Posted by William Charles on May 8, 2017
Credit Card Offers

Published on May 8th, 2017 | by William Charles


U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Review – 50,000 Point Sign Up Bonus ($750 Towards Airfare) + $325 Travel Credits

U.S. Bank has officially just launched their new Altitude Reserve credit card. As is tradition, it’s time for our in depth review of this new premium credit card.

u.s. bank altitude reserve

Quick Overview

  • Sign up bonus of 50,000 points after $4,500 in spend within the first 90 days
  • Annual fee of $400 for the primary cardholder. Authorized users can be added for $75 each.
  • $325 in annual travel credits. This is based on a card member year, rather than calendar year.
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 3x on mobile payments (including LoopPay/MST transactions)
    • 3x on travel purchases made directly with airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise line companies
    • 1x on all other purchases
  • Priority Pass Select Membership

Application Information

Who is eligible for this card?

  • To be automatically approved you need:
    • To be an existing U.S. Bank customer for at least 35 days
    • Must be an existing U.S. Bank consumer customer
  • You can get the above requirement waived by applying in branch (you still need to be a U.S. Bank customer, but business is fine and the 35 day waiting period is waived).
  • This issue should be fixed in a future release
  • You’re considered an existing eligible customer if you have any of the following:
    • U.S. Bank Checking or Savings account
    • Certificate of Deposit
    • Mortgage
    • Home Equity Loan
    • Home Equity Line of Credit
    • Auto/Boat/RV Loan
    • Personal Loans and Lines
    • Private Banking account
    • Consumer Credit Card

You can view the best way to become eligible by clicking here. If you’re not recognized as an existing customer no hard pull will be done. There also seems to be some suggestion that the following helps:

  • Income of $60,000+
  • FICO score of 720+

What Credit Bureau Does U.S. Bank Pull For The Altitude Reserve?

This varies by the state you live in, you can view more information about this here.

What Credit Limit Will I Receive?

This varies from person to person. The minimum credit limit for this card is $5,000 (lower than the $10,000 limit required for other Visa Infinite cards).

Card Benefits

You’d expect significant card benefits for a card with a $400 annual fee. Let’s go into detail for each benefit this card offers.

$325 Annual Travel Credit

This card provides you with up to $325 in annual travel credits per card member year. Your account is credited whenever your card is used for purchases made directly (e.g not through a travel agent) from:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Car rental companies
  • Taxis
  • Limousines
  • Passenger trains
  • Cruise lines

It doesn’t matter if you make the purchase with the primary or authorized user card it will still trigger the credit. Keep in mind the authorized user does not get their own $325 travel credit. The credits are applied automatically and you shouldn’t need to do anything for the credit to appear (as always it’s a good idea to keep an eye on this to ensure it does post automatically).

12 Complimentary Gogo Wi-Fi Passes

Things to know:

  • These passes are valid for 12 months from the date that you register your card.
  • Each flight segment (takeoff and landing) will use up one of these passes.
  • You must register for this benefit before flying
  • Same benefit as offered on the Visa FlexPerks card

Priority Pass Select Membership

  • Can enroll one card member in the program at a time.
  • First four visits and four individual accompanying guest visits are waived each Priority Pass Select membership reward
  • After the free visits have been used you will be charged $27 per person per visit

Global Entry or TSA Pre✔ Fee Credit

You can receive a statement credit of up to $100 when you use your card for the application fee on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. You’re able to receive this statement credit once every 4 years.

GroundLink Black Car Service

  • 15% off the base rate for reservations booked and paid with using the Altitude Reserve
  • One time $30 promotional credit towards a booking


Rent an Audi A4 with no lines or paperwork from airport locations in select cities and receive a discount of up to 30% on rentals of two days or more.

Elite Hotel Benefits At Relais & Châteaux

If you book through the Visa Infite concierge and stay two nights at qualifying Relais & Châteaux properties you’ll receive Club 5C status. Normally you need to stay an average of 18 nights annually to receive this status. It gives you the following benefits:

  • Access to a special reservations line
  • Welcome gifts & amenities
  • Unique experiences/extras (e.g picnic lunch served by Little Nell at the top of Colorado’s Aspen Mountain)

An example of what you receive can be found on the website for the Wedgewood Hotel.

