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U.S. Bank credit cards are often overlooked in favor of cards from more well-know issuers like Chase or American Express. However, U.S. Bank has some noteworthy options that might be a great fit for your finances, depending on your spending patterns. If you tend to spend a lot of money at the gas pump and also like to travel, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card could be a great card for you. This card offers 5X points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center as well as 4X points on other travel purchases and at gas stations. Plus, this card earns 2X points at grocery stores (including grocery delivery), on dining and on select streaming services. 

The Altitude Connect card offers some of the best gas rewards of any card on the market, and the fact that it also offers high spending bonuses in several other categories makes this card very attractive. It comes with a $30 annual statement credit toward eligible streaming services like Netflix or Spotify as well as a $100 statement credit toward the application fee for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. All of this comes with the affordable annual fee of $95, which is waived for the first cardmember year.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card, like all other U.S. Bank cards, has one major drawback: U.S. Bank Altitude points can’t be transferred to other travel loyalty programs. This is a major disadvantage when compared to other credit card rewards currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Capital One miles, which can be transferred to many travel partners. The ability to transfer points to other programs allows savvy travelers to use their points to find redemptions offering outsized value. With the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card, you can only redeem your points for travel through the Altitude Rewards Center, and every redemption will yield the same value per point. 

Despite this disadvantage, the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card is definitely worth considering, particularly for its excellent spending bonuses. If you’re looking for a card for both gas and travel rewards, the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card is hard to beat. 

Pros and Cons
ProsCons
Good spending bonusesCan be difficult to qualify for
No foreign transaction feeNo transfer partners
Valuable welcome bonus$95 annual fee (after first cardmember year)
$30 in statement credits annually towards select streaming services 
$100 in statement credits towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
Up to $600 in secondary cellphone protection when you pay your bill with your card
Airport lounge access

U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card Spending Bonuses

There’s a lot to love about the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card, but, where this card really shines is in its spending bonuses. This card’s attractive bonus structure can help you rack up U.S. Bank Altitude Rewards points very quickly. Here are the spending bonuses that come with this card: 

  • 5X points on prepaid hotels and rental cars booked through the Altitude Rewards Center
  • 4X points on other travel, at gas stations and at E.V. charging stations
  • 2X points on select streaming services (including Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Apple Music, HBO Max and more)
  • 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery and on dining
  • 1X points on all other purchases

The Altitude Connect card offers a rare combination of high spending bonuses for both travel and gas. By booking hotels and rental cars through the Altitude Rewards Center, which allows you to book with most of the world’s major travel companies, you can earn a solid 5X points. Unfortunately, you won’t earn 5X points for booking flights through this portal. However, you will earn 4X points for all other travel purchases, which includes purchases made directly with airlines, hotels, rental car companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise lines. 

You’ll also earn 4X points at gas stations as well as electric vehicle charging stations, which is better than most other credit cards on the market. Even the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which is widely considered one of the best gas cards out there and has the exact same annual fee as the Altitude Connect card, only offers 3% cash back at the gas pump. 

On top of that, the Altitude Connect card has solid rewards in other major spending categories including dining, groceries and select streaming services. The aforementioned spending bonuses will cover the majority of expenses for most people. However, even if you make a purchase that doesn’t fit into one of those categories, you’ll still earn 1X points. 

While all of these spending bonuses may make this card seem like a no-brainer, the main thing holding this card back is the lack of transfer partners. The fact that you can’t transfer your points to other travel loyalty programs means that the Altitude Rewards points you’ll be earning won’t be quite as valuable as other credit card rewards currencies. 

U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card Benefits

On top of this card’s impressive spending bonuses, there are some other benefits that come with the Altitude Connect card that you should be aware of. Namely, this card comes with statement credits towards streaming services, statement credits towards the application fee for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and secondary cellphone protection up to $600. 

$100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Application Fee Reimbursement

The Altitude Connect card from U.S. Bank comes with a statement credit of up to $100 toward the application fee for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, which is a perk that usually only comes with premium travel credit cards (such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card). For this benefit to be offered by a mid-tier card with a $95 annual fee like the Altitude Connect is very rare. 

TSA PreCheck has an application fee of $78 and Global Entry has an application fee of $100. If you’re approved for either program, your membership will be valid for five years. TSA PreCheck offers access to expedited lanes when going through security and boarding in airports in the United States. Global Entry includes a membership to TSA PreCheck and also allows you to access an expedited lane when going through customs upon reentering the United States. 

Since Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck as well as other benefits, this is the program you’ll want to apply for. And, since your Global Entry membership will be valid for five years, this benefit is essentially worth $100 every five years. 

