About U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card
The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature is a travel rewards credit card that you’ve probably never heard of, if only because few people outside of U.S. Bank customers know about it.
The card is similar to other travel rewards cards in that you get a chunk of bonus points if you can spend a certain amount of money in the first four months of owning the card. You also have the chance to earn points on nearly every purchase you make.
Now, if you’ve researched any other travel cards then you know that points on purchases and sign-up bonuses are pretty much standard.
Exactly how much travel your points get you and what kind of bonuses you get are the factors that separate most travel credit cards.
We’re going to help you understand how the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards fits into the travel rewards world by examining the card’s most important features:
- Short-term benefits
- Long-term benefits
- Rates and fees
- Expert and user reviews
At the end of our FlexPerks Travel Rewards review we’ll give you a quick list of pros, cons and who we think this card is good for.
The FlexPerks Travel Rewards has two main short-term benefits: a 26,667-point sign-up bonus and no annual fee.
The 26,667 FlexPoints Bonus
If you can spend $2,000 within four months of being approved for your card, U.S. Bank will deposit 26,667 FlexPoints in your FlexPerks account.
Those points can be used in U.S. Bank’s FlexPerks shopping portal, where you can book flights, hotels and rental cars as well as merchandise and gift cards.
Our advice? Get this card if you love to travel because your FlexPoints are some of the most valuable in the travel rewards world.
Pro tip: Your 20K bonus points will show up in your account 6-8 weeks after you hit the $2,000 spending mark.
How Valuable Are FlexPoints When Booking Travel?
Travel points/miles are kind of like foreign currency. At the time of publishing, 14 pesos could get you one American dollar, but 14 British pounds could get you about 26 American dollars.
Likewise, certain points/miles are worth a lot more than others. Where do FlexPerks points stand in all of this?
One FlexPerk point is worth $0.015 cents when you redeem it through the FlexPerks travel booking site. So, the 26,667 points you get as a result of your sign-up bonus are worth $400.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the average cost of flights originating in Orlando, New York and Los Angeles is less than $400, which means there’s a good chance your 26K FlexPoints can get you a free flight from any of those three popular cities.
The BTS also pointed out that the average ticket price in the U.S. was $349 in 2016. That’s right – even if you don’t live in Orlando, New York or Los Angeles, you can score a free round-trip ticket with your 26K FlexPoints.
Getting a free round-trip flight with 26,667 points presents excellent value compared to other cards
For example, our Best Airline Rewards Card of 2018 guide revealed that 26,667 points will only get you a one-way flight with Frontier and, if you’re lucky enough to book a cheap rewards seat early, a round-trip flight with United or American.
And, while the FlexPerks points allow you to book any flight time that fits in your $400 budget, a United flight, for example, will only be 25,000 if you’re willing to leave early in the morning or late at night.
Flights that leave and arrive at reasonable hours tend to be 50,000 miles for a round-trip, not 25,000 miles.
The only two airlines we’ve researched that consistently offer round-trip flights for less than 26,000 points or less are Virgin America and Southwest. Virgin America’s routes are very limited, whereas Southwest flies almost anywhere.
Another advantage you have with using your FlexPoints is that the FlexPerks travel booking site lets you comparison shop and find the lowest prices.
If travel rewards credit cards only offered short-term perks, decisions would be much easier. However, the decision becomes more difficult when you consider the long-term benefits of a card.
The FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa has one major long-term benefit and a few other perks that you might enjoy beyond the first year of owning this card.
Earning FlexPoints With Purchases
The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card is like most airline and travel rewards cards because you earn points every time you make a purchase. Those points accrue and eventually you can cash them in for travel.
Here the rewards categories for the FlexPerks Travel Rewards:
- 2 points on airlines, gas or groceries
- 2 points on cell companies
- 2 points on charity
- 1 point on everything else
Most travel and airline rewards cards give you bonuses for booking travel and for eating at restaurants. None of the cards we researched give you the chance to earn double points on three different categories of spending.
Even rarer is the ability to earn triple points on charity purchases and then 2x thereafter. None of the cards we’ve researched give you bonus points for charity. We think that’s pretty cool.
As for the double points on airlines, gas or groceries, U.S. Bank’s fine print says the 2x bonus is applied to the category in which you spend the most each month.
So, if you spend more on groceries than you do on gas or airline purchases this month, all grocery transactions will get double points and airline/gas purchases get one point per dollar spent.
How Many Points Can You Get and What Are They Worth?
Based on the spending habits of the average American household, we believe you could earn around 32,864. If you’re single, that goal could be a little tougher depending on where you live but still doable.
So, for the sake of argument, let’s say in your first year of owning your card your spending habits get you 32,864 FlexPoints.
