US Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card Review. Easiest Spending Category Ever!

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us bank altitude reserve
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I recently applied for the US Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card. Instead of an approval, my application went pending and was told I would receive a notice within 7-10 days. Rather than wait, I called the underwriting department the next day. After answering a couple of questions, I was approved! As a current banking customer with US Bank, I was excited to expand my relationship with them. Because the miles I will earn are so valuable, the Altitude card is now taking the place of my Costco Anytime Visa Card! I’ll explain why I did this in my review of the card.

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US Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card Review

The US Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card is a great card for those looking to earn travel rewards without the usual hassle.

The US Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card currently has a 50,000 bonus point offer after spending $4,500 in the first 3 months. Since the points have a fixed value of 1.5 cents each when redeeming for travel, these points alone are worth $750. This is beneficial as it takes the question out of what the points are worth.

Along with the healthy signup bonus, the categories are some of the easiest to earn even more on! Cardholders earn 3x points per dollar on travel purchases and mobile wallet purchases. That means that you can spend on any product at any store to earn 3x as long as they accept mobile wallet for payment. With the fixed value of 1.5 cents per point, you are earning 4.5 cents per dollar in points on these purchases! That is an incredible value!

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US Bank Altitude Reserve Annual Fee

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The US Bank Altitude Reserve is a premium credit card with a $400 annual fee. But don’t fret, you can make that back easily!

Most premium credit cards have high annual fees like the American Express Platinum Card. And many make it difficult to earn the annual fee back.

The US Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card has a $400 annual fee. However, you’ll receive a $325 annual credit towards travel! If you are even a semi-regular traveler, this is easy to spend over an entire year. According to US Bank, travel is defined as “such as purchases made directly with airlines, hotels, car rentals, taxicabs, limousines, passenger trains, and cruise line companies”.

Once you accomplish that spending, the annual fee nets out to $75!

Along with this, the card comes with perks like…

  • 12 complimentary GoGo in-flight WiFi passes per year.
  • Complimentary 12-month Priority Pass Select Membership.
  • TSA PreCheck/Global Entry $100 statement credit every 4 years.
  • GroundLink Black Car Service discounts
  • SilverCar discounts

US Bank Altitude Reserve – The Unique Rule

However, there is one large caveat to apply for this card. You must have a relationship with US Bank if you want to get approved.

This can be done in a number of ways. My wife and I currently have a checking & savings account with them. Here are the other ways you can establish a relationship with US Bank.

  • Checking & savings
  • Another credit card
  • Auto Loans
  • Investment relationships
  • Certificate of Deposit
  • Mortgage

Be sure to give time from establishing a relationship to applying for this card. It can take anywhere from 5-35 days.

US Bank Altitude Reserve – Card Delivery

Premium credit card issuers tend to deliver your card in a luxury manner. Once I was approved, the card was expedited and arrived about 3 days later.

When I opened the package, I was welcomed with a well-designed box.

us bank altitude reserve

It came with the basic terms & conditions paperwork and some info about the perks of the card.

us bank altitude reserve

The coolest part is that the gray booklet you see above is essentially a ‘how to’ guide on how to earn and redeem points & perks. I find this extremely helpful instead of searching online for an answer.

Overall, well done by US Bank.

US Bank Altitude Reserve Card – Why I’m Getting Rid of My Costco Anytime Card

The Costco Anytime Card with no annual fee has been a staple in my wallet. When it was introduced, I was in the need of a cash back card as my finances were pretty strapped. Now, my finances are much more flexible and earning points is much more valuable to me.

Since Costco accepts mobile wallet payments, my Costco card now lives in my sock drawer. I use my Google Pixel 3 Phone to pay with my US Bank Altitude Reserve Card to earn 3x points per dollar. With a value of up to 1.5 cents per point, that equates to 4.5 cents per dollar spent. This trumps the 4% cash back on gas, 3% on dining and eligible travel, and 2% at Costco with the Costco Visa card.

There is one wrinkle to my new strategy. When I want to purchase gas at Costco, I have to go inside and purchase a gift card because the gas pumps do not take mobile payment yet.

The Bald Thoughts

This US Bank Altitude Reserve Card is definitely one to save in your wallet, especially if you are a Costco shopper. Earning 4.5 cents in fixed value with US Bank is a huge value that is hard to beat.

You can learn more about this card and apply in our credit card marketplace.

What is your go-to card for everyday spend? Do you use mobile payments instead of carrying around extra credit cards? Let us know in the comments below!


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13 COMMENTS

  1. I believe the Costco Visa only gets 4% on gas. I think it gets 2% at Costco. If you have access to Mobile Payments the AR is the best card at Costco. If not, the BoA Cash Rewards with Preferred Rewards is a strong contender. 2-3.5% back at Costco with no annual fee.

    • You are correct. We’ll update the post to clarify that it is 4% on gas (up to $7000 per year), 3% on restaurants and eligible travel, 2% at Costco, and 1% everywhere else. The BofA Cash Rewards with Preferred level status is a solid choice for people that have enough assets to qualify.

      The argument for the Altitude in Year 2 (just like most cards with annual fees) is a bit muddier the second year without the signup bonus. But, with a net fee of only $75 ($400 minus $325 travel credits), getting 4.5% on all mobile payments makes the math work in your favor pretty easily. And that’s without including any of the perks of the card.

  2. Altitude Reserve is by far the card I use the most. I use mobile payments pretty much everywhere with Samsung Pay, so the $75 fee is more than worth it.

  3. Also pretty easy to redeem the points with real-time mobile rewards. Only thing I don’t like is that (at least to best of my recollection) there is a minimum for redeeming on rental cars and hotels that i frequently don’t hit. But Uber/Lyft count for the redemption side at value of $0.015 per point which is nice plus. Another thing I’m not a huge fan of is when booking flights for more than one person trying to use the mobile rewards, the carriers typically split them into individual charges (so family of 4 would be 4 separate credit card charges) – thus you get 4 texts back to back and can only redeem points for 1 of the 4. If anyone has found a way around that, let me know.

    • Thanks for sharing. I didn’t realize that there was a minimum redemption for rental cars and hotels. If other readers have any data points to share, please reply to this thread.

      Hmmm, that’s tricky about the flight reimbursements. There has to be a way around it. Can you only redeem via text? I would think there should be a way to do so via customer service or the website.

    • Any time you’re booking more than one flight, it’s probably worth it to purchase through the AR travel portal. I learned that the hard way the first time too and could only redeem real time rewards for the second text message I received. It’s not as big of an issue now that you can book points and cash instead of all points or nothing.

    • Mobile pay is becoming more and more common. On my Google wallet, it will tell me the local businesses that accept Google Pay.

      However, for sit down restaurants, I use the Amex Gold Card as it earns me 4x per dollar which is roughly worth 8 cents per dollar. A much better value.

      I mainly will only be using my Altitude for general spending, and of course the $325 travel credit.

      • Thanks Brett! I currently use Amex for ~ 80% of my spend…I agree…the Gold Card is a great choice for dining. Downloading the app called “Locator for A Pay” to see if that will help. Also just discovered that the Maps app on my iPhone shows whether a location accepts Apple Pay in the details section. Pretty cool! And now that I’m in the app…only around 8 locations near me use Apple Pay (ouch). Gotta give it a few more years. The US has been quite slow to adopt payment tech…chip cards were in Europe / Asia for *years* before we caught on!

        • Yeah, mobile pay is moving slowly, but gaining speed. Apple and Google want to dominate the payment environment. They may ultimately make a play to eliminate banks from the equation once the market gets big enough and they have the ability to throw money at the problem. Imagine the revenue by eliminating the middleman.

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