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

US Bank’s Real-Time Mobile Rewards offer a way to book travel outside of US Bank’s limited travel portal and still get 1.5 cents per point value from your points.  Unfortunately, the details about what works where are sketchy.  For example, the terms state that real time mobile rewards work only with US merchants, but their examples of airlines that it works with includes several foreign airlines.

The purpose of this post is to keep a running tally of exactly what works where, in practice.  First a short Q & A:

Q & A

  • Q: Which credit cards do Real-Time Mobile Rewards work with and offer 1.5 cents value towards travel?
    AAltitude Reserve card, Flexperks Visa card, Flexperks Business Visa card
  • Q: How do I activate Real-Time Mobile Rewards?
    A:
    See this post for details:  US Bank makes Real-Time Mobile Rewards awesome. Are you listening Chase? Amex? Citi?
  • Q: What happens if I redeem rewards for a purchase and the purchase is later canceled or the actual charges end up being lower than the amount redeemed for?
    A:
    You will receive a statement credit.  For example, if you redeem 20,000 points for a $300 flight via Real-Time Mobile Rewards, and you cancel that flight purchase, the $300 will be applied to your account balance. You will not get the 20,000 points back.
  • Q: Which types of travel purchases are officially supported by Real-Time Mobile Rewards?
    A:
    US Bank lets users enable purchases withing the following categories, and offers examples, as follows:

    • Lodging: Four Seasons,Hyatt,Marriott,Starwood,Hilton,Disney Resorts,Best Western,Westin,Wyndham
    • Airline: United,American,British Airways,Emirates,JetBlue,Southwest,Delta,Sun Country
    • Other Travel: “Examples are unavailable for this category.”
    • Car Rental: Hertz,Budget,Alamo,Avis,National,Enterprise
  • Q: What are the minimum purchase amounts necessary to trigger Real-Time Mobile Rewards?
    A:
    With most categories, the minimum is set by the user’s preferences to as low as $10. The Hotels category has a fixed minimum of $500; and the Car Rental category has a fixed minimum of $250.
  • Q: What does US Bank mean by “Other Travel”?
    A:
    I don’t know. I hope that this post will help figure that out.

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

Please comment below with your findings and we’ll update this chart with any meaningful new data. Thanks!

Airline Charges

  • AeroMexico booked via Expedia: SUCCESS
  • Air New Zealand ticket: FAIL
  • American Airlines purchase at airport: FAIL
  • American Airlines $50 e-gift card: SUCCESS
  • American Airlines $149 e-gift card: SUCCESS
  • Aeroplan award ticket fees & lap infant fee: FAIL
  • Air Tahiti Nui: SUCCESS
  • Alaska Airlines: SUCCESS
  • Alaska Airlines ticket for multiple passengers: PARTIAL SUCCESS (Each passenger charge separate, only works for one)
  • Alitalia ticket purchased through alitalia.com: SUCCESS
  • Avianca Lifemiles award fees: FAIL
  • British Airways ticket booked with ExploreTrip: FAIL
  • Delta e-gift card purchased via desktop browser: SUCCESS
  • Delta ticket purchased through Expedia: SUCCESS
  • Delta ticket purchased directly: SUCCESS
  • Delta award fee ($11.20): SUCCESS
  • Delta ticket from China to US purchased at delta.com: FAIL
  • Emirates online seat selection fee: SUCCESS
  • LOT Airlines: FAIL
  • Lufthansa change fee processed in NY: SUCCESS
  • Maya Air tickets purchased directly: SUCCESS
  • Primera Air ticket purchased directly: FAIL
  • Southwest Airlines ticket purchase: SUCCESS
  • Southwest Airlines gift card: SUCCESS
  • Southwest Airlines award fees: SUCCESS
  • TAP Portugal booked via Orbitz: SUCCESS
  • United award fees: SUCCESS
  • United baggage fees (via United app): SUCCESS
  • United flight booked through Orbitz: SUCCESS
  • United flight booked at United.com: SUCCESS
  • Virgin Atlantic seat upgrade: SUCCESS
  • Virgin America flight booked directly: FAIL
  • Virgin America $25 charge at check-in: FAIL
  • Vueling ticket purchased directly: FAIL
  • Vueling ticket purchased through Orbitz: FAIL

Car Rental

Hotel Charges

  • AVANI hotel in Africa. FAIL
  • Fairmont hotel in Canada: FAIL
  • Hotel booked through Hotels.com: FAIL
  • Sheraton in US: SUCCESS with initial hold charge

Car Services

Other Travel

Real-Time Mobile Rewards Terms & Conditions

The following terms were found here (must be logged in to access): https://rtr.myrewardsaccess.com/Offers/OfferSummary. Click “Terms and Conditions” then click “Program Rules” near the bottom of the Terms & Conditions page.

