SKYPASS Visa Secured Card Review

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The SKYPASS Visa Secured Card, issued by U.S. Bank, stands out as a secured card for travelers who want to build their credit. Miles are earned in Korean Air’s SKYPASS program and can be redeemed for flights with airline partners such as Delta. The card is one of five SKYPASS credit card options, each with its own mix of rewards and benefits

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 (%) 16.24% variable
Annual Fee $50
Minimum Deposit to Activate $300
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
Pay deposit in installments No
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.3
for Fees
2.6
for Rewards
3.2
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

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 See more cards
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly See more cards
    Credit Builder

The SKYPASS Visa Secured Card is best if you’re building your credit and want to earn miles for air travel. You can redeem your miles for Korean Air, its partners and SkyTeam award flights. If you’re not a traveler and 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

  • 5,000-mile bonus for new cardholders

Cons
  • Annual fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

Pros Explained

  • Potential to upgrade to an unsecured card after a year: While it’s credit dependent, U.S. Bank may consider transferring you to an unsecured card after one year of managing “all of your credit obligations responsibly” and “consistently.”
  • Earns SKYPASS miles: SKYPASS miles may be Korean Air’s program, but you can both earn and redeem miles on over a dozen airlines, including U.S. carriers. 
  • 5,000-mile new cardholder bonus: Bonuses are common among the top secured cards, but most don’t have them. 

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 at least 2% to the cost of foreign purchases. This fee is not common for travel cards.

Bonus for New Cardholders 

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 spend on most purchases. Those miles will go to your SKYPASS rewards account, so make sure you set up an account before applying, then provide your rewards account number when you fill out your credit card application. The rewards account number provided must belong to the primary cardholder. 

Based on The Balance's analysis of SKYPASS miles redemption values, each mile is worth 1.54 cents each, on average. That's well above the 1 cent per mile benchmark, and among the best of the airline redemption values we studied.

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 three Korean Air partner properties
  • Rent cars or book luxury airport shuttles through Korean Air 

The Balance’s point valuations indicate SKYPASS points are worth 1.6 cents per mile, which is above the 1-cent-per-mile benchmark you’d want from your travel miles. Also, your SKYPASS redemption flexibility gives you the opportunity to book awards flights on Delta, Hawaiian Air, and Alaska Airlines. Because of that, this card has value for domestic travelers. Round-trip reward seats on domestic carriers will cost at least $11.20 in fees and will typically require at least 10,000 miles.

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 a rare combination. To build good credit, keep your balance below 30% of the limit . While the miles you could earn may seem attractive, make sure they’re something you’ll really use. If you spend zealously to rack up miles you won’t use, you risk carrying a balance and making costly interest payments.

Excellent Perks

  • 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

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)

Customer Experience

U.S. 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 complimentary credit improvement tool from TransUnion called CreditView. The credit score provided is from VantageScore, not FICO, the score used by many lenders to make credit 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.

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

Fees

The card charges a foreign transaction fee that will be either 2% or 3% of your purchase price. You’ll pay 2% if the transaction is in U.S. dollars, and 3% of its in a foreign currency. In most cases, you’ll have the option to choose which currency you want to use via the credit-card reader keypad.

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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 (%) 16.24% 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.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. U.S. Bank. "SKYPASS Visa Secured Card Terms and Conditions." Accessed May 4, 2020.

  2. Korean Air. "Redeem." Accessed May 4, 2020.

  3. SKYPASS Visa Credit Card. "SKYPASS Visa Secured Card." Accessed May 4, 2020.

  4. J. D. Power. "2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study." May 4, 2020.