Tuesday, May 2, 2017

U.S. Bank introduces new upmarket travel card

Carrying what may be the longest name of any credit card on the market, U.S. Bank has introduced the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Credit Card, targeting busy professionals who “live life on the go and value little touches of luxury.”

The new premium card includes what the bank calls “The industry's highest travel credit at up to $325 per each cardmember year,” which is awarded automatically when the card is used to purchase travel related services. The card is also the first to offer three points per dollar spent for both travel and mobile wallet purchases using four popular applications: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Microsoft Wallet.

In addition, the card offers full-service travel planning from the luxury travel experts at Andrew Harper, fee reimbursement for cardholders who apply for TSA PreCheck® or Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry® programs, access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide with Priority Pass, complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi and special values on luxury accommodations and premium rental cars.

"The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Credit Card offers cardholders premium lifestyle and protection benefits that help ensure its customers experience the best that life has to offer effortlessly and with the highest degree of service,” T.S. Anil, VISA Inc.’s head of global products said.

For international travelers, it may be important to know that the card has no foreign transaction fees, which typically run about three percent of the amount purchased outside the borders of the U.S.

Those who are approved for the new metal card will receive an enrollment bonus of 50,000 points, which U.S. Bank estimates has a travel value of $750, for card members who spend $4,500 in the first 90 days. At present, the card is only available to existing U.S. Bank customers and carries a $400 annual fee.

My take

At first blush, a $400 annual fee might seem a bit expensive but consider: if the cardholder earns the maximum $325 annual credit, that reduces the actual out-of-pocket cost fairly dramatically.

In addition, the access to airline clubs is quite valuable and, depending on how much a card holder spends annually, perhaps its single biggest benefit. Most airline clubs charge between $350 and $500 a year for membership with discounts for their top-tier frequent fliers. Read more in my article about Accessing Airport Clubs Economically.

Importantly, though, the Priority Pass benefit does not restrict card members to any one airline’s clubs; it includes access to clubs from several participating airlines. For example, Priority Pass holders flying through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) can access clubs run by Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, Virgin America and
KAL.

The cost of applying for the TSA PreCheck® or Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry® programs is another valuable benefit, at $85 and $100, respectively. Granted, that expense is only incurred once every five years, but it represents real value nonetheless.

That said, everyone’s travel and spending habits differ. Look closely at the benefits of the cards you already carry, as well as any you may be considering, to determine which are truly the best for you.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photo provided by U.S. Bank (NYSE:USB)
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