US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards Card Review

Posted by CreditCardGuru

Compared to the big competitors, you don’t hear much about the FlexPerks Rewards Visa Signature. Is this a hidden gem?

US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards cardI’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.

Verdict?

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 :)


-----
Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

36 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. cancelling flexperks September 4, 2014 at 2:09PM

    Flexperks just cut my accumulated points in half, claiming 5 yr. expiration on 17K. Only one month warning mentioned in text of online statement. Be aware. Other airline cards do not expire points if you have activity. Customer service??
    BS. Only serve themselves. points only worth .01 but cost .03 to buy more?

  2. William August 9, 2014 at 1:52PM

    The worst, do not get this card, useless junk their rewards system is the worst in the credit card systems.

  3. William August 9, 2014 at 1:41PM

    This is the worst card ever- I have had this card for over a year – and booked a flight in January 2014 and it was cancelled in February 2014 due to a winter storm. Since this cancellation I have called about 12 times to try to get refunded points and there has been nothing done. THey blame American Airlines, Travelocity, US Bank, its just a pass off between them and nothing has been done at all. They usually tell me that a supervisor will call me or email me, nothing.

    I have had dozens of incentive based cards over the years from all the big banks and so far this is by far the worst experience. Usually 3 calls, emails, messages is the maximum to ever resolve anything. STAY AWAY.

  4. Joyce Mwangi July 29, 2014 at 8:52AM

    Watch out if they detect irregularity on your card they will block it which is good and safe BUT THEY WILL NOT GIVE YOU A COURTESY CALL TO INFORM unlike other cards like CITI BANK they call you immediately they notice any irregularity to make sure you are the one authorizing the spending. With USBANK you have to call them to find out why the card has been blocked Some times they will block the card if you are travelling even after you have notified them of your travel dates and destination, VERY INCONVINCING!!!. very poor customer service and extra long hold time.

    • erin taylor September 17, 2014 at 2:20AM

      March 2014: US Bank contacts me to report irregular card usage, requiring them to issue a new card. My card was deactivated during the 14 day wait for a new card, which was a bummer given I needed to make a few big purchases that would’ve yielded a good chunk of points.

      June 2014: Nice night out with family downtown, plunked down my Flexperks card to cover the tab—DECLINED. Ow. I called customer support from the table to find out what was going on. ‘Irregular card usage,’ I was told, thus they deactivated my card FOR THE SECOND TIME in three months. *This is a lousy business practice.*

      October 2014: New Flexperks cards arrived in the mail–a surprise since we just got new cards in late June. Surprise! ‘Irregular card usage’ was detected on our account, so we get to update all of our autopay subscriptions, bill payments, etc that we charge to the card.

      This is getting tiresome.

      Other than the apparent haxor-friendly or gestapo-level security, whatever it going on, it’s a decent rewards card. We’ve booked hotel-flight combos with no problem whatsoever, as well as a few gift cards.

  5. Satisfied User July 4, 2014 at 5:47PM

    I’ve been happy using this card for the past three years. I’m probably a more typical customer than some commenters – I spend about $25000/yr, travel domestically and always coach. Earned about 3500 bonus points last year in addition to 1 pt per $1. When the flights I buy were in the $350-400 range the 20,000 pts. for up to $400 ticket was a gem. With recent price increases I’m paying about $400-500 for flights so my choices will be more limited unless I use a larger point amount or score a low fare. The info about the $25 travel credit in the blog post is not correct; you cannot apply it to your ticket cost. You get a credit to your account for expenses which “post to your account under the airline carrier providing your award travel flight between the dates of your award travel flight.” Check a bag, get a beer, etc. Note that travel must be booked on Travelocity so no Southwest tickets. As of this writing you can still book AirTran, recently purchased by SW.

  6. unhappy April 3, 2014 at 10:48PM

    FlexPerks travel is still down 4/03/14. If this was an upgrade, it’d be done. I smell a scam in the works with me holdin a balance that would have otherwise enabled me a trip.

  7. Preston March 20, 2014 at 6:51PM

    I have a large accumulated rewards balance & wanted to redeem for travel today. The site has a scrolling message that it is down for scheduled maintenance & you currently will not be able to redeem any rewards. I have been on the phone for 30 minutes & have spoken with three customer service reps who not only confirmed that no rewards could be redeemed, BUT that this would be the situation FOR OVER ONE WEEK!!
    I should have changed to American Express Delta card when I was offered the opportunity.
    UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!
    :(

    • V March 22, 2014 at 4:54PM

      Just tried to use my award travel…same issue. Not available. I wish they would post an expected time of completion for their upgrades. Anyone know?

