Back in August I got in on the limited time US Bank FlexPerks sign-up bonus of 33,150 points to celebrate the medals the US team won in the Summer Olympic Games.  The $49 annual fee was waived the first year, and there was a $2,500 spending requirement in the first five months to get the bonus.  Most of the spending I put on this card was charity donations since charity donations pay 3x on this card (psst, Kiva counts as charity in this case as well).  I waited until I had over 40,000 points before redeeming as you can redeem 20,000 points for an airline ticket that costs up to $400, but if I had stopped with 39,000 points I could have only redeemed for an airline ticket worth $600. However, 40,000 points got me two airline tickets worth up to $400 each.

To get as much value as possible, you want to wait until your travel plans require the purchase of a ticket that is close to $400.  Otherwise, you are just wasting some potential value of this sign-up bonus.  As luck would have it, we needed to book some tickets for an upcoming trip where the tickets were coming in at about $352 each.  Obviously that is a little below $400, but it was close enough to be a win for me.  All the other tickets we need for foreseeable trips were pricing at over $400 each, so $352 was the winner.

To book a trip, click on the Rewards Center from your online account homepage. Next you will click on “view rewards available for redemption”.

Then click on”Plan your next trip powered by Travelocity”.

Then just search for your flights as you normally would.  We needed three tickets for the three of us, but only had the points for two of our tickets.  I wanted to keep all three of us on the same reservation in order to use my United benefits to get E+ seats, free checked bags, etc. for all three of us.  Fortunately, I was able to use points for two and pay for the third all through their portal.  It was the same price as if I had gone directly to United.com.

I then went to my United account and added the reservation to my account using the confirmation number.  We were able to pick E+ seats and will be able to take advantage of all other elite benefits on the trip.  All three tickets are the same as paid tickets as far as United is concerned, so they will all earn both redeemable and elite qualifying miles.  Additionally, US Bank offers up to a $25 fee reimbursement per redeemed ticket for airline charges you put on your US Bank card during the trip.  You could use this toward bag fees, but we will probably use ours toward on-board snacks on inflight DirecTV (if available).  After the charge posts, just call up US Bank and get get the charges credited back to your card.  I think that is a nice little extra perk!  Between the three of us on two flights we might actually use $50 worth of drinks and snacks.  If we do, then this credit card sign-up bonus was worth $754 between the two airline tickets and the airline fee credit.

The bad news is that the Olympics deal with the temporarily increased sign-up bonus is long gone.  The current publicly available sign-up bonus for the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa is 17,500 points that are awarded after $2,500 in spending in the first five months with the $49 annual fee waived the first year.  There is also a business version of the card that comes with the same offer except the annual fee (starting the second year) is $55.  With the points you earn from meeting the spending requirement on either card, you will have enough points for one $400 ticket.  That is not horrible considering that ticket will also net you elite qualifying and redeemable miles with the airline of your choice, but it isn’t as lucrative as the limited time deal I was able to get in on.

The good news is that if you are lucky enough to go to a US Bank branch in Colorado you can take advantage of a limited time offer tied to how many points the Denver Broncos scored in their first playoff game.  Given their performance, the offer should be 34,500 points after spending $2,500 in the first five months.  That is even better than the offer I got!  Thanks to High Plains Drifter on MilePoint for sharing that info.  If anyone knows of any other similar temporary offers let me know and I will get them added!

Do note that US Bank is tougher to get approvals with than some other issuers and they don’t like to see a ton of recent inquiries.  Also, based on this thread it seems they also may approve you for a lesser version of the card you apply for (and thus a lesser bonus).  I got approved for the card and offer I wanted without issue, but I also don’t apply all that heavily.  Just take that into account when deciding if this is a card that interests you or not.

Getting free mileage earning airline tickets is simply amazing when you stop and think about it.  This was a trip we were going to take anyway, so that is real money that gets to stay in our wallets.  I don’t know if I will keep the card for the long term, but if you have lots of charity donations (or charges that code as charity donations), and you think you can maximize their reward chart to get close to two cents of value per point like I did, then it actually isn’t a half bad.

