Mastercard® Credit Cards

Written by: Joey Robinson | Edited by: Tracy Stewart | Reviewed by: Poonkulali Thangavelu
|

July 9, 2021

Our editorial team provides an unbiased analysis of the products we feature. Our comparison service is compensated by our partners, and may influence where or how products are featured on the site. Learn more about our partners and how we make money. Please note: The star-rating system on this page is based on our independent card scoring methodology and is not influenced by advertisers or card issuers.

Whether you’re looking for an everyday cash back card or luxury travel rewards, Mastercard® partners with lots of issuers so you’re sure to find a card that suits your needs.

Whether you’re looking for an everyday cash back card or luxury travel rewards, Mastercard® partners with lots of issuers so you’re sure to find a card that suits your needs.

Best Mastercard credit cards of 2021

BEST FOR AMERICAN AIRLINES FLYERS
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Our rating:3.9 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Rewards rate

2X
2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
1X
1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases

At A Glance

Intro bonus
50,000 miles Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Annual fee
$450
Regular APR
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
BEST FOR IHG HOTEL POINTS
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Our rating:4.3 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Rewards rate

25X
Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
2X
Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
1X
Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

At A Glance

Intro bonus
150,000 points Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
Annual fee
$89, waived first year
Regular APR
15.99% - 22.99% variable
BEST FOR BUSINESS BUILDING CREDIT
Brex 30 Card
Our rating:4.3 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

No Credit History

Rewards rate

7X
7X Rideshare
4X
4X Brex Travel
3X
3X Restaurants
2X
2X Recurring software
1X
1X Everything else

At A Glance

Intro bonus
50,000 50,000 in Brex rewards points upon approval
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
N/A
BEST FOR FREQUENT INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TRAVELERS
Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Our rating:3.9 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Rewards rate

2X
Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account.

At A Glance

Intro bonus
50,000 miles Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
Annual fee
$95, waived first year
Regular APR
20.99% variable
BEST FOR BUILDING CREDIT WITHOUT A SECURITY DEPOSIT
Milestone® Gold Mastercard®
Our rating:1.7 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Bad to Fair

Credit Recommended (300-670)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Rewards rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Intro bonus
No current offer
Annual fee
$35-$99
Regular APR
24.90%
BEST PERKS FOR BUILDING CREDIT
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®
Our rating:1.7 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Bad to Fair

Credit Recommended (300-670)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Rewards rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Intro bonus
No current offer
Annual fee
$0-$99
Regular APR
24.90%
BEST LOW APR SECURED CARD
First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

No Credit History

Rewards rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Intro bonus
No current offer
Annual fee
$49
Regular APR
9.99% variable
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

No Credit History

Rewards rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Intro bonus
No current offer
Annual fee
$39
Regular APR
13.99% variable
BEST LOW-ANNUAL-FEE SECURED CARD
First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

No Credit History

Rewards rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Intro bonus
No current offer
Annual fee
$29
Regular APR
19.99% variable

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Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.


Whether you’re looking for an everyday cash back card or luxury travel rewards, Mastercard® partners with lots of issuers so you’re sure to find a card that suits your needs.

All information about the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.

A guide to Mastercard credit cards

Mastercard, one of the world’s dominant payment systems, teams up with giants like Bank of America and Citi to bring you all manner of cards, from credit-builder cards to exclusive travel credit cards. This brand also offers its own benefits, from security to its proprietary Priceless Cities program. Here, we look at:

Citi Rewards+® Card: Best for everyday use

Why we picked it: This card is packed with rewards. Earn 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 per year then 1X), plus 1X points on all other purchases. The best part – this card rounds up your rewards to the nearest 10 on every purchase, meaning even a $1.29 pack of mints will earn 10 points.

Pros: This card’s 15,000-point sign-up bonus is similar to that of the Chase Freedom Unlimited or the Chase Freedom Flex. You can earn 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months of card membership, worth $150 in gift cards when redeemed at Thankyou.com. There’s also a 15 month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable), all for no annual fee.

Cons: Your earning in the 2X categories is limited to $6,000 annually – any further spending will earn the 1X rate. Also, the points-earning rewards structure can make it hard to gauge your earnings ahead of time.

Who should apply? With a unique and generous rewards structure and several useful features, anyone committed to using their credit card on even the smallest of purchases can benefit from the Citi Rewards+ card.

Read more about the Citi Rewards+ Card.

Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Best for American Airlines flyers

Why we picked it: This card comes with a huge sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months (worth around $700 in travel according to The Points Guy’s AAdvantage mile valuation). And to regularly earn miles, you’ll get 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar elsewhere.

Pros: You’ll gain access to a luxury travel experience; enjoy elite perks like free lounge access (with American Airlines reciprocal lounges), free Admirals Club membership with lounge access (a value of up to $650), and credits for expedited security screening. Also, your miles are unlimited and won’t expire as long as you keep the card active every 18 months.

Cons: Though it has the rewards to back it up, there’s a $450 annual fee. Also, there’s blackout dates on some rewards and other restrictions when it comes to redeeming travel.

Who should apply? Loyal American Airlines flyers who want a more high-end experience can squeeze a lot of value out of this card, but it’s not a great fit for homebodies or those who like options when booking their travel.

Read more about the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Best for IHG hotel points

Why we picked it: IHG Rewards Club members can earn up to 25 points per dollar on their IHG hotel stays – 10 points for being a cardholder and 15 as a club member with Platinum Elite Status. On top of that, cardholders get 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, plus 1X points on all other purchases.

Pros: This card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 150,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months, and it also comes with an annual bonus of 10,000 points each year you spend $20,000 and make one additional purchase. You’ll also enjoy an array of travel and consumer perks like a free rewards night each card anniversary, credit of up to $100 for Global Entry / TSA PreCheck every four years and cell phone protection.

Cons: The card comes with an $89 annual fee, which is fortunately waived in the first year. Also, the card is limited in its rewards redemption – hotel stays are the only worthwhile options.

Who should apply? Frequent IHG guests and travelers in the market for a hotel rewards card could check-in to a rewarding experience here. If you’re a traveler who likes to keep their options open however, a card like the Citi Premier® Card or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card might be a better fit.

Read more about the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

Brex 30 Card: Best for businesses building credit

Why we picked it: Spend $9,000 in the first 30 days of membership and earn 50,000 Brex Rewards points. Plus, Brex offers a whole slew of discounts on services like Slack, Zoom, Google Ads, Amazon Web Services, and other perks that small business owners and start-ups would certainly find useful.

Pros: The streamlined application process requires no personal credit checks. Credit lines are higher than many business cards. Members can redeem points on travel with an extensive range of airline partners at a ratio of 1:1.

Cons: Businesses can add up to five employee cards at no charge, though any additional employee card incurs a $5 monthly charge which could add up for larger teams. Most cards, including the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, allow you to add extra employees for free. Another potential downside: most of the discounts on business services expire after the first year.

Who should apply? This card is a great match for start-ups and small businesses with a minimum of $100,000 in a corporate account (or $50,000 if professionally managed) but limited credit history.

Read more about the Brex 30 card.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business: Best for frequent international business travelers

Why we picked it: With an unlimited rewards rate of 2X miles on all purchases, plus a generous 50,000 mile welcome bonus (after spending $4,500 within the first three months of membership) this is an excellent flat-rate rewards card for business travelers on the go.

Pros: There are no minimum requirements on mile redemptions, no expiration dates and no blackouts. Miles can be transferred to over 15 airline partners worldwide.

Cons: While the network of airline partners is impressive, it includes only one domestic carrier.

Who should apply? Small business owners who regularly travel abroad will find a lot to love about this flat rate business card.

Read more about the Capital One Spark Miles for Business.

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®: Best for building credit without a security deposit

Why we picked it: This card doesn’t have much to offer in terms of frills, but it does provide a shot at rebuilding credit, and all without a security deposit and decent approval odds.

Pros: Aside from its lack of security deposit and the fact that it’s relatively accessible for applicants on the lower end of the credit spectrum, cardholders receive identity theft protection against unauthorized transactions.

Cons: The 24.90% APR is higher than similar cards designed to rebuild credit, plus the low $300 credit limit also means it’s dangerously easy to reach a high credit utilization ratio.

Who should apply? Those with no credit, bad credit or a history of bankruptcy may find this card useful in helping them establish a positive credit profile.

Read more about the Milestone Gold Mastercard.

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® : Best perks for building credit

Why we picked it: While definitely modest compared to what you’d get with a card for fair to good credit, this card still offers a few basic frills to those in the process of rebuilding credit without having to put down a security deposit. Cardholders may access to auto rental insurance, roadside and travel assistance, extended warranty protection as well as $0 fraud liability through Mastercard. Depending on creditworthiness, you may qualify for a $0 annual fee, otherwise it’s $59 or $75 the first year, and $99 after that based on your credit profile.

