U.S. Bank: New Premium Travel Card for 2017

U.S. Bank will be launching a premium credit card to compete with the American Express Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige. Looking over the details of this new card we are impressed with the 3x rewards on travel and 3x points on mobile wallet. The new U.S. Bank card will be available only to current banking customers at first and will offer a competitive bonus offer. We hope to see a public launch soon.

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Card Bonus Offer:
Earn 50,000 points after $4,500 in spend during the first 90 days. $400 annual fee.

  • 3X points on travel
  • 3X points on all mobile wallet purchases
  • 1X on everything else
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Card Features/Benefits

Just like all of the other Visa Infinite Benefit cards it will be a luxurious metallic card. Metallic is definitely the new “black card“.

Points are worth 1.5 cents each when you redeem for travel through the US Bank portal. You get 12 free Gogo passes per year and pay No foreign transaction fees with the Global Entry fee credit waived.

The steep annual fee of $400 can be made up for with a yearly $325 travel credit. This could be a bonus worth $750 in travel spend and 3X earnings on all mobile wallet purchases.

Cash Plus 5% Back Quarterly Categories

US_Bank_Cash_VisaOne of my favorite cards from last year was the U.S. Bank Cash Plus Card which let us pick from two 5% categories each quarter and then an extra 2% back categories on top of that.  The card has changed its terms since I first applied where it does not give you as many great choices to make the most cash back each quarter but it is still useful.

With the Cash+ Card you get 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in joint net purchases (purchases minus returns or credits) in your chosen 5% categories. Purchases over $2,000 earn 1% cash back. The 2% cash back is unlimited and all other net purchases earn 1% cash back.

February 18 was the first day to sign up for the next quarter 5% and 2% cash back.  Register now to make sure the purchases made in your selected categories are eligible to earn 5% or 2% cash back between April-June 2015. The Cash+ card lets you pick from Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, and Restaurants for the 2% rewards. Pick one of those then go over to the 5% categories of “Select Clothing Stores”, Gyms/Fitness Centers, Fast Food, Furniture Stores, Car Rental, Charity, and Movie Theaters.

usbankcashpluschoosecategoriesNotice that they included Restaurants in the 5% back group before but moved it to the 2% because people spend a lot at dine-in places such as Chili’s. They also include Pizza Hut as a 2% Restaurant instead of Fast Food. Not sure how that is possible but OK.

If you want this card for the Amazon 5% back included in bookstores that only includes Amazon Kindle Book purchases not on the main site. You may also be disappointed in the “select” clothing stores as that will not include online retailers such as Amazon.

As for Department stores included would be the following and their dot com counterparts: Bealls, Dillard’s, Soma Intimates, Belk, Macy’s, Tongass Trading Company, Bergner’s, Elder-Beerman, Von Maur, Bergners.com, Magic Mart, Bloomingdale’s, Getzs, Nordstrom, Weaver’s, Herberger’s, Nordstrom Rack, Younkers, Bon-Ton, Off 5th, Boscov’s, JcPenney, Parisian’s, Boston Stor, Kohl’s, Ruddy Duck, Saks Fifth Avenue, Carson’s, Larson’s Department Store, Loehmann’s and Sears.

The absolute worst category for most would be Movie Theaters which no one makes hardly anything back on but the credit card companies use this one as a feel-good type marketing ploy. You notice Chase and Discover banks also use this one often. Yes, while movie theaters are expensive with things like cola and popcorn the average person would make much more cash back on groceries and restaurants. The real everyday spending types of purchases.

My Cash+ Visa categories chosen consisted of 5% on Fast Food and 5% on Select Clothing Stores. I figured I would hit up clothing stores at the mall more than Department stores and I am sure everyone by now has a Macy’s retail card so you don’t need the Department store category. I choose 2% on Restaurants in case I hit up a Fast Food place thinking it’s in that category and it will at least get the extra 1% for a restaurant. Grocery stores I am already getting 6% Cash Back with an American Express Blue Preferred. The electronics stores does cover Apple Store but I buy most of my electronics from Amazon and it’s not included anywhere sadly.

