Best Ways to Use Korean Air SkyPass Miles for Maximum Value


How Much It Will Cost

Korean Air: Award Chart (also be sure to check out the Peak Season Calendar dates.)

SkyTeam: (by departure region): North America (below), Asia 1, Asia 2, Asia 3, Oceania, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Award Charts for Other Partners

  • Alaska (also Below)- Good value for travel inside of U.S. and from U.S. to Canada. One stopover is allowed.
  • Emirates (priced by direct roundtrip segments) (high surcharges)
  • Etihad (priced by direct roundtrip segments) (no surcharges)
  • JAL: Economy 35,000 and Business 45,000 (Only between Incheon-Narita, Gimpo-Haneda, Pusan-Narita)
  • Hawaiian (priced by direct roundtrip segments)
  • GOL
  • Jet Airways

Region Definitions

Round the World

  • Cost: Economy for 140,000 points and Business for 220,000 points.
  • Only Skyteam partners. Travel must be via both Pacific and Atlantic oceans and must be in 1 continuous direction, eastbound or westbound.
  • A maximum of 9 transfers are allowed on a ticket, with a maximum of 5 in a single area. A maximum of 6 stopovers are allowed on a ticket, with up to 4 in a single area.
    • Areas are divided into three zones: (1) North/South America, (2) Europe/Africa/Middle East, and (3) Asia/Oceania.
    • Transfer= a stop less than 24 hours or less than 4 hours within North America).
    • Stopover= A stop more than 24 hours. Stopovers include transfers, so you have a total of 9 cities you can fly to on a single ticket.
    • “When 4 stopovers are reached in one area, 1 stopover is available in other areas respectively.”
    • “When 3 transfers are reached in one area, 2 transfers and 1 transfer are available in other areas respectively.”
  • Backtracking is allowed in an area. You just can’t go backtrack to a different “area.”
  • You have to go back to your origin city if it is the same country as your final city. 
  • You have to complete the ticket within one year from the date that the ticket was issued.

 


Airlines That You Can Fly

Skyteam Partners

  • Aeroflot (high fuel surcharges)
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Europa (high fuel surcharges)
  • Air France (medium fuel surcharges)
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Czech Airlines (medium fuel surcharges)
  • Delta
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Kenya Airways (high fuel surcharges)
  • KLM (medium fuel surcharges)
  • MEA
  • Saudia
  • Tarom
  • Vietnam Airlines (medium fuel surcharges)
  • Xiamen Air. 

Other Partners

  • Alaska
  • Emirates (high fuel surcharges)
  • Etihad
  • JAL
  • Hawaiian
  • GOL
  • Jet Airways.

Booking Tips

Award Booking Restrictions

You can only book awards using Korean points for yourself or immediate family members (parents, grandparents, siblings, children, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and children-in-law). If the other party has a different last name, you may have to show Korean a birth or marriage certificate. you will need to complete the bonus redemption and family registration forms and email them to engskypass@koreanair.com after you found award space. (If using Gmail, do not drag and drop image. Add it via the paperclip icon). If you are married, send a photo of the marriage license as well. 

  • However, you may be able to get around this rule by transferring points to their own Korean Airlines account. 

Finding Award Space: For Skyteam partners, you can find award space using Air France’s system. For other partners, you can find award space on Emirates using Alaska Airlines, on Etihad by using their website, and for Alaska Airlines using American Airlines’ system.

Award Booking: After you found award space, check Korean’s online system (requires signing into your account) for flights on Korean or SkyTeam partners.

Stopovers

  • Korean: One stopover is allowed for each outbound and inbound flight. Two stopovers are allowed during the entire round trip. (Only when flying Korean Airlines)
    • Stopovers will most likely be in Seoul, but could do a stopover on one of Korean’s Fifth Freedom routes (Honolulu to Tokyo; or Colombo to Male). However, it is about a 75-minute bus ride from Seoul ICN Airport to downtown Seoul, so two stopovers in Seoul may be inefficient. Instead, you could do the U.S. to Seoul to Colombo (stopover) to the Maldives, and then the Maldives to Colombo to Seoul (stopover) to the U.S. to maximize your two stopovers. 
  • SkyTeam Partners: One stopover (over 24 hours) is permitted during the entire journey, and is included in the number of transfers. One surface segment (open-jaw) is permitted at the destination and is not considered a stopover (e.g. Atlanta to Maui, and then Honolulu to Atlanta is an acceptable open-jaw).
  • Alaska, Jet Airways, and GOL: One stopover allowed. One open jaw allowed at the destination.

