Korean Air Will Postpone Devaluation Of SkyPass Frequent Flyer Program [Updated With 2 Year Extension]

In December 2019 – shortly before the start of the pandemic – Korean Air announced a huge devaluation of their frequent flyer program with revenue-based mileage-earning and a new distance-based award chart coming in April 2021.

Korean Air has offered one of the more lucrative frequent flyer programs for many years, and access to outstanding award inventory not made available to its partners. They used to be a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, and before that relationship ended I transferred hundreds of thousands of points into my own SkyPass account.

However they’re also part of a joint venture with (and partially owned by) Delta, so devaluation of their mileage program was almost a given. Under planned changes the price of a business class award from New York to Singapore would have doubled while the cost of short-distance coach redemptions would have gone down.

Coach Business First  Upgrade
Domestic S. Korea            5,000            10,000            15,000            5,000
Less Thank 500 mi          10,000            20,000            30,000          10,000
500 – 999          12,500            25,000            37,500          12,500
1000 – 1499          15,000            30,000            45,000          15,000
1500 – 1999          17,500            35,000            52,500          22,500
2000 – 2999          22,500            45,000            67,500          30,000
3000 – 3999          27,500            55,000            82,500          37,500
4000 – 4999          32,500            65,000            97,500          45,000
5000 – 6499          40,000            80,000          120,000          55,000
6500 – 9999          45,000            90,000          135,000          62,500
10,000+          60,000          120,000          180,000          85,000

High season redemptions come at a 50% premium to the distance-based chart above.

The partner award chart will become more expensive as well. Flights will be priced one way, with slightly higher mileage pricing for travel on partners than on Korean (ranging from an extra 1000 miles for the shortest coach flights to an extra 15,000 miles for the longest first class flights).

Fly With Moxie reports on local Korean media sharing the airline plans to delay their devaluation. The reason given is that members haven’t been able to use their miles for international travel during the time between the announcement and when changes were scheduled to go into effect.

It’s unclear when the airline plans to make this announcement, or how far out the devaluation will be rescheduled – hopefully indefinitely. Update: Korean Air will postpone their devaluation by two years, until April 2023.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Gotta love Delta – First Korean Air and now Virgin. Maybe they’ll announce that they’re delaying the changes only to make them unannounced the very next day.

  2. @ Gary — I am shocked they didn’t announce they were moving the changes up, effective yesterday. I guess Delta is got their hand stuck out, waiting for a Korean government handout before they backstab all of the FF program members.

  3. Next thing you know some bloggers will be recommending that we buy Korean or Delta points through some deal (affiliate link) for 3 cents a mile 🙂

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