Mastercard® Titanium Card™ Review: Is it worth a $195 annual fee?

John Ganotis

John Ganotis | Reviews

Mar 12, 2018 | Updated Jul 06, 2018

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The Mastercard® Titanium Card™ is a stainless steel credit card for people with excellent credit who travel frequently.

Considering the annual fee, the rewards program and benefits are mediocre. If you’re looking for a metal credit card, you can probably do better.

This card is on the lowest end of the Luxury Card line of cards, which includes:

Card Annual Fee
MasterCard® Titanium Card™ (This Review) $195
MasterCard® Black Card™ (Review)  $495
MasterCard® Gold Card™ (Review)  $995

Keep reading to learn all about this card, or compare it to alternatives.

Mastercard® Titanium Card™
Apply Now

Mastercard® Titanium Card™

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $195
  • Interest Rate: 16.74% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Brushed Stainless Steel – Patented Card Design
  • Luxury Card Rewards Program
  • 2% Value for Airfare Redemptions
  • 1% Value for Cash Back Redemptions
  • 24/7 Luxury Card ConciergeTM
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel Benefits
  • Members-Only LUXURY MAGAZINE
  • Annual Fee: $195 ($95 for each Authorized User)
  • 16.74% Variable APR on Purchases and Transfers
  • 0% Introductory APR on balance transfers made in the first 45 days after account opening

Our Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This card doesn’t offer a whole lot for the annual fee, especially when it comes to rewards. You can get a similar or better rewards value from less expensive cards.

The maximum rewards value you can get for spending on this card is the equivalent of only 2% cash back, but that’s only if you redeem your rewards for airfare. There are cards with no annual fee that earn 2% cash back on everything, so this isn’t a very good deal. With other travel cards, you can transfer rewards points to airline or hotel partners to get much higher rewards value, but not with the Titanium Card.

If you travel frequently and you’re willing to pay an annual fee in the $300–400 range, you could get better benefits from other cards. These benefits, like airport lounge access, travel credits, and a credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓™ could outweigh the fee, especially combined with higher rewards potential.

Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy

  • Only get this card if you plan to redeem for travel rewards and you don’t already have a card that earns more than the equivalent of 2% cash back.
  • You probably don’t need more than one high annual fee travel card in your wallet, whether it’s this card or one of its top competitors, because they tend to have similar benefits.

The Rewards

This card earns the equivalent of 2% cash back on all purchases when you redeem for airfare purchases. Otherwise, when you redeem for statement credits or to a bank account, you’ll only get the equivalent of 1% cash back.

Many travel cards, especially those with annual fees, earn an introductory bonus when you spend a certain amount in the first few billing cycles of account opening, but this card does not.

Earning

All purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent. There are no bonus categories that earn more points with this card.

Redeeming

There are two possible values you’ll get when you redeem points:

  • $0.02 per point for airfare redemptions booked through myluxurycard.com
  • $0.01 per point when you redeem as a statement credit, direct deposit to a bank account, or for hotels, car rentals, gift cards, or merchandise

As long as the account is open and in good standing, the points don’t expire. Some cards let you transfer points to partner loyalty programs. For example, you can exchange Chase Ultimate Rewards points and American Express Membership Rewards points for airline miles at several different airlines to get more redemption value from them. However, your options are much fewer with the Titanium Card.

Reward redemptions on this card start at $1 of redemption value. That means you can cash in as few as 50 points at a time when you’re redeeming for airfare, since that’s what it takes to equal $1 in airfare. Otherwise, you’ll need to redeem a minimum of 100 points at a time, since the points don’t go as far with other redemption options.

A maximum of 2% cash back is low for a card with an annual fee, especially one over $100. For comparison, the Uber Visa has no annual fee and earns 4% back at restaurants, 3% back on hotels and airfare, 2% for online purchases, and 1% on everything else.

How to Offset the Annual Fee

When we just look at rewards, you would need to spend at least $9,750 per year on this card and redeem all your points for airfare for your rewards value to equal the $195 annual fee.

If you were to use all your points for cash back redemptions to a bank account or as a statement credit, you would need to spend $19,500 per year just to cover the cost of the annual fee.

If you mix your redemptions between both categories, the amount you’d need to spend would be somewhere in between. To actually come out ahead in rewards value, you’d need to spend more than just enough to cover this cost. If you check out other travel cards with annual fees, there are ways to spend less before you start coming out ahead, so this is not a very good deal.

This card has some decent benefits, but they’re hard to value. There’s no $100 travel credit, for example, like on the Mastercard® Black Card™ (Review). Travel credits have a dollar value, so it’s easy to figure out how far they go in making up for the annual fee. Without any benefits like that, you’ll have to consider how much the following benefits would be worth to you to decide whether this card is worth the annual fee.

The Benefits

The benefits on this card don’t go very far beyond what you’ll get on any World Elite Mastercard (like the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard (Review), which has a much lower annual fee). Here are a few of the highlights.

