U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card Review
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Foodies take notice: Earn 4x the points on your dining out, takeout and delivery purchases as well as 2x the points on your grocery store purchases.
- Save on interest with an intro 0% APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days (then, 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable).
- Take this card with you when you travel abroad as there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.
- If you want to redeem your points as cash back, your options are limited to a statement credit or a deposit to a U.S. Bank checking or savings account. If you bank elsewhere and want cash back, this likely isn't the best card for you.
The benefits and perks of the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card truly stand out for people who are leading today's on-the-go, digitally geared lifestyle. With credits for streaming content and extra rewards for dining out, as well as a solid welcome bonus and intro 0% APR period (followed by a 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable), Altitude® Go is poisitioned to be a solid no-annual-fee contender for a spot in your wallet.
The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card benefits get off to a great start with the welcome bonus opportunity worth up to $200. New cardholders can spend $1,000 in those first 90 days to earn 20,000 bonus points, valued at $200 to redeem on merchandise, gift cards, travel or even cash back in the form of a statement credit or deposit to your U.S. Bank account.
And that bonus is just the start of the rewards. Foodes take note: Cardholders earn four times the points when they use their Altitude® Go card to purchase takeout, food delivery services or dining out. That is a signficant reward rate for really any card, but especially on a no-annual-fee card and without a spending cap on what you can earn. Think about it: If you spend $25 for your weekly pizza night, you earn 100 points.
But if cooking at home is more your speed, that's ok. Altitude® Go has you in mind, too. Grocery stores and grocery delivery purchases earn two points per $1 spent. Additionally, gas station and streaming services will also net you two times the points per $1 you spend. All you other eligible purchases earn you one point per $1 that you spend.
Speaking of streaming services, there's a money-saving benefit you should know about. Cardholders are eligible to receive a $15 statement credit for qualifying streaming services purchased on the card throughout a 12-month period. The credit is automatically applied to the cardholder's account after 11 consecutive calendar months of eligible streaming service purchases. Qualifying streaming services include Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, Apple Music and others. The only "catch" – if you can even call it that – is that your account remain in good standing to be eligible for the credti.
To put the points earning in a pragmatic perspective: If you spent $600 a month on food takeout or delivery, as well as $600 on grocery store purchases or deliveries, in addition to $1,000 on other items, you would have the potential to earn over 55,000 points – worth more than $550 in redemption options – in a year. This scenario doesn't include your initial bonus of 20,000 points after spending just $1,000 in the first 90 days. That is a lot of rewards potential for a card that charges no annual fee (as well as no foreign transaction fees, by the way), just by doing your normal routine.
We've already mentioned that there's no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, but there's yet another money-saving perk to note. The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card also offers a 0% intro APR for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening. After that, the APR becomes 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable. You could use those first 12 billing cycles as an interest-free loan to buy yourself to buy a larger-ticket item or do some house projects. Just remember to make a plan and full pay off your purchases before the end of the intro period so that interest doesn't eat into your rewards earning.
With high points earning potential in a number of popular categories, you should be tempted to use this card often so you can build up a healthy bank of points. Then comes the fun part of redeeming your rewards.
Here's a reminder of how this card earns points:
- 4x points on takeout, food delivery and dining out
- 2x points on grocery store and grocery delivery purchases
- 2x points on gas purchases
- 2x points on eligible streaming purchases
- 1x points on all other eligible purchases
Oh, and don't forget that new cardholders earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
All those points can be redeemed several ways, including for cash back in the form of a statement credit or a deposit to a U.S. checking or savings account, to purchase merchandise or gift cards, or redeem for travel through the U.S. Bank Travel Portal. Additionally, thanks to the Real=Time Rewards option, you can redeem your points directly at the point of purchase in for many purchases. Being able to pay with rewards on the go is rare in this industry, so if you're someone who uses digital payment methods often, this is a perk that you will enjoy.
If you consider yourself old-school, with more time spent cooking at home and watching TV with cable or an antenna, this card isn't going to be as beneficial to you since you won't be earning in the top rewards category (4x points on takeout, food delivery and dining out), nor will you be able to put to use the streaming services credit on the 2x points earned on eligible streaming services. There are other no-annual-fee cards out there that will be better a fit.
