If you’re looking for a rewards card that’s slightly different than its competitors, the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card is one to consider. Even though it offers a fixed-value rewards program that is unlike other comparable travel card programs, there’s still plenty of value to be had. In fact, when you redeem your FlexPoints for airfare, they can be worth as much as two cents apiece.
Money360’s Key Takeaways:
- Score a huge rate of return when redeeming points for airfare. When you redeem your points for airfare, you’ll get as much as 2 cents per point in value.
- Earn a big signup bonus. Score a hefty signup bonus after putting just $3,500 on the card within the first four months of account opening.
- Pay a low annual fee – but only after the first year. The card’s $49 annual fee is waived the first year, giving you 12 full months to explore the card’s benefits and rack up rewards.
Review: A Decent Option for Anyone Who Likes to Fly
The U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card makes it easy to earn points on your everyday spending. In addition to the sign-up bonus, you’ll also earn two FlexPoints per dollar spent on either gas, grocery, or airline purchases – whichever you spend most on each billing period — as well as at least one FlexPoint per dollar on all other purchases. After signing up, you’ll also receive a $25 airline allowance to use toward baggage fees or in-flight food or drinks with every award travel ticket.
The points you earn with this card can be used to redeem airfare with any airline, and with no blackout dates or restrictions. For those tired of the standard frequent flyer programs, that fact should be a welcome relief. The main thing to remember is that 20,000 FlexPoints can be used to book a flight up to $400, which makes airfare your best option when it comes to redeeming your points. Here’s a basic rundown of how many points you’ll need to burn for flights at different price points:
- 20,000 FlexPoints = Up to $400 ticket value
- 30,000 FlexPoints = Up to $600 ticket value
- 40,000 FlexPoints = Up to $800 ticket value
- 50,000 FlexPoints = Up to $1,000 ticket value
- 70,000 FlexPoints = Up to $1,400 ticket value
- 100,000 FlexPoints = Up to $2,000 ticket value
In addition to airfare, you can also use your points to book hotels and rental cars in 5,000-point increments at a rate of one cent per point. In other words, 5,000 Flexpoints are worth $50 in hotel stays or rental car purchases.
Meanwhile, you can also use points to purchase merchandise at a rate of one cent per point. Your last option, which is offered at the same penny-a-point rate, is to use your points for straight-up cash back. In that case, the 20,000 point sign-up bonus on this card is worth $200.
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card: Where It Falls Flat
With the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card, you earn fixed-value points that are redeemable for travel, cash back, or gift cards. The main drawback with this program is that you can’t transfer points to frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs like you can with say, Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards.
Further, the rewards offered with this card are most lucrative when redeemed for airfare, which makes this card a bad option for people who don’t fly often or want to redeem their points in more than one way. You can redeem your points for cash back, of course, but you’ll only get one cent per point.
Who This Card is Good For:
- Anyone who wants to earn free airfare without worrying about airline loyalty, blackout dates, or finding award availability
- People who want to fly on any airline
- Those who spend a lot on either gas, groceries, or airfare
- Someone who mostly uses their points to book airfare
Who Should Pass:
- A big spender who would benefit more from one of the top rewards cards
- Someone who flies one airline exclusively
- Those who hope to earn a bigger sign-up bonus
- Someone who would rather use their points for other types of travel or merchandise
How Does It Compare to Other Travel Cards?
While the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card is a smart option for anyone who wants to earn travel rewards that can be used with any airline, there are other cards that offer this benefit as well. To see how this card stacks up, we compared it to the Discover it® Miles. Here’s what we found:
|U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card||Discover it® Miles|
|Annual Fee||$49, waived the first year||$0|
|Rewards Rate||Earn two FlexPoints per dollar spent on either gas, grocery, or airline purchases – whichever you spend most on each billing period -- as well as at least one FlexPoint per dollar on all other purchases||Discover Matches 1.5 Miles on all purchases, at the end of the first year|
|How to Redeem for Travel||Points are twice as valuable when redeemed for airfare (i.e. 20,000 points = $400 ticket)||Redeem all miles for any type of travel at one cent per mile|
|Other Redemption Options||Redeem for cash at one cent per point||Redeem your Miles as statement credits towards travel purchases.|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||2% USD, 3% Foreign Currency||0%|
As you can see the Discover it® Miles comes out ahead in nearly every category. Not only does the card match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, but it comes without foreign transaction fees and with no annual fee. Meanwhile, the Discover it® Miles credit card doesn’t penalize you for using your miles for hotel stays instead of airfare. Your miles are worth the same either way.
The U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card comes out ahead in one area only – the size of its signup bonus. If you’re in it for the signup bonus alone, the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card is the clear winner.
Best Strategy with the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card
While it can make sense to use this card for everyday spending if you don’t have another rewards card, you may also want to consider getting the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card as a complement to your favorite card. That way, you can take advantage of each card’s category bonuses, perks, and strengths and weaknesses to earn as many points as possible. Here are some of the best ways to use your U.S. Bank card, and ultimately redeem your points:
- Use your card for all grocery store, gas station, or airfare purchases in order to maximize your 2X category bonus
- Redeem your points for airfare on any airline for maximum redemption value
Want More Flexibility? Consider This Card Instead
While the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card is a smart choice if you fly all the time and know exactly how you’ll use your points, there are other cards that offer greater flexibility. One option to consider is the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®. With this card, you’ll earn 2X miles on all purchases in any category. Further, you can redeem your points for any type of travel at a rate of one cent apiece. That includes not only airfare, but hotel and motel stays, train tickets, excursions, and more.
The Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® also offers a bigger signup bonus, although it does charge a larger annual fee (waived first year). Overall, this card is a better option if you want more ways to redeem your miles for travel and would rather earn 2X miles on all of your purchases – not just those made in special bonus categories.
The Bottom Line
In the competitive world of travel rewards programs, the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card offers fixed-rate points that are most valuable when used to book airfare. Furthermore, the card offers as much as two points per dollar spent on either gas, grocery store, or airfare purchases – wherever you spend the most.
An exceptionally low annual fee that is waived the first year also adds to the overall value of this card. And if you’re tired of the mainstream travel cards out there, it might be time to give the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card a try.
With that being said, there are other travel cards to consider as well. If you want to explore all of your options, the credit card directory below can help you compare cards based on rewards, benefits, and more.
- Related: Best Travel Credit Card for 2017
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