U.S. Bank Plans Major Changes to Altitude Connect Credit Card
US Bank Altitude Connect Credit Card

U.S. Bank Plans Major Changes to Altitude Connect Credit Card

U.S. Bank has revealed several major changes to its Altitude Connect credit card, which will arrive this September.

About the changes:

The first update is that the card will no longer carry an annual fee. Previously, the Altitude Connect card came at a cost of $95 per year — although this was often waived for the first year. Those who apply for the card now will enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee ahead of the official removal in September.

Next, the card is making some tweaks to its rewards categories. While the Altitude Connect will continue to earn 4x points at gas stations and EV charging stations, this will now be capped at the first $1,000 in category spending each quarter. Additionally, purchases from wholesale clubs, discount stores/supercenters, and grocery stores are excluded.

Similarly, purchases from discount stores/super centers and wholesale clubs will soon be excluded from the card’s 2x points on the grocery stores category. Other earnings categories will remain intact, meaning cardholders can still earn 5x on prepaid hotels and car rental bookings made via the Altitude Rewards Center, 4x on travel purchases, 2x on dining, and 2x on streaming services (in addition to the aforementioned categories).

While the number of points earned from these purchases will remain the same, the value of the points will decrease. Starting this fall, when customers utilize points for cash back, they’ll be worth 0.8¢ each versus the previous 1¢ per point. This devaluation also applies to Real-Time Rewards, U.S. Bank REwards Cards, Shop with Points at Amazon.com, and Pay with Rewards from PayPal redemptions. However, cardholders can still redeem points at a value of 1¢ each when redeeming for flight, hotel, car rental, or cruise bookings via the Altitude Rewards Center.

Rounding out the changes, the previous $30 per year streaming credit will be removed. Additionally, the cell phone protection benefit will be discontinued.

All of these U.S. Bank Altitude Connect changes will go into effect on September 9th. Current cardholders can continue to take advantage of the existing categories, perks, and redemption values until September 8th. New cardholders can also apply for the card and utilize the current benefits through that date.

My thoughts:

Unfortunately, when you see that a card is removing its annual fee, you can expect some downgrades in features. That’s absolutely the case here, including some obvious omissions such as the streaming credit.

However, the most interesting aspect of this for me is the devaluation of points. For those who want to use their points for cashback, they’ll effectively now earn 3.2% back on travel and gas/EV charging, 1.6% back on dining, streaming, and grocery store purchases, as well as 0.8% back on all other purchases. At least there is still a 1¢ per point option for those willing to book travel on the Altitude Rewards Center.

By the way, this is a great reminder that not all credit card points offer the same value — so it’s critical that prospective cardholders understand what their points are worth when comparing options.

Meanwhile, I also can’t help but wonder what this move will mean for other cards in the Altitude line-up, including the premium Altitude Reserve. I guess we’ll need to wait and see on that one.


Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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