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U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Card review: A cash back card in a travel card’s clothing

 /  14 min
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Snapshot

4.3

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5

Bottom line

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Card presents itself as a travel rewards card, but offers flat-rate rewards and cash back options. While this card is good for those who want simple-to-use rewards points, more valuable options are available.

Image of U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

*
4.3
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
Bankrate score
Info
Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

20,000 points

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Offer valuation

Info

1X - 4X

Rewards rate

Info

$0

Annual fee

18.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

Regular APR

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Card Overview

On its surface, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Card* appears to offer good travel rewards points with bonuses in key everyday spending categories: restaurants and dining, grocery stores, streaming services and gas stations. In truth, those “points” equate to various forms of cash back, redeemable through the U.S. Bank rewards center.

The points are redeemable at a flat rate and can be used for airfare, hotel rooms, gift cards or statement credits. However, despite these options, this rewards card is limited by a lack of redemption options like transfers to partnering airlines or hotel loyalty programs. While the card offers great value for those who already do their banking with U.S. Bank, it may not be the best option for frequent travelers who want to maximize earnings with their credit card rewards.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • 4 points per $1 on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery
    • 2 points per $1 at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services, gas stations and EV charging stations
    • 1 point per $1 on all other eligible purchases

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of card opening

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Apr

    0% intro APR offer

    • 0 percent purchase intro APR for the first 12 billing cycles
    • 0 percent balance transfer intro APR for the first 12 billing cycles
    • 20.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable ongoing APR (based on creditworthiness)

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • $0 annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • $5 or 3 percent balance transfer fee (whichever is greater)

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Car rental discounts
    • Visa Signature perks
    • Emergency roadside assistance

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Unlike other rewards cards, the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card comes with no annual fee, giving you unlimited rewards and yearly value no matter how much you spend.

  • Checkmark

    Earns a generous 4 points per $1 on dining, takeout and restaurant delivery purchases.

  • Checkmark

    You can still use points to redeem and pay for travel, even if you don’t have enough for a free trip.

Cons

  • The U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card does not offer bonus points for airfare purchases, hotel bookings or any other travel-related categories.

  • The points can only be used through the U.S. Bank travel and shopping portal, meaning you can’t transfer them to your favorite frequent flyer or hotel programs.

  • Points hold a flat value of 1 cent each, no matter how you redeem. If this isn’t one of your daily spending cards, you could be waiting a while to earn a free trip.

Why you might want the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card

The U.S. Bank Altitude Go provides a number of appealing features, including low fees (no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee), a high rewards rate on food-related spending, flexible redemption options, and solid cardholder perks that are useful for travel.

Rates and fees: No annual fee and a decent intro APR period

One of the biggest attractions of the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card is the ability to earn rewards without an annual fee. But that’s not where the savings end — the card also offers an introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers and comes with no fees for common travel-related spending.

Rewards: Has a high rate on dining and unique streaming service category

Perhaps the best benefit of the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card is its rewards rate, which is one of the best benefits among cards with no annual fee. 

The biggest rewards category is dining. This includes eating in at restaurants or bars, ordering takeout from your favorite places or getting food delivered to you. You can earn 4 points per $1 spent on most dining or food delivery purchases. Your options aren’t limited to just sit-down locations. The bonus is applied to anywhere classified as a restaurant, fast-food restaurant or bar. Compared to other cards, the 4 points per $1 spent on bonus categories make the Altitude Go one of the best credit cards for restaurants and dining out.

In addition, you could earn 2 points per $1 spent in four everyday categories: Grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services, gas stations and EV charging stations. While these bonus categories are popular among rewards credit cards, the streaming service category makes the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card unique.

Along with the boosted rewards rate for streaming services, you could earn a $15 credit annually after 11 consecutive months of purchases on up to 23 different services, including Apple TV+, AT&T TV Now,  Disney+, Hulu and Netflix. Considering the average household subscribes to nearly nine streaming services, using this card just for streaming could net over 700 points per year (assuming a $350 annual spend on streaming services). Combine this with the $15 credit, which is essentially a free month for one of your services, and this makes it possibly one of the best cards for streaming services.

Redemption: Flexible with no limitations

Points can be exchanged for merchandise, gift cards, rewards debit cards or redeemed for discounted travel. This makes the U.S. Bank Altitude Go more of a cash back credit card with travel perks and less of a travel rewards card.

Despite the multiple options that offer a one-to-one exchange rate, your best redemption option might be travel. Points can be used to book airfare with multiple major airlines, rooms at thousands of hotels, along with rental cars, cruises or activities categorized as travel. Additionally, because you are booking through the rewards portal, you could still earn points or qualifying nights towards elite status or rewards travel.

Even if you don’t have enough points for a reward, you can still use them to discount your next trip. U.S. Bank allows cardholders to shop with points and cash in the rewards portal, enabling you to reduce the cost of travel purchases and make up the rest with cash. There is also no limit on the number of points you can use, giving you the flexibility to use as little or as many points as you’d like to.

You can redeem your points immediately after making a purchase using your U.S. Bank Altitude Go card. With Real-Time Rewards, you can get notified on your mobile device when you have enough points to cover your spending. Simply reply with a confirmation and your points will be immediately applied to that purchase.

