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The 14 Best Mastercard Credit Cards for Points & Rewards [2024]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

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Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
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Juan has been involved in credit cards, loyalty, travel, and personal finance for more than 10 years. He has worked for several outlets including The Points Guy and Forbes and was previously Editor-in...
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If your credit card boasts a Visa or Mastercard logo, you can have confidence knowing your card will be widely accepted throughout the world.

And while Visa and Mastercard are both brands that are recognized globally, these companies do not actually issue credit cards, but rather serve as payment processors that facilitate the purchases you make with your affiliated card.

Visa and Mastercard credit cards are actually issued by financial institutions, and that’s where the majority of benefits found on your card are derived.

For this reason, Visas and Mastercards end up being issued with varying levels of features and benefits. We’ve written previously on some of the best credit cards that utilize the Visa network so today we’re turning our focus to seeking out some of the best cards that can be found in the Mastercard network.

There are so many types of Mastercards that it’s impossible to list all of the available options, however, in this article we’ve selected some of the best to share with you today.

But first, let’s briefly look at how the Mastercard network works.

How Does the Mastercard Network Work?

Without diving too deep into the topic of credit card association networks, allow us to take just a minute to explain how the Mastercard credit card network relates to your credit card.

First, Mastercard does not issue credit cards, it simply serves as the payment processor between the merchant from which you’re purchasing and the financial institution that issued your card.

Mastercard also offers a menu of benefits from which the financial institution can select to pass on to the cardholder.

There are 3 levels of Mastercard benefits — Mastercard Standard core benefits, elevated Mastercard World benefits, and the highest level Mastercard World Elite benefits.

Most of the cards mentioned here will offer Mastercard World or Mastercard World Elite benefits.

The financial institution decides which benefits it wants to pass on but could also add its own level of benefits. For example, a card issuer may choose to offer additional benefits such as bonus earnings, airport lounge membership, or statement credits for food delivery services.

That’s where the diversity comes in, and the reason different Mastercards have different levels of benefits.

Let’s now look at some of the Mastercard versions that stand out.

Bottom Line: Mastercard does not issue credit cards; it serves as a network that facilitates the processing of payments between the merchant and the card issuer. Mastercard also provides a collection of benefits that the financial institution can select to pass on, or not, to the cardholder. 

Best Mastercard Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Travel rewards credit cards are commonly referred to as such because the earnings, redemption options, and benefits tend to be travel-related. While the Mastercard network issues a lot of co-branded travel-related cards (we’ll cover those shortly), the network does not host a large collection of general travel rewards credit cards compared to Visa or American Express.

You will, however, find worthy Mastercard travel rewards cards from which to select.

Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.

Learn More(at our partner's secure site)

Citi Premier® Card

Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.
Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
60,000 points
$960
$95
21.24% - 29.24% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Citi Premier® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!

Pros

  • 3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotel purchases
  • Access to Citi transfer partners
  • Annual hotel credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 60,000 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards redeemable for $600 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.24% - 29.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Citi ThankYou Rewards

Travelers who are looking for a travel rewards credit card with a lower annual fee, bonus rewards on everyday and travel purchases, plus flexible redemption options, might want to look closer at the Citi Premier card.

Here’s why we like this Mastercard for travel rewards:

  • Redeem points for 1 cent each for other travel via the portal
  • Transfer points to airline partners for greater potential value
  • Luxury Hotels and Resorts benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • World Elite benefits

Citi Prestige® Card

Citi Prestige® Card

Citi Prestige® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Complimentary lounge access, fourth-night free hotel stay, an annual travel credit, and strong point-earning make the Citi Prestige card a great option.

Citi Prestige® Card

Complimentary lounge access, fourth-night free hotel stay, an annual travel credit, and strong point-earning make the Citi Prestige card a great option.
$495
17.99% - 25.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

The information for the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 


The Citi Prestige® Card is an excellent all-around premium travel rewards card. With 4 different bonus categories to help you earn points, a $250 travel credit each year, complimentary lounge access, and more, there is tons to love about the Citi Prestige card.

