Marriott Adds Korean Air as Transfer Partner: Why This Improves Both Programs

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Marriott announced today that they have a new partnership to allow mileage earning with and points transfers to Korean Air SKYPASS.

Korean Air First Class

This is fantastic on many levels.

  1. Starwood just added Korean as a transfer partner last year. Starwood has a large stable of airline partners, and works with many of them in unique ways.

    With the pending Marriott-Starwood merger it’s been good to see Marriott Rewards doing things with 4pm elite checkout and testing an elite Ambassador service and now adding an airline transfer partner.

  2. Korean Air SKYPASS is a fantastic program. It’s great for low fees, long award holds, reasonable pricing, great first class availability, and US-Hawaii awards among other things. Read up on the 17 tricks you should know about the program.

  3. Korean isn’t just useful, it’s a program you can deposit points to from several different places. And now we have one more. (Ubiquity is one reason I like Air France KLM Flying Blue as well as Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.)

    You can transfer points from Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve to Korean.

    You can transfer points from Starwood Preferred Guest, and thus earned with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express to Korean.

Here are the transfer ratios of Marriott points to Korean miles. In most cases you don’t want to do it this way.

The best use of Marriott points is redeeming for travel packages that offer hotel stays and airline miles transfers. Korean isn’t yet listed on the travel packages page, but since transfer ratios in Marriott’s press release match up to ratios for airlines like Aeroflot, airberlin, Air China, Air France/KLM, and Singapore we can assume that they will offer Korean as part of I think we can assume it will be a package ‘2’:

That’s unfortunate because it means you don’t get as many Korean miles as you would United (which has a special relationship) or American, Alaska, or Delta.

Here are 20 tricks to know about Marriott Rewards. Since Korean Air SKYPASS is one of the most lucrative and useful frequent flyer programs, this new transfer relationship is a reason to pay more attention to Marriott Rewards.

Hopefully adding partners and features of Starwood Preferred Guest into Marriott Rewards will continue because the merger remains likely to close.

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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