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Korean Air Secrets – 80k Europe Business Class Award

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Korean Air has a lot more going for it than I originally thought. I didn’t realize it, but they offer Business Class award tickets from the U.S. to Europe for only 80,000 SkyPass miles. Since they are a SkyTeam carrier, this means you can redeem U.S. to Europe awards on partner carriers such as Air France, Delta, AeroMexico, and a few others.

My recent flight in Korean Air in Business Class got me more interested in the Korean SkyPass program. I shared how you can redeem only 60,000 Korean Air SkyPass miles for a First Class ticket from Hawaii to French Polynesia on Hawaiian. I don’t fly them much, and when I do, I credit my miles to the Delta SkyMiles program.

But since the Korean Air SkyPass program a transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) program, I can easily transfer miles over at a 1:1 ratio to take advantage of the great deals their award chart offers. You can quickly increase your Chase Ultimate Reward (UR) point balance by signing up for credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Bold. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card credit card is currently offering a 40,000 signup bonus (Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card), the Chase Ink Bold credit card (Ink Bold Application Link) is currently offering a 50,000 sign up bonus, and the Chase Ink Plus Business card is offering 50,000 signup bonus once a spending threshold is met (Ink Plus Business Card Application Link.)

We demonstrated how you can redeem 90,000 Korean Air SkyPass miles for a Business Class award ticket to French Polynesia. That award proved hard to price out due to the difficulty I had getting the Korean Air agent to find the Air France availability even though the award space existed. We also illustrated how you can redeem 150,000 Delta SkyMiles for a Business Class award ticket to French Polynesia on Air France.

Using Korean Air SkyPass Miles

With the method I’ll demonstrate in this post, you can book a Business Class award on SkyTeam partner airlines from the U.S. to Europe for only 80,000 Korean Air SkyPass miles. Also note that you can redeem only 100,000 Korean SkyPass miles for a First Class award ticket from U.S. to Europe.

Step 1: Check The Flight You Want Is Eligible

First, you have to check which partner airline flights ineligible for award redemption. You can see the ineligible flight ranges by carrier below.

Step 2: Check The Terms And Conditions

The flights on SkyTeam partners come with quite a few terms and conditions. Pay close attention to the terms and conditions as this can help add value to the award flight. The terms and conditions are listed below:

  • Coverage:
    • All award itineraries that include SkyTeam partner airlines
    • Korean Air + SkyTeam Airlines, SkyTeam Airlines + SkyTeam Airlines, A single SkyTeam Airline
    • Korea domestic segments must be issued separately
    • SkyTeam mileage award tickets to Korean Air’s Prestige Sleeper seat, first class Kosmo Sleeper seat, and first class Sleeper seat will require additional miles for redemption
    • SkyTeam Award will be applicable as of June 28, 2012 for Middle East Airlines
  • Application:
    • - 8 Segments can be used at most.
    • - The most direct flights must be flown between origin and destination.
    • : Stopover/transfer at other regions can be allowed for flight connection.
    • - Departure and arrival in the same country is allowed twice, including origin and destination.
    • (Domestic flight s are exceptional from counting.)
    • - Itineraries which include both transatlantic and transpacific routes are not allowed.
    • - Award with transferring miles among family members is not applied; only mileage transfer to registered beneficiaries is possible.
  • Stopover: Twice in the whole itinerary (including destination)
    • This is amazing!! Two stop overs mean you can stop in Paris as a stop over, go to Rome as destination, then return through Spain on your second stop over
  • Open Jaw: It is allowed once and considered as one Stopover
    • This adds to the gimmicks just like the stop over rules.

These rules are fantastic for award travel. For an example of how valuable these rules are, check out how I saved a friend over 1,000 Euros by use of Stopover and Open Jaws.

Step 3: Find Availability On SkyTeam Partner Airlines To Europe

There are several ways to search for SkyTeam Airline availability between the U.S. and Europe. In this example, we’ll show how you can find availability from Los Angeles to Paris in Business Class at the low award level.

