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.

Author

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.

Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

2 Qatar Airways Privilege Club Credit Cards

Cardless Launches Two Qatar Airways Co-Branded Credit Cards

The FinTech startup Cardless is partnering with Qatar Airways to offer two new co-branded cards to the American market. About the cards: Recently, Cardless introduced its two latest rewards credit cards: The Qatar Airways Privilege Club Signature Card and the Qatar Airways Privilege Club Infinite Card. Starting with the Signature card, it earns 4x Avios on Qatar Airways purchases plus 2x Avios on dining purchases, and 1x Avios on all...
Yendo logo and credit card

Vehicle-Secured Credit Card Company Yendo Raises $165 Million

A FinTech that offers the first-ever credit card secured by a customer's vehicle has announced its latest round of funding. About the round: This week, Yendo announced that it had raised $165 million. However, this includes $150 million in debt financing and $15 million in equity. The debt portion was led by i80 group, while the strategic investors that participated in the equity round were not disclosed. Yendo previously raised...
woman holding her hands to her temple thinking

Lessons From a First-Time Home Buyer: Worst Time to Buy a House? There Are Always Exceptions

If you've been thinking about buying a house, looking at the news lately has likely disheartened you. As CNN reports, a recent Gallup poll found that 76% of Americans believe it's a bad time to buy — with only 21% saying it's a good time. There are several reasons for that sentiment, with the top two being the combination of high interest rates and high home prices. So, are you...
The "Email" field is empty, you must enter some text to proceed.The text you entered in the "Email" field appears to be invalid, please edit it and try again
Get the Latest News Delivered to Your Inbox

A Guide to Building Credit and Increasing Your Credit Scores

When it comes to credit, there’s some good news. The average credit score in the United States has been steadily rising in recent years, coming in at 715 in 2023. That may be because, today, consumers not only have more ways to access their credit reports and scores than ever before but also because there are an increasing number of options that Americans have for building credit in the first...

2024 SoFi Checking and Savings Review

Ever since I started taking an interest in the FinTech sector, one company whose name I’ve seen pop up over and over again is SoFi. Lately it seems as though that theme has been sent into overdrive as the company has not only become a household name thanks to its stadium naming rights deal but also because of the company’s continued product expansions. The most interesting development in my mind...
Brim logo

Brim Financial Raises $85 Million as It Eyes Global Expansion

Toronto-based FinTech infrastructure startup Brim Financial has announced a new funding round. About the round: Brim has revealed an $85 million round. The Series C was led by EDC Investments while new investor Vistara Growth and returning investors White Owl Group, Epic Ventures, and Zions Bank also participated. To date, the company has now raised $110 million including a Series B in 2021. According to Brim, the latest funding will...
Chase Freedom Flex card

Chase Reveals Q2 2024 Freedom 5%(+) Bonus Categories

Chase has announced its bonus category picks for the second quarter of 2024 — including some interesting twists. About the categories: As April approaches, Chase has revealed what categories Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn bonuses on. From April 1st through June 30th, customers can earn 5% (or more) in three categories: Amazon.com, Hotels, and Restaurants. Similar to how Chase embraced a "New Year, New Me" theme last quarter,...
Rent Day

Bilt Announces Home Collection Deal for May 2024 Rent Day

For May's Rent Day, Bilt is offering a deal that will allow members to decrease their rent bill while also adding to their home decor. About the Home Collection offer: Bilt has crafted a unique Rent Day offer for May 2024. Through the 1st, when Bilt members redeem their points toward rent payments, they'll receive the same number of points to be used toward Bilt Home Collection items. To take...