Posted by William Charles on May 31, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on May 31st, 2018 | by William Charles


U.S. Bank Launches $450 Annual Fee Korean Air SKYPASS Card

U.S. Bank has just launched a new premium card, this time a co-branded card with Korean Air SKYPASS. Let’s take a look at the new card.

Card Basics

  • Annual fee of $450, not waived fist year
  • Sign up bonus of 30,000 miles after $3,000 in spend within the first 90 days of card opening
  • $200 annual statement credit on travel purchases (this is based on a card member year, not calendar)
  • TSA PreCheck/Global Entry Credit of up to $100
  • 10,000 bonus miles on card anniversary, must spend $35,000 in the prior year
  • Card earns at the following rates;
    • 2x miles per $1 spent on Korean air purchases
    • 2x miles per $1 spent on Airline ticket, Car Rental & Hotel purchases
    • 1x mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Discount coupon for $100 off Korean Air ticket
  • 2 Korean Air In-Flight Duty Free coupons of $25 each
  • 2 KAL Lounge coupons each year

Our Verdict

In July last year they sent out a survey regarding this possible card, so it’s interesting to see it finally launch with a lot of the benefits they surveyed people on. Personally I think this card sucks, you’re paying an annual fee of $450 and the benefits are lackluster. Most people already have TSA PreCheck/Global Entry, the renewal miles required $35,000 in spend to receive, the earning rates suck and one time discounts on airfare and in-flight duty fee don’t make up for the fact that the card has no other redeeming benefits apart from the $200 travel credit that is based on a card member year. Maybe if the bonus was better I could see this being useful for some people but even on the existing U.S. Bank Korean cards we’ve seen better bonuses in the past. It seems like U.S. Bank are hoping to cash in on the success of the Altitude card, but without offering any similar benefits.

Hat tip to Chong786

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First renewal of their Altitude Reserve is around the corner, and I am expecting they are experiencing huge number of cancellations.

This bank just doesn’t know how to do a good high end credit card, and what matters most to their targeted customers, or even who should be their targeted customers.

At least the Altitude is a card I could imagine someone being situated to want to pay the AF on past year one. This Skypass card though- $450 a year for a $200 credit, $100 airfare voucher and some lounge coupons for a card not worth putting any spend on… there’s no way you make up the annual fee past year one as compared to another card.

I mean come on, Skypass is an UR partner, the CSR gives better 3x Skypass rewards on everything with a bigger travel credit.

There’s one reason I could think of for getting this card- elite status. Miles transferred from UR won’t count towards Morning Calm; miles earned by spending on Skypass Visa cards will, up to 20k, so paired with this card, $10k spent on air tickets, car rentals, and hotels every 2 years could get you 2/5 of the way towards earning Morning Calm/Skyteam Elite for the first time, and once earned, 2/3 of the way towards maintaining it every 2 years. The only problem is, I only see that benefit listed on the other cards, not this one. If they don’t have that on this card then no, it really can’t be recommended under any circumstances.

“This bank just doesn’t know how to do a good high end credit card”

Altitude pays for itself for a lot of us. Costs me nothing after 4.5% back (towards travel) on all in person purchases (samsung Pay).

Assuming you are the experienced customer, not an ordinary customer. A high-end card cannot survive if all or majority of its customers are experience customers like us, who they cannot make money on.

For an ordinary customer, most likely they feel struggling to keep one high-end card (no way for 2), so CSR or Altitude? I have talked to many people who were struggling to decide if to cancel CSR, and whenever I mention US bank altitude, their attitude is negative.

Mind sharing how much you did annually with mobile wallet (and on the car without)? I was very conservative first year to avoid a shutdown while I had points in escrow. Curious to see how much I can do this year.

Gladly, happy to help the community that’s helped me.

I am a young single male who is extremely thrifty and also has zero food expense (hospital i work at gives free meals and i utilize this benefit very well). So, unlike someone with a family or more of a regular spending need I may spend less in general. A note for perspective.

This year (2018) from Jan 1 to April 31 my summary says $700 spent. Last year it says I spent $5650 in the ~6 months I had the card but there was the $4500 sign up bonus so I can’t say how much of that was artificial for future real use of card.

Extrapolating $700 over 4 months to 12 months –> $2100 in organic spend in 3% categories. That’s $94.50 at 4.5% back on travel.

Keep in mind the actual amount needed to zero out. If you put $325 in travel on this card and are reimbursed by their reimburse for travel expenses program, they are still giving you the points for having charged travel expenses to the card, so you are given $14.63 (at 4.5% back) for using your $325 in travel benefits. So, 400-325-14.63= $60.27 cash back needed to break even, or $1339 in spend over one year.

Lol. Ive got an offer for 45k points and 2 lounges pass for $90/annual

where? can you pls post link?

Christopher Tamayo
Christopher Tamayo

Yeah nothing enticing about this card.

This card is weak af

How do you really feel about this card? Definitely DOA.

US Bank continues it’s sucky streak… Don’t tell me anyone expected otherwise.

US Bank is weird. How did they managed to grow that big is beyond me. Probably because there were no Chase nor Citi at the time…

I hope that the AF is a typo. Otherwise, please tell me this is a joke.

I will NEVER EVER apply for this “shithole” credit card from too big to fail bank THE END 🙂

Definitely DOA lol

Only thing USBank is good for is the Cash+ card imo. Their other offerings are not competitive at all.

Especially that chase transfers to ke, this card is a dud

ROFL. Maybe they’re hoping the reason the CSR was so successful was because $450 is a magical annual fee that people just want to pay?

If you want Korean miles, just use a CSR.

If their goal is to capitalize on a lot of frequent KAL customers that fly back and forth to Korea a lot and have a high net income, they may well succeed there. If their goal was to get lots and lots of churners to sign up for the card bonus and then dump it after the first year — or use it for lots of manufactured spending — then they have certainly failed miserably. Let me guess which one might be more profitable for them & KAL… Hmmm…

Your first scenario obviously includes the condition that the customers are blacklisted from Chase for some unknown reason.

You’re assuming the folks they want to target have any interest in messing with a currency that needs to be transferred or redeemed on a specific travel site. If they just want to add to their KAL mileage account, then this is an easier solution. There are a lot of folks that have no interest in messing with transferable currencies.

This is actually bad even for people who travel between korea a lot. CSR is superior in every way seeing as you can transfer and earns more even on KAL purchases. Whoever made this card is catering to people who aren’t even aware of other options.

Again, if they are targeting KAL customers and passengers, then this might well appeal to that segment. There are lots that prefer to not deal with the hassles and rules of transferring currency. This is clearly designed for folks that already value KAL. There are dozens of profitable segments in the banking/cc industry. If they can tap into a segment that doesn’t care about more generic options, this is easy pickins for them. The real argument would be — is there enough upside within the segment to get people to choose this over the standard product.

A fool and his money are soon departed. You really think that people want Korean air miles that bad that they’d just hand over $450 because they don’t want the hassle of using transferable currency? Really? They already have several Korean Air credit cards for that with AF of $80, $50 & $0.
For $450 they are clearly looking for something else. This is clearly a luxury card with very little benefits. Maybe if they offered Korean air lounges and priority pass lounges that might lead to more Korean air miles seeking passengers. This card is a dud.

I’m completely surprised they didn’t. Maybe they see Citi and Chase cutting benefits and think that’s their OK to slack off?

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