U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve review: This overlooked card might be the perfect fit for your (mobile) wallet

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Looking to expand your credit card lineup and get more flexibility from the rewards you earn? With a 50,000-point sign-up bonus (worth $750 in travel), a $325 annual travel credit, and 3x points on travel and mobile wallet purchases, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite may be the card you are looking for.

Most people in the points-and-miles hobby don’t have a lot of cards from U.S. Bank, so the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is an excellent card to consider if you already have cards from other issuers, like Chase.

Here’s what you get with the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve to help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.

The information for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The 50,000-point sign-up bonus is worth $750 toward travel which includes airfare and hotels. (Photo by Maryna Patzen/Shutterstock)

Current bonus

With the U.S. 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)
  • 1 point per dollar spent 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 the sign-up bonus, plus 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.

Benefits and perks

Annual travel credit

In addition to the sign-up bonus, you’ll get a $325 travel credit every cardmember year. You’ll also receive complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select airport lounges, with four free entries per year for you and one guest (you will not get additional memberships for authorized users).

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit

Being stuck in the airport security line can really muck up a trip. Instead of dreading the airport experience, enroll in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry (which comes with TSA PreCheck). Once you’re approved, you can use an expedited security line (if your airport has one) when you’re flying with any of the 60+ participating airlines. Plus, you won’t have to remove your shoes, belt or laptop. It makes airport security a breeze. TSA PreCheck costs $85 and Global Entry costs $100, but if you pay either of those fees with this card, the fee will be reimbursed up to $100.

You can use this credit once every four years. When renew your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry with the card, you receive a statement credit of up to $100 as long as you keep your U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve.

Gogo Inflight Internet

Gogo Inflight Internet serves many popular airlines, such as American Airlines, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.  The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve comes with 12 complimentary Gogo passes. You need to register your card with Gogo prior to your flight to access your passes, which can be a valuable benefit for frequent travelers. If you’ve ever looked at the price of internet on a flight, this could save you money if you’re inclined to surf the web during your flight.

Primary car rental insurance

The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve gives you primary car rental insurance when you charge your entire rental amount to your card and decline the rental agency’s collision insurance (or loss damage waiver). It can save you $15+ per day on car rentals because you don’t have to pay for the insurance offered by the rental agency.

Priority Pass lounge membership

The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve comes with a Priority Pass membership. You’ll receive four free lounge visits per year for you and one guest.  After your fourth visit, you’ll be charged a discounted fee of $27 per person per visit.

This is far from the best Priority Pass membership available with a card. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express have far better Priority Pass perks.

Here’s an in-depth look at the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Card’s benefits and perks.

How to use U.S. Bank Altitude points

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

  • Airfare, hotels and car rentals: Redeem points at a rate of 1.5 cents per point when using the U.S. 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 anyone who likes free travel, using points for airfare, hotel and car rentals is a great option. Unfortunately, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card does not have transfer partners, such as those offered through other cards like Chase and American Express. 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.

Is the annual fee worth it?

The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card comes with an annual fee of $400, which is not waived the first year. And 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.

For example, the $325 in annual travel credits nearly covers the cost of the annual fee. If you use other benefits like the lounge membership and internet passes, you’re sure to come out ahead.

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

Here are the questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether the annual fee is worth it for you.

Other travel cards to consider

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

There are many fantastic travel cards from Chase, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

But if you can’t apply for Chase cards for a while or aren’t close to opening five 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.

Insider tip

It’s worth noting that you must have an existing relationship with U.S. Bank to be approved for this card. I called U.S. Bank, and they said any product you have with them (auto loan, checking account, credit card) counts as a relationship. So if you have a U.S. Bank credit card, you have a relationship with U.S. Bank and are eligible for this card.

Note:  U.S. Bank is picky about approving applicants for its 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.

Who is this card for?

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 U.S. Bank Altitude points for travel, each point is worth 1.5 cents. That’s a total return of 4.5% (3 points x 1.5 cents per point), a great deal.

Lots of stores and retailers accept mobile wallet payments, making it easy to earn 3 points per $1 spent. (Photo by ESB Professional/Shutterstock)

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

Bottom line

If you frequently use a credit card for travel or mobile wallet purchases, the U.S. 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 U.S. Bank travel portal. Plus, you get other great perks like a $325 in travel credit every cardmember year, Priority Pass Select membership with four free entries per year, and 12 free Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes.

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

Meghan Hunter is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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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A Mak
3 months ago

I have a US Bank FlexPerks card and was told I could upgrade to this new card. Does anyone know if I’d still qualify for the Promo Bonus w/ the ugprade? or only if for new applications?

Jim Vander Putten
4 months ago

I called US Bank customer service a couple of months ago to confirm the primary rental car insurance benefit. They referred me to VISA and the rep I spoke with said the rental car insurance benefit was now secondary. Your mileage may vary.