Published on May 8th, 2017 | by William Charles85
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.
- 1 Quick Overview
- 2 Application Information
- 3 Card Benefits
- 4 Earning Rewards
- 5 Redeeming Rewards
- 6 Our Verdict
- 7 Tips/Things To Know
- 8 F.A.Q’s
- 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
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
- 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).
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:
- Car rental companies
- 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.
Card is made from metal.
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.
- Card earns at the following rates:
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¢.
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.
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
- If you apply and want to share data points, please do so here.
- Read these things everybody should know about U.S. Bank credit cards here.
- They are offering 500 points for enrolling in real time rewards.
- When you call in to activate your card tell them that you would also like to activate it for use in a mobile wallet.
I’ll answer the more commonly asked questions here.
What are my options for getting a Samsung