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TravelU.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card review

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card review


Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card overview

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card is one of the issuer’s travel rewards cards, offering a prolific rewards rate and statement credits for annual streaming services and a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee — all with no annual fee. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½

*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

When U.S. Bank discontinued several of its credit cards a few years back, the issuer only had one travel rewards card left in its lineup. That changed with the introduction of the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect.

It comes with an extraordinary rewards rate that covers five everyday purchase categories that will appeal to many. While the card currently has a $95 annual fee that’s waived in the first year, starting Sept. 9, it’s moving to a full-on $0 annual fee. It has a recommended credit score of 670.

Let’s take a look at all the details.

The information for the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • No annual fee (as of Sept. 9, 2024)
  • Valuable earnings rates
  • Decent travel perks
  • Limited redemption options
  • Cap on earning for gas and electric vehicle charging purchases (as of Sept. 9, 2024)

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect welcome offer

This card offers the opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 or more in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. That translates to $500 or more of purchases per month, which should be reasonable for most.

THE POINTS GUY

Once this card changes to a no-annual-fee structure, you’ll get decent value from the start. Since the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect lacks transfer partners, this welcome offer can only be redeemed at a fixed rate of 1 cent per point. That means it’s worth $500.

Related: 10 ways to meet the spending requirements and earn the bonus on a new card

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U.S. Bank Altitude Connect benefits

This card comes with a sufficient amount of perks that make it a valuable addition to your wallet.

First, by charging your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee to this card, you’ll receive up to $100 in reimbursement through a statement credit every four years. If you’re already part of either trusted traveler program, you can easily charge your friend’s or family member’s application to this card and still receive the reimbursement.

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The card comes with standard travel benefits and protections, such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement and more. You’ll also get a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you four free visits to over 1,500 airport VIP lounges and experiences worldwide.

Finally, this card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, is a contactless payment card and offers perks through the Visa Signature program.

Related: Global Entry vs. TSA PreCheck: Which is better?

Earning points with the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect

Most competing rewards cards offer, at most, a couple of (predictable) bonus categories. That’s not the case with the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect.

You’ll find that it’s easy to rack up rewards, as you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center, 4 points per dollar at gas stations and EV charging stations (ends Sept. 9, after that 4 points per dollar on your first $1,000 each quarter, then 1 point) and 2 points per dollar on dining, streaming services and at grocery stores (discount stores/supercenters and wholesale clubs excluded effective Sept. 9).

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You’ll also get 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. This is the card for those who don’t want to open multiple cards but still want to get value from their everyday purchases.

Related: Why there’s no such thing as a ‘best’ credit card

Redeeming points with the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect

Depending on the type of traveler you are, you may (or may not be) a fan of the redemption options with this card. Although you’ll earn points with this card, they’re fixed-value points. That being said, your points are worth 1 cent each for travel, merchandise, gift cards, cash back and more.

U.S. Bank also offers “Real-Time Rewards,” which allows you to redeem your points as you make purchases. You’ll receive a text message asking if you’d like to cover your purchase with your points.

ROB LEWINE/GETTY IMAGES

While these redemption options are still solid and offer simplicity for beginner award travelers like TPG credit cards writer Ryan Wilcox, the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect acts more like a cash-back card in our eyes.

Meanwhile, a true travel rewards card not only lets you redeem your points for a fixed value, but also offers the ability to transfer your rewards to its airline and hotel partners. By knowing how to maximize your points, you’ll find that you get way more than 1 cent of value, outclassing a card like the Altitude Connect.

Related: Why you may want a cash-back card

Which cards compete with the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect?

The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect enters an already saturated market of travel rewards cards. Here are just a few of its competitors.

For additional options, check out our full list of the best starter credit cards.

The information for the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Read more: Chase Sapphire showdown: Sapphire Preferred vs. Sapphire Reserve

Is the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect worth it?

Given that the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect has a reasonable annual fee, it’s worth considering for those who don’t care about transfer partners. It has strong earning potential and solid benefits. For avid travelers, however, you’re better off going with a travel card with transfer partners.

Bottom line

U.S. Bank does a great job of differentiating the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect by offering a robust rewards rate and useful statement credits for travel beginners. It falls short of its competitors’ sign-up bonuses and redemption options, but can still offer value for travel beginners.

Related: U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature credit card review

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