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All award travelers should earn transferable points, as they give you great flexibility in your redemptions. They also shield you from any potential devaluations, since the ability to transfer to other programs means you’re not locked into one currency. Chase Ultimate Rewards are some of the best transferable points out there, and TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen explains how you can transfer them to Korean Air.
In order to even think about redeeming these points for maximum value, you first need to know the actual process for transferring them to partners. Today, I’ll continue our series that looks closely at the process for transferring points to each Ultimate Rewards partner. I’ve already covered Hyatt Gold Passport, United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, British Airways Executive Club and Singapore KrisFlyer. Today I’ll take a look at another one of the program’s airline partners: the Korean Air SKYPASS program.
Before you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Korean, you’ll need to complete a few basic steps. For starters, you need to set up online access for your Ultimate Rewards-accruing credit card (like the Ink Plus Business Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred). To do this, simply go to Chase.com and look for the “Not enrolled? Sign-up now” link on the right-hand side:
Then, simply enter in the required information to complete your online enrollment.
If you already have an online credit card account with Chase, you can add a new card to it by clicking Manage Accounts in the Customer Center and then selecting Add Accounts at the top.
The other important thing to do is to sign up for Korean’s SKYPASS program (though if you’ve read my points and miles mistakes post, hopefully you’ve already done this). To do this, just visit the page to register for the program and enter your information.
Once these two things are complete, you’re ready to start transferring!
Transferring to Korean
The actual process for transferring Ultimate Rewards points to all partners starts the exact same way:
1. Log in to your Chase account and click on the Go to Ultimate Rewards link at the top right.
(1a. If you have more than one card account, choose your desired one from the next page.)
2. Hover over the Use Points drop-down menu and select Transfer to Travel Partners.
3. Scroll down the list of airline partners and click Transfer Points next to Korean Air SKYPASS.
4. Select the cardholder from the drop-down menu, enter his/her SKYPASS number then click Continue:
5. Enter the number of points you want to transfer (must be in increments of 1,000) and click Continue.
6. Review your details on the next page and then click Confirm & Submit.
The next screen should confirm that the transfer was successful.
We recently tested how long Ultimate Rewards transfers take for each of the program’s 11 partners, and fortunately Korean is one of the seven partners that transfer instantaneously.
|Singapore Airlines||Same Day|
There are a few important things to keep in mind with these transfers:
- The transfers are nonrefundable, so be certain you want to make the transfer before you click Submit.
- You can only transfer to yourself or an authorized user.
- You can combine points from your different cards or transfer points between your account and that of your spouse/domestic partner. For complete details, check out my post on combining Ultimate Rewards points.
Booking with Korean
Now that you’ve made the transfer, it’s time to actually book with Korean. The carrier is a part of SkyTeam and, until recently, was a great option to still get value out of Delta SkyMiles. However, you can’t use SkyMiles to book first class on any partners, and recent evidence suggests that Korean may now be limiting award seats for partner carriers. As a result, transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Korean may be an even better value now, opening up terrific redemptions like long-haul first class (with terrific availability).
Fortunately, the actual booking process for these awards has improved significantly from what TPG encountered back in 2012 (at least for flights on Korean metal). Here’s a step-by-step process of how to actually book award flights with Korean Air:
1. Start by visiting Korean’s homepage and clicking Login at the top right:
2. Enter your account information and click Log In:
3. Click on Book a Flight from the homepage:
4. Select Award Booking, enter your search criteria, select the passengers for whom you want to redeem (Korean only allows you to redeem miles for family members on your account) and click Find Flights:
5. Select the flight(s) you want and click Continue at the bottom right:
(Note that to progress past Step 5 you must have enough miles in your account to cover the entire redemption.)
6. Input your travel details and contact information, then click Pay Now.
7. Enter your payment information to cover the taxes and fees of the award ticket, confirm your details and submit payment.
Unfortunately, this process only works for booking award flights operated by Korean Air. For partner award tickets, you must call the Korean Service Center at 1-800-438-5000.
Keep in mind that the SKYPASS program was recently added as the newest transfer partner of the Starwood Preferred Guest program, allowing you to also transfer points from the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express to Korean Air for these redemptions (and you’ll get an extra 5,000 miles for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer).
Ultimate Rewards points regularly appear near the top of TPG’s monthly valuations (and for good reason). With a number of valuable transfer partners, you can get a ton of value and flexibility by collecting these points and then putting them toward a variety of different redemptions. I’ve yet to transfer points to SKYPASS for a redemption on Korean, but I’m looking hard at a trip to Asia next year and just might need to grab an award flight through Seoul.
For additional information about Ultimate Rewards and redeeming Korean Air SKYPASS miles, check out the following posts:
- Fantastic First-Class Availability to Asia with Ultimate Rewards and Korean Air
- Flight Review: Korean Air A330 and A380 First Class HKG-ICN-JFK
- Upgrading on Korean Air Using Ultimate Rewards Points
- Maximizing Ultimate Rewards with Chase Freedom, Sapphire and Ink Plus
What are your experiences transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Korean?
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards