U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card is a new entry in the premium travel credit card market, and it’s a good one! Not only does it have a generous 50,000 points sign-up bonus, but it also rewards you for everyday spending and offers a ton of great travel benefits. You’ll get lounge access, an annual travel credit, a Global Entry fee credit and more.
The downside? These benefits don’t come cheap. The Altitude Reserve has a $400 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year. Even with this high annual fee, it might make sense to get the card if you can take advantage of all of the benefits.
The Altitude Reserve is a great choice for someone who’s looking for a premium travel credit card but wants to save a bit on the annual fee. Similar cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the American Express Platinum card, charge anywhere from $50 to $150 more a year.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card offers and the value of the U.S. Bank U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Rewards points you earn.
The Altitude Reserve offers a 50,000-points sign-up bonus after spending $4,500 within the first three months of being a card member. Points are worth 1.5 cents each when they are redeemed for certain travel purchases, and they’re worth one cent each toward other redemptions. This means that the sign-up bonus is worth between $500 and $750, depending on how you use it.
Unlike other premium travel credit cards, these points are not transferrable to airline and hotel partners; you have to redeem your points through U.S. Bank. You’ll also receive up to $325 in annual travel credits that can be used for purchases made directly from airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise lines.
What You Get
- Earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months
- $325 annual travel credit
- Annual Priority Pass Select membership for free lounge access
- TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee reimbursement
- Triple points for travel purchases and mobile wallet spending
- 12 complimentary Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes annually
Your points won’t expire as long as you keep your Altitude Reserve account open. If you decide that you would like to close your account, you should first redeem all of your points. If you don’t redeem your points before account closing, you will lose them.
What is the value of the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Rewards Points?
Altitude points are always worth between one cent each and 1.5 cents each, depending on how you redeem them. Of course you should try to get 1.5 cents each from your points, and that’s pretty easy to do! You simply need to redeem your points for eligible travel purchases. Eligible travel purchases include flights, hotels and car rentals booked through the U.S. Bank Rewards Center. If you use your points to offset any other purchases, you will get one cent per point.
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile (CPM) is a way to measure the value of miles or points. It tells you how many cents you get for each mile or point you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket by the number of miles or points the award flight costs. That amount is multiplied by the number of miles or points earned per dollar spent on everyday purchases to account for cards that earn more than one mile per dollar spent.
How we calculate CPM:
The Best Ways to Redeem Altitude™ Reserve Points
The best way to redeem your Altitude points is through U.S. Bank’s Rewards Center. Flights, hotels and car rentals can be booked through the website and will offer the full 1.5 cents per point. If you’re looking for a way to travel and use as few points as possible, you should look for dates that offer the cheapest cash prices as that will correlate to spending fewer points. If you redeem your points for any other purchases, they will be worth only one cent each.
Atlanta–Fort LauderdaleEconomy classMiles price9,849pointsDollars price$147
Washington–Los AngelesEconomy classMiles price22,579pointsDollars price$337
Washington–HonoluluEconomy classMiles price66,598pointsDollars price$994
Miami–LimaEconomy classMiles price35,309pointsDollars price$527
San Francisco–SeoulEconomy classMiles price81,137pointsDollars price$1,211
Las Vegas–San JoseEconomy classMiles price23,182pointsDollars price$346
Los Angeles–HonoluluBusiness classMiles price57,218pointsDollars price$854
Miami–HoustonBusiness classMiles price36,917pointsDollars price$551
Pittsburg–WashingtonBusiness classMiles price27,537pointsDollars price$411
Washington–ParisBusiness classMiles price215,338pointsDollars price$3,214
New York–MoscowBusiness classMiles price199,794pointsDollars price$2,982
New York–Punta CanaBusiness classMiles price59,362pointsDollars price$886
Other ways you can redeem points
Hotel StaysAny partnersAny part.
Like airfare, you can book hotel stays through the travel center or redeem points for credits that can be applied to your account after booking.
Car RentalAny partnersAny part.
Car rentals are also available through the U.S. Bank rewards center. If you don’t see an option you like, you can book through whatever resource you like and redeem for a statement credit afterwards.
Even though the Altitude Reserve is marketed as a travel rewards card, the rewards earned are effectively cash back. Points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each toward travel booked through U.S. Bank or 1 cent each toward any other purchase.
You can use your points to book flights through the U.S. Bank travel center and get a value of 1.5 cents each. Alternatively, you could redeem points for statement credits that can be applied to any purchase, including travel, at one cent each.
