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. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Last week, Delta and Korean Air deepened their 17-year partnership by tying a financial knot: a trans-pacific joint venture agreement. The two companies first became friends in 2000 as founding members of the SkyTeam Alliance. They announced their engagement this March via a memorandum of understanding.
The relationship hasn’t been without its ups and downs. In October 2015, tensions grew when Korean Air started limiting partner access to award seats. It’s improved more recently with Korean Air now allowing travelers to book SkyTeam awards online, starting in December 2016.
Proud parents (Delta CEO) Ed Bastian and (Korean Air Chairman) Y.H. Cho both are excited about the
road skies ahead. Cho is calling the move “good for travelers, our companies and our countries,” while Bastian is hailing it as a “world-class partnership that will offer more destinations, outstanding airport facilities and an unmatched customer experience on the trans-Pacific.”
This isn’t Delta’s first attempted relationship with an Asian airline. In 2011, with United shacking up with ANA, Delta tried to woo Japan Airlines away from its longtime alliance member American Airlines. In the end, JAL’s stuck with American. At the time, Delta had already had a JV agreement in place with Air France-KLM and Alitalia over the Atlantic and Virgin Australia over the Pacific.
What does the joint venture mean for travelers? Not too much, as most of the benefits of the JV are behind the scenes. The two companies will be able to coordinate flight schedules, pricing, collaborate at airports and “share costs and revenues on flights within the scope of the joint venture.”
The biggest impact on travelers is increased Delta codeshares on Korean Air flights. This can be especially important for those working toward Delta elite status, as Korean Air flights currently don’t earn any Medallion Qualification Miles (MQM) or Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD):
This isn’t the final step quite yet. While the two companies have signed the paperwork, the marriage will still require government approval.
Update 11/17/2017: The companies received US Department of Transportation (DOT) approval of this joint venture. Now, the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport needs to sign off for the JV for it to proceed.
Featured image courtesy of Delta.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees