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:
  • 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 5 business 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 1.5¢.

Redeeming Rewards

Real-time Rewards 1.5¢ Per Point

Real-time rewards lets you redeem points for 1.5¢ per point, more details here.

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

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Drew
Drew

Applied for the card and was told I was denied because the checking account was less than 30 days old and needed more deposit history.

lilurbanachiever
lilurbanachiever

The rewards site is often not accessible, e.g. right now. Gotta say their website has a pretty shoddy interface.

Josh
Josh

Is there any issues or things to be aware of when transferring points to family? “Quickly transfer your Points to friends, family or anyone else with a U.S. Bank Altitude credit card.”

Moo
Moo

I unexpectedly was approved for the Go a month ago, so I tried for this last week. Was just approved. 20k limit, bringing my USBank total credit line to 40k, which seems inexplicable when they rejected my credit apps for two years in a row.

lilurbanachiever
lilurbanachiever

I can only echo your sentiment. I was banned by the USB for a few years but applied on a whim a few days ago. It went pending and I thought it was another rejection so I applied for another card in the meantime. Just received the approval email, what gives USB ? Now I got two sizable spending requirements on my hands and no travel or big expenses expected b/c of the virus. Never thought I would be bummed to get a credit card approval.

byun82
byun82

Is anyone having issues redeemed Altitude Reserve points via Real Time Rewards?

The first time I tried, the CSR agent told me that the $400 SW airlines charge exceeded the 30k points. I tried explain to them and their supervisor that the Altitude Reserve points were redeemed at 1.5 cents per point. Beyond frustrated, they just offered me 5k points and said they couldn’t help me.

Tried again and booked a $250 SW Airlines and no text message. Called again and the CSR agent said they would escalate and should get a response back in 14 days. Also offered me 1k points for my trouble.

This is beyond ridiculous.

Matthew
Matthew

Why don’t they just let us do it from the web/app like Amex or Chase pay yourselfback instead of waiting for the unreliable text

Jeremiah
Jeremiah

Some dumb middle manager thought it would be a good way to encourage breakage

Vengenceonu
Vengenceonu

Anyone tried using their card to see if ezpass counts towards the card? I really wanna get this but with me not traveling this year, I might not be able to use the credit.

Jags
Jags

EZ Pass doesn’t trigger the credit. I’m not even 100% sure it qualifies as 3x earnings.

The $325 credit is per cardmember year not calendar year so you’d have until next September to get the $325 travel credit.

Vince
Vince

I guess it is not a good idea to apply for this card now since I just got my U.S. Bank Cash+ card for one month?

Mike
Mike

Has anyone experienced a Credit Card limit disqualification with US Bank lately? I applied for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve, but was declined for have too many new CCs in the last 12 months. I only have 4 new CCs in the last 12 months. Maybe it is only applicable to the is card?

Ph
Ph

I think 4 new cards in 12 mths, is way pushing the limits.

DasApache
DasApache

Applied 3 Aug with credit score of 768 with 6/24 and reported income of $60,000 and was instantly approved. Email this morning saying card will be here with 10k credit in 4 days.

Prepped for this by opening checking account June 30.

Harris
Harris

I think they should look at ?/12 ?/6, could you provide these info? Thanks.

Colin
Colin

Interesting that US Bank approved with 6/24 status. This would lead me to believe that they are more inquiry-sensitive than they are new-account sensitive. My very recent application for the Altitude Reserve is pending because I’d frozen my Experian. I’ve got 15 days to unfreeze and let them know. I may not bother because I went on a bit of an App-O-Rama that day. Asked Chase for a CLI (denied due to over 5/24 although they didn’t say it that way;) and applied for BofA Alaska Business. BofA reallllly doesn’t seem to like non-profit entities applying for their business cards I guess. I digress.

Anyway, with 2 very recent inquiries, I’m guessing if I unlocked Experian, they’d decline me… even though I’m 780, meet income reqs, and hold a savings account.

A
A

How safe is it to MS with this card or any of their business cards(would use my sole prop) if I have my mortgage with them?

Mike B.
Mike B.

Highly unsafe – abort! They’re particularly MS sensitive, and as a very general rule, you shouldn’t MS with banks you have other important relationships with.