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Both of these credit cards are issued by U.S Bank, one of the largest banks in the United States today. There are many similarities between these two options, but there are some key differences that must be highlighted before choosing one over the other.
The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® and U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® cards both offer cashback and great bonuses. There are also long periods of 0% APR, and neither charges any annual fees.
The main difference, however, is in the reward structures that are in place. That is where this review will concentrate its efforts, so you can determine which of these credit cards is the best fit for you.
Simulation: Which Card Gives More Rewards?
As an example, we will showcase the types of cashback rewards you can make when using each of these types of cards relating to particular sets of purchases.
As you can see, both cards are more or less equal, while the decision should be made based on your personal preferences as well as you ability to leverage the high cash back on rotating categories.
Spend Per Category
Altitude® Go Visa Signature
Cash+™ Visa Signature
$15,000 – U.S Supermarkets
$3,000 – Restaurants
$6,000 – Rotating Categories
$3,000 – Hotels
$4,000 – Gas
Estimated Annual Value
* We assume cardholders taking advantage of $6,000 our of $8,000 available with the 5% cashback .
Compare The Perks
There are a few different benefits associated with both of these credit card options. Some of these will be common to both the Altitude Go Visa Signature and Cash+ card, while others will be different.
Here is a quick look at what you can expect on both cards:
- Zero Fraud Liability: This feature ensures that you are not responsible for any charges that you have not authorized.
- Rewards Center Earn Mall Access – The Rewards Center Earn Mall is a one-stop online shopping experience where customers can earn rewards when they shop at over 1,000 online stores.
- No Annual Fees – both cards don't charge an annual fee and considered among the top credit cards for good credit.
However, there are some unique benefits for each card:
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go
- Streaming Bonus: In addition to earning two points for every dollar you spend on your card for streaming services, you’ll also get a $15 credit as reimbursement for your annual streaming service purchases including Apple TV, Netflix or Spotify.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees: You can use your card outside the U.S without worrying about incurring hefty foreign exchange fees.
- Instant Point Redemption: The card offers real time rewards, which means that you can shop almost anywhere and redeem your points almost instantly.
U.S. Bank Cash+
- Better Introductory APR: You can enjoy 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months after opening your account.
- Flexible Rewards Redemption: You can get your cash back as a direct deposit into your US Bank savings or checking account, as a statement credit or as a rewards card. So, you can choose the method that best suits you at the time.
- Increased Cash Back Potential: If you shop online through the Rewards Center Earn Mall, you can access over 1,100 stores and earn more cash back.
Compare The Drawbacks
No credit card or financial product is without possible drawbacks, and it is important to be aware of the potential negatives before you make a final decision about which card is the best option for you.
Here we’ll highlight some of the possible negatives of both cards:
U.S. Bank Altitude Go
While you can earn four times rewards on your dining purchases, there are no reward bonuses for entertainment spending such as movies, concerts or theme parks. Since this card is marketed as a socializing card, this is an obvious gap in the rewards structure.
Again, the card does offer four times for dining, but you only get two times rewards for grocery store purchases.
If you are a foodie, the U.S Bank Cash+ would represent a better option as you could designate restaurants as your two primary categories, choose an additional 5% category and still get 2% on your grocery shopping.
U.S. Bank Cash+
While being able to select categories does provide fantastic flexibility, it also requires maintenance. If you want to get the best from your card you’ll have to think about what categories you’ve designated each quarter.
Although this is a decent everyday card, it is not ideal for travel. Foreign transaction fees will apply and there isn’t a preferred category for travel purchases, so they will be in the base 1% category.
You can only redeem your rewards for cash if you have a U.S bank account. Otherwise, you will only have the option of statement credits or a rewards card.
You’ll only earn 5% on the first $2,000 combined across the two categories each quarter.
Compare Redemption Options
So what exactly you can do with your rewards? Here a quick summary of the redemption options available:
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
The U.S Bank Altitude Go offers 4x points at restaurants, take-outs & deliveries, 2x points at supermarkets, gas stations & streaming servicesm and 1 point for 1 dollar on all other purchases .
You have several redemption options with this card. One of the most flexible is the Real Time Mobile Rewards feature that you can activate on your account. Each time you make a qualifying purchase, you’ll receive an SMS message asking if you want to redeem points for this purchase. This is a great way to shop for the best price and use your rewards.
