U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card Review [2024]: Travel Rewards Without the High Fee?

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature offers high rewards for travel and gas purchases and some travel-specific perks. But is it right for you?
Updated April 9, 2024
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If your spending habits include frequent travel purchases, buying takeout, and paying at the fuel pump, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card can help you earn versatile rewards points.

This card features a decent welcome bonus with a reasonable spending requirement. And this card has competitive rates in a variety of spending categories. But if you want a travel card connected to multiple transfer partners, then the Altitude Connect might not be the best choice for you. 

Use our U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card review to help you decide if it's the right travel card for your next adventure.

Cell Phone Protection + Annual Streaming Credit

U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card
4.5

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

Current Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening

Annual Fee

$95 (waived first year)

Rewards Rate

5X points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center; 4X points on travel, gas stations, EV charging stations through 9/8/24, after that 4X on your first $1,000 each quarter (wholesale clubs and discount stores/supercenters excluded); 2X points on dining, streaming services and at grocery stores; and 1X points on all other eligible purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

In this U.S. Bank Altitude Connect review

Key takeaways

  • The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature has a relatively high rewards rate for travel and gas. You can earn a 5X rewards rate on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center and 4X on travel, gas stations, EV charging stations through 9/8/24, after that 4X on your first $1,000 each quarter (wholesale clubs and discount stores/supercenters excluded).
  • Cardholders get a $100 credit every four years to cover a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.
  • As a welcome offer, earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.
  • The Altitude Connect has a couple of nice non-travel perks, such as a $30 annual credit for eligible streaming services and up to $600 per claim in cell phone protection coverage.

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

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 prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center and 4X on travel, gas stations, EV charging stations through 9/8/24, after that 4X on your first $1,000 each quarter (wholesale clubs and discount stores/supercenters excluded). It’s also a decent card for those looking for flexible redemption options.

Aside from its rewards rates, the Altitude Connect offers cardholders a few different travel-related perks. You can get a $100 statement credit to cover the fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and the Altitude Connect also offers airport lounge access through Priority Pass and some travel protection features — plus it has no foreign transaction fee. This card also has a $30 annual statement credit as a perk for fans of streaming services.

The annual fee for this card is $95 (waived first year). The fee is reasonable for the level of rewards and perks you get from the Altitude Connect. But if you don’t spend much out of pocket on travel, there are other rewards cards available that could better align with your spending habits.

Credit 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 when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening
Reward rate 5X points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center; 4X points on travel, gas stations, EV charging stations through 9/8/24, after that 4X on your first $1,000 each quarter (wholesale clubs and discount stores/supercenters excluded); 2X points on dining, streaming services and at grocery stores; and 1X points on all other eligible purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent
Foreign transaction fee None

Why we like the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card: benefits and perks

  • Decent bonus offer: New cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. That's a longer timeframe for the spending requirement than you'd get with many other travel cards. 
  • 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.
  • Airport lounge access: Cardholders have access to a Priority Pass Select membership. That gets you into more than 1,300 VIP airport lounges worldwide. Cardholders get four visits free each membership year, but lounge visit fees apply after that. 
  • Streaming service credit: You can earn a $30 statement credit on eligible streaming service purchases like Spotify, Hulu, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Netflix.
  • Trip protection features: Cardholders have access to trip interruption/cancellation and travel delay protection which can help out if you're in a pinch. 
  • 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.
  • U.S. Bank ExtendPay benefit: Take advantage of ExtendPay plans to pay off balances over time.

What we don't like about U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card: drawbacks

  • Annual fee: Cardmembers must pay a $95 (waived first year) annual fee 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 some 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 to help you avoid high interest rates. For that, check out our list of the best balance transfer 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

Category Rewards rate
Prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center 5X
Travel, gas stations, EV charging stations through 9/8/24, after that 4X on your first $1,000 each quarter (wholesale clubs and discount stores/supercenters excluded) 4X
Dining, streaming services and at grocery stores 2X
All other eligible purchases 1X

The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card comes with a decent welcome offer. The 50,000 bonus points is worth roughly $500 in redemptions through the Altitude Rewards Center. The requirement to spend $2,000 in the first 120 days to earn the bonus has a longer timeframe than with many other travel cards. It's 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.

Maximizing your redemptions

Almost all redemptions for the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card go 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. 

Note that the Altitude Connect is a travel credit card, but you can use it like a cash back credit card because of its cashback redemption options.

Other Altitude card redemptions include:

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

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. You'll get a text message after making a purchase and can choose to text back to redeem available points for the purchase you just made. 

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

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 when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. 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 billing cycles (then 18.24% - 29.24% (Variable)) and a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles (then 18.24% - 29.24% (Variable)); balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.

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. That means 10,000 points would be worth $100. You can redeem your rewards through the U.S. Bank Altitude Rewards Center found in your online account. An easy way to access your online account is through the U.S. Bank mobile app. You can also call the 24-hour Rewards Center number at 888-229-8864.

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

As with most credit card issuers, including Chase and American Express, U.S. Bank doesn’t publish its exact credit requirements. It’s likely you will need an excellent credit score to qualify for the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card. An excellent FICO score is 800 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 there are travel cards with more robust loyalty programs available. Here are two more credit cards you might consider for your next new card.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit 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 as the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect, it also allows you to transfer points to 15 airline transfer partners, including JetBlue Airways, Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Air France, and many more. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is another top travel rewards card. Along with its welcome offer, the card gives cardholders access to Chase Travel℠, 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, Hyatt, and more. And Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase's portal. 

U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card: Bottom line

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card has good rewards rates on travel for a relatively low $95 (waived first year) annual fee. It lacks some of the benefits of more robust loyalty programs, such as multiple transfer partners, but it still offers travel-related perks like a TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit and trip interruption protection.

If you want to see other credit cards that might work better for you, read our best credit cards page.

Cell Phone Protection + Annual Streaming Credit

U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card
4.5

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

Why We Like It

Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening

See how these cards compare:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 19.99% - 29.99% (variable) purchase APR
  • Rates and fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Travel℠
  • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Chase Travel℠
  • 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.

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