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In spite of its near-mythical, urban legend status, the American Express Centurion isn't the only “black” credit card around. The Mastercard World Elite credit card rivals the Centurion card in benefits; world-class, unique experiences; and exclusivity -- if not prestige.
One of the cards featured on Mastercard's Priceless.com website, designed after the advertising campaign with the tagline, “For everything else, there's Mastercard,” the World Elite card truly provides “priceless” experiences. Oddly, it is even more difficult to find information regarding the card -- Mastercard doesn't seem to publish its terms and conditions in an easy-to-find place.
Based on information gleaned from Mastercard.com, Priceless.com, and credit card forums and review sites, the Mastercard World Elite seems to be a reasonable alternative to the American Express Centurion card, and somewhat easier to get.
How This Card Works:
Why is this card easier to get then an American Express Centurion card? When I spoke with a MasterCard representative through the World Elite MasterCard concierge service, he informed me that there are more than 60 different versions of the World Elite MasterCard. It's no wonder it's hard to find information about this card!
Some World Elite MasterCards work like American Express charge cards, with no pre-set spending limits. Others provide frequent flier miles rewards, and have low interest rates.
The APR and the annual fee for each card varies, as do the required credit rating to qualify for a card. Some popular versions of the card include:
- Chase World Elite MasterCard
- Citi World Elite MasterCard
- United Airways World Elite MasterCard
- Saks World Elite MasterCard
The benefits of the World Elite MasterCard are similar to a high-level American Express card, with concierge service, tons of travel benefits, and online shopping that gives you ways to earn more points with your World Elite rewards card. Let's look at some of the benefits by category:
World Elite MasterCard uses the Virtuoso travel network to help CardMembers book trips. The Virtuoso network has more than 6,000 expert advisors worldwide to find you not only the best rates (if that's what you're looking for) but top arrangements through luxury hotels and carriers, first-class tours, and lots of added benefits. Here's a list of some of the travel and hotel perks you may receive through Virtuoso:
- Two-for-one airfare
- Complimentary upgrades
- Discounted chauffeur service
- VIP guest status at select hotels
- Added amenities on cruises
- Free shore event when you book a luxury cruise with your World Elite MasterCard through Virtuoso
My favorite on the list?
- Savings on select private jet flights
Special Experiences and Events
Like the American Express Centurion card, the World Elite card also gives you access to special tours and adventures, many of which you'll find listed online through the Priceless.com portal. These include theatre, concert, show and sporting event tickets, reservations at A-list restaurants and once-in-a-lifetime experiences around the world.
When you shop through the World MasterCard store, you'll find low prices and may also receive rewards points.
Fine Wine & Dining Benefits
If you are a “foodie” or a wine enthusiast, the World Elite MasterCard is definitely the card to have. You'll get complimentary membership into Destination Cellars, a travel firm (for lack of a better term) specializing in superior experiences for wine enthusiasts. Gain access to once-in-a-lifetime wine tastings, tour vineyards, and even shop for wines online with your World Elite MasterCard as a member of Destination Cellars.
Concierge service has become fairly standard on high-end credit cards today. The concierge service through World Elite MasterCard can help you secure event tickets, assist with personal shopping, book restaurant reservations and accomplish anything that doesn't fall under the umbrella of Virtuoso or Destination Cellars.
Since I had the opportunity to speak with a personal concierge in researching the article, I want to note the high level of customer service -- even though I wasn't a card member. He was a wealth of information about the various cards and pointed me in the direction to find even more information. When I'm shopping around for a brand (of anything) top level service always wins my heart, so, for that alone, I would recommend this card if you are seeking a “luxury” credit card.