Chase Ultimate Rewards just added Korean Air as a transfer partner, allowing you to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points 1:1 into the airline’s Skypass program. (If you’re not familiar with Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can earn 50,000 with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card when you spend $3,000 in 3 months with the first year fee waived. 40,000 points can be transferred into Continental and others at a 1:1 basis, so you’re essentially getting 50,000 Continental, Hyatt or Marriott points. Details here.)
In any case, they’ve added Korean Air’s Skypass as a transfer partner, so you can move those Ultimate Rewards points into that program at a 1:1 ratio. Why should you care? How about only 90,000 miles for a roundtrip ticket in business class to Tahiti?
Korean is part of SkyTeam, so they’re tied in with Delta, Air France, KLM and others. Delta flyers may have learned the hard way that although Korean may have a rewards seat available for its Skypass members, Delta Skymiles members may not be able to book that reward seat EVEN THOUGH IT’S AVAILABLE TO KOREAN’S FREQUENT FLYER MEMBERS. If you’re looking to redeem a reward on Korean and were thinking of using Skymiles, you may find that the availability isn’t there. But it may be as a Skypass member (you can check availability on Korean’s website).
This may be handy if you’re traveling to Asia (obviously) – their award chart is similar to Delta for flights to North Asia, requiring 70k miles for coach and 120k miles for business (105k miles if it’s not a sleeper seat).
It can also be helpful for Korean’s nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo – they require 60k miles in coach and 90k for Prestige non-sleeper seats (which I believe is what they fly on that route – correct me if I’m wrong). LAN has a better product to Sao Paulo, and cheaper redemption requirements (only 60k Starwood points can be transferred in to LAN for a business class seat to Sao Paulo), but LAN doesn’t fly nonstop from the West Coast so Korean may actually be a better choice for you.
You can find a few bargains compared to Delta’s points requirements on Korean’s award chart for Skypass redemption. North America to Europe is 50,000 miles round trip in coach and 80,000 in business – compare that to 60k/100k on Delta.
Air France from the US to Tahiti is 60k miles in coach but only 90k in business. That’s an amazing bargain.
The full chart is available here.
The Korean transfer isn’t for everyone, but it’s another great option for SkyTeam flights to Europe and, obviously, the coveted business class seats to Tahiti on Air France.