The Collateral Damage of US Bank Altitude

We posted a warning not to buy gift cards with the US Bank Altitude card since it could trigger shut down on all your US Bank credit cards. From numerous reports it seems the issue is not limited to the Altitude card, but all US Bank cards are prone to getting review for gift card purchases.

Many have reported getting shutdown due to gift card purchases on Flexperks (1, 2, 3, 4) or Club Carlson as well (1).

In the past, MSing on US Bank cards wasn’t much of an issue, as I understand. But this new RAT team is apparently on the lookout for gift card activity on any card. Good chance they created/beefed-up the team due to the Altitude roll-out, and as collateral damage we need to be careful on all US Bank cards.

It’s a good idea to keep your US Bank cards purchases looking normal. The issue seems limited to gift cards as other forms of MS are harder to detect.

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PissedCustomer
PissedCustomer

Here’s a data point for you all. Opened an Altitude reserve account a few weeks ago and shifted all my daily spend to it over the passed month. Over that time I took advantage of the Samsung Pay offer for a 20% of eBay card and believe another one for 10% off Home Depot. Was shutdown a couple days ago due to violation of cardmember agreement because of gift card purchases. Mind you this was less than $75 on >$5K of regular purchases. My HHI is >$300K so obviously in line with the $10K or so I spend regularly a month. Spoke to bank they would not budge. To hell with US BANK then… was a bank and credit customer with them for about 5 years and was going to shift all my business there. So instead will move my business back to their competitors! I hope word of this unlawful activity spreads, folks realize what a pile of crock they are, and stay away from them / this product like the plague.

Lee
Lee

Sorry to hear. Did they refund your annual fee?

Alan
Alan

just got a notice that my card was removed from apply pay by us bank.
does it mean i got shut down?

William Charles

Possibly, did you try logging in or contacting US Bank?

Rfclub
Rfclub

Login without problem. The annual fee got reserved at the end of the day.

William Charles

Probably shut down then

Lee
Lee

Interesting. So it sounds like they are refunding the annual fee if the card is shut down. Wonder if they are clawing back the the travel credit or redeemed 50K bonus if the card is shut down after it has already been received. Seems like you could almost take advantage of this if you get the bonus and then have the card shut down and the annual fee refunded.

david
david

Please provide some context. Did you do anything USB might consider shutdown-worthy? Buy gift cards, open a lot of cards recently, etc.?

iahphx
iahphx

Are the shutdowns continuing? I’ve been putting travel and otherwise unbonused spend on my Altitude card, and I can prepay some taxes and insurance with it, but I probably need some MS to get to $4500 in 90 days. I figure I’m better off waiting for more info to trickle out, but if anyone has good ideas, I’d love to hear them.

James B.
James B.

Try funding some savings or checking accounts with your Altitude card.

Also, try funding some Kiva loans.

Chris
Chris

***Saturday Morning Rant*** just venting lol The credit credit card companies are only middle men who steal funds from every transaction. We’re doing them a favor by including them in out transaction which in tune makes us both money at the cost of the merchant. If the credit card company is going to be a poor partner and try and take all or most of the money from our transactions then it is a bad partnership. In a lot of cases if you talk with your merchant and ask for a reduced cash price they will oblige. This now makes you and the merchant partners and the credit card company is left out. What would have gone to the credit card companies is now able to be split between you and the all the merchant . *** Take away *** (Credit cards companies are not needed) It doesn’t’ seem that all gift cards should be treated equally. Ebay gift card (vs) Visa gift cart Master card gift card (vs) Local restaurant gift card Just a few examples the phrase cash equivalent would lead you to believe that you could use the equivalent item similarly to cash. Which none of the gift cards really can be used that way. Visa and Master card gift cards have a lot of versatility but are still not really equivalent. An Ebay or local restaurant gift card would be much further away from being equivalent to cash since you can only use them with a single merchant . All of this seems odd since I buy, receive, and give gift cards regularly and I can guarantee that a large percentage off them were purchased with a credit card. These purchases include ones from the average Joe also who doesn’t even care about points. This all seems to be related to the banks not wanting to pay out on the bonuses they offer. The sign up bonus or the bonus category spend is all they care about. If neither of them applied to your account then they wouldn’t care if you were buying gift cards of any type. They tell you it’s to prevent fraud and it’s for our safety but that’s a bunch of BS. It’s all about them weaseling out of bonus obligation. Unqualified marketing departments have been creating bonus programs with flaws and loop holes that they didn’t pro sieve. People find them… Read more »

Sergey
Sergey

There are two types of gift cards, but it seems US bank doesn’t care. I may understand visa/mc/amex gift cards, which is “kind of ” money. But, store gift cards? I just don’t get it, what is bad, if I buy $500 ebay/amazon/best buy gift card? I recall their risk department gragons argued that we are avoiding cash advance, but I hardly see how store gift cards are cash. Am I wrong?

