Redeeming Delta SkyMiles for Korean Air Flights

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Delta Air Lines is a member of the Sky Team Alliance which allows for award bookings on various partner airlines. While Delta’s SkyMiles award pricing varies for flights operated by Delta, partner redemptions have a set value.

As of early 2019, a one-way award ticket on a partner will cost 35,000 SkyMiles in economy and 85,000 SkyMiles in business class. Unfortunately, with redeeming Delta SkyMiles, only economy, premium economy, and business class award bookings are allowed. Korean Air does offer an impressive First Class Kosmo Suite that can be booked through Korean SkyPass.

To book an award flight on Korean Air with Delta SkyMiles, its important to pick a valid routing. Delta has restrictions including maximum permitted mileage, blackout dates, and number of connections. Additionally, Korean Air only flies out of 9 cities in the continental United States.

These are; New York (JFK), Washington-DC (IAD), Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Las Vegas (LAX), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and Seattle (SEA). (In 2019 – Korean Air will launch service to Boston (BOS) as well)

Their primary international hub is in Seoul-Incheon (ICN) in South Korea. This means that almost all flights departing from America will connect or complete in Seoul.

Connecting through Seoul offers dozens of destinations at major cities across Asia including Bangkok (BKK), Bali-Denpasar (DPS), and Taipei (TPE). Depending on the route, Korean Airlines operates either the Airbus A330, A380 or Boeing 747, 777 (the 787 will be used for Boston route).

After determining a desired destination, visit Delta to begin the award search. It’s generally recommended to search one-ways when looking for availability. Once the both outbound and return flights are selected, redo the search as a roundtrip. Make sure to check “miles” for show price and the show flights for Delta and Partner Airlines is selected. Select the desired cabin of travel from the dropdown, use Delta One if looking for business class on partner airlines.

It’s important to be flexible with date of departure if possible or to book in advance (as early as 330 days). Delta offers the ability to view both a month and 7-day view of award search pricing. Clicking the desired day will provide a further breakdown of available flight options.

On the selection page, there will be several indications that the flight is operated by Korean Air. These include the flight number, KE 86 (KE is the initials for Korean Air) and the message “KE 86 is operated by Korean Air.”

Delta will show other award flight options that may connect through other cities and on different partner airlines as well. Select the Korean Air flight to be brought to a final summary page.

If planning a round trip, repeat the search from the international departure destination back to the United States. The taxes, fees, and charges will likely adjust when the ticket is searched as a round trip. Once ready for checkout, complete the payment process and Delta will provide a record locator. Use this record locator to select seats through Korean Air’s website.

Love racking up the Delta Miles?

If you are looking for more ways to earn Delta miles, consider The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.


If you’re looking to redeem your Delta SkyMiles for Korean Air , we recommend using the Juicy Miles award booking service, who can help you redeem for the lowest amount of miles while searching availability on partner airlines.

Overall, Korean Air provides a great award redemption opportunity to use Delta SkyMiles for trips to Asia. Award space availability can vary depending on season of travel and class of service.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About Points, Miles & Martinis

Here at Points, Miles and Martinis, we love all things travel. We focus on topics relating to travel including destinations, airline, hotel, car rental and credit card reward programs. Our goal is to help people travel better. - See more at our About Us page.

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  1. To bad KE will only release 1 J class seat for Delta miles. I’m stuck paying higher fee on China Eastern to fly with my wife.

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