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?
    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?
    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?
    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?
    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”?
    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

  • American Airlines purchase at airport: FAIL
  • Aeroplan award ticket fees & lap infant fee: FAIL
  • Delta ticket purchased through Expedia: SUCCESS
  • Delta ticket purchased directly: SUCCESS
  • Delta award fee ($11.20): SUCCESS
  • 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
  • United award fees: SUCCESS
  • United flight booked through Orbitz: SUCCESS
  • Virgin Atlantic seat upgrade: SUCCESS
  • Virgin America flight booked directly: FAIL
  • Vueling ticket purchased directly: FAIL
  • Vueling ticket purchased through Orbitz: FAIL

Car Rental

  • Hertz in Canada: FAIL

Hotel Charges

  • Fairmont hotel in Canada: FAIL
  • Hotel booked through FAIL

Other Travel

Real-Time Mobile Rewards Terms & Conditions

The following terms were found here (must be logged in to access): 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 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).

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23 Comments on "US Bank Real-Time Mobile Rewards. What works where?"

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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

So you actually got a text message?

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!


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


success, united booked via Orbitz.


Did this show as United or Orbitz on the charge?




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.


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,


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

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

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


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


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)?


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.


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…).