Best Overall, Best No-Annual-Fee Travel

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

Rating as a U.S. Bank Card
4.8
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On U.S. Bank's Website
Current Offer

Earn 25,000 bonus points worth $250. Just spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4x points on takeout, food delivery and dining, earn 2x points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services and gas stations. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card is our choice for the best overall card and best no-annual-fee travel card from U.S. Bank because of its outstanding bonus rewards for dining, groceries, gas, and streaming services, with 1 point per dollar on all other spending. The lack of an annual fee and the broad redemption options, including travel, make this an excellent primary or secondary card to consider.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Standout rewards on dining
    • Annual bonus for streaming services
    • No annual fee and 0% introductory APR

    Cons

    • Low base rewards rate
    • Less value than some annual-fee cards
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Points never expire.
    • No foreign transaction fees.
    • Redeem points instantly. With Real-Time Rewards, shop nearly anywhere and redeem points instantly.
    • Receive a $15 streaming service credit after 11 months of streaming service purchases.

Best Travel

U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

Rating as a U.S. Bank Card
4.1
U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On U.S. Bank's Website
Current Offer

Starting with an enrollment bonus of 50,000 points worth $750 on travel. Just spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.24% variable
Annual Fee $400
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points for every $1 on eligible net travel purchases and mobile wallet spending.
Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    We selected the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card as U.S. Bank's best travel card because of its triple bonus points on all travel purchases as well as mobile wallet spending. There is a substantial $400 annual fee, but that should be justified with focused use for travel spending along with using the card for everyday purchases. The generous one-time bonus, worth $750 based on our valuation of 1.5 cents per point when redeemed for travel, is available after $5,000 in spending within the first three months of account opening.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Rich travel benefits
    • Strong rewards, especially when used for travel
    • Bonus worth $750 if points are used for travel
    • $325 in annual travel statement credits

    Cons

    • You must be a U.S. Bank customer to apply
    • No points-transfer options
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Complimentary 12-month Priority Pass Select membership to more than 1,200 VIP lounges worldwide.
    • TSA PreCheckor Global Entry - up to $100 statement credit to reimburse your application fee once every four years.
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi - stay connected with 12 complimentary Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes per year.
    • Use your mobile device to instantly redeem points for almost any purchase with Real-time Rewards.

Best Business

U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard®

Rating as a U.S. Bank Card
4.0
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard®
Full Review
Apply Now
On U.S. Bank's Website
Current Offer

Earn $500 cash back after you spend $4,500 in eligible net purchases on the Authorized Owner's card in the first 150 days of opening your account.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn up to 3% cash back on eligible gas station, office supply store and cell phone/service provider net purchases. Plus earn a 25% annual bonus based on your prior year's cash rewards, up to $250.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Cash Advance APR (%) 23.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    We chose the U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard as the best business card option from U.S. Bank due to its generous 3% bonus cash-back rewards on popular business spending categories, such as gas, office supply stores, and cell phone services. There is also a 25% bonus on cash back earned the previous year, up to $250 each year. Those features combined with no annual fee make this a solid card option for small-business owners.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Strong rewards, including 25% annual bonus
    • Introductory 0% APR offer
    • Bonus with low spending requirement

    Cons

    • U.S. Bank’s card service to businesses is below par
    • Fees on foreign transactions
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • No limits on the total rewards you can earn and your rewards never expire.
    • Enjoy a no annual fee card for you and your employees.
    • Get 25% of your prior year's cash rewards, up to $250, on the anniversary of opening your account.

