Published on January 5th, 2016 | by William Charles32
How Much Are FlexPerks Points Worth?
U.S Bank offers five credit cards that earn FlexPerks Points (four personal and one business card) now that we know the American Express Fidelity card will be no more come July 1st, I suspect the two personal American Express cards will become more popular for loading Serve online (as we discussed earlier today). I’ve talked about FlexPerks points in the past, but I figured it would be useful to have a dedicated post that I can link to when discussing them in the future.
Here are the things your points can be redeemed for:
- Airfare (maximum value of 2¢ per point)
- Hotels, car rentals & cruises (maximum value of 1.5¢ per point)
- Merchandise (value of 1¢ per point, waste of time)
- Gift cards (value of 1¢ per point, also a waste of time)
- Statement credit (value of 1¢ per point)
- Annual fee (value of 1.4¢ per point)
There is no point in redeeming for gift cards as you could just redeem for statement credit at the same rate and then purchase the gift cards with your FlexPerks earning credit card and effectively get a discount (or just buy the gift cards at a discount in the first place). I’ve never seen a merchandise redemption that even remotely made sense, so we’ll ignore both of those options and look at the other options instead.
This has the potential to provide you with the best value, but it’s important to understand how it works before you think you’re just getting an easy 2¢ per point. Basically you can redeem your points in chunks of 10,000 points (with a minimum redemption of 20,000 points) each 10,000 points is worth $200 towards airfare. This means is that a flight costs $200 it will set you back 20,000 in points, but if a flight costs $399 it will also cost you 20,000 in points. The optimal strategy is to find flights (that you need/want to take anyway) that fall just into the bracket you’re looking at.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Points needed are calculated on a per person basis (so two $199 flights would cost a massive 40,000 in points instead of just 20,000 points)
- The annual fee cards give you a $25 airline allowance (per redeemed ticket), you have to manually call 877.978.7446 within 90 days to receive the credit. The allowance covers are any purchases made with your FlexPerks Travel Rewards Card that post to your account under the airline carrier providing your award travel flight between the dates of your award travel flight. U.S Bank specifically says the following are covered: baggage fees or in-flight food and drinks
- Prices shown include all airline taxes & fees
- These flights do earn qualifying miles, so sometimes it might make more sense to take a first or business class flight for the same amount of points that an economy flight would cost
Hotels, Car Rentals & Cruises
This works similar to how airfare works, but it’s slightly different in that the minimum redemption is 10,000 points instead of 20,000 and the maximum value of points is 1.5¢ per point. You should also keep in mind that the FlexPerks portal includes taxes and fees on the first page of booking (rather than the last like almost all over online travel agencies) and that nights booked won’t count towards elite stays and you may or may not have your elite status recognized. Freequent Flyer Book is the one that first got me onto these redemptions and has an extremely useful post on this subject which is worth a read.
- 10,000 points = $150
- 20,000 points = $300
- 30,000 points = $450
- 40,000 points = $600
Statement Credit/Annual Fee
These are extremely simple to understand, points can be redeemed for statement credit with one point = 1¢. Some of the FlexPerks cards also come with an annual fee, you can apply points to this annual fee. Their value depends on the card
- U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card, annual fee of $85 can be paid with 5,000 in points (1.7¢ per point)
- U.S. Bank FlexPerks TravelRewards Visa Signature Card, annual fee of $49 can be paid with 3,500 in points (1.4¢ per point)
FlexPerks have a minimum value of 1¢ per point (their statement credit rate) and a maximum value of 2¢ per point (although it’s difficult/impossible to get that perfect redemption every time). All in all, I like the FlexPerks program although it obviously be more advantageous if points were worth a flat 2¢ per point when redeemed for airfare, that is unlikely to be sustainable for U.S bank.