Korean Airlines is a Skyteam member and points transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, which means any of the Chase Sapphire and Reserve or Chase Ink points you have can be transferred to Korean Airlines. Korean is known for having some of the best premium-cabin award availability, although it isn’t always easy to book. Still, the ability to fly a family of 8 in First Class on a well-regarded airline is worth a bit of extra effort.
Before today, Skyteam awards booked with Korean Air had to be booked by calling in. Now, those awards can be booked online. This is a huge upgrade and makes Chase Ultimate Rewards points even more useful in my opinion. You can search for flights through this link after logging in and selecting Skyteam awards in the search.
Note that while you’re now able to book online, searching for availability isn’t the easiest thing in the world from this website. I recommend you first search for the availability you need from the Delta, Air France, or Alaska Airlines websites because those searches show a calendar-view. Once you confirm your flights are available from those websites, note the dates and search those dates in the Korean Air website to book the flights you want. Note that with regards to Delta, only the lowest-level awards will show as available on Korean Air.
You can search Korean Air’s Skyteam Award Chart here (defaulted to North America departures) and also in the image below. Note that one way Skyteam awards are priced the same as round trip awards, so book round trip flights only.
It appears that non-SkyTeam partners of Korean Air (Alaska Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, GOL, Hawaiian, and JAL) flights can still only be booked by calling 800-438-5000.
List of SkyTeam Members
- Aerolíneas Argentinas
- AeroméxicoAir Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern Airlines
- China Southern Airlines
- Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Kenya Airways
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
- Xiamen Airlines
Korean Air Award Rules Refresher
- One way awards are priced the same as round trip, so might as well book round trip
- You are allowed one stopover per round trip award
- Maximum of 3 segments (2 layovers) in each direction
- They do charge fuel surcharges if a cash ticket would also include fuel surcharges
Best Uses of Korean Air Miles
1. North America to North America, Including Hawaii, for 25K/45K Miles Round Trip
Korean Air has a very fair award chart for Skyteam travel (and travel on their own planes, for that matter). One of the best known and likely best-value awards are flights from the US to Hawaii on Delta, which costs just 25,000 miles round trip. That’s true whether you fly from Los Angeles or from New York, with the latter being the better offer due to the longer flight. Business Class flights are just 45,000 miles round trip.
To take it a step further, it’s not just the US to Hawaii at these prices. The region includes the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the US Virgin Islands. You can find tremendous value from many of these locations.
Unfortunatly, Hawaiian Airlines flights still have to be called in since they are not a member of Skyteam, so online booking to Hawaii applies only to Delta for now.
2. North America to Europe in for 50K/80K Miles Round Trip
One of the other fantastic values are round trip Business Class from the US to Europe for 80,000 miles round trip, which is a significant discount to what US airliners charge for similar flights. Economy flights are also a great value at 50,000 miles round trip.
3. North America to Tahiti for 60K/90K Miles Round Trip
This flight would be on Air France, and the only option is from LAX. Still, this is a great price compared to the other options available.
4. More Complex “Hopper” flights
This will require another post (many have already been written – feel free to Google it), but there are Indonesian Hoppers, South America Hoppers, China Hoppers, Middle East Hoppers, and Europe Hoppers, among others. A “Hopper” is when you can book many segments usually within the same region at a very low price, so you can “hop” from one location to another to explore a large area.
The ability to book awards online makes lives easier, and given that Korean Air is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, those flights will now be easier to book. Skyteam isn’t the biggest or best alliance, but it can definitely come in handy…especially given the pricing of particular regions.