The Altitude Reserve card offers some good options for everyday earning. You’ll be able to earn three points per dollar spent on travel, which includes airfare, hotels and more, as well as three points per dollar for any mobile wallet purchase. Mobile wallet purchases include any purchases in any category made with Samsung Pay, Apply Pay, Microsoft Wallet or Android Pay. Mobile wallet purchases can be made in person, in an app or online, but they must be processed through a digital wallet. All other purchases earn one point per dollar spent.
- Car Rental
- All Other Purchases
Travel is defined broadly, but not everything will count. You can expect to earn three points per dollar spent on purchases made directly with airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, taxis, limos and cruise lines. Purchases made with tour operators and other things related to travel may only earn one point per dollar, depending on how the merchant is coded.
Since the Altitude Reserve is a premium credit card, it comes with many awesome premium benefits.
Annual Travel Credit
$325 in annual travel credits that can be used to offset the cost of airfare, hotels, car rentals and more.
Stay connected with 12 complimentary Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes per year.
Cardmembers receive one statement credit ($85 for TSA PreCheck or $100 for Global Entry) for application fees every four years.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
Use your Altitude card while traveling abroad and you won’t have to worry about paying additional fees.
Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership to more than 1,000 VIP lounges worldwide. Membership includes four free visits for the cardholder and a guest. Additional visits cost $27 per person.
Earn Elite Status Fast
The Altitude Reserve card does not offer the option to earn elite status with any airline or hotel loyalty program.
Fees: the cost of Having the Card
The Altitude Reserve does have a pretty high $400 annual fee, so some spending is required in order to cover this. Without taking into consideration the $325 in travel credits, if you make $26,667 in purchases a year, you’ll cover the cost of the card. That’s because you’ll earn at least 26,667 points, and they’re worth 1.5 cents each. If you spend about $2,000 a month, you’ll pay off the card in 14 months.
If you take into consideration the fact that $325 in travel expenses can be reimbursed, it’s essentially a $75 annual fee. In order to cover this, you’ll only need to spend $5,000 on your card within a year to cover the cost. And all of that is assuming that you’re getting only one point per dollar and not spending in any bonus categories.
Since the sign-up bonus is 50,000 points, worth between $500 and $750, you will more than cover the annual fee the first year, even if you never spend a dollar on the card after meeting the minimum spending requirement.
- Annual Fee
- Balance Transfer Fee
Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
- Foreign Transaction Fee
- Late Payment Fee
- Up to $38
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $8,889 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings you’ll get with the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite. Is the card worth getting, and should you keep it after you get the sign-up bonus? Let’s find out.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
There’s a lot to love about the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card, including the annual travel credit, global entry fee credit and more. Here are the top 5 benefits.
- $325 Annual Travel Credit: Right away you can get back most of the annual fee in the form of travel credits. Eligible travel purchases include flights, hotel stays, car rentals and more. Up to $325 will automatically be reimbursed each card member year.
- Big Sign-Up Bonus: The 50,000-points sign-up bonus is worth between $500 and $750, depending on how you redeem it.
- Great Earning Potential: You can earn 3 Altitude points per dollar on travel and purchases made through mobile wallets.
- Lounge Access: Get four free entries to any of the 1,000+ Priority Pass lounges worldwide. If you want more, it will cost only $27 per visit.
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee Credit: Every four years, you can apply for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and have your application fee reimbursed.
Should You Get the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card?
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card is a little different than most premium travel rewards cards, but that’s a good thing. It offers a generous sign-up bonus, good rewards for everyday spending, lounge access, an annual travel credit, a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee credit and more.
It basically has all of the benefits of other premium credit cards except for the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel programs. While this does take away some of the options for using points compared with those other cards, it also means that the Altitude Reserve offers simpler redemptions which will save you time and hassle when it comes time to plan your trip.
The Altitude Reserve makes the most sense for someone who doesn’t already have premium travel rewards card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Amex Platinum, particularly if they want additional travel benefits at a slightly lower price tag. The Altitude Reserve also makes sense for someone who makes a lot of purchases through a mobile wallet.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
You’ll need a very good to excellent credit score to be approved for the Altitude Reserve. Most applicants who are approved indicate that they have a credit score of at least 740. U.S. Bank will evaluate your entire application, not just your credit score, in determining whether or not to approve you.
No, you cannot transfer your Altitude points to partners. You can only redeem your points through U.S. Bank toward travel at a rate of 1.5 cents per point or against any other purchase for a value of one cent per point.
At this time, the Altitude Reserve does not offer the Visa Signature airline discount benefit, but that has not been ruled out for a benefit to be added in the future.