Cali4win
Cali4win

Can you reach out to USB to ask why they’re not following California laws regarding requiring a 30 day notice before closing accounts?

HG
HG

Keith and Kristi have way too much autonomy. They don’t like this and just decide that’s policy going forward.

Last year Keith closed a 25k Fido and 9k FPTR without cause. He told me to wait at least a year before applying to cards. He left a worthless 4.5k FPSR open to torment me. Last July my FIA Fidelity then transferred to Elan. 14 months after Keith closed those accounts, I apply to Alt Reserve. Apparently it hits his inbox, and he denies it AND he closes my Elan Fido that had transferred from FIA.

Sexy_Kitten7
Sexy_Kitten7
Eric
Eric

Who are Keith and Kristi?

James B.
James B.

Keith and Kristi are US Bank Investigators that decide if one is in compliance with their Cardmember Agreement.

You do not want to receive a letter from Keith or Kristi because it usually means a shutdown.

Welcome to the new US Bank!!! All of US serving you!!!

Ed
Ed

This is no way to attract the affluent cc user and traveler. We don’t just buy gift cards. Good grief, what are they going to do at holidays, birthdays, gifts for clients, as normal spenders buy gift cards? Are they going to shut everyone down and turn away their customers? This bank’s shutdown team has got to be the biggest thorn in the flesh for those at that bank who’ve worked hard to create an attractive card that could have been their customers go-to spending card for everything. If someone higher up doesn’t slow down that department they’ll lose not only good cc users, but also their checking customers as well as some of their business checking customers. I’ve seen it happen to other banks. I have not appied for this card and will stay clear of using any of their cards for now (no ms plans at all for them, but did do regular spend). I’m also a business customer. They are going too far and they should just place caps as other banks have done. This is not a way to market your bank to increase share.

Jim Lee
Jim Lee

Well, personal experience, two years back, Discover card shut down a lot of accounts from one particular ethnic group, or to be clear, Chinese. Over a Chinese forum, we saw dozens and dozens of accounts closed for no good reasons. Keep in mind that the account owners are almost all have perfect credit scores. They were just not profitable for Discover. Meanwhile, no such report @flyertalk, @reddit, or here at all.

I myself got two cards closed, one of them has 12 years history with Discover and I never abused their rewards program.

What I am trying to say that is don’t underestimate the stupidity of the bank executives or their shortsighted plan to cut loss temporarily. Most of them don’t care about long term marketing at all, since by then they already left the company for better pays or got their gold parachute.

Ed
Ed

So true. But, bad publicity, lost customers will catch up with a bank and eventually the effects hit shareholders and then executives. Look at Wells Fargo and the repercussions of the pressure to open new accounts which lead to unauthorized opening of accounts. Heads rolled.

Eric
Eric

The WF situation was fraud by WF. This is not a comparable situation at all.

Eric
Eric

Have any “normal” people been shut down by USB? If not, I don’t think your statement holds much water.

ws
ws

Say Chuck, please define, “looking normal.”

Ask as I have had Club Carlson Business cards — 2 of them actually — within the family. annual fee of $60 produces 40k CC points….. (just hit), and for the 12 months ahead, I was thinking to spend the 10k or so, to get the free night certificate — plus the additional 50k points….

I was thinking to do maybe a half of that with gift card buyin & re-selling, (not visa, but via mutliple sources & outlets over the year), a third or so with vgc’s, and ok, a bit of miscellaneous organic spend….

Is this RAT team really going to shut us down for gift card buying & reselling activity? (I’m even set up as a schedule C as a small business at it.) Or is this an “altitude” which declares, paypal-like, you’re guilty til proven innocent — and you have no say in the matter?

Burton

ws did you ever try this out with your Club Carlson/Radisson business cards? I’m in the same boat two years later and need about $6k more spend for the free night certificate. I was going to keep pumping organic spend on it until I get close to the end of the year then top it off with a bank account funding or two but it would be great to sprinkle in a few $500 gc purchases.

DarLong
DarLong

Will it be okay to reload Amazon gift card balance with US Bank credit card or I’ll also get shut down too?

Dan
Dan

you just got shutdown for asking, bro.

Jed
Jed

In moderation that should be ok.