Real-Time Rewards

With Real-Time Rewards, you may instantly redeem Points for your credit card Purchases via text messaging. The Points redemption comes in the form of a credit to your monthly billing statement. Points will be deducted from your Points balance and a credit for the Purchase amount will be applied to your Account billing statement when you request redemption. For transactions which include a gratuity, fees, or estimated taxes, the statement credit may not equal your final Purchase amount. Auto bill pay transactions will be part of Real-Time Rewards text messages if the Purchase falls within your preference selections. Real-Time Rewards text messages are available only for transactions with U.S. merchants. You may sign up for Real-Time Rewards using your 10-digit U.S. mobile number. Only one mobile number may be used per credit card account. After you complete a brief enrollment profile, you need to confirm your enrollment within 24 hours by replying ‘YES’ to a confirmation message that Real-Time Rewards will send you. If any changes are made to your Account that will affect the card number, account ownership or your rewards program, you will need to re-enroll in Real-Time Rewards. Message and data rates may apply. The short code REDEEM (733336) is used by Real-Time Rewards to send redemption requests. Message frequency is based upon the preferences you select and the Purchases you make on your Account. Text ‘HELP’ to REDEEM (733336) for Help. Text ‘STOP’ to REDEEM (733336) to cancel your participation in Real-Time Rewards. All cancellations completed via text message will remove that mobile number from all accounts registered for Real-Time Rewards. Please visit rtr.myrewardsaccess.com for a full listing of the Mobile Terms and Conditions. For inquiries, to sign up to receive text alerts, to update your preferences or to cancel your enrollment, please visit the Rewards Center online or call the Rewards Center.

You will not receive Real-Time Rewards text messages until you confirm your enrollment and preferences. You will receive a Real-Time Rewards request text message if your credit card Purchase falls within the criteria you have set up in your Real-Time Rewards preferences. Merchants who accept Visa cards are assigned a merchant code based on the kinds of products and services they sell. U.S. Bank does not control how Purchases are processed by merchants or the merchant codes they use; therefore, U.S. Bank cannot guarantee that a specific transaction will qualify. Your Account must remain in good standing in order to redeem. You may redeem by replying ‘REDEEM’ within 24 hours of when the message was sent. You may only redeem the most recent Real-Time Rewards text message. Upon confirmation of a redemption request, Points will be deducted from your Points balance immediately, and a credit to your statement will be processed within three business days and will appear on your next billing statement. The Account statement credit for a Real-Time Rewards redemption will reduce the Account balance, but will not count toward the minimum payment due. All redemptions are final. If you return the item or service that you redeemed Points for to the merchant, the Points will not be reinstated, but you may receive a monetary credit to your credit card account (in accordance with the merchant’s return policy).

Last updated on November 4th, 2018

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UAPhil
Guest
UAPhil

I purchased a Southwest ticket. Initially, when I tried to redeem, I got a message “unable to redeem at this time. Call Rewards Center for assistance”. I tried again an hour later, and was able to redeem the points successfully.

Enjoy Fine Food
Guest
Enjoy Fine Food

So you actually got a text message?

Enjoy Fine Food
Guest
Enjoy Fine Food

Your “What Works Where” is both Timely & Valuable. I have yet to find anyone in Altitude support who knows why Real-Time Rewards fails — although they seem happy to spend time with me on the phone talking about it. They do have a multitude of [incorrect] guesses. A couple examples: you updated your category minimums late yesterday and they need the overnight update; you haven’t used your travel $ reimbursement yet this year [absolutely wrong!] and that must be used before R-TR kicks in.

I was also told that the minimums I selected would override the default hotel $500 and car rental $250 (which although it seems quite logical because otherwise why would you be allowed to change them?) — demonstrated to be wrong by your tests. I booked a non-chain hotel in Europe that I would have loved to pay for with points — nope. Iberia airline ticket — nope.

I have been playing with R-TR since I signed up in early March, and have yet to get it to work. If I ever do, I will excitedly share that success here!

Yuri
Guest
Yuri

WN award fees worked here. Received a message within few minutes, replied, got a credit posted immediately.

ABC
Guest
ABC

success, united booked via Orbitz.

Brandon
Guest
Brandon

Did this show as United or Orbitz on the charge?

ABC
Guest
ABC

United

Justin
Guest
Justin

Virgin America flight booked directly failed to trigger RTR. Called in to see why and the rep didn’t know that RTR travel booking was supposed to be 1.5 cents per point.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I’ve had a lot of luck with RTR. I’ve had Delta tickets, Virgin Atlantic seat upgrades and multiple Lyft rides trigger the redemption. In all case, the credit actually cleared into my account before the charge actually hit,

Peter
Guest
Peter

I posted on FlyerTalk a few weeks ago that I was able to redeem for a Lufthansa purchase that comprised of a change fee and a change in fare for a ticket I bought months ago that I needed to change. I read that international airline purchases are hit or miss, but I think mine was successful, because it was processed by Lufthansa’s New York office in US Dollars.

N Sproul
Guest
N Sproul

I also had two fails with RRR, both international purchases (Hertz in Canada and Fairmont in Canada). No text. Reading the fine print you posted above, it says it must be a US merchant. Please do consider updating this post to highlight that fact. Thanks.

Stay Lucky
Guest
Stay Lucky

Used it to purchase groupon through the chase portal = success.

Hopeful
Guest
Hopeful

Groupon Vacation/Hotel? Or just some Local Groupon Deal?

Hopeful
Guest
Hopeful

How are the travel delay protections on this card? And also do you get 2x airfare points for purchasing the flight (even though it gets reimbursed at 1.5 cpp via RTR)?

Peter
Guest
Peter

My wife checked into a Westin and gave the front desk my Altitude Reserve. They authorized an amount about 10% higher than the reservation amount, and I immediately got a text to redeem my points, which I did. Got a credit for the redemption the next day, and when she checked out a few days later, the final Westin charge was about 90% less than the credit I received, so I guess I snuck in a bit more redemption at the 50% bonus rate for travel, which I’m obviously not going to complain about.

P G
Guest
P G

United Award fees worked. Emirates online seat selection fee worked. Virgin America $25 charge at checkin did not. Reserve America booking did not(thought it might code as other travel…).

Curtis
Guest
Curtis

Just tried AirBnb – did not work.

Usernamechuck
Guest
Usernamechuck

Can I confirm whether this was domestic? Was it over $500? I’m bummed because it seems airbnb usually codes as Travel.

jeph36
Guest
jeph36

I just rented a car today with my Altitude Reserve at a neighborhood Enterprise location. They pre-authorized the ~$130 charge of the rental plus a standard $150 that will drop off the bill assuming I return the car in decent shape. I did not expect Real-Time Rewards to kick in, but I got the text alert, I assume since that total was >$250. I did not decide to use it yet, but my guess is it would work for me to convert points into ~$280 of statement credit which would only be offset by a $130 charge. Since I am still meeting minimum spend, I opted not to use Real-Time Rewards on this one.

trackback

[…] UPDATE: Please also see: US Bank Real-Time Mobile Rewards. What works where? […]

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Haven’t gotten a text after booking direct with an AVANI hotel in Africa. Non-refundable advance-pay rate has been authorized but not yet posted.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

I’m an idiot. I completely missed that it doesn’t work with non-US merchants, even though it’s totally highlighted in your post! Does RTR work to cover partial charges, or will it only work if you have enough points to cover the whole charge?

Charles Chang
Guest
Charles Chang

Are you positive that Flexperks enjoys the same benefits? From what I can see from US bank website:

Participating categories exclude gas stations, restaurants, and travel.

I have an Amex version so I cannot test, can somebody please confirm?

