card collection come with some swanky perks. Here are some of the most valuable:
Annual airline credit. The Mastercard Gold Card offers $200 in annual air travel credit toward purchases like airline tickets, baggage fees and upgrades. The Mastercard Black card offers $100 a year in such credit.
Credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee. These programs can get you through airport security and customs faster. The credit is available on the Mastercard Black Card and Mastercard Gold Card, but not on the Mastercard Titanium Card.
Priority Pass Select membership. This perk, which gets you into airport lounges around the world, is available on the Mastercard Black Card and Mastercard Gold Card, but not on the Mastercard Titanium Card.
Airport escort. With all the cards, you can have a “professional representative meet and escort you through the airport process in an expedited fashion,” according to the Luxury Card website.
Concierge. All three cards offer 24/7 access to the Luxury Card Concierge. This service assists with such tasks as recovering items left behind at a hotel, planning a special event or arranging a last-minute delivery.
Travel benefits at select properties. The Luxury Travel Program includes more than 3,000 properties internationally. When you stay at these properties, you’ll get extra goodies, such as spa or resort credits, complimentary food and beverages and room upgrades.
5. Overall, the cards are so-so
The cards in the Luxury Card portfolio are decent, but for the cost, you can do better.
Consider this: In the Luxury Card family, only one card — the Mastercard Gold Card, which has an annual fee of $995 — offers $200 in airline credits, a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application credit and Priority Pass Select membership benefits. Meanwhile, both the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express offer these same benefits and more at a fraction of the price.
To be clear, the cards in the Luxury Card portfolio aren’t terrible. As premium cards, they’re decent. But if you’re spending a fortune on an annual fee, you might want more than that.