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’d like to get in on the travel rewards game, this card is in the running with the likes of the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture card, but for a lower annual fee. It comes with many of the same travel perks, but it may be even better suited than the Sapphire Preferred for people who spend a lot on restaurants because it offers better rewards on dining spending. Its rewards for prepaid hotel and rental car reservations are also a lot more generous.
Excellent rewards-earning rates on a lot of purchases
TSA Precheck or Global Entry fee reimbursement
Mediocre sign-up bonus
No airline or hotel transfer partners
- Excellent rewards-earning rates on a lot of purchases: The top earning rate, 5 points, for prepaid hotels and car rentals booked through the FlexPerks platform, is higher than what any other card in its class offers. Additionally, earning 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants and 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations also makes this a great card for everyday use. Furthermore, travelers can also enjoy 2 points per dollar on airline purchases.
- TSA Precheck or Global Entry credit: If you use your US Bank FlexPerks Gold Amex card to pay for your TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee, you’ll receive a statement credit for the full cost within six to eight weeks. You can use this benefit once every five years.
- Mediocre bonus: The bonus for new cardholders is ho-hum compared with some competitors’ offerings, though this bonus is somewhat easier to earn. (More on this below).
- No airline or hotel transfer partners: Some travel card programs allow you to transfer your points to travel partners’ loyalty programs, which can boost their value significantly. But this card doesn’t have that option.
The welcome offer that comes with the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold Amex isn’t as high as some other cards: You’ll get 30,000 bonus FlexPoints (worth up to $450 toward travel). Some rivals have bonuses worth much more than that amount.
You only have to spend $2,000 on the card to earn the bonus, and US Bank offers you a generous amount of time to complete the spending requirement: a full four months, instead of the normal three months that most other rewards cards allow.
Earning Points & Rewards
The card offers 5 points per $1 spent on prepaid car or hotel reservations made on the Rewards Center site, which is exceptional for this rewards card category. And if you’re an avid foodie, you might really be able to make bank with this card because it offers 3 FlexPerks points for every dollar you spend with restaurants.
You can also earn 2 FlexPoints per dollar spent at gas stations and on airlines. However, this only applies to purchases made directly with the airlines, so if you buy a ticket on a website like Expedia or Booking.com, that won’t count. Everything else you buy with the card will earn 1 FlexPoint per dollar spent.
As the name suggests, you can redeem your FlexPoints balance for a wide range of items:
- Travel booked through the FlexPerks Reward Center
- Merchandise such as clothing or electronics
- Gift cards for leading restaurants and retailers
- Statement credit
Redeeming your points for travel is the most lucrative option, given that each FlexPerk point is worth 1.5 cents when redeemed using this method. US Bank has a partner network of 150 travel companies, including airlines, hotels, and rental car agencies, where you can redeem your points. The limiting factor is that you can only redeem the points to purchase travel with these partners through U.S. Bank and you cannot transfer the points to the loyalty programs of these partners.
If you choose to redeem your points for any of the other redemption options, they’ll only be worth 1 cent each. You can redeem your points by logging into US Bank’s Online Banking platform.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
The best way to maximize the value you get from this card is to use it for all of your prepaid hotel, rental car, restaurant, gas, and airline purchases because that’s where you’ll get the most rewards points.
At the same time, try to avoid redeeming your rewards for anything other than travel, because all of your other options are worth about a third less.
If you’re looking to redeem your rewards for cash back, you might consider pairing this card with another one that earns a flat 1.5% on every kind of purchase. Then you could use this card for purchases that earn extra points, and the cash-back card for everything else.
US Bank’s Excellent Perks
One of the best things about this card is that it comes jam-packed with plenty of especially juicy perks. For perks covering specific purchases or trips, make sure to use your card to pay in order to qualify for these benefits.
- Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: You’ll get a statement credit for the cost of your application for one of these programs every five years.
- Insurance coverage for lost luggage: If your luggage is lost, you can file a claim for up to $1,000 through this insurance policy.
US Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express’s Other Features
- Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other service.
- Discounts off hotels, cruises, car rentals, and Delta flights when booked through Amex Connect
- Extended warranties
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Roadside assistance hotline
- Sports, music, and event ticket presales
Despite its grand-sounding name, US Bank is still a relatively small player as far as credit cards go. You can expect basic customer services offerings from them. At least compared to other national card issuers, customers seem to have a bit of a low opinion of the bank. J.D. Power ranked U.S. Bank 10th out of 11 national card issuers in the 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.
The US Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express card comes with many of the same industry-standard security features as other credit cards, such as encryption and firewall control. It also offers a risk-free guarantee that protects you from being held liable if hackers access your account via online banking or mobile apps. This is in addition to American Express’s no-fraud liability guarantee that won’t hold you accountable for fraudulent purchases.
You’ll also get access to up to $2,500 toward reimbursement for identity theft losses through American Express. US Bank does not, however, go above and beyond in this department by offering things like free credit monitoring, free virtual card numbers, or the ability to lock your card through the mobile app, as with many other card issuers do.
Fees to Watch Out For
This card doesn’t come with a foreign transaction fee, in case you happen to venture abroad, but remember: American Express isn’t as widely accepted abroad as Visa and MasterCard. That’s why this card is best used for domestic travel, or left at home if you do go outside the country.
- Ongoing Annual Fee: $85
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
- Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is more.
- Ongoing Balance Transfer APR: 14.49%-24.49%
- Authorized User Fee: N/A
- Returned Payment Fee: Up to $40
- Late Payment Fee: Up to $40
- Penalty APR: N/A
- Cash Advance APR: 25.99%
- Cash Advance Fee: 5% of the amount or $10, whichever is more, depending on how you receive the cash advance
- Minimum Finance Charge: $2, but only if you are charged interest at all
- Overlimit Fee: N/A
- Credit Limit Increase Fee: N/A
- Inactive Account Fee: N/A
- Account Maintenance Fee: N/A