Korean Air, a Skyteam member, recently made positive changes to their Skyteam award chart. Don’t worry, it’s not a devaluation!

In fact, it actually benefits the frequent flyer because round-trip awards to Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands are now the same price as domestic round trips costing 25k miles in economy and 45k miles in business class! This change has been in effect since September 21, 2014 and can mean big savings for anyone booking awards to Hawaii or the US Virgin Islands.

Why is this a big deal? Most airlines charge 60k miles to 75k miles for a business class round trip to Hawaii/US Virgin Islands, but now with Korean Air miles you can get there on Delta operated flights for just 45k miles!

People on the west coast have reaped the benefits of British Airways’ distance based award chart to fly to Hawaii for just 25k miles in economy using American Airlines or Alaska Airlines. While it is great for people out West, this was of course disadvantageous for people flying from the Midwest and the eastern part of the United States.

Old Korean Air Skyteam Award Chart

Here is the old Korean Air Skyteam award chart showing round trip award costs to Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands—35k miles in economy class and 75k miles business class. The US Virgin Islands and Hawaii used to be considered as the same region and priced as Central America.

koreanair_awardchart_usa

koreanair_awardchart_old_regions

New Award Chart

Here is the new Korean Air Skyteam award chart which now considers both Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands within the ‘North America’ region. The change of regions means huge mileage savings for award flights from the US to Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands.

koreanair_awardchart_new_northamerica

koreanair_awardchart_new_regions

Also, notice award flights from the USA to Tahiti are still a great value redemption of only 90k miles round-trip in business class. This is certainly one of the many sweet spots on the Korean Air award chart.

Earning Korean Air Skypass Miles

Recall that Korean Air is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and that these points can be accrued via some of the best personal and business cards!

chaseURpartners

Besides the great sign-up bonuses, Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards also come with bonus spending categories which makes it easier to amass Korean Air miles!

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – 2x points on all dining and travel. Also a 7% annual dividend on points earned until the end of 2015.
  • Chase Ink Plus – 5x points on utilities such as cable, internet and phone as well as 2x on gas and hotels.
  • Chase Ink Bold – 5x points on utilities such as cable, internet and phone as well as 2x on gas and hotels.
  • Chase Freedom – Rotating 5x categories, however, you will need one of the three premium Ultimate Rewards earning cards mentioned above to transfer the points to your Korean Air Skypass account.

You can maximize these bonus categories through the various manufacture spend techniques that have been covered in our earlier manufacture spending series.

Korean Air from time-to-time will increase the bonus of their co-branded credit card issued by US Bank, so be on the lookout for it at in the Top Deals section.

Quick Recap

Korean Air made a change to their SkyTeam award chart that actually benefits the frequent flyer. They moved Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands into the North America region making award flights to these destinations the same price as a domestic round trip—only 25,000 miles round trip.

For awards from the United States to Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands you now have two great options. From the US west coast using British Airways Avios are still a great way to maximize your miles by finding award space on either American Airlines or Alaska Airlines.

Now you can use Korean Air miles to book Delta flights from anywhere in the United States round-trip for only  25k miles in economy and 45k in business class! This recent change adds tremendous value to the Korean Air SkyTeam award chart for anyone looking to book cheap awards to Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands.

8 Comments

  • Can you do one way flights? We transferred our Amex points to Hawaiian Air, but only have enough for one way business class… Or round trip coach. Would be nice to fly business class. 🙂

    • Hi djrobsd

      You can’t do one-ways on partner flights for now. However with Delta allowing one-way awards starting 2015 there is some hope that Korean Air might change their policy.

  • but….. we are talking about Delta Award, which unlike United or AA, make availability a joke and thats to its own skymiles members. beside Delta is not the strongest in Hawaii as far as schedule flights from west coast. we ll see if they hold their words in Jan-2015

    • Hi Choi

      Those who benefit the most from this are the ones not living out west. People on the West coast can always rely on using BA miles to fly either Alaska or AA. For those living in the Midwest or the East coast can finally benefit from this. Delta availability isn’t that bad on some routes actually like flying out of NYC (they serve all three airports – JFK, LGA, EWR almost equally) Then there is Atlanta, which is of course dominated by Delta. You are correct that Delta has made promises for Jan 2015 so lets see how it holds up….

  • Hey! Isn’t it still much cheaper to use AA miles?

    17,500 economy one way Level 1 SAAver
    22,500 economy one way Level 2 SAAver

    What am I missing?