Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
If you’re a U.S. Bank customer who loves to travel in style, the Altitude Reserve will help you do so, thanks to a long list of consumer benefits and travel perks. When you add up the value of a yearly travel credit and airline lounge access that comes with the card, you’ve already outearned the hefty annual fee (as long as you use those credits and benefits). The fee is also offset by a very generous sign-up bonus worth up to $750.
If you love using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay for transactions, you’ll like the fact that this card offers 3 points for every dollar you spend using those mobile wallets.
Since this is a higher-end card, it's recommended you have a great credit score before applying.
Big sign-up bonus
Yearly travel credit
Great VIP travel perks
Must be a U.S. Bank customer
No transfer partners
- Big sign-up bonus: Get up to $750 in value on travel purchases after meeting the spending requirement. No need to book through a special portal or with certain travel partners—just pay for your travel, and then redeem points for a statement credit.
- Yearly travel credit: Receive up to $325 back annually for travel-related purchases, including hotels, taxis, passenger trains, and cruise lines. If used, this credit alone almost covers your yearly fee.
- Great VIP travel perks: Airport lounge passes for the Priority Pass program, 12 passes a year for Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi, reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees, and no foreign transaction fees make this a great card for frequent international travel.
- Must be a U.S. Bank customer: If you already have a U.S. Bank account of any type (credit, checking, loan, etc.) or are willing to open an account at least five days before submitting an application, then this is no big deal. But since there are other similar travel rewards cards on the market, it may be too much of a hassle to open a bank account just so you can apply for this card.
- No transfer partners: Unlike other high-end travel rewards cards in which you can transfer your points 1:1 to airline and hotel partners, you can’t transfer points with this card. For travel hackers who like digging deep to find the best deals, this is a limitation. But if you don’t like to mess around with lots of redemption options all worth different amounts, consider the simplicity as more of a pro than a con.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card Sign-up Bonus
Spend $4,500 within three months of account opening to get 50,000 points, which is equivalent to $750 when used toward travel purchases. The bonus is on par with other cards in this category, giving you a great up-front reward, although you’ll find slight differences when it comes to minimum spend required and/or the annual fee on similar cards.
If spending $1,500 per month for the first three months seems steep, this level of card is probably not right for you. Cards with high annual fees typically require you to be a bigger spender if you want to truly get the most out of them. However, if you have expensive business travel coming up or another big trip requiring multiple reservations, it could work.
It will take approximately 6-8 weeks for your bonus points to be credited to your account.
Earning Points & Rewards
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card lets you earn higher rewards (3 points per dollar) for travel spending, or for any purchases made using your mobile wallet. All other purchases will earn 1 point per dollar. There is no limit on earnings, and points don’t expire.
Important: You must keep your account in good standing to earn and redeem points. If you are five days or more past due at the close of your billing period, you won’t earn points for that period.
This card is made for travel rewards, and that’s where you’ll find the most value. Your points are worth 1.5 cents each when you use them for a statement credit against travel you purchase with the card. You have to book directly with airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains, and cruise lines, and then ask U.S. Bank to redeem points to offset those purchases. You should see the amount credited to your account within three business days.
There are some rules to be aware of when redeeming points for travel, such as a $250 minimum purchase amount when redeeming points toward a car rental, and a $500 minimum for lodging.
In a pinch, you can redeem points for cash back (starting at a minimum of 5,000 points), gift cards, or merchandise. If you do so, each point is only worth 1 cent.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Earning the sign-up bonus for a quick 50,000 points is the first challenge. Pay your balance in full each month, so finance charges don’t negate your hard-earned points. When spending, use your mobile wallet to score 3 points per dollar on everyday purchases across categories.
From there, take the time to register and use the great travel benefits that come with this card, or you’ll be leaving value on the table—a costly proposition when considering the annual fee.
This card would pair nicely with a hotel or airline card if you’re loyal to a particular brand (and have the means to pay multiple annual fees). Use the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card rewards to save on trip aspects not tied to a loyalty program, while working toward elite status on your other card.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card’s Excellent Perks
There are lots of potential benefits offered by credit cards, but some stand out for their exceptional value. The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card offers four perks our editors have deemed “excellent”:
- Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: Get a statement credit for either the $85 application fee for TSA Precheck or the $100 application fee for Global Entry once every four years.
- Airport lounge access: Enroll in the 12-month Priority Pass Select program (worth $99) and receive four airport VIP lounge passes and four guest passes.
- Insurance coverage for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay: This benefit can help reimburse your air travel and other eligible transportation ($2,000/trip maximum). Delay-related expense reimbursement ($500 maximum per ticket) kicks in after a 6+ hour flight delay, or a delay requiring an overnight stay. Finally, you’re also covered for lost or delayed luggage.
- Travel accident insurance and emergency medical benefits: You and your family are covered with accidental death and dismemberment insurance. You can be reimbursed for covered expenses not paid by your medical insurance, as well as emergency evacuation and transportation expenses.
To activate these benefits, the entire purchase/covered trip must be paid for using your U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card’s Other Features
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card has a slew of additional perks, but some (such as the inflight Wi-Fi and car service discounts) do require enrollment.
- Extended warranties: Get one additional year on warranties of three years or less, up to a maximum of $10,000 per claim.
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Refund when merchant won’t accept the returned item
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
- Travel and emergency hotline
- Roadside assistance hotline
U.S. Bank earned just an “About Average” rating in the 2018 J.D. Power credit card customer satisfaction survey. However, cardholders have 24/7 access to U.S.-based customer service, as well as a mobile app and online banking. Those who enroll in online banking can also access their free TransUnion credit score.
Most security features on this card are standard, but there are a couple of things that stand out. First, if you lose your wallet while traveling, you can get a replacement card or emergency cash within 24-48 hours. Then, there’s a cool fraud monitoring feature: Allowing the mobile app to access your phone's location permits U.S. Bank to verify when your phone and your U.S. Bank Visa credit card are near each other (and when they aren’t), adding another measure for spotting unusual activity.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card’s Fees
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card has the typical fees you’d find among similar cards. Other than the large annual fee, however, the others can be avoided with responsible credit behavior.