You Can Now Book China Southern, China Eastern, and Saudia First Class Awards Online

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Yesterday I wrote that Chase transfer partner Korean Air SkyPass introduced online booking of SkyTeam awards.

Korean Air SkyPass is one of my favorite frequent flyer programs, and it’s one I transfer points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to the most.

That’s because they offer the best first class award space between the US and Asia of any airline. And there’s very little competition for that space — because Korean Air partners like Delta and Alaska can book business class awards on Korean, but cannot book first class awards.

They have a great award chart but do add fuel surcharges to award tickets. They offer super generous award holds. There are very low booking/change fees.

It’s just 80,000 miles roundtrip in business class between the US and Europe and now you can book those SkyTeam awards (e.g. Air France, KLM, Delta) on the Korean Air website.

Online SkyTeam award booking means you can now book international first class awards on Saudia, China Southern, and China Eastern in addition to first class awards on Korean using the Korean Air website.

Take Saudia for instance. Flying first class between the US and Mideast is 160,000 miles and there are no fuel surcharges.

Here’s Los Angeles – Jeddah roundtrip with 6 first class seats available. Saudia calls many of their short haul connecting flights in the premium cabin ‘first’ so you can book onward connections online as well.

Expertflyer supports award searches for Saudia first class, and can be a quick way to find the space before going to the Korean Air website for booking.

Saudia’s new Boeing 777 first class offers fully enclosed suites as opposed to six-across flat seating in the older aircraft.

And Saudia’s route network is extensive, they’re actually a bigger airline than Etihad, however their dual hubs at Jeddah and Riyadh can make lining up certain connections difficult (for instance cities they serve with non-daily flights may not line up on the same day at the same hub).

Meanwhile China Southern is a great way to get to Bali or most anywhere in China and throughout Asia generally. They serve four destinations in Australia as well.

China Eastern’s first class offers a double bed on its Boeing 777-300ERs, a la Singapore Airlines, for passengers traveling together.

For Korean Air SkyTeam awards only roundtrips are permitted (no one ways) and the departure and arrival cities must be in the same country. You can combine different SkyTeam airlines in an itinerary, for instance I pulled up a combination of Saudia and China Southern while writing this post.

You can connect twice in each direction, and you’re allowed one stopover however you cannot book a stopover at your city of origination (so no free one ways). You are permitted an open jaw at your destination.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I haven’t seen any reports of successfully ticketing an award online.
    How does this work in regards to the paperwork?

  2. Thanks for this useful post, Gary. But you might flag one minor matter for folks who might not consider it all that minor: Saudia is a dry airline.

  3. What are the fees for awards to Europe? 80K RT is nice but wondering how this compares, say, to using Alaska.

  4. @Ivan Y – I showed screen shots in my post yesterday (linked above) on this, you may pay ~ $800 total taxes/fees. Using Alaska miles you’ll pay similar fees if you redeem for travel on british airways, but only airport taxes (say $200ish, depending on the airport) flying other carriers

  5. Saudia is useless as it’s a dry airline.

    @hobo – I ticketed an award on Korean’s site last week. If you ticket online you do not need to email in the paperwork.

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