Big Changes Coming to FlexPerks Points and Travel Redemptions

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For the last few years a potentially valuable but somewhat under-the-radar credit card rewards program has been the US Bank FlexPerks program. Via this program and the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card you have been able to get as high as 2 cents in value for points redeemed for flights. Not only that, but the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature awards as many as 2x – 3x points per dollar in some bonus categories making it easier to rack up points faster.

However, it wasn’t a slam dunk proposition for everyone because the bonus categories were a bit unique in that charity that paid out at 3x points and you got 2x on cell phone service + 2x on either gas stations, grocery stores, or airlines – whichever you spent the most at that month. That was unique but okay, however the more challenging aspect to maximize with this program was redeeming the points for maximum value.

The best redemption opportunities with the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature were redeeming the points for airfare, but even then the value of the points varied widely depending on a somewhat strange airfare redemption chart where you wanted your airfare to fall very close to a particular pricing threshold such as $400, $600, $800, etc. If you used points to buy a $175 flight you wouldn’t even get 1 cent per point in value, but if you used them for $399 in flights then you would get close to 2 cents in value per point.

Big Changes Coming to FlexPerks Points on December 31st

However, this is all reportedly changing on December 31, 2017, when the award chart above becomes a relic and your FlexPoints on this card will become redeemable for travel at a fixed value of 1.5 cents per point. Not only will airfare redemptions come at a flat 1.5 cents per point valuation, but so will redemptions for car rentals and hotels. They will also be dropping the bonus paid out on charity expenses from 3x to 2x points per dollar.

The redemption changes honestly are neither all good nor all bad, though they are probably worse for readers of sites like this than for the average consumer. Back when I had this card I got more than 1.5 cents per point when redeeming for airfare, but I also have the opportunity to purchase airfare frequently, so I could be choosey about when to use FlexPoints versus another option. For those who only fly once or twice a year, it would be harder to ensure you were really getting as much value as possible from the points as your airfare expenses may or may not fall close to one of the pricing thresholds. In the case of a less frequent traveler, a flat 1.5 cents points valuation may actually be better than the current chart.

I have not yet seen any updates about what may happen to the current $25 airline allowance with every award travel ticket that is good towards airline baggage fees, in-flight food and beverages and more. While a somewhat off-label use, I know some have used this $25 credit towards buying an airline gift card on the day of travel. Hopefully this credit will remain as-is and potentially it could be used even more frequently if you start redeeming for multiple cheaper airline tickets than you did in the past since the pricing thresholds will disappear after the end of the year.

Will the coming FlexPerks changes impact how you use the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

The responses below 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.

Comments

  1. I guess this makes the should I use or not question easier. I have trouble getting fares to fall exactly at the breaking points – e.g., a lot of my fares will be way less than $400 (so I’m not getting a good deal) or way over $600.

  2. I’ll miss finding random Alaska Airlines tickets for $399 far in the future, booking them with FlexPoints, and then canceling to get the full value as Alaska travel credit for future trips.

  3. My buddy used this card along with his Barclay’s one to offset airfare. It sounds confusing to redeem now. Although the redemption’s can go from 2 cents to 1.5, it can still be a great card to help offset travel costs and still earn miles and points on the flights.

  4. I’m in “simplify my life” mode these days. Up until now, I was getting nearly a 6% rebate on charitable contributions, and almost 4% on groceries by maximizing Flexperks airfare redemptions. After the changes kick in, this will go down to 3%. Not worth it – I’ll stop using this card; will put the spend on Chase Freedom Unlimited. (Yes, CFU only gives me 2.25% in these categories, but having one less currency to manage is worth it to me.)

  5. I really wonder how this is going to affect me, long term. We have 4 kids and save up to travel with them about every 2.5-3 years. Of course we need a minimum of 20K points per person (depending on where we fly from) for a ticket. Which after 3 years is not difficult considering the “bonuses” we receive with this card. At this point, what makes this card stand out for travel over any other Tom, Dick and Harry card? I had the Worldperks card, then the Flexperks (after Worldperks changed hands) and now what? Stupid move on their part if you ask me!!!

  6. Agreed that why would you now keep this card. I’ve had it for years now and have kept it because it offers a 2% rebate on flights when I purchase correctly. But with this change, why would I not use my new Chase Sapphire card that allows me the same 1.5% redemptions option along with the ability to transfer directly into United or Southwest miles, which is a huge deal? I’m guessing Flexperks doesn’t realize they’re killing the last thing that makes them worth keeping.

  7. Does this mean I can redeem < 20K points now. I never had a Serve card, so if I could get one and load $1,000 a month and get $180 ticket every year (or until I get shut down), that could be interesting.

  8. Do not like the change. Will not be using Flex as #1 card as have in past.. It was worth $49 annual fee using old method of accumulating points for miles; Will try to book something before dec 31 to get the old benefit. Have Bank of America card no fees plus 2 points for groc & gas 1 for everything else. They also add a % if you deposit points into one of there savings accounts. It was nice while it lasted.

  9. Yes, this is horrible. It’s a 25% devaluation of the point value. As a USB platinum customer I could get close to 2.7% as i neared the stair step threshold. Now it’ll give me maybe 1.95 to 2.05%. Trying to decide what to move to. Leaning toward the B of A premium rewards at 2.65%.

  10. Wow, agree with you on this. Just booked a flight to Guadalajara, which normally I get for between 20,000 and 30,000 points, this time it took 49, 579 points. Also I have to book a flight for Vegas each year around the end of October of every year. Normally booked at this time of the year it would cost me 20,000 miles. Looking today for the same flight, the lowest value cost is 36,340 points. This is not worth the trouble. I will be looking for another card. Any suggestions?

  11. I am trying to book a flight to Guadalajara through my FlexPerks card and instead of transfering me to to Travelocity like it used to, I am not sent to some other provider that I have never heard of and the site takes forever to load and then says there are no flights! Anyone else have this problem?

    • You can now book air with Flexperks in real time without going through the Flexperks portal. They call it “real time mobile rewards”. See

      http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2018/02/24/real-time-mobile-rewards/

      for more info. (Last night, I activated my Flexperks “real time rewards” feature, then purchased a $300 Southwest flight directly from the Southwest web site, paying with my Flexperks card. Within a few minutes I received a text message asking if I wanted to redeem 20,000 Flexperks points for the flight. Virtually seamess, and a game changes.)

  12. It is interesting reading all the comments. I too am trying to use my Flex points but now they
    want too many to make a deal. Would appreciate further information from people into making
    a good deal. Thanks!

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