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.
Potential to upgrade to an unsecured card after a year
Earn SKYPASS miles
5,000-mile bonus for new cardholders
Foreign transaction fees
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
U.S. Bank, the company that issues this card, is ranked eighth out of 11 credit card issuers in the 2020 J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It scored 786 out of 1,000 points, which is less than the industry average of 810.
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.
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.