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U.S. Bank just announced the launch of a new business credit card by the end of February, with a focus on travel rewards.
The U.S. Bank Business Altitude™ Connect World Elite Mastercard® joins three other business cards currently available from the issuer — all of which charge no annual fee, at least for the first year.
Details of the Business Altitude Connect
For a $95 annual fee ($0 for the first year), Business Altitude Connect cardholders earn points on everything from hotels and airfare to dining and cellphone services. Here’s a closer look at the ongoing rewards structure:
- 5X points on prepaid car rental and hotels booked through the U.S. Bank Rewards Center
- 4X points on up to $150,000 in annual spending on travel expenses made directly with providers, including airfare, hotels, gas and EV charging
- 2X points on dining, takeout, restaurant delivery and cellphone services
- 1X points on all other purchases
Points earned can be redeemed for cash back, travel, merchandise and gift cards at a 1:1 rate.
Solid rewards for on-the-go business owners
The Business Altitude Connect’s 5X rate on hotels and rental cars (booked through U.S. Bank’s portal) is similar to that offered by Capital One business cards — many of which offer that same 5X rate on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
Further, for a travel card with modest annual fee, 4X points on up to $150,000 in yearly travel spending is generous. The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card from Chase, for example, offers 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each year (then 1X points) for the same $95 annual fee.
As a first-year welcome bonus, new cardholders can earn 60,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first 180 days. While it’s a lower offer compared to other business cards, you have just under six months to earn it (compared to three months with some Chase Ink business cards, for example).
Additional card benefits
In terms of other noteworthy benefits, the U.S. Bank Business Altitude Connect comes with a complementary annual Priority Pass membership, meaning access to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world for a $32 fee, along with four complimentary visits per year.
The card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the United States (a given for travel cards), and you can get reimbursed for hailing a ride — up to a $25 statement credit after three consecutive taxi or rideshare transactions each month.
It also offers a pay over time feature and free employee cards, but more standard travel card benefits of the Business Altitude Connect include an auto rental collision damage waiver, travel assistance services and lost luggage insurance.
While these benefits aren’t mind-blowing, the fact that it’s a World Elite Mastercard means access to a variety of additional, top-tier perks.
Is the U.S. Bank Business Altitude Connect right for you?
Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate, notes the Business Altitude Connect as a strong option in the mid-tier annual fee space — or business cards with an annual fee of $95 or less.
In terms of who the card is best for, Rossman points to small-business owners looking for an affordable travel card that earns on a variety of purchases and offers the opportunity to redeem for cash back.
“I think the sweet spot is a business that spends a good amount on travel but wants the flexibility to either turn those rewards into cash back or easily offset travel purchases at a flat rate,” says Rossman. “I think this card will appeal to businesses not as interested in airline and hotel transfer partners, which can be more lucrative but also more complicated, and not interested in paying a higher annual fee, which might include unlimited airport lounge access and other perks.”
In anticipation of the February launch
While you can’t yet apply for the U.S. Bank Business Altitude Connect, there is a waitlist you can join for first-hand details on when the card is available for application.
In the meantime, consider our list of the best small-business credit cards — many of which charge no annual fee.