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After a short hiatus, Chase has reinstated SkyTeam member Korean Air as a travel transfer partner. In November, the airline disappeared from the Ultimate Rewards Travel Center, but as of Sunday, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus cardholders can once again transfer points to Korean Air SkyPass for award flights.
Chase Ultimate Rewards is currently one of the most valuable points currencies. However, I was tempted to take the program down a notch in my latest monthly valuations due to the inability to transfer to Korean Air. Chase had assured Ultimate Rewards members that transferability would resume soon, but those assurances went on for well over a month with no change. Thankfully, the issue has been resolved, and Korean Air is now listed among Chase’s other transfer partners, including airlines, hotels, and Amtrak.
Ultimate Rewards points transfer to SkyPass at a transfer ratio of 1:1, and you can transfer in increments of 1,000 points. This is great news for cardholders, especially those who want to fly premium classes on Korean Air, since the airline releases decent award space in business and first class. If you’re looking to try Korean Air’s new first and business class seats that were announced just this past week, transferring from Ultimate Rewards is a good option.
For those unfamiliar with Korean Air, SkyPass is a highly versatile rewards program due to the carrier’s numerous airline partners (including Delta Air Lines, China Southern and Alaska Airlines), the number of destinations served (11 in the US, the most of any Asian carrier), and the generally good award availability of not only economy seats, but also both business and first class seats. When planning award travel on Korean Air, travelers can also view future award seat availability by date and class of service before booking.
Some notable awards include:
- Flights from South America, North America, Oceania, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to Korea starting at 70,000 points
- Domestic flights within Korea starting at just 10,000 points
- International first class seats from Korea starting at just 65,000 points
Note that Korean Air does increase the total number of points required for redemption during their peak travel periods. Depending on the route and season, travelers can be subject to substantial peak season points increases. Some highly seasonal international routes vary by over 130,000 points depending on the time of year. See the Korean Air award chart for more details.
For more info about Korean Air awards, check out these posts:
- Upgrading on Korean Air with Ultimate Rewards
- How to Maximize Each Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner
- How to Maximize Delta SkyMiles for Valuable Awards
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
- 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®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- 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