Do you have this card?  What have your experiences been like?

 

Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card using one of my affiliate links. As always, thanks for your support.

Posted by Mommy Points | 27 Comments

27 Responses to “Redeeming my US Bank FlexPerks Bonus for $700+ of Airfare!”

  1. Nomad says:

    Yes, I do have the card, rolled over from the old NW Worldperks – love it – and have been 3 times now on a trip to South Africa paid for with Flexpoints.
    My next trip to Capetown is next month on a <$800 ticket (in coach) which will keep my status as Plat on Delta easygoing!
    I only make use of my points if the ticket price comes close enough to a points-tier.
    The $25 extra in-flight bonus money I've spend on specially ordered gourmet meals on my KLM flights based out of AMS – a feature only they offer!

  2. Rob says:

    I too got the olympic bonus on this card. And since I bank with USBank I get my bonus points by using it at the grocery store. 2.5 points per dollar. My grocery store sells Visa giftcards :)

    Also, there is a business version. $2500 spend on it will get you 17500 (plus 2500).

    Still waiting for the right moment to pull the trigger on tickets with this one. I’m at 60K points now, so it’ll be 1x$800 ticket plus 1x$400 or 2x$600.

    Unfortunately, the ticket I wanted (DEN->KEF) isn’t in the the usbank reward travel system.

  3. Jimmy says:

    This shows how great cash back rewards cards can work for domestic coach travel.Based on your travel patterns I was always surprised that you never used a 2% card before.No capacity controls,and earn miles on the flight.You also seem to pay for a lot of tickets,I’m sure because it doesn’t work out to use your miles and the return is not good on most domestic coach tickets.

  4. Kay says:

    @ Nomad,
    Funny, I use a similar mental calculation for both Thank You points and FlexPerks. I can spend up to 25,000 points for a domestic ticket, up to 35,000 for a ticket to Mexico or the Carribean… 80,000K to Africa sounds just right to me.

  5. Cory says:

    I kind of stumbled into a great redemption. 20,000 points for a $398 flight. If I can get that kind of redemption on my 2nd 20,000 points I will do backflips….and probably kill myself in the process due to lack of athleticism. So, maybe we should aim lower.

  6. AlohaDaveKennedy says:

    Have the card. Got the Olympic bonus. Also had the USBank card before when Northwest and before when FlexPerks, so I am a repeat offender. Plus – the card allows point transfers so spouses and SOs can pool points to make the 10,000 point intervals. Minus – Flexperks does not do a full airline search for tickets and some airlines and some available flights will not show up for selection.

  7. ms13 says:

    I got the card with the promotion and I must say its taken quite a while and many calls to customer service to get all the points posted. I completed the spending on the card as early as October and all the points haven’t yet been posted.

  8. mommypoints says:

    Nomad, awesome and the $25 credit is a nice extra touch!
    Rob, very nice. I also used mine some for “grocery” purchases. ;)
    Jimmy, yeah, I should probably have one. I just like the 5x I earn with many of my points cards better, but it isn’t horrible to have a card like this in the arsenal.
    Kay, ha ha. The things we all calculate in our heads. ;)
    Cory, just do them on a trampoline and the fall will hurt less. Great redemption though!
    ADK, very nice! I have read that if you call you can get some flights that don’t show up online, but I’m sure that doesn’t include every flight for every airline. I think I read they have 150+ though so hopefully you can get a decent percentage of what you want.
    ms13, I know some folks had a heck of a time with that promo. I got “lucky” in that I had no issues. Keep fighting the fight though!

  9. Danny says:

    ms13, I did the same, and my point finally showed up in Jan 2013 stmt. Hope you get yours soon.

  10. Graham says:

    I also just used my bonus points from the Olympics offer. 30,000 points for a $596 flight – $0 out of pocket. Still have about 5,000 remaing points which I may true to use for a one day car rental on a future trip.

