U.S. Bank Changing FlexPerks Rewards in 2018
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U.S. Bank is planning on rolling out some big changes to its FlexPerks Rewards program. According to a tip from TPG reader Richard S., starting January 1, 2018 FlexPoints will be redeemable towards travel at a fixed value of 1.5 cents per point, and U.S. Bank will be getting rid of the current tiered redemption system. FlexPoints can be earned through cards like the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Visa Signature.
Now this isn't all bad news, as FlexPoints currently can range in value from 1 to 2 cents per point — and it can be tough to redeem FlexPoints for 2 cents apiece since rewards are redeemed through tiers. For example, if you wanted to buy an airplane ticket up to $400, it would cost 20,000 FlexPoints. So if your ticket was $399, you'd be getting a great value of 2 cents per point. However if you were redeeming points for a ticket worth $401, you'd be kicked up to the next tier and would have to shell out 30,000 points, which would only value your FlexPoints at 1.34 cents per point.
The new program will have a fixed value of 1.5 cents per point when redeeming towards car rentals, airline tickets and hotels, making FlexPoints much simpler to use. The current tiered rates will still apply for travel booked before December 31, 2017.
Earning Flexperks will also become easier for those who spend more than $120,000 in a calendar year — purchases will now earn one FlexPoint per $1 spent, an increase from the current rate of one FlexPoint per $2 spent. Charitable donations will will only earn 2x FlexPoints per $1, down from 3x points per $1.
The change to FlexPoints comes shortly after the launch of the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card, a premium travel card that competes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the American Express Platinum Card. The Altitude Reserve's points are also worth 1.5 cents per point, making FlexPoints on par with U.S. Bank's new card. Given the identical value, it's likely that it'll become possible to transfer points between the cards in 2018.