The SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card offers people with a troubled payment history an opportunity to earn miles while rebuilding their credit. This co-branded Korean Air card includes a welcome bonus, travel benefits and additional miles every year that you renew the card.
However, in order to receive these benefits, you must pay a $50 annual fee. Many travel credit cards charge an annual fee, but is it worth paying one for this card?
» Learn more: Our full review of the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card
Valuable perks of the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card
The welcome bonus
When you apply for the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card, you have the opportunity to earn a welcome bonus of 5,000 SKYPASS bonus miles after your first purchase. These bonus miles are earned with your first purchase, rather than meeting a minimum spending requirement of several thousand dollars like some other travel credit cards. By having such a low hurdle, it can help customers avoid the trap of spending more than normal to try to earn the bonus.
Bonus miles every year upon renewal
Every year that you renew your SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card, you'll receive 1,000 bonus miles. Redeeming these miles can help bring some value to the card to effectively lower your out-of-pocket expense of paying the annual fee each year.
You can earn an unlimited number of miles with the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card. For every dollar that you spend, you’ll receive 1 mile with no caps. This card does not offer any bonus categories to earn additional miles on your purchases.
Morning Calm Club Membership
If you find value in the Korean Air Morning Calm Club Membership, spending on this secured travel credit card will help you earn and maintain your elite status. Morning Calm Club Membership includes additional checked bag allowance, priority reservation waitlist and access to the Korean Air Prestige Class lounge.
You can earn up to 20,000 miles toward qualifying for elite status and 10,000 toward maintaining it each year through credit card spending.
» Learn more: Travel loyalty program reviews
Flexible credit limits
Some secured credit cards start off with small limits, no matter how much money you have available to deposit. With the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card, your credit limit may range from $300 to $5,000. For every dollar that you deposit, up to the maximum, you’ll receive a credit limit of the same amount.
Travel benefits included
As an avid traveler, you know the value of having additional travel benefits. When you pay for rental car reservations, you’ll receive secondary coverage in case of collision damage to or theft of the vehicle. Additionally, you’ll receive $250,000 in accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
The option to convert to an unsecured card
With responsible use of your SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card, you may be rewarded with a conversion to an unsecured card. After 12 months of on-time payments and managing your credit limit, U.S. Bank will automatically review your account for a possible upgrade. When your secured credit card is converted to an unsecured card, you’ll receive your security deposit back.
U.S. Bank offers several unsecured credit cards from Korean Air. If you can successfully get an upgrade, you can continue earning Skypass miles with one of these, like the SKYPASS Select Visa Signature® Card.
As you continue to build your credit, you have the opportunity to apply for even more lucrative travel rewards credit cards. Some of these cards earn bonuses on the categories you spend in the most, provide automatic elite status and include free airport lounge access.
The bottom line
Is the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card worth its annual fee? This card charges a $50 annual fee for all of these benefits, and requires a $300 minimum deposit to open the line of credit. You’ll receive 5,000 bonus miles after your first purchase instead of meeting a large minimum spending requirement. All told, the card easily pays for itself the first year when factoring in the welcome bonus.
To keep it beyond the first year, the other benefits need to matter to you. You receive 1,000 bonus miles when you renew each year. It helps to earn and keep elite status, and it includes additional travel benefits. Plus, you have the opportunity to have a credit limit of up to $5,000.
Although many Americans do not fly Korean Air, its miles can be used to book flights with its SkyTeam partners, like Delta Air Lines and Air France. These miles can also be used to book upgrades, access the Korean Air Lounge and pay for baggage fees.
If you value flying on Korean Air or any of its partner airlines, then this card is a great way to rehabilitate your credit while earning miles that are useful to you.
For people that don’t plan to use the Korean Air mileage program, there are other secured cards, like the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, that offer cash back that can be used for anything you want without paying an annual fee.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card