The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card is a lesser-known yet powerful credit card that competes with Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™, and The Platinum Card® from American Express. It’s the top-tier credit card product offered by U.S. Bank. Here, we look at the card’s competitive advantages and disadvantages to see how it stacks up in the ultra-luxury credit card sphere.
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card typically offers a great bonus to sweeten the sign-up deal and a generous travel credit to help defray the annual fee of $400. The card’s $325 in annual travel credits, in practice, drives down the annual fee to a mere $75. That’s impressive! In addition, the current standard public offer for the card is 50,000 reward points after spending $4,500 within the first three months of account opening.
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card ties Chase Sapphire Reserve for earning bonus points on overall travel purchases. Card holders earn triple miles on every dollar spent on airfare, hotels, travel agencies, and taxis/ride-shares. While the card does not offer bonus points on restaurant purchases, it does offer triple points on mobile wallet spending (e.g., Apple Pay).
Furthermore, U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card holders enjoy 12 free Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi passes per calendar year. This is the only personal premium credit card to offer such a perk.
Other strong attributes
Points for unrestricted award travel are redeemed at 1.5 % (in line with Chase Sapphire Reserve but lower than the Luxury Card Mastercard Gold Card’s 2%).
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card holders have access to The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection program, which grants perks at over 900 hotels and resorts around the world. Amenities may include room upgrades, late check-out, and complimentary food and beverage. This is the same program offered to Chase Sapphire Reserve card holders and several other fee-based Infinite-branded credit cards by Chase. However, U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card holders are entitled to an additional amenity beyond the standard Infinite perks (this amenity changes depending on the hotel).
When charging the entirety or a portion of a trip to the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card, expect automatic coverage under the card’s medevac insurance, up to $10,000 in evacuation costs per traveler (versus $100,000 with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and zero coverage under The Platinum Card from American Express or Luxury Card Mastercard Gold Card). Additionally, the card’s implicit trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance policies compensate loss from “financial insolvency of the Cardholder’s travel agency, tour operator, or travel supplier” up to $2,000 per trip (versus $10,000 of Chase Sapphire Reserve). As for the auto rental collision damage waiver benefit (Auto Rental CDW), coverage is primary within and outside the United States—most credit cards provide only secondary coverage. The amount covered is up to $75,000. However, this policy covers rentals of 15 consecutive days or less in country of residence (versus the 30 days with Chase Sapphire Reserve).
Competitive set standards
Points are redeemed for cash back at a rate of 1%. (This is the same rate as Chase Sapphire Reserve and greater than the 0.6% of The Platinum Card from American Express, but half the 2% of Luxury Card Mastercard Gold Card.)
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card members have access, via telephone or email, to the Visa Infinite® Concierge Service (the same as Chase Sapphire Reserve). This concierge service is able to secure tables at popular restaurants, seats to sold-out events, source hard-to-find gifts, and help fulfill special requests.
Several other travel and shopping benefits are in line with competitive standards. When charging a trip’s entire common carrier fare to the card, members are automatically covered by worldwide travel accident insurance with maximum coverage provided up to $500,000, and are also automatically covered by lost luggage protection up to $3,000 for each covered person for eligible items, excluding high-risk items. In terms of shopping benefits, the implicit purchase protection (insurance that covers specific purchased items if they are lost, stolen, or accidentally damaged within a specified period after the date of purchase) is an industry standard: up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 annually.
Also in line with its competitors, U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card provides a $100 Global Entry Application Fee statement credit every four years, for each application renewal. And similar to most credit cards these days—high-end and low-end—there are no foreign transaction fees when using the card, and cardmembers can obtain Fico scores for free.
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card provides complimentary membership to the Priority Pass™ Select Lounge Network—sort of. Complimentary membership is for either primary OR one authorized user. In terms of the guest policy, the first four visits and four individual accompanying guest visits are waived each Priority Pass Select membership year (not cardmember year). Following this, it is $27 per person, per visit (including visit of card holder).
When charging a purchase to the, U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card, members are automatically entitled to the Extended Warranty protection, which adds one year on eligible manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less. There are no extra years provided on extended in-store warranties or service plans.
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card also comes in below average for its return protection policy. The card provides return protection 90 days from date of purchase with a maximum coverage per item of $300 (versus the standard $500 of its competitors) and a maximum coverage per year of $1,000.
The biggest disadvantage of the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card is the requirement of a banking relationship with U.S. Bank in order to apply. For those who don’t live near U.S. Bank branches, this is sometimes a challenge.
And there are a few more downfalls. While adding card holders costs only $75, unlike its competitors, U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card does not grant lounge membership to authorized users. When charging travel to the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card, there is no implicit trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance policy to cover against severe weather. This card also does not offer Price Protection (not to be confused with Purchase Protection) as a benefit to card holders.
Moreover, unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express, points earned with the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card cannot be transferred to airline and hotel partners.
Who should get the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card?
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card is great for those who use their mobile wallet for purchases, travel often, and want strong travel and shopping protections but don’t need the best-of-the-best. The travel credits drive the annual fee down to that of a mid-range card, but the benefits are far greater, making it a bargain for those who want a prestigious card without the accompanying price tag.