U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Review [2021]: Travel Rewards Without the High Fee?

The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature offers high rewards for travel and gas purchases and no annual fee the first year. But is it right for you?
Last updated Jun 29, 2021 | By Kevin Payne | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins

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If your spending habits include frequent travel purchases and spending time at the fuel pump, the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card can help you earn versatile rewards points.

One of three Altitude cards offered by U.S. Bank, this card features a hefty welcome bonus and competitive rates in a variety of spending categories. But despite all its benefits, it may not be the best choice for you, especially if you are looking for a card with several transfer partners.

In this U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card review, we'll look at the details of this credit card, as well as its pros and cons, to help you decide whether it's right for you.

Cell Phone Protection + Annual Streaming Credit

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card

Intro Offer

50,000 points

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

up to 5X points

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Up to 5X on eligible purchases
  • 50,000-point welcome offer
  • Annual streaming service credit
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry statement credit

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee after first year
Card Details
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 4 months
  • 5X points on hotels and car rentals booked through the Altitude Rewards Center; 4X points on travel and gas stations; 2X points on grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining, and streaming services; and 1X points on all other purchases

In this U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature review

Who should get the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature?

The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card is geared toward individuals who spend a lot on travel and at the fuel pump. The card earns a competitive 5X rewards rate on hotels and car rentals booked through the Altitude Rewards Center and 4X on travel and gas stations. It’s also a decent card for those looking for flexible redemption options.

The Altitude Connect also offers cardholders an application fee statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees, but that's the extent of its travel rewards outside of redemptions. Other travel rewards cards offer more perks like travel insurance, priority boarding, and status upgrades. That said, this card does offer a $30 annual statement credit as a perk for fans of streaming services.

After the first year, the annual fee for this card jumps to $95 (waived first year). So the Altitude Connect Visa isn’t a long-term option if you want to earn rewards without paying a fee every year. If you don’t spend much out of pocket on travel, there are probably other rewards cards available that better align with your spending habits.

Card basics

Card type Cash Back / Travel
Credit card issuer U.S. Bank
Credit card network Visa
Annual fee $95 (waived first year)
Intro bonus Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 4 months
Reward rate 5X points on hotels and car rentals booked through the Altitude Rewards Center; 4X points on travel and gas stations; 2X points on grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining, and streaming services; and 1X points on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Good, Excellent
Foreign transaction fee None

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect benefits and perks

  • Generous sign-up bonus: New cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 4 months.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit: The card comes with up to $100 in statement credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees once every four years.
  • Streaming service credit: You can earn a $30 statement credit on eligible streaming service purchases like Spotify, Hulu, Apple Music, and Netflix.
  • Cell phone protection: As a cardholder, you can receive up to a $600 reimbursement if your cell phone is stolen or damaged as long as you pay your monthly bill with this U.S. Bank card. Credit cards with cell phone protection are not as common anymore, so this could be a valuable perk for some people.
  • Visa Signature benefits: Along with the card’s standard benefits, cardholders get access to Visa Signature benefits like identity theft protection, luxury hotel benefits, 24/7 concierge services, and merchant discounts through Visa Offers.

Drawbacks to this card

  • Annual fee: The annual fee is waived the first year, but after that, cardholders must pay every year to use this card.
  • No transfer partners: Despite its versatile redemptions, there’s no option to transfer your points to travel partners as you see with other flexible loyalty programs. If you’re after the best travel redemptions, then you’ll have to look into other credit cards.
  • No intro APR offer: This U.S. Bank card doesn’t come with a 0% introductory APR offer on new purchases or balance transfers. For that, check out our list of the best balance transfer credit cards.

Earning and redeeming Altitude Rewards

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look how your points can add up with the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1 cent per point.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $1,210

Year two earnings: $615

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which looks at points earned via spending, the sign-up bonus, and the annual fee.

In our calculations, we assigned all travel spending to the 4X earnings rate. So if some of your travel bookings are made through the Altitude Rewards Center, then you will see potentially more earnings from using this card. In addition, the value of this card could be further boosted if you take advantage of the streaming services credit and the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit.

Best ways to earn

The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card comes with a huge welcome offer. The 50,000 points is worth roughly $500 in redemptions through the Altitude Rewards Center. The requirement to spend $3,000 in the first 4 months to earn the bonus is fairly standard and is the best way to boost your rewards balance quickly.

Besides the bonus, this U.S. Bank card earns competitive rewards rates in several spending categories. Its bonus categories cover a wide range of spending, so there’s a good chance you can earn points quickly using the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card.

Categories Rewards rate
hotels and car rentals booked through the Altitude Rewards Center 5X
travel and gas stations 4X
grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining, and streaming services 2X
all other purchases 1X

Maximizing your redemptions

Almost all the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card’s redemptions go through the Altitude Rewards Center. The Rewards Center is accessible by logging into your U.S. Bank online account. You can use your points to book travel, including flights, hotel accommodations, car rentals, cruises, and other activities.

Other Altitude card redemptions include:

  • Merchandise, including electronics and sporting goods
  • Gift cards
  • Statement credits
  • U.S. Bank prepaid rewards cards

A rare redemption offered with this card is the option to offset the cost of your annual fee.

Lastly, the one redemption offered outside of the Altitude Rewards Center is Real-Time Rewards. Cardholders can choose to enroll in this program, which allows you to redeem points instantly when you make a purchase almost anywhere.

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect FAQs

Which of the U.S. Bank Altitude credit cards is best?

The best U.S Bank Altitude card depends on your specific needs. There are three cards in total: the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card, the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card, and the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card.

The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card has a welcome offer that allows you to earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 4 months. The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve has a welcome offer that lets new cardholders earn a 50,000 point bonus after spending $4,500 in the first 90 days.

The Reserve features more travel and other perks than the other two Altitude cards but has a much higher annual fee, at $400. The Altitude Go has a $0 annual fee and comes with a 0% intro APR offer on purchases for 12 months and 0% on balance transfers for 12 months.

How do I redeem my U.S. Bank Altitude points?

U.S. Bank Altitude points are redeemed online through the Altitude Rewards Center. You can access the rewards center by logging into your U.S. Bank online account. You can use your points to book travel, including flights, hotel accommodations, car rentals, cruises, and other activities. You can also redeem for merchandise, gift cards, statement credits, and U.S. Bank prepaid rewards cards.

How much are U.S. Bank Altitude points worth?

U.S. Bank Altitude points are worth 1 cent each.

What credit score is needed for the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card?

As with most credit card issuers, U.S. Bank doesn’t publish its credit requirements. It’s likely you will need a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card. A good to excellent FICO score is 670 or higher.


Other cards to consider

The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature is a great choice for a versatile travel credit card but it may not be right for everyone. If you’re still unsure, then here are two more credit card offers you might consider for your next new card.

A top choice for flexible rewards is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Although this Capital One card offers many of the same benefits and redemption options, it also allows you to transfer points to 15 airline transfer partners, including JetBlue Airways, Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Air France, and many more. The Venture Rewards card also features other travel benefits such as travel accident and car rental insurance.

Chase Sapphire Preferred is another top travel rewards card. Along with its huge sign-up bonus, the card gives cardholders access to Chase Ultimate Rewards, one of the most versatile rewards programs available. As with the Venture Card, the Sapphire Preferred Card allows you to transfer points to travel partner programs. Chase airline and hotel partners include Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Marriott, IHG, Hilton, and more. The Sapphire Preferred Card also features partner benefits with Peloton, DoorDash, and Lyft.

Cell Phone Protection + Annual Streaming Credit

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card

Special Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 4 months

See how these cards compare:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • 60,000 bonus mile welcome offer
  • 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 5X points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Author Details

Kevin Payne Kevin Payne is a freelance writer specializing in student loans, credit cards, personal finance, and travel. He is a regular contributor to Club Thrifty, Millennial Money, and Student Loan Planner. As the budget and family travel expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com, Kevin recently turned his writing side hustle into his full-time career. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids.