Delta and Korean Agree to Transpacific Joint Venture

Mar 29, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Delta Air Lines and Korean Air have both been members of the SkyTeam alliance since 2000 when Aeromexico, Air France, Delta and Korean met in New York to officially to form the alliance. Since then, Delta Air Lines and Korean have continued to evolve their relationship — though, most of the time, it has remained tense in nature. But today, the two carriers announced that they’ve agreed to implement a joint venture arrangement to grow their combined transpacific network. The memorandum of understanding was signed yesterday and is subject to regulatory approvals.

According to the press release, the highlights of the agreement are:

  • The intent to create a fully integrated transpacific joint venture arrangement where both airlines share the costs and revenues on flights, they’ll also coordinate schedules for more seamless travel and connections
  • A combined network that serves more than 290 destinations in the Americas and more than 80 destinations in Asia — more options for travelers
  • More frequent flyer benefits so customers can earn and redeem miles with Delta’s SkyMiles and Korean’s SkyPass programs.

It’s not yet clear exactly how this will impact the earning and redeeming structure for both Korean and Delta’s programs. However, the new agreement will surely open up options for travelers who are looking to travel between the US and Asia. Last year, Delta announced that it’s resuming its Atlanta (ATL) to Seoul (ICN) service on June 3, 2017, and Korean Air has expressed interest in expanding its US route network. Korean currently serves Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Honolulu (HNL), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA) and Washington, D.C. (IAD).

In the current SkyMiles chart, Korean is listed as a Group 4 partner (along with Alaska Airlines, Great Lakes Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and WestJet) which means that SkyMiles members can’t earn Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) on Korean flights, regardless of class of service. It’s likely, however, that we could see Korean’s classification for earning on Delta’s chart change very soon.

With this new transpacific joint venture, the two airlines are working together to bring more destinations to flyers. Overall, this is good news for Delta flyers, as they’ll now have more options to get between the US and Asia (pending regulatory approval). For the two carriers who have long been at odds, this signals a major thawing in the relationship which should ultimately be good for business while providing passengers more options to earn and redeem miles.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.