US Bank has just unveiled its latest Altitude branded credit card, following last year’s launch of the US Bank Altitude GO credit card (review).
It’s important to note right off that bat that if you already have a US Bank Altitude GO or the premium US Bank Altitude Reserve, you will not be able to combine your points to maximize a redemption and US Bank doesn’t have transfer partners, so we have to evaluate this card on its own as a cash back credit card since the points it earns are worth exactly 1 cent each.
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The US Bank Altitude Connect Signup Bonus
If you are over Chase 5/24 (and therefore locked out from new Chase cards for now) and are looking for a new signup bonus, the $500 on offer here may tempt you into checking out the Altitude Connect.
When you spend $3,000 within 120 days, you’ll earn a 50,000 point welcome bonus. This is worth exactly $500.
It’s worth noting that the timeframe to meet the qualifying spend to earn the bonus is a month longer than most cards right now which give you 3 months, although a handful are currently allowing for 6 months to meet the minimum spend requirement.
$95, however it is waived for your first year.
How the US Bank Altitude Connect Earns
- 4X points on travel and at gas stations
- 2X points at grocery stores and on grocery delivery
- 2X points for dining (at a restaurant or via delivery)
- 2X points on streaming services
- 1X point on all other eligible purchases
As described above, each point is worth one cent exactly, so you could substitute a % sign for the X signs above and it would be accurate. For example, it earns 4% back on travel and gas.
If you are a straight up cash-hound and don’t want points, this is the best you can do with a low annual fee credit card on travel and gas.
However, if you are a “points person” there are other cards that offer more return when spent on travel.
Let’s compare each bonus category against the best possible credit cards for each category as determined by our Your Best Credit Cards credit card rewards calculator.
- Best credit cards for airfare / Best credit cards for hotels
- Best credit cards for dining
- Best credit cards for groceries / supermarkets
- Best credit cards for streaming services
- Best credit cards for spend not in any bonus category
Where this card really shines is on gas purchases. Only the Citi Premier and the Amex Everyday Preferred beat it. If you are a heavy spender on fuel, this card really could make sense.
For the travel category, I like to compare directly against airfare and hotel earn rates. Eight personal credit cards beat 4% (in terms of points multiplier times our value of the points) while 7 personal credit cards earn more than 4% on hotels.
As far as dining, I’d personally prefer a Chase Sapphire Reserve (3X points worth 1.75 cents each) or an American Express Gold / Rose Gold card (4X points worth 1.7 cents each) card, but even if you want pure cash, then you would fare twice as well with a Capital One Savor credit card (4% on dining) or US Bank Altitude® GO (Review) which also earns 4% on dining.
Streaming probably isn’t a massive expense for many, if if it is, the Blue Cash Preferred rocks that category with a 6% earn rate.
And of course, for spend not in a bonus category my go-to is 2% with a Citi Double Cash.
There’s nothing to learn about the US Bank rewards system as you’ll simply redeem for $10 per 1,000 points (1 cent per point).
US Bank Altitude Connect Benefits
- Earn a $30 annual streaming credit: When you put eligible streaming services on your card for 11 straight billing cycles, the 12th month will see a credit of up to $30.
- Cell Phone Protection: You can get reimbursed for up to $600 if your cell phone is stolen or damaged (but lost phones are not covered) as long as you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card. $100 deductible applies and you will be covered for a maximum of one claim per year. Protection is secondary to homeowners/renters insurance.
- TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Credit: You’ll get up to $100 in statement credits to reimburse your application fee up to once every four years.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
US Bank Altitude Connect Review Summary
The Altitude Connect joins the Altitude Reserve and Altitude GO in the US Bank Altitude series. This card is ideal for someone that spends a lot at gas stations and travel, but does not want “complicated” transferable bank points, this card would offer excellent value due to the 4% cash back in these categories. The streaming credit isn’t much, but it will get you back $30 of the $95 annual fee if you keep the card.
While I wouldn’t recommend this card for someone under 5/24, the $500 welcome bonus and the 4% on travel and gas can make it a compelling addition to your wallet.
How to Apply for the US Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature
If you have a credit score in at least the low to mid 700’s, you can see how to apply here.
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You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.