Pros: With its high approval odds, lack of security deposit and the potential for no annual fee, this is a good choice for someone rebuilding credit.

Cons: There is no clear policy on credit line increases after responsible usage. With a standard $300 credit line, it doesn’t take many purchases before risking over-utilization. Plus, a high APR of 24.90% variable makes it a little too easy to get off track when carrying a balance.

Who should apply? The Indigo Platinum Mastercard could be a good match for someone with poor credit or a previous bankruptcy who wants to avoid putting down a deposit for a secured card and can potentially qualify for the $0 annual fee.

Read more about the Indigo Platinum Mastercard.

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card: Best low APR secured card

Why we picked it: With monthly reporting to all three major credit bureaus and a reasonable 9.99% APR (variable), the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card helps build credit through responsible card use.

Pros: Secured deposits are fully refundable and range from $200 to $2,000, depending on what you’re comfortable putting down at the time of application. There’s no minimum score or credit check required in order to be approved.

Cons: There is no possibility of being upgraded to an unsecured card or having your credit line extended after you’ve proven your creditworthiness. Some applicants may be put off by the $49 annual fee.

Who should apply? The quick and hassle-free application process will appeal to anyone looking for a simple way to establish good credit.

Read more about the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card.

First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card: Best for beginners

Why we picked it: Like the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card, the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard Secured Credit Card also reports monthly to all major credit bureaus and gives cardmembers build good credit through responsible use. With an annual fee of $39 and a 13.99% APR (variable), this secured card provides a nice middleground for those who are still figuring out their individual spending habits.

Pros: Secured deposits are fully refundable and range from $200 to $2,000, depending on what you’re comfortable putting down at the time of application. There’s no minimum score or credit history required in order to be approved, and your application won’t impact your credit score.

Cons: There is an annual fee of $39. Responsible use doesn’t result in an upgrade to an unsecured card or credit extension.

Who should apply? This secured card is a good match for those taking steps to improve or build credit.

Read more on the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card.

First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card: Best low-annual-fee secured card

Why we picked it: Compared to many secured cards, the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard charges a fairly low annual fee of $29. There’s no minimum credit score or credit history requirements. Security deposits range from $200 to $2,000 and can be refunded at any time, provided you’ve paid off your balance in full.

Pros: The application process is straightforward and won’t negatively impact your credit score.

Cons: The 19.99% APR (variable) could be a tad steep for those who will carry a balance, especially when trying to build good credit.

Who should apply? This secured card is a good match for anyone trying to improve their credit without spending a lot in annual fees.

Read more on the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card.

Comparing the best Mastercard credit cards

Credit CardBest For:Annual FeeReview Score
Citi Rewards+® CardEveryday use$03.2 / 5
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®American Airlines flyers$4503.9 / 5
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit CardIHG hotel points$89 (waived first year)4.1 / 5
Brex 30 CardBusinesses building credit$04.3 / 5
Capital One Spark Miles for BusinessFrequent international travelers$95 (waived first year)3.9 / 5
Milestone® Gold Mastercard®Building credit with no security deposit$35 – $994.4 / 5
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®Building credit building perks$0 – $991.7 / 5
First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit CardLow APR$49N / A
First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit CardBeginners$39N / A
First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit CardLow annual fee$29N / A

How we picked the best Mastercard credit cards

Research Methodology:We analyzed a multitude of Mastercard credit cards to identify their best offers currently on the market. The major factors we considered were:

  • Base rewards program: Are there worthwhile rewards available with the card? Many of Mastercard’s options provide great cash back rewards and points-earning structures, so we honed in on their top offers.
  • Introductory APR offers: Several of Mastercard’s top choices welcome you with extended periods of time with intro 0% interest on purchases, balance transfers, or both. We searched for the best offers to help with credit card debt and interest charges.
  • Extra features: With cards for all kinds of consumers, Mastercard’s options provide a wide range of perks. We tried to find the card with the best benefits, whether they’re geared towards credit builders or luxury travelers.
  • Other rates and fees: We looked at whether the card comes with an annual fee, how reasonable the APR is and if there’s any extraneous costs. If a credit card listed here comes at a price, it surely has the rewards and features to back it up.

What is Mastercard?