Open up AirFrance.us and search for availability on the Los Angeles to Paris route in Business Class. We know Air France charges 100,000 round trip for a Los Angeles to Paris flight in Business Class at the low level. So we are looking for 50,000 mile segments in the month long availability search to find low availability to Paris.

Notice that some flights have higher taxes and fees. Some options show only $20.45 in taxes while others show $422.20 in taxes. The lower amount generally means it is a Delta or AeroMexico operated flight. Since this route is not operated by Delta, the lower amount indicates availability on AeroMexico on those days. AeroMexico will route the flight through Mexico City for a total flight miles of 7,277 which exceeds the maximum permitted mileage on this route of 6,793. So we have to rule out AeroMexico even though it shows availability with Air France Flying Blue program.

For this example, we’ll select an Air France option since it is the direct flight on this route.

Step 4: Call Korean Air To Confirm Availability

You can call Korean Air to confirm availability by calling their SkyPass service center at 1-800-438-5000.

Step 5: Transfer Miles From Chase To Korean Air

You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to SKYPASS miles at a 1:1 ratio. The miles will be deposited within 3-5 business days after the request for redemption is made.

Step 6: Call Korean To Reserve Award Ticket

Confirm your miles have transferred into your Korean SkyPass account then call Korean Air to book your award ticket to Europe in Business Class with SkyTeam Partners for only 80,000 miles.

You must book SkyTeam awards by calling the SkyPass service center at 1-800-438-5000 from Monday through Friday 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM PST. The award can be issued only at Korean Air ticketing office and is not available at the airport. Ticketing is permitted when all segments hold confirmed seats.

Bottom Line

For only 80,000 Korean Sky Pass miles you can redeem for a Business Class award ticket from the U.S. to Europe. This is just another reason the Korean Air SkyPass program offers great value. They also have a great product and good award availability on Korean Air operated flights compared to other SkyTeam partners.

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About the author: The Weekly Flyer is writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Usairelite July 30, 2012, 9:26 am

    How can you redeem 100,000 miles for first class?

  • Amit July 30, 2012, 9:31 am

    “The miles will be deposited within 3-5 business days after the request for redemption is made.” — This is what concerns me, there’s no guarantee award availability will remain the same for this 3-5 day window.

  • Alex July 30, 2012, 9:36 am

    So in this case, by using 80k sky pass miles would you still have to pay the $422 in taxes and fees?

    Also, you mentioned using 100k sky pass miles for a first class award on AF, but I didn’t think you could book first class awards with AF unless you were an elite flyer with them??

  • Stuart Falk July 30, 2012, 9:39 am

    The high taxes and fees make this a poor deal compared with transferring the Ultimate Reward points to United.

  • Scott July 30, 2012, 9:40 am

    can you hold seats for the time it takes to do a transfer, and 100K seems like a pretty good FC value also.

  • Asen July 30, 2012, 11:28 am

    What was the total fuel surcharge?

  • Celio July 30, 2012, 11:34 am

    Hello, can you issue one-way awards?

  • Sitinfirst July 30, 2012, 11:51 am

    How can you redeem an F award to Europe or North Africa?

  • Mikey July 30, 2012, 3:12 pm

    I booked a kal flight for my daughter for oct this year, business class, 135K miles and just over $400 in “fees”

    CX using american miles first class only cost me $42 in “fees”
    and thats first class in the lax/hkg/lax parts of the trip.

    going to cancel my kal credit card before the year end payment is due.

  • Steve July 30, 2012, 5:21 pm

    I’m curious what the KE fees and fuel surcharges would be, as you can’t really use AF’s fees as an example.

  • Dan July 30, 2012, 6:13 pm

    Nice post; thanks

  • ShoNuffHarlem November 12, 2013, 2:18 pm

    I tried to get MIA-MUC showing on Air France and Delta low level availability, they said they are blocked from seeing partner award space For 2014 Q1 until December 2013. How could THAT be true??

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