UPDATE 2016: When I first applied for this card it was a glorious piece of plastic. It shined in its beautiful blue design and saved me five percent on my favorite expense which is restaurants and dining. Come 2016, It’s dwindled down to one of the worst cards in my wallet. I am not even sure I want to use it anymore. I have done some trials where I have used it at fast food places such as Cowboy’s Chicken or Chipotle and neither register as a fast food establishment and instead code as restaurants getting me only 1% back instead of 5%.

When shopping for clothes it’s even more of a let down because it only considers a few handfuls of retailers part of that 5% and I wasted purchases with Guess! Jeans and Rue 21 which it did not count as their select clothing stores. I had called before I made the clothing charges and the reps said you just have to test it out but another rep read off several that I would never attempt to shop at so I think it’s time to tear up this joke of a card and quit wasting my time. Overall this is a mediocre card from U.S. Bank (just like every other card they offer) to have if you plan your spending strategy accordingly to maximize your cash earning power.

LAN Airlines (OneWorld Partner) Rewards Credit Card Offers 30,000 Bonus Miles

llamaselfiemountainssouthamericaNow is the time to take a selfie with a llama in the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu. Get there faster with the
LAN Airlines rewards credit card with 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in the first 120 days of account opening. The current offer also has no annual fee for the first year.

Act now because the card normally only gives 20,000 bonus miles after your first purchase. You’ll also earn 4,000 bonus miles with your annual credit card renewal with the $75 annual fee.

anairlinessouthamericaOne of my favorite thing about this airlines are the huge discounts they give on flights such as 20% off promos. With this card you also get a 20% discount off your first LAN or TAM purchase (for up to $1,000) 1x annually.

You’ll receive double miles on LAN or TAM ticket purchases and 1 LANPASS mile for every $1 you spend with no limit on the amount of miles that you can earn. You’re miles can be redeemed on LAN Airlines or any OneWorld partner airline. OneWorld’s partners include American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. Get the 30,000 offer here.

Base kilometers needed for round-trip reward travel from LAN gateways in USA to the following LAN destinations (actual amounts may vary depending on travel dates). Starting from 48,000:
Miami, FL to cities in Colombia
Miami, FL or New York, NY (JFK) to cities/islands in Ecuador
Miami, FL or Orlando, FL or New York, NY (JFK) or Los Angeles, CA to cities in Peru
Miami, FL (USA) to Punta Cana (Dominican Republic)

US Bank Business Edge Select Rewards Card Full Review

usbanktowerlaUS Bank features the Edge cards such as Chase has the INK cards and Capital One provides the Spark cards series. Make sure that when you apply you are actually getting the specific card in the Edge brand of cards such as the “Business Edge Select Rewards Card”.

The Business Edge Select Rewards Card is a card where you can decide which 3% back categories similar to the Cash Plus card from US Bank on the personal level. With this card you decide once and you are locked into that category and do not have the opportunity to change it again. So no quarterly changes. Earn 3 points per dollar on net purchases in the category of your choice and one point per dollar on all other net purchases. The categories you can select from include:

  • Day-to-day expenses, such as shipping, advertising, utilities, office supplies, telecom and professional services.
  • Automotive, such as gas, service, tires, tolls, dealerships, car washes and repairs.
  • Travel and entertainment, such as airlines, auto rental, hotels, restaurants and travel agencies.

Before we go any further let me point out that we highly recommend the Business Edge Cash Rewards Card over the Select version:

These Day-to-day expenses according to a representative at US Bank include a range of random things.  Including insurance, tax prep, accounting, bookkeeping, direct marketing, computer services, data processing, management consulting, PR, legal services (8111), misc. business services, computers, equipment and software, stationery, blue printing, photocopying, commercial photography arts, laundry services, dry cleaners, uniform rental, cleaning janitorial service, exterminating disinfecting, equip rental, furniture rental, carpet upholstery cleaning, trucking moving storage, postal government only, courier services air group freight, publishing, ad services, employment agencies, temp help, tax payments, telecommunications equip telephones, long distance carriers, computer network info services, cable, utilities such as electric, gas, water, and sewage.  Now that is a long list of things the card covers at the “3%” cash back in points.

USbankSelectbizrewardsWe were excited in that you can pay taxes on this card and get 3% back and it really just comes to 2% back or less when you go to redeem the points.  The problem is that when you go over to redemption it gives you a far less ratio than 1:1 that you would expect.  The gift cards pay a bit higher as I was able to redeem an Amazon gift card for 7,000 points but only for $50.  With many cash back cards you would get $70.00 statement credit or gift card for those 7,000 points.  One example of redemption is with 7097 points you would only get back $47.55 statement credit.  You may redeem as few as 2,500 of your Points for a statement credit of $16.75. Points can only be redeemed in incremental values of $0.01.

