U.S. Bank Launches New Card With Big Travel Rewards

On-the-go professionals have a new credit card option with the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

U.S. Bank introduced a new credit card Monday that offers a $325 annual travel credit and three points back for each dollar spent on travel and mobile wallet purchases. The card is available immediately to most existing customers only, but there is a way you can get the card if you aren’t a current customer (more on that in a minute).

The Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite is aimed at on-the-go professionals, John Steward, president of retail payment solutions for U.S. Bank, said in a press release.

High-End Travel Rewards

Like many high-end travel rewards cards, the Altitude Reserve also offers travel planning, TSA PreCheck and Global Entry application fee reimbursement, airport lounge access, free airplane Wi-Fi access and discounts on hotel rooms and car rentals. New cardholders receive a 50,000-point bonus, worth $750 in travel purchases if they spend $4,500 in their first 90 days of membership.

While travel and purchases made with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Microsoft Wallet earn three points per dollar, other purchases earn one point per dollar.

Cardholders get 12 free in-flight GoGo Wi-Fi sessions each year once they register their account on the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve website. GoGo is available on AeroMexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Japan Airlines, United and Virgin America flights.

Cardholders also get a year of free Priority Pass Select membership, which allows access to more than 1,000 VIP airport lounges. Each cardmember and guest still has to pay a $27 lounge visit fee, though the fee is waived for the first four visits.

The card reimburses an $85 statement credit for a TSA PreCheck application or $100 for a Global Entry application, as long as the fee is charged to the card. Cardholders are eligible for a reimbursement every four years.

Cardmembers also get a 15% discount on reservations made with the Groundlink Black Car Service and a one-time $30 credit to be used for reservations.

The card also offers fraud protection, warranty service, rental car insurance and travel insurance.

What You’ll Pay

The Altitude Reserve is only available to U.S. Bank customers. If you’re not already a customer, you can apply for the card 35 days after opening an account or taking out a loan with U.S. Bank. The card comes with a $400 annual fee.

The card has a variable APR of 16.49% for purchases and balance transfers and 24.74% for cash advances. Cash advances also come with a 4% fee and a $10 minimum. The balance transfer fee is 3% with a $5 minimum.

The Altitude Reserve has no foreign transaction fees. Late payments cost up to $38; returned payments fees run up to $35.

Altitude vs. Sapphire

The Altitude Reserve’s rewards are similar to that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve (read our review here), which also offers a 50,000 point bonus, though for only $4,000 in purchases in three months. The Altitude Reserve has a higher annual travel credit and matches Sapphire Reserve with its three points per dollar travel rewards rate.

Both cards require solid credit scores. You can check two of yours free on Credit.com to see if you’ll qualify.

Image: danchooalex

Note: It’s important to remember that prices for products and services frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms cited in this article may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with the company directly.

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This Trick Can Get You a Free Plane Ticket

free-airline-companion-ticket

Planning a getaway? There’s no better way to save on your trip than with a free airline companion ticket. But how to find one? That’s easy: travel rewards credit cards. Here, we rounded up a few notable cards with insight from Lee Huffman, the travel blogger behind Bald Thoughts, along with some smart tips for swiping these credit cards.

American Express Delta Reserve Credit Card

With a hefty annual fee of $450, the Delta Reserve Card isn’t playing around. Still it lives up to its price point, thanks to its ability to grant you access to all Delta Sky Clubs, one free checked bag and, yes, that alluring Companion Certificate. The fare is valid for one round-trip First Class or Main Cabin ticket, which you can only redeem on Delta.com. Not bad for a piece of plastic that also grants you 20% savings in the form of statement credit on certain pre-purchased meals, boozy beverages and in-flight entertainment.

British Airways Visa Signature Card

Spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the British Airways Visa Signature Card, and you’ll receive a cool 50,000 bonus Avios (club currency) rewards. With this card, you’ll also earn three Avios for every dollar spent on British Airways purchases and one Avios for every dollar spent on everything else. But getting that free companion flight — also known as a Travel Together Ticket — will require more planning, as cardholders are required to make $30,000 in purchases in one year, Huffman said. You may also be subject to higher taxes and fuel surcharges, he warned, “so you’re better off redeeming the voucher for a business class ticket instead of an economy ticket.”

Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card 

Whether you choose the Premier or Plus card, Southwest offers plenty of ways to score points toward free flights. Both of these cards come with a signup bonus that hands you a whopping 40,000 points — that is, after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening — and additional points on your cardmember anniversary. To earn a coveted Companion Pass, just cash in points from purchases made with either card. “This one is awesome because you can use it an unlimited amount of times,” Huffman said, “the only limit is how many tickets you want to buy with cash or flights.” Fair warning: Both cards come with annual fees, $99 for Premier and $69 for Plus.

Using Your Travel Rewards Card 

Travel rewards cards are hard to beat when it comes to earning perks just for spending. But spend too much — or spend more just to earn the rewards — and you could wind up squandering the savings to debt and high interest. It also goes without saying that lenders don’t like to see excessive debt, as it can be an indicator you’re not so great at managing finances. Experts recommend keeping your debt at 30%, ideally 10%, of your total credit limit for the best effect on your credit. These premium cards typically require you have good credit, so before you apply for one, you’ll want to know where your credit stands. You can view two of your free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: AleksandarNakic

The post This Trick Can Get You a Free Plane Ticket appeared first on Credit.com.