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US Bank has increased the sign-up bonus on the Korean Air Skypass Visa personal and business card to 30,000 miles after your 1st purchase. But you must apply before May 31, 2014.
Korean Air is part of the SkyTeam alliance, which includes Delta, Air France, and KLM. You can use Korean miles to fly on SkyTeam airlines or other Korean Air partners, like Alaska Airlines.
The normal offer for this card is 15,000 miles, so this could be a good deal for folks who already have a lot of other airline credit cards. But the $80 annual fee is NOT waived.
If you’re new to miles and points, there are better offers in the Hot Deals tab.
US Bank Korean Air Skypass Card
Link: US Bank Korean Air Skypass Personal & Business Card
Note: This isn’t my affiliate link. My link is only for 15,000 miles, but I’ll always tell you about the best offers even when they don’t earn us a commission.
The Korean Air Skypass card is issued by US Bank, which doesn’t issue as many miles and points cards as some of the other banks. So this could be a good card if you already have a lot of cards from Chase, Citi, American Express, or Barclays.
With this card, you’ll get:
- 30,000 miles after your 1st purchase
- 2 miles for every $1 you spend on Korean Air
- 1 mile for every $1 you spend on everything else
- No foreign currency fees
- 2 Korean Air VIP Lounge passes per year
- Chip-and-signature technology (easier to use overseas)
- Up to 20,000 miles earned on the card can be used toward elite status
- Annual fee of $80, NOT waived for the 1st year
The sign-up bonus on this card is normally 15,000 miles, but if you apply before May 31, 2014, you’ll get the higher 30,000 mile bonus.
This is a Visa Signature card, so you get extra perks like:
- Purchase protection
- Travel and rental car insurance
- Concierge services
- Access to Visa Signature Luxury Hotels (with perks)
- Shopping discounts
- Access to special events and promotions, like 2-for-1 movie tickets
I like that you get the sign-up bonus after your 1st purchase (no minimum spending required!) but I do NOT like that the $80 annual fee is not waived for the 1st year. That’s a lot of money for a card that doesn’t provide status, lounge access, or bonus spending categories.
What Can You Do With Korean Air Miles?
The Korean Air Skypass program is a little different from other frequent flyer programs. It has its pros and cons, but their award ticketing process and rules are quite unusual!
What I like:
- You can book 1-way award tickets on Korean Air (not SkyTeam or partners)
- 2 stopovers are allowed on a round-trip award ticket (1 in each direction)
- Miles can be used on Korean Air, any SkyTeam airline, and partner airlines including Alaska Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, and Hawaiian Airlines
- You can book First Class award tickets on partner airlines (other SkyTeam frequent flyer programs don’t generally allow this)
What I do NOT like:
- You have to book round-trip award tickets on SkyTeam partners
- Using miles on SkyTeam or partner airlines is a complicated process! (One Mile at a Time has a good post on the booking procedure)
- You can’t book SkyTeam or partner award tickets online – you have to call SkyPass at 800-438-5000
- You can only use miles to book for yourself or a family member (not friends)
- Korean Air adds fuel surcharges
Where Can You Go With the 30,000 Mile Sign-Up Bonus?
The award charts for travel on other airlines are generally similar to most airline award charts. But because you can’t book 1-way award tickets on SkyTeam or partner airlines, the 30,000 mile sign-up bonus is only enough for a SkyTeam airline round-trip domestic coach ticket.
And if you want to use the miles for a domestic round-trip ticket on Delta, it can be tough to find low-level award tickets for 25,000 miles.
But a better use of Korean Air miles is booking tickets on Alaska Airlines or Hawaiian Airlines. You’ll only need:
- 10,000 miles for a round-trip inter-island flight on Hawaiian Airlines
- 20,000 miles for a round-trip domestic coach ticket on Alaska Airlines
- 30,000 miles for a round-trip coach ticket to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines
- 30,000 miles for a round-trip coach ticket to Hawaii or Mexico on Alaska Airlines
You can also Korean Air miles to fly First Class on Korean Airlines themselves, which has pretty good award availability.
Is This Card Worth It?
If you already have a lot of credit cards from other banks, this could be a good choice for you to earn a sign-up bonus with no minimum spending. But 30,000 miles won’t get you very far!
And don’t get too excited about Korean Air’s First Class award redemptions to Europe. One Mile at a Time points out that you can NOT actually book those awards on Air France (which is the only SkyTeam US to Europe option with First Class).
Note: US Bank is strict about approving folks who’ve recently applied for lots of credit cards. So you might want to wait if you’ve had a lot of recent credit inquiries.
It could be hard to earn the miles for a more expensive award ticket with this credit card, because there aren’t any bonus spending categories. Most spending will only earn 1 mile per $1 you spend.
So you might be better off putting your actual spending on a card like the (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Freedom. These cards have bonus spending categories and can be used to earn extra points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to many airlines or hotels including Korean Air!
And Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Korean Air, so they can also be used for award tickets on any SkyTeam airline or partner!
I would NOT keep this card past the 1st year. You’ll pay another annual fee of $80 and won’t get any real perks, except for 2 Korean Air VIP Lounge Passes.
US Bank has increased the sign-up bonus on the Korean Air SkyPass Visa card to 30,000 miles after your 1st purchase. Normally, the sign-up bonus is only 15,000 miles. The annual fee of $80 is NOT waived for the 1st year.
Korean miles can be used on any SkyTeam airline, like Delta, Air France, or KLM, and on Korean Air’s partner airlines like Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. The sign-up bonus is enough for a domestic round-trip coach award ticket, or even a round-trip coach ticket to Hawaii.
This could be a good card for folks who already have a lot of airline cards from other banks.