Metal Card

Card is made from metal.

Earning Rewards

50,000 Point Sign Up Bonus

This card has a sign up bonus of 50,000 points after $4,500 in spend within the first 90 days.

Ongoing Spend

  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 3x on mobile payments (including LoopPay/MST transactions, see also this post)
    • 3x on travel purchases made directly with airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise line companies
    • 1x on all other purchases

Transferring FlexPerks Points

It’s possible to transfer FlexPerk points to Altitude points, but not vice versa. Keep in mind that FlexPerks have a maximum redemption value of 2¢.

Redeeming Rewards

Airfare, Hotels & Car Rental 1.5¢ Per Point

You can redeem points for airfare, hotels & car rental at a rate of 1.5¢ per point. Keep in mind that you need to use their booking system and that’s far from perfect. Usually it prices the same as elsewhere or by booking directly and you’ll still earn airline miles/credits.

Annual Fee 1.14¢ Per Point

Instead of paying the $400 annual fee in cash you can offset it by paying 35,000 in points for a value of 1.14¢ per point. Can also be used for authorized users.

Statement Credit 1¢ Per Point

You can redeem points for statement credit at a rate of 1¢ per point.

Our Verdict

This card is worth signing up for a lot of people:

  • 50,000 point sign up bonus (worth $500 or ~$750 towards flights)
  • $325 in travel credits
  • $400 annual fee

I don’t think travel credits are worth the same amount as straight cash, but even at 80% of face value that’s $260. Worst case scenario you use 35,000 points to offset the annual fee leaving you with $150 worth of points and $325 ($260 ‘cash value’) in travel credit.  By no means the best bonus ever, but well worth applying for. Obviously if you value the card benefits (and I think they are very weak) then the value proposition gets even better.

What’s really interesting for me and a lot of other people is the ability to get 3x points on mobile wallet purchases. This could be amazing for manufactured spending (and regular spending if you just use Visa gift cards purchased with this for your regular purchases) depending on what stores near you accept mobile payments. Even better for people with eligible Samsung Phones as the MST technology means it can be used on most swipe only payment terminals. We also took a look at the cheapest way to get Samsung Pay in this post.

I personally don’t think this card will be worth keeping after the first year for the majority of people, unless you can really make use of the 3x categories. Let me know if you agree/disagree in the comments below.

Follow-up note: US Bank has been aggressively shutting down accounts of those who buy Visa gift cards. Steer clear.

Tips/Things To Know


I’ll answer the more commonly asked questions here.

What are my options for getting a Samsung

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All this really depends on how sensitive US Bank will be to MS on the mobile wallet category. The prediction is still that they will nerf it 1-3 years down the line, as USB is known to do. But if people can get away with repeated $500 transactions at drugstores/supermarkets/gas stations, then the value proposition is very high for MSers. USB is definitely not for $10k/day volume, but what about $5k/month? $5k MS at 3x a month would be $2700 for travel a year, making this card a real keeper. Even at levels of $2.5k a month, it’s well worth it at $1k profit.

bob. you dont need to bother wondering how sensitive USB is to MSing. the answer is yes. you just need to be DL about it if you want to MS low volume with them. anything more will get too much attn. USB is a slaughter house. think about them closing buxx. closing all accounts based on recent inquiries and closing all accounts based on MO deposits. MS on their CC is no different.

Did they close all accounts based on MO deposits to a USB checking account?

Cause I’ve done a ton of that…am I boned?

As a heavy Samsung Pay user, I will keep this card indefinitely so long as the travel credits are easily usable and redemptions at 1.5 cpp are worthwhile.

So, the cheapest way to get Samsung Pay/NFC is around $200…the extra 1x earnt with this card above an ordinary 2% card would mean I’d need to spend $20,000 through Samsung Pay to break even. Given the shutdowns for GC, I think I’ll just harvest the bonus and move on.

Just to clarify, Altitude Points can be redeemed at 1.5 cpp for airfare, hotel and car rental (not just airfare), right?

+1 this question.