As a network, Mastercard doesn’t issue cards directly – rather, it partners with massive banks such as Bank of America, as well as your local bank or credit union, which provide cards that carry the Mastercard logo. Then, Mastercard also partners with millions of merchants around the world, which accept cards with their logo while paying a processing fee. Products can be debit, prepaid, charge or credit cards.

Mastercard is one of the dominant card networks, which also include Visa, Discover and American Express. Accepted throughout the world, it is one of the go-to networks for worldwide travel.

There are a number of unique advantages to using a Mastercard, including worldwide acceptance. In fact, in recent years, Mastercard’s international growth has been considerably greater than U.S. growth, with the debit and prepaid markets being particularly strong:

Mastercard purchase transaction growth in 2019…

  • Mastercard credit and charge, less U.S.
  • 17.8%
  • Mastercard credit and charge, U.S.
  • 13.5%
  • Mastercard credit and charge, worldwide
  • 16.9%
  • Mastercard debit and prepaid, less U.S.
  • 31.5%
  • Mastercard debit and prepaid, U.S.
  • 8.1%
  • Mastercard debit and prepaid, worldwide
  • 22.6%

Source: Mastercard Supplemental Operational Performance Data

Mastercard’s unique programs

Mastercard offers unique programs and benefits such as the Priceless series, SecureCode, and Masterpass.

Priceless

With Priceless Cities and Surprises, you can get once-in-a-lifetime experiences from sporting events to dining experiences. Go on a safari in the Dubai desert. Or experience a surprise of a lifetime after using your Mastercard. The world is yours with a Mastercard.

SecureCode

Mastercard SecureCode is a private code for your Mastercard account that only you and your financial institution see. Merchants don’t see it. You can use SecureCode in 122 countries at more than a million online merchants. It’s easy to activate:

  1. Enter your card number. Click the SIGN UP button, find your bank’s website and create your private code.
  2. Verify your identity. To enroll, you will be asked to confirm your identity by providing answers to security questions.
  3. Create your SecureCode. Once you have answered the security questions, you will be asked to create your secure code.
  4. Registration is complete. Once you have created your SecureCode, your enrollment is complete and you are ready to begin shopping online.

Masterpass

A digital wallet, Masterpass works online, in apps and in stores and on any device. You can store your cards and shipping information electronically, allowing you to shop from one account. You just register on masterpass.com or through your bank and load your Mastercard credit or debit card.

You can use Masterpass at thousands of online merchants and at more than a million store locations. You get multi-tiered security and Zero Liability protects you from unauthorized purchases.

World and World Elite categories

There are 2 exclusive categories with the Mastercard suite – the World and World Elite, each with excellent benefits when you use your Mastercard.

World

  • Free shipping with more than 140 online stores
  • Home sharing – choose from more than 10,000 rentals in cities worldwide
  • Priceless Cities
  • Identity theft
  • Room upgrades
  • Vacation packages
  • Airport concierge

World Elite

  • Free shipping
  • Home sharing
  • 24/7 concierge
  • Priceless Cities
  • Identity theft
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Room upgrades
  • Vacation packages
  • Airport concierge

Mastercard benefits for small businesses and merchants

Businesses

Mastercard’s lineup for businesses ranges from employee spending controls to access to a portfolio of hotels and resorts. For example:

Hotels and resorts portfolio

Experience room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out, and daily breakfast for two. You also get savings and deals on air, hotel, rental car and more.

Employee spending controls

With Mastercard in Control for Business, you can delegate spending to employees safely and efficiently. With this program, you can create customized spending profiles that specifies how, when and where employees spend. You can also create limit-use cards that employees can use to make secure purchases online.

Business insights

Mastercard Advisors provides you with insights into consumer behavior. From access to early industry sales data to models that score likely consumer engagement, Mastercard offers a host of tools that can help you expand your business.

Smart Data

These tools help you with compliance, reporting and analysis. This online expense management system allows you to manage and control spending, generate spending reports and integrate purchase data into accounting software.

Priceless Cities

Use out-of-this-world experiences to impress clients. Take a cooking class at Miami’s Wynwood Yard or take an insider’s tour of New York’s Theater District with a star actor – the possibilities are limitless.

Merchants

Mastercard helps you improve checkout processes and fight payment fraud with EMV chip technology. There’s also the Sage Payment Systems, which allows small- and medium-sized businesses to offer Masterpass.