Compared to the big competitors, you don’t hear much about the FlexPerks Rewards Visa Signature. Is this a hidden gem?
I’m not a US Bank customer but I get an application in the mail a couple times per year for the US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards credit card. They do a good job trumping it up in the mailing, but I decided to do my own review to find out if it really measures up in 2014…
The basics about the credit card…
- Get 20,000 bonus FlexPoints after the first $3,500 in net purchases within the first four months.
- Award travel starts at just 20,000 FlexPoints (up to a $400 ticket value) on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates or online redemption fees.
- Earn one FlexPoint for every $1 of eligible net purchases charged to your card
- Earn two FlexPoints for every $1 spent on gas, grocery or airline purchases – whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle – and on most cell phone expenses
- Earn Triple FlexPoints for your charitable donations
- $0 intro Annual Fee* the first year, after that $49*
- Earn 3,500 bonus FlexPoints each year when you spend $24,000 in Net Purchases.
- You can redeem these FlexPoints for your annual fee or combine them with other FlexPoints for travel or many other rewards
But how much are those points worth?
Anyone who plays the credit card game knows that the number of points/miles is meaningless, without knowing how much they’re actually worth.
So how do the US Bank FlexPoints stack up? Surprisingly quite well!
Rather than being restricted to a single airline carrier, what the US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards program allows you to do is book with over 150 airline partners. Then the price of the ticket will dictate how much points it will take…
- 20,000 FlexPoints = Up to $400 ticket value
- 30,000 FlexPoints = Up to $600 ticket value
- 40,000 FlexPoints = Up to $800 ticket value
- 50,000 FlexPoints = Up to $1,000 ticket value
If you do the math, that means the value can range from…
Minimum Value Per Point = $0.01
Maximum Value Per Point = $0.02
In theory, I suppose you could buy a $50 plane ticket and then you would be getting a lousy value. But I’m going to bet that anyone with half a brain wouldn’t use their reward points for a flight that costs less than $200, so with that assumption, the above holds true So if you redeem FlexPerks points the most favorable manner possible, they are a value of up to:
- 4% on the category you spend the most
- 4% on cell phone expenses
- 2% on everything else
Of course it’s unlikely you will find airline tickets for exactly $400 or $600, but you catch my drift. Buy a ticket for $380 or $390 and you are realizing a value extremely close to the above percentages.
But wait, it gets better…
- Annual Bonus: Every year you spend $24k (that’s an average of $2k per month) you will receive a bonus of 3,500 FlexPoints. US Bank will let you redeem those to offset the $49 annual fee. So in other words, if you spend at least $24k per year this credit card can basically be free for you. But since the fee is already waived year one you get to keep all those points to yourself.
- $25 airline allowance with each award ticket: Obviously they added this benefit to compete with the free first checked bag benefit found on a few airline cards. You get this $25 allowance towards your ticket, even if you choose not to use it for a checked bag.
- You still can earn frequent flyer miles: With most airline cards, you don’t earn miles on award flights. Guess what? With the FlexPerks Travel Rewards, your award flight is no different than a regular purchase in the eyes of an airline. So you can still use your frequent flyer account to earn miles on those flights.
- No blackout dates or redemption fees: Obviously if you buy a ticket last minute it will probably cost more (and therefore require more points) but at least you have the ability to redeem for any ticket, whenever you want.
Admittedly, this rewards program can be a little confusing at first glance. But now that you’ve read my US Bank FlexPerks review, hopefully you understand what a tremendous value it offers, as long as you cash out your points strategically. If you play around with the numbers and do a few hypothetical spending + redemption scenarios, you will see that it’s actually possible to reap upwards of 2.5% or maybe even 3% on average using this credit card. That’s outrageously enticing and you can’t get that elsewhere. I especially like the 3x points on charitable contribution… I commend US Bank for encouraging giving, yet we are also receiving up to 6% back on our donations