As we plow through the foreign airline co-branded credit cards issued by American banks, we continue with another card issued by US Bank.
LANPASS by US Bank
US Bank issues two LANPASS co-branded credit cards that earn LATAM Pass miles:
- The LANPASS Visa Signature Card has an annual fee of $75 after the first year, offers 4,000 annual bonus miles, and gives a 20% discount on LATAM purchases up to $1,000 once per year. The current signup bonus is 20,000 bonus miles after your first purchase. Cardholders also receive 25% bonus miles on certain paid flights, according to the following inscrutable language:
"LANPASS Visa Signature Cardmembers only will receive a flight mileage bonus of 25% in additional miles above the actual miles accrued on every LATAM Airlines or its Affiliate carriers’ flight. For example, if a cardmember accrues 6,000 miles, the cardmember will receive 1,500 extra miles. To renew this benefit, the cardmember must have net spending of at least $15,000 each calendar year."
- The LANPASS Visa Card has an annual fee of $45 after the first year and offers 2,000 annual bonus miles. The current signup bonus is 15,000 miles after your first purchase.
Just as in yesterday's edition of this series, the LANPASS credit cards earn miles, but the LANPASS award chart is in kilometers, so as LANPASS helpfully explains, the 20,000-mile signup bonus is worth 32,187 kilometers and the 4,000 annual bonus miles are worth 6,437 kilometers.
Earning LANPASS miles
Unfortunately, neither card offers any interesting category spending bonuses, so you're left earning 1 mile (roughly 1.61 kilometers) per dollar spent on either card everywhere.
Unfortunately necessary digression about Starpoint transfers
Starwood Preferred Guest transfers to LANPASS are into kilometers, not miles. So while 1 Starpoint transfers into 1.5 LANPASS kilometers, that's somewhat less than the 1.61 LANPASS kilometers you'd earn putting spend directly onto a LANPASS co-branded credit card.
Of course, 20,000-Starpoint transfers earn a 5,000-point (7,500 kilometer) transfer bonus, bringing the earning rate on $20,000 in Starwood Preferred Guest American Express spend slightly above the earning rate on a LANPASS credit card (37,500 kilometers versus 32,200 kilometers).
Redeeming LANPASS miles
LATAM is a member of the oneworld alliance, so its LANPASS kilometers should be redeemable on oneworld carriers, and indeed LANPASS has a distance-based award chart for flights on its oneworld partners.
But according to the LANPASS website:
"You can redeem your LATAM Pass KMS. for flights with American Airlines, Qantas and Iberia through our Contact Center or at one of our offices. For other oneworld and associated airlines, this service is not available."
I have no idea what this means. Can LANPASS kilometers be redeemed for flights on other oneworld carriers? Maybe, but not through the Contact Center or any of their offices?
Nonetheless, for American Airlines flights with low-level availability, LANPASS miles can be a strong choice. This FlyerTalk thread about LANPASS redemptions seems to cast them as less valuable than British Airways Avios redemptions, but that's only from the perspective of Starpoint transfers. If you're earning LANPASS kilometers directly at 1.61 kilometers per dollar spent, you're virtually certain to be better off compared to a 1:1 Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to Avios.
In other words, your best redemption will depend on your best alternative.
Is it worth it?
Just as I concluded yesterday, the question of whether earning a more exotic loyalty currency is worthwhile will depend on whether you're able to leverage it for better value than you would the currencies in your wheelhouse. In 2014 Thought Leader from Behind Gary Leff reported that "you can redeem BA F without fuel surcharges using LAN kilometers."
If that's still possible, then LANPASS's distance-based award chart may still offer out-sized value, if you can redeem miles earned on unbonused spend for premium awards without paying extortionate fuel surcharges.