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I really enjoyed my first flight in Korean Air Business Class last year and my second flight in Korean Air’s 777 smaller Business Class cabin was great as well. I’m a loyal Delta flyer and I flew with Korean since their ticket price was right. I actually must go with the cheapest within a few hundred dollars on international Business Travel, so I didn’t really have a choice. To give you an example, a fare changed within 24 hours of my booking my flight, and my travel service moved my Korea to Singapore segment over to Singapore in their 777 flat-bed Business Class for less than a $100 difference. Hey, I didn’t complain.
Thankfully, I was able to credit my Korean Air flight to Delta and earned Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM). I didn’t earn the full bonus for Business Class that I would have on Delta (150%), but I was happy earning 125% MQMs on the flights to and from Asia. No longer will members even be able to earn the 125% accrual for Business Class flights with Korean Air.
Delta has reduced the mileage accrual with Korean Air and I’m left scratching my head on the strategy behind their change.
New Delta Medallion Qualifying Mile Accrual With Korean Air
Delta has slashed the earning rate for Delta flyers who decide to take a flight with Korean Air and deposit the miles into a Delta account. The biggest blow in my opinion is to Business Class tickets in C, D, and I classes. These were the classes that used to earn 125% MQMs but now only earn 75% MQMs. Tickets flown prior to March 1, 2013 are exempt from the changes.
Korean Air’s earning on Delta flights isn’t that much better. At least Business Class fares C, D, I, J, and S earn 125% accrual in the Korean Air SkyPass program. But their coach earning for L, U, and T fares has absolutely no accrual. That’s hard to believe, but that is what their chart shows.
Delta has slashed MQM earning rates on partner airline Korean Air. The change looks like it was made to discourage flying with their partner Korean Air. If you wish to earn status with Delta, you’ll be punished for flying a partner instead of Delta. Unfortunately for Delta, it may have unintended consequences as some business travelers can’t drive business their way if there prices are significantly different.
Korean Air is expanding service to the US with A380 double-decker planes this year. They also have a loyalty program that offers value to their members. In addition, they partner with Chase, where Chase cardholders of the Ink Plus® Business Card, the Ink Bold® Business Card, and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can transfer their large signup bonuses over to Korean Air to redeem for awards on Korean Air including First Class.
What’s the benefit of being in an alliance together if you don’t offer reciprocal benefits?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say this change will make me rethink which airline I choose or credit mileage accrual for international flights when Korean is the only viable SkyTeam option.
- Korean Air – 60,000 miles for First Class Award to French Polynesia from Hawaii
- Korean Air – 90,000 miles for Business Class Award to French Polynesia from U.S. mainland
- Korean Air – 80,000 miles for Business Class Award to Europe from U.S.
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