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Mastercard World vs. Mastercard World Elite: The Answer is Not that Obvious.

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World vs World Elite Mastercard

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

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

HSBC Gold Mastercard: No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfer for the first 15 months.

Citi Simplicity: No late fees, no penalty rate, no annual fee. 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfer for the first 21 months.

Capital One Platinum: No annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. Access to a higher credit limit after making required number of monthly payments on time.

So, our question is: How do the World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard add to that mix?

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.

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.

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.

Do The Benefits Of World Elite Worth Make It A Superior Card?

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.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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