Fixed-rate travel rewards: U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card review

Dec 11, 2019

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The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card is a travel rewards card with multiple bonus-earning categories. There’s no need to worry about maximizing redemptions, because your points are worth 1.5 cents each when used toward travel. This card may be particularly appealing to those who donate to charity frequently, prefer fixed-value rewards, want to use one card for all their purchases, don’t want to pay a high annual fee and/or have lower credit. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card is one of the few cards to still offer bonus earning for charitable donations. The card also offers other interesting features. You can get reimbursed for up to $25 per round-trip air travel award ticket for baggage fees or in-flight food and drink. You earn 2x at airlines, gas stations or grocery stores — whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle. Let’s take a closer look at this card and who should consider adding it to their wallet.

The information for the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer

In This Post

Who is this card for?

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card isn’t for everyone. But you may be well suited for the card if you satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

  • Donate to charity frequently: A 3% return on charitable donations is one of the best returns you’ll find
  • Prefer fixed-value rewards: If you don’t want to maximize transfer partners and search for award availability, the simplicity of redeeming for travel with this card may provide value
  • Want to use one card for all purchases: Since you’ll earn 2x at airlines, gas stations or grocery stores — whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle — this may be a reasonable choice if you only want to use one card
  • Don’t want to pay a high annual fee: With a $49 annual fee that’s waived the first year, this travel rewards card may appeal if you have sticker shock at the annual fees charged by other travel rewards cards
  • Have lower credit: This card may be easier to be approved for than some other travel rewards cards, while still allowing you to earn and redeem points toward travel

You’ll only get 1.5 cents per point if you redeem those points for travel; other redemptions will provide a lower value for your points. If you already have cards that provide a similar or better earning rate for charitable donations, groceries, gas stations, airlines and everyday spending, then the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card likely won’t provide much value for you.

Further reading: 7 travel rewards credit cards that pay for themselves

Sign-up bonus: As much as $375 in value

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
The sign-up bonus can get you $375 in travel. (Image by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 25,000 FlexPoints after you spend $2,000 in eligible net purchases on your card within the first four months of account opening. These FlexPoints are worth $375 when redeemed for eligible travel including airfare, hotel stays and car rentals.

There’s a $0 introductory annual fee for the first 12 months, after which most people will need to pay a $49 annual fee. U.S. Bank Platinum Checking customers receive a second year annual fee waiver.

Main benefits and perks

One of the most impressive-sounding benefits of the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card is a reimbursement for up to $25 per round-trip air travel award ticket toward baggage fees or inflight food and drinks. However, this perk has a number of restrictions:

  • You must redeem a minimum of 10,000 FlexPoints per round-trip airline award ticket
  • Charges must post to your account, under the airline carrier providing your award travel flight, between the dates of your award travel flight
  • Reimbursement is only available for FlexPoints redemptions made for airfare through the Rewards Center online or by phone — not if you purchase airfare from an airline and use real-time mobile rewards to pay for the airfare
  • Reimbursement is not automatic, so you must call to request a statement credit within 90 days of each purchase

Another primary benefit of the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card is access to exclusive Visa Signature card member benefits. These benefits include Luxury Hotel Collection perks and access to the Visa Signature concierge, as well as travel and shopping benefits like purchase security, warranty manager service, auto rental collision damage waiver and travel and emergency assistance services.

Other benefits of the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card include:

Further reading: U.S. Bank changing FlexPerks Rewards in 2018

How to earn points

You’ll earn FlexPoints on all purchases you make with your U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card. Each monthly billing cycle you’ll earn two points per dollar spent on purchases with airlines, gas stations or grocery stores. Luckily, you don’t have to choose your 2x category, as U.S. Bank will simply give you two points per dollar spent in whichever category you spend the most in during each monthly billing cycle and one point per dollar spent in the other two categories.

You’ll also earn two points per dollar spent on all purchases with cellular services providers and at charities, which makes this one of the best cards for charitable donations. To earn two points per dollar spent, the charity must classify itself as a “Charitable and Social Service Organization” when processing credit card payments.

