Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Hey, New Yorkers and New Year’s Eve visitors to the Big Apple: If you’re looking for the best way to get around the city amid all the revelry, check out your Mastercard. If there’s a Wi-Fi symbol on the front or back, that could be the only reason you need to hail a taxi or head to the nearest subway stop.
Every Tuesday through the end of the year, Mastercard will refund up to $10 for cab fares paid via tap and pay on a Mastercard. This includes fares charged on Dec. 31, meaning New Year’s Eve partiers from Times Square to Brooklyn to the Upper East Side have plenty of incentive to hail a taxi after the revelry ends.
Prefer to travel underground, deep below the confetti-clogged streets? A holiday twist on Mastercard’s Fareback Friday program is your ticket. Every Friday through New Year’s Day, cardholders who use tap and pay for their subway fare get up to $5.50 refunded. That’s equivalent to two rides.
» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for transit spending
Mastercard says the goal of this promotion is to highlight its tap-and-pay functionality, which lets you put charges on your card simply by tapping at enabled pay stations. If that sounds a little iffy to you security-wise, note the protections touted by Mastercard for this technology. Encryption, which is unique to every transaction, protects the data. And the tap-and-pay processing has safeguards in place to bill a customer only once if they accidentally tap twice.
Can I use the promo if I don't have a tap-and-pay card?
Of course, it wouldn’t be good PR to leave any cardholders hoofing it out in the cold, which is why even cardmembers whose Mastercards don’t have tap-and-pay capability can get in on the promotion. Just add your Mastercard credit or debit card to your mobile wallet on any contactless-enabled smartphone, then use that to pay for a taxi or subway ride on any of the promotion days. You’ll get the same refund.
The taxi refunds will apply to any yellow or green cab ride originating in New York City, including in the boroughs and regardless of how far outside the city you end up. The subway refunds will apply to purchases on any line where MTA has put contactless payment devices in use. Refunds will be applied to your account within 28 business days from the end of the promotional period.
“Contactless technology is making everyday purchases faster and easier, while maintaining the highest level of security,” said Linda Kirkpatrick, executive vice president of U.S. merchants and acceptance at Mastercard. “Mastercard programs like Fareback Fridays and Taxi Tuesdays are allowing consumers to receive terrific offers while benefiting from the ‘tap to pay’ experience.”
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card