Throw in your intro bonus and you’ve got 59,531 FlexPoints the first year. Because U.S. Bank will give you a 1.5x bonus if you book flights, hotels and car rentals, through their travel site, those first-year points are worth about $890 in travel.
The ongoing yearly rewards you get from your spending have a value of around $492 when you book through U.S. Bank.
According to the fine print, your points are good for five years and you’ll receive credit for your points every billing cycle as long as your payment isn’t more than five days past due.
Pro tip: You also get free Gogo In-flight Wifi 12 times a year. Gogo is offered by United, Delta, American, Alaska and Air Canada.
$25 Travel Reimbursement
If you’ve read our guide to the best luxury credit cards of 2017, then you know that travel reimbursements can run as high as $325 per year.
The FlexPerks Travel Rewards $25 reimbursement may not be that exciting at first, but it’s a free $25 that you can use for “baggage fees or in-flight food and drinks.
There’s a trick to this benefit, though. First, you have to make the purchases with your FlexPerks Travel Rewards card and, second, you have to call 1-877-978-7446 to request the reimbursement.
U.S. Bank’s fine print says it will take 4 to 6 weeks for the credit to show up in your account.
Visa Signature Benefits
The Visa Signature program affords you a variety of shopping/travel protections and warranties should something go wrong with your luggage, travel plans or everyday purchases.
However, each of these programs has their own limits and exclusions, so make sure you read the benefits guide that comes with your U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card.
The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Rates and Fees
Here’s a quick list of the FlexPerks Travel Rewards’ interest rates and fees:
- APR: 15.74% - 25.74%
- Annual fee: $0 the first year, $49 after
- Penalty APR: None
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Balance transfer fee: 3%
- Late fee: $38
- Returned payment fee: $35
The card’s low-end APR is lower than similar Chase travel cards but its high end of 24.99% is higher than most travel cards we reviewed. If you have poor credit scores but are approved for this card, expect the higher APR.
Another important fee here is the annual fee, which, at $49, is lower than five of the six credit cards in our best airline rewards card article.
When you compare the FlexPerks card to the cards in our Best Travel Rewards Card of 2018 ranking, its annual fee is lower than three of the five cards and came in second to the Bank of America Travel Rewards and the Discover it Miles, two cards without annual fees.
How the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Compares to Other Cards
In our guide to the best travel rewards credit cards of 2018, we ranked this card #4 out of seven credit cards. We felt that the card has strong yearly rewards and good APR’s but a mediocre sign-up bonus.
Here’s a chart comparing some of the top cards via sign-up bonus value, yearly rewards based on $25,000 yearly spending, APR and annual fee:
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks||Chase Sapphire Preferred||Discover it Miles||Capital One Venture|
|Sign-Up Bonus Value||Up to $400||$500||$375||$400|
|APR||15.74% - 25.74%||17.74% - 24.74%||13.74% - 24.74%||14.74% - 24.74%|
|Annual Fee||$0 first year, $49 after||$0 first year, $95 after||None||$0 first year, $95 after|
Our research shows that, while the U.S. Banks FlexPerks Travel card is rarely mentioned among the best travel cards, it should be. The card’s low-end APR of 15.74% is better than the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
While its sign-up bonus of 26,667 points is among the worst, the fact that those points have a cash value of up to $400 when you redeem it for travel through U.S. Bank makes that bonus much more valuable.
In a yearly sense, the card’s 32,864 points are average but, because they get the 1.5x boost, they’re worth close to $500 in travel, which is on-par with the Capital One Venture card.
All things considered, we believe this card is one of the stronger ones on the market and one that could be lucrative if you don’t mind booking travel through U.S. Bank’s online portal.
Our Bottom Line
We think that the FlexPerks Travel Rewards card has some excellent advantages and few disadvantages.
The strength of this card is undoubtedly the redemption rates for airfare. The card’s redemption rate means that you could book a $400 ticket with your 26,667 sign-up points, which is an unprecedented rewards rate for travel cards with an annual fee of less than $100.
Also, the card’s points bonuses are pretty incredible, too, since no other travel card with an annual fee under $100 gives you three categories from which you can get double points.
If there is a drawback to this card, it’s that you can’t transfer your FlexPoints to an airline partner. While this does limit your use of points, the amazing redemption rate we mentioned earlier makes this downside almost inconsequential.
Another drawback would be the card’s high-end APR, which is higher than other travel or airline rewards cards we’ve researched.
We believe this U.S. Bank travel rewards card is a great fit for someone who wants to get at least one free flight a year. Based on our calculations, we believe a yearly free flight is more than possible for the average household.