U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card: Strong food, gas and travel rewards

A woman smiles while using her us bank altitude connect at a restaruant.Image: A woman smiles while using her us bank altitude connect at a restaruant.
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These offers are no longer available on our site: U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Pros

  • Solid rewards rates
  • Strong sign-up bonus

Cons

  • Annual fee
  • No rewards transfer partners

U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card: What you need to know

For people who want to earn rewards points on everyday spending categories, plus get a strong sign-up bonus, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card offers a lot of value. And its perks can help make up for the $95 annual fee that kicks in after the first year.

High rewards rate on everyday spend categories

If you’re on the road a lot, love to cook and go out, or enjoy streaming shows and movies at home, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card may be a good fit. Plus, the points you earn with it never expire.

Here’s how the points break down.

  • 5 points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center
  • 4 points per $1 on travel and at gas stations
  • 2 points per $1 on grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining, takeout, food delivery and streaming services
  • 1 point per $1 on all other eligible purchases

A strong sign-up bonus

If you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 120 days of account opening, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card offers a 50,000 point bonus. It’s valued at $500, and you can use the points for gift cards, cash back, travel and other merchandise.

No rewards transfer partners

Along with the theme of simplicity, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card doesn’t offer rewards transfer partners. All points must be spent within U.S. Bank’s system or redeemed for cash. That said, if you redeem for cash, then you can use the cash anywhere and however you’d like.

Streaming bonus

For fans of digital streaming services, this card offers a perk you don’t see often. You’ll get an annual $30 credit to cover streaming subscriptions, including the following:

  • Amazon Music Unlimited
  • Apple Music
  • Disney+
  • Google Music
  • HBO Max
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Pandora
  • SiriusXM
  • Slacker Radio
  • Sling TV
  • Spotify
  • Tidal
  • Vudu
  • YouTube Music
  • YouTube TV

What else you should know

To round out the benefits package, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card also offers a few additional perks.

  • Buy-now, pay-later option — You may be able to split up large qualifying purchases into predictable interest-free monthly payments with the U.S. Bank ExtendPay plan.
  • Cellphone protection — You’ll get up to $600 reimbursed if your cellphone is damaged or stolen, as long as you pay your monthly cellphone bill with the card.
  • Travel credits — Every four years, U.S. Bank offers up to $100 in statement credits to reimburse the application fee for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry — which can come in handy if you travel a lot.
  • No foreign transaction fees — If you plan to use this card travelling abroad, you won’t have to pay any extra fees on international purchases.
  • Additional perks — Since this is a Visa Signature card, you’ll get travel protection, shopping, and other perks that come with the Visa Signature program.

Understanding your points and redemption

Both an advantage and a disadvantage of this card is its simple point value and redemption options. All points are worth exactly 1 cent each, which means you never need to stress about getting the best bang for your buck. But you also can’t game the system to eke out any additional value either.

Whether that’s a good or a bad thing really depends on you and how much interest you have in optimizing the value of your credit card rewards. Many other premium travel credit cards offer rewards points with a wide range in values, depending on how you use them.

You can redeem the points you earn with the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card for cash back, travel, merchandise and gift cards — and the points never expire. U.S. Bank also offers a unique point redemption option called the Real-Time Rewards program, which lets you use points to cover transactions immediately after purchase.

Who this card is good for

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card may be a good choice for occasional travelers who want a card with solid everyday rewards and low-effort redemption options. If you want to earn travel rewards points on everyday spend categories like gas, dining and groceries, this could be a great fit for you.

U.S. Bank’s rewards redemption options and consistent point value can also be a nice, low-fuss fit for people that don’t want to worry too much about how to maximize point values.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you’re looking to optimize travel rewards and are willing to shop around for a richer sign-up bonus, another premium travel card might be a better fit. Here are a few options to consider.


About the author: Sean McQuay is a long-time personal finance nerd. He’s passionate about budgets, credit cards, and earning useful rewards with minimal effort. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a father to three rambunctious kids. Read more.