The US Bank Altitude Reserve is one of the best travel rewards credit cards available if you spend a lot on travel and mobile wallet purchases, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay etc. That’s because you earn 3X on travel and mobile wallet purchases.
But one feature that really helps this card stand out is the $325 travel credit. In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about the $325 Altitude Reserve travel credit.
What is the US Bank Altitude Reserve travel credit?
The US Bank Altitude Reserve comes with an easy-to-use annual $325 travel credit that allows you to get reimbursed for up to $325 worth of various travel purchases.
The annual fee for the Altitude Reserve is only $400, so you can easily offset this annual fee down to $75 by utilizing this credit which is fantastic.
Compare this to the Chase Sapphire Reserve which has a $325 credit but an annual fee of $550. (The Sapphire Reserve also comes with a $60 DoorDash credit but that still only brings the annual fee down to $190.)
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What counts as travel?
US Bank defines what would be considered “travel” in its terms and conditions:
purchases made directly from airlines, hotels, car rental companies, taxis, limousines, passenger trains and cruise lines
One of the key things to note here is that you must make the purchase directly with the airlines, hotels etc. If you were to make a purchase through an online travel agency such as Expedia, then you run the risk of this credit not triggering.
Some people have been able to use the credit for Uber and Lyft which is pretty significant since those are not exactly taxis. Also, it appears that Airbnb purchases may code as hotels as well.
This travel credit is not as broad as the credit for the Chase Sapphire Reserve which works on a much broader scale when it comes to travel expenses. Here is what the Sapphire Reserve covers:
Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.
As you can see, more types of travel purchases are covered with the Sapphire Reserve.
But it is worth noting that the Altitude Reserve credit is still broader than what the American Express travel credits allow. Cards like the Platinum Card and the Gold Card offer airline incidental credits of $200 and $100 respectively. However, these credits can only be used on select airlines and are limited to things like baggage fees, change fees, and other types of expenses.
So the Altitude Reserve is somewhere in the middle but much closer to the broader side when it comes to ease of use.
How Does the US Bank Altitude Reserve travel credit work?
The $325 travel credit becomes active as soon as you activate your credit card and is automatically triggered when you make an eligible travel purchase. This means you don’t have to do any extra work to get your credit to apply.
US Bank Altitude Reserve travel credit FAQ
The $325 travel credit will work on small or large purchases. For example, you could use it on a $25 purchase or you could use it to take a $325 chunk out of a $1,000 purchase.
Your travel credit may take a few days to post to your account after your purchase posts.
Authorized users do not get their own travel credit. Instead, the purchases they make will count towards the primary cardmember’s travel credit.
The $325 travel credit will reset after each account anniversary year. This means that one year after you open up your account, your credit will reset. Do not get this confused with a calendar year which would mean that your credit resets on January 1 of each year.
Overall, the Reserve travel credit is very easy to use and applies to a broad range of travel expenses. The $400 annual fee is already on the lower side for a premium card but this credit makes that effective fee of $75 very achievable for a lot of people.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.