Best Cash Back

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Rating as a U.S. Bank Card
3.7
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On U.S. Bank's Website
Current Offer

Earn a $200 bonus after you apply online and spend $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 5% cash back on $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter on two eligible categories you choose. 2% cash back on one eligible everyday category. 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    U.S. Bank Cash + Visa Signature is our pick for best U.S. Bank cash-back card option due to its lucrative cash back promotional structure, which includes an exceptional 5% bonus on two spending eligible categories of choice on the first $2,000 in spending each quarter along with 2% back on an eligible everyday category and 1% on all other purchases. Used as a primary card the Cash + Visa Signature card can create a bespoke earnings experience for the savvy cash back consumer seeking to optimize credit card rewards on their personal spending.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • High rewards rate on select categories
    • Potentially valuable introductory offers

    Cons

    • Complicated rewards structure
    • No introductory 0% APR on purchases
    • Low base rewards rate
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Redeem your cash rewards anytime online.
    • Enjoy the convenience of earning up to 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net credit card purchases each quarter on two eligible categories you choose.
    • Get more possibilities with unlimited 2% cash back on one everyday category of your choice, like gas stations or grocery stores.
    • No annual fee.

Best Secured

SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card

Rating as a U.S. Bank Card
3.0
SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On U.S. Bank's Website
Current Offer

30,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.24% variable
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit to Activate $300
Pay deposit in installments No
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1 mile for every $1 you spend in eligible net purchases.
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The SKYPASS Visa Secured is the highest scoring secured card option from U.S. Bank, featuring an airline mile rewards structure, which is highly unusual for a secured card designed for those with no credit or bad credit, of 1 mile per dollar in spending for redemption on Korean Air or transfer to one of Korean Air's U.S. domestic or international partners. There is a $50 annual fee but that can be justified with sufficient spending and redemption of rewards for travel.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Builds credit while earning miles
    • Opportunity to move to an unsecured card after 12 months
    • Easy-to-earn bonus

    Cons

    • Annual fee
    • Poor for international travelers
    • Your credit limit must be secured
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • 5,000 SKYPASS Bonus Miles after your first purchase
    • 1,000 Bonus Miles at renewal
    • Earn 1 mile for every $1 you spend in eligible net purchases
    • Credit limit based on your deposit, from $300 to $5,000
    • The deposit is used to open a U.S. Bank Secured Savings Account to ensure your card can be paid. The secured savings account is FDIC-insured, earns interest and won’t be touched as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

What Is the History of U.S. Bank?

U.S. Bank can trace its roots back to the time of the Civil War, when First National Bank of Cincinnati opened for business in 1863. After numerous mergers and acquisitions during the 20th century and turn of the 21st century, including U.S. Bancorp of Oregon, First National Bank of Minnesota, and Firstar Corporation, the current U.S. Bancorp was formed. Headquarterd in Minneapolis, U.S. Bank is the fifth-largest banking organization in the nation, with more than 70,000 employees and $495 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2019. In terms of its credit card portfolio's total outstanding balances, U.S. Bank currently ranks sixth largest in the country.

What Kinds of Credit Cards Does U.S. Bank Issue?

U.S. Bank primarily issues Visa cards but also has a few products issued through the American Express and Mastercard networks. It does not issue any cards on the Discover network.

What Type of Credit Is Required for U.S. Bank?

U.S. Bank requires good to excellent credit for the majority of its consumer and business cards, although it does consider applicants with no credit history or lower credit scores for its non-rewards and secured card options.

How Does U.S. Bank's Rewards Program Work?

U.S. Bank rewards points are earned at various levels based on the card product. Cash back is generally earned as a flat percentage back on purchases, with a few card options that provide enhanced bonus cash back on certain spending categories. U.S. Bank Altitude and FlexPerks points are generally earned at a points multiple for certain purchase categories and a base rate for all other spending. Points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards, or cash back through the U.S. Bank Altitude and FlexPerks rewards portals.

How Good Is U.S. Bank's Customer Service?

U.S. Bank received a score of 785 out of 1,000 points in the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, placing it in the bottom third of national credit card issuers. The average score among major issuers was 806.

Methodology

Information Gathering

In order to track and assess the U.S. domestic credit card market, we gather scores of data points on nearly 300 cards. This data is collected manually from both card-issuer websites and publicly available sources. 