Segments Limit: Maximum of three segments each way. (2 stops)

One-Way Prices: One-way partner awards cost the exact same as a roundtrip award, so you should always book round-trip partner awards. If flying on Korean Air, you can book one-way for 50% of points for a round-trip. Booking a one-way on Korea allows you to do an open-jaw. (e.g. Atlanta to Seoul (stopover) to Singapore. Bangkok to Seoul (stopover) to Atlanta).

Flight Inside Korea: Domestic flights inside South Korea require extra points. For example, LAX to Seoul is 35,000 points one-way in economy, but LAX to Seoul to any other city in South Korea is 40,000 points one-way in economy. (This is a really stupid rule since you can add Japan to your trip without any additional points (e.g. LAX to Seoul (stopover) to Tokyo is 35,000 points one-way in economy))

Award Fees: Changes (about $27) and Cancel and redeposit (3,000 miles)

Booking: Call 1-800-438-5000 and ask to be transferred to SkyPass office. You can book a flight within 360 days of departure. 

Award Holds: Korean no longer allows award holds.


Upgrades

Korean Upgrade Chart (Must be in fare class J, C, Y, B, M)

Skyteam Upgrade Chart (must scroll down) on Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air France, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Saudia Airlines

Interesting Roundtrip Upgrades: US- Central America (20,000), US- Europe (35,000), US- Middle East (55,000) Europe- Asia 3 or Africa (45,000)


Sweet Spots

North America to Hawaii- You can fly on Delta with one stopover from anywhere in the U.S. to Hawaii for 25,000 points in economy class or 45,000 points in first class. However, finding first class award space on Delta to Hawaii will be difficult. If you can’t find award space in economy class or first class, you can also fly on Alaska Airlines in economy class for 30,000 points round trip. 

North America to Europe– Korean has the cheapest awards to Europe. Korean only charges 80,000 points in business class and 100,000 points in first class for this award. Look for space on Delta, Air France, AeroMexico or KLM. You can avoid fuel surcharges by booking on Delta or AeroMexico. 

U.S./Canada to Costa Rica– You can fly in Alaska’s economy class for 30,000 points round trip. Taxes will be about $75.

Flying Domestic or to Canada: You can fly anywhere in the U.S. or Canada on Alaska with one stopover for only 20,000 points in economy or 40,000 in first class. However, this is only useful if you are traveling to or from the West Coast due to Alaska’s route map and lack of a midwest hub. Some examples could be: St. Louis to Seattle (stopover) to Anchorage (about a $483 flight) or Boston to Seattle (Stopover) to Fairbanks Alaska for 40,000 in first class ($2,000+ flight).

North America to China/Northeast Asia– This award only costs 125,000 on Korean Air in business class or 160,000 in first class. Northeast Asia includes Hong Kong and Taipei and you can do two stopovers. 

North America to South America– Korean considers all of South America as one zone. Flying to Southern South America can be very expensive, but you can use 50,000 points roundtrip for economy class and 110,000 points for business class. Look for award space on Aeromexico, Delta, or Aerolineas Argentinas. For example, New York to Mexico City (stopover) to Santiago, Chile or Buenos Aires. Both of those flights are $1,000+ for economy. 

LAX to Tahiti (PPT): You can fly on Air France for 60,000 in economy class and 90,000 in business. However, it is difficult to find award space. (I searched about a total of 30 days in random months and only found one day with economy award space (9+ seats), but all other days had zero economy or business award space). 

 

SkyTeam

Note: LAX to Tahiti (PPT) on Air France is 60,000 in economy class and 90,000 in business.

Alaska Airlines