How to Redeem Korean Air SkyPass Miles for Award Travel

How to Redeem Korean Air SkyPass Miles for Award Travel


How to Redeem Korean Air SkyPass Miles has changed a bit, since Korean Air recently updated their Web site. As part of the update, it's also no longer possible to hold awards until a few days prior to departure date, which was a crazy good perk while it lasted. You could hold Korean Air First Class award seats, while keeping your Chase Ultimate Rewards points in your Ultimate Rewards account, and then just a few days before, if Cathay First Class or Singapore Suites award availability opened up, book an alternative last minute award instead and not ticket the Korean SkyPass award, keeping all your Chase Ultimate Rewards points intact.

It was too good to last, and the new system auto generates a date about a month away, by which you must ticket or lose your held reservation. 

To redeem for SkyPass awards, go to the new Korean Air SkyPass Redeem Awards site

Here's what else you need to know about redeeming Korean Air SkyPass Miles:

Redeeming Korean SkyPass Miles for Flights on Korean Air

  • One way awards permitted for half of the roundtrip price
  • 1 stopover allowed on a one way award
  • 2 stopovers allowed on a roundtrip award
  • An award for an infant under 2 years old requires 10% of the adult award redemption cost
  • Peak season travel requires more miles, so avoid peak season if at all possible. Peak season dates for international and Americas travel is below. Note that 2015 dates are in the far right column.

Korean SkyPass Peak Travel Dates 2014-2015

 

Redeeming Korean SkyPass Miles for Flights on SkyTeam Partners

  • No one way awards (or if one way, the same roundtrip price applies)
  • No infant or child mileage discounts
  • 1 stopover allowed on the roundtrip award
  • 1 open jaw only permitted at destination (permitted in addition to the 1 stopover)
  • Blackout dates apply for some partners, for example China Airlines has the following blackout dates: 
  • From Asia to North America: December 20, 2014 – January 4, 2015
  • From North America to Asia: December 10, 2014 – January 4, 2015
  • Departures from Amsterdam: December 11, 2014 – December 27, 2014

SkyTeam Partner Award Chart Changes

Award regions and the award charts changed as of September 21, 2014, but at least Korean has the decency to provide a 1 year grace period, until September 20, 2015, when you can either use the old award chart or use the new award chart.

Old Award Regions:

Area Country

Northeast Asia

Korea, Taiwan, East Russia, Mongolia, Japan, China (including Hong Kong) 

Southeast Asia

Guam, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Brunei, Saipan, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Palau, Philippines

Southwest Asia

Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan,Uzbekistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Central Russia 

Oceania

Nauru, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, French Polynesia, Australia

North America

United States (excluding Hawaii), Canada 

Mexico, Hawaii, Central America

Guadalupe, Guatemala, Grenada, Nicaragua, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Barbados, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Belize, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, St Kitts-Nevis,  Aruba, Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Antilles, El Salvador, Honduras, US Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba,Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Hawaii

Latin America 1

Guyana, Venezuela, Suriname, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Peru, French Guiana 

Latin America 2

Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay 

Europe

Georgia, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, West Russia, Romania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Belgium, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Moldova, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Cyprus, San Marino, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Armenia, Ireland, Iceland, Azerbaijan, Andorra, Albania, Estonia, United Kingdom, Austria, Ukraine, Italy, Gibraltar, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Turkey, Portugal, Poland, France, Finland, Hungary

Middle East

Bahrain, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Israel, Qatar, Kuwait 

North Africa

Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia

Central and South Africa,
Indian Ocean

Ghana, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of South Africa, Niger, Liberia, Lesotho, Rwanda, Reunion, Madagascar, Mayotte, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Benin, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, Swaziland, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Zaire, Zambia, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Zimbabwe, Chad, Cameroon, Kenya, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Togo

 

Old Award Chart from the U.S./Canada:

Departure
Arrival
Economy
Business
First

USA/Canada

Central & South Africa, Indian Ocean

80,000

120,000

160,000

Middle East/Near East

80,000

120,000

160,000

North Africa

50,000

80,000

100,000

Europe

50,000

80,000

100,000

Latin America 2

50,000

110,000

Latin America 1

35,000

75,000

Mexico/Hawaii/Central America

35,000

75,000

USA/Canada

25,000

45,000

South Pacific

110,000

185,000

260,000

Southwest Asia

100,000

170,000

230,000

Southeast Asia

90,000

155,000

200,000

Northeast Asia

80,000

140,000

180,000

 

New Award Regions:

Area
Country

 

Asia 1
(Korea, Japan)

Korea, Japan

 

Asia 2
(China, Southeast Asia, 
East Russia)

Guam, Taiwan, East Russia, Laos, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Macao, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Brunei, Saipan, Singapore, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, China, Central Russia, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Palau, Philippines, Hong Kong

 

Asia 3
(Southwest Asia)

Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan

 

Oceania

Nauru, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Samoa, Solomon Islands, American Samoa, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, Fiji, Australia 

 

North America

Mexico, United States (including Hawaii), US Virgin Islands, Canada, Puerto Rico 

 

Central America

Guyana, Guadalupe, Guatemala, Grenada, Nicaragua, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Montserrat, Barbados, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Belize, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, St. Kitts-Nevis, Suriname, Aruba, Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Antilles, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana 

