U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card

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Hard to beat the perks for the price.

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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.

Review

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.

Advantages
  • The sign-up bonus is fairly high relative to the annual fee.
  • Dining and travel rewards are on par with other mid-tier travel rewards cards.
  • Get a statement credit back for either a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees -- a must for any good travel card.
  • Terms apply.
Disadvantages
  • If you don’t fly as part of your travel plans, the best perks of this card aren’t going to apply to you.
  • You can only use FlexPoints to book flights through the U.S. Bank travel portal.
  • The annual fee may be too much for some consumers.

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

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

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Card Details
  • Earn one FlexPoint for every $1 of eligible net purchases charged to your card.
  • Earn two FlexPoints for every $1 spent on gas, grocery or airline purchases — whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle — and on most cell phone expenses.
  • Earn Triple FlexPoints for your charitable donations.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 14.99% to 24.99% based on your creditworthiness when you open your account. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first 12 months, After that $49.
Balance Transfers Intro APR

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.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Card Details
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Get a metal Venture Card when you apply today
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

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.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Card Details
  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)

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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Card Details
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99% - 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

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.

EDITORIAL NOTE

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.