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Home » Changes to U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card: No more annual fee, points devalued, but maybe more compelling than ever?

Changes to U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card: No more annual fee, points devalued, but maybe more compelling than ever?

Card image of the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card
U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card

Cardmembers holding the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card were recently informed of changes to the card recently that include the elimination of the card’s annual fee, changes to reward earnings, a devaluation of reward redemptions, and the loss of some benefits.

These changes are effective starting September 9, 2024.

But although the headline changes involve the loss of benefits and devaluation of rewards, dropping the annual fee might make the card more compelling than ever.

Here are all of the changes coming to the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card and our take.

Summary of changes to the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card

Previous
(prior to September 9, 2024)
Updated
(as of September 9, 2024)
Annual fee$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95/year.$0
Reward earning
Rewards are earned as points, redeemable for travel and cash back.
5x points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center.
4x points on travel.
4x points at gas stations and EV charging.
2x points on dining, streaming services, and at grocery stores.
1x on other purchases.
5x points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center.
4x points on travel.
4x points at gas stations and EV charging on your first $1,000 each quarter. Wholesale clubs, discount stores/supercenters and grocery stores are excluded.)
2x points on dining, streaming services, and at grocery stores. (Discount stores/supercenters and wholesale clubs are excluded.)
1x on other purchases.
Reward redemptionReward points can be redeemed for a variety of cash back and travel redemptions at 1 cent per point.Rewards can be redeemed for travel redemptions through the Altitude Rewards center at 1 cent per point.

You’ll get only 0.8 cents per point for redemptions of cash back, Real-Time Rewards, U.S. Bank Rewards Cards, Shop with Points at Amazon.com and Pay with Rewards with PayPal.
Redeem rewards for charityYou’ll have the option to redeem points for a charitable redemption and get a 100% contribution match from U.S. Bank.

It is unclear at what value points will be redeemable for charity redemptions.
Streaming services creditEarn a $30 credit when you charge 11 consecutive months of an eligible streaming services to your card.This benefit is removed entirely.
Cell phon protection benefitCell phone protection offering $600 in coverage, once per year with a $100 deductible.This benefit is removed entirely.
Changes to U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card

My take on the changes to the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card

I like the reduction in the annual fee, but the changes to rewards are incredibly negative. The new $1,000 per quarter cap on rewards at gas stations means that the card no longer is a go-to card for people like fleet managers and road warriors who spend a ton on gas. And when points become worth only 0.8 cents each toward cash back redemptions, you’re earning only marginally more than 3% cash back rewards on travel and gas anyway and only 1.6% cash back equivalent in the card’s 2x categories.

If you have the card and have accumulated points, you should cash out your points prior to September 9, 2024, when they become worth 20% less. After that date, I don’t think that there’s really any compelling reason to put a lot of spending on the card.

But there’s a positive side to these changes…

The silver lining to the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card changes

Often when cards change, there isn’t a silver lining, but U.S. Bank dropping the annual fee to $0 alongside the other changes means that the card’s value proposition changes entirely.

After September 9th, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card will be one of the only cards with no annual fee that gives you 4 Priority Pass lounge visits, trip delay reimbursement, and a credit for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry®. When you hold the card, you can also get a free 5GB mobile data plan through GigSky and complimentary airport lounge access when your flight is delayed two hours or more. These benefits mean that the card is possibly worth keeping for its benefits alone.

Ultimately, I don’t need the Priority Pass lounge visits or the credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry (I have plenty of other cards that offer those benefits) but I’ll be testing out the free mobile data plan on an upcoming trip. That alone could keep the card in my wallet.

Bottom line on the changes

U.S. Bank announced changes to the U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card. Effective September 9, 2024, the card no longer has an annual fee, it loses a handful of benefits, puts more restrictions on point earnings, and the points it earns become worth only 0.8 cents each toward cash back redemptions.