You’ll earn one point per dollar spent everywhere else. To maximize your earnings with this card, you’ll want to use it for spending on purchases with either airlines, gas stations or grocery stores each billing cycle. But this card can work well even if you use the card for all of your purchases each billing cycle. For example, even if you normally spend more on groceries than gas or airfare, you’ll still be rewarded for your increased spending if you have a month where you buy airfare or go on a road trip and purchase a large amount of gas.

How to redeem points

You can redeem FlexPoints earned by the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card in many different ways:

  • Air travel, hotel and car rental rewards
  • Merchandise rewards
  • Gift cards
  • Statement credit
  • Real-time mobile rewards

However, you’ll only get a redemption value of 1.5 cents each — the best of any redemption options — when you redeem your FlexPoints toward travel. You can redeem your FlexPoints at 1.5 cents each for airfare, hotel stays and car rentals through U.S. Bank’s Rewards Center either online or over the phone.

If you don’t want to book through U.S. Bank’s Rewards Center, you can also redeem your FlexPoints at a rate of 1.5 cents each for travel purchases made directly with U.S. merchants that are airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise lines through real-time mobile rewards. You’ll need to activate real-time mobile rewards and set up which types of purchases you’d like to be notified about before you can redeem your FlexPoints. Our friends at Million Mile Secrets have a full guide on how to activate and set-up U.S. Bank’s Real-Time Mobile Rewards.

Booking directly with merchants and then getting reimbursed can be better than booking through the Rewards Center for multiple reasons: you’ll earn FlexPoints on your purchase, you’ll have access to more rates and you can click through a shopping portal while booking. Unfortunately, the minimum purchase amount for redeeming FlexPoints through real-time mobile rewards is $500 for lodging and $250 for car rental.If you purchase airfare from an airline and use real-time mobile rewards to pay for the airfare, you also will not be eligible to receive the $25 airline allowance benefit.

Further reading: Comparing the best fixed-value point credit cards

What cards compete with the U.S. Bank FlexPerks card?

Many cards compete with the U.S. Bank FlexPerks card at different levels. (Photo by TPG staff)

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card doesn’t have any direct competitors, although you might assume the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card would be comparable. The Altitude Reserve has a much higher $400 annual fee, but a $325 annual travel credit brings the effective annual fee down to a comparable $75. The Altitude Reserve offers a number of additional benefits, but the most important difference is bonus category earning. The Altitude Reserve earns 3x points on eligible net travel purchases and mobile wallet spending. Both cards earn FlexPoints, but they have relatively little in common. See our full Altitude Reserve card review for more details.

Some cash-back cards can compete with the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card. One of the closest in terms of bonus earning is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. This card earns 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% cash back on transit and at U.S. gas stations — while only charging a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees). See our full Blue Cash Preferred card review for more details.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card is also a close cash-back competitor that doesn’t charge an annual fee. It earns 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings, and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter. After that, you’ll earn 1%. Preferred Rewards members get a 25%-75% rewards bonus on every purchase. See our full card review for more details.

Finally, if you’re willing to learn to maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards points, it might be worthwhile to pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. In doing so, you’d get a 3% return on all non-bonus spending —- which is the same return you’d get from bonus categories on the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card — and a 4% or 6% return on all travel and dining spending.

Further reading: The best starter travel credit cards

Bottom line

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card offers the ability to earn double FlexPoints on one of three categories — airlines, gas stations or grocery stores — in which you spend most during each monthly billing cycle. Plus, earning double FlexPoints on charitable donations makes this card one of the best for charitable donations.

FlexPoints can be redeemed for travel at a value of 1.5 cents each, so this card can be a good option if you’ll redeem your points for travel. The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card may be a particularly valuable choice if you’re unable to get accepted for other travel rewards cards, don’t want to deal with transfer partners and finding award space, or determine that the card’s bonus categories align well with categories for which you currently aren’t earning bonus points.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred, please click here.

Featured image by John Gribben/The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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