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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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