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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.
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
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.
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
- 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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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!