Get This: U.S. Bank Cash+ Card

A couple weeks ago, I discussed the credit cards I keep in my wallet during Part IV of my "Stretch" Your Spending primer.  Today, I'm going to focus on my advice for you to obtain U.S. Bank's Cash+ Visa.  
Cash+ Visa Lets You Choose Two 5% Cash Back Categories
The reason I'm thinking about the Cash+ card is that I just selected my 5% cash back categories for the final quarter of 2013 (October-December).  Again, I'm going with Restaurants and Fast Food as my 5% cash back categories and drug stores for my 2% category.  All other purchases will earn 1%, which means I won't use this card for anything other than dining, since I earn 2.22% back on every purchase with my Barclay Arrival card.  Once/if I max out the $2,000 spending on dining during the quarter, I'll mothball the card until January and the new quarter rolls around.
My Selected Categories
Why I Recommend the Card
  • No annual fee.  
  • I choose my own 5% categories (unlike the Chase Freedom that has a set calendar), earning 5% cash back on the first $2,000 of spending in my selected categories.
  • I choose among gas stations, grocery stores, or pharmacies as my 2% cash back category, with no maximum (although I don't take advantage of this benefit, others may).
  • I earn a $25 cash back bonus when I redeem $100 or more in a single redemption, but that is limited to one time per calendar year.
  • It's a Visa Signature card, so it offers Visa Signature benefits.

The Catch

The only perceived downside of this card is that, according to U.S. Bank's website, you can only apply for this card in-person at a U.S. Bank branch.  That could be a problem for some since U.S. Bank does not have a nationwide presence (e.g., there are no U.S. Bank locations within 100 miles of Washington, DC).  However, I got the card without applying in-person.  Here's how...

Before I received the Cash+ card, I had U.S. Bank's FlexPerks Travel Rewards card.* About nine months into possessing the card, I had a poor experience with their customer service, so I rushed using most of my points in anticipation of cancelling the card.  After using my points to buy two plane tickets, I had about 2900 FlexPoints left over.  Those points were worth $29, but because of my poor customer service experience, I was prepared to sacrifice them to end my business with U.S. Bank.**  

Long story short, I called their customer service department to cancel the card, but before doing so, I asked if I could convert my FlexPerks card to their Cash+ card.  To my surprise, the representative allowed it and I decided to give U.S. Bank a second chance and take advantage of this shortcut to the Cash+ card.  Furthermore, I was shocked that upon receiving my first Cash+ statement, they took my remaining 2900 FlexPoints and turned them into a $29 statement credit on my new Cash+ account.

Lessons from this Tip/Trick
  • Applying in-person at a branch isn't the only way to get the U.S. Bank Cash+ card.  You can get the card by converting another of your U.S. Bank credit cards into the Cash+ card.
  • If I followed through with my impulse to completely close my account, I would have missed out on this new card and my remaining $29 worth of points.
  • Always ask what your other options may be before closing a credit card account.
  • U.S. Bank customer service = not the best.  Since this card doesn't have an annual fee, unlike the FlexPerks card, and will earn me $425 a year ($100 per quarter plus the one-time $25 bonus), I'll deal with it...for now.  

* I applied for the FlexPerks card to take advantage of a sign-up promotion that earned me an extra 30,000 points, which were worth about $5-600.
** You need to have a minimum of 5000 FlexPoints (worth $50) to use them towards a statement credit.

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