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Since Costco rolled out Apple Pay to all their stores, I’ve used my US Bank Altitude Reserve card to earn 3X points every time I shop there. That’s because this card earns triple points on mobile payments and travel purchases.
Each point is worth 1.5 cents toward travel (which you can redeem in real-time after they post!), so that’s like getting a 4.5% return on every shopping trip (3 X 1.5). With prices already low, this is an easy way to save even more.
Plus, you can stack coupons through Ibotta for cashback when you buy certain items.
The card has a $400 annual fee, which easily pays for itself. The bigger issue is getting it in the first place – you need to have a “relationship” to even apply.
But there’s an easy and free workaround if you want to open this card.
Here’s how to do it!
In This Post
The easy way to get US Bank Altitude Reserve card approval
When you open the US Bank Altitude Reserve card, you’ll earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening. Each point is worth 1.5 cents toward travel expenses, so you can get $750 worth of travel with this offer (50,000 X 1.5).
You also get:
- 3X points on travel and mobile payments
- $325 in annual travel credits
- 12 Gogo inflight wifi passes
- 1.5 cents per point in value toward travel
- Real-time points redemptions for travel through text
There’s a $400 annual fee. Between the travel credits, wifi passes (inflight internet is expensive!) and bonus categories, I’ve always come out ahead, even with the fee included.
Especially because I shop a lot at Costco and often use mobile pay. No other card earns this return in these categories, except when the Chase Freedom has certain 5X quarterly bonus categories, then I use that card instead.
But the Altitude Reserve is “exclusive to US Bank customers” who have had an account for a minimum of 5 business days. They define that as:
Checking or Savings account, Certificate of Deposit, Mortgage, Home Equity Loan, Home Equity Line of Credit, Auto/Boat/RV Loan, Personal and Small Business Loans and Lines, Commercial Loan & Lease, Premier Lines, Private Banking account or U.S. Bank credit card.
The checking account and credit card are the easiest options.
You could always open the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa (learn more here), which has NO annual fee – or another no fee card – keep it open 5 days, then apply for the Altitude Reserve. But you probably don’t want 2 new cards.
So checking account it is.
US Bank checking accounts are FREE when you have a US Bank credit card
Typically, this checking account has a monthly maintenance fee of $14.95. I think that’s ridiculous, but having an US Bank credit card makes it free.
I’ve never used the account, personally. Although it’s actually a good checking account if you need one. I put $1 in the account to keep it active. And get the monthly maintenance fee waived.
So the easiest way to open the US Bank Altitude Reserve card would be to open this checking account, let it chill for 5 business days, then apply.
At that point, you will qualify to open the card and earn the sign-up bonus.
It’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s free and prevents you from opening 2 new credit cards (or taking out a loan).
The checking account waiver should kick in right away. At the very least, you might 1 month of maintenance fees – you could probably call and get it taken off – but I doubt that would happen. Worst case, you pay $15 for a month. Not so bad.
Ramp up your savings
I highly recommend the Ibotta app for grocery shopping. All you do is activate offers on certain products and upload your receipt after you buy them.
And there are many featured items at Costco (and nearly every other grocery store). I’ve saved $100s in the years I’ve been using it.
And for shopping around town, I recommend the Dosh app. You just link your cards one time, then earn automatic cashback at participating retailers.
With both apps, you’ll get $5 free in your account if you use my links. ❤️
They’re an easy and free way to save on things you might plan to purchase anyway.
I’m gaga for my US Bank Altitude Reserve card, especially now that I can earn 3X points on Costco and mobile purchases, which equates to a 4.5% return toward travel.
Yes, the card has a steep $400 annual fee, but the perks easily make up for it. The other hurdle is you must have a prior relationship with US Bank (but only for 5 business days) to even apply.
That’s remedied when you open their Gold checking account, then apply for the card a business week later. The checking account will be free with the card, and will qualify you to apply for it. If you’re LOL/24 and looking for a new card offer, the 50,000 points you can earn are worth $750 toward travel.
One final tip: when you check out at Costco (or anywhere), make sure to use a mobile payment – do NOT swipe your Altitude Reserve card or you’ll only earn 1X point. You must use your phone to pay to get the 3X.
Will you apply for the US Bank Altitude Reserve card? 🧿
- 7 Tricks to Save EVERY Time You Shop at Costco
- 5 Apps to Effortlessly Save Money and Get Discounts (Set & Forget!)
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site.
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