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New Premium Card – The US Bank Altitude Reserve!

By: Travis Cormier

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Hey Travel Junkies!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about a new premium card that hits the market today! US Bank is introducing the Altitude Reserve! This card will be issued as a Visa Infinite card with a $400 annual fee.

With the recent changes to the American Express Platinum Card, and Chase introducing the Sapphire Reserve, there have been a lot of changes to the premium card market. The Altitude Reserve comes with many of the same benefits too – rental car insurance, travel insurance, etc.

Let’s look into some of the benefits that set this card apart, some of the downsides, and explain how to get it.

 

What Are The Points Worth?

If you’re going to lay down $400 for a credit card, you want to know what you can do with the points you earn.

Altitude Reserve points will be worth a flat 1.5 cents per point. The points must be redeemed using the Altitude Reserve travel portal. This is the same redemption rate through the Chase travel portal if you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

$325 Travel Credit

Similar to other premium cards on the market, the Altitude Reserve comes with a $325 travel credit annually.

Unlike the travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it resets every cardmember year, not every calendar year. Similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve the credit is applied automatically.

 

Bonus Spend Categories

What really sets this card apart from other premium cards on the market is the bonus spend categories. Yes, it has the standard 3x points for travel purchases. But where the real value comes is 3x points on mobile wallet purchases.

This means when you pay using Android Pay, Apple pay, Microsoft Wallet, and Samsung Pay you will get 3 points per dollar! From the card rules:

“Mobile Wallet” is defined as the method of paying for a transaction by use of a mobile device (in-store, in-app, or online) and includes Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and Microsoft Wallet.”

This makes it an almost unrestricted bonus category for earning! Grocery store trips, gas stations, and many restaurants will now be 3x categories!

But… before you get too excited, US Bank is known for changing terms that become too expensive or unfavorable. Don’t be surprised if this bonus category is adjusted over time.

 

No Airline or Hotel Transfer Partners

For many, this is will be one of the biggest downsides of the card. There are no transfer partners. This means you will never be able to get better than 1.5 cents per point. Since you have to book through the Altitude Reserve travel portal, you’ll want to check to make sure it provides the best airfare.

 

Points Do Not Link With FlexPerks

If you have rewards in US Bank’s other program, FlexPerks, you cannot transfer points from your Altitude Reserve to FlexPerks.

However, you can transfer Flexperks to Altitude Reserve. The minimum transfer is 20,000 FlexPerks and you have to call in to request the transfer. There is not an online method of transferring the points.

 

Transfer Between Altitude Reserve Cardholders

You can transfer Altitude Reserve points to other Altitude Reserve cardholders. This is NOT limited to family, or those living at the same address. You can transfer to a friend’s if they need a few more points to complete a booking.

This is a unique perk to the Altitude Reserve card. However, you are limited to transferring 20,000 Altitude Reserve points every calendar year. So, if you time it correctly, you can quickly transfer 40,000 points over two days.

 

How to Get the Card

The card is available for application as of today. To apply, you must be a US Bank member. If you have a checking account, a credit card, a loan, etc. then you qualify.

If you apply now you have to wait to be recognized as a banking member, which can take upwards of 35 days.

However, if you apply through a banker at a physical US Bank location, they can contact underwriting to be sure your application goes through.

US Bank isn’t the easy bank when it comes to credit card approvals if you’ve opened several new accounts recently, so keep that in mind if you apply.

 

Bottom Line 

The new Altitude Reserve credit card by US Bank will be a competitive option in the premium card world. With an annual fee of $400 and a $325 travel credit (slightly higher than other premium cards, it has come to play.

With the unique mobile wallet bonus category, US Bank has made an effort to set itself apart from other premium cards. This could make the card very valuable to many consumers who can utilize the 1.5 cents per point redemption rate on cheap economy flights.

 

Travel Safe, Cheap, and Often!

Travis

 

Image: USBank.com

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