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Comparing Visa Signature and World Elite Mastercard benefits

May 15, 2021
13 min read
Mastercard and Visa Credit and Debit Cards Stacked
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Are you looking for a new rewards credit card? You may be evaluating things such as sign-up bonuses, rewards rates and redemption options. But as you consider the card's benefits, don’t forget to look at the benefits offered by the card’s payment network.

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Visa and Mastercard are two of the largest and most widely accepted credit card payment networks in the U.S. In fact, both have their own benefits programs available on select rewards cards.

Your standard Mastercard offers shopping perks like price protection and an extended warranty. (Photo by Shutterstock)
Your standard Mastercard offers shopping perks like price protection and an extended warranty. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Cards in the Visa Signature line, including Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, present tremendous benefits to users. These benefits include online discounts when you shop with Visa’s growing network of partners and enhanced travel benefits. Likewise, the World Elite Mastercard line, including cards such as the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card and Citi Premier® Card, also offers expanded benefits that you won't find with cards in other payment networks.

The information for the Capital One Savor card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: The best credit cards for price protection

(Photo by Shutterstock)

Many of Visa’s top cards fall under the Visa Signature program, while many Mastercard’s top cards fall under the World Elite Mastercard program.

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To see if you’re carrying a World Elite Mastercard or Visa Signature card, first find the payment network logo – typically located on the bottom right of the card. Then look for the word “Signature” under the Visa logo or the words “World Elite” above the Mastercard logo.

If you’re shopping around for a new card, definitely consider one of these premium rewards cards from Mastercard or Visa. Now, let’s see which of these programs may fit your lifestyle best.

Discounts and credits

Both Visa and Mastercard partner with brands that translate into perks and savings for cardholders. If you own one of these cards, read on to discover benefits you may not have realized you had.

World Elite

The Citi®/ AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is an example of a World Elite Mastercard. (Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Mastercard has recently added discounts and credits to make its World Elite program much more competitive.

  • DoorDash: World Elite members enjoy a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership for three months, which waives delivery and reduced service fees on orders $12 or more. Plus, by paying with your World Elite Mastercard, you'll automatically get a $5 discount on their first two orders every month (until Sept. 30, 2022).
  • HelloFresh: You'll get a 5% discount on each HelloFresh purchase when paying with your World Elite Mastercard. Even better, you'll receive up to a $90 discount on your first few orders if you're a new HelloFresh customer.
  • Lyft: Each month you take three or more Lyft rides, you'll get an automatic $5 credit once per month to apply to future Lyft rides.
  • Fandango: By spending $20 or more on Fandango purchases, you'll get a $5 Fandango reward for future movie tickets or at-home movies or shows.

Additionally, you'll get a free ShopRunner membership, giving you access to free two-day shipping and free return shipping for more than 100 online retailers. Enjoy other valuable perks such as up to $1,000 in cell phone protection coverage per year, access to Priceless Experiences, Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services and World Elite Concierge.

Whether or not you're traveling right now, these partner benefits and money-saving perks are compelling for both shopping and travel.

Visa Signature

The Visa Signature website also offers dozens of money-saving deals you can take advantage of from the safety of your home. Save up to 35% or more at many online retailers, from Hertz to various hotels. Your Visa Signature card will deliver tons of savings you can put toward your next trip – or whatever you’d like.

Winner: The World Elite program is the better program for tangible, money-saving perks. If you’re ordering food delivery or buying virtually anything online, the World Elite program offers discounts that may be difficult to find anywhere else.

Related: The best credit cards for groceries in 2021

protection and card security

When you're traveling internationally, your card can offer important security features that can be useful in emergencies. (Photo by LeoPatrizi/Getty Images)

Visa and Mastercard both take security and fraud protection seriously. For that reason, their Signature and World Elite cards carry fraud protection, emergency card replacement and other features that may go above and beyond cards outside of these programs. Let’s compare their offerings:

Visa Signature

Traditional Visa cards offer many protections, including:

  • Zero liability for fraudulent charges
  • Emergency card replacement (within 24 to 72 hours)
  • Emergency cash disbursement (within two hours)
  • Lost or stolen card reporting

Some of the cards (but not all) in the Visa Signature line also provide. These benefits are ultimately up to the issuer:

Related: Credit cards that cover cellphone loss and damage

World Elite

Like traditional Visa cards, most Mastercard products offer many benefits, including:

Related: Five steps to take when your personal information is compromised

(Photo by Shutterstock)
You can rely on enhanced identity theft protection when you have a World Elite Mastercard. (Photo by Shutterstock)

The World Elite program goes beyond standard Mastercard benefits to offer cell phone protection. It’s getting harder to find cards that provide cell phone protection, but select Visa Signature cards and all World Elite Mastercards reimburse you for damage or theft to your mobile phone if you pay the monthly bill with the credit card. Some other Mastercard offerings also provide this coveted benefit.