Personally, with airfare handled by award redemptions, Citi Prestige annual credit, discounts from Ritz Carlton Visa Infinite, incidentals covered by Ritz Carlton and Amex Platinum, and the opportunity to use purchase airfare with other flexible points programs (UR and MR), I’m feeling well covered re airfare and air travel incidentals. It’s the other travel costs – hotels, cars, trains, sightseeing tours – that are still bit harder to cover with points. 1.5cpp would be great for hotels etc.


The card link says:
Rich Point Value
50,000 points can be redeemed for $750 in airfare, hotel stays or car rentals.
Not sure how it works in practice. If all redemptions are handled through their online portal then it’s that much more attractive.

I think before  usbank cuts the benefit, this card is a good card, a 75 annual fee card can’t be better than this. The only thing I am worrying about is their services, I really don’t think they can be compared with Chase or AMEX, even same service,.
P.s. I just tried to apply cd and checking account, both failed, no idea why, give up this card

I think it’s worth mentioning “bulk fare” and “basic economy” through U.S. bank portal. Also, even though Altitude Reserve has travel protection, there is subtle difference in the insurance among high end cards. Assume you have a two-segment flight. Also, the first one is delayed and you are not able to make it for the second segment. If you choose to rent a car or call a cab because of the the work tomorrow, you will not get reimbursed with the CS(R) but will do with Citi Prestige. I’m not sure Altitude Reserve has which type of insurance.

Redeeming toward annual fee is all inclusive. If you have tons of authorized users starting 2nd year, it will cover them as well. Though Altitude’s authorized users get no benefits what so ever…

Hey Bill,
Some people have reported the credit line as minimal as $1000 in reddit.

Just ordered a Samsung gear s3 for this card.

Will fidelity visa card owner be counted as us bank customer?

It is offered by Elan, while a usbank company it is not considered a us bank card.

The one and only selling point on this sub-par cc is the x3 mobile which will be a mute point very shortly. Other banks are not going to sit still and will have offerings are there own or amendments to their existing rewards cc’s. I would not waste my time with a bank who is well known to nerf products fairly quickly.

I give it 6 month tops before another major issuer like chase, amex, Citi comes in with their own offering and steal away US banks thunder from down under.


Do the travel credits work for Uber/Lyft?

US Banker on Reddit said they don’t know yet about that. I guess people will try and we’ll find out soon.


Are the credits supposed to be in real time like the CSR or at statement time like the Prestige?

USB rep said it depends on the MCC and she then proceeded to check Uber and Lyft and told me they would count.

That’s why I think travel credit is as good as cash since I would be paying for the rides anyways


@Chuck – I’ve received credits for Lyft on the card. They’ve been posting within 2-3 days of the purchase posting.

excellent DP, thanks!

Need DPs on whether US Bank will allow you to keep $325 credit on cancelled refundable flights.

That allows you to get max $325 value from credit and make the card a no brainer year one. Basically a $475 cash bonus (use 35k points for AF, pocket the $325 bonus, cash out remaining 15000 points)

It works on Prestige and CSR and Arrival+, so I assume it will here too. Especially if you cancel the flight after the statement in which you made the flight purchase, I don’t see them clawing back. But we shall see.

Can you book Air Tahiti flights through their portal? PPT-BOB

I don’t have any banking relationship with US Bank..does this mean I’m not eligible to apply?

You need to have a bank account or credit card or some other relationship, as explained in the post. If you don’t, you can open a checking or savings account and apply 35 days later.

Has anyone been able to check their point earning on this card?
My balance says zero, so they obviously post after the statement close.
I poked around on the website and can’t find a way to see the points earned? Will we have to wait for a statement?
I shop at Walmart a lot (I live in Bentonville, AR) so I’m specifically interested to see if my Walmart Pay transactions are earning 3X.

**Reward point balance is zero. I have had transactions post.

waiting for your dp. I also shop at Walmart a lot.

My statement has posted and I can confirm that Walmart Pay does NOT earn bonus points. Apparently it is not considered an eligible mobile wallet payment. Very disappointing and I will not be keeping the card. Without Walmart Pay or any MS, this card is not a keeper.

Thanks. Cannot agree more.
One more question, do you know if the $325 travel credit goes towards the $4500 requirement?

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