Is This The Most Overlooked 5% Earner & How To Do It Right

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US Bank Cash+ Card
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US Bank Cash+ Card

I love racking up points, and cash back, in 5% (or 5X) chunks. I know all of you do too. It is why we all hold our Chase Ink Cash and Freedom Flex cards in such high regard. We even swooned a bit over the Citi Custom Cash and the Discover card is worth grabbing every few years for the doubling promos. We profess our love for all things 5% every chance we get, but, you know one that never gets mentioned much? The US Bank Cash+ card. The crazy thing is, it may be the best of them all! Having said that, don’t go rushing to sign up for it. No, no … there is a better way. Let’s take a look at the card and the best way to acquire one.

US Bank Cash+ Card Details

The US Bank Cash+ card comes with the following earning structure:

  • 5% on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose.
  • 2% on one everyday category, like gas stations and EV charging stations, grocery stores or restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • No annual fee

There are couple of things that potentially make this the best of the category rotating 5% earner cards. First off, it gives you 5% on $2,000 in spend each quarter. That is $500 more than the competition each and every quarter. US Bank is giving you an extra $25 in earnings each quarter or $100 more a year. That adds up year after year.

The second thing it does right is it let’s you pick your categories. Now, the Citi Custom Cash does something similar, but they only allow you to pick one category each month for up to $500 in spend. The US Bank Cash+ card lets you pick 2 categories per quarter. No more having quarters that are completely worthless to you. You can pick from one of the following categories.

US Bank Cash+ Card

The Cash+ Quarterly Category Options

  • Cell phone providers
  • Department stores
  • Electronic stores
  • Fast Food
  • Furniture stores
  • Ground transportation
  • Gym
  • Home Utilities
  • Movie Theaters
  • Select clothing stores
  • Sporting goods stores
  • TV, internet and streaming services

Sadly, grocery stores and restaurants falls into the everyday 2% earning category, but there is a lot of meat on these bones still. Plus, the fact you get to pick two makes it a whole lot easier to achieve.

US Bank Cash+ Card

Don’t Apply For The US Bank Cash+ Card

All of this good news may have you rushing to apply for the Cash+ card. That would be a mistake though! The Cash+ comes with a $200 welcome offer after spending $1,000 within the first 120 days, which isn’t terrible for a no fee card. However, you can do so much better.

The trick is to sign up for another US Bank card and then product change into the Cash+ when the 12 months is up. The U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card is the card I would recommend and what we went after in our household.

The card comes with the following welcome offer:
  • 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 within the first 120 days of card membership
  • The $95 annual fee is waived the first year
  • Learn More
The card’s earning structure is as follows:
  • 5X points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center
  • 4X points on travel, gas stations and electric charging stations.
  • 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining and streaming services.
  • 1X point on all other eligible purchases.
  • Learn More

So if you grabbed the Altitude Connect card you could get a $500 welcome offer instead of the $200 offer. The really cool thing is the annual fee is waived the first year on the Connect card so you don’t even need to worry about that. Then once the year is up and the $95 annual fee posts you can downgrade to the Cash+ card, assuming the Altitude Connect’s earning structure doesn’t work better for you.

It should be noted that U.S. Bank can be a little stingy on applications if you don’t already have a relationship with them. Grabbing a bank account, with a bonus hopefully, is what some will do to help with that.

Final Thoughts

The U.S. Bank Cash+ card is a great option if you are looking for more 5% spending bandwidth. It is a great card to carry long term but not a great one to sign up for with the small $200 welcome offer. That is why I think people should grab the Altitude Connect card, with the $500 welcome offer, then product change to the Cash+ card after the first year if they were interested.

This option is best for people already over Chase 5/24. Also remember that having a US Bank checking account, or another credit card with them, greatly improves your approval odds.

What do you think? Is the U.S. Bank Cash+ card overlooked in the hobby? Let me know your thoughts below.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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8 COMMENTS

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Might I suggest appending this article with how you can deploy your USB points, or at least a direct link to another article that does?

    Do you have to book travel via the USB travel portal in order to redeem points?

    Can you pool USB Cash+ rewards with USB Real Time Rewards points?

    If so, do you have to maintain a fee-based USB Real Time Rewards-earning card in order to use Cash+ rewards like Real Time rewards (as required in the Chase UR ecosystem)?

  2. Been wanting to Reapply for the No Fee US Bank card for my utilities. But applied Nov 2020 we as denied maybe because 10 days before I applied for Another card and was also denied. 800 score. But not sure if it’s my time to try Again

  3. Hi Mark,

    The Cash+ card is the absolute best card for utilities (a fact a lot of people overlook). It’s never in my wallet, but gets a lot of monthly use for my power, natural gas, trash, and water bills (cell, internet, & cable I put on my ink card).

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