Be Sure To Avoid This Pitfall When Applying For US Bank Cards

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US Bank Card Application

PSA:  The Many US Bank Card Application & Welcome Offer Requirements

US Bank is one of the quirkier banks out there, at least with new credit card application and welcome offer requirements.  My relationship with US Bank has been mixed – we’ve earned significant rewards with them, up until my wife and I were each shut down in early 2020.  When we were active cardholders, we got used to their wrinkles, though.  Let’s go through the (relatively) unusual US Bank card application and welcome offer requirements to ensure everyone rightly earns lucrative rewards! There is one pitfall that is stranger than the rest, their authorized user terms.

Reset – US Bank Card Application Rules

Ryan S aggregated credit card application rules for the variety of banks here.  US Bank tends to pull lesser-known credit bureaus, and previous advice was to freeze these.  More recent data suggests you may be denied for these being frozen.  Additionally, US Bank is much more likely to approve you for cards if you are a bank account holder.  It’s also known that US Bank is sensitive to the number of inquiries on your credit report.  US Bank seemingly follows a 4/12 or 5/12 rule for those applying for their cards.

US Bank Card Application
The Altitude Reserve is the only US Bank credit card that requires a prior relationship with the bank.

An Easy Welcome Offer Requirement to Miss

Many hobbyists rely on their authorized users to put spend, and sometimes significant amounts, on their cards in order to meet welcome offer requirements.  As a reminder, authorized user spend does not count toward meeting the minimum spend requirement for US Bank welcome offers.  We have received recent data points where individuals have, unfortunately, missed out on their welcome offers due to this wrinkle.  I can’t think of another bank with the same rule.

Of course, consider this welcome offer requirement prior to applying for a US Bank credit card.  Will you be able to meet the welcome offer requirements solely with your own spend?  If not, can you make your own plans to pay for what would have been authorized user spend within the welcome offer timeframe?  For situations where you would normally be the authorized user, can the primary cardmember pay for common expenses?

Many options exist to overcome this challenge.  As long as you remember this US Bank rule, you shouldn’t have problems finding contingencies for the required spend during the welcome offer period.  If you are unable to identify this spend, perhaps a new US Bank card isn’t right for you at a given time.

US Bank Card Application

Look on the Bright Side

On the flip side, US Bank also offers great flexibility for cardholders.  Here are just a few examples:

  • US Bank does not have a hard rule on how many card accounts you can hold.
  • US Bank allows you to move credit between accounts – just call!
  • You cannot get the Altitude Reserve card without having a prior relationship (bank account or credit card) with US Bank.  But any other cards welcome new customers!  (I don’t think the Altitude Reserve is anything special, anyway.)
  • You can receive welcome offers on the same card multiple times, and there are no waiting period rules.  This tracks with my experience of getting multiple welcome bonuses on the same card types over time (Radisson, FlexPerks, etc).

Conclusion

As with any other institution, ensure you know what you are getting into prior to applying for a US Bank credit card.  Without doing homework, all of us would be susceptible to surprises, mostly unwelcome ones.  But by doing just a bit of it, you’ll be able to achieve sizable rewards with US Bank and other card issuers.  How has your experience been with US Bank lately?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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5 COMMENTS

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5 COMMENTS

  1. You may not think it’s a very special card but that’s likely because you have learned how to use it. Or maybe I’m playing on another level (I can’t help playing at my metagame level.) I have been able to use this card for %4.5 cash back on everything. I have made over $4,050.00 in cash back without having to fly at all. It’s been a great card. First I carry a Samsung s9 just so I have Samsung pay which earns me %4.5 at every register or 3x points per dollar. And then I also do a little of that thing they said couldn’t be done on these cards. I think you know what I means! I’ve been doing it for 2 years without issue, so as long as I keep using this card for basically everything, (not in a higher bonus category) I think I will make it by. But your always at risk playing the metagame. Just start slow and mix up your purchases with everyday transactions.

  2. I just applied for the no fee USBank card. The only reason I’m thinking I got the 7-10 days will let you know is because of having no relationship with them.

    • Laurie,

      I’d be surprised if that was why. Only the Altitude Reserve has the previous relationship requirement. Perhaps you just need to wait 7-10 days to get your card in the mail!

    • On the same boat. I just applied the card yesterday and it needs to wait for 7-10 business days for further result.

  3. Great article! I do disagree with the value of the Altitude Reserve. I think its way better than a Chase Sapphire Reserve.
    – You get 4.5% on all travel and mobile pay transactions (which is all groceries, target & costco) vs the 4.5% on travel and dining.
    – The upfront annual fee is $400 vs the $550.
    – The effective annual fee is $75 vs the $250/$200 depending on your value of the doordash credit on the CSR.

    Anyone who doesn’t want more than 2 cards would be way better off with an Altitude Go (4% dining) + Altitude Reserve.

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