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World Mastercard vs. World Elite Mastercard: What’s the difference?

Each of these cards offer different perks and benefits, and it can vary by product


The Mastercard brand of credit cards offers its own set of perks. But what perks you get will depend on the type of Mastercard you choose: Standard, World or World Elite.

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When you’re ready to add a new credit card to your wallet, be sure to consider the card network. Each card network – Visa, Discover, American Express, Mastercard – offers its own benefits. And some of these perks can help you save a significant amount of money on hotel stays, dining out, entertainment and online shopping.

The Mastercard brand of credit cards offers its own set of perks. But what perks you get will depend on the type of Mastercard you choose: Standard, World or World Elite. Of these three tiers, standard is the lowest and World Elite the highest.

But does it make sense to aim for the highest level, the World Elite tier?

That mostly depends on your travel, shopping and entertainment habits.

What kinds of Mastercards are there?

There are two types of World Mastercards – the World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard – both featuring more benefits than what you’d get with the standard version of a Mastercard.

If you travel frequently, spend plenty of dollars on ride-shares or order frequently online, the perks of the World cards might make them worth a space in your wallet. If you don’t? You might do just as well with a more basic Mastercard.

Jacob Dayan, co-founder and chief executive officer of Chicago’s Community Tax, said that all cardholders are different. Some will use the perks offered by cards such as the World and World Elite Mastercards. Others won’t.

Those who won’t probably do just as well with a credit card that offers fewer perks but doesn’t charge an annual fee.

“If they are someone who frequently travels, then hotel, concierge and Lyft perks might go a long way to saving them money,” Dayan said. “Each consumer has different needs, however. Consumers need to compare cards and make educated decisions to see which card will best fit their needs.”

Standard Mastercard perks

It’s important to first understand the perks that come with standard Mastercard credit cards. These benefits will vary depending on the financial institution and the specific Mastercard, but usually you’ll get the following perks:

Zero liability protection: If someone steals your credit card and makes fraudulent purchases in your name, the Fair Credit Billing Act says that you’re responsible to pay a maximum of $50 for these purchases. Mastercard, though, eliminates that maximum, meaning that you won’t have to pay anything for fraudulent purchases.

Mastercard Global Service: If your card is lost or stolen, this perk provides emergency assistance, such as getting a replacement card sent to you quickly or accessing cash advances.

Identity theft kit: If you suspect that someone has stolen your identity and is using your card to make fraudulent purchases, Mastercard will provide you with ID-theft resolution tools.

World Mastercard perks

The World version of Mastercard includes all the perks of a standard Mastercard but comes with additional benefits, too.

ShopRunner: You’ll receive a free membership to ShopRunner if you carry a World Mastercard. You can use this membership to receive two-day shipping and free return shipping at more than 100 online retailers.

Discount on onefinestay bookings: World Mastercard holders get a 10% discount when using their card to make reservations at guest homes across the globe through online booking service onefinestay.

Priceless Golf: A big golfer? Mastercard offers exclusive golf offers and experiences with the PGA Tour.

Professional travel services: World Mastercard holders get free access to travel advisers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These advisers can help you plan your trip, recommend events and activities and make reservations on your behalf.

Mastercard Hotel Stay Guarantee: Made a reservation at a three-star or better hotel only to arrive and find that you hate your room or the property? You can contact a Lifestyle Manager through your World Mastercard to find a new hotel or upgrade to a better room.

Mastercard Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee: If you find the exact same prepaid hotel stay for a lower price, Mastercard will refund the difference.

Mastercard luxury hotel and resorts portfolio: If you’re a World Mastercard holder, you can take advantage of free room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, free breakfasts and other amenities at more than 2,000 participating properties across the globe.

Car, air, cruise and vacation packages: You’ll gain access to discounted travel packages if you carry a World Mastercard.

Airport Concierge: You can schedule an agent to meet and escort you through the airport when flying to a destination or arriving home from a trip. This service is available at more than 700 airports.

Priceless Cities: World Mastercard also offers a series of experiences for its members, such as online wine classes, urban art workshops, online classes with chefs around the world and virtual concerts.

World Elite Mastercard perks

The World Elite Mastercard offers the most perks of any Mastercard, including all the benefits the World Mastercard offers, as well as some additional benefits for cardholders.

Lyft: If you take five Lyft rides in a month, you’ll earn a $10 Lyft credit.

Boxed: You’ll earn 5% cash rewards for any order you make on Boxed, an online wholesale retailer that delivers bulk-sized packages of food, cleaning supplies and other grocery items. Rewards are applied as a credit on your next order.

Fandango: World Elite Mastercard cardholders earn $5 off future movie tickets or at-home purchases every time they buy two movie tickets with Fandango.

World Elite Concierge: The World Elite Mastercard comes with a free 24/7 concierge service. You can call on the concierge service when you’re looking for a hard-to-find gift, want to reserve a table at your favorite restaurant or you are looking for the nearest winery to your hotel.

Cellphone protection: World Elite cards come with $1,000 in yearly coverage should your cellphone get stolen or need certain repairs. You’ll get maximum coverage of $800 for every claim you make (two per year maximum), as long as you pay your bill with your card. (Exact coverage might vary by card, check your benefits guide for specific terms.)

Use whatever card you get responsibly

These perks are nice, but they won’t outweigh the interest you’ll pay if you run up charges that you can’t afford.

Danielle Barak, a financial adviser with the Orlando, Florida, office of Northwestern Mutual, said that consumers can get infatuated with a credit card’s rewards and benefits only to cost themselves money if they don’t use their cards properly.

Barak says that consumers should charge only what they can afford to pay off in full each month. That way, they build their credit but don’t have to pay interest on any balance.

“People get excited about the rewards, but the value of those rewards will not outweigh the cost of paying interest,” Barak said. “You might get a free $200 flight. But if the interest you pay because you carry a balance is more than that, did you really get a win?”

The best World Elite Mastercards

Ready to sign up for a World Elite Mastercard? There are several strong options available.

CardRewards rateSign-up bonusAnnual fee

Citi Premier® Card

  • 3 points per dollar on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months$95

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on other purchases
50,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months$450

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

  • Up to 25 points per dollar on IHG hotel stays (10 points as a cardholder in addition to 15 points per dollar earned as an IHG Rewards Club member)
  • 2 points per dollar on gas station, grocery store and restaurant purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
125,000 points plus a Free Night if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months$89

Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories that you must activate each quarter (on up to $1,500 per quarter)
  • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months$0

Should you sign up for a World Elite Mastercard?

Jonathan Hess, a financial coach and owner of Hess Financial Coaching in Houston, said that while perks are nice, they shouldn’t be your main factor in choosing a credit card. A card’s interest rate and fees are far more important, he said.

Next in line? The rewards that cards offer, Hess said.

“I put perks secondary to rewards,” Hess said. “The rewards are something you can directly influence. If you have a no-annual-fee credit card that gives you 1.5% to 2%  cash back a year, that is literally costing you nothing. You get all that extra cash just for using your card.”

Many consumers might never use the perks that cards such as the World Elite and World Mastercards offer.

“You don’t plan for your bags to get lost at the airport. You don’t plan to use cellphone insurance,” Hess said. “Those could be nice to have. But a lot of the benefits that cards offer you never plan to use.”

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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