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US Bank Increases FlexPerks Travel Rewards Sign-Up Bonus to 20,000 FlexPoints

Sept. 26, 2013
7 min read
US Bank Increases FlexPerks Travel Rewards Sign-Up Bonus to 20,000 FlexPoints
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As of last night US Bank has raised the sign up offer for both the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card and the FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards Card from 17,500 FlexPoints to 20,000 FlexPoints after $3,500 spend in the first 150 days. Though the prior spend requirement was $2,500 in the first 150 days, those extra 2,500 FlexPoints can be worth up to $50 more in value when redeemed for airfare and the overall bonus is worth up to $400 in airfare.

FlexPerks is the proprietary points program of US Bank, just like Arrival miles are to Barclaycard. You cannot transfer the points to travel partners since FlexPoints are a kind of fixed-value travel rewards system where points are worth between 1.33-2 cents apiece when redeemed for airfare, and around 1 cent apiece for other things like merchandise or statement credits.

Here are the current details on the offers:

FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card

  • Get 20,000 Bonus FlexPoints after the first $3,500 in net purchases in the first 150 days
  • Award travel starts at just 20,000 FlexPoints (up to a $400 ticket value) on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates or redemption fees
  • Earn one FlexPoint for every $1 of eligible net purchases charged to your card
  • Earn two FlexPoints for every $1 spent on gas, grocery or airline purchases - whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle - and on most cell phone expenses
  • Earn Triple FlexPoints for your charitable donations
  • $0 Annual Fee* the first year, after that $49*
  • Earn 3,500 bonus FlexPoints each year when you spend $24,000 in Net Purchases. You can redeem these FlexPoints for your annual fee or combine them with other FlexPoints for travel

FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards Visa card

In addition, the cards have a SmartChip, which would be great for travel abroad, however, there is a 2-3% foreign transaction fee, so I would not use this card abroad or for any foreign transactions. Check out this post for the best no foreign transaction fee cards. Cardholders also get travel accident insurance for up to $1 million, Silver-level membership in a travel booking service called Aficionado Club, and up to a 25% discount on National Car Rental reservations plus a free rental day coupon.

How FlexPerks Points Work
You can use your points to redeem for any available airfare at any time with no blackout dates. However, it more closely resembles Canada’s RBC Avion points where you redeem a certain amount of points on tickets up to certain dollar-value tiers, vs Capital One and Citi that give you 1 cent per point. You would also earn Elite Qualifying Miles as well as redeemable miles when redeeming FlexPoints since it's just like paying for an airline ticket.

Generous Redemption Levels
20,000 FlexPoints = Up to $400 ticket value
30,000 FlexPoints = Up to $600 ticket value
40,000 FlexPoints = Up to $800 ticket value
50,000 FlexPoints = Up to $1,000 ticket value
70,000 FlexPoints = Up to $1,400 ticket value
100,000 FlexPoints = Up to $2,000 ticket value
150,000 FlexPoints = Up to $3,000 ticket value
225,000 FlexPoints = Up to $4,500 ticket value
350,000 FlexPoints = Up to $7,000 ticket value
500,000 FlexPoints = Up to $10,000 ticket value

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Value Proposition
The most value you can get out of any of your points is 2 cents each if you push right up against the upper limit of airfare in each increment with the worst being 1.33 cents each if you are at the lower end of those price brackets- still much more generous than most programs that only give 1- 1.25 cents per point. If you earn on average 2 points per dollar spent (not hard if you are a Platinum checking customer can spend in bonus categories) and you maximize your redemptions, you could be getting 4% back on all of your spend (double the Venture), which is extremely competitive even compared to Chase/Amex since you are earning miles all along the way.

And remember that you get an extra $25 in value on award tickets in the form of an airline allowance for expenses like checked bags, food/drink and entertainment.

Booking travel is easy too through the FlexPerks Rewards travel site, which is powered by Travelocity so it should find pretty much the standard best deals out there, or by calling the booking center at 888-229-8864. Cardholders must make the booking themselves, though the tickets can be purchased in anyone’s name.

You can also redeem points for hotels and car rental gift cards at a rate of 1 point per cent in 5,000-point increments for which you get gift certificates to use at chains like Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Avis, Budget, Hertz, Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean.

Points are also redeemable for merchandise from shops like Apple, Sony, Bose, Canon and Dell, and gift cards from places like Amazon, Best Buy, Gap, Macy’s, Office Depot and Starbucks, or even just cash-back statement credits at 1 cent per point in increments of 5,000 points.

Note that FlexPoints expire 5 years after the end of the quarter in which they were earned, so no keeping your points alive simply by continuing to use the card. You’ve eventually got to use your points within that 5-year limit.

Who Is This Best For?

FlexPerks Travel Rewards cards are good for people who need to be able to book any flight- especially families whose school schedules aren’t flexible enough to work around peak award travel periods and who need multiple tickets on the same exact flight. For example, if you want to fly to Hawaii in coach on a $600 ticket, you can use 30,000 points per ticket and you’d earn miles and book as many tickets are available at that price vs. trying to finagle saver award tickets which start at 35,000 with most airlines and are heavily capacity controlled.

This scenario works different based on your travel destination, cost of the tickets and what class of service you travel, but these programs can take the hassle out of using rewards points and allow you to earn miles on top of the redemption.

Other Cards To Compare - Capital One Venture and Barclaycard Arrival

These cards also make a lot of sense for people who are US Bank Platinum checking customers and who also spend a lot of money in charitable donations as well as gas, groceries or airfare.

Capital One Venture: While the Capital One Venture card gives two points per dollar on all purchases, the points are worth 1 cent apiece. If you can max out on the 2x and 3x FlexPerks spend categories and then redeem for up to 2 cents per point, you can come out way ahead (plus you get all the other perks like $25 reimbursements and Visa Signature and Smartchip benefits).

Barclaycard Arrival: The Barclaycard Arrival currently carries a bonus of 40,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in 3 months, so the spending requirement is much lower there. The card also earns 2X points per $1 on all purchases and then you can redeem those points for 1 cent apiece toward any travel, not just airfare, but also things like rental cards, trains, bus tickets, etc. Plus, cardholders get a 10% refund on miles redeemed for travel so your So your rate of return is a solid 2.2% - and in my opinion would win out against FlexPerks in terms of category spending bonuses and travel redemptions, so if you're considering getting just one fixed-value points card right now, my vote would be for the Arrival.

That said, this is the highest offer on the US Bank FlexPerks cards we've seen in a while, so if you've been considering this card and really plan to max out the bonus spending and airfare redemption schedule, now could be the time to apply.
[card card-name='Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®' card-id='22089566' type='javascript' bullet-id='1']

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