SKYPASS Visa Secured Card Review

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The SKYPASS Visa Secured Card stands out as a secured card for travelers. Miles are earned in Korean Air’s SKYPASS program and can be redeemed and earned on their airline partners such as Delta. 

SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card

overall rating
3.3
SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.74% variable
Annual Fee $50
Minimum Deposit to Activate $300
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
Pay deposit in installments No
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.2
for Fees
3.4
for Rewards
4.3
for Credit
4.4

5,000 SKYPASS Bonus Miles after your first purchase

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly
    Credit Builder

The SKYPASS Visa Secured Card is best for people who are building credit but also want to earn miles for travel. The SKYPASS Visa Secured Card stands out as a card that earns miles. If you won’t use the miles you earn, you’re better off applying for a secured card without an annual fee.

Pros

  • Potential to upgrade to an unsecured card after a year

  • Earn SKYPASS miles

Cons

  • Annual fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

Pros Explained

  • Potential upgrade to an unsecured card after a year: While it’s credit dependent, US Bank may consider transferring you to unsecured card after one year of on-time payments.
  • Earns SKYPASS miles: SKYPASS miles may be Korean Air Lines’ program, but you can both earn and redeem points on over a dozen airlines, including U.S. carriers, like Delta Air Lines. 

Cons Explained

  • Annual fee: The annual fee is $50, while many other secured credit cards have lower or no annual fees.
  • Foreign transaction fee: The card has some strong travel benefits, but you will pay a foreign transaction fee that will add 2%-3% to the cost of foreign purchases. 

SKYPASS Visa Secured Card Sign-Up Bonus 

You’ll earn 5,000 SKYPASS miles after your first purchase and 1,000 miles every year you renew your card. This is a great deal for the first year, particularly because there's such a low spending requirement to earn the bonus.

However, the purpose of a secured card is to build or rebuild credit. If your credit improves, you’ll want to consider a card with an airline you may fly more often and allows you to earn more miles per $1 you spend. 

Earning Points & Rewards

The SKYPASS Visa Secured Card has a simple rewards structure. You earn one mile per $1 you spend. The frequent flyer number provided must belong to the primary cardmember and has to be provided within 120 days of when the account opens.

Redeeming Rewards 

You have a wide variety of options for redeeming SKYPASS miles:

  • Book flights with Korean Air
  • Book flights with SkyTeam alliance airlines
  • Book flights with non-SkyTeam Korean Air partners
  • Book hotel stays with Korean Air partners
  • Rent cars or book limousines through Korean Air 
  • Redeem miles for a visit to the Jeju Folk Village Museum in South Korea

Rewards are earned as mileage and are redeemed for travel through the SKYPASS program.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Getting the most out of this card is about both building good credit and scoring travel rewards—major U.S. airlines don’t offer secured cards, so this is rare combination. To build good credit, keep charges below 30% of the limit (even better, keep your balance below 10% of your credit limit). While the miles you could earn may seem attractive, make sure they’re something you’ll really use. It doesn’t matter how many miles you earn, if you can never use them.

Excellent Perks

There are a handful of credit card benefits The Balance’s editors deem exceptional, because of the outsize value they provide cardholders. This card has one of them:

  • Travel accident insurance: This is really a travel life insurance product for yourself and dependents with an altogether maximum value of $250,000. All tickets must be purchased with the card to qualify. 

Other Features

This card offers rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy).

Customer Experience

US Bank, the company that issues this card, is ranked eighth out of 11 credit card issuers in the 2019 J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It scored 785 out of 1,000 points, which is a tad less than the industry average.

U.S. Bank has a mobile app and offers bilingual customer service in Spanish and English. You’ll also get a free credit improvement tool from TransUnion called CreditView. The credit score provided is from VantageScore, not FICO, the score used by most credit card and other companies to make decisions. However, the scores broadly consider the same factors, so the Score Simulator will be quite useful in showing which actions will help your score improve.

Note

You can’t access your VantageScore from your SKYPASS card via the bank’s app.

Fees to Watch Out For

The biggest fee to watch out for, but also to research, is the foreign transaction fee. The general 3% foreign transaction fee is standard among cards that do have one. But there’s also a 2% version if you make the purchase in U.S. dollars. (Merchants sometimes ask if you want to process a credit card transaction local or U.S. currency.)

Regardless, there are plenty of secured cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees, so this isn’t a great card to use abroad. That’s ironic, given it’s an airline credit card.

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CURRENT CARD
SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card
overall rating
3.3
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.74% variable
Annual Fee $50
Minimum Deposit to Activate $300

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.