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.”

Delta and Korean Air infographic-1

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):

Delta Korean flight chart earning

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.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • 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.
  • 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 travel 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
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are 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.