The application link for new US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card is officially live. Here is basic information on the offer:
The card now pays us commission if you apply through the site.
You have to have an existing relationship with US Bank in order to apply. An eligible U.S. Bank account relationship is defined as: 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 or Consumer Credit Card issued by U.S. Bank. Keep in mind, US Bank is usually sensitive to too many recent credit inquiries.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points worth $750 in travel when you spend $4,500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days. Points do not expire.
- 3X points per $1 for eligible net travel purchases.
- 3X points per $1 for eligible net mobile wallet purchases.
- Up to $325 in statement credits annually for eligible net travel purchases.
- TSA Pre√® or Global Entry — up to $100 statement credit to reimburse you for your application fee — whichever program you apply for first.
- Relax with airport lounge access and stay connected with 12 Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi passes per year.
- Redeem points instantly with Real-Time Mobile Rewards Redemption.
- Elevated service levels with dedicated Concierge and Cardmember Service advisors.
- Annual fee is $400, not waived. Additional authorized user card is $75.
I’ve highlighted the points that matter to me most. I know people are super excited about 3X points per $1 for eligible net mobile wallet purchases, but I honestly don’t give a rat’s behind. But you might!
So, I went ahead and applied because it’s definitely a good offer, at least during the first 12 months. At the minimum, it’s worth $425 assuming I utilize the travel credit for our regular travel expenses during the next year (which I probably will). Even if I purchased Southwest gift cards and sold them at a loss, the offer would still be worth close to $400, which is pretty good.
And of course, I’m talking about the worst case scenario. I definitely plan to utilize the sign-up bonus towards travel. So, I decided that applying for this card is a no-brainer (for me). Originally, I was planning on getting Amex Hilton Surpass, but cash/ travel credit is always my first preference due to flexibility.
As expected, the application went to pending status. Few days later, I called this automated number 1(800) 947-1444 to check the status. Approved!!! I honestly can’t believe it because my last application for Flexperks card was denied and calling reconsideration accomplished nothing. So, all of you fellow grizzled hobby veterans, there is definitely hope.
If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already saw this elated (insane?) message to few of my fellow blogger friends:
I definitely need to get a life…
Plans for the bonus
Assuming I don’t mess up on minimum spending requirements, in all likelihood I’ll just end up using it for Belarus-USA ticket for one of my parents. Sorry, guys, I wish I had something more exciting to tell you about, as in trip to Maldives etc. But in reality, US Bank Altitude travel portal is best utilized for simple roundtrip or open-jaw flights. It works a bit differently than Flexperks portal because there are no thresholds.
This will provide more flexibility because you won’t be automatically bumped into the next category if your ticket is a dollar more than the cutoff limit. You will simply get 1.5 cents per point towards airfare. Do keep in mind this annoying quirk, mentioned on the website:
“When redeeming points for air tickets, the first ticket must be covered in full by redeeming with points before any additional tickets can be purchased. If you do not have enough points for a single or multiple tickets, you have two options:
Option 1- Purchase additional tickets in full by paying for them on your Rewards credit card
Option 2 – Purchase additional points to be used to redeem for the additional tickets by calling 844-357-2015.
Hotel and car reservations must be redeemed in full with points, or can be paid in full by using your Rewards credit card.”
So, it appears that you do have to have enough points to cover at least the first ticket. When it comes to car rentals and hotels, those have to be covered completely via points. I checked car rental and hotel rates, and they appear to be comparable to those you can find on Expedia, Orbitz or a similar booking site.
That means that Altitude travel portal is inferior to one run by Chase. With the latter, you can use a combination of points and cash, not to mention, book vacation rentals and even cruises. Keep that in mind if you are hoping to use points towards a super expensive airline ticket or hotel. Ain’t gonna happen unless you plan to put a significant amount of spending on the card. I’m not.
I do like the fact that there is no minimum redemption threshold for annual $325 travel credit. We have some hotel stays coming up, so we’ll probably just put dining expenses on Altitude Reserve. I will also need a car rental in October, so may utilize this credit to offset it.
Here are the terms:
“$325 Annual Travel Credit: Automatic statement credit(s) totaling up to $325 will be applied to your Account when a Card is used for purchases made directly from airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise lines. Credit(s) apply to eligible Net Purchases that post to your Account on a Cardmember-year basis (based on Account opening date). Only one total credit amount of up to $325 per Cardmember year per Account, regardless of which Card(s) was/were used for the transaction(s). If eligible purchase is greater than $325, credit will be limited to $325.”
Is this card a no-brainer for you?
Not necessarily. There are a couple of things to be aware of:
1) Relatively high minimum spending requirements. Let’s face it, $4,500 in 90 days is a lot for most normal families. It is for us. Fortunately, this offer came at just the right time. My home and car insurance policies are about to be renewed. But be careful and don’t bite off more than you can comfortably “chew.”
2) The annual fee is not waived. I’m not going to lie, I cringe a bit at the thought of prepaying $400 upfront. I have to remind myself that it’s an investment that will help me bring my mom to US so she can see her grandkids. But it still hurts. We are a middle-class family, and we already spend SO STINKING MUCH on travel. I haven’t told my husband…yet.
3) This may not be the best card to start with if you are new to this hobby. Read my post on Chase-centric strategy for miles and points newbies (hat tip to Joe for coming up with that term).
This is a very strong offer, but there are few caveats. Still, if you are currently shunned by Chase and got every other bank offer under the sun, this bonus is absolutely worth considering. It is a very good deal. Well, at least for the first year because I certainly won’t be renewing the card.
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Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.