Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Juan Ruiz
Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.
We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.
Frequent travelers often seek out the best travel rewards credit cards for premium benefits such as airport lounge access, elevated rewards-earnings on travel purchases, and flexible options at redemption time.
Premium travel rewards cards also come with travel benefits and shopping protections that can provide elite-level perks, financial savings, and protection for an interrupted or canceled trip.
One of the best premium travel rewards cards available is The Platinum Card® from American Express — a card we discuss often because of its plethora of benefits and perks. And, while the card has rightly earned its reputation, there are other cards that vie for the same space.
Today we’re going to discuss one of those competitors, the Mastercard® Black Card™. On the surface, the card appears to be a premium travel rewards card ready to prove itself as a worthy challenger to the Amex Platinum card.
Our objective with this article is to dig deeper into the benefits of the Mastercard Black card, compare it to the Amex Platinum card, and reveal the actual bottom line value for a cardholder.
Here’s how the cards compare.
Before we get into the details of how each card works, it can be helpful to look at a summary of the features and benefits offered by each card.
Here’s a high-level overview of how the Mastercard Black card and Amex Platinum card compare overall.
|Benefit||Mastercard Black Card||The Platinum Card® from American Express|
|Welcome Offer||No welcome offer||Earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.|
|Earning Potential||1x points on all purchases||
|Shopping Benefits and Protections||
|Annual Fees and Authorized Users||
|Additional Benefits||Introductory 0% APR period for balance transfers||N/A|
A credit card welcome offer is an incentive to use your card immediately after card approval to meet minimum spending requirements within a specific period and receive bonus rewards.
While the Mastercard Black card does not have a welcome offer, the Amex Platinum card does come with the opportunity to earn a bonus. We value Membership Rewards points at approximately 2.2 cents each, which would result in the current welcome offer being worth $1,760.
Welcome offers do change so be sure to check for the most current offer before applying for any card.
The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.
When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.
Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 125k (or 150k) points with the Amex Platinum. The current public offer is 80,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)
The Mastercard Black card earns Black Card points while the Amex Platinum card earns Membership Rewards points. These points are not created equal, however, as the value of each type of point differs.
Let’s look closer at how rewards are earned and the choices you’ll have at redemption time for each of our featured cards.
|Earning Category||Mastercard Black Card||Amex Platinum Card|
|Travel||1x points on travel purchases||
|All Other Purchases||1x points on all other purchases||1x points on all other purchases|
While neither the Mastercard Black card nor the Amex Platinum card have a robust earning structure, if you spend a lot on travel, earning a capped 5x Membership Rewards points on flights with the Amex Platinum card could help you accumulate rewards quickly.
However, earning points is just one-half of the equation. Let’s look next at the potential value you can receive at redemption time with each card.
Hot Tip: Referral bonuses are a good way to earn additional rewards points. Check out our guide on how to earn referral bonuses on some of the most popular credit cards.
It’s good to have multiple options when you’re ready to redeem your points. Here’s how you can redeem rewards earned on the Mastercard Black card and Amex Platinum card:
|Redemption Option||Mastercard Black Card||Amex Platinum Card|
|Travel||Redeem points for airfare via the Luxury Card Travel portal for 2 cents each, or hotels/rental cars at 1 cent per point||
|Cash-back or Statement Credit||Redeem points for cash-back or a statement credit at 1.5 cents per point||Points cannot be redeemed for cash-back, but can redeem points for a statement credit at 0.6 cents per point|
|Additional Redemption Options||Online shopping, gift cards, experiences, charitable donation||Gift cards, merchandise, charitable donation|
Both the Mastercard Black card and Amex Platinum card earn 1x points on nearly every purchase.
The Amex Platinum card, however, earns the capped 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline or via Amex Travel. If you spend a lot on flights, the Amex Platinum card has the edge in earnings.
Although the Mastercard Black card allows you to redeem points for 2 cents each in value for flights, the flexible Membership Rewards points earned on the Amex Platinum card allow you to realize greater value when transferred to travel partners — that is why we value Membership Rewards points at 2.2 cents each. For example, you can transfer 50,000 Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic to fly in Delta Air Lines’ business class from the U.S. to Europe — a flight that normally costs thousands of dollars.
The Mastercard Black card does offer good value when redeeming for cash-back at 1.5 cents per point. The Amex Platinum card does not have this option and only provides 0.6 cents per point in value when redeeming for statement credits.
