Full Review of Asiana Visa Signature
30,000-mile one-time offer
Rich annual bonuses
$99 annual fee
Few benefits and extras
- 30,000-Mile One-Time Offer: The Asiana Visa Signature offers a one-time offer of 30,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days after opening an account. Investopedia estimates the value of Asiana miles at 2.16 cents each when used to buy Asiana flights. At that valuation, this bonus is worth an average of $648 in further travel on Asiana. Redemptions on Asiana Airlines start at 10,000 miles, and 30,000 miles can be enough to book a flight from Korea to Japan or China. This bonus is competitive with those for many other co-branded airline cards that charge a similar annual fee. The spending requirement, too, while relatively high at $1,000 per month for three months, is fairly typical of other airline cards with comparable bonuses.
- Rich Annual Bonuses: This card comes with two separate annual credits as well as a benefit that renews every year. Cardholders receive an automatic $100 rebate on their first ticket purchase of $100 or more with Asiana in each anniversary year. Independent of any spending requirement, there’s an additional automatic bonus of 10,000 miles awarded to your account, again after your annual card anniversary. This mileage boost is worth $216, according to our valuations. Finally, there’s a welcome perk of two annual passes to any of Asiana’s airport lounges. While there are more than 80 locations for these, just five are in U.S. airports—specifically, at JFK in New York, LAX in Los Angeles, SFO in San Francisco, Daniel T. Inouye in Honolulu, and Sea-Tac in Seattle. This perk will obviously have lower value if you seldom or never fly from one of those American airports.
- $99 Annual Fee: The Asiana Visa Signature comes with an annual fee of $99. That’s typical of many co-branded airline cards that offer similar rewards and one-time offers. However, many of those competitors waive the annual fee in the first year. The Asiana Visa Signature $100 annual statement credit would allow you to justify the cost of the annual fee with your first $100-plus ticket purchase of the year.
- Few Benefits or Extras: Save for its statement credits, annual bonus, and airport-lounge credits, the Asiana Visa Signature has very few additional features. There is no rental-car insurance (even secondary coverage), for example, early boarding privileges or discounts on in-flight services.
This Card is Best For
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
Flies often for business or leisure
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
The Asiana Visa Signature is targeted toward existing or new customers of Asiana, South Korea’s number two airline by flights and passenger volume. However, unlike most co-branded airline cards, this one could deliver significant value and make financial sense even for those who only plan to fly Asiana occasionally— as little as once or twice a year, potentially. That’s mostly because of the card’s twin annual bonuses. The first, the $100 credit against the cost of the year’s first Asiana ticket, would alone justify paying the entire fee. Then the annual 10,000-mile anniversary bonus would provide up to $180 more in value to use for further Asiana tickets. On top of those bonuses, the card provides 3-points-per dollar rewards on Asiana purchases that, at our estimated valuation of 2.16 cents per dollar, represent more than 6 cents per dollar in reward value when used for Asiana flights.
Asiana Visa Signature Bonus
The bonus for this card is 30,000 miles, awarded after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of card membership. That is a sufficient number of miles to potentially redeem for a one-way economy-class ticket from Korea to Japan or to China/Northeast Asia. Redemptions for shorter-haul domestic flights within South Korea start at 10,000 miles.
Rewards Earning Details
The Asiana Visa Signature offers rewards on a tiered basis:
- 3 miles per dollar spent on Asiana Airlines purchases
- 2 miles per dollar spent at grocery stores and gas stations
- 1 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases
In addition to earning miles on purchases made with the Asiana Visa Signature card, there are also annual bonuses of 10,000 miles, awarded on your card anniversary, and a $100 statement credit, applied to your account after you make your first Asiana ticket purchase of the year that’s $100 or more.
Rewards Redemption Details
Miles can be redeemed for Asiana flights, upgrades, and lounge access. It’s also possible to use rewards to book travel on other airlines who, like Asiana, are members of the Star Alliance. Mileage awards start at 10,000 miles for trips between South Korean cities. It’s also possible to upgrade, with an economy to business upgrade starting at 20,000 miles, depending on the destination. Additional services, like using miles to offset baggage fees, also start at 20,000 miles.
While value varies somewhat by flight and ticket type, Asiana Airlines miles have an average value of 2.16 cents each when used to redeem for Asiana Airlines flight, according to Investopedia’s valuation.
