|Rewards Rating:||3.4 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate||3.4|
In a Nutshell:
Thanks to its impressive rewards rate on a variety of everyday purchases, the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card is a great option for foodies and occasional travelers who want to avoid an annual fee.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, card number available instantly upon approval, $15 annual streaming service credit, auto rental collision damage waiver, extended warranty, travel and emergency assistance, zero fraud liability, roadside assistance
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One of the trickiest parts of choosing a rewards credit card is finding one that offers bonus rewards that match your lifestyle and spending habits. This is especially true when it comes to travel credit cards, many of which offer big rewards on travel purchases, but fall short when it comes to everyday expenses like gas and groceries.
But that’s where the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card shines. The card boasts a refreshingly practical and flexible rewards program that lets you earn points on a wide variety of everyday expenses, without paying an annual fee. Plus, you don’t need to already be a U.S. Bank customer to get the card.
While frequent travelers in search of luxury perks will want to look elsewhere, the Altitude Go card is a great option for the average cardholder thanks to its low cost of ownership and terrific ongoing rewards rate.
Impressive rewards rate on everyday purchases
The Altitude Go card offers great flexibility if you want to earn rewards on a variety of everyday spending. You’ll get 4 points per dollar on dining purchases, including at restaurants and on takeout and food delivery services like Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash and Postmates.
You’ll also earn 2 points per dollar at grocery stores and on grocery delivery (including meal kit subscriptions like Blue Apron), as well as on gas station and streaming service purchases. You get 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
The average person spends a sizable chunk of their income on these sorts of everyday expenses, making the Altitude Go a very practical choice for earning rewards. Indeed, it’s tough to earn bonus rewards on dining, gas and groceries year-round with a single card – especially without paying an annual fee.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card* perhaps comes closest, offering 3 points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services, as well as 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Sadly, though, it offers nothing in the way of grocery rewards.
Based on the average consumer’s spending, we estimate that the Altitude Go card carries an average ongoing rewards rate of around 1.82 points per dollar. That beats out the rate offered by most no annual fee travel cards (as well as a number of premium travel cards) and comes close to the rate you’ll find on some of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market.
Still, it’s not the highest rewards rate out there. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card*, for example, offers a flat 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, and the Citi® Double Cash Card offers up to 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off those purchases).
Altitude Go points are worth 1 cent each, so if your spending matches that of the average consumer and you put $15,900 per year on the card, you stand to earn about $290 in annual rewards with the Altitude Go card.
See related: Best credit cards for dining
Instant card number on approval
Another advantage of the Altitude Go is that it lets you start earning rewards on your everyday spending without waiting days or weeks for the card to arrive in the mail. With the Altitude Go card, U.S. Bank joins a growing number of issuers who have started making cards available to use instantly upon approval. Once you’re approved for the Altitude Go card, you get immediate access to your card number and can easily add it to your favorite mobile wallet.
Flexible redemption, but no travel bonus
Unlike the higher-tier U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card, which offers an outsized point value when your redeem for travel through the Altitude Rewards Center, the Altitude Go card’s points are worth a flat 1 cent per point, however you choose to redeem them.
You can use your points to book airfare, hotel stays, rental cars and more through the Altitude Rewards Center, or cover nearly any purchase (including travel purchases) with U.S. Bank’s Real-Time Rewards feature, which lets you redeem points for card purchases via text message.
You can also redeem points for online shopping or cash back as a statement credit or direct deposit into a U.S. Bank savings or checking account. The only catch is that you’ll need a minimum of 2,500 points (worth $25) before you’re eligible for a cash redemption. While this is a fairly common cash back redemption threshold, you can find some cards, like the Discover it® Cash Back, that let you redeem cash back in any amount, at any time.
Annual credit for streaming service purchases
Along with the ongoing rewards you’ll earn on streaming service purchases, the Altitude Go card comes with a unique annual credit for streaming: Use your card to pay for streaming services for 11 consecutive months and you’ll receive a $15 credit on the twelfth.
You can also mix and match which services you use and still get the credit, as long as you’ve made 11 consecutive monthly streaming service purchases. For example, you could use the card to pay for Netflix for six consecutive months, then switch to Hulu for five consecutive months, and on the twelfth month you’d get a $15 credit.