  11. Elena says:

    I got two cards with 20,000 flexperks each that I’m thinking about using soon. Mommypoints, did you notice whether you would be able to book United awards flights when booking Flexperks flights on United? I’d like to book 4 tickets, 2 with Flexperks and 2 with United points. Thank you!

  12. mommypoints says:

    Danny, glad your points showed up (finally).
    Graham, yay!
    Elena, you would not be able to do that on the same reservation as you are booking through a Travelocity powered tool, not United.com. That means you can’t book award tickets, just revenue tickets. You would have to book two with your FlexPerks via the Travelocity too and then book two via United with your United miles.

  13. Nomad says:

    On another note: I’ve only experienced excellent service from the FP program. One time an inquiry netted me unsolicited an extra 5k points!

  14. I used 40K points for a $397 ticket and a $394 ticket. I also bought a $50 lounge day pass each time and got $25 reimbursed by FlexPerks and $50 by Skyguide. In all, 40K points got me $841.

    My local Target shows as a grocery store …. and there’s a certain prepaid card one can load there.

  15. Paul S. says:

    I just got the Olympic bonus. I’m taking my family on a vacation to northern Vermont in August and I waiting for airfare to dip below $400 at a nearby airport so I can get two tickets with my Flexpoints.

  16. Joel says:

    Do you have to be a resident of Colorado for the Broncos promotion?

  17. Joel says:

    Do you have to be a resident of Colorado for the Broncos promotion?

  18. Joel says:

    Do you have to be a resident of Colorado for the Broncos promotion?

  19. DaninSTL says:

    I have this card and got it recently but having had a chance to use the rewards yet. I was wondering about the gift cards at grocery stores. It seems like you get 2x or bonus points for the type of store you use it at the most in a given month. It is tough to qualify for. I also do my primary banking through US Bank and I love the fact that I can pull this up with my other accounts and transfer money to it as I spend very easily. Not my primary points card but it could be in the future I’m thinking…

  20. Happy says:

    I have this card and use it for the 2x at grocery stores. If you can find a reloadable card at the grocery you can Pay (in fees) $80 to get 20000 FlexPoints which is enough to get a $400 ticket!

    Also everyone who has this card should call the travel phone # and have them do a dummy ticket for you. I have found the staff very knowledgeable and helpful..they really want you to use their points and will work hard to find a match in the lower threshold. Also they told me they can book pretty much any airline by calling them. I used to think they could not book, for instance SouthWest since SW did not show up in their search engine but they basically have access to most airlines! This card will stay in my travel wallet for a little longer :)

  21. SgFm says:

    @Happy, what reloadable card(s) have you found at the grocery store?

  22. Paul S. says:

    My kids daycare only takes debit cards so I’ve been buying gift cards (debit) at a local grocery store and getting double points and then using those to pay the daycare. The deal gets sweeter because the grocery store has a rewards program with a regional gas station so when I buy a $500 gift card it gets me $8 off gas at the gas station which makes up for the $6 gift card fee:)

  23. Greg says:

    @Joel – you do not have to be a resident of CO. I live in New Mexico and did a day trip up to Colorado today (closest branch was about a 4 hour drive). Went to a location in a supermarket. After he entered all my info and it was approved, he confirmed I would get the 35000 bonus points. You can go to broncosbanking.com where they have an updated flyer with a few more locations on it.

  24. Rob says:

    I finally used this! All 70K points for a “free” trip to Australia this coming December. Ticket cost was $1385 so I didn’t “waste” many points….

  25. Rob says:

    And now that I have the ticket in hand (well, in my United reservations tab), it’s time to cancel the personal and business Flexperks cards before the annual fees are due!

    Given all the other cards out there, this was a unique one-off opportunity.

  26. Scott says:

    @happy : what do you mean by spend $80 on a reloadable grocery card and get 20,000 Flexperks points?

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