      • Sue March 24, 2014 at 6:26PM

        It was back up and running again this morning, 3/24/14.

    • Ani March 23, 2014 at 7:17AM

      They had posted for a while that the site would be down. They have never done this before. I honestly think they are just improving the site. I have nothing but great things to say about this card. I switched from the American Express Delta card to this one and couldn’t be happier!!!

  8. Robert March 18, 2014 at 4:18PM

    I have had this card for years and am mostly happy…BUT…beware should you book travel online and need help. Can you say “Hello Mumbai, or Punai or Bangalore” where you get to speak to people like “Peter” or “Kay.” Yeah right! The last trip I tried to take, I contacted them to see what our options were as our flight was significantly delayed and we were not going to make our connection. After being put on hold several times over a 45 minute period “Kay” came back on the line to cheerfully inform me she had talked to the airline and was able to cancel my reservation and get a full refund. Unfortunately I had specifically told her to not cancel, but to check my options. So that trip was hosed. It has now been almost three weeks and I am still trying to get my 40,000 points back.

    • Charles March 20, 2014 at 11:46PM

      I have had at least 20 different credit cards over the years, but this is – without a doubt the MOST UNRELIABLE card I have ever had. Although I religiously pay my full balance at the end of each month and have never had any kind of a payment problem, late payment, etc., this card is VERY FREQUENTLY DECLINED and for no apparent reason. When I call Flex Perks to complain, they just tell me it is for security reasons. I have to always carry another card, because I can never be sure this one will work. My BOA visa card never fails. FLEX PERKS IS A USELESS CARD!

  9. gavtrav March 18, 2014 at 1:20PM

    I’m trying to redeem flexperks points now to join my husband on a business trip. The site is down for enhancements anyone know how long that will take?

    • Tim Abraham March 21, 2014 at 3:35PM

      They told me Monday 3/24

  10. Virginia Stock January 5, 2014 at 7:36PM

    I used to have this no good card because I had a lot of NWA miles. It is next to impossible to book travel with them, and it is basically a dishonest organization. I love my Capital One credit card – you book travel anyway you want (expedia, etc – wherever you can get the best deal) and then apply miles after the fact. Someone really effective and nice always answers the phone at Capital One (always an American – so you don’t find yourself with a bad connection overseas). We have spent 40 minutes on hold with flexperks (my husand’s card) during a crisis. Try Capital One for the best travel program, and for a company that is honest, answers their phone and willing to hire Americans.

  11. Gandydancer June 23, 2013 at 3:01AM

    I picked up a receipt in a Safeway with a US Bank branch that promised “20,000 Bonus Flexpoints”. If the calculation Mario does below is what’s being promised then that’s a lie since 2500 of the 20,000 points are not “bonus”… but maybe it isn’t (I realize Mario was posting in 2012 — but Google brought me here in 2013.) Also, is it only the bonus 3500 points you earn for spending $25k that can be exchanged for the annual fee, or can you always pay the fee with 3500 points?

    • Susan4 August 19, 2013 at 9:17AM

      I never got around to using my points so irritated at myself when the annual fee came due this month. Upon checking my points, I immediately received an offer to pay the fee with 3500 points. I have not spent more than a few thousand $ on this card, so I was pleasantly surprised.

  12. Automan April 24, 2013 at 9:57PM

    This is not a good card for me. I have tons of miles in here but, when I tried looking for a ticket. Delta Skymiles only needs 120K for a first class ticket to asia. Flexperks wants 350K. What gives? So, in short I redeemed the 350K for cash and will be cancelling this card as soon as when I get my new card from Alaska Airlines.

    • Nellie February 5, 2014 at 7:30PM

      I wouldn’t give up so fast, automan. I have had a Delta Skymiles card for a long time and used it a lot, and have also had the FlexPerks card. Everytime I have checked for a flight, Delta flights are much higher in miles. Try again!

  13. MPopps September 11, 2012 at 2:17PM

    I have had a FlexPerks card for years. I like that I do not have to pay a fee (I get it back because I spend enough money), and that the airplane tickets can be on any airline. The number of points needed for a ticket can be up to half the number that, for example, CapOne requires, and are never more.

    But there is a serious problem – these cards have a foreign transaction fee. So when I buy airplane tickets from, for example, European carriers, I dare not use the card or suffer serious transaction fees.

