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US Bank LifeMiles Visa Secured Credit Card Review

Sometimes, personal credit is hurt.  Maybe you are laid off, or accidentally miss a few payments. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t credit card products out there that can help you fix your credit, and earn miles as well!  One card that may have been overlooked by you is the US Bank LifeMiles Visa Secured, a card that earns Avianca and TACA miles (great for South American travel).  Let’s dig into some of the cardmember benefits and see if it’s a good fit for you!

 

 

Benefits

The major benefit of this card is it is made to help people open up a new line of credit that may have had their credit damaged.  For this card, you’ll create your own credit line by putting down a “deposit” to fund the card.  Then, you make regular payments (not deducting from your deposit), just like any other credit card.  Your deposit earns interest in a US Bank Account, and is given back to you at a time when the card issuer can trust you.

One benefit, the sign-up bonus- it’s 5,000 LifeMiles.  You’ll receive this after your first purchase, not with some “minimum spend” that other cards sometimes require.  This is great for people that need free travel fast, as minimum spend often requires three to six months of loyal cardmembership.  In my experience, a “first purchase” bonus is credited to your frequent flyer account within the first month of card membership.  Mileage (pun intended) may vary, but it’s helpful to understand other’s experiences in this arena.

For all other purchases, the percentage of the reward rate is one percent (1%), or one point.  This isn’t incredibly stellar compared to other reward cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which earns two percent (or 2 Ultimate Rewards points, really) back on all travel and restaurant purchases.  However, for those that are looking to help their credit, one point isn’t awful! And when your credit is repaired then you can apply for better rewards cards like the Sapphire Preferred, or the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®.

The APR is pretty standard compared to other cards, with all balances month to month carrying a 16.24% rate.  As with any card I recommend, the APR is a null-topic if you choose to spend within your paycheck and not carry a balance month to month.  With a card that is aimed to rebuild your credit, I would recommend treating the US Bank LifeMiles Visa Secured card like a debit card, paying it off month by month (or even day by day, there’s no penalty!).

A minor benefit that may only affect very loyal TACA flyers is a 15% excess baggage discount.  This is sort-of a non-benefit, in my eyes, since TACA is fairly generous in its bag fees already and not everyone is trying to ship their entire house with them each time they go on vacation or business.  However, if you do have to pay the fees, the benefit is there.

As of this writing, there is no annual fee for the first 12 months and then it’s $45 per year. Card membership also includes $500,000 in travel insurance and Auto Rental Damage Collision waivers.  In addition, there’s zero fraud liability.

 

Conclusion

All in all, this is a great card for people trying to repair their credit and who like to travel. Not too many secured credit cards offer rewards for signing up and for spending.

Generally, I would feel like this card is really only attractive to South American frequent flyers.  If you are doing a lot of business in South America (especially Colombia, Peru, and Chile), then the US Bank LifeMiles Secured Visa card may be for you.  However, I would recommend more recreational travelers with good credit to seek out other options before opening up this line of credit.  It is a balance of all benefits that truly makes the decision for you, and in my experience, there are other, more attractive cards, out there for you to hold in your wallet.  It is up to you, though.  This card may fit in great with your travel customs!