Before you use MasterCard MarketPlace, here are some things you need to know in order to maximize your savings…
Nowadays it seems that just about every credit card company has their own shopping portal for discounts and deals. Not to be outdone, MasterCard launched their own. But what is MasterCard MarketPlace and how exactly does it work? Well it’s a bit more complex than the others – here are the four main components of it…
When you shop at participating merchants, you will be rewarded with WOWpoints. Each point = 1 cent in value, so basically you can think of this as a cash back program for online shopping.
The amount of WOWpoints you earn varies by store. At the time of this review there were about 300 merchants participating and I saw offers ranging from 1 to 15 points per dollar (so 1% to 15% rebate).
Compared to other credit card programs, I would say the MasterCard MarketPlace WOWpoints are a mixed bag. There are good offers but some seem to be average and below-average. For example, at Target.com they were offering only a 2% rebate, which is low compared to the 5% that ShopDiscover offers at Target.com.
#2: Online Discounts/Coupon Codes
Another component of the MarketPlace is the discounts and deals – sometimes they are in addition to the WOWpoints and other times they are stand alone offers.
#3: Overwhelming Offers
Every weekday, MasterCard MarketPlace Overwhelming Offers feature a limited quantity deal that you can buy – like $50 off a $100 purchase at Target or $50 off $100+ car rental from Priceline.com. Here are a few past examples…
The quantity available for each of the Overwhelming Offers vary, but it’s usually somewhere between 5 and 2,000. They go on sale on a set time and day, usually at either 12:00, 1:00, or 3:00 pm EST. When logged in, you will be able to see which offers are scheduled next.
Some forum posters have alleged that MasterCard Overwhelming Offers is a scam, because they are on their computer waiting for the offer to begin and as soon as it starts, the quantity is already out. In reality, this is not any “scam” but simply because if an offer is popular, there will be thousands of people just like you waiting for it to begin. The result? It might sell out in a matter of seconds – i.e. a recent $25 for $50 at Wal-Mart was sold out in only 13 seconds. So anyone that alleges Overwhelming Offers is a scam is incorrect.
#4: VIP In-Store Shopping Events
This is probably the least developed component of the MasterCard Marketplace. It offers “private shopping events” for participants but to be honest, some of the offers don’t look all that amazing to me (like the $10 off $139 purchase at Charles Tyrwitt seen to the right).
Going back 6 months from the date of this MasterCard MarketPlace review, I only saw a total of about dozen events that had taken place and as you can see from the stores shown, these are mostly catered to big city folks in NYC and the like. You won’t find those stores in middle America.
Even though the VIP In-Store Shopping Events are a bit lacking as of 2011, I do think this program could have a lot appeal in the future if they focused on expanding its offerings.
Which credit cards can participate?
There are actually two different tiers with the MasterCard MarketPlace:
Basic-Level: This one is available to all eligible MasterCard cardholders free of charge. With it you get the discounts/deals which average 5% to 20%, the Overwhelming Offers, as well as the ability to earn WOWpoints on purchases.
Premium-Level: This level offers greater discounts (averaging 20% to 50%) and access to the in-store events as well as limited time offers. To get the Premium-Level you will need to pay a $29.95 annual fee. However this fee is waived if you have a World MasterCard.
Despite the program being relatively new (launched back in 2010) It’s obvious MasterCard has put a considerable amount of time and resources into developing it. As mentioned in my review, there are a couple things I feel could be improved upon but regardless, this is a great program that will probably just keep getting better and better with time.
If you have a good/great credit score, my guess would be that you have a good chance of getting the World MasterCard. To be perfectly frank with you, the World level is more profitable for banks because it carries slightly higher processing fees for merchants, so banks do have an incentive to issue the World MasterCard whenever possible.
However if you end up with a tier below World, you can always call up customer service and try to convince them to switch you. But the bottom line is there is no way to know in advance what tier of credit card you will qualify for, nor do you have the option to select a tier on any credit card application.
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