Update: At this time, the Citi Prestige card is no longer available for new applicants.

Pros

  • 5x points per $1 on purchases at airlines and travel agencies
  • 5x points per $1 on dining
  • 3x points per $1 on purchases at hotels and cruise lines
  • 1x point per $1 on all other purchases
  • $250 annual travel credit (can also be applied to supermarkets and dining purchases in 2022)
  • Complimentary Priority Pass lounge access
  • Annual fourth-night free hotel booking
  • Access to Citi transfer partners
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • Cell phone insurance

Cons

  • $495 annual fee
  • Doesn’t offer travel protections
  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year, and receive a statement credit, up to $100 every 5 years, as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre √. Through December 2022, supermarket and restaurant purchases will also count towards the $250 Travel Credit.
  • Fourth-night hotel benefit for any hotel stay at hotels booked through the Citi Prestige Concierge; up to 2 times per calendar year
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels
  • Earn 5x points on air travel
  • Earn 5x points at restaurants
  • Earn 3x points on cruise lines and hotels
  • 1 ThankYou Point per $1 spent on other purchases

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 17.99% - 25.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Citi ThankYou Rewards

Hot Tip: At this time, the Citi Prestige card is no longer available for new applicants.

The Citi Prestige card lost some of its luster when Citi removed a good portion of its travel benefits. However, the card still has a few sweet spots that can deliver value for the right traveler.

In addition to a generous welcome bonus and higher earnings on airfare, restaurants, hotels, and cruise lines, you’ll find the following benefits on this Citi-issued Mastercard:

  • $250 statement credit for qualifying travel purchases
  • Priority Pass Select membership which allows lounge access for up to 2 guests or your entire immediate family
  • Redeem for flights via the Citi ThankYou Travel Center for 1.25 cents per point
  • Transferring ThankYou Points to airline partners may result in greater value
  • Receive a statement credit equal to the average base night cost when booking 4 consecutive prepaid hotel nights via ThankYou.com, twice per year
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee
  • Cell phone protection, up to $1,000 per claim, $1,500 per year, $50 deductible
  • Rental-car elite status benefits with Hertz, SIXT, and National
  • World Elite benefits

Both of these cards come with shopping benefits such as purchase protection, extended warranty, and Shoprunner membership. The cards also have access to World Elite Mastercard Travel and Lifestyle Services that you can register for here.

Bottom Line: While Citi markets several cards as travel rewards cards, the card issuer has removed several travel-related benefits such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, car rental insurance, and more. You’ll still find several Citi-issued cards that offer stellar earning levels and valuable redemption options for travel but be sure to compare benefits with other travel rewards cards if travel protections/benefits are a priority for you. 

Best Mastercard Cash-Back Credit Cards

There’s no shortage of cash-back-earning Mastercards. Here are a few of the most popular cards — some that do not even charge an annual fee.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Freedom Flex card is an excellent no-annual-fee card that still earns big with 5% cash-back on travel and other bonus categories.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Freedom Flex card is an excellent no-annual-fee card that still earns big with 5% cash-back on travel and other bonus categories.
Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
$200
$0
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ sure does pack quite a punch — especially for a no-annual-fee card.

The Freedom Flex card is an incredible option for those looking for a well-rounded cash-back card, or a powerful point-earner when paired with a premium card in the Ultimate Rewards family.

Pros

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • Powerful cash-back earner: 5% back on quarterly categories and travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1% back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Excellent cell phone insurance
  • Ability to pool points
  • Mastercard World Elite benefits

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fees in U.S. dollars
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Packed with more earnings at grocery stores and quarterly bonus categories, flexible redemption options, and benefits you can use, the no annual fee Freedom Flex card offers easily-recognized value.

