Reviews U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card review
U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card review

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card review

Published: April 25, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
3.4 rating
3.4 rating
3.4 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.6
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.4
Rewards Flexibility: 3.3
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards American Express card is a good value for cardholders who want to redeem points for airfare, but its inflexible rewards structure can be a pain for frequent travelers.

Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 on airline, gas or grocery stores
  • 2:1 on restaurants
  • 3:1 on qualifying charitable donations
  • 1:1 on general purchases
  • 3,500 bonus/year when you spend over $24,000

Sign-up Bonus
20,000 bonus points if you spend $2,000 in first 4 months

Annual Fee
$49, $0 in first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$358

APR
14.74-24.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • High rewards value for airfare
  • More than 150 airlines to choose from
  • No redemption fees
  • No blackout dates
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, cash or merchandise

Cons

  • Lower redemption value for nonflight related rewards purchases
  • Rigid redemption structure. You can only book travel in units of 100
  • No point transfer to other frequent traveler programs
  • Points are reduced to 0.5:1 after you spend $120,000

Other Notable Features: $25 airline fee allowance, no foreign transaction fees, travel accident insurance, emergency assistance, baggage insurance, purchase protection, concierge service, ID theft expense reimbursement, Hideaway travel club, travel and hotel discounts

Travel Rating:
3.2 rating
3.2 rating
3.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.3
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.0
Rewards Flexibility: 3.3
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

With the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card, you can net a good value in travel rewards, but you will have to navigate a restrictive rewards tier when you  redeem your FlexPoints for airfare.

Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 on airline, gas or grocery stores
  • 2:1 on restaurants
  • 3:1 on qualifying charitable donations
  • 1:1 on general purchases
  • 3,500 bonus/year when you spend over $24,000

Sign-up Bonus
20,000 bonus points if you spend $2,000 in first 4 months

Annual Fee
$49, $0 in first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$358

APR
14.74-24.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • High rewards value for airfare
  • More than 150 airlines to choose from
  • No redemption fees
  • No blackout dates
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, cash or merchandise

Cons

  • Lower redemption value for nonflight related rewards purchases
  • Rigid redemption structure. You can only book travel in units of 100
  • No point transfer to other frequent traveler programs
  • Points are reduced to 0.5:1 after you spend $120,000

Other Notable Features: $25 airline fee allowance, no foreign transaction fees, travel accident insurance, emergency assistance, baggage insurance, purchase protection, concierge service, ID theft expense reimbursement, Hideaway travel club, travel and hotel discounts

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For just $49 a year, the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card offers one of highest airfare redemption rates you can get, as well as a modest airline fee credit toward rewards-funded flights and a number of other premium perks. All of this makes it one of our favorite pieces of plastic for budget travelers. But in exchange for offering valuable rewards at a lower price than comparable travel cards, the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card also imposes a number of disappointing restrictions.

Exceptional airfare redemption value

This is a card for aspiring travelers who are laser-focused on earning free flights. For a card that costs less than half of what many comparable cards charge, the redemption value on flights is stellar. To earn a $400 round-trip ticket, for example, you just need 20,000 FlexPoints, valued at roughly 2 cents each. Most rewards points, by contrast, are typically worth just 1 cent each. U.S. Bank also doesn’t impose any blackout dates on flights, making the rewards even more valuable for cardholders who value a choice about when they fly. Cardholders can redeem points on other types of travel as well, such as cruises and hotels. But with a redemption value of just 1 cent per point, these options aren’t such a great deal.

Inflexible redemption options

Unfortunately, you have to work to squeeze the most value from this card, making it a less-than-ideal option for cardholders who don’t want to spend a lot of time maximizing rewards. U.S. Bank uses an inflexible tiered redemption system, based on units of 100, to value free flights. As a result, a flight’s redemption value can fluctuate sharply, depending on the ticket. For example, if you have 30,000 points, you can redeem them for a flight that costs up to $600. But if the ticket costs $601 instead, you’re out of luck. Your flight will be bumped up to the next redemption level and you will need 40,000 rewards points to pay for it, at a significantly reduced value. U.S. Bank also doesn’t let you transfer points to other frequent-flier programs. You can, however, use rewards flights to earn extra miles.

Competitive sign-up bonus

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card offers a generous sign-up bonus that puts a free domestic flight in easy reach for modest spenders, making it a good choice for people who do most of their shopping on just one card. If you spend an average of just $500 a month ($2,000 total) in the card’s first four months, you’ll receive 20,000 bonus points, worth up to $400 in airfare.

Good value for the money

The FlexPerks Travel Rewards card also offers a number of premium travel perks that aren’t commonly found on credit cards with such a low annual fee. For example, cardholders who redeem points for air travel are awarded a $25 airline allowance for incidental fees and in-flight purchases. Cardholders are also given VIP event and entertainment access, concierge access and discounts on luxury hotels. One especially nice travel perk is the lack of a foreign transaction fee — you can freely use the card in foreign countries without racking up extra charges.

Bonus points for charitable giving 

One of the most unusual features of the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa is its altruistic rewards program. U.S. Bank encourages cardholders to be good Samaritans by granting three bonus points for every dollar spent on charitable donations. The card also offers double bonus points on more routine purchases, such as groceries, gas, dining and cellphone payments.

Reasons to sign up for it:

  • You want to earn free airfare but don’t want to pay a high annual fee.
  • You regularly use your credit card to pay for groceries, gas and cellphone expenses.
  • You spend enough money each month to claim the card’s generous sign-up bonus.
  • You don’t mind spending a little time looking for a flight that maximizes your rewards spending.

How to use it:

  • Save your points and only redeem them for airfare. You’ll get less value from your spending if you redeem your points for other types of travel purchases, such as free hotel stays.
  • To maximize the value of your rewards points, regularly scan the FlexPerks travel portal for good deals that closely match how many points you have available.
  • Use your card aggressively for the first four months so you can cash in on a free domestic flight.

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