Korean Air offers a treasure trove of first class award availability to Seoul and beyond and is not too stingy in releasing business and economy class award space either. Up until now, booking has required Chase Ultimate Rewards points or navigating the minefield known as Delta SkyMiles but two developments this week make flying Korean Air much more attainable for the savvy points collector. Korean SkyPass is now a Starwood Preferred Guest transfer partner and Delta, surprisingly and too its credit, has made it much easier to book business and economy class awards on Korean Air.
Korean Air SkyPass is now a Starwood Preferred Guest
Korean SkyPass, like Flying Blue, lives in the Stone Age and the rigmarole of booking a SkyPass award (redemptions limited to family members only and birth certificates are required) is daunting. But get past that and you have access to much of Asia, Europe, and Australia in premium cabins for a reasonable price.
SkyPass points will transfer on 1:1 basis but do not forget the great thing about Starwood points is that you get 5,000 bonus points for every 20,000 points transferred, so the transfer is really 1:1.25. What does that boil down to? North America to Asia for 160K miles (meaning 128K Starwood points) in first class — that’s what United charges for business class! SkyPass is the sole source for booking Korean Air first class awards. Check out a recent Korean Air A380 First Class in-flight review by Kevin.
Delta Loosens Korean Air Blackout Dates
Gary noticed that Delta quietly changed its T&Cs concerning Korean Air blackout space in a way that astonishingly gives us more access to Korean award space.
Without getting too complex, Korean Air has blackout spaces that varies by region. Rather than following that more precise regional distinction, for years Delta has simply blacked out all regions if one region was blacked out on a particular date. Here’s a look at the new blackout chart–
A bit complex, but the bottom line is that delta.com is now offering a lot more Korean Air award space and those flights are still priced very competitively (unlike many Delta flights…).
These are two positive developments — it will mean there is more competition for Korean Air award space, but Delta’s reduction of blackout dates and Starwood’s addition of SkyPass as a transfer partner will make premium cabin award travel more accessible to many.