Today, so many credit-card flavors exist that it’s hard to keep straight in your mind what each does. So, let’s take on one of the big comparisons: Mastercard World vs. Mastercard World Elite.
Clearly, the addition of the word “elite” means those cards come with additional benefits. But are they enough to really differentiate the card? And, at the end of the day, which card is really right which consumer?
This Article Will Cover
- Mastercard Benefits: The Standard Offering
- World Mastercard: The Added Benefits
- World Elite Mastercard: Even More Benefits
- Do The Benefits Of World Elite Worth Make It A Superior Card?
Mastercard Benefits: The Standard Offering
Before we dissect the World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard, let’s establish the basic Mastercard benefits. Realize, of course, that while these benefits are standard, they are not standard with every basic Mastercard. Issuers can pick and choose which options to wrap into the card they offer.
That said, Mastercard rewards every cardholder with some or all of these standard benefits:
- Masterpass electronic payment system.
- Identity Theft Resolution Services, including ID Theft Alerts and access to specialists.
- Zero Liability, meaning you’re not responsible for fraudulent charges.
- Fuel Rewards Network, a discount program that works at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, helping you earn additional rewards.
- Mastercard Global Service, providing emergency assistance such as card replacement and cash advance.
- Price Protection that reimburses you when an eligible purchase drop in price drop within 60 days of the original purchase date.
- Extended Warranty, which doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for periods of up to 12 months on eligible purchases.
Best Cards For Standard Mastercard Benefits
Citi Simplicity: No late fees, no penalty rate, no annual fee. 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfer for the first 21 months.
So, our question is: How do the World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard add to that mix?
HSBC Gold Mastercard® Credit Card
- 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening. Then a variable APR of 13.24%, 17.24% or 21.24% will apply.
- No Penalty APR.
- Late Fee Waiver.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $0 Annual Fee.
- $0 liability for unauthorized purchases.
- Terms Apply
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
- + Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day – just say “representative”
- + Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month
- The ONLY card with No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee… EVER
- 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.99% - 26.99%, based on your creditworthiness
- 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 16.99% - 26.99%, based on your creditworthiness
- If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- + There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
- Pay no annual fee
- Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
- Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
- Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
- Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
- Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
World Mastercard: The Added Benefits
Along with the standard Mastercard Benefits, a World Mastercard typically all or some of these benefits:
- Concierge Services, in which a representative will assist you with chores, such as buying and delivering gifts, finding tickets to events and other personal services.
- Enhanced Price Protection, which offers reimbursement on eligible purchases made with a World Mastercard for you to 120 days, rather than the 60-day standard Mastercard benefit.
- Mastercard Airport Concierge, in which cardholders receive a 15% discount on a “meet and greet service” that assists with arrivals, departures or changing planes at more than 450 airports globally.
- Mastercard Travel Services, operated by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, that makes travel arrangements for cardholders.
- World Luxury Hotels & Resorts, in which cardholders receive room upgrades, free breakfast, early check-in/late checkout, and special welcome amenities when they book their stay through this hotel-benefits program.
- Mastercard Priceless Cities, offering discounts and other exclusive benefits on luxury goods and services in select cities globally.
- ShopRunner, offering unlimited free, two-day shipping and return shipping on purchases are more than 140 online retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Brooks Brothers, Staples, 1-800-Flowers.com and others.
Best Cards For World Mastercard Benefits:
Capital One SavorOne: No annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. 3% cash back on dining and entertainment. 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard: 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles after spending $4,000 in the first 4 months. 2x miles for every $1 spent on cable/satellite, select telecom, rental cars, gas stations and American Airline purchases; 1x on everything else. No foreign transaction fees. Companion domestic travel certificate on American Airlines each year you spend $30,000 on the card. Free checked baggage domestically for you and four companions, as well as pre-boarding access. Annual fee: $99, waived for first 12 months.
Spirit Airlines World Mastercard: 15,000 bonus miles for signing up, and another 15,000 after spending $1 in the first 12 months. 5,000 bonus miles each year you spend $10,000 on the card. 2x miles for every $1 spent. Annual fee: $0 first year, then $59.
Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
- No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
- No foreign transaction fees
- No annual fee
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
- + Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- + Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations
- + Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
- + Designed for businesses
- Earn 60,000 Earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases in first 3 months of account opening*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line
- 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
- Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
Spirit Airlines™ World Mastercard®
- 2x Miles on Spirit Airlines Purchases
- 2x Miles on Dining
- 2x Miles on Gas
- 2x Miles on All Other Purchases
- 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $1 within the first 12 month
- 5,000 anniversary bonus Free Spirit™ miles when you spend at least $10,000 in purchases annually
- 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars or in foreign currency
World Elite Mastercard: Even More Benefits
World Elite Mastercard offers all of the combined Mastercard benefits of a standard card and a World Mastercard, as well as all or some of the following:
- World Elite Air Program, offering discounts of 10-25% on qualifying airfares on carriers including Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and Etihad.
