Get lounge access with the new Santander Select World Elite MasterCard

Santander has become the latest bank to launch a World Elite MasterCard credit card with a chunky fee but with airport lounge access included.

Details are here on the Santander website.

(EDIT: I have amended this article as the salary requirement for an employed person is £5k net and not gross. The gross is £90k per year.  For a self-employed person or someone in a partnership, the required level of income is only £60k per year as you will be paying gross income into your account.)

I should be clear up front that I don’t find this card as good as the HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard which I reviewed here.  This is because the HSBC card has a similar cost (£195 v £180 for Santander) but comes with 20,000 Avios for getting the card and a further 20,000 Avios for spending £12,000 in your first year.

Both have high income requirements.  HSBC wants £100k and Santander £90k.

The Santander Select World Elite MasterCard has a £15 per month fee.   The representative APR is 49.8% variable, including the annual fee, based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

The key benefits are:

Airport lounge access via LoungeKey for yourself and three supplementary cardholders.  This has an equivalent network to Priority Pass (LoungeKey has 871 lounges) which is not surprising as it is run by the same people who run Priority Pass, Collinson Group. 

No foreign transaction fees on purchases or cash withdrawals

0.5% cashback on all spending, up to £15 per month – so you can offset the monthly card fee if you spend enough

Note that you do NOT earn any sort of points or miles for your spending.

An interesting catch if you have young kids vs adult kids

You can have up to three additional cards for adult family members free of charge.  ALL of these cards are eligible for free airport lounge access since you only need to show the credit card at the desk – there is no separate LoungeKey card.

If you have adult children, this is arguably a very valuable benefit indeed – you would get unlimited lounge access for four people for just £15 per month.

However, all guests who go into a lounge with you will be charged £15.  This is bad news if you have children under 18 years who cannot get a supplementary credit card as you cannot avoid paying the £15 guest fee.

Santander Select World Elite Mastercard

The card is only available to Santander Select current account holders.

Santander Select is free but to qualify for this, you would need:

Income of £90,000 per year gross (£60,000 net must be paid into the account) unless you are self-employed or otherwise paid gross, in which case £60,000 would be OK, or

£75,000 of savings or investments with Santander, or

a £500,000+ Santander mortgage

These are slightly easier targets to hit than for HSBC Premier.

This card isn’t a no-brainer for anyone, although it is attractive if you have adult children – or indeed want to get your own parents free airport lounge access via supplementary cards.

I will do a separate article soon on the travel benefits available to ALL World Elite MasterCard holders in the UK, irrespective of card issuer.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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  1. flibbly says:

    Re Santander Select. I do not earn £5K per month, but I have an average of over that being paid into my account when including work expenses repayments (although on very quiet months it is a little under). I was “upgraded” without requesting it 3 or 4 years ago. I have seen no benefit from it except for a larger daily ATM limit, and cannot see any value in this card for me.

  2. Isn’t the Santander 123 account much better value? I am earning a shed load of interest and cashback each month. I’ve made around £900 on it since 2014 which is when I first openned the account.

    • Genghis says:

      Doesn’t your underlying 123 account remain the same? I.e. you have the 123 account and this Select designation is placed over it?

    • Used to be a decent interest rate but sadly much worse now. RBS (NatWest in England) have more generous cashback too, 3% on all eligible categories so I’m saving a lot on council tax.

      • Genghis says:

        We’ve got a 123 account but I’m considering getting rid of it. Trouble is, the competition only pay interest up to max c.£5k and only keeping £5k in one account would make cash flow planning a bit more difficult. What do other people do?

        • BOS is 5k per account but you’re allowed three (and they can feed each other), TSB/lloyds and Tesco gives a total of about £20k. That’s enough for me, anything else goes as overpayment on mortgage. YMMV of course, but I closed my 1-2-3 with the changes last year as the value just didn’t work for me any more.

          • Genghis says:

            I’ve got loads of other accounts too and have regular transfers between them and likewise pay off mortgage when I find nothing else to do with our money. I actually surprised myself recently when I drew up our “account architecture” for my wife so she knows what actually happens in case the unfortunate happens

        • Agreed, Genghis – quite a pain when they dropped it. For now I’ve kept it going, but might move more into Zopa – obviously slightly more risky but my bad debt rate has remained pretty low so still averaging around 5% interest. Have got 2 Tesco accounts (nabbed them before the changes) which helps for £6k at least!