However, you can also use the U.S Bank Travel Portal to redeem your points for air fare, hotels and car rentals. Finally, you can opt to receive a statement credit or redeem the points as a cash deposit into your U.S Bank account.
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
The U.S Bank Cash+ has the flexibility to allow you to choose the categories where you’d like to earn a higher rate of cash back. You can choose two categories to earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose, 2% cash back on one everyday category, like gas stations, grocery stores or restaurants, 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
You can accumulate your cashback and then choose to receive it as a statement credit, rewards card or as a direct deposit into your U.S Bank savings or checking account.
How to Maximize Cards Benefits?
This card is rather straightforward, so there are not a great number of strategies to maximize your rewards. You’ll earn the highest reward rates on dining, restaurant delivery or takeout, so this needs to be your primary spending category.
However, you need to be sure to spend at least $1,000 in the first three months to ensure you qualify for the introductory bonus.
Another thing you need to do is ensure that you charge your annual streaming services to your card. You’ll not only get two points for every dollar, but you’ll also get a $15 credit
To get the most out of this card, you need to think strategically.
You can designate categories each quarter, so you need to think about where you will spend the most in the next three months. If you’re planning a large electronics purchase, make sure you activate this as one of your 5% categories.
Additionally, since utilities can be one of the 5% categories, it may be worth keeping this activated in summer and winter when heating and cooling costs will be at their highest.
Customer Reviews: Which Card Wins?
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Card
Satisfied customers report that they are happy with the generous dining rewards, particularly as the higher reward category applies to takeout and delivery of food.
Negative reviews highlight some issues with the slow posting of transactions. Given that one of the perks of this card is to be able to redeem points almost instantly, any delays can cause problems.
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Card
Satisfied customers report happiness with the flexibility of the reward categories. Since you can choose two 5% categories, this provides superb customization potential if you’re not sure where you will spend the most in the quarter.
Negative reviews highlight some issues with not being able to get a credit limit increase. Since the initial credit limit for this card tends to be on the low side, this can cause problems for those who are trying to keep their credit utilization ratio as low as possible.
When You Might Want the Altitude® Go Card?
The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® is a great option that could be good if you:
- You enjoy dining out: This card is excellent for those who enjoy dining out as you’ll earn four points for every dollar even if you opt for delivery or takeout. Although there are other cards that offer higher dining rewards, this usually comes at a cost of substantial annual fee.
- You don’t want lots of fees: In addition to no annual fee, there are no foreign transaction fees. So, if you make your payments on time, you are unlikely to incur any fees.
- You want a streaming bonus: You’ll get a little cash back each year when you charge your annual streaming services to your card, which is a nice little bonus.
When You Might Want the Cash+ Visa Signature Card?
The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card is a solid choice if you:
- You want a 0% intro rate: You’ll get a 0% rate for balance transfers and purchases for 15 months after opening your account (18.99% – 28.99% Variable APR after that). Given the generous rewards offered with this card, this is hard to beat.
- You want to tailor your rewards: This card is highly flexible as you can designate two categories for 5% cash back and one category for 2%. What’s more, you can change these categories each quarter. So, if you’re organized you can maximize your rewards to suit your immediate spending plans.
- You want a more generous spending cap: While there is a $2,000 spending cap for the 5% cash back each quarter, this is higher than many other reward cards that typically have a $1,500 cap.
Compare The Alternatives
The Altitude Go and While both of these cards are offered by U.S Bank, there are some crucial differences between them, which will help you to determine which one best suits your needs and circumstances.
However, if you would like to explore more – there are good alternatives to consider:
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
2% 2% cash rewards on purchases (unlimited)
1.5% – 5% 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 3% on drugstore purchases and 1.5% cash back on all purchases
1% – 5% 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The 3% and 2% cash back available on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter (then 1%)
$200 $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
Up to $300 additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year)- worth up to $300 cash back
$200 $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening
Foreign Transaction Fee
17.49% to 29.49% variable APR
19.49% – 28.24% variable
18.24% to 28.24% will apply. A 3% fee (min $0) applies to all balance transfers
Review Cash Back Credit Cards
Chase Freedom Flex