Initial Thoughts: Two Weeks With the US Bank Altitude Reserve Card

Initial Thoughts: Two Weeks With the US Bank Altitude Reserve Card

I don’t have a financial relationship with US Bank so I’m simply sharing my personal experience with the US Bank Altitude Reserve card.

Well it’s been just a bit over two weeks since I received my US Bank Altitude Reserve Card in the mail. And I’ve had plenty of spend time with it already. The overall summary is that I’m really liking the US Bank Altitude Reserve! It’s allowing me to earn loads of bonus points with merchants that I wasn’t able to earn before.

Compared to other premium cards, there wasn’t as much fanfare about the US Bank Altitude Reserve. One reason may be that this card is currently only available to customers who have and existing banking relationship with US Bank. I qualified for the initial applications since I have a very old credit card with US Bank that I’ve kept for years.

The US Bank Altitude Reserve earns “Altitude” points that can be redeemed for 1.5 cents per point on travel redemptions and 1 cent per point on non-travel redemptions. Travel redemptions clearly represent the best redemption value. Plus airline tickets purchased with Altitude points will be considered to be paid tickets by the airlines so you’ll earn elite-qualifying and redeemable miles (but be sure to check each arilines’ rules!)

The top perks that make this card stand out for personally:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points worth when you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3X points for every $1 on eligible net travel purchases and mobile wallet spending (includes ApplePay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Microsoft Wallet)
  • Up to $325 Annual Statement Credits
  • 12 complimentary Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi passes per year

Plus a few benefits that are nice, but I already have through other cards:

  • Complimentary 12-month Priority Pass™ Select membership to more than 1,000 VIP lounges worldwide
  • Up to $100 statement credit to reimburse your application fee once every four years.
  • 24/7 with fraud monitoring, ID Theft Protection, Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Coverage and more

The mobile wallet bonus category is competitive perk that I’m not aware has existed before with a major credit card. I’ve had an Amex Card stored in my Apple Wallet but I rarely ever used Apple Pay. But with the US Bank Altitude Reserve card, I find myself researching which stores take ApplePay. ApplePay is becoming more widely available but it’s not everywhere. And while many stores accept it at the register, some may only accept Apple Pay online or in their mobile app.

Here’s a few quirky ways I’m using Apple Pay to maximize by

  • Buying items on Target mobile app, using ApplePay and picking up in store to earn 3X points rather than 1X points in-store at the register. Target does not take ApplePay in store.
  • Reloading my Starbucks gift cards manually via ApplePay in the Starbucks app instead of auto-reloading to earn 3X points.
  • Shopping in Safari vs Chrome to use Apple Pay in-browser for online shopping

I don’t have a card that earns more than 2X on grocery purchases but my go-to grocery stores are Sprouts and Trader Joe’s. Both accept ApplePay. I’m now earning 3X points rather than 2X points with the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card at grocery stores.

With the US Bank Altitude Reserve Card, the $325 annual travel credit is automatically applied to purchases that are categorized as travel. Per US Bank, travel includes “purchases made directly with airlines, hotels, car rentals, taxicabs, limousines, passenger trains and cruise line companies”. I paid a resort fee at a hotel in LA recently and the travel credit posted within 2 days of the original transaction posting.

So How Do I Like the US Bank Altitude Reserve Card After Two Weeks?



So How Do I Like the US Bank Altitude Reserve Card After Two Weeks?


There’s still a few answered questions with the US Bank Altitude Reserve like when applications will open up to applicants without an existing US Bank relationship. Also, other Infinite Visa cards offer a $100 rebate on airline ticket purchases. Will that be perk be offered in the future?

The annual fee of the US Bank Altitude Reserve is $400. Do your own calculations on this one but the 12 GoGo passes and $325 annual travel credit pay for the car on it’s own in my book. I’m enjoying this new card in my wallet, generating a fair share of points is another points currency to diversify my points portfolio. Diversity and flexibility with your points is always a good strategy!

Do you have the US Bank Altitude Reserve? What do you think so far? Or do you plan to apply when the applications open up to new US Bank customers? Would love to hear your thoughts below!

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