We also like its collection of additional benefits:

  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased via the Chase travel portal
  • 3% cash-back on dining purchases, take-out, and eligible food delivery
  • 5x cash-back on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • Redeem points at 1 cent each for statement credit or travel via the Chase travel portal
  • Transfer points to premium Chase cards for even greater potential value
  • 3 months of free DoorDash DashPass with an additional 9 months at 50% off
  • Secondary collision loss damage waiver car rental insurance
  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption
  • Up to $800 in cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Citi Double Cash® Card

Citi Double Cash® Card

Citi Double Cash® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!

Learn More(at our partner's secure site)

Citi Double Cash® Card

Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!
Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
$200 cash back
$0
19.24% - 29.24% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Fair to Excellent (580-850)

The Citi Double Cash® Card has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market, and the card now has the ability to earn Citi ThankYou Points!

This means that cardholders of the Double Cash card will now earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points. This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional ThankYou point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker.

Citi has turned the Double Cash card into a top choice for those who are looking for an everyday, no-fuss credit card.

Pros

  • Uncapped 2% for every $1 spent (1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay)
  • Flexible redemption options
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • No bonus categories
  • 3% foreign transaction fees
  • Lack of premium travel benefits
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% – 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.24% - 29.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each purchase

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Citi ThankYou Rewards

For those who reach out for simplicity, the Double Cash card will match that requirement perfectly.

  • Simply earning structure
  • No limit on the amount of rewards you can earn
  • Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months (fees apply)
  • Redeem points for cash-back, travel through the Citi Travel Portal, transfers to select partners, or gift cards

Capital One® Savor® Rewards Card

If you enjoy dining out, ordering carryout, or indulging in regular restaurant delivery, receiving unlimited cash-back on those purchases could make the Capital One Savor card a wallet necessity. Add in more bonus earnings at grocery stores and on entertainment and cash-back rewards will accumulate quickly.

Plus, there are additional reasons this Mastercard offers value:

  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Shopping benefits such as purchase protection, price protection, and extended warranty
  • No foreign transaction fees

Bottom Line: Cash-back rewards are normally simple to earn and redeem. It’s also common to find Mastercard cash-back cards that do not charge an annual fee or charge a lower annual fee yet still deliver good earning levels and in some cases, benefits you can utilize. 

Best Mastercard Business Credit Cards

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Card

For those business owners who have a qualifying existing relationship with Bank of America, the earnings offered on this World Mastercard could be a game-changer.

The card is best for small businesses, however, as there is a $50,000 limit on purchases for 3% and 2% bonus categories combined.

Here is an overview of the benefits offered by the card:

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash-back on your choice of category each month including travel, purchases at gas stations, office supply stores, TV/telecom/wireless, business consulting services, or computer services
  • 2% cash-back on dining
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

Hot Tip: Bank of America issues several personal and business credit cards, check out our complete overview here.

CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A low annual fee, a free checked bag, and tons of perks and discounts make this card valuable for business owners who travel.

Learn More(at Citi's secure site)

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

A low annual fee, a free checked bag, and tons of perks and discounts make this card valuable for business owners who travel.
Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
65,000 miles
$910
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99
21.24% - 29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

With the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, you get a card that gives you perks like boarding privileges, free checked bags, and discounts on inflight purchases, while also earning more miles for your next award redemption.

Pros

  • 2x miles per $1 spent on American Airlines purchases
  • 2x miles per $1 spent on cable and satellite providers, at gas stations, on car rentals, and on select telecommunications merchants
  • 1x mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 4 traveling companions
  • Priority boarding
  • 25% off inflight purchases including food, beverages, and Wi-Fi
  • Companion Certificate for domestic travel after you spend $30,000 or more in purchases in a cardmember year
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $99 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Designed for businesses
  • Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 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
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 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
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.24% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Program

If you’re a business owner and American Airlines is your preferred airline, you’ll find value in an American Airlines-branded credit card that focuses earnings toward business expenses.

