Chase Transfer Partner Korean Air Now Lets You Book SkyTeam Partner Awards Online

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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.

There just aren’t that many people with Korean Air miles looking to book first class awards living in the U.S. And of course Korean Air flies to more US destinations than any other Asian ariline.

First class awards are less expensive than what United and American now charge. From the US to Japan, South Korea, and China (including Hong Kong) the price is 80,000 miles each way. Southeast Asia is 95,000 miles each way. If you want to travel all the way to Australia it’s 120,000 miles — expensive, but roughly market for first class and with great availability.

They offer super generous award holds. There are very low booking/change fees. And infant award travel on Korean is cheap (10% of the mileage, not 10% of the fare).

Now they’ve become even easier to work with because not only can you book Korean Air award flights online, you can now also book SkyTeam partner award flights online.

While I find Korean Air agents to be competent and helpful, I always prefer online booking to be available at least when possible.

This covers SkyTeam partners like Delta, Air France, KLM, China Eastern and China Southern, etc. It does not cover partners outside of the SkyTeam alliance like Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian, Etihad, Emirates, Jet Airways, or Gol.

Korean charges just 80,000 miles roundtrip for business class between the US and Europe. This means flying on their SkyTeam partner airlines like Delta, Air France and KLM. That’s a 36% savings on the 125,000 miles that Air France KLM Flying Blue charges and a 43% savings on the 140,000 miles that Delta charges. You have access to the same saver award space that these airlines make available to their partners, too.

Fuel surcharges for Asia awards are much lower, of course.

Meanwhile you can book Delta awards to Hawaii now online using Korean miles. That’s just 25,000 miles roundtrip (and SkyTeam and partner awards must be booked roundtrip) in economy compared to 45,000 miles Delta charges for, say, New York JFK to Honolulu.

Delta is cheaper in first class, too.

(HT: Dan’s Deals)

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. Delta is now 140k round trip to Europe so this is quite a deal if you can find the seats. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Do you submit proofs of family relationships beforehand or afterwards if tickets are booked online?

  3. @Kevin S Williams – yes, of course (as several readers emailed me) I had been including 125k in writings because travel through 12/31 is still 125k roundtrip but 1/1 onward it’s 140k.

  4. @Tony I believe you’ll need to link people to your account beforehand but I haven’t tried to do an online booking for someone not already linked as family

  5. I tried to book IAH-CDG and back on AF for May, but it’s not showing up. I called Korean Air, and they said the flight hasn’t been loaded into their system…

    I can see saver availability on Air France’s website. What’s going on?

  6. Seriously? One of your examples is CDG-IAD, by way of Moscow? Involving nearly 24 hours travel time, with a 9 hour layover in Moscow airport in the middle of the night. Of course you could always spend that in a hotel, all you need is a Russian visa.

    Then continuing on with Aeroflot the next morning. With R/T fees of only $820. And no, they don’t pay you that amount to take this ridiculous itinerary, you have to pay them to endure it. Be still my beating heart. 🙁

    Maybe you should take that flight. It would make a great trip report. 😉

  7. @Tony – You do have to link before. I just booked a ticket for my spouse and me. They respond quickly and all was settled within a few hours.

  8. @Chris M – you’re seeing space Air France offers to its own members, not space for partners, search the Alaska Airlines website for Air France space and you should see the same space on the Korean website

  9. Some questions:

    1. How is their Prestige (business) product compared to DL and other carriers flying TPAC routes?

    2. Do they get better ST availability than DL? For instance, at the moment, DL shows no availability for J TATL awards. For instance, you can fly AZ on LAX-FCO direct in Y but not in J. And all the available TATL segments in J appear to be DL metal only for next summer, so you’re often not getting awards even for 140k SkyMiles.

    3. How are they as a choice to SE Asia? Is ICN from the West Coast not long enough of a TPAC flight, since ICN to SIN or BKK is also a pretty long flight?

    I’d like to transfer to SQ but all I see are waitlists out of SFO and once you transfer, you may lose those points unless you can find an award.

  10. My wife, son and I flew First on Korean JFK-AKL on points (Dec 27). On both sectors, A380(JFK-ICN) and B747-8 (ICN-AKL) we were were only 3 pax in FC. Service was outstanding. Korean ground service was also exceptional as my son was not feeling well. At 120k miles – one way, it was excellent value, aside from availability during holiday season.

  11. Is one able to book mixed cabin itins for round trip tickets for Skyteam awards online or do those need to be booked by calling in? And does Korean price it out as 1/2 economy, 1/2 business or is it the higher of the two?

    Great addition to website functionality!

  12. Can someone please explain to me how to link a family member? And what “proof” one needs to provide online to get the link approved?


  13. Can one book Delta & Korean in same reservation? Would mileage requirement be based on origin to final destination, or for each flight segment?

  14. I tried a dummy booking with no miles in my account. There was no way to hold the award. I hope you can still book by phone and hold indefinitely.

  15. @Bobby – the website doesn’t offer holds, indefinite holds or month long holds have always been for korean metal only, partner awards have been ~ 5 days

  16. Has anyone managed to even get a fare calculation for an award involving CI? I always get a message about it being an invalid SkyTeam award, even on something bog standard JFK-TPE round trip.

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