US Bank is presently offering an increased sign-up bonus on their co-branded Korean Air SkyPass Visa Card.
Why I love Korean Air SkyPass miles
So far this year I’ve redeemed more Korean Air SkyPass miles for my own travel than any other mileage currency:
- I redeemed 160,000 SkyPass miles for roundtrip first class to Asia, and flew China Southern A380 first class on the way out, and Korean Air A380 first class on the way back.
- I redeemed 70,000 SkyPass miles for Korean Air 777-300ER first class one-way from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo
Korean Air SkyPass miles are among my favorite mileage currencies due to how good first class award space is through the SkyPass program.
Korean Air belongs to SkyTeam, and the great thing (or horrible thing, depending on how you look at it), is that members of most programs (including Delta SkyMiles) can’t redeem miles for international first class.
As a result, award space is excellent, and it’s not too tough to find 2-4 first class award seats on most flights. It comes down to supply and demand.
The increased sign-up bonus on Korean Air SkyPass Visa
The ordinary sign-up bonus on the Korean Air SkyPass Visa Card is 15,000 miles after completing the minimum spend, though through May 31, 2014, the sign-up bonus has been doubled to 30,000 SkyPass miles after your first purchase. They offer both a personal and business version of the card, so you can potentially rack up 60,000 SkyPass miles this way.
It’s worth noting that the annual fees on the personal and business cards are $80 and $75, respectively, and they’re not waived for the first year.
This isn’t a mega sign-up bonus or anything, though it’s a valuable mileage currency and you just need to make one purchase on the card to activate the bonus. So if you’ve applied for most other cards out there, this is a nice sign-up bonus, in my opinion.
You’re still better off earning Korean Air miles through Ultimate Rewards
I don’t actually have a personal or business Korean Air Visa Card. Instead I’ve earned all of my SkyPass miles through Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers.
Chase Ultimate Rewards is a 1:1 instant transfer partner, so it’s tough to beat earning Korean Air miles through the following cards:
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers double points on dining and travel, no foreign transaction fees (plus a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months, plus an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and they make their first purchase within three months)
- The Ink Plus® Business Credit Card and Ink Bold® Business Charge Card, which offer 5x points on office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services (plus a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months)
The sign-up bonuses on all three of those cards are substantially better than on the Korean Air Visa, and on top of that the annual fees are waived the first year. That being said, the cards do have a $3,000-5,000 minimum spend requirement.
If I could only have one US Bank Card, it would be the Club Carlson Visa
US Bank can be tricky with approvals sometimes, so if I could only have one US Bank credit card it would still be the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card:
- The card comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after the first purchase, and an additional 35,000 points after spending $2,500 on the card within 90 days
- You get 40,000 points on your account anniversary each year, which more than justifies the $75 annual fee
- You get Club Carlson Gold status for as long you have the card, which most notably offers free internet and room upgrades, along with some other perks
- You earn five points per dollar spent on everyday purchases
- The second night of every award redemption is free, basically meaning you get “buy one get one free” award redemptions, assuming you stay in two night increments
Bottom line on the Korean Air Visa Card
I get comments all the time from people that have run out of credit cards to apply for, and for them the Korean Air SkyPass Visa is a decent option. That being said, the best way to accrue Korean Air SkyPass miles is still through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
(Tip of the hat to Canadian Kilometers)