US Bank Altitude Reserve – Lesser Known Travel Card But Plenty Of Perks

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card is a premium travel card that competes with Chase Sapphire Reserve and the American Express Platinum card. You must be a US Bank customer to get this card.

This card is not widely known because the card is hard to get compared to other cards because the US Bank has high standards for approval. US Bank does not pay referral bonuses. So credit card focused websites spend very little time talking about the card, if at all.

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card Benefits

Sign up bonus

50,000 bonus points (worth $750) with $4500 spend in the first 90 days

Perks

  • 3x on travel and mobile wallet purchases (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, LG Pay)
  • 5x on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Us Bank’s Altitude Rewards Center
  • $325 credit for eligible travel purchases and takeout, food delivery, and dining purchases
  • Up to $100 in statement credits every 4 years for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • Primary insurance coverage for rental cars
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $400 annual fee

Fine print

  • Minimum redemption amounts for car rentals ($250) and hotels ($500) bookings. If you are a budget traveler, the minimum redemption amounts might be a hurdle
  • Cannot transfer points to hotel or airline partners

Application process

Must be a US Bank customer

To get the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card, a prior relationship with US Bank is essential. If you don’t have a prior relationship, open a checking account with them a month or two before you apply for this card. It’s also a good idea to have a minimum balance of $1500 in the checking account for a couple of months.

Some people have been rejected when they applied for a checking account because US Bank doesn’t have a physical location in their state or area. In that case, apply for a US Bank brokerage account, then a checking account, and finally apply for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card.

Credit

You must not have applied for another credit card in the last 12 months. That’s a high bar for most people. US Bank also needs you to have rock solid credit to get their cards (all USB cards, not just the Altitude Reserve card).

The credit limits offered by US Bank are also generally lower compared to other banks. But US Bank does raise the credit limits over time if you have good credit and pay your bills on time.

What’s Good About The Altitude Reserve Card?

The best feature of the US Bank Altitude Reserve card is that it earns 3x on mobile wallet purchases such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Many stores such as Costco accept mobile payments. Costco also accepts Apple Pay at its gas pumps.

You could earn 3x points on all your mobile wallet purchases and if you redeem those points at the US Bank’s Altitude Rewards Portal, you could get 4.5x points.

What’s Bad?

The biggest drawback of this card is that it has no transfer partners. You have to use the Altitude Rewards Portal to get the best redemption rates. Even then, there are limitations. Hotel redemptions must be $500 or more, and car rental redemptions must be $250 or more. But there are no minimum redemption amounts for air travel  booked using the rewards portal.

Bottom Line

The card’s $400 annual fee is offset by its $325 credit for dining purchases. Its effective annual fee is $75. If you use Apple Pay or Google Pay a lot, you can easily recoup the $75. US Bank also has good retention offers – when it’s time to pay the annual fee, if you reach out to the loyalty department, you can easily get more than $75 (7500 points).

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