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The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Card Is No Longer Accepting Applications

By Lyle Daly - Dec 8, 2020 at 1:16PM

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Is this the first luxury travel card to close because of the pandemic?

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U.S. Bank's most high-end credit card is officially unavailable. The U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card, launched in 2017, is gone from the bank's website. Current cardholders can continue using their cards, but you can't apply for the card as a new customer.

There isn't word yet on whether U.S. Bank pulled the card temporarily or permanently. While it wasn't quite as popular as other top credit cards, the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card was a great product with several useful perks. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to keep it around.

Why the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card shut down

Though we can't know for certain, the most obvious explanation for the loss of the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card is COVID-19. The pandemic has slowed down travel, leading many consumers to cancel their travel credit cards. Credit card companies have also become more risk-conscious because of the economic uncertainty.

The cost of the card's benefits to U.S. Bank is another potential factor. The U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card packed a lot of value for a card with a $400 annual fee, which is less than similar travel cards. For that $400, you got perks that included:

  • A $325 annual travel credit -- the highest of any travel card
  • A Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit of up to $100 every four years
  • Airport lounge access
  • 5 points per $1 on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked in the Altitude Rewards Center
  • 3 points per $1 on eligible travel purchases and mobile wallet spending

Mobile wallet spending was one bonus category that always seemed hard to sustain. Cardholders get 3 points per $1 anywhere that accepts mobile wallets. Considering how much mobile wallets and contactless payments are growing, this bonus category almost certainly costs U.S. Bank more now than it did in 2017.

What this means for cardholders

If you already have the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card, this news doesn't affect you. You can continue using your credit card without any changes.

U.S. Bank could decide to close existing cards, but that's unlikely. Card issuers usually don't want to get rid of customers. There's a possibility that U.S. Bank could introduce a new premium travel card as a replacement. But for now, your card is fine.

The people missing out are those who wanted to apply for the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card and won't get the chance. If that happened to you, there are some alternatives you can check out.

Other premium travel credit cards to consider

There are still a few luxury travel rewards cards that could fit your needs. Here are the standout features of cards similar to the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Offers 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first three months, a $300 annual travel credit, and limited-time perks with DoorDash, Lyft, and Peloton. It also has some of the most useful travel point -- Chase was the winner of the best credit card points program category in The Ascent's 2020 credit card awards. ($550 annual fee)
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Offers 75,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first six months, as well as spending credits with Uber, for incidental airline fees, and with Saks Fifth Avenue. This American Express card offers the most extensive airport lounge access of any travel card. ($550 annual fee)
  • Citi Prestige® Card: Offers 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first three months and a $250 annual travel credit. Citi's top travel card also gets you a fourth night free on up to two paid hotel stays per year. ($495 annual fee)

The U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card was an excellent value and had easy-to-use perks, so it's a shame to see it go. We still don't know whether U.S. Bank will bring it back. If not, there are plenty of other travel credit cards to choose from, including premium cards and more affordable options.

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