Korean Air Eliminates Free Stopovers in Korea on Award Bookings

Mar 29, 2019

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Korean Air has become the latest carrier to end free stopovers, halting complimentary visits to Korea on award reservations for flights on July 1, 2020 and beyond. In a short bulletin posted on the carrier’s website, Korean Air said the policy applies to flights in either direction. Currently, one stopover is permitted per each one-way trip.

North America travelers are less likely to be hit hard by the new policy because of the dissolution of the Korean Air partnership with Chase Ultimate Rewards, but it still stings. Stopovers are a great way to break up a long trip and explore a new city and country for a few days without having to pay extra.

Korean Air A380 Atlanta 2014
Korean Air A380 prepares for its flight to Seoul from Atlanta (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

For future award flights on Korean Air, you would need to compile a multi-city itinerary comprised of separate one-way tickets to add in a stopover, thereby boosting the number of miles needed to accomplish the same trip.

For example, under the current rules you could burn 85,000 SkyPass miles to travel round-trip between North American and Southeast Asia on an off-peak period (in economy class). You could break the trip up with a couple of days in Korea for no additional cost, doing so in both directions if you want. From July 1, 2020 onward, that break in Korea will become its own flight, adding anywhere between 15% and 30% to your total redemption cost.

Going forward, you’ll need to turn to Alaska’s Mileage Plan program or Aeroplan if free stopovers are a priority for you.

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