U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Business Edge™ Travel Rewards is one of those rare credit cards that could plausibly land on two of our “best of” lists: our roundup of the best travel rewards credit cards for consumers and the best small business credit cards for professional users.
The FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards card has a modest annual fee that’s waived for all new cardholders during the first year and for heavy spenders on an indefinite basis. It has a solid sign-up bonus worth up to $375 in airfare redemptions. And it has a fairly generous, though by no means industry-leading, ongoing rewards program. It’s a pretty well-rounded product.
FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards isn’t perfect though. Read on to learn more about its upsides, downsides, and overall suitability for business travelers.
When you spend at least $2,000 in qualifying net purchases within the first 4 months, you get 25,000 bonus FlexPoints. That’s worth up to $375 when redeemed for airfare and $250 when redeemed for cash or other items.
You earn an unlimited 2 FlexPoints per $1 spent on qualifying purchases at airlines, gas stations, or office supply stores – whichever you spend the most at in each monthly billing cycle. You earn an unlimited 2 FlexPoints per $1 spent on purchases with most cell phone providers, including monthly bills, equipment, accessories, and ancillary charges. Finally, you earn an unlimited 1 FlexPoint per $1 spent on all other qualifying purchases. FlexPoints expire after 5 years, at the end of the calendar month during which they were earned.
You can redeem your accumulated FlexPoints for cash, travel, merchandise, gift cards, and other items available in the FlexPerks marketplace.
Travel Rewards generally offer the best value. Travel Rewards are U.S. Bank’s in-house loyalty currency – you can exchange your FlexPoints for Travel Rewards points, then redeem your Travel Rewards points for travel purchases in lieu of cash. When redeemed for airfare, each Travel Rewards point is worth up to $0.015 apiece. Redemptions are available with more than 150 airlines, subject to a 20,000-FlexPoint redemption minimum per ticket. There are no seat restrictions or blackout dates.
Other redemption options include gift cards, bank account deposits to a qualifying U.S. Bank account, and statement credits, subject to a 1,000-point minimum redemption threshold ($10 value). General merchandise redemptions are subject to variable minimums and may devalue redeemed points.
FlexPerks Business Edge has some potentially valuable travel benefits:
- $25 Airline Fee Credit Per Award Ticket: You get a $25 airline fee credit with every award ticket, good toward in-flight purchases, baggage fees, and other incidentals. Note that you don’t get the credit on paid travel.
- National Car Rental Benefits: Cardholders enjoy preferred treatment at National Car Rental. Benefits include up to 25% off select rentals and one free rental day per year.
Additional Business Benefits
FlexPerks Business Edge’s additional benefits include:
- Overdraft Protection for U.S. Bank Deposit Account Holders: If you have a qualifying U.S. Bank business deposit account, you can link it with your FlexPerks Business Edge card account to protect against overdrafts and NSF transactions. Once you’ve opted in, deposit account transactions that would normally cause a negative account balance are instead executed like normal. The deficit is then offset by a cash advance drawn on your Business Edge card’s cash advance credit line. Your deposit account and credit card are usually charged for this service, though higher-end deposit accounts with higher monthly maintenance fees may be exempt. In addition to the initial fees, overdraft protection transfers immediately begin to incur interest at your card’s cash advance rate, which is higher than the regular APR. Do your budget a favor and pay them off as soon as possible.
- U.S. Bank Connect: U.S. Bank Connect is a community forum and content portal available to everyone who uses the bank’s small business credit cards. If you’re looking for advice or insights into starting, managing, or growing your business, this is the place to come.
- Visa SavingsEdge: Visa SavingsEdge is a savings network for Visa business cardholders. Users are entitled to potentially eye-popping discounts and limited-time deals on select items – up to 50%, in some cases. Generally speaking, lesser-known or niche-focused brands have the best deals, while larger national chains have smaller (but still helpful) discounts. Discounts are applied automatically at the point of sale – you just have to register your card in advance and check your statement to confirm that they were applied.
Account Management and Expense Tracking Tools
This card’s FlexControl-branded account management and expense tracking tools include:
- Employee Card Controls. You can control “how, where and when your employees can use their cards.” Limiting options include merchant type (for instance, office supplies only), time and day of week, dollar amount, transaction type, geographical area, and more.
