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No annual fee World Elite MasterCard = Free National Executive status

by on Fri July 10, 2015 • 12 Comments


MasterCard’s World Elite benefits are pretty generous if you like to travel with perks like:

  • National Car Rental Executive status. This grants you access to the ‘Executive’ aisle with better car selections and it gives you the right to book a confirmed upgrade on any rental in advance. Whenever you rent, you pay one car class below what you reserve. So for example if you reserve a Premium Class car you pay one class lower, but get to drive a Premium car off the lot. Normally you need 12 paid rentals in a year to earn Executive status, but once you have your World Elite card you can call 855-802-1387 to get it for one year free.
  • Avis First status. This status was recently renamed Avis Preferred Plus and gives you space available upgrades when you rent, though they’re not very reliable about giving those upgrades.
  • Sixt Platinum status. If you rent in Europe you may find this status useful, though they aren’t the greatest at consistently honoring benefits like a complimentary upgrade.
  • Hotel breakfast / upgrades. You can get free breakfast and room upgrades, as well as a gift with each stay like a $100 food / beverage credit at thousands of hotels in the World Elite portfolio when you book through Carlson Wagonlit Travel. The rates aren’t always the best, but they are pretty competitive considering the value you get. It’s very similar to the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts program, but without needing to pay a hefty $450+ annual fee on a Platinum Card.
  • Business and first class flight discounts. While they’re not valid on the very cheapest fares, if you tend to pay for business class on airlines like Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Singapore, Swissair, or Etihad you can get discounts of up to 20%, or on some airlines free companion fares. You can see the offers here, and to book them you’ll need to call the World Elite travel desk on 855-802-1387.

But in the U.S. most of the cards that come as a World Elite MasterCard upfront have annual fees like the Citi Prestige.


The no annual fee option

Capital One’s GM BuyPower credit card has no annual fee and is a full fledged World Elite MasterCard – you can see it marketed that way on the MasterCard site.

You probably don’t want to use it for your everyday spending, since the rewards it earns go toward the purchase of a new GM vehicle.

But you don’t need to use the card to get all the World Elite benefits.

For example the car rental status applies no matter what card you end up using to pay. But you do need to use the card to pay if you want to take advantage of the flight discounts, and you’ll need to use your card to reserve your hotel for the hotel benefits.

Though you could decide to put the charges on a different card with better rewards at checkout.

Another no fee option is via Citibank, though it’s not direct.

Citibank sometimes upgrades holders of no fee cards like the Citi Double Cash to World Elite MasterCard versions after seeing good spending activity, but there are no hard and fast rules about this.

So if you don’t want to pay a fee, but want World Elite benefits, the Capital One GM BuyPower card is a good bet.


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12 thoughts on No annual fee World Elite MasterCard = Free National Executive status

  1. Laurie

    Hi. Just wondering if you are able to text me with each charge that is made I do not have a card at this time. Thank you.

  2. leo chan

    So the status is only good for 1 year? what happens after that? If you apply for another world elite master card can you get another year?

  3. George

    I just received my Citi Double Cash Back Card in the mail yesterday, and it says on the back:
    “World Elite” Mastercard and the Mastercard logo is all Silver, not the colored logo.

    Never knew there was a difference or what it meant.

  4. Daniel Lo Nigro

    I recently signed up for a Citi Double Cash card and I was surprised to find that it’s a world elite card! I didn’t even need to wait for an upgrade. Not sure if that’s a common thing for this card now, or if it’s still something they only do for some people.


      @Daniel – It might have something to do with the size of the credit line the offer. Larger lines might default to a World Elite.

  5. Christian

    I’m sure this has been covered before, but what about elite stay credit and benefits on a World Elite portfolio stay?


      @Christian – It’s like any booking via Carlson Wagonlit which is a major corporate travel agency, so you’ll earn normal elite benefits. It’s not a Hotwire/Priceline/ secret inventory type of thing.

  6. Logan

    This seems like a pretty awesome perk that you can have indefinitely. How would you value MasterCard’s World Elite benefits?


      @Logan – The hotel benefits are very close to those from the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts program. Would say National Executive status is worth $100 or more a year if you rent 5 or more times.


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