Credit cards like the new Chase Freedom Flex are part of the Mastercard World Elite program, which can score you Lyft credits and cell phone insurance

Credit cards like the new Chase Freedom Flex are part of the Mastercard World Elite program, which can score you Lyft credits and cell phone insurance

September 23, 2020

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  • Credit cards including the new Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the popular Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® carry the World Elite Mastercard designation.
  • Cards that are part of this program come with credits on Lyft rides, free two-day shipping with  ShopRunner, and cell phone insurance, among other benefits.
  • The Mastercard World Elite program also offers discounts and room upgrades at more than 2,500 hotels, elite status at car rental companies, and savings on private jet and private car services.
  • Some World Elite cards offer even deeper benefits and insurance protection, but the expanded list often means paying an annual fee.
  • See Business Insider's list of the best rewards credit cards »

You might not give a lot of thought to the payment network logo on your credit card — whether it's Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover. Instead, you're probably more focused on the bank that issues the card to see how you can rack up points and squeeze as much value out of them as possible in programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Rewards.

But if you're carrying a Mastercard that falls under the company's World Elite program, there are several perks and protections worth knowing about — especially since one of the best new cash-back cards, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ — carries this distinction.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

World Elite Mastercard shopping benefits

World Elite is at the high end of Mastercard's offerings – standard and World Mastercards offer some perks, but they aren't quite as competitive. So what can you expect from World Elite?

Let's start with the benefits you might use on a regular basis, which Mastercard classifies as "Everyday Value."

Complimentary ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner carries a $79 annual membership fee, but World Elite cardholders get that cost waived and receive free two-day shipping and free returns from more than 100 stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Hugo Boss, and Neiman Marcus. It's a handy service, but it's important to note that American Express cardholders also enjoy a similar perk.

Boxed: You can save on some non-designer household goods (think oversized packages of toilet paper and paper towels) with a 5% cash rewards credit for shopping on Boxed.

Lyft credits: If you're a regular ride-sharing customer with Lyft, you'll score a $10 credit for taking five rides in a month. You can rack up the credit each month. So, if you spend a ton of time in the backseat of a Lyft, you can get $120 worth of credits each year.

Fandango: While you might not be spending a lot of time in a movie theater (no one seems to be right now), you will earn bonus reward points for movie tickets when buying through Fandango.

World Elite Mastercard coverage perks

When you're using your cell phone to book those Lyft rides or browse shopping options, there's a chance you could drop that valuable digital device, you could lose it or someone could steal it. As long as you're paying your monthly bill with your World Elite credit card, though, you are covered by Mastercard's wireless phone protection. It includes $800 of coverage per claim and up to $1,000 of coverage per year.

In addition to protecting your phone, World Elite will protect your identity. Mastercard's identity theft protection sends you warnings if it believes someone on the dark web is trying to be you.

World Elite Mastercard travel benefits

Like many credit cards, any piece of plastic with the World Elite program attached to it really starts to flex its muscles when you're leaving home. 

In addition to scoring 10% off a stay at any of onefinestay's rental properties, World Elite cardholders enjoy a number of perks at more than 2,500 hotels that are part of the Mastercard Travel & Lifestyle Services program.

When cardholders book their accommodations via the portal, they can score free daily breakfast, room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, and a special amenity for the stay. While Mastercard doesn't make the list of properties publicly available, it does include some great brands such as Fairmont Hotels and Raffles Hotels and Resorts.

If you're renting a car to get to that hotel, you're in luck, too. World Elite cardholders get complimentary elite status with National, Avis, and Sixt.

Other notable benefits for travelers include:

Mastercard Golf: Discounts to golf courses and complimentary grounds passes for PGA Tournaments

Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee: If you book a hotel through Mastercard's portal and then find a lower rate at the same hotel, the company will refund the difference.

Hotel Stay Guarantee: If you're staying at a property ranked 3-stars or higher and you aren't enjoying it, one of Mastercard's Lifestyle Managers will work to make it better.

While those hotel perks are nice once you arrive, what about how you feel when you're on the way there? You could take advantage of some of the basic perks – discounts on certain airlines and cruise ships – or you could opt for a different kind of journey.

All World Elite cardholders have access to discounts on private jet ($1,000 off a round-trip private flight with Vitesse or a $1,000 off a round-trip flight with Private Fly) and private car services (20% off luxury chauffeured service with Vitesse and 20% off Sixt Limousine Service).

Are that many everyday credit card users booking planes for themselves? Yes, according to Jess Turner, executive vice president of product and innovation in North America at Mastercard.

"In a COVID environment, we have seen that both private jet and chauffeured cars have become newly considered options for some cardholders who wouldn't have gone that route before," Turner says.

Other perks depend on your particular card

Remember the whole "you're probably more focused on the bank attached to your card" point at the beginning of this article? Well, you should still focus on it because it makes a big difference when it comes to World Elite. The program includes a set of optional benefits that issuers can add to cards. Some examples include:

  • Access to airport lounges
  • Price protection that reimburses you for the difference if you find a lower price on a recent purchase
  • Extended warranty coverage that doubles a manufacturer's warranty
  • A wide range of travel insurance options for lost luggage, delays, hotel burglaries, and medical evacuation

Getting all the extra benefits often carries a higher price tag. For example, the Citi Prestige® Card comes with Priority Pass lounge access, but it also comes with a $495 annual fee. However, if the World Elite program sounds like a good fit for you, you can still find plenty of cards that deliver attractive perks for low costs. The Citi Premier℠ Card is part of the World Elite family of cards and delivers the core benefits for a $95 annual fee. The new Chase Freedom Flex℠ is part of the World Elite program, too, and it carries the best kind of annual fee: zero dollars.

The best World Elite Mastercard options

Here's a more complete list of top credit cards that carry the World Elite Mastercard designation:

Barclaycard

  • Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® ($99 annual fee)
  • JetBlue Plus Card ($99 annual fee)

Chase

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ (no annual fee)
  • IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card ($89 annual fee)
  • IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (no annual fee)

Citi

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® ($450 annual fee)
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® ($99 annual fee)
  • Citi Premier℠ Card ($95 annual fee)
  • Citi Prestige® Card ($495 annual fee)

If you're considering applying for a credit card with the World Elite branding attached to it, be sure to comb through all the benefits before you submit your application to make sure it's the right set of perks for your needs.

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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