The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite cards will give cardholders $1,000 in value in the first year, but is it worth it long-term?
Disclaimer: This post was written based on speculation from a blogger with reliable sources. None of these details have been confirmed by U.S. Bank. h/t Travel After Work.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
U.S. Bank is planning to roll out a competitor to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card.
The card is suppose to be announced on May 1, and people are speculating you have to be an existing U.S. Bank customer to be approved for the card.
If you don’t have an existing relationship with U.S. Bank, a good way to mitigate this would be to open a U.S. Bank credit card, checking, or savings account now. Accounts must be open for at least 35 days to qualify.
Like every other premium credit card, the new card will be metal. There are so many metal cards on the market these days like the Amazon Prime card, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Ritz-Carlton. The material of a card should not be a main point of consideration.
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The annual fee is $400, not waived the first year. It’s an interesting number because it sits right below the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $450 annual fee. Similar to the CSR, each authorized user/additional card will be $75 annually.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,5000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months. The sign up bonus is worth $750 in travel.
The $4,500 minimum spend requirement sits right below the Reserve’s minimum spend of $5,000 within the first 3 months.
Return on spend: 16.7% ($750 in travel for $4,500 in spend)
A $325 travel credit will be applied each calendar year. The travel credit is expected to be comparable to the CSR’s flexibility in spend.
Again, it seems like U.S. Bank is trying to one-up the CSR by offering $25 more than their $300 travel credit.
Return of spend w/ travel credit: $400 Annual fee + $325 x 2 travel credits + $750 sign up bonus = 22%
Global Entry or TSA Precheck
Like most premium credit cards, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve comes with a $100 credit to apply towards Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
Earn 3x on travel
There are no foreign transaction fees, which makes the Altitude a good travel card.
Earn 3x on travel purchases including airfare, hotels, and transportation. Points are worth 1.5 cents per point when you redeem for travel, so you’re getting 4.5% return on spend. This is the same redemption rate as the CSR.
Unlike the CSR, you won’t be able to transfer the points out to partners, meaning you’re capped off at the 1.5 cents per point valuation.
Earn 3x on mobile wallet
The perk that makes this card a game changer is you get 3x back on mobile wallet purchases. Mobile wallets include Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. If you redeem these points for travel, you’re effectively getting 4.5% back every time you pay with mobile.
We’re speculating this is the first perk that will be removed first because it sounds too good to be true and tons of people will take advantage of this.
Trip delay insurance
Most people are speculating trip delay insurance will kick in after 6 hours, which is comparable to the CSR. If your trip is delayed, then you get $500 for lodging and dining.
For comparison, most card offer this perk after 12 hours. The only other card with a better trip delay protection is the Citi Prestige at 3 hours.
Unlike the other premium cards, visits to the Priority Pass airport lounges are not unlimited. You only get 4 free visits with one guest, afterwards, it’s not free.
This is one of the only perks that pales in comparison to the CSR.
At a glance, if the rumors are accurate, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card seems worthwhile. It’s interesting how they’re trying to compete with the CSR in most of the categories.
The card is a no brainer, especially for Year 1, assuming you travel and you can hit minimum spend. They’re basically paying you to have the card.
You’re getting 2 travel credits in year 1, 325 + 325 + $750 sign up bonus = $1400 in benefit minus the $400 annual fee, meaning you’re getting $1k in value just by getting the card.
This is before considering the 3x back on mobile payments.