In 2017, U.S. Bank released the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card to compete in the premium card market. I've had the card in my wallet for a year, and I think it's a decent alternative to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Here's my year in review, and how to calculate if the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is worth it for you.
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is a good option if you don't spend much on dining out or if you want a lower annual fee.
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Is the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Worth It?
- Access the calculator here: http://bit.ly/2KGGq8d
- "File" > "make a copy" OR "download as"
- Modify the YELLOW cells only
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Annual Fee and Travel Credit
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve has a $400 annual fee which is billed on your first statement. The card does come with a $325 travel credit, so the effective annual fee is $75 (assuming you use the travel credit).
Anything that codes as travel, i.e, Uber, Lyft, plane tickets, will count towards the travel credit.
In the Points Earning section of the calculator, enter the dollar amount you would spend in a year for each category on the card: travel, mobile payments, and everything else.
The U.S. Altitude Reserve earns 3x on mobile payments and travel. If you have the dining category covered by another card like the Uber Visa or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, then the U.S. Altitude Reserve is a good complimentary card for all other purchases that accept mobile payments.
Mobile payments via digital wallets are a popular trend right now, especially at select grocery stores.
For all other purchases, the card earns 1x points.
Value of Points
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve points are worth 1.5 cents per point (CPP) when you redeem the points for travel.
3x * 1.5 CPP = 4.5% return on spend (ROS)
If you want to redeem points another way, then put an "x" on ONE selection in the calculator.
Real-Time Mobile Rewards
One benefit of the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is that you can redeem points for travel via text message using Real-Time Mobile Rewards. This means that if you find a great deal through a third party travel site like Expedia, you can book the deal using Real-Time Mobile Rewards.
Login to your U.S. Bank account to activate the offer.
There are restrictions to Real-Time Mobile Rewards like your points balance. You need to have enough points to cover the travel booking.
For example, if you want to make a $450 travel purchase, you'll need to have 30,000 points in your account.
Formula: $x travel = x/1.5*100 points needed
- $450 travel purchase = 30,000 points needed
- $300 travel purchase = 20,000 points needed
In this section, enter the dollar amount which you value the other benefits.
If you don't have a premium travel card that offers Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credits and Priority Pass access, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is a good option.
The Priority Pass access for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve does have more restrictions compared to other cards in its class.
Priority Pass Select will be offered to cardholders. You and a guest are limited to only 4 complimentary visits, each visit after that will be $27.
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is a good alternative premium travel card if you travel 2-3 times per year, and you can take advantage of mobile payments.
The card has a 50,000 point signup bonus after you spend $4,500 within the first three months of account opening.
When you redeem the signup bonus for travel, the bonus is worth $750, which comes out to a 16.7% ROS.
- Worth = 50k * 1.5 CPP = $750
- Return on spend = $750 / $4,500 = 16.7%
Be aware that you must have an existing relationship with U.S. Bank to qualify for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card. You can either have a credit card or a bank account with U.S. Bank to qualify.
If you're currently not a U.S. Bank customer, then I recommend opening a checking account with them to qualify for the card.