 

Latin America

Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Chile,
Colombia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru

 
 

Europe

Georgia, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Romania, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Mordovia, Belgium, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, San Marino, West Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Armenia, Iceland, Ireland, Azerbaijan, Andorra, Albania, Algeria, Estonia, United Kingdom, Austria, Ukraine, Italy, Gibraltar, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Turkey, Tunisia, Portugal, Poland, France, Finland, Hungary

 

Middle East

Bahrain, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Israel, Qatar, Kuwait

 

Africa

Ghana, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of South Africa, Niger, Liberia, Lesotho, Rwanda, Libya, Reunion, Madagascar, Mayotte, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Benin, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, Swaziland, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Zaire, Zambia, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Zimbabwe, Chad , Cameroon, Kenya, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Togo

 
 

 

New Award Chart from North America

Departure 
Arrival
Economy
Business
First 

North America

North America 

25,000

45,000

Central America 

35,000

75,000

South America

50,000

110,000

Europe

50,000

80,000

100,000

Middle East, Africa

80,000

120,000

160,000

Asia 1

80,000

140,000

180,000

Asia 2

90,000

155,000

200,000

Asia 3

100,000

170,000

230,000

Oceania

110,000

185,000

260,000

NOTES
  • USA-Tahiti by Air France : Economy 60,000/Business 90,000 miles
  • Redemption miles, operating routes and flight schedules can be changed without prior notice in accordance with partner airlines’ policies and circumstances. Please check more details at Korean Air Service Centers.

 

Modest Changes for SkyPass Awards from the U.S. on SkyTeam Partners

As you can see, some awards, notably between the U.S. and Central America, have actually gone down. Others, such as the U.S. to Europe, the U.S. to the Middle East, and U.S. to Australia/Oceania, have remained the same. But a few awards have gone up. For example, these awards, because China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mongolia are now in the Asia 2 region instead of being grouped with Japan and Korea:

  • U.S. to China / Hong Kong goes up from 80K/140K/180K for Economy/Business/First respectively to 90K/155K/200K SkyPass miles
  • Similarly, U.S. to Taiwan goes up from 80K/140K/180K for Economy/Business/First respectively to 90K/155K/200K SkyPass miles
 

Redeeming Korean SkyPass Miles for Flights on SkyTeam Partners
 
You can also redeem Korean SkyPass miles for flights on Korean's non SkyTeam partners:
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • Hawaiian
Rules are similar to SkyTeam, although more restrictive since only a single carrier may be flown:
  • Single carrier must be flown for the entire itinerary
  • No one way awards (or if one way, the same roundtrip price applies)
  • No infant or child mileage discounts
  • 1 open jaw only permitted at destination
 
 
Searching for Korean Air SkyPass Award Availability and Ticketing
 
The easiest way to search for award space on Korean Air flights is online. You will need to have a SkyPass account, but you do not need to have the requisite miles in your account to search for award availability for yourself and any family members that are part of your Family Plan. Here's are a couple of searches I ran for a Korean Air First Class award and a Korean Air Prestige Business Class award, from New York JFK to Seoul ICN:
 
How to Book Korean Air SkyPass Awards Online
 
Book Korean Air First Class Awards Online with SkyPass Miles
 
 
Alternatively, you can easily see how many first class Korean Air award seats there are if you have an ExpertFlyer subscription or use a free trial of the service.
 
Note that for award redemptions on SkyTeam partners or non-SkyTeam partners, you will need to call the Korean Air Service Center at 800-438-5000.
 
As noted above, even if you call the service center to place an award on hold, there will be a deadline to ticket that is generally 1 month from when you called. You can no longer hold an award for months and months, until a few days before departure date. 
 
If you need to issue a ticket or to otherwise contact the English speaking SkyPass customer service team, the email is engskypass@koreanair.com. Note that this team is based in Kuala Lumpur but works 9pm – 8am Kuala Lumpur time, which is currently 8am-7pm ET.
 
 
Changing or Cancelling/Redepositing a Korean Air SkyPass Award
 
Any change in a SkyPass award will require the difference in miles and taxes/fees, as applicable, but other than that, there's no change fee and no fee to redeposit an award, at the time of writing this post. Allow about 1 week for the SkyPass miles to be redeposited in your account, and 5-6 weeks for the taxes/fees to be refunded to your credit card, if you're redepositing a SkyPass award.


Additional Tips
  • Make sure you provide the full name exactly as in the passport of the person traveling, even when putting an award on hold. The agents I've spoken with maintain that the name must be exactly as in the traveler's passport, and any change or addition, such as adding a middle name, would require a redeposit of the award.
  • Also ensure that the credit card you use to pay the taxes and fees on the ticket is one you'll still have with you when you travel, since Korean has been known to request to see it at time of check-in.
  • Transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Korean SkyPass are generally instant, but note that you are only permitted one transfer per day, so plan accordingly.

Need Help with a SkyPass Award Booking? 

Want help with your Korean SkyPass award? TravelSort hotel clients may use my Award Booking Service to book Korean SkyPass awards. Note that I am currently accepting new clients booking a minimum of $3500 in hotel stays or cruises, for the itinerary where award booking assistance is needed. See How to Become a TravelSort Client.

Have you used Korean Air SkyPass awards or flown Korean Air recently?

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