Additionally, the cash back redemption option is nice to have, but it does have some limits. Namely, that you can only redeem for statement credit or, if you wanted actual cash back, your only option is to redeem direclty into a U.S. Bank checking or savings account. Furthermore, there's a minimum cash back redemption of 2,500 points (that's $25).
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers solid cash-back earning potential in the form of at least 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. And, beginning in mid-September 2020, the earning potential expands to include 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and 3% cash back at restaurants (takeout and delivery included) and drugstores. Furthermore, new cardholders can also earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending just $500 on the card in the first three monhts.
That's a lot of earning categories to keep up with, but it could mean a lot of rewards; however, Altitude® also provides plenty of rewards earning opportunity – including higher earning with restaurants and on grocery store purchases (after the first year with the Chase card).
Neither card charges an annual fee, but Chase Freedom Unlimited® does charge foreign transaction fees whereas the U.S. Bank card does not. If you regularly shop with international vendors or travel overseas, the Altitude® Go card is likely a better choice.
Altitude® Go Card vs. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express aligns similarly to the Altitude® Go card. Blue Cash Preferred® is also a tiered rewards card that offers a $300 bonus statement credit after spending $3,000 in your first six months as a card member. It also offers high rewards earning at U.S. supermarkets, to the tune of 6% cash back on up to $6,000 spent in a year. Notice, however, that there is a spending cap with the American Express card; after hitting that $6,000 spending cap in a year, you earn just 1% cash back. If you routinely spend more than that in a year, you could be better off with the Altitude® Go card since your earning at the four-points-per-$1 spent at grocery stores earning is unlimited.
Additionally, Blue Cash Preferred® offers and unlimited 6% back on eligible streaming purchases, which does put the earning here well ahead of what you can earn on eligible streaming with the U.S. Bank card. There's no streaming credit, however, with the American Express card.
As with the Altitude Go® Card, Blue Cash Preferred® offers a boosted percentage return for gas, but it's higher than Altitude® Go at 3% cash back on your purchases at U.S. gas stations. The American Express card, however, also offers the same 3% back on eligible transit purchases, including ride shares and public transportation. All other eligible purchases
Not unexpectedly, though, with the higher earning rates, come higher costs. Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee. It also charges foreign transaction fees. Altitude® Go, of course, charges neither of these fees.
The decision may come down to deciding whether the extra rewards opportunities can more than offset the annual fee for the Blue Cash Preferred® card and whether you are looking for a card to use on purchases abroad.
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card vs. Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card starts off with a decent welcome offer of $200 after you spend $500 in the first three months that the account is open. It's a the same as what the Altitude® Go card offers, but the spending threshold to earn it is half as much.
When it comes to rewards, the percentage rate for cash back with the SavorOne card is also a little bit lower at 3% back for dining and entertainment, 2% for at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Target® or Walmart®), and 1% on your other eligible purchases.
The two cards line up in terms of fees: Neither charges an annual fee or foreign transaction fees and both feature a 0% intro APR offer, though the terms differ. The Altitude Go® Card offers an intro 0% APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and on balance transfers made within the first 60 days (then, 14.99% - 23.99%* Variable). SavorOne, on the other hand, offers you an intro 15 months 0% APR on purchases only (then, 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)).
The SavorOne card does feature a slew of additional perks, including the ability to redeem rewards for cash back in any amount, the chance to be refunded if an item you purchased goes on sale within a set timeframe (terms apply) and more.
The Altitude Go® Card comes out ahead in terms of rewards earning, but SavorOne may be more your speed if you need a longer intro 0% APR period for your purchases or are enticed by some additional features.
If you are a busy singleton or family, who has to have the newest devices or lifestyle habits, or are relying on takeout and food delivery services, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card could be an excellent card for you.
Points are boosted on today's popular spending categories. There's also no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, which makes it a hit for those who like to be on the cutting edge while still remaining frugal. Why spend money to save money?
Especially in this time of a pandemic, the benefits would be particularly applicable to families with working parents and kids learning remotely – streaming services are necessary for these families, and so too, some would argue, are takeout and delivery services – both of which have higher returns with the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card.
To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured, please visit the following links: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees