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Making the most of the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card could result in $540 in cash back every year from its bonus rewards alone. That’s welcome news, especially since this card has an annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.
The card earns 6% back on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly spending across two retailers that you choose, from a list of 24 (see full list below). It also offers 3% back on up to $1,500 each quarter in one “everyday” category: gas/electric vehicle stations, bills/home utilities or wholesale clubs.
Plus, cardholders get 5.5% back on prepaid hotel reservations and car rentals booked through the U.S. Bank Rewards Travel Center, and an unlimited 1.5% on all other qualifying purchases.
Given those high and varied rates, this card can be a rewards-earning workhorse. But its full potential can only be realized if you’re willing to keep up with all of the spending caps and activation requirements.
Here’s how to make the most of the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card.
Spend strategically with the Shopper Card
Squeezing the most value out of the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card begins by thoughtfully choosing your bonus category and two merchants. If you have a big home renovation project coming up, you might pick Lowe’s and Ace Hardware as your two 6% retailers for the quarter. Then, you’d use the card whenever you make a purchase at those two stores.
The same strategy applies to the 3% everyday category. For example, a summer road trip would be the perfect time to enroll in gas and EV stations for the second quarter of the year.
Know when to switch to another card, or reward selection
Both bonus rewards have spending caps that you’ll need to remember if you want to avoid the card's base rate of 1.5%. Cardholders can only earn 3% back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter in their chosen everyday category; and the 6% rate is good up to $1,500 in combined quarterly spending across the two selected retailers.
So while the 6% rate is the most coveted, it may be the easiest to blow through. Take the previous example of a home renovation. Depending on the scope of the project, you could easily exceed the $1,500 spending limit at Lowe’s and Ace Hardware in a single day. Because of this, U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card cardholders may want to track their spending with the two retailers and use another cash-back card after they hit the cap.
Say you activated Amazon.com as one of your 6% retailers but hit the spending cap a few weeks into the quarter, meaning that any future Amazon orders will earn just 1.5% until the quarter resets. Instead of settling for that comparatively low cash-back rate, you could switch to a card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which earns an unlimited 2% back on every purchase, or the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, which earns 3% back on U.S. online retail purchases on up to $6,000 spent per year. (Terms apply; see rates and fees.)
And of course once your home improvement project is over, it may behoove you to choose different retailers entirely for the next quarter, once you're able to make that change.
So oddly enough, making the most of the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card means you may need to stop using it, at least temporarily, for certain purchases. Other cards in your wallet may be more lucrative once you’ve reached the spending limits in the bonus rewards.
Activate bonus rewards early and quarterly
There are several rules to follow if you want to lock in the desirable rates in both bonus rewards:
Bonus rewards must be activated. If you forget to enroll in either the everyday category or choice of retailers, you’ll earn the 1.5% rate.
You can't "set it and forget it." Even if you want the same selections as the previous quarter, you still have to activate those bonus rewards again.
Bonus reward selections may be made 45 days before the upcoming quarter and as late as five days before the end of the quarter. However, the bonus rate is not applied retroactively as it is with cards such as the Chase Freedom Flex℠, so you’ll want to activate as soon as possible.
It may take up to three business days for the bonus rewards to activate.
To ensure you activate your bonus rewards every quarter, sign up for reminders. U.S. Bank will send you a notification before the quarter by text or email, depending on your preference.
Plan purchases to score the big sign-up bonus
The sign-up bonus from the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card is lucrative: Get a $250 bonus after you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. You could claim the bonus in a number of ways. Pick the biggest line item in your budget, then exclusively use your U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card to pay for that expense until you hit the $2,000 threshold. Or, charge one or two major purchases to the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card to knock out the bonus requirement more quickly. A single overdue home repair could be enough to snag it.
Shop through the online mall
U.S. Bank’s shopping mall offers discounts at hundreds of stores. To take advantage, make sure to access your preferred retailer through the link in the Online Shopping portal and pay with your U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card. Doing so will allow you to stack your savings: You’ll get cash back simply for using the U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card, in addition to the extra cash reward offered through the mall.