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Mastercard® Titanium Card™ Review


Luxury Card Titanium Card Card Art 10 21 21

Our rating

3.7/5

Pros

  • thumbs-up2% redemption rate on airfare
  • thumbs-upPotentially valuable travel benefits
  • thumbs-upNo foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • thumbs-down$195 annual fee + $95 annual authorized user fee
  • thumbs-downLow baseline earn rate and non-airfare redemption value
  • thumbs-downNo sign-up bonus or loyalty bonus

The Mastercard® Titanium Card™ is an exclusive travel rewards credit card with a $195 annual fee and a broad rewards program that offers excellent value on airfare redemptions with any common carrier. It’s backed by the Luxury Card™ brand, which offers two higher-end cards: the Mastercard® Black Card™ ($495 annual fee, $195 annual authorized user fee) and the Mastercard® Gold Card™ ($995 annual fee, $295 authorized user fee).

The Titanium Card is a bit of an odd duck as travel cards go. Its rewards program isn’t great unless you redeem your points for airfare, and it doesn’t have signature perks like complimentary airport lounge access or annual travel credits. I personally wouldn’t recommend it, but if I squint, I can see the use case for a relatively small set of moderate-to-high-spending frequent flyers who aren’t loyal to a particular airline.

Is the Mastercard Titanium Card Worth It?

Unlike the Mastercard Gold Card, which to my knowledge has the highest annual fee of any consumer credit card widely available in the United States, the Mastercard Titanium Card isn’t eye-poppingly expensive to carry around. But with a $195 annual fee and $95 fee per authorized user, per year, it’s far from free.

Which begs the question: Is this card worth it? Should you bother applying, or look to another travel rewards card instead?

The short answer: If you fly a lot and have a healthy budget, you can make the Titanium Card’s numbers work for you. All purchases made with this card earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent, with no restrictions or special bonus categories — a pretty lame earn rate. But airline redemptions value points at $0.02 apiece (subject to terms and conditions) so your effective return on spending is 2% when you redeem for airline travel.

So, to make this card work for you, you’ll need to spend about $10,000 per year and redeem your entire rewards haul for airfare. You’ll reclaim $200 in value this way and net $5 over the annual fee, assuming you don’t have an authorized user.

The Titanium Card has some nonrewards benefits too. Big ones include:

  • Special perks and benefits at more than 3,000 hotels and resorts worldwide, though most cost $500 or more per night and the $500 per stay benefits don’t come close to offsetting that cost
  • Global luggage delivery to anywhere in the world
  • 24/7 concierge availability by phone, email, and live chat
  • Airport meet-and-greet service that softens the normally hectic airport experience with a white-glove touch
  • Cell phone protection insurance subject to claim limits and deductibles
  • $5 in monthly Lyft credits with qualifying spend

Absent from this list are travel benefits with tangible value, like annual travel or airline fee credits or complimentary airport lounge access. Both the Black Card and the Gold Card offer airline fee credits ($100 and $200, respectively) and complimentary airport lounge access at 1,300+ lounges through Priority Pass Select (a value of roughly $60 per person, per visit).

So I personally wouldn’t count on huge returns from these nonrewards perks unless you go out of your way to maximize them. In which case, you’ll need to consider whether that’s worth your time.


Key Features of the Mastercard Titanium Card

These are the most important features of the Mastercard Titanium Card, beginning with its rewards program.

Earning Points

Titanium Card users earn 1 point for every $1 spent on everything. Once earned, points do not expire as long as the account remains open and in good standing.

Redeeming Points

The Titanium Card has no confusing tiers, rotating categories, or redemption thresholds. You never have to wait to redeem your points, and no bank account is required for cash back redemption.

The most cost-effective redemption option — and really the only one worth noting — is airfare. All redemptions in this category value points at a flat $0.02 apiece, realizing an effective 2% return on spending when you redeem for airfare.

This rate holds regardless of the underlying dollar cost of the airfare, the carrier, the route, or any other factors. Point-and-cash redemptions are acceptable too if you don’t have enough points to redeem for the full cost of a flight.

You can also redeem points for cash back at $0.01 per point. Other redemption options include gift cards (including hotel and rental card gift certificates) and merchandise. These methods have variable minimum redemption requirements and value points at $0.01 apiece unless otherwise noted.

