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The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Select+ card from American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner) is the no-annual-fee member of the FlexPerks rewards suite. There used to be a Visa version of this card, but, as of June 2016, the Select+ AmEx is your only option if you want a no-annual-fee card that earns FlexPoints. If you’re looking for its siblings, the FlexPerks Travel Rewards cards, learn more about them here.
The basics of the FlexPerks Select+ card
If you were considering the FlexPerks Travel Rewards cards but want to avoid an annual fee, the ‘Select’ card lets you earn FlexPoints without paying every year.
Compared to the Travel Rewards cards, the ‘Select’ card does not have boosted rewards in categories, nor does it have certain extras, such as reimbursements for airline fees, waived foreign transaction fees and annual bonuses.
The benefits it offers include:
- 1 FlexPoint per dollar (on up to $120,000 in spending each year and 0.5 FelxPoints per dollar after that).
- EMV chip technology
- Ability to redeem your rewards via the FlexPerks portal for travel, merchandise, gift cards and statement credits
- Extended warranty
- Secondary rental car insurance
- Travel accident insurance
- Travel emergency assistance
How much are the points worth?
All FlexPerks cards allow you to redeem for hotels, car rentals, merchandise, gift cards and statement credits against airfare. The value of your points depends on the option you choose.
You’ll get the most value when redeeming for statement credits against air travel. When redeeming this way, you have to use either U.S. Bank’s online travel portal, or travel phone line (which has a consultation fee of $20).
More than 150 airlines participate in the program. Because you’re essentially using your points as cash-back statement credits, you can earn frequent flier miles on your free flights (assuming you’re enrolled in the airline’s frequent flier program).
The FlexPerks program has a unique tiered redemption structure for airfare:
That means each point can be worth as much as 2 cents per point, which is really good for a no-annual-fee general-purpose travel rewards card.
But what happens if you redeem for a ticket that costs, say, $402? You’ll get bumped up into the next redemption level, meaning you’ll have to cough up 10,000 extra FlexPoints to cover that $2. That brings your redemption value down to 1.3 cents a point for that particular ticket (still a higher than the 1 cent per point you get with other general-purpose travel rewards cards).
If you’re redeeming for air travel, you can really use this card to your advantage – and get up to 2 percent back on your spending.
However, you may be selling yourself short if you want to redeem for anything other than air travel. A more flexible route may be a cash-back credit card that lets use your rewards for anything you want to buy, without a reduction in rewards value. Some even have bonus categories that boost your return on a broader spectrum of purchases. Other cards give you an elevated 1.5 percent cash back on everything. The Citi Double Cash card (no annual fee), meanwhile, gives you 1 percent back on eligible spending and then another 1 percent back when you pay your balance.
Still want an AmEx? The EveryDay card (no annual fee) from American Express gives you 2X points at supermarkets as well as the opportunity to accelerate your rewards if you make more than 20 purchases each month. You’ll be earning Membership Rewards points, which you can turn into real frequent flier miles, or redeem for merchandise, gift cards and more.
Updated June 22, 2016