To ensure that our information is as up-to-date as possible, we deploy automated tools that monitor changes in such key data as annual percentage rates, introductory rates, introductory periods, bonus offers, rewards earnings rates, fees, and card benefits. We then rapidly make any needed updates to our card listings, reviews, and recommendations so that readers have the most reliable information and advice. 

Initial Scoring

Once we collect credit card data we organize it in our database according to features, which roll up into feature sets (such as rewards, interest, fees, benefits, and security/customer service). Each individual card feature is assigned a star rating score on a 1 to 5 scale, using a prescribed formula. For instance, for a one-time bonus score we would use a formula like: If bonus is $500 or greater, then assign a score of 5; if $300-$499, then 4; and so forth. 

Weighting of Scores

Once all of a card’s features have received a score we apply a weighting factor to each feature to arrive at a weighted average score for the card (according to the general category in which it resides, such as travel rewards). 

This weighting process allows us to assign significantly more emphasis to the attributes important to a particular category and downplay those that are less relevant to it. That lets us objectively identify cards that stand out in their category and indicate why they do. For example, with travel rewards cards we apply significantly more weight to such travel-specific features as airport lounge access or primary rental car insurance than we do to attributes such as interest rates or fees that might be more strongly considered for other categories, such as balance-transfer cards.

Earnings Rates

Another critical factor we consider when rating and ranking travel cards and other types of rewards cards is the cards’ effective earnings rates. We first calculate the average value of points or miles for all the rewards cards in our database, a painstaking process that entails collecting all airline fare data by carrier across scores of popular domestic and international city-pairs along with per-night hotel charges at all major hotel brands. 

The required number of points and miles for air travel or hotel stays from the various reward programs is then used to calculate an effective earnings rate for each card. That allows our readers to make the most informed choices. By putting a card’s large one-time bonus or earnings rates into context across many dimensions and card features, readers can more readily weigh the card’s benefits relative to its costs. Uncovering the true but often opaque redemption value of rewards points or miles is, we feel, the only reliable way to make cogent choices among competing value-based cards.  

Card Features We Score

As mentioned above, we place significant weight on certain travel-related features in determining our ratings for each rewards card. Specifically, we base over 50% of our overall assessment score on the combination of the following factors:  

  • Maximum value of any one-time bonus, whether in points or miles.
  • Initial card spending required to earn any bonus.
  • Redemption value of the bonus miles or points.
  • Global card acceptance, as detailed by the four card networks (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover).
  • Options to redeem points or miles with travel partners, both airline and hotel.

Another consideration is the cards’ coverage, if any, in these travel-related areas: 

  • Car-rental collision insurance, whether primary or secondary.
  • Travel accident insurance.
  • Lost or delayed luggage insurance.
  • Insurance for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay.
  • Cell phone loss or damage coverage.
  • Roadside assistance and towing.
  • Emergency travel medical/dental benefits.

General, non-travel related features that we consider and score include:

  • Interest rates, including both introductory and regular APRs for purchases and balance transfers.
  • Fees, including those for annual membership, late payments, cash advances, and foreign transactions.
  • Security/customer service features.
  • Other non-travel benefits, such as access to credit scores, ID theft protection, and contactless payment capability.

How We Reach Our Final Assessments

We rely primarily on the objective scores created by our rating algorithms to determine which card is chosen as the best in each category or subcategory.

However, we may make some adjustments from time to time, to both features and weightings that could affect rankings, based on subjective input from our credit card experts. Any potential modifications will be consistent with Investopedia’s belief that consumers are best served by cards that:

  • Provide superior value in earning awards.
  • Charge reasonable interest rates in the event that the cardholder carries a balance from month to month.
  • Charge fewer and/or more reasonable fees.
  • Provide solid customer service, based on the number and quality of customer service features.
  • Have helpful and protective security features.