South America is notable to the travel rewards junkie because flights there cost relatively few miles, yet the destination is unmistakably exotic. The US Bank LANPASS Visa Signature card is a great way to facilitate your trip to this fascinating continent. And now might just be the best time to get that ball rolling, what with Ecuador beginning to cut down the Amazon and Peru recently capping tourist visits to Machu Picchu.
LAN airlines is the largest Latin America airline holding company. Just for using their card one time, you receive 20,000 bonus miles. It costs 48,000 miles for a round-trip ticket from the US to Peru, so this sign-up bonus puts you almost halfway there. That’s ok, but not super-duper exciting. For a trip to South America, you could always try taking the return trip with LifeMiles points.
The real value lies in the other perks. For starters, you will receive 20% off your first LAN purchase every year. That’s $300 off a $1,500 ticket, which is the typical price to go from Houston to Lima, Peru for one person. This discount does max out at $1,000, and you have to book directly with a carrier that is part of the LANPASS program. Also, be aware that this discount doesn’t appear immediately; rather, you receive it as a statement credit a couple weeks later.
As a new cardmember, you also get three one-way upgrade coupons to use within the year. These are subject to availability, and for certain routes, you might have to pay the minimum fare or use more than one coupon to get the upgrade. If you want to continue to receive these three coupons the second year and beyond, you’ll have to spend $15,000 in your first year of membership. That’s $1,250 per month. (Note: apparently the upgrade coupons expire after 8 months — another reason to have a trip in mind before getting this card.)
Finally, you get one LANPASS mile for every mile that you buy, essentially cutting the price of this miles in half. Plus, you get a 25% bonus on all miles earned when you purchase flights. Nice! And don’t forget that you also get the typical 2 miles per $1 spent on LAN tickets and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Since LAN is part of the oneworld alliance, you can transfer these miles with partners that include American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, and more.
Every year after you renew, you will receive 4000 miles, which pays for a little over half of annual fee. The $75 annual fee is waived for the first year, so you have some time to think about it. As a final note, be aware that the expiration for this frequent flyer program works a little differently. As usual, your miles are subject to expiration after a certain period of inactivity, but in this case only flights will reset the 36 month clock. If you don’t get on an actual flight at least every 3 years, you can kiss those miles goodbye.
Just watch out — despite being a travel rewards card, this one sports a foreign transaction fee. Check out our guide to the details below.
- Annual Fee: $75, waived first year
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 2% US dollars, 3% foreign currency
- APR: var 12.99%-19.99%
- APR for Balance Transfers: var 12.99%-19.99%
- Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
- APR for Cash Advance: var 23.99%
- Cash Advance Fee: 4%
- Late Fee/Returned Payment Fee: up to $35
- Over Credit Limit Fee: $0
- Bonus: 20,000 miles after first card use
- 2 miles per $1 spent on LAN ticket purchases
- 1 mile per $1 spent on every other purchase
- Miles Worth: Varies
- Rewards Limit: None
- Rewards Expiration: Miles expire after 36 months of flight inactivity
- Redeem Rewards For: Award flights on oneworld alliance
- Get 25% bonus when earning miles on flights
- Get three one-way upgrade coupons per year (need to spend $15,000 to receive these the second year and beyond)
- Get 4,000 bonus miles after annual renewal
- Get one 20% discount on a LAN purchase per year (up to $1,000 off)
- $0 Fraud Liability Protection
- Purchase Protection: Yes
- Travel Insurance: Yes
- Auto Rental Insurance: Yes
- Extended Warranty: Yes
- Customer Service: 24/7 concierge, bilingual
So, pick up the US Bank LANPASS Visa Signature card to get almost half of your round-trip flight to South America paid for, and then get 20% off the remainder. Plus, enjoy complimentary upgrades and the ability to buy miles at half off.
Don’t forget to check out our list of the best travel credit cards and best rewards credit cards.