    I love that my FlexPerks card is a chip-in-pin card – making it very useful for travel overseas. But however, I would not use it overseas unless I am only chip-in-pin works (gas stations for example), because of those pesky service fees. What galls me the most is the fees they add on to transactions done in US dollars!

    eg. I bought first class tickets to Sydney on Orbitz. Turns out they went via Quantas – didn’t matter that they were in US dollars! I bought the tickets on the US web site. I got hit with a $380 fee for currency conversion!

    Now I would like to buy Star Alliance round-the-world tickets. The price is in dollars and supposedly the credit card will be charged in New York. But hey! The head office is in Frankfurt! So I tried to get US Bank to assure me that there would be no fees. Star Alliance didn’t think there should be, but if they are wrong, there is no recourse. US Bank will not consider a refund. Since these are very expensive airplane tickets, I would be crazy to buy them with the US Bank Flexperk card.

    My Marriott Visa provides a good option. It has no foreign currency transaction fees and I get double points for travel-related costs. I’ll use it for the Star Alliance airplane tickets. Too bad US Bank does not want my money – I think their perks are a bit better, but not enough to risk a $500 surcharge on tickets.

  14. FJS September 1, 2012 at 2:53PM

    Even though Flex points allows mileage for flights, they book flight through travelocity. They use special fares in which you can not be upgraded if you are an elite member. Also any review has to be done through their site in which plan on long wait times and hang up. Also you can get miles for the flight however you do not get any credit at your hotel. You do not earn any points or can use your upgrades at your hotel- why I do not understand. Also I plan on using Flex points for part of my stay and my hotel points for a couple more nights. The hotel (Hilton) will not allow you to join them and you must use two separate reservation since they claim they have no access to the Flex reservation.

    I like the idea of Flex point over Airline base mileage but find they are not that Flexible.

  15. Happy FlexPerks Member February 24, 2012 at 5:21AM

    It’s very easy to modify a flight to save a few dollars, but I agree that it is a drawback. Also, if I were going to take a flight that only cost $200-250 or less, I would just pay for it. Take the 2% return on the Discover and the 3.2% on the US Bank and divide them: you get .625, which is $250 when multiplied against the $400 max value of the US Bank. So anything less than $250 is not as good of a deal and everything over $250 is pure benefit over the Discover. The US Bank also comes with a $25 bag allowance.

    With the way prices are right now due to high fuel cost, we’re not seeing the ability to book many trips under the $250 price point, and I live in Boston! US Bank is still miles ahead of the Discover. The threshold for the bonus FlexPoints to cover the yearly fee is $24,000, by the way. Those of us who use their card for everything they buy shouldn’t have a problem hitting that.

    Best,
    Chris

  16. Sue Benson February 11, 2012 at 9:24AM

    I’ve have the world perks/flex perks card since 1995. My husband and I have taken many free round trips to Europe and 2 free round trips to China with the card. I haven’t tried VISA but we tried the Delta Skymiles program with American Express and were disgusted with it. We earned enough miles for a free round trip to Belize and dumped the card.

    • Sue Benson February 11, 2012 at 9:25AM

      I meant DISCOVER.

  17. Bette February 10, 2012 at 8:22AM

    Can I use Flex Perks to upgrade to business class? I’ve been trying for a week to connect to a person at USBank and have usually hung up after being put on hold for more than 30 minutes.

  18. MCH February 8, 2012 at 2:44PM

    I find the flexperks card useful because I can discount a flight that is very hard to get with miles from airlines.

  19. Mario January 20, 2012 at 7:01AM

    You forgot to mention the additional monthly bonus points:

    - 25% on bonus points earned on net rewards earned for Gold Package account holders
    - 50% on bonus points earned on net rewards earned for Platinun Package account holders

    Also, for new account holders, if they spend $2,500.00 (2,500 pts) within 5 months, a one-time bonus of 17,500 points is paid, equaling 20,000 pts ($400 ticket value).

  20. Freeisbest January 13, 2012 at 4:26PM

    I inherited this Flexperks card when NWA merged with Delta. I pay no annual fee. For the big spenders out there this credit card may be useful. I spend no more than a couple hundred dollars a year with this card so am unable to accumulate many points. From my perspective the rewards are useless for this card and will be for any one that charges less than a thousand or two a year. Takes too long to accumulate the minimum to do any good. And if you are paying the $49. fee you are really getting ripped off. Currently evaluating closing this account since I have credit cards that provide miles with different airlines and others that provide cash back on the next statement for different purchases without waiting decades to get a reward.