Trip Delay Insurance

If you pay for a trip with this card and it’s delayed more than six hours for a “covered reason,” you can get a credit of up to $300 per trip, or up to $600 in a 12-month period, to help you pay for expenses. According to the guide to benefits for these Luxury Cards, the “covered reasons” include inclement weather, equipment failure of a common carrier, or a lost or stolen passport or travel documents.

Baggage Delay Insurance

If you purchase transit tickets with this card, you’ll be reimbursed for the cost of replacing items if your luggage is delayed more than 12 hours. We found the details about this benefit in the same guide linked above. Certain items aren’t covered, including contact lenses, hearing aids, prosthetics, documents, money, checks, and business samples.

Concierge

The Titanium Card includes a 24/7 concierge service. You may find this useful for booking travel and other travel assistance, like finding restaurants in a new city. Overall, this probably isn’t a very valuable benefit when considering whether the annual fee is worth paying. To learn more about credit card concierges and what people request from them check out this Reddit AMA with a former American Express concierge.

Price Protection

If you buy something on your card and find it advertised at a lower price within 120 days, you can get a refund for the difference. This is available on many different cards, and even some without an annual fee, so it’s not a reason to get this specific card.

Other Luxury Benefits

The Titanium Card, along with the other Luxury Cards, has some other “luxury” benefits. Here are a few of those.

VIP Hotel & Travel Benefits

Each year, cardholders get a physical book that covers many different travel benefits. Some of these include car rental discounts and upgrades, and discounts or perks at certain hotels. This seems to partially be benefits offered by Mastercard on all World Elite Mastercards. You can get details about those benefits on Mastercard’s site here. If you want to see the 2018 copy of the book sent to cardholders, there’s a digital version online here. Some of these sound exciting at first, like chauffeured transportation, but it’s basically just a discount on a limo service that you can book by calling the Luxury Card Concierge. It’s not like you get a private driver just for having this card — you’ll still have to pay separately.

Luxury Gifts

This benefit is somewhat ambiguous. The official Luxury Card website says the gift program “has no predetermined schedule or frequency.” From what we gather based on conversations with customer service, you might get some surprise packages in the mail occasionally if you have this card.

Luxury Magazine

According to the Luxury Card website, cardholders get a magazine that’s “exclusive to Luxury Card members.” However, they probably only mean the print edition is exclusive, since anyone can see it online at luxurymagazine.com. This doesn’t seem like a valuable benefit, and can actually be kind of annoying, because they print and send this big book even if your account is set up as paperless.

The Costs & Fees

Annual Fee Intro APR for Balance Transfers Regular Purchase APR Regular Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
$195 0% for 15 months 16.74% Variable 16.74% Variable 26.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
3% ($5 min) 5% ($10 min) 0%
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
N/A Up to $37 Up to $37

The main consideration here is the $195 annual fee. Authorized users cost an additional $95.

This card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, which should be expected on any travel card with an annual fee.

The APR for purchases is somewhat low compared to other cards, but that should not matter. We recommend you avoid interest completely by paying the full statement balance every month.

Oddly, there’s an introductory APR for balance transfers on this card, which probably isn’t something people considering this card would need. Instead of getting this card with a $195 annual fee, that money could be put toward paying off existing credit card debt instead of transferring it. And if you’re looking to do a balance transfer, there are cards with much better offers.

How to Apply for the Mastercard® Titanium Card™

The Mastercard® Titanium Card™ card is issued by Barclaycard. If you submit a credit card application, they will usually check your TransUnion credit report. This card is designed for people with excellent credit, so if your credit is not very good you may not be approved.

Mastercard® Titanium Card™
Apply Now

Mastercard® Titanium Card™

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $195
  • Interest Rate: 16.74% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Brushed Stainless Steel – Patented Card Design
  • Luxury Card Rewards Program
  • 2% Value for Airfare Redemptions
  • 1% Value for Cash Back Redemptions
  • 24/7 Luxury Card ConciergeTM
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel Benefits
  • Members-Only LUXURY MAGAZINE
  • Annual Fee: $195 ($95 for each Authorized User)
  • 16.74% Variable APR on Purchases and Transfers
  • 0% Introductory APR on balance transfers made in the first 45 days after account opening

Alternatives to the Mastercard® Titanium Card™

If you’re considering the Mastercard® Titanium Card™, there may be some better options out there for you:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve (Review): higher $325 annual fee, better benefits, $300 travel credit, great introductory bonus
  • American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card (Review): charge card with the same $195 annual fee (waived the first year), $100 airline fee credit, good rewards for airlines, restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets
  • Uber Visa: no annual fee, 4% cash back at restaurants, 3% on hotels and airfare, 2% for online purchases, and 1% for everything else
  • Our top travel credit card picks: See our favorites for best sign-up bonus, best with chip-and-PIN, best no annual fee travel card, best premium travel card, and best hotel credit card
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