U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card Review

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The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card is a competitive travel credit card with a good mix of high rewards rates and other perks to make up for the annual fee. But when it comes to redeeming your rewards, this card may be better for casual credit card users who aren't looking to maximize the value of their points.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card

Overall Rating
4.2
U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first 12 months, after that $95.
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5X points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center, earn 4X points on travel and at gas stations, earn 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining and streaming services, and earn 1X point on all other eligible purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.3
for Fees
2.8
for Rewards
4.3
for Credit
2.2
Current Offer

Earn up to 50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 120 days. That's a $500 value redeemable towards merchandise, gift cards, cash back, travel and more.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker

The Altitude Connect card offers an impressive array of bonus rewards categories, and frequent travelers will earn a minimum of 4 points per dollar on their travel-related purchases (you'll be hard-pressed to find that rate on all travel purchases anywhere else), and 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center. And with a reasonable annual fee and annual perks to help make up for it, you don't need to be serious about rewards to make the card worth it.

You'll need to have good or excellent credit to get approved for the card.

It also provides flexibility in terms of rewards value compared with some other travel credit cards. But with no transfer partners, the savviest travel rewards enthusiasts may end up passing.

Pros
  • Rewards rates are impressive

  • Ongoing benefits help soften the blow of the annual fee

  • Points are worth 1 cent apiece across the board

Cons
  • No transfer partners

Pros Explained

  • Rewards rates are impressive: It's not uncommon for a card to offer up to a 5% rewards rate, even on select travel purchases. But among travel credit cards, very few will give you at least 4% back on every eligible travel purchase you make.
  • Ongoing benefits help soften the blow of the annual fee: The annual fee is $95 after the first year, but you can get up to $30 back for streaming-service purchases—if you meet the requirements—and up to $100 once every five years if you use the card to apply for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
  • Points are worth 1 cent apiece across the board: Many travel credit cards give you a good rewards rate for travel redemptions, but if you want cash, merchandise, or something else, you may not get that same rate. With this card, you get the same rate regardless of how you redeem your points.

Cons Explained

  • No transfer partners: Several other travel rewards programs allow you to transfer your points to airline or hotel partners, giving you more flexibility with how you use them. Savvy card users can even get more value out of their rewards this way. U.S. Bank doesn't have any transfer partners, giving experienced travel hackers fewer options.

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card Bonus for New Cardholders

The Altitude Connect card offers 50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 120 days—four months. That's a month longer than what you get with most credit card welcome bonuses. That means you only have to spend $750 per month, on average, to get your bonus points.

The bonus is worth $500, regardless of how you redeem your points. Among other mid-tier travel credit cards, that's good enough, but it doesn't compete with the highest flyers on the market.

Earning Points & Rewards

The Altitude Connect card's strongest suit is its earning rates. Cardholders will earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center; 4 points per dollar on travel and at gas stations; 2 points per dollar at grocery stores and on grocery delivery, dining, and streaming services; and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Some other credit cards offer 5 points per dollar on select—or even all—travel booked through the card issuer's travel portal. But it's among the very best for general travel purchases, as well as gas station purchases.

Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) spending data for 2019, the average American could expect to earn at least 27,504 rewards points (worth $275) if they used this card to make all of their travel, gas, dining, and grocery purchases:

BLS Spend (2019) Earnings Rate Points Earned
Travel* $1,742 4x 6,968
Gas $2,094 2x 4,198
Dining out $3,526 2x 7,052
Grocery $4,643 2x 9,286

*Travel includes “Other lodging” and “Public and other transportation” BLS categories

Note that the above does not include spending in the base 1% earning category, nor does it include travel bookings made via U.S. Bank, both of which will push cardholder earnings higher.

Redeeming Rewards

The card's point redemption options are relatively straightforward. You can use your points towards cash back, travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more, all at a rate of 1 cent per point. Just keep in mind that if you want cash back, you can only get it in the form of a statement credit or a direct deposit into a U.S. Bank checking or savings account; there's also a 2,500-point minimum redemption for cash.

Rewards cardholders should aim for a redemption value of at least 1 cent per point.

Among travel credit cards, it's uncommon to get the same redemption rate on everything, especially at 1 cent per point. In fact, American Express Membership Rewards doesn't even offer 1 cent per point with most of its redemption options, including travel.

However, the lack of transfer partners is a big disadvantage if you're the type of person who wants to squeeze as much value out of their rewards as possible.

How To Get the Most Out of This Card

If you're planning to book a hotel stay or rental car, you'll get an additional point per dollar if you use U.S. Bank's travel platform. Just make sure you compare prices with what you'd pay if you book directly with the hotel brand or car rental company. Also, check the cancellation policies; unlike airlines, hotel stays and car rentals may offer a discounted rate to prepay, but it's rarely required, so it's easier to cancel if you need to.

Beyond that, consider using the card in tandem with another travel credit card or even a cash-back credit card that offers more than 1% back as a base rewards rate. That way, you can ensure you're always getting at least 1.5% or 2% back on your purchases.

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card’s Excellent Perks

  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Cardholders will get a credit of up to $100 to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. This isn't a unique perk, but it's more common among premium cards that charge annual fees in the hundreds of dollars.
  • Annual streaming credit: For each 12-month period you have the card, you'll receive a $30 statement credit automatically when you've used your card to pay for 11 consecutive months' worth of eligible streaming services, such as Netflix or Apple Music.
  • Cellphone coverage: Like all other U.S. Bank credit cards, this one offers protection for your cellphone if you use the card to pay your wireless phone bill. You'll get up to $600 in coverage if your phone is damaged or stolen. All lines on your phone plan are included, but you can only file one claim per year. There's also a $100 deductible–and note that this coverage is secondary to any other cellphone insurance you may have.

If you're trying to decide between Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, keep in mind that Global Entry includes membership in both programs.

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card’s Other Features

  • Roadside dispatch
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
  • Sports, music, and event ticket presales, plus VIP access at some events

Customer Experience

U.S. Bank was ranked second to last in the 2020 J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study, finishing well below the average for the credit card industry. As a cardholder, you'll be able to contact the U.S.-based customer service team 24/7. You can manage your account using online banking or the U.S. Bank mobile app.

The bank provides access to your VantageScore credit score based on data from your TransUnion credit report. While credit score access is standard among major card issuers, U.S. Bank doesn't offer a FICO score, which is more widely used by lenders.

Security Features

The card offers security features that are standard for the industry. This includes contactless payments, the ability to lock your card from the mobile app if it's lost or stolen, and zero-liability fraud protection.

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card’s Fees

This card's fees are in line with other travel credit cards in its class. One thing to note is that the minimum interest charge if you carry a balance from month to month is $2. With a lot of other cards, that minimum is under $1, and many don't have a minimum at all.

Also, if you're considering a cash advance, note that the fee can be 3% or 5% of the advance amount, with a minimum of $5, $10, or $20, depending on the method of advance.

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CURRENT CARD
U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card
overall rating
4.2
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first 12 months, after that $95.
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5X points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center, earn 4X points on travel and at gas stations, earn 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining and streaming services, and earn 1X point on all other eligible purchases.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Consumer Expenditures Report 2019." Accessed July 26, 2021.

  2. U.S. Bank. "U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card Terms and Conditions." Accessed July 26, 2021.