US Bank Altitude Reserve Guide

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The Altitude Reserve Card is US Bank’s challenge to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The card is targeted at “people who live life on the go and want to be rewarded generously for that lifestyle.”

Here is everything you need to know…

Dining Offer (Through 12/31/20)

US Bank is offering this temporary pandemic inspired enhancement to the Altitude Reserve card.  This is valid from June 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020:

  • Earn 3X points per $1 on takeout, food delivery and dining purchases.
  • Takeout, food delivery and dining purchases qualify toward the $325 annual travel credit
  • No registration required.

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Summary

  • Standard Signup Bonus: 50,000 points after $4,500 spend in 90 days
  • $400 Annual Fee
  • Cardholders may redeem 35,000 points to cover the annual fee
  • $325 in annual travel credits automatically applied to account for travel purchases charged to card. In this context, “annual” means the cardmember’s membership year.
  • Points worth 1.5 cents each when used to purchase travel through the Altitude Rewards Center (flights, hotels, car rentals)
  • Real Time Mobile Rewards: Redeem points for 1.5 cents each for travel purchased directly with the US merchants.  See: US Bank Real-Time Mobile Rewards. What works where?
  • Earn 3X points per dollar for travel and mobile wallet spend; 5X points per dollar on prepaid hotels & car rentals booked through the Altitude Rewards Center; 1X elsewhere
  • There is no cap on 3X earnings
  • Airport Lounge Access via Priority Pass Select (4 free visits per year)
  • 12 complimentary Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes per year
  • Travel coverage: Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Coverage; Trip delay and trip cancellation reimbursement.
  • Primary car rental collision damage waiver (No benefit is provided for vehicles rented in Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland, or Northern Ireland)
  • Rental car benefits:
    • National Rental Car Emerald Club Executive membership and “and save up to 25% when you rent with National® Car Rental”
    • Avis Preferred Plus membership + save up to 30% on qualifying rentals with Avis®
    • Hertz: “Enjoy special savings, faster service, extra hours on returns and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® bonus points.”
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre Fee Credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Authorized User Fee: $75 per year (but if you pay points for the annual fee, authorized users are included at no extra charge)
  • Issued as Visa Infinite
  • Card composition: Engraved stainless steel

Key perks not supported by this card

  • Priority Pass Select membership covers only 4 free cardholder visits and 4 free individual guest visits per year.  After those 4 visits, you must pay $27 per person for lounge access.
  • No ability to transfer points to loyalty programs

altitude-reserve-infinite-card-art

Getting the card

  • You must be a US Bank customer to get the card.  Many types of US Bank accounts qualify including checking and savings, credit cards, auto loans, investment relationships, CDs, mortgages, etc.
  • Can I open a US Bank account today so that I can apply?  Yes, but you must wait until your banking relationship is recognized before applying for the Altitude Reserve. Banking relationships are usually recognized in less than 5 days, but may occasionally take as long as 35 days.
  • Can I expedite the process of becoming a US Bank customer so that I can apply right away? Yes, if you apply through a US Bank banker, they can contact underwriting to ensure that your application for the card is not declined.
  • You can sign up online or in-branch

Earning the 50,000 point signup bonus

  • You must spend $4,500 within 90 days in order to earn the signup bonus
  • When does the clock start? Upon approval.
  • Does the $400 annual fee count towards the minimum spend requirement? No! In general, fees imposed by your credit card do not count towards spend bonuses.
  • Can I buy gift cards to meet the spend bonus? It is not recommended.  Some have had their accounts shut down when using mobile wallet payments to buy gift cards.
  • Do you have advice on how to meet the spend requirements? Yes, please see: Manufactured Spending Complete Guide.
  • What about the $325 travel credit? Will that increase the spend requirement? Suppose you spend exactly $4,500 within 3 months and receive $325 in travel credits (because some of your spend was on travel expenses). Will you then have to spend $325 more to meet the spend requirements? I recommend spending $325 more just in case.

“Travel” Defined

It’s important to note that US Bank has two different definitions for travel.  To earn $325 in statement credits and to earn 3X points, they use one definition.  To get 1.5 cents per point value, they use another.

Earning 3X and up to $325 in travel credits (“travel” defined)

For these purposes, travel is defined as: airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise lines.

Redeeming points for travel at 1.5 cents per point value (“travel” defined)

For this purpose, travel is defined as airfare, hotel stays, and car rentals booked through US Bank’s Rewards Center.

Mobile Wallet Defined

The Altitude Reserve card earns 3X points for mobile wallet purchases. Specifically, the card earns 3X points when it is used with a mobile device to pay through Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Microsoft Wallet.

Also note that Samsung Pay MST (AKA LoopPay) payments will earn 3X rewards.

Info about Authorized User cards

  • Annual fee: $75 per authorized user
  • No annual fee if you pay with points for the primary user’s annual fee
  • $325 travel credit? Authorized users do not get their own travel credits. Travel purchases made on authorized user cards do get reimbursed but it comes out of the same $325 per year bucket as the primary card.
  • Airport Lounge Access? Authorized users will not get their own Priority Pass membership.
  • Primary car rental collision damage waiver? Yes

Details About Altitude Reserve Points

Redeem points for flights, hotels, and car rentals in order to get 1.5 cents per point value.  Points can be redeemed for cash, but only at 1 cent per point value.  You can also redeem 35,000 points for the card’s annual fee, and this includes all authorized user cards.  So, the more authorized user cards you have, the better the value of this redemption.

Points can be transferred to other Altitude Reserve cardmembers for no fee.  There is a 20,000 point cap per year on such transfers.

Points can be transferred between FlexPerks accounts and the Altitude Reserve.  Online, you will be able to transfer up to 20,000 points per year.  Via phone, there is no known cap.

Points are not transferable to any airline or hotel programs.

You can buy Altitude Reserve points for 3 cents each, but I’m not sure why you would want to.

Card Perk Details

Points worth 1.5 cents each towards travel

With most bank programs, points are worth 1 cents each. For example, usually a $300 car rental would cost 30,000 points. With the Altitude Reserve card, though, points are worth 50% more when used to purchase travel through the Altitude Rewards Center (flights, hotels, car rentals) or when you pay for travel directly and use Real Time Mobile Rewards. So, a $300 car rental would cost only 20,000 points.

Real Time Mobile Rewards

Enroll in US Bank’s Real Time Mobile Rewards program in order to redeem points for purchases made directly with merchants. When paying for travel this way, you get the full 1.5 cents value per point.  Keep in mind these restrictions:

  • Works only with US merchants
  • Minimum hotel charge: $500
  • Minimum car rental charge: $250
  • Minimum for other types of travel (airfare, Uber, etc): $10

See also: US Bank Real-Time Mobile Rewards. What works where?

$325 in travel credits per year

  • $325 in travel credits is available each cardmember year.
  • Authorized user travel charges are reimbursed, but they count towards the same $325 travel credit per account. In other words, you cannot get more than $325 back in total by adding authorized users.
  • Any charge that codes as travel will be automatically reimbursed (up to $325 per cardmember year, total).  See “Travel” Defined, above.
  • Both large and small travel purchases count. Small purchases will be reimbursed until a total of $325 has been reimbursed in a calendar year. Large purchases will be reimbursed up to $325.

Global Entry or TSA Pre Fee Credit

  • Simply pay the $100 Global Entry application fee or $85 TSA Pre application fee with the Altitude Reserve card and the fee will be automatically reimbursed.
  • You can get reimbursed once every 4 years
  • You can gift the once per 4 year fee credit to another person, but they would have to be an authorized user on your account, or you would have to let them use your credit card number to pay for their application.

Airport Lounge Access

  • Cardholders are granted membership to Priority Pass Select.
  • This membership covers only 4 free cardholder visits and 4 free individual guest visits per year.
  • After the 4 free visits within your Priority Pass Select membership year (not cardmember year), cardholders must pay $27 per person for lounge access.

Rental car privileges and discounts

  • Primary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • National Rental Car Emerald Club Executive membership and “and save up to 25% when you rent with National® Car Rental”
  • Avis Preferred Plus membership + save up to 30% on qualifying rentals with Avis®
  • Hertz: “Enjoy special savings, faster service, extra hours on returns and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® bonus points.”
  • Silvercar: Up to 30% off rentals of 2 days or more

Additional Perks

I’ll let the US Bank marketing team do the talking for these…

US Bank Altitude Reserve Car and Jet Benefits

US Bank Altitude Reserve Hotel and Chef Benefits  US Bank Altitude Reserve Concierge Services

A note regarding rental car coverage: No benefit is provided for vehicles rented in Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland, or Northern Ireland.

Questions?

Have questions about the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve? Please comment below.

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