U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card
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The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card offers rewards rates that are competitive with many of the pricier premium travel rewards cards on the market. But finding the best way to redeem points isn’t always that easy.
Unless you’re willing to work for it, this card isn’t for you.
The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card pays rich rewards not typically seen in cards with an annual fee under $100. For the $85 it charges per year, you get 3x FlexPoints for every $1 spent on all dining, 2x FlexPoints at gas stations and airline spending and 1 Flexpoint per $1 on all other spending.
You’ll also get reimbursed for either TSA PreCheck ($85) or Global Entry ($100), whichever you apply for first. This makes the first-year ownership fee a wash. Plus, it has a nice sign-up bonus of 30,000 FlexPoints if you hit the spending requirement of $2,000 within four months of opening the account.
To really maximize this value of this card requires a bit of work. The best value for your points can come by redeeming them for flights. But U.S. Bank’s redemption for airfare is not a typical points-to-cash equivalent formula where a $400 flight would cost you 40,000 points, for example.
Instead, the issuer uses an award chart that can be a little confusing. For example, 20,000 points are required to redeem for flights that cost up to $400 and 30,000 points are required to redeem for flights costing up to $600. That means you’d have to use the same amount of points to book a flight that’s worth $401 as you’d need to book a flight that’s worth $600.
To truly maximize the value of your earnings, you’d have to book flights that cost as close to the top end of the points required range as possible. This can be cumbersome and may not give you a lot of flexibility.
The strongest feature of this card is that the rewards rate is excellent for a card in this price range. If you don’t mind doing the math at redemption time, you can juice a lot of value from owning this card.
Who should own this card
Someone who doesn’t want to pay a premium price to get a travel rewards card can benefit from owning this card.
Fees and APR
- Pay a variable APR of 14.99% to 24.99% on purchases and balance transfers.
- Annual fee is $85.
- Late payments won’t affect your overall APR but you may be subject to a late fee of up to $38.
- Pay no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
- See Rates & Fees.
Extras, perks and using points
As part of the American Express network, this card comes with car rental loss and damage insurance, lost baggage insurance, roadside assistance, free Boingo Wi-Fi access where available, discounts at select hotels, vacation packages and at select rental car companies.
This card also has American Express’ presale access to certain concerts, entertainment and sporting events.
When using your points to book award travel, get a $25 airline fee credit that can be used towards baggage fees, in-flight food or other incidentals.
Points redemptions start at 1,000 and can be used toward airfare booked through the U.S. Bank portal, cash back, statement credits, gift cards or merchandise. To redeem, log into your account. There is no fee to redeem your points.
How this card compares
The FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card has a slightly smaller sign-up bonus, a slightly lower annual fee and a slightly lower rewards rate, letting you choose one everyday category from gas stations, grocery stores or airlines to earn double rewards and also giving double rewards on your cell phone service bill.
Put simply, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market today. It’s made better by its modest annual fee, which the issuer will waive during the first year of card ownership.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard will likely appeal to those who want the most flexible redemption options for their miles. You can use your earnings to book travel, get a statement credit for travel purchases, or for gift cards and select merchandise. This may be of greater value to you depending on your spending habits.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s hefty sign-up bonus, boosted redemption value when using the Chase portal, and a generous rewards program make this card a stand-out among travel rewards cards offering big value for minimal cost. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used for everything from flights to lodging to cruises, this also makes it one of the most flexible redemption programs among travel cards.
Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.