Cardholder perks: A simple lineup of beneficial travel-based incentives

While other travel cards make a point to tout their benefits, the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card is relatively simple. Instead of offering airport lounge access or elite benefits when booking hotels, most of the cardholder perks come from Visa Signature. The benefits include car rental discounts, luxury experiences and travel insurance benefits.

Why you might want a different card

Even though the US Bank Altitude Go offers many advantages, there are some drawbacks to consider, such as the high spending threshold for the welcome bonus, the complex bonus rewards structure, and the fixed rewards value.

Welcome offer: High spending requirement compared to similar cards

New qualifying cardholders can earn 20,000 bonus points when spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. With a fixed point value of 1 cent per point, that adds up to $200 in rewards usable for discount travel, purchasing gift cards or redeeming for cash back if you have a checking or savings account with U.S. Bank.

Compared to other cash back cards with no annual fee, the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card has a high spending requirement to earn the welcome bonus. Similar cards—including the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (See See Rates & Fees) and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ — offer a $200 reward after spending $500 for the SavorOne or $500 for the Freedom Flex in the first three months of account opening.

Additional reward bonus: Structure is a bit complicated

Like other rewards cards, the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card offers bonuses for shopping through the issuer’s online portal, aptly named the Rewards Center Earn Mall. Using your card on this portal gives you the opportunity to boost the rewards you earn depending on current offers from reputable retailers. While this could offer more points for your spend, it does require the additional effort to go to the online mall first instead of purchasing directly through the retailer. But you’ll want to keep the online portal in mind because you may get your dollar to earn you more on every purchase, in turn increasing the yearly value of your Altitude Go Card.

Reward value: Only worth 1 cent; no boosted value toward travel

Just like a cash back card, each point earned with the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card has a fixed value of 1 cent each. When you use your card for qualifying dining purchases, you effectively earn 4 cents back per $1 spent.

Although this makes it easy to calculate the value of your rewards, it also comes with some downsides as well. Because the card has no airline or hotel transfer partners, it’s impossible to get a value of over 1 cent per point. In addition, you can’t shop with points and cash on other rewards: If you want merchandise, a gift card or cash back in a U.S. Bank savings or checking account, you must have the correct amount of points for the redemption and you can’t make up the difference with cash.

If flexible travel is your ultimate goal for credit card rewards, the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card could offer fair value over time on redemptions. But if you want more control of how you use reward points, as well as the added flexibility and perks familiar to travel rewards cards, you may want to spend time investigating other types of rewards credit cards or travel cards to see if you could get a better return over time. This is especially the case for cardholders who want to boost the value of their earnings by transferring points to partnering airlines and hotels or who are looking for a wider redemption portfolio on their rewards card.

How the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card compares to other cash back rewards cards

Although the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card has a lot in common with other travel rewards cards, the best comparative value is against cash back rewards cards for three reasons:

  1. It is impossible to transfer points to other travel rewards programs (like airlines or hotels).
  2. Points can only be used for travel using the U.S. Bank rewards portal or as cash back via statement credits.
  3. Each point has a fixed cash value no matter how you redeem them.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good card for travel: With generous rewards categories and a fixed rate of return, there are a lot of positives for the card. Depending on where you spend the most and how you use your cards, there are alternatives that could offer bigger rewards over time.

Image of U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

20,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 4X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Bankrate Score
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
4.8

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200
Info

Rewards rate

1% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200
Info

Rewards rate

1% - 8%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best cards to pair with the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card

If your ultimate goal for earning rewards is travel, you may be best served by pairing the U.S. Bank Altitude Go with one that earns cash back in categories not covered by the card or one that earns flexible points transferrable to other partners. 

Who is the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card right for?

While this card may be ideal for some potential cardholders, it may not be the best option for others.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card worth it?

Although it is advertised as a travel rewards card, the U.S. Bank Altitude Go card is more accurately described as a cash back rewards card with a travel option. While it is an option to consider, other U.S. Bank cards may offer better overall returns. For example, the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card offers two 5 percent cash back bonus categories, which you choose each quarter (for up to $2,000 in spending), and 2 percent cash back in the same categories that the Altitude Go card earns 2 points per $1 spent in — all with no annual fee. If you value cash back above all else, you may want to weigh these two cards against each other and consider your spending habits and potential redemption options to determine which one offers more value for you.

If your primary rewards goal is earning points toward travel at a discounted price, this card may not offer the best returns for your everyday spending. With a higher spending requirement to earn the bonus offer and fewer earning categories than other cards, this product only offers a valuable rewards proposition for a very narrow group of customers. If your goal is seeing the world, you could be better served by another rewards card that offers travel benefits as well as a wider range of redemption options.

*The information about U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Card and Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer. 

How we rated this card

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1800
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We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest).

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

Written by
Re'Dreyona Walker
Associate Editor, Credit Cards
Re'Dreyona Walker is an editor for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, focusing on product guides and reviews. As a personal finance expert, she is dedicated to providing honest product reviews as well as in-depth, comprehensive guides to assist readers in building credit and finding the best credit cards for their needs.
Edited by Former Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Former Editor, Credit Cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.