$30 Streaming Services Statement Credit

The Altitude Connect card also comes with a $30 annual statement credit toward select streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Apple Music, HBO Max and more. In today’s world, almost everyone pays for one streaming service or another, so there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll use this credit if you sign up for this card. You just need to remember to use your Altitude Connect card as your payment method for your streaming services. 

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Adding to the list of its travel benefits, the Altitude Connect card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside of the United States. That means that you can travel anywhere in the world and use your card like you normally would without incurring any additional fees. 

While this may not seem like a big deal, there are some cards out there that charge foreign transaction fees as high as 3%. So, the fact that this card has no foreign transaction fees could save you a significant amount of money if you travel abroad often. 

Four Annual Complimentary Airport Lounge Visits

In Feb. 2023, U.S. Bank began offering a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership with the Altitude Connect card. This move added a ton of value to this card as it’s a perk that’s usually only included with premium travel cards. This perk offers four complimentary visits to Priority Pass lounges worldwide per year. After those four visits, though, you’ll have to pay an entry fee for each person. 

One of the only other cards out there with an annual fee below $100 that offers complimentary lounge access is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, and that card only offers two complimentary visits per year (compared to the four complimentary visits that come with the Altitude Connect card). 

The Priority Pass network includes more than 1,300 airport lounges in over 130 countries. So, if you fly often, this perk will be of great value to you. 

A man resting in Lounge of Airport

Secondary Cellphone Protection

The Altitude Connect card comes with up to $600 in cellphone protection if you pay your cellphone bill with your card. That means that if your cellphone is damaged or stolen, you can be reimbursed for replacement or repair up to $600 per claim. It’s worth noting, however, that this is supplementary coverage, meaning that it will only cover what is not covered by other personal insurance policies you may have. 

If you do have another personal insurance policy, this benefit will reimburse you for the deductible portion of your cellphone insurance. If you don’t have another personal insurance policy, this benefit will cover the full cost of repair or replacement up to $600. 

In order to receive reimbursement, you’ll need to file with Visa (the benefit provider) within 60 days of the incident by calling 1-866-894-8569. You’ll then have to fill out a claim form, which must be sent to the Visa benefit administrator within 90 days of the incident. If you do not complete these tasks within the required timeframe, your claim will be denied. 

If your claim is approved, it usually takes about 10 business days for you to receive your reimbursement. 

Welcome Bonus

The Altitude Connect card from U.S. Bank currently offers a welcome bonus for new cardmembers. To receive this bonus, you’ll have to spend a certain amount on your card within a specified period of time after opening your account. If you do sign up for the Altitude Connect card, you’ll want to make sure that you get this bonus as it’s one of the best ways to quickly rack up Altitude Rewards points. 

Annual Fee Waived for the First Year

While the Altitude Connect card has a normal annual fee of $95 (which is pretty affordable considering the amazing benefits that this card offers), that annual fee will be waived for your first year as a cardholder. That means that you’ll only have to pay an annual fee after your first 12 months of being a cardholder. 

U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card Drawbacks

There are a lot of things to like about the Altitude Connect card from U.S. Bank. For the annual fee that it charges, this card offers some amazing spending bonuses and other benefits. However, there are still some drawbacks to this card that you should be aware of before you sign up, the biggest one being U.S. Bank’s lack of transfer partners. 

Can’t Transfer Points to Other Travel Programs

One of the biggest disadvantages of U.S. Bank as a credit card issuer is the fact that they don’t have transfer partners. So, unlike with other credit card rewards programs, U.S. Bank Altitude Rewards points can’t be transferred to other travel loyalty programs. If you want to redeem your Altitude Rewards points for travel, the only way to do so is through the Altitude Rewards Center. 

With most other well-known credit card rewards currencies (including Chase Ultimate Rewards points, American Express Membership Rewards points, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou points), you can transfer your points, often at a 1:1 ratio, to other travel rewards programs. This gives travelers the opportunity to find redemptions with outsized value with these partner programs. With Altitude Rewards points, you’re always going to get a value of 1 cent per point when you redeem through the Altitude Rewards Center. 

So, while the Altitude Connect card offers great spending bonuses, you’re always going to get a value of 1 cent per point when you redeem those rewards for travel. On the other hand, with a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards card (which also has an annual fee of $95), you can transfer your points to an airline or hotel program and potentially get far more than 1 cent per point in value. 

