U.S. Bank Just Made 2 Big Upgrades to the Altitude Reserve Card
by Lyle Daly | Updated Aug. 12, 2021 - First published on March 9, 2021
With a pair of updates, U.S. Bank has made its top travel rewards card an even better deal.
From a value perspective, the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card has always stood out. It has a $400 annual fee, but you can get $325 of that back through its annual travel credit. If you use it, the card's annual cost is really just $75, much lower than many of the best travel credit cards.
Going forward, you don't even need to use that credit on travel spending. U.S. Bank updated the credit to cover dining purchases. It also got rid of the authorized user fee it used to charge with this card. Here's a closer look at these changes and why they're a significant improvement.
New upgrades to the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
There are two recent upgrades to the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card:
- More ways to use the $325 annual credit: In addition to travel, the $325 annual credit now covers takeout, food delivery, and dining purchases. This was a limited-time benefit U.S. Bank added earlier during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now it's a permanent addition.
- No authorized user fee: You can add authorized users free of charge. U.S. Bank previously charged $75 per authorized user.
The expansion of the $325 annual credit has already been useful for cardholders who aren't traveling because of the pandemic. It's even better now that U.S. Bank made it permanent. You don't need to worry about that offer expiring, leaving you unable to cash in your annual credit because you're not going anywhere. You'll always be able to use it on dining, including takeout and delivery orders.
If you have any authorized users on your account, such as your spouse, you'll save some money now that there's no fee. Reports indicate that cardholders who recently paid authorized user fees have gotten refunds. If you haven't, you can call U.S. Bank to ask.
Other card features
The U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card also offers several other benefits, including:
- 50,000 bonus points (worth $750 towards travel) after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 90 days after opening the card
- 5 points per $1 on prepaid hotels and car rentals that you book in the Altitude Rewards Center
- 3 points per $1 on eligible travel purchases
- 3 points per $1 on mobile wallet spending
- 3 points per $1 on takeout, food delivery, and dining through June 30, 2021
- 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
- Priority Pass airport lounge access
- A Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
Points are worth $0.015 apiece when redeemed towards travel purchases. You can redeem them either when booking travel through the U.S. Bank travel center or to cover previous travel purchases using U.S. Bank's Real-Time Rewards feature.
Is it time to apply for the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card?
The upgrades to the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card definitely make it a better rewards card. If you were already thinking of getting it, then the changes are another good reason to go for it. It will be easier to use the card's $325 credit, and you'll save cash with any authorized users you add.
The main flaw, especially compared to other popular rewards credit cards, is that you can't transfer your points to any travel partners. Credit cards with Chase, American Express, and Citi all offer transfers to airlines and hotels. Transfers can often get you a much greater value for your points.
That being said, the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card is excellent if you just want points you can redeem towards cash travel purchases. Keep in mind that you do need to be a U.S. Bank customer to apply. It's also recommended to have a FICO® Score of 720 or higher. As this is U.S. Bank's most impressive card product, the bank usually only approves applicants with excellent credit.
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