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World Elite vs. World Mastercard: Benefits and value

May 13, 2021
11 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest card issuer information.


We're all aware of the useful benefits that come with our credit cards, from annual travel credits to free checked bags. But what about the less obvious ones? If you own a credit card through Mastercard, it will be one of the following: a Mastercard, World Mastercard or World Elite Mastercard.

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You can find the type of Mastercard you own on the front of your card. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

You can find out which version you have by looking for the label just above the Mastercard logo. World Elite Mastercards tend to carry higher annual fees. So, is it worth it to spend more? What benefits are you getting out of owning a World or World Elite Mastercard?

Related: Comparing Visa Signature and World Elite Mastercard benefits

If you're equally as confused, don't worry. We'll go over the main differences between the three Mastercards and the various perks that come with each type of version.

The standard Mastercard program

The standard benefits of a Mastercard vary based on the card issuer and the product. However, benefits you'll get directly from the Standard Mastercard program include:

  • Zero liability protection: You won't be financially responsible for unauthorized charges to your card.
  • Mastercard Global Emergency Services: Get emergency assistance anytime, anywhere, helping you with card replacement, cash advances if your wallet or card is lost or stolen or other inquiries.
  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection™: Powered by Generali Global Assistance, this perk adds an extra level of security with exclusive technology to monitor fraud or suspicious activity on your account and assigns a resolution specialist in cases of identity theft. To activate this benefit, visit the Mastercard ID Theft Protection website to enroll your card.

The World Mastercard program

The next level (World Mastercard) is where you'll really start to reap the benefits. In addition to all the Standard Mastercard perks, you'll enjoy the following:

  • DoorDash: Get a three-month membership to DoorDash DashPass, offering members unlimited free delivery fees and reduced service fees from thousands of restaurants, grocery and convenience stores on orders over $12. Plus, get a $5 discount on their first two orders every month through Sept. 30, 2022.
  • HelloFresh: Get a 5% discount on each HelloFresh purchase. New HelloFresh customers will also receive up to a $90 discount on their first four orders.
  • Lyft: After taking three Lyft rides in a calendar month, receive an automatic $5 credit once per month.
  • ShopRunner: Receive a complimentary ShopRunner membership, getting you unlimited free two-day shipping and return shipping on 100+ retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Staples.
  • Cell phone protection: By paying your cell phone bill with your World Mastercard, you'll receive up to $1,000 in yearly coverage (maximum two claims per year, for up to $600 per claim) if you damage your phone or if it gets stolen.
  • Priceless Experiences: Access exclusive events in your local city or destinations you're visiting. For golfers, you'll also enjoy Priceless benefits for golf experiences.
  • Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services: Offers trip planning assistance for cardholders, amenities, free nights, upgrades and premium travel offers from best-in-class travel companies across Mastercard hotels, air travel, tours, cruises, car rentals and more. When booking through this program, you'll also receive:
  • Hotel stay guarantee: If you’re not pleased with a three-star or higher-rated hotel stay, Mastercard will work to make it right.
  • Lowest hotel rate guarantee: If you find a lower price on a prepaid hotel stay, Mastercard may reimburse you the difference.
  • Mastercard Airport Concierge: Enjoy a 15% discount on personalized meet-and-greet services from over 700 airports worldwide.

Related: Select Mastercard customers now receive DoorDash perks — check here to see if you qualify

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Best World Mastercard credit cards

An array of our favorite travel rewards credit cards bear the World Mastercard logo, including:

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

This card is great for frequent travelers who prefer American Airlines and also want to earn generous rewards on common purchases. The card offers 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, purchases at telecommunications, cable and satellite providers, car rentals and gas stations and 1x everywhere else. The $99 annual fee is waived the first year, making the card an excellent value.

The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum 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.

JetBlue Card

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

This is a rare World Mastercard with no annual fee, making it an incredible value. It gives you 3x points on JetBlue purchases, plus 2x points on restaurants and grocery stores and 1x on everything else. Issued by Barclays, the card has a 10,000-point bonus offer after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. You’ll also get perks such as 50% off inflight purchases and no foreign transaction fees.

These benefits may sound modest, but pair them with the benefits you’ll get in the World Mastercard program, and you have a solid card that doesn’t cost anything to carry.

The information for the JetBlue 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.

Other World Mastercards that may be worth the cost

The information for the Amtrak Guest Rewards and the Frontier Airlines World Mastecard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The World Elite Mastercard program

World Elite cardholders enjoy all the standard and World Mastercard benefits (including DoorDash and Lyft benefits) listed above, plus the following:

  • Fandango: For every $20 spent on Fandango movie tickets or Fandango’s streaming services, receive a $5 Fandango reward for future movie tickets or at-home purchases.
  • World Elite Concierge: This 24/7 concierge service acts as a personal assistant, helping you plan dinner reservations or book tickets to events.
  • Cell phone protection: By paying your cell phone bill with your World Elite Mastercard, you'll get a higher amount of coverage than the World Mastercard cell phone coverage. If you damage your phone or it’s stolen, you may get reimbursed for up to $800 per claim (maximum two claims per year and $1,000 in yearly coverage).

Best World Elite Mastercard credit cards

Many of the best travel rewards credit cards are part of the World Elite Mastercard program. Here are some of our favorites:

Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier's modest $95 annual fee is more than offset for the first year by a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. The card offers 3x points on restaurants, groceries, gas stations, air travel, hotels and 1x on all other purchases. Points never expire and can be transferred to any of Citi’s 16 airline partners. The card also has no foreign transaction fees.

Related: Reasons to get the Citi Premier card

JetBlue Plus Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

For frequent JetBlue flyers, this card offers a lot of bang for the buck. The $99 annual fee gets you a free checked bag when you fly JetBlue (for you and three companions) and 5,000 bonus points each year on your account anniversary. Earn 6x points on JetBlue purchases, plus 2x at restaurants and grocery stores. You can also earn a $100 statement credit on JetBlue Vacations purchases of $100 or more. Plus, using your JetBlue Plus Card is a great way to earn Mosaic status, JetBlue’s elite status, since you automatically gain status after spending $50,000 with your card in a calendar year.

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

Other World Elite Mastercard credit cards to consider

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

Are World Elite benefits worth the annual fee?

The easiest World Elite benefits to use (among those not included with World Mastercards) is probably the Lyft and DoorDash credits. All it requires is setting a World Elite Mastercard as your method of payment. Meanwhile, the savings with Fandango tickets can add up if you’re a frequent moviegoer. The ShopRunner membership can also make the World Elite and World Mastercards worthwhile, with lots of savings available for shopping online.

Related: Best credit cards for online shopping

Many of the benefits related to the World and World Elite Mastercard program offer peace of mind. For instance, it’s nice to know that if you have a less-than-stellar hotel stay at a three-star or better property, Mastercard has your back. And it’s nice to have more personalized service through Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services. But these aren’t necessarily perks that will automatically translate into cost savings that offset the annual fee.

Bottom line

If we’re only considering World Elite Mastercard benefits and not the other card perks, the best option for getting World Elite benefits is probably the Citi Premier® Card, which has a great earning structure that includes a lot of bonus points opportunities. Citi’s ThankYou points can be transferred to 16 airline programs for potentially even more value.

Otherwise, travelers who can realize just one of the other tour, cruise or limo discounts available with World Elite Mastercard will find the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum or the JetBlue Plus Card to be well worth the annual fee. Businesses looking for World benefits and American Airlines perks likely can’t go wrong with a CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card for all their needs.

Additional reporting by Dawn Allcot and Stella Shon.

Featured image by FILADENDRON/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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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023