About U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Published on: Jun 29, 2017

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 U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature’s Short-Term Benefits

The FlexPerks Travel Rewards has two main short-term benefits: No annual fee the first year and 20,000 bonus points.

The 20,000 FlexPoints Bonus

If you can spend $2,000 within four months of being approved for your card, U.S. Bank will deposit 20,000 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?

Well, we couldn’t find out because we aren’t U.S. Bank customers, so we turned to a fantastic series of charts on FrequentMiler.BoardingArea.com, a popular travel rewards forum.

Based on their research and personal experience, here’s what you can expect:

  • 20,000 FlexPoints: Up to a $400 ticket
  • 30,000 FlexPoints: $401-$600
  • 40,000 FlexPoints: $601-$800
  • 50,000 FlexPoints: $801-$1,000

The chart continued all the way up to tickets that cost $24,000, a trip that will require 1.2 million FlexPoints.

To put it simply, your 20K FlexPoints bonus can get you a free ticket up to $400, whether that ticket is one-way or round-trip.

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 20K 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 20K FlexPoints.

Getting a free round-trip flight with 20,000 points is almost unheard of in the travel rewards world.

For example, our Best Airline Rewards Card of 2017 guide revealed that 20,000 points will only get you a one-way flight with United, American and Frontier. Depending on where you fly with Delta, 20,000 points won’t even be enough to get you a one-way trip.

The only two airlines we’ve researched that offer round-trip flights for 20,000 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.

The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature’s Long-Term Benefits

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
  • 3 points on charity (2x after Dec. 2017)
  • 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 racking up at least 30,000 points a year is easy. 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 30,000 FlexPoints.

Throw in your intro bonus and you’ve got 50,000 FlexPoints the first year. As we showed you earlier, that points total is good enough for a $1,000 round-trip flight.

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: Your charity bonus points will show up in your FlexPerks account within 60 days of your transaction.

$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: 14.99% - 24.99%
  • 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 2017 article, its annual fee is lower than three of the five cards and came in second to the BankAmerica Travel Rewards and the Discover it Miles, two cards without annual fees.

Expert and User Reviews of the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card

Other review sites similar to HighYa had high praise for the FlexPerks Travel Rewards, saying the card’s airline FlexPoints redemption rate is tremendous.

User reviews of the card are sparse. The archived reviews we found gave the card average ratings. We saw several complaints about U.S. Bank’s customer service.

Our Closing Thoughts About the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature

We think that the FlexPerks Travel Rewards card has some excellent advantages and few disadvantages.

Pros of the FlexPerks Travel Rewards

The strength of this card is undoubtedly the redemption rates for airfare. The card’s redemption structure means that you could book a $400 ticket with 20,000 points, which is an unprecedented rewards rate (1,000 points = $20).

The Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you a 1,000/$12.50 rate while the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives a 1,000/$1.50 rate. And, both of those cards have higher annual fees than the FlexPerks Travel Rewards.

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.

Cons of the FlexPerks Travel Rewards

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.

Who is the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Good For?

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.

The Final Word: Don’t Count This Card Out

Sure, the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card doesn’t get the same attention as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or, to a lesser extent, the Gold Delta SkyMiles.

However, we think it has great value and is definitely one of the more underrated travel rewards cards on the market.

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