- World Elite Cruise Program, proving shipboard credits generally between $150 and $500 per room, typically on luxury and boutique cruise lines globally, when booking a cruise through this program.
- World Elite Tours & Vacations Program, offering savings of generally $100 to $250 (or 5% off the standard price) when booking tours and vacations around the world.
- World Elite Car Rental Program, providing discounts of 15% – 25% when renting a car with Avis, National or Sixt. Cardholders also receive elite status with these programs, when requested.
- World Elite Chauffeured Car Service, offering savings 15% to 25% on limousine services globally.
- World Elite Private Jet Program, offering discounts on select, private-jet charters.
- Personal Travel Advisor and Mastercard Global Service Premium, which are essentially the same as the World Mastercard benefit, though, theoretically, with additional personal service.
- Mastercard Priceless Golf, offering experiences with the PGA Tour, as well as a Golf Concierge Service to access other golf benefits.
- Mastercard Hotel Stay Guarantee, in which a Mastercard “Lifestyle Manager” work with you to fix a bad hotel stay, if you’re unsatisfied with your experience at a hotel that is rated at least 3-stars.
- Mastercard Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee, in which Mastercard will refund the difference if you find the same exact prepaid hotel stay for less.
Best Cards For World Elite Mastercard Benefits:
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard: 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Earn 2X miles on every purchase. 5% miles back every time you redeem miles. No foreign transaction fee. 0% on balance transfer for 12 months. Annual fee: $89(waived first year).
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard: 60,000 bonus miles after making at least one purchase in the first 3 months. Earn 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1X miles on all other purchases. No foreign transaction fee. Preferred boarding. First checked bag free for you and four companions on domestic flights. 25% discount on inflight food and drinks. 0% on balance transfers for 15 months. Annual fee: $95
Citi Executive World Elite Mastercard: 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. 10,000 bonus miles when spending $40,000 in a year. Admirals Club membership. Priority check-in, security screening and boarding. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. 1x on everything else. No foreign transaction fee. Annual fee: $450
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards: $300 cash back bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment expenses; 2% cash back at grocery stores; 1% back on all other purchases. In addition, because of a new partnership with Vivid Seats, get 8% cash back on tickets for live shows, concerts, sporting events, and other similar events through May 2020. Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that thereafter.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
- + Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
- Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
- Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
- Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
- International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
- No foreign transaction fees
- + Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
- 2x Miles on American Airlines Purchases
- 1x Miles on Dining
- 1x Miles on Gas
- 1x Miles on All Other Purchases
- 60,000 bonus miles when you make your first purchase in the first 90 days
- Receive 25% inflight savings on food and beverages
- Get 10% of your redeemed miles back
- No Foreign Transaction Fee
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
- + Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
- + First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
- Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
- No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
- No foreign transaction fees
- Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
Do The Benefits Of World Elite Worth Make It A Superior Card?
To me, the answer is a definitive no – with one big caveat.
If you fly a lot on American Airlines, but not enough to earn high-level elite status on an airline, then I can make a solid cash for the Citi Executive World Elite Mastercard, since that Mastercard rewards you with lounge access – and access to a relaxing lounge, with food and drink, can make travel less stressful and more comfortable. To me, the annual fee is worth that price.
But if you’re not traveling all the time, then you probably don’t care about lounge access, much less all those other, largely travel-related World Elite Mastercard Benefits. Therefore, the World Elite cards won’t bring anything to the party that you care about.
For no annual fee, you can grab the Capital One SavorOne and collect all the standard Mastercard benefits as well as World Mastercard benefits. That seems the best option, really. Though, if you at least want to test the World Elite Mastercard benefits, then the Barclaycard Plus World Elite Mastercard is a good way to do it, since you won’t pay a fee in the first year.
The Wrap Up
Though they sound very similar, World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard are definitely different products, each targeted at a different kind of traveler. But unless you’re the kind of traveler who enjoys the particular set of benefits offered by World Elite Mastercard, you’ll be just as happy with the World Mastercard benefits instead.
But we’re curious: What do you think of the World Elite Mastercard benefits – do they seem like something you find particularly useful?
Let us know in the comments below.