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This Overlooked Sign-Up Bonus Worth $750 in Travel Might Be the Perfect Fit for Your (Mobile) Wallet!

This Overlooked Sign-Up Bonus Worth $750 in Travel Might Be the Perfect Fit for Your (Mobile) Wallet!

Million Mile SecretsThis Overlooked Sign-Up Bonus Worth $750 in Travel Might Be the Perfect Fit for Your (Mobile) Wallet!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Looking to expand your credit card lineup and get more flexibility for Big Travel? 

With a 50,000 point sign-up bonus (worth $750 in travel!), $325 annual travel credit, and 3X points on travel and mobile wallet purchases, the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card may be just what you are looking for.

Most folks in our hobby don’t have a lot of cards from US Bank.  So the US Bank Altitude Reserve is an excellent card to consider if you’ve already got a lot of cards from other issuers.

US Bank Altitude Reserve Review
Team Member Harlan Loves His US Bank Altitude Reserve Card for Mobile Wallet Purchases to Earn 3X Points

I’ll remind you of what you’ll get with the US Bank Altitude Reserve!  And help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.

US Bank Altitude Reserve 50,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus

Link:   US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card

With the US Bank Altitude Reserve card, you can earn 50,000 points (worth $750 in travel) after spending $4,500 on qualifying purchases within 90 days of account opening.

And you’ll earn:

  • 3X points per $1 on travel purchases
  • 3X points per $1 on mobile wallet purchases (like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay)
  • 1X points on all other purchases

That means you’ll earn a minimum of 54,500 points after meeting the minimum spending requirements (50,000 points from sign-up bonus + at least 4,500 points from minimum spending).  And you’ll likely earn many more points if you frequently use the card for travel or mobile wallet purchases.

US Bank Altitude Reserve Review
The 50,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus Is Worth $750 Towards Travel Which Includes Airfare and Hotels!

The US Bank Altitude Reserve card comes with an annual fee of $400, which is NOT waived the first year. Authorized users are an extra $75 each.  But if you make the most of the card’s perks, you can offset most or all of the annual fee!

US Bank Altitude Reserve Card Perks

In addition to the 50,000 point sign-up bonus, you’ll get these valuable travel perks:

  • $325 in travel credit every cardmember year (you can NOT get it twice before the 2nd annual fee is due)
  • Complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select airport lounges, with 4 free entries per year for you and 1 guest (you will NOT get additional memberships for authorized users)
  • 12 free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes per calendar year
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit of up to $100, available every 4 years
  • 15% off GroundLink Black Car Services, plus a one-time $30 credit on your first booking
  • Up to a 30% discount on Silvercar rentals of 2 days or more
  • Special perks like a VIP welcome, complimentary breakfast and accelerated access to the Club 5C program when staying 2 nights or more at Relais & Châteaux boutique luxury hotels
  • Free continental breakfast, automatic room upgrades (when available), and a $25 food or beverage credit when booking hotels that are part of the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
  • The card itself is metal and feels more “exclusive” than a typical plastic card
US Bank Altitude Reserve Review
Enjoy Free Access to Priority Pass Lounges Like the Turkish Airlines Lounge in Washington, DC

Additionally, the US Bank Altitude Reserve is a Visa Infinite card. So when you make purchases with the card, you automatically receive the following protection:

  • Primary rental car coverage
  • Up to $3,000 in reimbursement for lost luggage
  • Up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year in purchase protection for stolen or damaged purchases (within 90 days of purchase)
  • Up to $2,000 in trip cancellation insurance when a trip is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason
  • Up to $500 per ticket when a trip is delayed for 6 or more hours or requires an overnight stay

How to Use US Bank Altitude Points

There are a number of ways to redeem points earned from the US Bank Altitude Reserve card:

  • Airfare, hotels, and car rentals:   Redeem points at a rate of 1.5 cents per point when using the US Bank travel portal
  • Statement credit:   Redeem points for a statement credit at a rate of 1 cent per point
  • Annual fee:   Pay the $400 annual fee by redeeming 35,000 points for an effective redemption rate of ~1.14 cents per point ($400 / 35,000 points)

Note:   The minimum redemption is 1,000 points.

For folks who like free travel, using points for airfare, hotel, and car rentals is a great option.  Unfortunately, the US Bank Altitude Reserve card does NOT have transfer partners like certain Chase and American Express cards.  But the travel redemption rate of 1.5 cents per point is the same as one of our favorite cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Keep in mind, the $325 credit per cardmember year will offset travel expenses like flights, hotels, car rentals,  and even public transportation.

Will You Get Approved for This Card?

You must have an existing relationship with US Bank in order to be approved for this card.  I called US Bank, and they said any product folks have with them (auto loan, checking account, credit card) counts as a relationship.  So if you have a US Bank credit card, you have a relationship with US Bank, and are eligible for this card!

Lots of folks might already have the US Bank Club Carlson card from back when it was really valuable.  If you’ve since canceled the card, US Bank probably won’t consider you to have a relationship with them.  Although one agent told me it’s possible if you canceled the card fairly recently.

