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Put away your fax machines, rotary telephones, and stone tablets! Korean Airlines finally moved into the 21st century with online partner award bookings. Now you can use Korean Air miles to book award flights on Skyteam partners, without going through the arduous call-in process.
We wrote an article about booking Korean Air’s best sweet spot – round trip to Hawaii for 25,000 points. That article details the painful process you had to endure to book this award. Steps included printing a paper award form, faxing it in, calling a call center, waiting for a call back… gross! As of December 29, 2016, you can book this ticket online. Hooray!
You may be thinking – “I don’t care about Korean Airlines… I don’t have any of their miles.” Well, good news! They are a transfer partner of Chase, which means you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air Skypass miles! You can earn a mountain of Chase points from the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, Chase Ink Preferred, Chase Freedom, and/or Chase Freedom Unlimited! You can also transfer SPG points earned from the SPG Amex Personal or SPG Business Cards. See our main menu tab for more info on these offers.
How to Search
To find award flights, you can visit this link, log into your Skypass account, and search for specific dates. The search allows round trip and multi-city itineraries. Korean Air’s routing rules require round trip tickets, and they allow an open jaw at the origin or destination.
You will still be better off performing your search on another website like Delta or Air France, because they give the calendar search option. Korean Air’s site only allows you to look at one date per search, which can be time consuming. Once you’ve identified a saver-level award flight on another Skyteam partner, you can return and book it on the Korean Air site.
Non-Skyteam Partner Awards
Korean Air also partners with Emirates, Etihad, JAL, GOL, and Alaska Airlines. You will still need to call in to book flights on these airlines using your Skypass miles. Keep in mind that your entire award itinerary must be on a single carrier. For example, you can’t mix Delta and Alaska Airlines for a trip to Hawaii.
Hawaii/North America – 25,000 Econ/45,000 First Round Trip
Korean Air has a very liberal definition of the North America region on their partner awards. They don’t break it up like most airlines do. The North America region includes Mexico, United States (including Hawaii), US Virgin Islands, Canada, Puerto Rico! Round trip flights between any of these locations will price at 25k/45k… awesome!
USA – Tahiti – 60,000 Econ/90,000 First Round Trip
This is a pretty limited opportunity, because this flight only departs from LAX, and it is operated by Air France. If you can find availability, the deal is pretty great. Be sure to visit Mo’orea while you’re in French Polynesia!
This is a big step forward for Korean Airlines. In our opinion, this also increases the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, because Korean Airlines is a transfer partner. With the new ease of booking, you can put your UR points to great use, without the hassle of the old process. Keep in mind, that Korean Air will add surcharges to the tickets as if they were cash fares. This can translate to hefty fees for travel to Europe, but fortunately Hawaii flights are still $11 per segment!
There will certainly be some bugs in the new system, so have patience, and you should be able to find some awesome value. Cheers!