The Asiana Visa Signature® Credit Card is a travel rewards credit card issued by Bank of America. With an annual fee of $99, it’s the best way for frequent Asiana Airlines flyers to accumulate Asiana Club Miles, the Republic of Korea-based airline’s rewards currency. Cardholders automatically earn and maintain free memberships in Asiana Club. Asiana Airlines serves North America, most of Asia, Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand), and certain other destinations around the world, with most long-haul routes connecting through Korea.
This card’s earning rate is a bit better than the typical branded airline credit card. Purchases made with Asiana Airlines earn 3 miles per $1 spent, with redemptions starting as low as 10,000 miles for domestic flights within the Republic of Korea, 30,000 miles for flights between Korea and select other Asian countries, and 70,000 miles for flights between Korea and the United States. (Like all branded travel rewards programs, Asiana’s redemption requirements are subject to change at any time.) Gas and grocery purchases earn 2 miles per $1 spent – a nice boost for road warriors who drive long distances and cook at home when they’re not in the air. And all other purchases earn 1 mile per $1 spent, the standard baseline rate.
There’s a catch, though: This card caps mileage earnings are capped at 200,000 per year across all categories. No matter how much you spend on airfare, gas, groceries, and other items, you can’t earn more than 200,000 miles in a calendar year. If you only used this card for Asiana Airlines airfare, that would require about $66,667 in annual spending.
Asiana Visa Signature Credit Card has some additional perks and benefits, including:
- A solid sign-up bonus that gets new cardholders about halfway toward a free flight between U.S. and Korea
- A$100 annual airfare credit
- 2 complimentary airport lounge passes each year
- 10,000 bonus miles each year on the cardmember anniversary
If you frequently travel between the United States and Asia, this product could be a welcome addition to your credit card arsenal. Here’s what you need to know about it.
When you spend at least $3,000 in purchases within 3 months of sign-up, you get 30,000 Asiana miles.
Though it’s difficult to ascribe a precise dollar value to this bonus due to variable redemption values for Asiana miles, 30,000 miles is enough for 3 round-trip domestic economy flights within the Republic of Korea, as well as 1 round-trip economy flight between Korea and Northeast Asia (including Japan). You need 35,000 miles for a one-way flight between the continental United States and the Republic of Korea, and 70,000 miles for a round-trip flight along the same route.
Earning Asiana Miles
All eligible Asiana Airlines purchases (including airfare, in-flight purchases, and other incidental expenditures) earn 3 miles per $1 spent. Eligible gas and grocery purchases earn 2 miles per $1 spent, and all other purchases earn 1 mile per $1 spent.
These miles accrue in addition to the base miles earned by all Asiana Club members. Base mile earnings are based on actual mileage between destinations – for instance, an economy one-way flight between Incheon and Los Angeles earns 5,973 base miles, plus 3 miles for each $1 spent on the Asiana Visa Signature card. There’s no limit to the number of base miles you can earn, but you can only earn 200,000 miles (not including the sign-up bonus) with your card each year.
Redeeming Asiana Miles
The best way to redeem miles is for Asiana airfare. Redemption thresholds start at 5,000 miles for economy one-way flights within the Republic of Korea, 15,000 miles for economy one-way trips within Northeast Asia, and 35,000 miles for economy one-way flights between Korea and North America. Miles’ redemption values are subject to variation based on the redemption journey’s underlying cash price (which itself varies by time, date, season, demand, and other factors), but generally range between $0.01 and $0.05 apiece.
You can also redeem miles for class upgrades – for example, upgrading from economy to business class on a Korea to North America flight costs 60,000 miles. Finally, you can redeem miles for award travel on more than 25 Star Alliance airline partners, including Air Canada and United Airlines. Partner redemptions start at 25,000 miles for round-trip flights within North America.
Annual Airfare Credit
Every year your account remains open and in good standing, you receive a $100 airfare credit against Asiana Airlines airfare. The credit is automatically applied when you make an airfare purchase.
Annual Mileage Bonus
As long as your account remains open and in good standing, you receive 10,000 bonus miles every year on your cardmember anniversary. That’s good for a single round-trip domestic flights within the Republic of Korea, or roughly 25% of a one-way flight between the U.S. and Korea. These bonus miles can only be redeemed for Asiana airfare – they cannot be transferred to Star Alliance partners.
Complimentary Airport Lounge Passes
Every year, Asiana Visa Signature Credit Card users receive 2 free Lounge Invitations that can be redeemed for complimentary access to certain Asiana Airlines or Star Alliance airport lounges in the United States. However, only a handful of U.S. lounges (in Chicago-O’Hare, San Francisco, Honolulu, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York-JFK) are eligible.
