Korean Air SkyPass Eliminates Award Holds

Korean Air SkyPass Eliminates Award Holds


Korean Air SkyPass Has Eliminated Award Holds, making transferring points to SkyPass riskier. That's because Ultimate Rewards points transfers to SkyPass aren't instant, as of April 2018. I discovered this when attempting to put something on hold for an Award Booking client earlier today, which used to be possible online, and getting an error message. A call to the SkyPass help desk confirmed that holds are no longer possible; you must have the requisite miles in your SkyPass account and ticket immediately, otherwise you run the risk of award space disappearing.

Previously, Korean Air SkyPass was a great way to obtain first class and business class award tickets for couples or even families between the U.S. and Asia, with generous 1 month hold times (earlier, it used to be even more generous, up until a few days before departure).

But as with many good deals, so many took advantage of these generous hold times, as a backup until another preferred award cleared, that Korean Air was likely flying with empty seats that could have seated others for award travel, if not paid travel.

Now, if you attempt to book an award with the “Pay Later” function, you won't find it. Instead, if there aren't enough SkyPass miles in your account, you'll receive the error message “Unfortunately, the members of your family don't have enough miles to purchase this flight. Please try again after checking needed mileage amount.”

Korean Air SkyPass Eliminates Award Holds-Error Message



How Long Do Transfers Take from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Korean SkyPass?

Transfers can take up to 7 business days, and reports have ranged from 2 days to the full 7 business days.


What is Korean Air's Change/Redeposit Fee?

For international awards, the change/redeposit fee is KRW 30,000 (~$27).


When Does Peak Season Pricing Apply for Korean Air U.S. Routes?

Peak season pricing applies as follows:

  • Ex-U.S. to Korea, Asia and Oceania: Dec. 7-25, 2018; May 16-July 12, 2019; Dec. 10-23, 2019
  • Korea/Asia/Oceania to the U.S.: July 12-Aug. 18, 2018; Sep. 20-27, 2018; Oct. 5-7, 2018; Dec. 20-31, 2018; Jan. 1, 2019; Feb. 1-7, 2019; July 12-Aug. 18, 2019; Sep. 11-16, 2019; Oct. 3-7, 2019; Dec. 20-31, 2019


Doesn't Korean SkyPass Have Strict Requirements for Booking Others?

Yes; Korean SkyPass only permits you to book travel for yourself and close family members: your spouse, kids, parents, parents-in-law, brothers/sisters, sons-in-law/daughters-in-law, grandparents and grandchildren. If the person isn't related to you in one of these ways, you can't use your SkyPass miles to book an award for them, they would either need to book it for themselves (if it's a fiscally responsible adult, encourage him/her to get a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, as Ultimate Rewards points transfer 1:1 to SkyPass) or have a relative in one of the above categories book for them.


Where's Your Review of Korean Air First Class?

None yet, but I'll be flying it later this year, so stay tuned!


Does Korean Air SkyPass eliminating award holds throw a wrench in your travel planning? Or are you glad that there may be more award availability, since it won't be possible for others to hog award space without actually paying the requisite mileage?

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Paul Davis
5 years ago

I think this program has a long shelf life, something like 10 years before awards expire. That makes it less of a chance you’re taking by transferring.