$95 Annual Fee

For the first cardmember year, the Altitude Connect card has no annual fee. However, after that first year, you’ll have to pay an annual fee of $95. While this annual fee is fairly reasonable given the spending bonuses and benefits that this card offers, you’ll still want to assess whether these benefits are worth it for the annual fee. 

If you don’t think that you’ll get more than $95 worth of value from this card in a year (in terms of statement credits, points earnings and other benefits), then it’s probably best to seek out another card.

There are many cards out there that don’t charge annual fees, including several cards issued by U.S. Bank. The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card and the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card are all options that don’t charge an annual fee. 

Other Cards to Consider

Even if the Altitude Connect card from U.S. Bank sounds like a good card for your wallet, it’s still worth shopping around and researching some of the other similar cards available to you. To get you started, here are some cards that are similar to the Altitude Connect card that you should consider: 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

If you’re interested in a card that offers a flat cash back rate rather than variable spending bonuses for different categories, then you might want to look into the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. This card, like the Altitude Connect card, has an annual fee of $95. However, while the Altitude Connect card allows you to waive that fee for the first cardmember year, you’ll have to pay the $95 annual fee in your first year as a Venture cardholder. 

The Venture card offers 2X miles on every purchase, every day. You’ll also earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car purchases through the Capital One Travel portal. While the Altitude Connect card offers higher spending bonuses in several categories than the Venture card, the fact that the Venture card offers a baseline of 2X miles (compared to the Altitude Connect card’s baseline earnings of 1X points) means that this card is great for people who want to earn rewards without paying attention to bonus categories. 

One major advantage that the Venture card has over the Altitude Connect card is the fact that Capital One miles can be transferred to over 15 different travel loyalty programs, many at a 1:1 ratio. This is usually the best way to redeem Capital One miles as you can often find high-value redemptions through partner programs that offer value far exceeding 1 cent per mile. By comparison, the only way to redeem U.S. Bank Altitude points for travel is through the Altitude Rewards Center and every redemption will yield a value of 1 cent per point. 

So, while you may be able to earn more points with the Altitude Connect card, the miles that you earn with the Venture card are going to be worth far more in terms of potential redemption value. For this reason, the Venture is probably the better option for most people. 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Limited-Time Offer! $250 to use on Capital One Travel in your first cardholder year, plus earn 75K bonus miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

LEARN MORE 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Another $95-annual-fee card that’s great for avid travelers is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers 5X points on travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 2X points on all other travel purchases, 3X points on dining at restaurants (including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out), 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 3X points on select streaming services and 1X points on all other spending. As you can see, the Sapphire Preferred card offers great rewards for those who travel often and those who are willing to make their grocery purchases online. 

Plus, when you redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll receive a 25% boost in the value of your points. Alternatively, unlike the Altitude Connect card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card allows you to transfer your points to one of their 14 travel partners, making it fairly easy to find partner redemptions with outsized value. 

The Sapphire Preferred card comes with $50 in annual statement credits toward hotel stays booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, $15 in quarterly statement credits toward Instacart orders (through July 2024) and a complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription (through Dec. 31, 2024). These benefits alone can easily offset this card’s annual fee if you use them to the fullest.

With the fantastic earning potential and all of the other additional benefits that come with this card (including the ability to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points with travel partners), the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a better option than the Altitude Connect card for most people.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

LEARN MORE 

The Bottom Line 

There’s a lot to like about the Altitude Connect card from U.S. Bank, from its high spending bonuses in categories like travel, gas and grocery store purchases to its $100 statement credit toward the application fee for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. This card also has a modest annual fee of $95, which is waived for the first cardmember year. Unfortunately, there’s one major disadvantage that holds this card (and all other U.S. Bank cards) back significantly: U.S. Bank doesn’t have any transfer partners. 

Other major issuers such as Chase, Capital One and American Express allow cardholders to transfer their points to other travel loyalty programs. This gives savvy travelers the opportunity to find redemptions with outsized value through partner programs, which significantly increases the value of these rewards currencies. Unfortunately, with the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card, the only way to redeem your points for travel is through the Altitude Rewards Center (in which case your points will always be worth 1 cent apiece). 

With that being said, though, there are people out there who don’t want to bother with transferring their points to partner programs and searching for high-value partner redemptions anyway. In that case, the Altitude Connect card might be a great option for you. This card comes with a bunch of benefits and some great spending bonuses that can help you offset the $95 annual fee easily. 

In our opinion, the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card is a solid mid-tier travel card and possibly the best card offered by U.S. Bank. However, there are other cards out there with similar annual fees that offer more value due to the fact that they allow transfers to partner programs.