The latest luxury credit card to join the fray is the “U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card,” which is expected to be released in early May, but already has a bit of hype behind it.
While U.S. Bank isn’t a major player in the credit card world, they do seem to recognize the value of getting more involved, with recent efforts such as their FlexPerks line.
But now they seem to want to go toe-to-toe with Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum with the release of this new high-end credit card.
Yes, it’s made of metal, and yes, it comes with an annual travel credit. And yes, it’s the color platinum. Oh, and it’s also a Visa Infinite card, similar to Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Crystal Visa from City National Bank.
What U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Offers
First off, it’s supposed to be released in May, so we’ll know more very soon. Secondly, it is expected to come with a 50,000-point sign-up bonus for spending $4,500 in the first 90 days from account opening.
The difference is that the spending requirement is an odd $4,500, which is slightly higher than the $4,000 on CSR, and slightly below the $5,000 on Amex Platinum. Looks like it found a nice little nook between the two…
Additionally, the yet-to-be-released U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card comes with a $325 annual travel credit, which is supposedly “automatic.”
That means it aligns more with the credit on CSR, which posts statement credits relatively instantly without cardmembers having to request a credit or sign up for anything (like Amex).
The credit is $325, which again is slightly higher than CSR’s $300, but a bit below the combined $400 annual credit from Amex Platinum for Uber and airline fees.
Still, if it’s flexible like the CSR credit, it’s a great value, especially with the fact that the annual fee on the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is only $400.
That’s $50 less than CSR and $150 less than the new, more expensive Amex Platinum.
You wind up with an effective annual fee of $75, which is pretty good for a luxury credit card. It’s half what CSR and Amex Platinum will set you back each year.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Will Offer 3X on Travel and Mobile Wallet Purchases
In terms of earning points, U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve will offer 3X points in two impressive categories, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere.
First, you’ll get 3X on all travel purchases, which ideally includes ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, along with UberEATS, hotels, airfare, etc.
Secondly, and this is potentially pretty huge, you’ll earn 3X points on mobile wallet purchases, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android.
Kind of reminds me of that amazing Discover Apple Pay promotion that allowed many savvy folks to earn thousands of dollars for some basic spending using an iPhone.
Does U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Come with Lounge Access?
One thing we don’t know yet is if the new U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve will come with complimentary airport lounge access, something the other two cards offer.
The speculation so far is that there should be some sort of comped Priority Pass membership, though that remains to be seen.
The other big question mark revolves around point transfers. Will U.S. Bank allow cardholders to transfer their points to airlines, similar to Chase and Amex?
Again, we don’t know yet but it’s doubtful unless U.S. Bank is making a major move into the travel partner game. In the meantime, you can get 1.5 cents per point when you redeem via the U.S. Bank travel portal, a feature also offered by Chase.
That values the sign-up bonus of 50,000 points at 75,000 points, but still leaves us wanting more, namely first class or business class airline tickets via transfer partners.
As you might expect, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card will also waive the foreign transaction fees and provide free Wi-Fi thanks to 12 free Gogo passes per year.
You’ll also get reimbursed for TSA Pre or Global Entry, just like the other cards mentioned.
It also comes with the other Visa Infinite benefits, such as $100 off domestic round-trip coach airfare, car rental discounts, primary car rental insurance, various trip insurance, extended warranty, and hotel upgrades.
Lastly, and this is a pretty important detail, it’s expected to only be available for existing U.S. Bank customers.
From my own personal experience, I know that U.S. Bank is a pretty conservative company, so they’re not going to let people apply (or get approved) willy-nilly.
That could also affect the size of credit limits…