FlexPerks to ditch its backup status


Currently, FlexPerks points are worth up to 2 cents each for airfare, up to 1.5 cents each for hotels, and up to 1.25 cents each for car rentals.  The best use of these points has been to try to snag flights at the top of each price band in the Flexperks award chart.  For example, ideal flight prices were $390 to $400, $590 to $600, etc:

However, a Reddit user reports learning from a US Bank insider that things will change on December 31.  According to his source, FlexPerks points will be worth 1.5 cents each towards travel.  He wrote:

From my insider friend at US Bank, some changes are coming to flexpoints, to be announced in July:

*Beginning Dec. 31, it will be easier to understand redemption of FlexPoints. Each FlexPoint will be valued at at 1.5 cents when redeeming for car rentals, airline tickets, hotel rooms and travel packages. Redemptions made prior to Dec. 31 will continue to use the current tiered rate schedule.

Effective Jan. 1, 2018, all earning tiers will be removed for all FlexPerks products. There will no longer be a cap for points earned at the 1:1 rate, regardless of the amount spent. Additionally, the definition of “charitable organizations” will expand to over 1,000 entities. The accelerated earn rate for charitable organizations will be 2X on all FlexPerks product with the exception of FlexPerks Reserve, which will continue to earn at 3X.*

While this is little more than a rumor at this point, I find it completely believable.  It makes sense for US Bank to change their FlexPerks program to match the Altitude Reserve.  Already they allow FlexPerks points to be moved to Altitude accounts.  Once this change takes place, I imagine they’ll freely allow the points to move back and forth.  Or, maybe they’ll automatically pool the points as they do today when people have multiple FlexPerks cards.

Obviously, if you are good at getting nearly 2 cents per point value, the upcoming change is bad for you.  If you’re in that camp, you may be able to bank those 2 cents per point rewards with techniques similar to those that Miles per Day suggested for the Merrill+ card.

I expect though that most people will be happy with this change.  It will no longer be a waste to use Flexpoints for $200 flights, for example.  And, using points to pay for hotels and car rentals won’t be a terrible idea (I still prefer paying with points for flights, but that’s another discussion).  In other words, Flexpoints will change from being a good backup program to one that people can count on for good value everyday travel rewards.

Changing to 2X charity, but there’s a 3X or even 4.5X possibility…

I’ve reported before that the Flexperks Visa card will no longer offer 3X for charitable contributions beginning January 1, 2018.  These two changes together mean that travel rewards for charitable donations will go from today’s max of 6 cents per dollar, to a fixed 3 cents per dollar.  Ouch.  For those of us who like to contribute to Kiva loans, this will hurt.

Interestingly, the Reddit post says that the FlexPerks Reserve card will continue to earn 3X.  What the heck is the FlexPerks Reserve?  Doctor of Credit reports that US Bank has a couple of premium version of the FlexPerks card: U.S. Bank FlexPerks Reserve American Express Card, and FlexPerks Reserve Visa Signature Card.  Unfortunately, these are intended only for their Private Wealth customers.  But, those who can get them can continue to earn 3X for charity in addition to a 50% relationship bonus for Private Client Reserve customers!  Together, this means earning up to 4.5 points per dollar.  With points worth 1.5 cents each towards travel, you could get 6.75 cents per dollar value.

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