As you’d expect, premium travel rewards credit cards also have premium benefits and protections. Here are some of the travel protections and benefits you’ll find on both the Mastercard Black card and the Amex Platinum card:
You’ll find these additional travel benefits and protections unique to each card:
Please keep in mind that we abbreviate the benefits and protection descriptions and do not include every benefit/protection available on each card. You’ll want to review each card’s Guide to Benefits for terms, conditions, and full descriptions.
Shopping benefits can save you money and provide coverage should something happen to an eligible purchase. Both the Mastercard Black card and Amex Platinum card come with several valuable shopping benefits and protections.
Let’s start with a key protection you’ll find on both featured cards:
Cell Phone Protection — Pay for your entire cell phone bill with your card and receive coverage for damage and theft. The Mastercard Black card and Amex Platinum card each provide cell phone coverage for up to $800 per claim with a maximum of 2 claims per account per 12-month period. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. The Mastercard Black card has a coverage limit of $1,000 per card per 12-month period.
In addition to cell phone protection, here are the additional shopping benefits and protections you’ll find on each featured card.
The Mastercard Black card charges an annual fee of $495 while the Amex Platinum card charges $695.
You’ll pay an annual charge of $195 each year for every authorized user you add to the Mastercard Black card.
The Amex Platinum card charges $195 per authorized user. You can add Gold card authorized users for no additional fee.
Both the Mastercard Black card and Amex Platinum card are made with metal. According to the Luxury Card website, however, the Mastercard Black card wins the title of the heaviest of the 2 credit cards at a full 22 grams. The card also holds 70 patents worldwide for its unique design.
The Mastercard Black card comes with a nice introductory 0% APR period for balance transfers. If you have high-interest credit cards with balances you wish to pay back over time, the 0% APR period, which begins after card approval and continues for 15 billing cycles, may save you money on interest charges. After the period expires, there’s a fee of $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Both the Mastercard Black card and Amex Platinum card require that the card applicant be 18 years of age or older and have a good to excellent credit score, generally 670 or above, but you are more likely to be approved with a score of 700 or better.
The Mastercard Black card requires that you are a U.S. resident while the Amex Platinum card requires a U.S. address. Both cards require an ITIN or Social Security number.
The Mastercard Black card is issued by Barclays Bank while the Amex Platinum card is issued by American Express.
It doesn’t take an extensive analysis to determine which card offers the better value for a frequent traveler. Let’s just start with the fact that the Mastercard Black card does not offer a welcome bonus, earns just 1x points on all spending, and its points have limited redemption options. The Amex Platinum card, in contrast, has a generous welcome offer, earns 5x points on select flights, and earns flexible points that can be transferred to travel partners for greater potential value.
The Mastercard Black card charges a hefty annual fee yet offers few benefits to offset that fee. While the Amex Platinum card has a steep annual fee, you could easily offset it by utilizing just a few of the extensive statement credits or perks. The value of access to its worldwide lounge network, for example, nearly accomplishes that alone.
If we just compare annual fees, $495 for the Mastercard Black card and $695 for the Amex Platinum card, it’s clear the Amex Platinum card could provide value that far exceeds the $200 difference.
The information regarding the Mastercard® Black Card™ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For the car rental collision damage coverage benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, car rental loss and damage insurance can provide coverage up to $75,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car rental loss or damage coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. For the trip cancellation and interruption insurance and trip delay insurance benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company. For the baggage insurance plan benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. For the extended warranty and purchase protection benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. For the cell phone protection benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company. For the return protection benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
The Amex Platinum card is arguably the better overall travel rewards credit card. The card earns flexible rewards points that can be transferred to airline and hotel partners for the potential of realizing greater value than the fixed-rate redemptions found on the Mastercard Black card.
While the Amex Platinum card has a $695 annual fee that is $200 greater than the Mastercard Black card, the card features elevated points-earnings on flights, several easily-usable statement credits, and additional benefits such as extensive worldwide lounge access that can offset the difference of the annual fee.
Yes, the Mastercard Black card is made of metal. It has a black PVD-coated stainless steel front while the material on the back of the card is carbon. The card also weighs in at a hefty 22 grams.
The Mastercard Black card is issued by Barclays Bank.
No, anyone with a good to excellent credit score, 18 years of age or older, U.S. residency, and sufficient income can apply and potentially be approved for the Mastercard Black card.
You will need a good to excellent credit score (670 to 850), good credit history, and sufficient income to qualify for the Amex Platinum card.
Was this page helpful?
UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.