No, no foreign transaction fees will be charged on purchases you make with your Altitude Reserve Visa card.
No, authorized users will not get their own Priority Pass Membership. This means that they will need to pay $27 for each visit to a Priority Pass lounge if they are not accompanied by the primary cardholder.
The primary car rental coverage works in most countries worldwide, but a few countries are excluded. You will not have car rental coverage in Israel, Jamaica, Ireland or Northern Ireland.
Compare U.S. Bank Travel Cards
If you’re not yet sold on all of the premium benefits that are offered by the Altitude Reserve, take a look at a couple of other U.S. Bank cards to see if they’re a better fit. Two other options are the SKYPASS Visa Signature and the Aeromexico Visa Signature. Both of these cards offer the ability to earn miles with a specific airline program, Korean Air or Aeromexico.
Other Altitude™ Reserve cards
As already mentioned, you lose the premium travel benefits if you decide to go for the SKYPASS or Aeromexico cards. Both of these cards have an $80 annual fee, and the SKYPASS card waives the annual fee the first year. Both cards offer sign-up bonuses: 20,000 miles from the SKYPASS card and 15,000 miles from the Aeromexico card.
While both cards will give you the ability to redeem miles for flights, you will lose a lot of flexibility because you will only be able to redeem on the specific airlines and their partners. You also won’t be able to redeem miles for hotel nights or car rentals. Overall, the SKYPASS and AeroMexico cards are both decent cards, but they are much more limited than the Altitude Reserve.
|SKYPASS Visa Signature® Card||AeroMexico Visa Signature® Card|
|Sign-up bonus||15,000 miles||50,000 points||20,000 miles|
|Annual Fee||$80||$400||$0 first year, then $80|
|APR On Purchases||14.24% to 21.24% Variable±||16.74% Variable±||14.24% to 24.24% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$360||$358||$280|
Compare Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card to Other Cards
In addition to looking at the Altitude Reserve, it makes sense to consider other premium travel cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige and Platinum Card from American Express. All of these cards offer premium travel benefits, including lounge access, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit,and an annual travel credit. They also all have high annual fees between $400 and $550.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve℠
50,000 points offerRead Review
- Citi Prestige® Card
Complimentary 4th night stay offerRead Review
- Platinum Card® from American Express
60,000 points offerRead Review
All of the other cards mentioned here offer the ability to transfer points directly to airlines and hotel programs. This can lead to more options and better value for your points, but it does introduce a significant level of complexity when it comes time to redeem rewards.
All of the cards have good sign-up bonuses as well. The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 50,000 points, the Citi Prestige offers 0 points and the Platinum Card from American Express offers a 60,000 points sign-up bonus.
The Altitude Reserve card is a better option if you are looking for travel benefits with more simplicity, but if you are okay spending more time on your redemptions, it’s definitely worth considering these other premium credit cards, too.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this Visa Infinite card.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 16.74% Variable±
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 24 - 30 days
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 24.74% Variable ±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either 4% of the amount of each advance or $10 minimum, whichever is greater.
Security and Protections
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve offers good security benefits, including EMV chip technology, a mobile banking app, and zero liability for unauthorized charges.
- Mobile Banking:
- Track your account with the mobile app while you’re on the go.
- EMV Chip + Signature Technology:
- Get global acceptance and enhanced security at merchants that use chip enabled terminals.
- 24/7 Fraud Monitoring:
- Get peace of mind with 24/7 fraud monitoring and ID theft protection.
The Altitude Reserve offers a mobile banking app so you can check your spending while you’re on the go. The card is also compatible with Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Microsoft Wallet. And remember that you’ll earn three points per dollar for any purchases made through a mobile wallet.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
The Altitude Reserve offers additional benefits that can come in handy, particularly when you travel.
Visa Signature Travel Benefits
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- Coverage for theft and collision for most rentals in the U.S. and abroad. Coverage is primary, meaning that you don’t need to make a claim against your personal car insurance first.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement:
- Get up to $3,000 per passenger for lost bags. Coverage includes the cardholder and immediate family members on the same travel itinerary.
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption Coverage:
- Up to $2,000 when a trip is cancelled or interrupted for a covered reason.
- Trip Delay Coverage:
- Up to $500 per ticket when a purchased trip is delayed by more than 6 hours.
- Medical Evacuation Coverage:
- Up to $10,000 in benefits if you need to be medically evacuated.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- Receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000 for any air, bus, train or cruise ship transportation paid for with your card.