Winner: World Elite Mastercards come slightly ahead thanks to the cell phone protection plan on all cards. However, it’s important to look at the benefits of the specific Visa Signature card you are considering because some offer more than others.

Travel protections

For frequent travelers, both programs shine with the following travel perks:

Visa Signature

Coming to aid of broken down motorist. (Photo by MachineHeadz / Getty Images)
Visa Signature cards come with roadside dispatch benefits. (Photo by MachineHeadz/Getty Images)

Protections offered to all cards within the Visa Signature program include:

Visa also offers the following benefits on a select number of cards within the Visa Signature program, depending on the issuer:

Related: Visa Signature: Everything you need to know

World Elite

Mastercard recently removed many of the travel protections that consumers previously relied on, including travel insurance. It advertises nothing of note that would make the World Elite program stand out in travel coverage.

Winner: Visa Signature travel protections are unmatched. If you’re looking to protect your travel arrangements in the uncertainty of a post-pandemic era, the Visa Signature card will be your better investment since Mastercard comes with little (if any) coverages.

Travel benefits

You can find exclusive experiences such as cooking classes or concerts through either program. (Photo by Westend61 / Getty)

One-of-a-kind experiences and access to special events are key reasons that frequent travelers covet the cards in these programs. From private jets to free hotel stays, soon you’ll be able to enjoy these perks again.

The World Elite Mastercard program offers Priceless Experiences, offering events in more than 40 cities. Note that many experiences are still virtual now, but it's a great perk to take advantage of when you're traveling again.

Related: Unlock VIP event access with your credit cards

Likewise, places such as wineries and golf courses are included in some Visa Signature perks across the U.S.

Winner: World Elite Mastercard. Although there are a limited amount of in-person events right now, the Priceless Experiences are one of the key attractions to holding a World Elite Mastercard.

Top Visa Signature cards

Although this is not an exhaustive list, here are some of the top cards that fall under the Visa Signature program:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred features 2x points on travel and 3x points on dining purchases, including takeout meals, and 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You’ll earn points in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, which can be transferred to points or miles with airline and hotel partners or redeemed for travel directly through Chase. You can also choose gift cards or cash back through the Chase portal, although you’ll get a better return if you hang onto your points to use for travel. There is a $95 annual fee for this card.

Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The Venture Rewards card offers 2x miles on purchases, which you can redeem as a statement credit for travel or by transferring to one of Capital One’s 17 airline and hotel partners. You always have the option of redeeming your points as a statement credit on travel purchases at a rate of one cent apiece. The straightforward points system, no categories to memorize and the option to redeem points for a statement credit make the Venture Rewards card a great first rewards card. The card also offers a bonus of 100,000 miles for new cardholders after spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or they can still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. There is a $95 annual fee and you’ll get perks such as a statement credit of up to $100 for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fee.

Benefits only available to accounts approved for the Visa Signature card. Terms apply.

Read our full review of the Capital One Venture card.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Cardholders of the Alaska Airlines Visa earn 3x miles on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, and 1x mile on other eligible purchases, along with a companion fare from $121 ($99 fare, plus taxes and fees from $22) every account anniversary. Alaska miles are especially valuable because of their many partner airlines. There is a $75 annual fee on this card.

Read our full review of the Alaska Airlines Visa.

Top World Elite Mastercards

There are too many cards that are part of this program to list them all, but here are a few of the best for travelers:

Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Capital One Savor is one of my favorite cash-back credit cards. You’ll earn 4% on dining, entertainment purchases and popular streaming services, two broadly defined categories and 3% back at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target). The card charges a $95 annual fee and comes with a $300 cash-back bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Read our full review of the Capital One Savor card.

Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier is a mid-tier travel rewards card that offers the benefits of Mastercard’s tremendous World Elite program, plus a host of other advantages and rewards. You’ll earn 3x points on restaurants, groceries, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1x on everything else. Right now, get a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Read our full review of the Citi Premier.

Bottom line

When it comes to Visa Signature and World Elite Mastercard, there is no clear front-runner for which card is better to have in your wallet. Visa offers more protections, but Mastercard outshines Visa in other areas, especially if you are looking to celebrate getting out of the house with a one-of-a-kind experience in the summer or fall.

You can find excellent credit cards under both programs, so it might be best to have at least one card that belongs to each program. Before you apply, understand each card’s specific benefits package, especially when it comes to Visa Signature cards, since the offerings vary. Always check with the issuer for a card’s exact benefits package.

Additional reporting by Dawn Allcot and Stella Shon.

Featured image by (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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