Luxury Card Travel Benefits

Cardmembers enjoy an average value of $500 in benefits and services per stay at over 3,000 properties around the world, according to Luxury Card. Participating brands include Montage, St. Regis, Park Hyatt, The Peninsula, Ritz Carlton, Fairmont, and more.

Typical hotel and resort benefits include room upgrades, complimentary food and beverage, spa or resort credits, room upgrades, early check-in, late check-out, and welcome gifts. For example, stay one night at the luxe California Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills and you’ll get:

  • Breakfast for two (a $50 value each)
  • A $100 resort credit
  • Free WiFi
  • Complimentary use of the hotel’s car within two miles of the resort

24/7 Concierge Service

Titanium Card users have access to a dedicated crew of concierge staffers who specifically serve Luxury Card members.

Available by phone, email, and live chat within the app – saving international travelers the cost of a cross-border phone call – these concierge services include:

  • Help obtaining dining or event reservations, which is especially useful in countries where apps like OpenTable don’t work well or language barriers prevent easy DIY reservations
  • Help making complex travel bookings
  • Securing tickets to in-demand events
  • Arranging car rental and limousine transportation
  • Arranging delivery of flowers, groceries, and dry goods deliveries
  • Researching and pricing out hard-to-find items abroad or close to home
  • Providing directions to gas stations, supermarkets, parking garages, tourist attractions, and more

Priceless Events

Titanium cardholders enjoy access to Mastercard’s ever-changing lineup of “Priceless” events and experiences, many of which are otherwise invite-only or exclusive to high-end Mastercard cardholders. “Priceless” events include behind-the-scenes access to major golf tournaments and curated experiences in exotic destinations like Dubai. Additional fees and expenses, such as airfare, may apply.

Mastercard-Backed Travel Benefits

The Titanium Card has some notable benefits backed by Mastercard, too. Though some are commonly included in standard travel insurance policies, you don’t have to pay extra for them when you pay for travel with your Gold Card. The highlights:

  • Travel accident insurance with a death benefit of $250,000 per insured
  • Baggage delay insurance, which reimburses you for expenses occurred due to significant checked baggage delays on common carrier travel.
  • Complimentary rental car insurance when you pay the full cost of the rental on your Titanium Card.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage, subject to limitations and exclusions.

Additional Mastercard Benefits

The Titanium Card has some non-travel benefits backed by Mastercard as well. Highlights include:

  • Use your Titanium Card to pay for at least 3 eligible Lyft rides per month and earn a $5 Lyft credit.
  • Sign up for a complimentary ShopRunner membership using your Titanium Card and receive 2-day free shipping and free return shipping on eligible purchases (a $79 value)

Another signature benefit, Mastercard ID Theft Protection, features monitoring on the covered cardmember’s email addresses, debit and credit cards, bank accounts, web logins, loyalty and affinity cards, driver’s license and passport, medical and vehicle insurance cards, and Social Security number.

Important Fees

This card has a $195 annual fee that is not waived in the first year. Additional authorized users cost $95 per year, per person. There is no foreign transaction fee.

Credit Required

This card requires excellent credit. If you have any noteworthy issues in your credit history, you’re not likely to qualify.

APR

This card offers an Ongoing Purchase APR that may be 21.24%, 25.43%, or 28.24%, depending on the cardholder’s creditworthiness. Additionally, the card has a Cash Advance APR of 30.49%, which will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

Balance Transfers

This card features a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers that post within 45 days of account opening, lasting for the first fifteen billing cycles. This provides a valuable opportunity to pay off transferred debt without interest. However, the APR will be 21.24%, 25.43%, or 28.24% after this period or for transfers outside the 45-day window, based on creditworthiness. Additionally, a fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, will be applied.

Advantages of the Mastercard Titanium Card

The Mastercard Titanium Card is a good choice for frequent flyers and people who can maximize the value of its nonrewards benefits, which is easier said than done.