Additional Travel Benefits
As a Visa Signature product, this card comes with some additional travel benefits underwritten by Visa:
- Complimentary loss and damage coverage for rental cars charged in full to the Asiana card
- Roadside assistance for stranded travelers
- Travel insurance (accidental death and dismemberment)
- Baggage insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage
Overdraft Protection Transfers for Bank of America Deposit Account Customers
Bank of America deposit account holders can take advantage of this card’s overdraft protection feature. When you attempt a checking account transaction that would normally result in a negative account balance, Bank of America automatically executes a cash advance draw on your credit card to cover the shortfall. There is a $12 fee for each transaction (or $12 per day for days in which multiple such transactions occur), and transferred balances immediately begin accruing interest at the cash advance rate.
There is a $99 annual fee, but no foreign transaction fee. Cash advances and balance transfers cost the greater of $10 or 3%. Late payments cost up to $37, while returned payments cost up to $27.
This card requires excellent credit.
- Above-Average Earning Rate on Asiana Purchases. This card earns 3 miles per $1 spent on Asiana Airlines purchases. That’s 33% more than the standard 2 miles per $1 rate offered by most other airline cards.
- 2x Category Rewards Gas and Grocery Spending. Most airline cards lack an intermediate earning category – but not Asiana Visa Signature. Its cardholders earn 2 miles per $1 spent on gas and groceries – common categories in which most people spend moderately to heavily. If you frequently cook at home or drive long distances when you’re not flying Asiana, this category can really help juice your earnings.
- $100 Annual Airfare Credit Offsets Annual Fee. As long as you fly Asiana at least once each year, this card’s $100 annual airfare credit essentially offsets its $99 annual fee. The credit is automatically applied to your card balance, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting.
- Annual Mileage Bonus for Cardholders in Good Standing. As long as your account remains open and in good standing, you get 10,000 bonus miles each year. That’s good for a round-trip domestic flight within Korea, or about 25% of a one-way flight from the United States to Korea.
- Can Redeem With More Than 2 Dozen Star Alliance Partners. You can redeem your accumulated Asiana miles with nearly 30 Star Alliance partners, including popular North American airlines such as United Airlines and Air Canada. Star Alliance has truly global coverage, so this is a huge benefit for cardholders who frequently fly routes not served by Asiana.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has no foreign transaction fee. That’s great news for cardholders who often travel outside the U.S., as frequent Asiana flyers do.
- Mileage Earnings Capped at 200,000 Per Year. Asiana Visa Signature Credit Card’s biggest drawback is the annual mileage earnings cap. While there’s no limit to the number of base miles you can earn from completed Asiana flights, you can’t earn more than 200,000 bonus miles per year with your card. While that works out to a pretty high rate of spending – between $66,667 and $200,000 per year, depending on your category allocations – it could be a problem for very heavy spenders who travel frequently and use Asiana Visa Signature as their primary credit card. Most competing airline credit cards, including American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business and Chase United MileagePlus Explorer, do not cap bonus mile earnings.
- Has an Annual Fee. This card has a $99 annual fee that’s not waived during the first year. This is bad news for frugal cardholders who don’t want to pay a recurring charge to keep this card in their wallets, and especially problematic for those who don’t fly Asiana every year.
- Sign-up Bonus Isn’t Great. This card’s sign-up bonus isn’t particularly impressive. It’s worth 30,000 miles, which is almost enough for a one-way flight from the U.S. to Korea. The sign-up bonuses of many competing travel rewards credit cards are good for multiple one-way or round-trip flights.
- Costly Redemptions for U.S.-Based Travelers. If you’re based in the U.S., you need to rack up the points before you can redeem for Asiana Airlines flights. That’s because most Asiana routes lead to the Republic of Korea, which requires 35,000 miles for an award economy one-way flight and 70,000 miles for an award economy round trip. You can avoid high redemption minimums by redeeming for flights within the Americas, but that doesn’t help if your primary purpose for getting this card is to reduce the cost of trans-Pacific travel. The case for this card is clearer for U.S. citizens and permanent residents with U.S. bank accounts who live in Korea or Northeast Asia temporarily or permanently – perhaps to study at university abroad, teach English, or work for a U.S.-based multinational company. This class of consumers needs far fewer miles to redeem for travel within Korea and greater Asia.
- Airport Lounge Benefit Has Limited Value. This card’s airport lounge benefit isn’t great. It only applies to a handful of lounges in the U.S., so it’s really only appropriate for cardholders who regularly fly out of the cities in which they’re located. Some competing travel cards offer complimentary or reduced-price access to hundreds of airport lounges worldwide.
The Asiana Visa Signature® Credit Card is designed for people who regularly travel to Korea or other parts of Asia from the United States. That’s a large and growing cohort. And, though this card has a much lower profile than branded credit cards from U.S.-based airlines such as Delta and American Airlines, it offers valuable access to Star Alliance routes that extend far beyond Asia. Before you sign-up for a better-known travel rewards credit card (such as Barclays Arrival Premier or Chase Sapphire Preferred), give Asiana another look.