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

Published on May 8th, 2017 | by William Charles

58

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

Silvercar

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

F.A.Q’s

I’ll answer the more commonly asked questions here.

What are my options for getting a Samsung



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

  1. Bob says:

    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.

    • NinjaX says:

      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.

      • Superchurn says:

        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?

    • You’re overstating the profit at 5k month volume, you need to compare to putting it on a straight 2% (or even 2.5% or 3% these days) cards. I agree it might be a keeper for some though that can make use of that category.

  2. Kyle says:

    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.

    • Superchurn says:

      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.

  3. snoptro says:

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

    • Shaun says:

      +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.

      • snoptro says:

        Exactly!

        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.

    • Updated, thought it was just airfare but seems you’re right. I get hotels at a 20%+ discount most of the time though so airfare only real attractive option for me.

  4. Wzb says:

    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 don’t really think it as of a $75 AF card because travel credits =! cash

      • wzb says:

        even 100 annual fees card is better than others, all high level credit card holders must travel a lot, otherwise you are not targeted or you don’t need it, so the credit it worth! I even can fully use Ritz card’s credit fully.

        I think the only problem is that, when they cut the benefit, I do think no later than this year, it is easy for the MSers like me to ms 10000 per mouth.

      • Andrew says:

        Why don’t you consider travel credit the same as cash?

        Uber/lyft should be considered correct? If I’m not getting credited for those rides, I’m paying full price for them then

  5. Kyle says:

    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.

  6. jnrfalcon says:

    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…

  7. Shyam says:

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

    • That was just one DP right?

      • jnrfalcon says:

        Last year when I was applying for Visa Flexperks. I was approved for 4500. Called in to see if I can get bumped to 5k for VS. And I was told VS starts from 1k from around mid summer last year. Doubt VI will be the same but my Altitude was approved for 5k with a high balance and a recently closed medical collection. So… I doubt anybody can get worse than that…

  8. lcqq says:

    Just ordered a Samsung gear s3 for this card.

  9. Shek says:

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

  10. joE says:

    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.

  11. ffflllyyyeeerrr says:

    Do the travel credits work for Uber/Lyft?

    • Chuck says:

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

      • ffflllyyyeeerrr says:

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

      • Andrew says:

        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

      • ffflllyyyeeerrr says:

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

  12. Jags says:

    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)

    • Jack says:

      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.

  13. Corridor says:

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

  14. Dave says:

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

  15. Aubrey says:

    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.

    • Aubrey says:

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

      • John says:

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

        • Aubrey says:

          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.

          • John says:

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

  16. Menachem M says:

    Just a data point, I was approved by with an income of 30K. (Although I was instantly denied, calling did the trick.

    And thanks for the great website!

  17. TJ says:

    Has anyone with a CSR/Amex Plat and/or Altitude Reserve signed up for more than one priority pass membership? What happens if you do? Thanks.

    • Aubrey says:

      I signed up for both Plat and CSR PP memberships. Plat offers the option for a digital card (CSR doesn’t and it’s handy if you forget your card) and CSR offers unlimited guests (Plat limits guests). So it’s worthwhile to have both. You just have to label the cards so you know which is which. 🙂 I probably won’t activate the Altitude membership.

  18. Lively says:

    Instantly approved today with $18,700 credit line. I only have the Club Carlson cc…..that I never use.

  19. Frank says:

    Anybody know how soon the annual fee posts(on statement close?) and how many days you have to get the annual fee refunded from the day the fee posts??

  20. Justin says:

    Thought I’d throw out some data points. Lyft rides have been crediting as travel. Additionally, a bar tab at a hotel restaurant/bar where I was not staying credited as travel.

    Annual fee has not posted after having the card over a week.

    US Bank was EXTREMELY helpful with some problems I was having with a particular transaction. I haven’t experienced better customer service.

  21. Superchurn says:

    DP:
    Applied 7/18/17 IN BRANCH.

    CreditKarma says US Bank pulled my TU, which had 5 HP’s in the last 17 months. TU FICO was 753 at the time. Have had a checking account with them since 2009, along with a College Visa (1k limit) and the Cash+. The banker/teller who applied for me asked a lot of questions/small talk, but I played along.

    I was approved immediately with 29k limit!

    Now just to not fuck it up…

  22. Justin says:

    DP:

    21/24.
    Card 4 was a US Bank Cash+, about 13 months prior today, before starting churning, got it for the benefits. Only relationship with them. Had about 6k annual organic gym (5% category) and some mobile phone (5% category) spend last year, and that’s basically it on the card.
    Last apps were 5 new CC in March, none since. During March/April I got 2 total targeted pre-approved Cash+ $100 /$1000 spend mailers, so felt pretty good odds I’d get approved for the card, but was still a little anxious and almost just went with mailer. (Ultimately decided not to use the mailers.)

    Applied yesterday, instant approval for this card. Was rather worried with all the general “it’s hard to get approved at USB / they may cancel all your account” and didn’t want to lose my 5% gym card – but was smooth sailing.

    Have about 250k+ credit limit across all lines – one of my concerns was the high existing total limit – I deliberately went ahead and waiting 6 weeks after last app, since I have a large ms to get through on one card still. Anyways, they extended me another 27-29k (can’t remember off top of my head, but wanted to throw the DP out there before I forgot).

  23. Ryan says:

    Decided to take a chance on applying and see what happened. Last month when I opened my checking & savings, they offered a Cash+ w/ a $4500 limit or a Club Carlson card with a $2000 limit, so I wasn’t too optimistic.

    Apparently US Bank and I have gotten closer in the past month, because they approved me today with a $28.7K limit! Here are some DPs:

    TU: 748 (04) – 760 (08)
    INQs: This was #11 I think (although 2 others were US Bank, and the rest were older)
    New accounts: 1 CC, 1 RLOC (6 months), +4 CC, 1 auto lease (1 year)
    Current Util: ~9% of $130.5K visible CL
    Highest CL: $29.1K

    Process was pretty painless – app’d in branch, had approval 4-5 hours later. Branch manager “booked” it this a.m., so it should show up online today or tomorrow and the card should be en route soon.

  24. Darv says:

    Wife was approved for this card today. Pulled TU, four inquiries past six months. 10 accounts past six months, probably 20 past 12 months, around 35 over 24. Near zero utilization, roughly 800 score.

    She and I were both denied this card in May when we applied online including recon attempts. Both of us were quickly dismissed during recon. Too many new accounts.

    Had read that in branch apps go to different underwriting. Our banker was confident after seeing credit report, he submitted the application for her. Went pending. He said it would likely be approved first thing next day. The other interesting thing is that when calling phone application status, they didn’t have status other than to say that the branch had to act on it.

    I would strongly recommend applying in branch if you’re lol/24.

    I’m very excited about this card. I like the flexible travel credits and 1.5 points toward any travel reservations. We’ll get great value out of this. I’m also looking forward to trying wireless payments (we don’t MS).

  25. Maggie says:

    I’ve got a question about using 35,000 points to offset the annual fee. How does this work timing-wise? It sounds like the annual fee posts at the end of the first statement, but it may be 90 days before you meet the bonus requirements to get all those points. Does this only work for people who meet the bonus within the first statement?

    Thanks!

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