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Until now, the best way to search for award availability aboard Korean Air was to search the airline’s own web site or to search for particular kinds of awards on ExpertFlyer. Even so, Korean Air has tons of blackout dates and very limited business class award fares, so finding open award seats was kind of like taking a shot in the dark.
But now, in a huge development for SkyTeam flyers – since Korean Air is pretty much the program’s premier Asia-based carrier – you can find Korean Air award availability on Delta.com.
I normally rail against Delta.com’s shoddy search engine, but at least they’re making improvements like displaying Virgin Australia and now Korean Air awards.
In the US and Canada, Korean Air flies to Los Angeles and New York JFK with its A380, and San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto and Washington DC.
Just to get a feel for it, I searched flights from Los Angeles to Seoul and found lots of different dates with business class availability, including this itinerary in November for a non-stop on the outbound and a direct flight via Narita on the inbound, all for 120,000 SkyMiles and $66.40 in business class roundtrip.
And then just to make things interesting, I found an itinerary from LAX to Sao Paolo – an off-label route that only Korean flies non-stop – for 100,000 miles and $58 roundtrip in business class roundtrip.
Despite the new search functionality, availability is still tight on many routes it seems, like the JFK-ICN and the ORD-ICN ones, but play around with it and see what you can find. At least the intra-Asian Korean Air flights now show, like on this sample itinerary from SFO-ICN in January where the trans-Pacific route is on Delta, but the connecting flight is on Korean – all in business class for 120,00 miles and $91 in business.
Remember, unfortunately you can’t redeem your Delta SkyMiles for Korean Air first class, and the airline imposes tons of blackout dates, but this is still an improvement on trying to book in the past, because if Delta shows award availability, you can snag those seats. Plus, since Korean Air award space has historically been difficult to search, it appears like there is a lot more out there than anyone realized, which is exciting because it is one of the few really standout ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles.
Hat tip: Points to Point B