  21. CAP December 24, 2011 at 8:33AM

    I totally agree with your major drawback. I have been pricing a trip to LAX from Detroit, awaiting confirmation on a trip date. The round trip price was $399.20. I received my confirmation last night and, lo and behold, the flight jumped $5 for a total of 404.40. Now I need to use 30,000 points instead of 20,000. My 10,000 points had a redemptive value of $4.40! I wish they would structure the tiers similar to Delta’s Pay with Miles. The 20,00 points would have a $400 credit and the consumer (me) would pay the $4.40. A much better idea.

    • CreditCardGuru December 25, 2011 at 2:45PM

      Hi Cap, yeah that extra $5 costs you 10,000 more points :( I frequently fly between LAX and DTW too and the prices tend to usually start at just a hair above the $400 mark, so if that is a common route you fly I imagine you might run into the problem regularly.

  22. Happy FlexPerks Member November 22, 2011 at 12:02PM

    US Bank has offered many different promotions for 250-500 bonus FlexPerks points and they continually do so throughout the year. Additionally, with the Gold checking account that I have I’m getting even more back. So even though Discover gives you double points on everything, the rewards are half as attractive. Let’s look at my spending of $10,000 ($2,000/mo for 5 months) on the following:

    Gas: $400/mo
    Tolls: $50/mo
    Groceries: $250/mo
    Dining out: $300/mo
    Retail shopping: $400/mo
    Cell phone bill: $300/mo (family plan)
    Activities: $300/mo

    With the Discover card you talk so highly of, I would earn a total of 4,000 points per month or 20,000 points over this 5 month period, enough for a $200 flight. However, with my FlexPerks, I’m earning double on the gas and the cell phone bill, earning me 2,000 points plus a 700 point bonus for gas and cell phone plus a 500 point Gold bonus, ultimately giving me 3,200 points per month or 16,000 over 5 months, which is 80% of the point value of the Discover card. However, my 80% point value has 60% MORE buying power than your Discover card, so I will GLADLY stay with US Bank.

    With your card, my $10,000 in spending gets a $200 flight (full 2%), but with my card and my spending, roughly $12,500 in spending gets me up to a $400 flight(3.2%).

    So there you have it, the US Bank FlexPerks card can work much better for some people at less cost per year ($11 is almost a 20% savings) with the power of Visa (accepted more places), resulting in more rewards for less spending.

    I should also note that I have a Discover More 5% cash back card and Discover is stingy as heck with their credit limits. I have over 4x more limit (and it’s revolving, not fixed) and a lower interest rate with US Bank than Discover with my middle credit score at 79X.

    Hope you give more thought to your next review and maybe find out how the card/program works for some people before you bash it or say that another card is better.

    Best,
    Chris

  23. MSG October 28, 2011 at 1:39PM

    I have used my Flexperks points for numerous trips (Alaska, Hawaii, New York, etc….) and I have always found their customer service dept. to be very professional to work with, and no blackouts is a big bonus. My flight savings have been incredible! Regarding their annual fee, if you charge a min. amount each year (the required $$$’s escape me), U.S. Bank will reimburse you the 3,500 points on the following month’s statement. Also, lots of bonus points are offered throughout the year. I am a very happy customer!

  24. TradeDancer October 10, 2011 at 2:26PM

    There’s one key element you are missing here. If you have a US Bank Checking account with this card (in a gold or platinum package) you get a 25 or 50% bonus on all the rewards you earn. So instead of 2 Flexpoints in your top spending category, you’ll earn 2.5 points/$ spent with the gold pkg or 3 points/$ spent with the platinum. All it takes to have the Gold Package is a checking account with a $500 minimum direct deposit per month and the Flexperks credit card. There’s no extra fees. You can get the Platinum package for no fee if you have $25,000 in loans/deposit balances with the Bank, have an investment/trust relationship, or are a member of the military. That makes this card a better value. I don’t have the balances/status for the Platinum package, but the Gold benefits are still better than nothing. Interesting to note, with the platinum, those charitable donations would be worth 4.5 points/$. Not too shabby! Also consider this: 20,000 miles on Discover Escape = a $200 travel credit. 20,000 Flexpoints on US Bank Flexperks Travel = a max of a $400 travel credit + a $25 baggage credit. Hmmm, I think I’d stick with Visa.

  25. monster July 14, 2011 at 5:38PM

    i love flexperks, for just 3,500 perks you can pay your $49 annual fee. also its great for way more then just travel.. as a matter of fact ..all i use it for is visa gift cards. 5000 perks gets you $50! so its like a penny a point.. right,,, so a penny spent is a penny earned!

  26. Manda Chuva June 21, 2011 at 8:06AM

    Discover Card is not accepted in most places.

Leave a Comment

*