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U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card: A Great Travel Rewards Card

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers, including American Express, see our disclosure page.

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"One of the best travel rewards credit cards. One of the cheapest, considering how competative it is with the best cards out there."

Contents

The FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature credit card from U.S. Bank is one of the better credit cards for travel rewards that we've come across here at ValuePenguin. The FlexPerks credit card offers a lot of opportunities to earn high-value travel points, and the best use is when it's redeemed for airfare at over 150 airlines for up to a 4% rewards rate. Outside of airline ticket redemptions, however, the card generally offers less value. The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Card is recommended for anybody who is looking for a great way to earn airline travel rewards and isn't deterred by a slightly complicated rewards system.

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Pros

  • One of the higher travel rewards rates: up to 4% back on airfare
  • Travel-friendly credit card: supports EMV Smart Chip technology, no foreign transaction fees ( based on credit worthiness)
  • Low annual fee of $49 (waived in first year)

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Cons

  • Less rewards flexibility than similar travel cards
  • Points expire after five years
  • Some limits on point accumulation after certain spending threshold

FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Credit Card Review: A Great Option for Airfare Rewards

The FlexPerks Travel Rewards credit card from U.S. Bank is one of the best travel credit cards available. The rewards rate you earn with this Visa Signature card is greater than any of the other general-purpose travel cards – if used optimally, the card offers rewards rates of up to 4% when redeemed towards airfare. This rate is better than some of our top travel cards!

On top of offering great rewards when used for travel, the FlexPerks Travel Rewards card also showers cardholders with extra FlexPoints. You can earn double points on useful and common household categories, and up to triple the FlexPoints when using the card for charitable donations. The double points categories are gas, grocery, or airlines, which U.S. Bank offers some flexibility on. Only one of these three a month can earn cardholders double points, and U.S Bank determines that category automatically each month depending on which one has the most expenditure. If you generally spend very little money in two of the three categories this feature will not affect you much. However if your spending is more even across, it may be annoying not being able to squeeze more points out of all three, or at least two, of those categories. Spending in other categories stays fixed at a dollar for FlexPoint ratio. 

The rewards on the FlexPerks Visa Signature are a great deal for a relatively low annual fee. High-end travel cards, which offer similar features, tend to cost more per year than the card’s $49 annual fee (waived the first year). This annual fee is effectively reduced to $0, if cardholders spend at least $24,000 per year. Doing so will trigger a rewards bonus which can be redeemed for the annual fee. Therefore, if your spending patterns exceed $2,000 per month and you plan to redeem your FlexPoints each year, the FlexPerks credit card can become a ‘no annual fee’ travel rewards credit card, increasing its value.

What limits the FlexPerks Travel Rewards credit card from being the best travel credit card is less flexibility. Some of the best credit cards for travel, such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, have broader categories when it comes to redeeming for travel expenses. For example, miles earned on the Barclaycard can be applied to hotel stays or car rentals on vacation. Ironically, FlexPoints aren’t that flexible - if you are not spending them on airplane tickets, you are not getting the most out of the FlexPerks Visa card.

Below is a more detailed breakdown of all benefits and features offered by the card.

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Rewards, Benefits, and Features

Annual Fee $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $49
Purchase APR 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
Card Details
  • Earn 20,000 FlexPoints after you spend $3,500 in net purchases on your card within the first four months.
  • Earn 1 FlexPoint for every $1 of eligible net purchases charged to your Card
  • Earn 2 FlexPoints for every $1 spent on gas, grocery or airline net purchases - whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle - and on most cell phone expenses
  • 3 FlexPoints per $1 on qualifying charitable donations
  • Redeem FlexPoints on airline tickets, statement credits, gift cards and more
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • EVM chip technology for added security abroad
  • Receive an airline allowance of up to $25 with every award travel ticket to use toward baggage fees, in-flight food or drinks and more
  • Subject to credit approval

Unlike most other U.S. Bank credit cards we've covered, the FlexPerks Travel Rewards credit has a somewhat more complex point accumulation system. 

You earn 2 FlexPoints for each $1 spent on either gas, groceries, or airline purchases. Out of those three, the category you spend the most money on in a monthly billing cycle will be the one for which you will earn double points that month. The other two categories, along with all other net purchases not specified above earn you 1 FlexPoint for each $1 spent. Most other credit cards have fixed bonus points for specific categories of spending, so the FlexPerks's point structure allows some flexibility in this regard. For those consumers whose spending in these three categories is seasonal, the FlexPerks Travel Rewards credit card will automatically adjust to reward a bonus point on the highest category that month. Another category that earns double the FlexPoints is cell phone expenses, which is a rare bonus category on a travel rewards credit card. Cell Phone expenses include any charges made to a major cellular telecommunications provider in the United States (be it the smartphone or your recurring phone bill).

Note that once credit card spending exceeds $120,000 for the year, the point system with the FlexPerks credit card falls down to one point per $2 of net purchases. 

How to Redeem FlexPoints on the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Card

How can cardholders redeem the FlexPoints they've earned on their FlexPerks Travel Rewards credit card? FlexPoints can only be redeemed through U.S. Bank's online portal. Cardholders need to log in to U.S. Bank’s website and there they will be taken to a store where they can choose how to spend their FlexPoints. Users can decide to redeem their points towards rewards such as airline tickets (through the affiliated Orbitz portal), gift cards, statement credits, and more. Note that there is an important difference between FlexPoints and miles earned with more traditional travel cards. Unlike miles, when used for travel, FlexPoints can be redeemed to purchase new airline tickets only – not seat/class upgrades, hotel stays, or previously purchased flights. For these other types of travel spending, FlexPoints would have to be converted to statement credits and applied towards those purchases. If used as statement credits towards travel, however, cardholders would be earning less than the maximal 4%. In these cases, the FlexPerks Travel Rewards card works like a cash back credit card where you are directly transferring your points towards cash value products, and each FlexPoint spent can be worth anywhere between $0.01 to $0.02. 

To cardholders who like to save their points up for an extended period of time before redeeming them, there is a point after which FlexPoints expire – specifically, after 5 years. This point lifetime is long enough that most card users should not have any trouble with points expiring. The rate at which you gather FlexPoints with the FlexPerks credit card is good enough to accumulate redeemable points.

What are FlexPoints Worth?

The value of a FlexPoint on U.S. Bank's FlexPerks card is highly dependent upon how you choose to use them. Each FlexPoint can potentially be worth up to 4 cents, which we show below. On average, even if you don’t optimally spend your FlexPoints, the average rewards rate for travel is 1.7%, which is a good rate when compared to the average travel credit card. In general, points vary between 1% to 4% depending on spending category and how FlexPoints are redeemed.

When used optimally, the points are worth more than any other travel points we’ve seen. The best use for FlexPoints is redemption of airline tickets, but only when used through US Bank’s Orbitz portal. With your FlexPoints, you can log in to U.S. Bank's online store. There you will be taken to their affiliated Orbitz portal where you can book new flights with FlexPoints for the following values:

Ticket Price Range FlexPoints Required
$0 to $400 20,000
$400 to $600 30,000
$600 to $800 40,000
$800 to $1000 50,000
$1000 to $1400 70,000
$1400 to $2000 100,000
$2000 to $3000 150,000
$3000 to $4500 225,000
$4500 to $7000 350,000
$7000 to $10,000 500,000

Through some simple math, we can see how much FlexPoints are worth when it comes to buying reward flights. Below is the calculation for realizing the maximum 4% back. Suppose you spent $10,000 on categories which net you double the points:

$10,000 x 2 = 20,000 FlexPoints. 20,000 FlexPoints = up to $400 in ticket value
$400 rewards earned / $10,000 spent = 0.04

FlexPerks Bonuses

The FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa credit card offers cardholders a lot of opportunities to earn bonus FlexPoints. The first opportunity all consumers get a shot at is the signing bonus. If within the first four months of receiving the card a user spends $3,500 they will receive 20,000 bonus points – an average of $340 (or $400 towards airfare).

U.S. Bank also holds special limited time offers that help FlexPerks cardholders earn even more bonus points. These range from holiday shopping incentives to the Olympic Games. During the 2014 Winter Olympics your signing bonus was increased depending on the number of medals won by Team USA – 500 points for every gold, 250 for every silver, and 100 for every bronze. This promotion increased the bonus by 7,450 FlexPoints, or $127, on average.

Finally, the FlexPerks credit card rewards consumers with a $25 Airline Allowance. This $25 is a reimbursement for any baggage fees or in-flight food and drinks purchased on a rewards flight.

Benefits for Travelers

Consumers should be also glad to hear that the FlexPerks card comes equipped with a SmartChip. This new credit card technology, referred to as EMV, is a global standard which is already widely used around the globe. A chip-enabled credit card is also a good idea for customers living in the United States, as the country is in the middle of a switch from the old magnetic strip credit cards to this new technology. To read more about EMV, see our guide. Another travel-friendly feature is the 0% foreign-transaction fee ( based on credit worthiness), which is rare among travel cards with such a low annual fee. 

Visa Signature Benefits

The FlexPerks Travel Rewards card is part of the Visa Signature line of credit cards. Visa Signature benefits center around travel, which complements the FlexPerk credit card’s status as a travel card. FlexPerks users can enjoy a suite of exclusive benefits available only to Visa Signature cardholders. These benefits include things such as:

  • Concierge service
  • Special perks, such as room upgrades, at select luxury hotels
  • Exclusive deals, such as presale tickets, for sporting and other events

Comparing the FlexPerks Travel Rewards to Other Rewards Cards

There are a number of other options out there for consumers considering the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature from U.S. Bank. This section compares and contrasts the FlexPerks credit card to three other travel and cash back credit cards, as well as the Visa and Amex versions of the card itself.