You’ll also find benefits that save you money and make your journey more comfortable when flying on the airline:

  • Preferred boarding and 1 free checked bag for the cardholder and up to 4 traveling companions
  • 25% statement credit for in-flight purchases including food, beverages, and Wi-Fi
  • Spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year and receive a $99 companion ticket
  • Add authorized users at no charge
  • Shopping benefits such as purchase protection, extended warranty, and ShopRunner membership
  • World Elite Mastercard Travel and Lifestyle Services (register here)

Bottom Line: There are a limited number of business credit cards that utilize the Mastercard card network. To view a more expansive collection, and compare options, check out our recommendations for the best small business credit cards.

Best Airline and Hotel Branded Mastercard Credit Cards

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

LIMITED-TIME OFFER
IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The perfect card for IHG fans, offering a free night every year, automatic Platinum Elite status, and your fourth night free on award stays.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

The perfect card for IHG fans, offering a free night every year, automatic Platinum Elite status, and your fourth night free on award stays.
Earn 165,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
165,000 points
$825
$99
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

If you regularly visit IHG hotels throughout the year, then the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card is probably a perfect card to have in your wallet.

The IHG Premier card offers a great bundle of perks and benefits, including automatic Platinum elite status, an annual free night certificate, and travel protections.

Pros

  • Up to 26x points per $1 on IHG stays
  • 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, and restaurants
  • 3x points per $1 on all other purchases
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status, and the ability to spend your way to Diamond Elite status
  • Free anniversary night certificate
  • Fourth-night free on award stays
  • 20% off when buying IHG Rewards points
  • Up to $50 in United Airlines TravelBank Cash each year
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS fee credit (up to $100 every four years)
  • Earn a $100 statement credit and 10,000 bonus points after spending $20,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $99 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable points
  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 165,000 Bonus Points
  • Enjoy an Anniversary Free Night at IHG Hotels & Resorts. Plus, enjoy a fourth reward night free when you redeem points for a consecutive four-night IHG® hotel stay.
  • Earn up to 26 total points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, at gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier cardmember
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS Statement Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
  • IHG One Rewards Bonus points are redeemable at Hotels & Resorts such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

IHG loyalists will find tremendous value with the IHG Rewards Premier card. If you frequent IHG properties and enjoy instant elite status, free hotel nights, and a nice collection of travel benefits, the card can easily earn a place in your wallet.

  • IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status
  • Free hotel night each card anniversary, worth up to 40,000 rewards points
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or Nexus fee statement credit
  • 20% discount on IHG point purchases
  • Redeem points for free hotel nights, starting at 5,000 points
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance
  • Baggage insurance

Citi®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select World Elite™ Mastercard®

American Airlines travelers will welcome the benefits offered on this AAdvantage-branded card that aligns well with the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program.

  • Generous welcome bonus
  • $99 fee is waived the first year
  • 2x miles earned per dollar spent on American Airlines, at restaurants, gas stations
  • Free checked bag and priority boarding for the cardholder and up to 4 travel companions
  • 25% statement credit for in-flight food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases
  • $125 airfare certificate after spending $20,000 each cardmember year

Both cards come with Mastercard and World Elite shopping benefits such as purchase protection, extended warranty, and Shoprunner membership. In addition, cardholders may register for World Elite Mastercard Travel and Lifestyle Services here.

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®

If you’re a frequent Hawaiian Airlines traveler or just want to earn HawaiianMiles for that annual vacation to Hawaii, the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite card may offer some appealing attributes.

  • Welcome bonus
  • 3x miles per dollar spent on Hawaiian Airlines
  • 2x miles gas, dining, grocery store purchases
  • 50% discount on companion roundtrip airfare purchase
  • $100 off a companion ticket at each card anniversary
  • Free checked bag on Hawaiian Airlines
  • Access to discount award flights
  • Share miles between family members and friends at no charge

Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®

Best Western has nearly 4,700 properties in over 100 countries worldwide, so you’re sure to find convenient and affordable lodging when you travel. Cardholders of the Best Western Rewards Premium card earn big at hotel properties and receive complimentary elite status just for having the card.

