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Update 5/2/17: Approved! I called U.S. Bank at 800-654-0648, entered my SSN and was told that my application had been approved — less than 24 hours after having received the instant denial.


Credit card enthusiasts have almost certainly had May 1 circled in their calendars. The latest and greatest premium card, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card, launched this morning, and the online application is now live (you can also apply in person at a U.S. Bank branch).

Altitude Reserve Card Features

This card carries a hefty $400 annual fee (plus $75 for each authorized user), but offers a long list of benefits, including:

  • Sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,500 on eligible purchases within 90 days of account opening
  • Up to $325 in annual travel credits — resets every cardmember year and applies to purchases made directly through airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise lines.
  • 12 complimentary Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes per year. Gogo sells 24-hour passes for $19 each, so this benefit alone could provide $228 in value.
  • A discount of 15% as well as $30 off your first ride with GroundLink Black Car Service.
  • Pre-sale access and $60 off per person per event with the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour.
  • Ability to use points for flight time as well as flight time and aircraft upgrades with NetJets Private Aviation.
  • Priority Pass Select membership with no enrollment fee for one cardmember per account (including authorized users). The member will receive complimentary access to participating lounges for the first four visits as well as four individual guest visits. After the free visits are used, entry fees will apply.
  • Benefits at Relais & Chateaux Boutique Luxury Hotels including accelerated access to the Club 5C loyalty program after two nights stayed. Benefits of Club 5C include “room upgrades, personalized services and invitations to exceptional cultural and culinary experiences; and a complimentary breakfast daily at approximately 120 participating properties.”
  • Receive up to 30% off Silvercar rentals of two days or more when paying with the Altitude Reserve.
  • Up to $100 in a statement credit to enroll in either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
  • Complimentary continental breakfast, automatic room upgrade when available, $25 food or beverage credit and more when booking hotels that are part of the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection with the Altitude Reserve.

We had a chance to check out a sample version of the Altitude Reserve card last week, in all its 0.6-ounce metal glory — and while most customers are more interested in this product’s premium features than its physical look and feel, there’s no question that the stainless steel design does factor in for some.

How to Apply

Anyway, enough about the card and its features — you’re here to learn how to apply.

First, one very important point to note: Currently, only existing U.S. Bank customers are eligible to apply. However, credit card accounts do count toward this requirement — so if you have one of several eligible cards, such as the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card, you might already be a U.S. Bank customer without even realizing it. Otherwise, you can open a U.S. Bank account, wait a month and then apply for Altitude Reserve.

Assuming you meet the requirements, here’s a step-by-step guide for how to apply online. You can also click this link to apply directly, but note that your application may not be linked to your existing customer profile.

1. Head to U.S. Bank’s website and log in.

Since you need to be a current customer in order to open an Altitude Reserve account, U.S. Bank reps suggest that your best chance for linking your application with an existing customer profile is to first log in to your online account.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.09.13 PM

2. Click “Open a New Account.”

Once you’re logged in, you can either apply via a banner ad (if one appears) or click “Open a New Account” on the left sidebar.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.09.39 PM

3. Compare credit cards

On the next page, click “Compare cards” to move on to the next step. You could also choose the “Find my offers” option, but the Altitude card didn’t appear on that page for me.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.10.47 PM

4. Find Altitude Reserve and click “Learn More.”

At this point you should see the Altitude Reserve card appear — likely for the first time. If you click “Learn More” (top right corner) you should be brought directly to the application page (finally!).

 

5. Fill out the application.

I imagine you’ve been through this process a few times before? Fill in the required information, click to accept the Terms & Conditions at the bottom of the page and click the “Submit” button to send your application to the bank. (Note that there may be a field for “U.S. Bank Altitude Rewards #” — since I obviously don’t have one yet, I left that blank.)

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.08.55 PM

6. Wait for your card to arrive in the mail — or call reconsideration.

I currently have 39 active credit and charge card accounts — this will (or would have been) #40 — so it’s rare that I get an instant approval at this point. However, after calling the bank, I’m almost always approved (with Chase being a notable exception, due to 5/24). I wasn’t surprised to see that I wasn’t instantly approved for Altitude Reserve today, but the language seemed to imply that my application had actually been rejected, so I decided to call U.S. Bank “for more information,” as the message suggested.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.13.04 PM

After spending a couple minutes navigating the unnecessarily complex phone tree, I was quickly connected with an underwriting agent who pulled up my account and confirmed that the system had rejected my application — apparently because it was unable to identify me as an existing U.S. Bank customer (even though I had logged in before filling out the application). The agent confirmed my status, however, and told me that she forwarded the application for a manual underwriting review, which should be completed within 2-3 business days.

Bottom Line

I followed the instructions above to open my account, but for one reason or another the “system” was unable to identify me as an existing customer. A quick call to the number referenced on the rejection page seemed to clear that up — and in 2-3 business days I should be able to call back to see if I’m approved.

Long story short, don’t give up if you receive the same message that I did, but don’t sit and wait for a letter to arrive in the mail — it’s quite possible that your application was simply not linked with your customer profile, and while it seems like the underwriting reps can quickly clear that up, you may need to call in to make that happen.

Were you able to successfully apply for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card?

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