FlexPerks Travel Rewards vs. FlexPerks Select+

The FlexPerks Select+ credit card is made for individuals who spend less and travel less. The card offers the same FlexPoints as the Travel Rewards, with a point value that is still the same great 1.7%. However, the rate at which you earn points with the FlexPerks Select+ card is greatly diminished. FlexPerks Select+ cardholders earn 1 FlexPoint for each dollar they spend, while the Travel Rewards Visa Signature gets bonus points for select categories. This means Select+ cardholders take longer to accumulate their rewards points, which isn’t a necessarily bad as long as they are not aiming to receive the high-tier ticket rewards.

The FlexPerks Select+ does offer users no annual fee, though if your spending habits justify applying for the FlexPerks Travel Rewards, redeeming bonus miles will make up for that difference. It is difficult to determine at what spending level, one card makes more sense over the other, because it largely depends on users' specific spending patterns. Generally, it is recommended that if you spend at least $24,000+ per year with your credit card, the FlexPerks Travel rewards card is the better card between the two (U.S. Bank grants a 3,500 FlexPoints bonus at this level that can cover the annual fee).

FlexPerks Travel Rewards vs. Barclaycard Arrival Plus

A long reigning champion of the travel cards category is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. Depending on what qualities a consumer may be looking for in a travel card, the FlexPerks Travel rewards card may very well dethrone the Arrival Plus. If only airfare rewards are compared, the long-term spending on the FlexPerks Travel card will outpace the Barclaycard. If you’re maximizing your rewards, you can receive a rewards rate of up to 4% with the U.S. Bank credit card. That is much better than the Barclaycard’s 2.1% rewards rate towards general travel.

Where the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card shines is in its flexibility as an everyday card. While FlexPoints must be redeemed through the U.S. Bank Portal, the Barclaycard can be used anywhere with the rewards points being used retroactively to pay for any travel expenses through statement credits. Simply put, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers cardholders more redemption freedom than the FlexPerks Travel Rewards card.

FlexPerks Travel Rewards vs. Citi Double Cash

The Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer is a cash back card offering consumers 1% back on purchases and 1% back when you pay for those purchases on all their spending. The card comes with no annual fee and a similar APR to the FlexPerks Travel Rewards card. Potentially, the FlexPerks credit card is competitive as a cash back card if spending is limited to categories which offer double the points rate. In that case, both the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer and the FlexPerks Travel Rewards card offer users similar rewards through statement credits on their expenses. This 2% statement credit rate is only true if FlexPerks cardholders limit their spending to the categories offering double the points rates. Rates can fall to 1% if this is not the case, while the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer's rewards apply to all types of spending.

As a result of the constant rewards rate, the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer offers an easier user experience. If a cardholder is concerned with cash back, then nothing will beat the simplicity of using cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer, which don’t require one to track spending categories or points. There is no need to interact with an online rewards portal to receive cash back. It is simply applied to each credit card statement. With the FlexPerks Travel Rewards credit card, consumers must take extra steps in order for their card to serve the same function.

FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature vs. FlexPerks Travel Rewards American Express

Image of US Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards American Express Card

There are two versions of the FlexPerks Travel Rewards credit card: one is offered by Visa Signature, and the other, through American Express. They're largely similar when it comes to the FlexPerks travel rewards and FlexPoints program, with one exception. The FlexPerks Amex has one extra bonus category that cardholders can earn a total of two points on, and that is restaurants. It's a fixed category, and not subject to the FlexPerks credit card's monthly determination of bonus points for the highest spending category out of gas, groceries, and airfare. Cardholders who find themselves dining out significantly can earn more FlexPoints going with the American Express compared to the Visa. However, balance that against whether your favorite restaurants accept Amex cards. American Express is slightly less widely accepted by merchants. Otherwise, each network offers comparable concierge and ancillary value-added benefits for travelers. 

Resources for FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Cardholders

How do I apply for the card?

To apply visit the U.S. Bank website or call 877-328-9750 to apply by phone.

How do I redeem my FlexPoints?

All FlexPoints transactions are handled via the U.S. Bank portal found here

Which airlines will I be able to book flights with using FlexPoints?

FlexPoints are redeemed though the U.S. Bank website. The portal will take the cardholder to Orbitz, where flights can be booked with over 150 airlines. This wide range includes major airlines such as American Airlines, Delta, British Airways, and smaller carriers like Surinam Airlines and Air Tahiti. The full list of airlines can be found at this link.

Comments and Questions

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.