- Choose Your Own Statement Due Date. You can choose the statement due date that best fits your company’s needs – and alter your selection at any time once it’s made.
- Account Alerts. You can create and customize account alerts for events, such as pending statement due dates or large purchases made on employee cards – an especially useful feature for accounts with lots of authorized users.
- Auto Pay and Accelerator. If you’re worried about missing payments or paying past your statement due date, set up auto pay and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll pay your bill on time, without fail, each month. If you’re regularly carrying a balance from month to month, use the Accelerator feature to increase your auto pay amount above the minimum. You can also increase the frequency of your payments (weekly versus monthly) to pay off balances faster.
- Expense Tracking and Categorization. This feature lets you separate business and personal expenses and assign tags to categorize expenses.
The $55 annual fee is waived during the first year and during any 12-month statement year (beginning and ending on your cardmember anniversary) during which you charge at least $24,000 in net purchases to your company’s account. Additional employee cards are $10 each. There is no foreign transaction fee.
Cash advances cost at least the greater of $5 or 3% of the advanced amount. Certain types of cash advances, including overdraft protection transfers, cost more. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount. Late payments cost up to $39. Returned payments cost $35. Over-limit fees are $38 per incident.
This card requires good to excellent credit.
- Very Good Sign-Up Bonus. FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards has a very nice sign-up bonus: 25,000 bonus FlexPoints when you spend at least $2,000 in qualifying net purchases within 4 months of opening your account. That’s worth up to $375 when redeemed for airfare – a strong return on spending you’re likely to do anyway.
- Annual Fee Waiver With Heavy Spending. If you can swing at least $24,000 in net purchases in the 12-month period beginning and ending with your account anniversary, you don’t have to worry about this card’s $55 annual fee. That’s great news for cardholders looking to maximize their return on spending – and, really, who applies for a travel rewards credit card to do anything less?
- Airfare Redemptions Offer Great Value. Airfare redemptions unquestionably offer the most bang for your buck here – $0.15 per FlexPoint, equating to a return of up to $0.03 per $1 spent in the 2x categories. Regular flyers, take note.
- Flexible Rewards Program. This card’s rewards program is unusually flexible. You enjoy two broad 2x categories, one of which rotates according to your spending patterns each month, and both of which are unlimited. If you’re looking for a card that can accommodate variable spending patterns, but don’t want to settle for a flat-return cash back card, FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards is a worthy choice.
- Nice Savings Opportunities Through Visa SavingsEdge. Take three minutes to register your card with Visa SavingsEdge and you’ll find yourself in a surprisingly diverse universe of exclusive discounts and deals with popular merchants – some of which exceed 50% off list price. This is probably the best complimentary perk of FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards – easily worth hundreds of dollars per year for those who plan their spending well.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has no foreign transaction fee. That’s music to international business travelers’ ears. For those who regularly do business overseas, saving 2% to 3% on every transaction can really add up.
- No 0% APR Introductory Promotion. FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards has no 0% APR introductory promotion for purchases or balance transfers. Some competing credit cards, including U.S. Bank products like the U.S. Bank Business Edge Platinum Card, waive interest on purchases and balance transfers for a year or longer after your account opening date.
- Mediocre Travel Benefits. This card’s travel benefits leave much to be desired. The headline benefit is a $25 airline fee credit on award tickets. While that’s certainly helpful for award travelers, it does nothing for those traveling on paid reservations, which are likely to account for the bulk of any cardholder’s airline travel. Aside from preferred treatment at National, there’s not much else happening on the travel front here. For a better-rounded business travel card, check out the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express.
- Low Baseline Return on Spending. FlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards has a low baseline return on spending: just 1 FlexPoint per $1 spent on most purchases. For a higher overall rate of return, check out a flat-rate business card, such as Capital One Spark Cash for Business or Capital One Spark Miles for Business.
- Charges Penalty Interest. This card charges penalty interest. That’s a problem for cardholders who occasionally miss payment due dates because of cash flow problems or poor organization.
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Business Edge™ Travel Rewards is built for regular business travelers. If you find yourself crisscrossing the country (or globe) in pursuit of profit, you owe it to yourself to take a close look at this card.