Can You Recommend A Business Class Awards Flight From ORD-ICN Using Chase Points?

by on December 22, 2013 · 4 comments

in ANA, Asiana Airlines, Chase, Sunday Reader Questions, Ultimate Rewards, United, Video Blog Post

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TPG reader Alex tweeted me @thepointsguy and asked:

“I am looking to fly ORD to ICN this summer on Chase points. Can you recommend ANA business or should I search for Asiana or United business flights?”

Alex tweeted me to say that he is flying from Chicago O’Hare to Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea, next summer and he is interested in using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book it. He wants to know if he should look for ANA, Asiana or United business class seats. I assume he is going to transfer his points to United and use them to book the tickets, which could be a good option here if he books before February 1, 2014, as United is drastically devaluing its partner redemption options and there are going to be some big changes there that make booking awards on partners like ANA and Asiana very expensive in terms of miles.

United will be replacing the current first and business class seats with its BusinessFirst lie-flat product.

United’s BusinessFirst lie-flat product.

Of course, it is logical to consider United first if your main Star Alliance airline program, or if you have a Chase card like the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus that earns Ultimate Rewards, since the program is a 1:1 transfer partner of United.

There is currently good United availability for flights next summer to Asia. An award flight from Chicago O’Hare to ICN Incheon in July will require 60,000 miles one way in business class for a Saver Award ticket and 150,000 miles for a Standard Award ticket, with both ringing up at just $2.50 in taxes and fees.

ORD-ICN on United

ORD-ICN on United in Business class starts at 60,000 miles one way.

I would definitely prefer flying ANA or Asiana products over United even though they do not have totally horizontal lie-flat seats on many of the flights they use to serve the US, because with United are you are generally going to get worse food and worse service as a whole. The Asian carriers are just nicer overall experiences with better lounges and planes, though Asiana’s old business class is angled lie-flat, which is not as nice as United’s.

ORD-ICN on Korean Airlines

ORD-ICN on Korean Airlines

However, keep in mind that Chase Ultimate Rewards is also a 1:1 transfer partner of Korean Airlines, and there is currently very good availability for the Chicago O’Hare-Seoul/Incheon route in Prestige Class. I used Chase points last year to fly first class from Seoul to Madrid, which was a decent experience even though I was on their old first class product but it was still a nice way to go nonstop between two routes that I didn’t actually think would have nonstop service. Check out my review of my Korean Air First Class 777-200 ICN-MAD experience.

There are a bunch of other options to get from Chicago to Asia as well. You could use British Airways Avios to book a Japan Airlines award from Chicago to Tokyo – their first and business class products are pretty decent too (I actually flew JAL first class from ORD-NRT myself) – although their fuel surcharges are generally higher but do the cross-benefit analysis before you just assume that United is the way to go.

Avios miles ORD-NRT

Avios miles ORD-NRT

It will cost 75,000 Avios miles (60,000 mile for ORD-NRT, and 15,000  for NRT-ICN) for a one way trip from ORD-ICN booking through British Airways, as calculated using the British Airways Miles Calculator, totally 150,000 miles roundtrip.


Chase Ultimate Rewards can be used with a number of airline partners – not just United.

I previously compiled a full list of the airline partners of Chase Ultimate Rewards – including their alliance and non-alliance partners you can use their miles on, as well as oneway and roundtrip routing rules, that could help you decide which route might be the best to go.

For more information, check out the following posts:

Ranking the Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners

My Ranking Of The Top Chase Travel Credit Cards

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Adam

    I just flew US – Asia ANA flights (not 787) and they have fully lie-flat seats.

  • dieuwer

    I recently flew Korean from JFK to ICN in business on the A380 upper deck and it was fantastic. I can absolutely recommend it.

  • jedge

    I flew ORD-ICN on korean first using chase points just last month. There were 2 people in first class including myself and 2 dedicated flight attendants. It was quite nice. Fully lie flat seats which I think is also true for prestige (business) class. I believe my total taxes and fees (including fuel surcharge) came to $170 for the one way flight. I have friends who live in Korea and this will probably be my preferred way to get there in the future. The lounge is shared with air france. Nothing special.

  • krdesai

    ANA flies twice daily from ORD. The morning flight (NH11/12) is on a 77W with fully lie flat new biz product. The afternoon flight (NH1011/1012) is on a 777-200 with angled biz product. As far as I know, Asiana only flies the two class version of their 777-200ER to and from ORD, which has angle lie flat seats.

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