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Chase has confirmed to The Points Guy that it is losing one of the airline transfer partners in its Ultimate Rewards program. Korean Air SkyPass, a member of the SkyTeam alliance, will cease being an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner as of August 25, 2018.
The change is “a mutual decision” between the airline and the issuer, according to Chase. Transfers will continue to be available through August 24 as usual, but will cease after that date.
Losing a partner is certainly a disappointment and does affect even a strong program like Ultimate Rewards. TPG currently values Ultimate Rewards points at 2.1 cents apiece, and while that valuation will remain as-is until August 25, it’s likely to decrease at least somewhat after that date with the loss of Korean.
The Korean Air SkyPass program can be tricky to utilize thanks to its unusual rules restricting redemptions to the account holder and family members only. But it was still a good way to book SkyTeam awards, especially since the program added the ability to book partner awards online late in 2016. Bookings on Korean Air metal could also be useful — TPG himself reviewed Korean Air’s first class on its A380 and wrote that it “represents an amazing value for Ultimate Rewards members,” which demonstrates how this loss hurts Ultimate Rewards.
Ultimate Rewards users still have access to SkyTeam bookings via Air France/KLM Flying Blue, but award prices are difficult to determine since that program recently did away with its award charts. Other key remaining partners in the Ultimate Rewards program include Star Alliance members United and Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and the World of Hyatt hotel program.
We asked Chase if we could expect any new partners to be added in the wake of Korean Air’s departure, but a spokesperson for the issuer said she didn’t have anything to share on that front at this time. Ultimate Rewards currently features 13 airline and hotel partners, so with the departure of Korean Air, the total will drop to 12.
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- 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®
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- 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