The card does charge an annual fee of $89 but comes with these additional benefits:

  • Generous welcome bonus worth several free hotel nights
  • Complimentary Best Western Rewards Platinum elite status
  • 20 points per dollar spent at Best Western (10x for using the card, 10x for status bonus)
  • Spend $5,000 on the card each 12 billing cycles and receive 40,000 Rewards points (the average price of a reward night is 16,000 points)
  • 2 points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 10% rate discount
  • No foreign transaction fees

Bottom Line: If you have loyalty preferences when it comes to specific airlines or hotel brands, a branded card is a great way to elevate the benefits you receive when utilizing that brand. Most airline and hotel-branded cards align well with the loyalty programs to provide accelerated earnings, perks, and even a faster path to elite status. 

Best Mastercards for No Credit or Poor Credit

You’ll generally need a good to excellent credit score to secure the cards mentioned previously in this article. But having no credit or even bad credit won’t eliminate the possibility of securing a card that utilizes the Mastercard network.

Here are several Mastercard options for those with no credit or bad credit:

Fortunately, there are so many options to choose from when you decide to start building credit or rebuilding poor credit. We’ve discussed the topic in-depth in several articles on secured cards, and cards for no credit or bad credit.

Final Thoughts

Knowing the differences between card processing networks can help you diversify your credit card holdings to be sure you always have a card the merchant will accept.

Having cards that use various networks is also imperative if you’re a frequent traveler as not all networks are widely accepted globally.

While Visa and Mastercard are the largest card networks, American Express and Discover are growing quickly and in third and fourth place respectively.

It’s worth noting that we’ve only mentioned a sampling of available Mastercards here, and even the cards we’ve featured may have additional benefits not listed. We have also abbreviated the benefit descriptions, so you’ll want to access any Guide to Benefits for complete information, including the applicable terms and conditions.

When comparing card options, pay close attention to the benefits offered as many Mastercards, especially those issued by Citi, do not offer a full collection of travel benefits.

Finally, finding the right Mastercard for you will involve determining your highest expenditures and making sure the card you’re considering will earn well on those purchases. The right card should also have an appropriate annual fee that matches your situation, redemption options that deliver value, and benefits that can be easily utilized.

The information regarding the Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

The information regarding the Capital One Platinum Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 
The information regarding the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information for the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better Mastercard or Visa?

Fortunately, both Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted globally, so selecting a card that utilizes either network will serve you well.

American Express and Discover are next in line when it comes to card network acceptance. Having a diverse selection of cards that utilize most of these networks, especially if you travel, can be a good strategy to ensure that you have a card that the merchant will accept.

How does Mastercard work?

Mastercard is a card network that serves as a link between the merchant from which you make a purchase to the financial institution that issued your credit card.

Mastercard only facilitates card transactions and does not issue credit cards.

However, Mastercard does offer benefits that the financial institution can choose to pass on to the cardholder.

What are Mastercard benefits?

Mastercard offers 3 levels of benefits — Standard core benefits, World benefits which are broader, and the highest level, World Elite benefits.

The bank that issues your credit card can select benefits from these options and pass those benefits on to the cardholder, or choose not to. The bank can also add its own benefits beyond what it is offered by Mastercard.

Which is the best Mastercard?

The best Mastercard for you may be different than the best Mastercard for another consumer.

Compare Mastercards based on to what extent the card you’re considering rewards your highest expenses, if the redemption options result in added value to your business or household, and if the offered benefits are ones you will actually use.

Additionally, you’ll want to select a Mastercard with an annual fee you’re comfortable paying.

There are so many Mastercards with varying benefits that no 1 card is the best for every consumer.

Christine Krzyszton's image

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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