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Middle Age Miles

Getting Started with the US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Card

US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card – fancy packaging box

As we’ve previously written, I was recently approved (on my second try!) for a new premium card that I’ve been rather excited to get, the US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card.  My enthusiasm for this card stemmed from the generous 50,000 point sign-up bonus (after $4,500 spend within 90 days), the ability to earn 3x points on mobile payments, and the fairly new Real-Time Mobile Rewards feature, which allows points to be redeemed for charges via text message, including redeeming points for travel charges at 1.5 cents per point without having to go through the US Bank travel portal.

Earlier this week I activated my card, and I thought Middle Age Miles readers would enjoy a post about getting started with the US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card, including the process of enrolling in key benefits of the card.

Timeline

My timeline for approval, receipt and activation was as follows:

  • Friday, June 1 – Application submitted
  • Monday, June 4 – Application approved
  • Saturday, June 9 – Received card (via delivery to the door of my home)
  • Monday, June 11 – Activated card

Unboxing the Card

The Altitude Reserve card comes in some pretty fancy packaging, so unboxing it was fun.

The card arrived in a sturdy black box with US Bank and Altitude Reserve branding, which you can see in the featured image at the top of this post.  The front flap of the box was magnetized.  Pulling the front flap away from the box and lifting up revealed my Altitude Reserve card, embedded in a soft faux-velvet pad on the upper half of the box, with the lower half of the box comprising a tray that held the card-related documents:

 

Inside the bottom tray were a nice 14-page brochure with the tagline, “Life, Elevated,” which described the card’s benefits in some detail, a heavy piece of cardstock with information regarding key account information and benefits, a black envelope containing “Important documents” such as the official Guide to Benefits, and my 10-page card agreement.

Activating the Card

I activated my Altitude Reserve card by calling the phone number provided by US Bank.  The activation was handled entirely by an automated system without human interaction.

Enrolling in Benefits

To start the process of enrolling in benefits, log in to your US Bank online account and click “My Rewards” on the second line of the top menu, on the right.  On the next page, click “Redeem Rewards & Access Card Benefits.”  Then on the top menu of the next page, click “Card Benefits.”  Then, click “Explore and Register for Your Card benefits, Promotions and Events.”  And finally, log in to the Altitude Reserve Card Benefit Site with your last name, first initial, zip code, and last 4 digits of your credit card number.  Whew.

Here are the key benefits that you need to enroll in, upon receiving and activating your Altitude Reserve card.

(1)  Enroll in Real-Time Mobile Rewards

  • The default spend to trigger real-time mobile rewards is $250.  Be sure to lower your minimum to $10.00.
  • Activate Real-Time Mobile Rewards for travel categories only – Lodging, Airline, Car Rental, and Other Travel.  (Travel categories are the only ones where you can redeem at 1.5 cents per point.  The redemption rate for other categories is only 1 cent per point, so you won’t want to use points on those other categories.)
  • Note that the minimum purchase amount to trigger Real-Time Mobile Rewards is pre-set at $500 for Lodging and $250 for Car Rental.  Your modification to a $10 minimum will not impact the pre-set minimums for these categories.
  • During this process, the US Bank website offered me 500 points for activating Real-Time Mobile Rewards.  This was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.  Although the fine print said that the bonus points would be applied to my account within 8-10 weeks, the 500 points actually posted immediately and automatically after I activated Real-Time Mobile Rewards.  (The fine print also says that the 500 bonus point offer is only valid through 12/31/2018.)

(2)  Register for 12 complimentary Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi passes

  • I already had a Gogo account, which has some Gogo passes I’ve received as an Amex Business Platinum benefit.
  • I was able to merge the 12 passes from the Altitude Reserve into my existing account, notwithstanding language on the “benefit” page that said I would have to cancel my existing account.  (I believe that it may only be necessary to cancel an existing account if you have purchased an “unlimited” Gogo plan.)
  • The website says that the passes are valid for 12 months from the date you register for this benefit.  (This creates an interesting dilemma – register the passes right now while I’m thinking about it; or try to game some extra days of validity out of the passes by waiting to register until just before I need to use one of the passes.  I opted for the former – less brain damage as I won’t have to remember to do this later.  Also, despite what the website said, I wasn’t entirely confident that I could just sit on the passes for a while without registering them, and still have 12 months of validity after registration.)

(3)  Register for the Andrew Harper Travel Club

  • I really don’t have any idea whether this benefit has any value or not.  It looked interesting to me, and US Bank said it was a $395 value.  I took a quick look at it.  I saw that it seems to focus on high-end properties and high-end rooms/suites within those properties.  There was a section with a few “last-minute packages.”  I didn’t assess whether any of this might give good value to us and our readers – but I’ll plan to take a closer look at it, at some point in the future and post an article about it.
  • In looking through the properties in Ireland, I noticed that they included one of my short-list aspirational properties, we stayed when we visited Ireland back in 2016, Gregans Castle.

Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland [image courtesy Ashford Castle]

Browsing Through Other Card Benefits

As I activated the card benefits described above, I also took a few minutes to browse through the other card benefits, which included:

  • 3x points on spend in bonus categories – travel purchases and mobile wallet spending
  • $325 annual travel credit
  • Silvercar rental car discount using the VINFINITE code
  • Access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection
  • $100 TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry credit (once every 4 years)
  • Priority Pass (note that the PP benefit that comes with the Altitude Reserve is VERY LIMITED – if you have any other PP access, you should ignore this one)
  • GroundLink car service discount of 15% plus a $30 one-time credit
  • Benefits at Relais & Châteaux hotel properties
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Visa Infinite concierge service
  • National rental car Executive status and a limited discount
  • Avis rental car limited discount
  • And some other protections and services

Other Things to Activate

First and foremost, you need to add your Altitude Reserve card immediately to all mobile wallets that you use.  US Bank specifically mentions Apple Pay, Android Pay (now known as Google Pay), Samsung Pay and Microsoft Wallet as platforms that will earn 3x points.  I added my Altitude Reserve to Apple Pay and set it as my default card.

Also, link your Altitude Reserve to other programs to earn miles, points or cash back from spend, such as airline dining programs (I added mine to AAdvantage Dining), cashback portals with in-store cashback offers (I added mine to Ebates), and other cashback apps such as Dosh (note that I was unable to add my Altitude Reserve card to Dosh; it said US Bank was not supported).

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I hope that this review and these tips are helpful to you in getting started maximizing your earnings and redeeming for valuable travel rewards with your US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card.  Especially with the advent of Real-Time Mobile Rewards, US Bank points and the bonus category earning with the Altitude Reserve can be incredibly valuable tools to help make your travel dreams come true.

 

Do you have any other experiences or comments about getting started with the Altitude Reserve and maximizing its value?  Let us know in the comments!

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