While you can’t transfer Asiana Miles to other Star Alliance partner frequent flyer programs you can use Asiana miles to book travel on alliance partner airlines through Asiana’s site. The alliance comprises 26 airlines in all, including United, Air India, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Swiss, South African Airways, Air China, and Air New Zealand. However, the awards mileage tables—and thus the value of your Asiana miles—might be different with a partner than when redeeming flights with Asiana. For example, awards flights with Star Alliance partners start at 40,000 miles rather than 10,000 miles.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You’ll get the most back from the Asiana Visa Signature, clearly, when you use it to purchase flights and related in-service items with Asiana Airlines, and then use the resulting rewards to do the same. The 3 miles per dollar spent you earn, at an average mileage value of 2.16 cents when redeemed for flights, represents just under a 6.5% effective rewards return on Asiana spending, a rate that’s hard to beat on any card. But the card’s 2 rewards miles per dollar spent at grocery stores and gas stations is also more than respectable, delivering more than 4% in value, which matches the return of many of the best cards for spending in those categories. Even the single mile per dollar spent on everything else on the card matches the effective earnings rate of many cash back credit cards, albeit provided you use the rewards to redeem for Asiana flights, rather than less-valuable redemption options. To show you how your rewards can add up, let’s look at what the average household might earn in rewards by charging to the card purchases in many top spending categories. Here’s what that household spending totals on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and what the card’s rewards might be worth when used by buy Asiana flights:
- Food for home: $4,464 x 2 points/$1 rewards x 2.16 cents = $193
- Dining out: $3,469 x 1 points/$1 rewards x 2.16 cents = $75
- Clothing and accessories: $1,866 x 1 points/$1 rewards x 2.16 cents = $40
- Gas: $2,109 x 2 points/$1 rewards x 2.16 cents = $91
- Entertainment: $3,226 x 1 points/$1 rewards x 2.16 cents = $70
- Personal care products: $768 x 1 points/$1 rewards x 2.16 cents = $17
Spending these amounts in these categories would result in a total spending of $15,902 per year and a substantial $486 or so in value when applied to Asiana flights. And that figure doesn’t include other purchases outside these categories for which you might use the card, nor the dual annual bonuses that could add more than $200 in additional net earnings, after the $99 annual fee is deducted from their combined value.
Nor does this total include the one-time offer of 30,000 miles, worth an additional $648. That’s a lucrative-enough bonus that you should try hard to spend the required $3,000 within your initial 90 days after opening an account in order to earn it. That’s the case even if that won’t be the norm for your spending going forward, as the bonus is definitely worth the initial effort.
Asiana Visa Signature’s Outstanding Benefits
- Overdraft protection
- Monthly FICO Score
- $0 Liability for fraudulent purchases
- Account alerts
- Chip cards
Bank of America earned a score of 798 out of 1,000 in J.D. Power's 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, putting it just below the national average rating of 806. This places Bank of America in seventh place in the rankings among the major credit card issuers.
Like most banks, this issuer has a mobile app for iOS and Android, which can be used to access credit card information. Bank of America’s app has a user score of 4.8 stars in the Apple App Store and 4.7 stars on Google Play.
For cardholders with an eligible Bank of America checking account, it’s possible to connect the Asiana Visa Signature card to the account and use it as overdraft protection. This can be useful in some cases.
Additionally, the card features chip technology, which is supposed to be more secure, along with fraud monitoring. There is also a $0 Liability Guarantee associated with fraudulent transactions.
The Asiana Visa Signature is a natural companion for virtually any U.S. customer of this major Korean airline, whose route maps are heavily focused in Asia. The card does have a $99 annual fee, and without the first-year waiver of many other competitors. But its twin annual bonuses should serve to justify that annual cost, and possibly more. That fact, along with strong rewards, make the Asiana Visa Signature a worthwhile card to consider, even for occasional Asiana flyers. However, if earning rewards primarily to acquire more flights on this airline doesn’t appeal to you, this card might not be the best choice. You might instead prefer to earn travel rewards with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. With its $95 annual fee, rewards from this general travel card can be redeemed, and at decent rates, in more ways than with a co-branded airline card such as the Asiana Visa Signature.
For even greater flexibility, you could opt for a card like the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, which has similar annual fee to the Asiana Visa Signature, and offers whopping 6% cash back on groceries (at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 in annual spending) and streaming subscriptions, as well as 3% on transit (including rideshare) and gas at U.S. gas stations. The card also features an introductory APR offer on purchases and balance transfers, which the Asiana Visa Signature lacks.