  • Airfare Redemptions Offer Great Value. The Titanium Card values points redeemed for airfare at $0.02 apiece, regardless of the carrier, dollar cost, destination, demand, or other factors that normally affect airfare redemption values. While $0.02 per point isn’t a stellar rate on international travel, it’s definitely above-average for domestic flights, and it’s nice to know exactly how far your points will go ahead of time. Most popular travel cards not tied to specific airlines value points redeemed for airfare at or just above $0.01 apiece.
  • Travel and Non-Travel Benefits Have Tremendous Potential Value. Titanium’s VIP benefits are its not-so-secret weapon. According to Luxury Card, cardmembers enjoy an average value of $500 per stay in benefits and services per stay at more than 3,000 participating properties. When fully utilized, those benefits alone more than pay for the recurring charge after a single stay — but you have to do some work to seek them out and should only do so if you can afford to stay at high-end hotels and resorts in the first place. The member-exclusive Lyft credits add up too.
  • High-Touch Concierge Service. Titanium Card members enjoy 24/7 service from dedicated concierges available by phone, email, and live chat within the app. These concierges can handle everything from dinner and transportation reservations in places where cardmembers don’t speak the language to securing hard-to-find goods closer to home. Concierge access through the app can significantly reduce the cost of international calling.
  • Decent Value on Non-airfare Redemptions. Though airfare is clearly Titanium’s best redemption option, the alternatives aren’t terrible. Cash back statement credits value points at $0.01 apiece, which is standard, while gift card (including hotel and rental car) and merchandise redemptions usually do the same. Many competing cards, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, severely devalue points when redeemed for travel alternatives.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee. Titanium users never pay foreign transaction fees. That’s great news for people who regularly travel abroad, whether on road trips to Canada or Mexico, or exotic honeymoons to Asia or Africa.

Disadvantages of the Mastercard Titanium Card

Consider these drawbacks before applying for the Mastercard Titanium Card. For many would-be cardholders, they’re a collective dealbreaker.

  • High Annual Fee. The Titanium Card has a pretty high annual fee: $195, not waived in the first year, and $95 per year, per additional authorized user. That’s a big drawback for users who don’t accumulate rewards quickly enough or use the potentially valuable fringe benefits frequently enough to offset the recurring charge.
  • Low, Flat Point-Earning Rate on All Purchases. Titanium earns a flat, unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on everything, which is the standard base rate for most travel and cash back rewards credit cards. The problem is that Titanium doesn’t have any bonus spending categories that boost point earnings beyond the modest standard rate. This can seriously limit cardholders’ earning potential, and limits the appeal of the 2% airfare redemption rate, as it takes longer to accrue points. By contrast, Citi Premier earns 3 points per $1 spent on travel (including gas) and 2 points per $1 spent on dining and entertainment.
  • No Sign-up Bonus. Unusually for a travel rewards card, the Titanium Card has no sign-up bonus. If you’re looking for a card that immediately pads your rewards account, look to a popular alternative such as Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
  • No Recurring Loyalty Bonus. Titanium also lacks an annual loyalty bonus. Such bonuses typically come as free or discounted flight certificates or recurring point deposits on or around the cardmember anniversary. This is a further drawback for those looking for something tangible to offset Titanium’s high annual fee.
  • No Discounted or Complimentary Airport Lounge Access. Titanium Card users don’t have special airport lounge access privileges, which is a drawback for travelers who like to enjoy the airport in style without spending an arm and a leg. The Luxury Card brand’s other two cards do offer airport lounge privileges, though their annual fees are much higher.

How the Mastercard Titanium Card Stacks Up

The Mastercard Titanium Card is the most reasonably priced and least generous of the three Luxury Cards. Before you apply, see how it stacks up against its stablemates: the Mastercard Gold Card and the Mastercard Black Card. 

Titanium CardGold CardBlack Card
Annual Fee$195$995$495
Authorized User Fee$95$295$195
Cash Value1%2%1.5%
Airfare Value2%2%2%
Airline Fee CreditNone$200/year$100/year
Priority PassNoYesYes
Intro Balance Transfer APR0%0%0%
Ongoing APR21.24%, 25.43%, or 28.24%21.24%, 25.43% or 28.24%21.24%, 25.43% or 28.24%

Final Word

The Mastercard® Titanium Card™ is clearly a high-end product. It’s also a bit unusual. In fact, its not-very-generous rewards program is secondary to its lineup of VIP travel benefits that make life a lot easier and more convenient for road warriors. They’re the real key to unlocking this card’s value and getting the most for your annual fee —and if you can’t do that, this card is not for you.

Luxury Card Titanium Card Card Art 10 21 21

Our rating

3.7/5

Pros

  • thumbs-up2% redemption rate on airfare
  • thumbs-upPotentially valuable travel benefits
  • thumbs-upNo foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • thumbs-down$195 annual fee + $95 annual authorized user fee
  • thumbs-downLow baseline earn rate and non-airfare redemption value
  • thumbs-downNo sign-up bonus or loyalty bonus
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.