This combination of solid ongoing rewards on streaming, an annual streaming credit and a robust list of eligible services (including Disney+, Netflix, Spotify and more) makes the Altitude Go a shoo-in on our list of the best credit cards for streaming services.
Solid sign-up bonus for a no annual fee card
The Altitude Go card also offers a relatively high sign-up bonus: If you apply by August 9, 2020, you’ll earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of card ownership. At a value of 1 cent per point, this bonus is worth $200 – higher than you’ll find on many no annual fee cash back and travel cards, and on par with popular options like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited*.
The Altitude Go card’s bonus is especially appealing when you take into account the fact that your points are worth the same amount regardless of how you choose to redeem them.
Pay off a transferred balance or finance new purchases
Not only does the Altitude Go card offer some terrific ongoing rewards on everyday purchases like dining, gas and groceries, it can also come in handy if you need to pay off existing debt or temporarily carry a balance.
You can transfer your outstanding balances to the Altitude Go card and get a 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles (14.99%-23.99% variable after that). That gives you a full year to chip away at your debt without paying interest. You can also use the card to pay off purchases over time with the same 0% intro APR on new purchases for 12 billing cycles, followed by a 14.99%-23.99% variable APR.
This is a nice perk, especially considering how difficult balance transfer offers can be to come by. That said, the card’s promotional APR period is relatively short. Most balance transfer cards offer at least 15 months of no-interest payments, with a few offering 18 or 21 months. Of course, few balance transfer cards offer the sort of long-term value you’ll find with the Altitude Go.
How does the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card compare to other rewards cards?
While the Altitude Go charges no annual fee and comes with a terrific rewards rate on dining and other everyday purchases like gas and groceries, a few other cards offer a comparable rewards rate and additional perks and bonuses that boost their value. Here are some of our top picks.
One of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market, the Citi Double Cash card earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off those purchases). You can even transfer your cash back to Citi ThankYou points and enjoy an impressive travel rewards rate. The card also comes with a 0% introductory APR offer for 18 months on balance transfers (13.99%-23.99% variable thereafter). That’s an extra six months to pay off your debt compared to the Altitude Go card. However, the Citi Double Cash does not offer an intro APR on new purchases.
The Wells Fargo Propel is another great choice, especially if you want to earn rewards on travel and transit purchases in addition to dining, gas and streaming. Along with a generous intro offer of 20,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months – one of the best sign-up bonuses available among rewards cards with no annual fee – the card offers a 0% intro APR on both balance transfers and new purchases for 12 months (14.49%-24.99% variable after that). The card also comes with cell phone protection, offering up to $600 in coverage in the case of damage or theft when you pay your bill with your Propel card.
One of the most popular no annual fee dining cards on the market, the Capital One SavorOne gets you 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, including purchases like concert and movie tickets, as well as 2% back on groceries and 1% back on all other purchases. The card also offers a $150 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months. That’s half the spend requirement of the Altitude Go.
Why get the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card?
- You frequently dine out or order food for takeout or delivery.
- You want to put most of your everyday spending on a single card.
- You want the flexibility to redeem your points for travel or cash back without sacrificing point value.
- You want a card that’s available to use as soon as you’re approved.
- You could use a year of 0-interest payments to chip away at debt or strategically carry a balance.
How to use the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card:
- Use the card for all grocery, gas and dining purchases, including grocery, meal kit and food delivery services.
- Add the card as your default payment method for all streaming service subscriptions.
- Be sure to make streaming service purchases for 11 consecutive months to secure the $15 credit on your twelfth month.
- Pay off any transferred balances or new purchases before the end of the 12-month promotional period to avoid interest charges, and be sure to pay at least the minimum due each month to avoid fees and a damaged credit score.
- Upon approval, add the card to your favorite mobile wallet and start earning rewards right away.
Is the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card worth it?
The Altitude Go card comes with a terrific average rewards rate, flexible redemption and a relatively large sign-up bonus, making it a good choice if you want to earn rewards on some everyday expenses while avoiding an annual fee. That said, you can find flat-rate cards that offer higher ongoing rewards, as well as travel cards that include valuable perks and credits that more than offset their annual fee.
* Information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card and Wells Fargo Propel American Express card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuers. The Chase Freedom Unlimited, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card and Wells Fargo Propel American Express card are no longer available through CreditCards.com
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