Justin H
Guest
Justin H

Datapoint: Used Uber 3 separate times in Canada (Montreal). Did NOT receive RTR text alert either after the rides or when the transactions posted.

I can only assume this might be because of the fine print: “Real-Time Rewards text messages are available only for transactions with U.S. merchants.”

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

Alaska Airlines works
Air Tahiti Nui works

Ran into problems with the taxes and fees charged separately. I made 2 companion fare bookings on Alaska and the the taxes were charged separate from the purchased ticket. As I completed the purchase on the Alaska website, the ‘text-to-redeem’ message came through for both charges at the same exact time with not enough time to REDEEM between each one. I lucked out on one airfare purchase and had the larger amount come in as the second text message. I wasn’t so lucky with the second booking – Since you can only redeem the last text message, I was only allowed to apply the points toward the $28 fee, not the $268 purchased ticket fee. Altitude Reserve reps were pretty much useless and said they could not apply the points manually and could only confirm that the last text message received was for the $28 fee and there’s nothing they can do. Watch out for separate charges and make sure to change the minimum for RTR on airline purchases prior to booking.

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

MSC cruise worked for me, so I assume all cruises work.

ThePointsCollector
Guest
ThePointsCollector

The reps at US bank are clueless and cocky idiots. “manager” was telling me that real time rewards a re 1:1 redemption because its “statement credit”. So I said, fine I will make a dummy Delta booking and we will see. Sure thing, he apologized but still refused to cover my $1200 direct hotel purchase with 80K points. Go figure. Worst experience ever.

TravelBH
Guest
TravelBH

Amtrak worked for me

enigma
Guest
enigma

Following works
Sheraton USA — Initial hold triggers the message not the final charge.
Alaska ticket purchase – If you book ticket for multiple people Alaska separate the charge per person and you will get multiple message same time. If you respond with REDEEM, it will works only for the first message. No way to get redemption for other message. Calling doesn’t help with real-time rewards to get redemption but customer care profesional might give you 5-10K worth points.
LYFT USA

TravelBlerd
Guest
TravelBlerd

$149 American Airlines virtual gift card purchased via desktop worked

Jared
Guest
Jared

I just bought a $25 Alaska Airlines gift card and real time rewards were triggered but it asked me to redeem 2,500 points. Does that mean I am not getting the 1.5 cents/point or will this adjust later?

Ben
Guest
Ben

United ticket purchased at united.com: SUCCESS

Guest
Guest
Guest

Alitalia ticket purchased from alitalia.com was successful

Will
Guest
Will

Purchased a $50 American Airlines e-gift card and received a text asking to redeem 3,333 points (SUCCESS)

ihank724
Guest
ihank724

Booked a Delta round-trip ticket on Delta.com from China to US to China. RTR was not triggered. Called CSR/manager, was told Delta billed such Foreign-US-Foreign around-trip tickets from the foreign country(out of US), so RTR won’t apply to such tickets. Don’t know if it’s only Delta bills like this

Kay
Guest
Kay

Hey Grey, I booked a refundable SW ticket and it triggered a msg to redeem. I did. But if I have a change of plan can I cancel and get my points back? Thanks!

tly
Guest
tly

Why do you want the points back if you have cash (statement credit)?

tly
Guest
tly

Data points – purchased domestic NZ flights from Air NZ, not triggered.
Purchased Alaska flights using companion pass and set min threshold to 100 so it wouldn’t be triggered by the separate charge for companion pass, thanks for that suggestion! The text came through for the main flight booking.

eddie
Guest
eddie

Datapoint: LOT Airlines (direct) – FAIL

Sad to see Avianca LifeMiles fails. The miles them selves and that $30 “processing fee” would be much sweeter if the 1.5 cpm cost could be lowered

Would love to see more DPs for Award/Taxes/YQ ….
Anyone have a DP for VS (Virgin Atlantic)?!

Points Adventure
Guest
Points Adventure

DP: Southwest GC success, amount between 150 and 200

KC13
Guest
KC13

BA flight booked via ExploreTrip – FAIL

TAP Portugal flight booked via Orbitz – SUCCESS

Both transactions ~$550 each if that matters

XiATH
Guest
XiATH

AeroMexico flight for 2 booked via Expedia – SUCCESS

Transaction ~$670