Another example is 5,000 points = $33.50 Reward.  I am not too happy about really not getting a 3% back or full 1% back when it comes to a redemption that devalues my earnings.  Therefore, I plan to cancel this card as soon as I can redeem any points I have left in the next billing statement and trade it in for a Business Edge Cash Rewards Card which will pay you at a 1:1 ratio.

Another thing I found out after I redeemed for an Amazon Gift card was that you can get a $50 U.S. Bank Rewards Visa Card
for the same 7,000 Points.

It’s been a real struggle

It has been an experience with this Business Edge Select Rewards Card from day one. First, I applied for the Business Edge Platinum Card somehow instead of the Rewards Card. I am not sure how the applications were switched up online but it happened. You really have to double-check then maybe triple check what card you are actually applying for after clicking around. I then noticed I was not earning rewards nor did I get the $100 bonus it talked about in the bullet points. I called in and I had the wrong card and why would I want a Platinum card with no rewards? I don’t and did not intend to apply for that. They changed my card to a rewards card and I was so excited to get this card I could get 3% back on utilities and business expenses. After finally getting my utilities changed over to this card I find out it does not pay back on the 1:1 ratio for statement credits or gift cards.  Yes, after all these months and work of trying to figure out their system and getting the cards straightened out.  But that is why there are sites such ass this one to get in the know before you apply for a card.   I will also say that the phone customer service takes awhile to pick up so be sure to have lots of time on your hands.   While I had such a horrible experience with this card I should not have assumed I would get a full ratio cash back and had not had assumed I would get the correct card after applying before charging on the card.  You always have to check all of this.  I do enjoy other US Bank cards and they have been great to me with the Cash+ Visa and the Club Carlson Business Visa and I do plan to keep using these cards.

20,000 FlexPoints Bonus with new card from US Bank

U.S. Bank has introduced 2 new American Express FlexPerks cards that offer up to 20,000 bonus FlexPerks. In the past the bank offered only a Visa version of the card but now you can get the American Express version. We like this version better mainly because of AMEX Twitter offers where you can save $50 right now from booking a Hilton Hotel or discounts at places such as NewEgg.

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards American Express® Card has a $49 annual fee that is waived for the first year with 20,000 bonus points after $3,500 in purchases within the first 4 months. You’ll also receive 3,500 bonus FlexPoints each card member year when you spend $24,000 in net purchases, which can be redeemed for your annual fee or toward other rewards of your choice. You’ll earn 2 FlexPoints per $1 spent at restaurants and on fast food as well as on most cell phone expenses. You’ll also earn 2 FlexPoints per $1 spent on gas, groceries, OR airfare, whichever you spend the most on each monthly billing cycle.
Donate to charity and you can get 3 FlexPoints per $1 spent. Another benefit of this card is that it provides reimbursement for up to $25 per air travel award ticket toward baggage fees or in-flight food and drinks. You can even earn frequent flyer miles on the airline you fly for your award travel flights.

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Select+ American Express® Card is the no annual fee version with 10,000 bonus points after $1,000 in purchases within the first 4 months. With this card you will earn 1 FlexPoint per $1 in purchases and there are no limits on points. This card comes with Smart Chip Technology to give better security and convenience on spending worldwide.

Existing and previous FlexPerks Select+ accounts do not qualify for bonus FlexPoints for a similar account type so make sure you choose which one you want right the first time! Although if you own a business or a work-at-home mom you might consider applying for a Business Credit Card in 4 months or so after you get approved for this card and score more points. You can double up and earn business and personal at once.

You can redeem the FlexPoints that you earn with your FlexPerks card for airline tickets, statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise rewards. 10,000 bonus FlexPoints for a $100 statement credit or your 20,000 bonus FlexPoints for a $200 statement credit toward any purchase that you make on the card.

Redeem FlexPoints for award travel, which starts at 20,000 FlexPoints for up to a $400 ticket value on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates or redemption fees. You just need 5,000 points to start redeeming for gift cards.