US Bank Altitude Reserve Review
You Won’t Be Approved for the US Bank Altitude Reserve Card Unless You Have an Existing Relationship With US Bank

Note:   US Bank is still picky about approving folks for their cards.  And they are known for pulling credit scores from unconventional credit bureaus!  Here’s how you can improve your approval odds by freezing your credit from these bureaus.

Is This Card Right for You?

If you frequently make travel or mobile wallet purchases, this card is a great option!

US Bank Altitude Reserve Review
Many Stores and Retailers Accepts Mobile Wallet Payments, Making It Easy to Earn 3X Points per $1!

Both of these categories earn 3X points per $1 spent.  And if you redeem your US Bank Altitude points for travel, each point is worth 1.5 cents.  That’s a total return of 4.5% (3X points x 1.5 cents per point), a great deal!

And if you would prefer cash back, you can redeem US Bank Altitude points for statement credit at a rate of 1 cent per point.  That’s a total return of 3% (3X points x 1 cent per point), a good deal!

Another important benefit of the card is the $325 credit per cardmember year towards travel.  If you normally use a credit card to purchase airfare, hotels, car rentals, taxi fares, train tickets, or other similar travel expenses, then this credit will offset purchases you would have made anyway.  This effectively lowers the annual fee to $75 ($400 annual fee – $325 travel credit).

This is lower than the annual fee for other popular travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Platinum Card from American Express.

The free Priority Pass membership, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement, plus all of the other perks and discounts make this a very good deal for a net annual fee of $75!

Who This Card Is Not Right For

If you don’t spend much on travel or using a mobile wallet, the base earning rate of 1x points per $1 spent isn’t anything special.  For all other purchases, the total return is only 1.5% if redeemed for travel or 1% if redeemed for a statement credit.

Similarly, if you are looking for a card with no annual fee, the $400 annual fee on the US Bank Altitude Reserve card is probably not for you!

You might be better off choosing a no-annual-fee cash back card like the Citi Double Cash Card, which offers 1% cash back when you make the purchase and another 1% cash back when you pay at least the minimum payment.

US Bank Altitude Reserve Review
Consider Your Spending Habits and Whether or Not You’ll Make the Most of the US Bank Altitude Reserve’s Bonus Categories

Or you could consider a card like the Chase Freedom, which offers 5X points on rotating categories each quarter.

If you’re new to this hobby, I’d suggest applying for the Chase cards you want first.  That way you aren’t restricted by Chase’s approval rules.

Chase has a ton of credit cards for travel, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred, but also brand-specific cards, like the United MileagePlus Explorer Card and Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card.

If you can’t apply for Chase cards for a while or aren’t close to opening 5 cards in the last 24 months, this card could be a good option for you!  Here’s an easy way to check your 5/24 status.

Bottom Line

If you frequently use a credit card for travel and mobile wallet purchases, the US Bank Altitude Reserve card may be just what you are looking for!

The 3X earning rate on mobile wallet purchases is one of the best rates available.  And it gives you a total return of 4.5% when you redeem points at 1.5 cents per point on the US Bank travel portal.  Plus, you get other great perks like a $325 in travel credit every cardmember year, Priority Pass Select membership with 4 free entries per year, and 12 free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes.

Are you a fan of the US Bank Altitude Reserve card?  If so, let us know why you like it!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

  • Exclusive to U.S. Bank customers
  • New Cardmember Bonus: 50,000 bonus points worth $750 on travel when you spend $4,500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
  • Up to $325 annual statement credits for eligible net travel purchases
  • Earn 3X points for every $1 on eligible net travel purchases & mobile wallet spending
  • Complimentary Gogo® Inflight Wi-Fi – get 12 passes per year
  • Airport Lounge Access to 1,000+ Priority PassTM lounges worldwide
  • TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry – up to $100 statement credit reimbursement for the application fee once every four years
  • See additional U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card details
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Can you double up on the travel credit in the first 12 months like the reserve used to be if the first 12 months went between 2 calendar years?

Hi Blair,

Unfortunately, no. The travel credit is once per cardmember year, not calendar year. So you won’t be able to get the travel credit again until you pay the annual fee for the second year.

I recently applied for this card and I can tell you that is not that easy to use the travel awards: you have to jump through a lot of hoops and use a rather unfriendly portal as well as some strange restrictions such as: inability to cancel card reservations, so you just lose the points, you cannot pay with a combination of points and cash for plane tickets, you pay a penalty for cancelling a hotel reservation even if the hotel does not impose one. Could you go into detail on those in this or the next post? I am seriously thinking of just using the straight cash award to avoid future aggravation!

David,

Thanks for the feedback. That’s a great idea and we’ll look to go into detail on the use of the travel portal in a future post!

@David…Thanks for sharing your experience. I thought I might go for this card until I found much lower in the article that you must already have a relationship with US Bank before you can even apply for the card. I’m out!

Steve,

Yes, you will need an existing relationship with US Bank. But that could be a bank account, a loan, or even another US Bank credit card. So if you open up any of these accounts in the future, you could always circle back and signup for the Altitude Reserve card.

I was not a US Bank customer previously. What I did was sign up on US Bank website their Gold Checking which has a monthly fee of $12 I believe, waited for 30 days. Then apply for the card and I got approved. Once you get approved for the Altitude Reserve, the monthly Gold checking fee is waived going forward.